Distance Learning in Middle & High School
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– Sep 6, 2021(1 reply)
Hi. My daughter is almost 16 years old and just finished 10th grade. She used to be a great student but failed most of her 10th grade classes with Fs due to anxiety (and possibly depression) which started during distance learning because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our public schools were closed for 1.5 years. My daughter is now back to her old self and doing well in school, but during distance learning she was unable to keep up with Zoom classes when she had to work in small groups. She used to disconnect without warning and said she couldn't handle being on Zoom working on small teams. Even though she seems to be doing well now with in-person school I am worried that if her class(es) are quarantined, and they have to again go back to Zoom, the same pattern will repeat again. So, I am trying to see if somebody might be able to diagnose the cause of these issues so, if we face a similar situation again, we may avoid the same outcome. Any suggestions on how to find out what caused this behavior and how to prevent it in the future? Any recommendations? Thanks in advance!Sep 6, 2021
– Jun 8, 2021(3 replies)
My son who will be a HS sophomore will be severely immunocompromised in the Fall and will need an online or remote school option for approximately 6 months. We live in Oakland. I am wondering if anyone has experience with any remote/online curriculum or public school based Home/Hospital school? My son is not a particularly motivated student but looking to keep him on track.
Thanks!Jun 8, 2021
– Mar 3, 2021(2 replies)
There's been lots of talk about students who are checking out of remote learning, but we have a slightly different issue: a teacher who appears to have checked out. I'm looking for advice on how to handle this without making matters worse (for both the teacher and the students).
The background is that everything was great in the fall semester. The teacher was teaching, student engagement of course varied. My son was, however, very engaged and worked very hard for this class (which is in a subject that doesn't come easily for him). He went to office hours when he needed help, asked questions in class, and the teacher was responsive, answered questions, explained things, graded homework, and entered grades in a timely manner, etc.
But now with spring semester, everything has totally changed. Apparently, a number of students were caught cheating on the final exam. The teacher was understandably angry and frustrated. But since that time, she seems to have mentally checked out of the class entirely. She doesn't provide strong instruction, doesn't grade work, has entered no grades into the online grade book. My son has reached out for help during office hours, but was blown off. He doesn't know what to do and is, for the first time this year, starting to fall behind. He also has no idea how he is really doing in the class because she has stopped grading assignments. He doesn't want his final grade to be a surprise.
Normally I try to stay out of these situations and prefer to allow my son to learn to advocate for himself, but he has tried that and, as I said, was blown off my the teacher. But what can I do? I certainly don't want to escalate the situation, but I do think my son has a right to be taught and to be given feedback in the form of corrected assignments.
Any advice?Mar 3, 2021
– Feb 18, 2021(10 replies)
I am a mother of a 16 year old girl who is a junior at a public high school. She has been struggling since last March with online learning. She manages to attend her classes but is extremely bored and does only about 30 minutes of homework a night. I feel like I have tried every possible angle, from consequences to rewards, to try and motivate her. If we try the heavy handed route it back fires and she gets even angrier and more rebellious. So I've decided to stop fighting with her. It is causing too much stress in our household. Trying to work with her is the only way we have found to get anywhere with her. She does not want to see a counselor for her depression. I have been making some arrangements so she can socially distance outside with her friends and volunteer taking care of horses which she loves. But none of it is inspiring her to do her homework. For the most part she spends hours in her room on her phone and watching Netflix. I have reached out to the school and her teachers, but she refuses to join the study pods they have set up at the school. I feel like I am done with pressuring her. It is hurting our relationship. I feel like it is more important to be a loving and supportive parent during these incredibly hard times. She hasn't had an easy life with her father being extremely ill for most of her life and being an only child who is adopted. Any suggestions or words of support would be greatly appreciated.Feb 18, 2021
– Feb 2, 2021(4 replies)
Hello! My daughter attends Albany High and, like everyone else around here, we've been in remote learning since March. Although it got off to a rocky start, I have generally been pleased with with the amount and level of instruction since the fall and my daughter had been doing quite well with things until recently. Since around December, we have noticed a substantial increase in homework, At first, we attributed this to the normal end of semester rush to finish first semester topics, but since returning in January and even now after semester finals, it has only gotten worse. A lot worse. I can't remember the last time my daughter has gotten more than 6 hours of sleep because she is being overloaded with homework (Note: she is in all "regular" classes - no honors or APs for which one might expect a more substantial workload). She is getting burned out quickly, to the point where, although she had adapted to the online platform, she is getting ready to "check out" of he classes entirely. It is not an issue with the difficulty of her classes - she understands and keeps up easily with the material. It is just too much homework. I am particularly frustrated because one of her teachers even explicitly said, "I have to keep you kids busy" while assigning work. Aside from the fact that it is not a teacher's job "to keep kids busy," as I said, it's gotten to the point that she is regularly up way after midnight doing work and it is taking a very bad toll on her, mentally and physically.
