One of the biggest changes for children during the COVID-19 pandemic is transitioning to at-home learning. For the past few weeks, elementary and middle schools in the Hollister School District have distributed homework packets covering math, science, social studies, reading, writing, art and physical education. The work involves previously covered material and is not graded.
Marlen Tinajero has been at home with her two sons, 10-year-old William and nine-year-old Matthew. She said the shelter-in-place order has created a need to adjust their fast-paced lifestyle, but that “it is amazing to slowly see how the boys have started adjusting into our new routine.”
“They have started to ask, ‘what are we doing today? Can we start on our packets?’” Tinajero said. “It is very rewarding that during this time of uncertainty they manage to adjust and continue learning.”
In addition to the homework packets, Tinajero said “we have also done virtual trips and live cams at different aquariums or zoos around the states. We have also added some life-skill learning such as how to load a washer, dishes, and cooking lessons.”
Briana Destefanis is caring for her two daughters, eight-year-old McKenna and four-year-old Rylee, during the shelter-in-place. She said her family’s experience has been good so far.
“When the weather is nice, we are able to go outside and play,” she said. “We live on property so there is lots to explore. We also ride horses.”
Destefanis said it’s been nice spending one-on-one time with her kids because she works outside the home three days a week.
“I like being able to take the time to do schoolwork with my oldest and not having to be making dinner, starting laundry, and all at the same time,” she said. “Slowing down our day has been very rewarding.”
When asked about how her daughters’ experience with the homework packets have been, Desefanis said “so far McKenna seems to be okay with the work. She does get frustrated that the packets are not things that they would normally be doing at school.”
McKenna shared her thoughts on the homework packets.
“I do not really like them because I like it better when my teacher teaches me,” she said. “I understand the work more.”
McKenna can contact her teacher from Spring Grove Elementary School through Google Hangouts, and Destefanis is thankful for the connection.
“[The teacher] teaches them and helps them with the packets,” she said. “I’ve listened to the way she teaches so hopefully I can mock that and homeschooling will get a little easier.”
While she may not like doing her school work at home, McKenna found a silver lining: “I like being able to have recess whenever I want.”
Adeline Perry, a second grader at Ladd Lane Elementary, said the homework packets are “fun and keeping me busy.”
“Besides walking or riding my bike with my mom, sister, and dog, or playing with Lenny, my bearded dragon, my favorite thing is learning about tigers and practicing Eureka math. Thank you teachers!” Perry said.
Kylie Royster, a seventh grade student at Maze Middle School, said “the packets are somewhat easy, but in some pages they are challenging. I do miss being in a traditional classroom because I could be more involved.”
Elementary and middle schools aren’t the only ones to send out review work. San Benito High School has also made review work available, and started online distance learning on March 30.
Naomi Castro, a senior at San Benito High, said that the review work “has not been that bad or too much of an inconvenience.”
“But it is disappointing, because all the events got cancelled,” Castro said. “We are seniors and it is the last time we are able to see all of our friends.”
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