SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – Life during the pandemic is presenting parents and their students with new, unexpected challenges with a new school year underway.
The immediate shift to virtual learning back in March presented families with the obstacle of quickly acclimating to at-home learning.
With a few months under their belts, however, educators say they worry about the struggles parents face as many begin to adopt the role of teacher.
WSAV NOW spoke to a childcare worker and a retired teacher who were offering their services to help local families.
The two say many families have begun reaching out to private tutors or even nannies who can monitor their child’s progress with online school while parents work.
They say many students need someone in-person to motivate and help them refocus their attention to virtual learning.
Tabitha Redmer most recently worked as a nanny for a family in Savannah and has previous experience as an assistant teacher. She says parents she spoke to were not prepared for just how hands-on they would have to be in order for their children to focus.
“It seems really overwhelming to all of them,” she said. “One of the big things that kept coming up is families with multiple children, those children would have different schedules.”
She also adds that another issue lies with all the distractions presented to students at home.
“They have their toys, they have their kitchen, they have all their snacks,” said Redmer. “They have to just sit there which is hard for just any kid.”
Retired elementary school teacher Nancy McHone agrees and says she’s more concerned with the younger students who don’t have the wherewithal to sit in front of a computer screen all day.
“The early intervention has always been paramount,” said McHone. “We catch the kids when they’re young and set up their learning environment so that they’re successful throughout their whole life. That’s not available now.”
The over 40-year veteran educator came out of retirement to help students and their families try to figure out the best way to approach education during this unprecedented time.
As important as virtual learning is for the safety of the students during the pandemic, she admits she’s also concerned with the lack of social exposure that is vital to the development of younger students.
The two also said virtual learning is a huge concern for parents of special needs children as well.
“I’d like to hope that a lot of the students academically will advance, but then you’re eliminating that huge social component, which is so important in those early years,” said McHone.
Here are some articles for parents or guardians who may be facing challenges with at-home learning:
- Experts share advice for helping kids with ADHD through the virtual learning process
- Keeping kids safe from cyber threats during remote learning
- Parents team up to create ‘learning pods’ as schools shift online
- Local teachers share challenges, lessons learned during online experiences