Ten highlights of remote learning as a Mum during the Covid-19 pandemic.

 In Family Friendly, Uncategorized

Ahhhhhhh!!!!

Thank goodness it’s over!

Sound familiar?

I can almost hear the collective and loud sighs of relief across Geelong, Victoria and even further away from parents, grandparents and others who have been a part of the remote learning experience for the past eight weeks!

Alot of us as I write this (including my family and I ) are getting through and celebrating the final day of remote learning before all kids return to school next week.

Well done to all parents (and others who have helped with remote learning) out there! You certainly deserve a beer, wine, massage or bath with candles, day out fishing (whatever tickles your fancy) etc etc for all you have done in recent weeks.

So put your feet up, relax and give yourself a pat on the back!

It’s certainly been an interesting, emotional and sometimes challenging journey for me in the past 8 weeks as well as our family. However, I am very grateful to have experienced this possibly once in a lifetime experience and share it with my three kids.

I admit I have been guilty of many tongue in cheek, negative or frustrated comments and remarks to my husband, family and friends along the way.

I have also wondered sometimes if the kid’s teachers thought I was a crazy lady. What would they think of my evening emails, where I just wanted to get out the frustration and exhaustion that I was feeling? Sharing with them and hoping that they understood why it upset me so much that my child did not want to talk on the classroom chat video today, or why they chose to rebel and not want to do a certain task today…..

Having said this, our remote learning experience has definitely not been all doom and gloom!

In fact, I readily share with you all, that overall, the positives have far outweighed the negatives for me. I certainly feel very lucky and blessed to have had this opportunity.

This is why I feel it is so important that I share with you my positive experiences.

I want to show gratitude, for the experience, for everyone involved and my kids for doing their best.

So here are my ten favourite memories/ positives that I will take away as a Mum from our family’s remote learning experience.

Enjoy……….I hope you can relate to some of these too.

1. The opportunity to spend valuable time at home with my kids.

This is by far most my favourite. To put it simply……time passes by so quickly and kids grow up.

With all of mine now attending school and kinder, its been so nice to spend an extended period of time with them all at home together again. We have created lots of great memories and I am so thankful for this.

2. Watching the kids bond and help and support one another in their journey.

My three kids have bonded and helped one another in their learning. I am not saying its all been roses and harmony. We have certainly had our days where one or all of them have been frustrated, over it, tired and upset. However these days have definitely been in the minority.

On most occasions, it’s been great to see them sharing and learning together. This has been particularly the case with my youngest son who usually attends kinder. He was so excited to sit with his sister and use the Ipad together – sing along and follow the Letter- getter and of course- work on Reading Eggs.

This has extended to after school hours where my kids have been sharing and sleeping together on the double mattress transferred between bedrooms for a camp out experience.

3. Being able to watch, learn and experience about how each child best learns and their strengths and weaknesses.

Remote learning was such a new and unknown experience for us, especially at the beginning. We all needed to work together and communicate to work out what would be the best way of learning and completing our set tasks each day.

My daughter is in Prep. I quickly learned that she thrives on structure and routine. This was greatly helped by the patterns and routine given to us by her teaching staff. She started her learning at the same time each day and mostly worked diligently through her tasks with my guidance and support. I won’t pretend though that it was smooth sailing. We definitely had to navigate our way through anger, sadness especially about missing her friends and teacher, frustration and tiredness along the way.

My son is in Grade 4. I quickly discovered that his learning style was very different to my daughter’s. He thrived on me discussing and setting goals with him in each subject for the day (in line with what his teacher’s had set). We found that ticking off and celebrating when a task was completed worked well with rewards at the end of the school day proving to be a great help also. Again, it was not at all smooth sailing. We dealt with lots of emotions, anger, frustration, sadness and the feelings of him wanting to give up as it was too hard. It was rewarding for me as a Mum to see that with my encouragement, he was able to persist and achieve (in most parts) what he aimed to achieve.

4. Freedom to create our own routine and schedule for learning and time out.

Our teacher’s have made it easy for me by providing us with a very structured and detailed outline of what they expect in terms of each day’s learning topics and goals. We have found that mixing things up a bit has worked well, especially for my Grade 4 son. He enjoyed being able to choose the order that he completed his subjects and tasks. He also felt a sense of accomplishment when he was able to tick off tasks completed throughout the day.

