Tuesday, October 27, 2020

The Impossible Job of a Parent Navigating Zoom School - The Atlantic

A Mother of Five Navigates Remote Learning - The Atlantic
The Impossible Job of a Parent Navigating Zoom School

When Donald Trump took the oath of office on a gray January morning in 2017, he laid out his vision for the United States under his leadership. “We stand at the birth of a new millennium, ready to unlock the mysteries of space, to free the Earth from the miseries of disease,” he said. “A new national pride will stir our souls, lift our sights, and heal our divisions.” Nearly four years later, the divide in how we view the consequences of his first term remains large. But the nation is undeniably changed. From family separation, to nation-wide protests and economic volatility, to a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, Trump will leave behind a legacy—whether he’s reelected or not. We are telling the stories of seven individuals living with the consequences of Trump’s first term. You can read the rest of the stories here.

By 9:30 a.m. on August 31, the first day of school, Rebeka Dominguez was already exhausted. Her 13-year-old daughter, Eleanna, couldn’t log into Zoom. Across the kitchen table, Elijah, 17, muted his football coach and distracted his girlfriend, Kyleen, who sat beside him, trying to concentrate on her coursework. Easton, 7, propped himself up on the floor between the two teenagers as his teacher tried to help a classroom of second-graders access BrainPOP, an educational website. Everett, 4, ran out of the room with Elijah’s cellphone. The wifi kept cutting out, and there weren’t enough headphones to go around, so five virtual classrooms stuttered on at once. Eva, 10 months old, cried in her playpen. Like millions of other households across the U.S., the Dominguez family is learning remotely this fall.

In March, the schools in Weslaco, Texas, where the family lives, shut down in response to the coronavirus outbreak. Overnight, all classes moved online. “That whole first week was really chaotic,” Rebeka said. She worked to establish some semblance of a classroom, centered around the kitchen table. “I would be going around, making sure they’re each on their lesson—that Elijah’s not on Facebook, that Eleanna was understanding whatever they were going through,” said Rebeka.

Supervising the education of her school-age children felt like a full-time job.

Easton’s teacher would reach out to Rebeka every day, reminding her to help him log on. “I was like, I have four kids in school right now,” she said. “I can do Easton two days a week, or a day a week, or whatever I can get to, but I can’t do it whenever you want me to.” She negotiated with teachers on assignment due dates and began to divide her weeks. On Mondays and Tuesdays, she concentrated on Easton; on Wednesdays and Thursdays, Rebeka helped Eleanna. Elijah often supervised his younger siblings while in class. When he needed help on his chemistry assignments, he’d have to wait until his dad, Joseph, a nurse, came home from the ER where he worked.

[Read: These 8 basic steps will let us reopen schools]

Frantic scenes like this played out across the country, as 50 million kids were abruptly thrust out of the classroom. Families scrambled to adjust to unclear, CONTINUE READING: A Mother of Five Navigates Remote Learning - The Atlantic