Those first early rumblings that school might close … the canceling of extra-curriculars…the rescheduling of prom…
Every new announcement added a bit more panic into my already anxious heart. How would we pull this off? How would our kids now fill their days? When would it end?!
I knew my daughter, a sophomore in college, could take this all in stride. She’s a cool customer and very independent. (Her university won’t even begin online classes until March 30.)  I did, however, wonder how my son would handle this major shift in lifestyle and learning. There are so many aspects to being in a physical classroom he seems to enjoy: talking with friends and classmates, getting input from teachers, blowing off steam at lunch. Would we be able to recreate that at home?
So, I asked him his thoughts, now that we have a week of “new normal” under our belts:
Me: “What did you think when we got the news that school was closed?”
Him: “My first reaction was initially excited because I needed a break, but I am now feeling disappointed because many things are being canceled, and I am scared that some of my opportunities will be canceled as well.”
Me: “How does the schedule work?”
Him:  “Online class works by the teacher giving us an assignment each day and we have the whole day to complete it and turn it in. It is easier to work, but it takes longer. We have timed quizzes and teachers hope we stick to the honor code! I miss seeing my friends, getting the actual instruction instead of completing busywork, and doing my extracurricular activities. I like that online school is more relaxed, but I think I am missing out on some educational opportunities. My friends say that they like waking up later and being more relaxed while getting a break, but we get distracted easily.”
Me: “What were your feelings about the changes to the spring AP exams?”
Him:  “I was really disappointed by College Board’s decision to cut portions of the AP exam and exclude curricula that we have already spent time and effort learning and perfecting. It makes it feel like all of our hard work was for nothing, and many of my friends share my same concerns, as they are also worried about the immense amount of cheating that will take place on the exam as it will be fully online.”
Change is hard, especially a drastic, but very necessary, change. And we are still adjusting. From a mom’s perspective, the positives for me are my son is overall much less stressed, and is definitely getting plenty of sleep! Technology is keeping him connected with his friends – and some teachers who are doing live stream lectures – and now he gets more time to pursue other interests. As long as he keeps to a daily schedule, he seems to be handling his work without many bumps along the way. I know he feels like this is a very different version of school than he is used to, but I am certain his school and teachers are doing everything they can to maintain their educational standards. We’re all doing our best. Now, if I can just get him to mow the lawn …
How is online learning going at your house?  Please share your experiences and tips below!