We also enjoyed the freedom to create our fun during breaks from learning. This included nature walks, bike rides, jumping on the trampoline, playing cricket or soccer or doing kids yoga from You Tube. Cosmic Kids Yoga was certainly a favourite with my six year old daughter.

5. Learning about the how the kids learn and what they are being taught/ ways they are being taught

To be honest, before our remote learning experience was forced upon us, I had taken for granted that the kid’s teachers were teaching them what they needed to know. Sure, we would complete our reading and homework tasks as needed but I hadn’t thought alot about the ways that the kids were learning at school.

Being involved in the two kid’s learning on a day to basis, helping them and guiding them has been such a great way to learn more about what and how they are learning at school. Teaching methods are always changing and they are alot different to when my husband and I were at school.

I certainly appreciate the opportunity to gain this knowledge and will utilise it moving forward to help my kid’s in their education.

6. Getting my head around the ins and outs of Google Classroom and other technology and Apps.

I freaked out slightly (well perhaps more than slightly!) when I learned I would have to help my son navigate his way through Google Classroom. Workbooks for each subject, instructions for each subject, class comments, Google meet ups with the class and teachers, and private comments from teachers to students. It was a whole new world for me.

Slowly, over time, and with the great support from my son’s teachers, we were able to become more confident and knowledgable about it all. We managed, with hiccups along the way, to get through what we all needed to. This included successfully sending through a ten minute video of my son’s maths presentation so the teacher could see it. I tried at least 15 times and spent quite alot of my time, because I wanted to make sure his teacher could see his efforts.

My favourite part of the technology side was the Google meets feature. This allowed for the teachers and class members to all jump online and view and talk to one another. I loved seeing the smile on my son’s face after these meetings and am extremely grateful the teacher’s took the time to do this despite it’s challenges. The time away from their friends and school community is definitely a big challenge and one my son struggled with.

I can’t wait to see the smile on my son’s face when he walks across the road to school next week to see his class mates and teacher in person again!

7. Having fun together as a family.

Yep….it was fun! The school helped in creating special theme days including Footy Friday, PJ Day, Furry Friend Friday and more. My kids looked forward to this and it was great for them to able to feel connected with their friends and teachers through all doing this together.

We also had fun learning together. We laughed and shared learning French words and sayings. We helped each other out with art and design tasks. Art is not my favourite thing but I actually enjoyed helping out by the end. We also had many laughs while doing our PE with Joe ( a british personal trainer who has gone viral) on You Tube!

8. Building closer relationships with teachers.

I am so thankful for our teachers. Being thrown in the deep end with no experience of remote learning and having to come up with a plan in such a short space of time- thank you so much! I feel so fortunate that my kid’s teachers were both fantastic. The instructions for learning were always very clear. I found it easy to communicate with them and received timely responses via email. They also went out of their way to phone us, meet with us on video link or message about any issues or concerns to help us. This made a big difference for us.

I am grateful for the opportunity to work together with my kid’s teachers over this time and have so much respect for them. I am looking forward to the remainder of the year and hope that this experience will be a positive in moving forward with open and meaningful communication between all parties to continue to be of great benefit.

9. Involvement of extended and interstate family in the remote learning experience.

I am so grateful that my kids could share their learning experiences with their extended family. My mum started off reading books to my daughter on Facetime, before progressing to recording You tube videos of stories she had read so we could listen to them anytime. My dad also loved helping my eldest son with his maths tasks. This was particularly special as my parents live interstate and don’t get to spend alot of time with their grandkids even in normal non Covid- 19 times.

10. A special thank you to our local school.

Thanks so much to Inverleigh Primary School for everything you have done to support remote learning for our kids and also our local families. Although our school is small, it has certainly packed a big punch in how it has handled the challenges of remote learning.

I am very appreciative of everyone who has helped along the way in our remote learning journey- thank you!

Finally……..

I hope that you can smile when you read this.

Remember to focus on the positives for your kids, yourself and your family in the experience of remote learning. It’s certainly been a challenge but also a unique and rewarding experience.

Wishing all families an easy and smooth transition back to school next week.

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Thanks for reading and hope you found something positive to take away from this.

Cheers,

Suzy xx

Geelong Living Plus

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