If your home is anything like mine, life sure has changed over the past few weeks. As I continue my work responsibilities with two students engaged in virtual learning, two poorly behaved dogs who have an uncanny ability to bark most when quiet is needed, and my 80-year-old father, who timed his visit from New York at either the best time or the worst time, depending on your perspective, finding quiet work spaces and structure has been a challenge!
I have heard a range of reactions from parents and students about our virtual platform. One 8th grader emailed me, “Everything is different. It’s a lot harder to do school on zoom.” Another student gave his assessment as, “it certainly has been an interesting learning curve, but I feel I have gotten the hang of it.” I think the Porter-Gaud faculty and staff would agree with both of these statements! I continue to be grateful for the engagement of our families and the creativity and dedication of our faculty members throughout this process.
My hope is as we go from week to week, we are able to settle into a routine and students will be able to more independently manage their schedules and work. Right now, many students are relying on help from parents to successfully “do” school. As parents, you have other responsibilities to juggle, so I appreciate your guidance with your children as we have begun this process.
Due to no school on Good Friday, next week’s schedule of Zoom meetings will span Monday through Thursday. This will result in a few extra Zoom sessions in one day than typical and will require students to once again plot their schedules for the week. In an ideal scenario, figuring out the schedule will not be a week to week process, but with a variation like a day off, it will be necessary for this coming week.
Students and parents will be emailed the schedule documents by 6:00pm on Sunday, April 5th. All class bulletins will also be updated by this time with the learning plans for the coming week. I wanted to share a few tips with you that have helped manage this change to routine in my house!
1. The night before, spend about 20 minutes going through each bulletin and make a list of assignments and materials needed. Investing in this 20 minutes will allow your child to get a good start to his/her work and ideally work more independently during the school day.
2. Encourage students to work on the independent assignments during the time they do not have Zoom sessions scheduled.
3. If possible, set up a consistent work station in a quiet space so all materials can stay in the same spot each day.
4. Take advantage of the two breaks in the traditional school day (community and lunch/recess) so students can engage in the similar activities as what they would be doing at school! Community, lunch and recess include fresh air, getting up and walking around, checking in with friends. On Wednesdays, we encourage students to also attend Chapel services via the Zoom link.
5. Be patient, flexible, and extend grace. Mistakes will be made, children will resist doing work at times, and if your house is like mine, the amount of food two growing boys will consume will seem absurd. Going for a bike ride or getting a moment or two of peace when you can will help!
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out should you need anything!