Has anyone else noticed this tendency to overcompensate for remote learning by assigning additional (or, in our case, excessive) homework? If so, how are you dealing with it? We are at about our breaking point, unfortunately, and it's not even February. Would love to hear from others about their experiences.Feb 2, 2021
– Nov 16, 2020(3 replies)
My 15 year old, a formerly A/B student, is tanking her online classes. Little or no work is getting done. At first she did ok, but at this point it feels like there’s no point. Screens are blank during class time, teachers are inconsistent in terms of Zoom hours and assignments, she’s not connecting with anyone, and she’s lonely and depressed. Yes we have a therapist. But she’s stopped doing work and finds no point in logging on to a class that is disconnected from her life. I don’t blame teachers, though I wish some communicated with us more. It’s the medium. Online learning honestly stinks, and I know a lot of kids who are struggling with similar issues. It’s not sustainable and I don’t know what to do. Help, please.Nov 16, 2020
– Oct 21, 2020(11 replies)
My child is currently in 5th grade public school. He is doing ok academically, and that is because I watch him all day during zoom school, and I make sure he does his homework, otherwise, he is not engaged at all and does not care about academics. He only likes comic books and video games. Even before ISP, he thought school was very boring, and had to be bribed and coerced to do homework. He also did not like the social aspects of public school as boys at such age are trying out social skills, teasing and talking trash, which he had a hard time with. Looking at this whole ISP and middle school next fall, I am wondering if we should put him in private school or keep him in public middle school? I really don’t want to be his “prison guard” anymore, making him do school/homework. But I’ve also heard private schools are just the same with even more homework and more zoom time. It’s a lot of money that I don’t want to spend to end up in the same position as now. Anyone with a kid like him? What did you do that worked or did not work? What middle school is better for kids like him? Thank you!Oct 21, 2020
– Sep 26, 2020(1 reply)
My 12-year-old (very strong willed) 7th grade kiddo has a lot of negative stories about herself as a student from some trauma she had a while ago and now she's really hating school. Having witnessed her these last few weeks of Zoom school, I can tell she gets into fight or flight when the work gets hard, and she spins out and starts really hating on school and herself. It takes her sometimes several hours to recover from these episodes, and homework remains unfinished and she just gets further behind.
YouTube and her online gaming friends are the only thing that matters to her now, and she fills every non-school minute (and even many school minutes) with screens. I have started sitting next to her and prodding her and gently redirecting her, but now that the academic work is starting to get harder, it's getting more challenging for her to focus and/or feel a sense of accomplishment. She's started blowing off homework so she can get back to gaming.
Over the summer, we relaxed screen limits with the caveat that as long as she takes care of her responsibilities, it's OK, but that's clearly not happening. She doesn't want to exercise, or do art, or even hang out with some of her friends who are not screen obsessed. It is getting scary. Last year she started cutting herself over screen battles. She is on medication which is helping but she still has pretty intense outbursts.
Clearly I need to put limits back on screen time, but curious to hear from other parents who have dealt with this situation what has worked and what hasn't. I am thinking of having her earn all of her time after attending and focusing on class and finishing homework, but how to ensure she doesn't just blast through to get to the screen? Also she's used to watching a short video between each of her Zoom classes and she says they help her de-stress which they do, but also they distract. How to avoid battles all day long here? And most importantly, how might we help her feel more empowered as a learner? Thanks in advance for any insights.Sep 26, 2020
– Sep 11, 2020(3 replies)
15 year old sophomore is not engaging in virtual schooling. Since the beginning of the pandemic his academic performance declined, I receive calls from the school about his absence from all classes. His mom and I addressed the importance of an education, and two weeks ago had a successful meeting with the counselor and principal. He reports "virtual school is boring". He is not motivated to do any work and to engage in classes. I have talk to him about the benefits of an education and always try to understand his feeling and approach to this new method of attending school. Every time we address his lack of participation in school, he only listens but does not make any effort to change. My 15 year old foster fantasies of having a job, opening his own business for auto shop. He wants to have a driver's license and save money to buy a car. However, his dreams do not connect with the reality and the tasks he needs to complete in order to achieve the goals. Sometimes I doubt my parenting skills. When this pandemic is over I will consider independent studies, however because his lack of motivation in virtual education - independent might not be the solution - I don't know.
