BRYAN COUNTY, Ga. (WSAV) – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an enormous number of students were welcomed to the world of the online classroom, where many found themselves navigating a whole new way to learn and for some, a lesson they will never forget.
Mom of two Haley Cranman even authored a book about it, The Pandemic and Me A Child’s Perspective.
“My oldest son Collins, who the book is about, he struggled a lot in second grade, with not being around his friends, not being used to working on a computer, kids, you know, they’re tech savvy but when it comes to having to do it, then it’s kind of different,” said Cranman.
Collins also had another struggle. Cranman shared, “He has ADHD, so we had that extra added barrier to get through when it comes to online learning.”
She continued, “The hardest was the first week with him, you know, we’d wake up but we’re not leaving. We’re still getting dressed for school, but we’re not going anywhere. Getting on the computer, you know, the teacher was there, but he was having trouble focusing. The first day was a real struggle.”
After also having to remind Collins to pay attention during his first day of virtual learning she went to bed thinking she would consider a different approach the next school day.
“I took his playdough out; we were in his playroom at the time, and I took a curtain and I put it as a divider in the middle of the room to get his toys out of sight out of mind. Then I put a whiteboard up on the wall and gave him the play dough and then I kind of sat in there away from him but still listening and then I would write notes,” she said.
Noticing that Collins was paying attention while he had the playdough in his hands and then later considering all that happened during school time that day, Cranman determined constant direction was something they were going to have to do daily.
She also recognized specific challenges Collins was facing because she was diagnosed with ADHD as a young child.
“Mostly the focus and the boredom. He is a very social child; I was a very social child. I couldn’t sit still; he can’t sit still. A lot of the things I did with him, my grandmother did with me. He’s actually the spitting image of me in every way, especially when I was younger with ADHD – hyper, wanting to play all the time, hated sitting still, everything,” she said.
As Collins continued to do e-learning during the pandemic, Cranman continued with different types of things to help him focus and as she was able to see what worked, she began telling her husband Michael that her findings would make a great book. However, it was after an English professor told her she should turn it into a book she and Michael went ahead with the process of authoring her first book.
“It turned out to be into something that was very informative for kids who struggled during that time, and also helps give parents ideas to help motivate their kids to focus without realizing they are.”
About The Pandemic and Me A Child’s Perspective Cranman said, “I never mention Collins has ADHD. I never mention it at all because I don’t think that’s a label that needs to be made because a child who cannot focus may not have ADHD, but they know, hey, playdough might work, let me try it.”
She explained, “So, I was wanting to give parents some ideas of how to help kids if they’re having virtual learning or anything like that or if they’re having trouble in school focusing, to give them ideas to help them with their child, but also showing the child they are not the only one who has this problem or this challenge. I also wanted to make sure that everyone in the book had a voice. Parents struggled, the child struggled, and how they worked through it.”
Today, Collins is back learning in the classroom but thinks the book will still be helpful for parents and students.
“It’s a very good book and it’s about me and eLearning. It helps me. The playdough because it helps me concentrate.” he said. Collins said the book can also help others and he has even told his friends at school about it. “They said they liked it too.”
Since the book has published, Cranman has read it to students at Bryan County Elementary School and she recommends that other teachers read the book to their students.
“I totally recommend reading this book to your class, especially the ones who are in 4th or 5th grade now who remember.”
She also says that it will give parents who homeschool their children different ideas to use from day to day to keep students engaged.
Cranman has also done book signings and the next one will be in Augusta at Barnes and Noble on February 18th.
Those who are not able to attend can also purchase signed copies at Barnes and Noble at the Oglethorpe Mall or online.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, thousands of youth between the ages of 0-17 years old have died as a result of COVID-19 between 2020 up until this year.