Virtual schooling has been a new and challenging experience for most students, parents and teachers. It was born out of necessity due to the coronavirus quarantine. The system was put into place very quickly and, with anything innovative, there have been some glitches along the way. However, for the most part, everyone involved has adapted to online schooling.
For Theresa Crooks, mother of two high school boys, it was a matter of coordinating schedules for her sons and making sure that her oldest son received the individual help from his teachers that he sometimes needs. Both boys attend Weeki Wachee High School.
“There have not been any significant challenges for our household except for the motivation factor. The initial setup was a little frustrating, but after following the information that was provided by the school we got them both set up. The school did a very informative job making sure the families had several platforms to get the information on from Facebook, Band and Chalk [a group communication app], the school website and emails.”
Both boys miss being with their friends and the face-to-face interaction with their teachers. Some subjects do not lend themselves as well to virtual learning as others do.
JJ, a Senior, remarks, “My favorite subject was Choir until we were not able to be at school to be together. All [classes] are online at Canvas and all the subjects are basically run the same except for Choir.”
“I miss being able to be in person and engage with the teachers and the students. It is easier for me to understand and feel like I am getting more from the subject in person,” JJ continues.
“I miss the support and encouragement from the teachers to keep me on task for my classes,” states Denny, a Junior.
Denny is taking English 3, Math, Government, U.S. History, Gaming and Sim and PE, Math being his favorite subject.
In addition to Choir, JJ takes English, Reading and Math. Depending on the class, each subject is presented in a different way.
“Some take you to links that you have to work in and some have work you have to do without having a piece of background information for it. Some classes have videos to help with the work,” Denny concludes.
Mrs. Crooks is a stay-at-home mom, which makes it somewhat easier than it might be for other parents. However, she attends college, which presents its own challenges with switching to online classes.
“We have to adjust to focusing on finding a place for doing their work as a designated school work area.” She explained that they’ve had to learn to be respectful of each other’s work space, especially during a test.
“There has been communication [with the school] through phone calls, texts and the Band app. Band has been a big communication [tool] for us, as a family, for all updates,” she continues.
Another challenge that she and her husband, Jeff, have had is keeping the boys motivated to stay on their lessons. She has had to monitor their schoolwork a lot closer than before. JJ spends approximately two hours a day on his work, while Denny spends between two and four hours a day depending on the class.
Despite the challenges, Mrs. Crooks sees a benefit of virtual schooling.
“I feel that they are getting used to being prepared for college and seeing what it takes to motivate themselves for their classes when we, as parents, aren’t around.”
Mrs. Crooks praises the teachers and school administrators for helping to make the transition easier.
“Weeki Wachee has been very supportive of both my children. The communication has been abundant. My senior does have support staff and they have made sure that all his needs have been met to make sure he stays on task to graduate. This has been a difficult time for our nation, but the school has gone above and beyond for us to make sure the children have been taken care of educationally.”