Is this a normal phase of teenagers at age 15? How did other parents cope with similar situations?
thanks in advance for the advice and support.Sep 11, 2020
– Jul 22, 2020(7 replies)
Hello neighbors and teachers,
Largely remote learning for next year has us rethinking our child's final year of high school.She is a strong, self motivated student, and is considering taking the California High School Proficiency exam in October, and then doing some community college classes in the winter and spring instead of a mostly remote senior year at Berkeley High. Does anyone know whether this would impact her application to a UC? Good or bad idea? We are trying to think outside the box for the upcoming year, as the AP exam testing, SAT and ACT testing has not adjusted quickly to accommodate the new constraints we are all under. The institutional educational and testing systems are largely dysfunctional in the COVID world, but our kids lives march on. I would appreciate your thoughts and experiences.Jul 22, 2020
– Jun 9, 2020(1 reply)
My daughter will be starting 6th grade in Fall. We've accepted a spot at Claremont (our neighborhood school) but are in the 20's on the waitlist for Edna Brewer (our first choice), so we may be offered a spot there. I know the next school year is still up in the air, but since it seems likely to be at least partly distance learning, I would love to hear from parents at Claremont or Edna Brewer how distance learning went this school year?
Some specific questions:
How many hours a day did your kid(s) spend in Zoom classes? Since they have multiple subjects with different teachers, did each class still meet on the same schedule they would in person, or was it modified so that students aren't spending all day on Zoom? Was the overall workload manageable, between Zoom classes and assignments? How easy was it for your kid to get individual support from their teachers? What did social/emotional support look like? (My kids is pretty shy and I'm worried she won't really connect with new teachers and new classmates if school ends up being fully remote.) How did the school handle classes that don't transition easily to an online format, like PE, art, and music? I'm especially interested in hearing about the Edna Brewer music program--their amazing orchestra is one of the main things we like about that school.
If you have any other experiences to share those would be very welcome too!
Thanks!Jun 9, 2020
– May 25, 2020(1 reply)
Does anyone have advice on how to weather online teaching next year for incoming freshman. We are at a little bit of a loss about how to start Berkeley High with the new post-COVID world.May 25, 2020
– May 16, 2020(3 replies)
Many other families must be grappling with the question of whether offspring should go to college in the fall or defer admission / take leave of absence in light of college being all or mostly online. At our house, our youngest was going to start at a UC as a junior transfer from community college, he has been living at home and working very hard for this for the past year and a half after a bad start at a CSU, and was really looking forward to leaving home, living in a dorm with tons of other young people, and being at a large research university with a great department for his major. However, online learning has been very hard for him as he has ADHD (not diagnosed until college.) His doctor strongly recommends against his taking online classes, plus he is a biology major and online labs have been ridiculous. There's also the issue of paying UC tuition for online classes, for us it's going to be steep and it would be good if our kid stayed home an additional semester working and saving $. On the other hand, I know that they are greatly improving online teaching methods for this fall and it will be quite different than the current hastily improvised online classes that were switched over mid-semester, and that tons of students deferring will be even more economically disastrous for our public universities... What are others thinking?
May 16, 2020
– Apr 13, 2020(9 replies)
My son a 9th grader is resistant to engage in virtual learning during this pandemic . Prior to last day of school March 13 I suggested getting caught with all classes (and he did) in expectation the lack of structure is a challenge . He is not 100% academic motivated , but will do the work if in the classroom setting.
he doesn’t need to get up early and do the morning routine - so I assume virtual learning will be fun and easy- however is a challenge.
he doesn’t get upset when his mom and I talk to him about it - I assume he is aware of his choice to not engage.
few days ago told me it was annoyed by us telling him to get school work done, I don’t want to remove the cell because I am confident he can do the job with no consequences.
how can he get motivated ?
any similar experiences?Apr 13, 2020
– Apr 5, 2020(11 replies)
Hello. I'm curious what other private middle schools are offering currently for their remote learning plans. Our top-rated private school is not offering (or planning) much in the way of virtually taught classes. I'd like to get a sense of other middle schools and what the school day looks like for your kids at this point. Are teachers actually teaching classes during part or all of the school day? How long and how much of the day is interactive? Are teachers able to conduct classes to middle schoolers by video? Is there a coherent online system for students to track their assignments?
Thanks. LizApr 5, 2020