The Mathews’ Distance Learning journey at ISP

In the second in the series, another ISP Parent tells her story of Distance Learning. Denisha Mathews is from the United States and has two daughters, two of whom are ISP students in Early Childhood and Elementary. Denisha writes about her family’s challenges, successes and activities on Distance Learning.

I’m up before the girls most mornings  getting my mind and their breakfast prepared for another day of distance learning. My daughters are in kindergarten, grade 1, and my youngest is still in “mommy school”, so I’m pretty involved in their day to day routine. When I wake them, they’re usually excited to start their virtual school day.

While the girls eat breakfast I run down the schedule for the day provided by the teachers in Seesaw, and double check my alarms to make sure they’re ready to go. If you’re walking past my house during school hours, you just might hear me calling out,  “Five minutes!”  It has worked well for the girls to have a few minutes notice before their next call. They’ve surprised me with their ability to remember which class sessions and specials they have throughout the day, but time flies when they’re having fun between sessions, so the alarms are a must. Thanks to IT creating shortcuts to each teacher’s zoom room, they can get logged in on their own.

After breakfast, the girls get dressed, brush teeth and meet me back downstairs to get their hair done. While I’m brushing hair, we talk about what’s coming up for the day while we listen to our music playlist. After they’re all ready, my absolute favorite part of our morning routine comes when our 5 minute warning goes off  at 8:40 for the first zoom call. We all huddle up and I remind them that they can do absolutely anything, then we stack our hands on top of each other and one of them gives us positive words to break out to. This morning Maya led our chant; “We can do this on 3! 1…2…3…We can do this!!” With our hands all raised in the air, I high five the girls and hurry them off to log in to their morning meetings. 

I don’t know about you, but after several weeks of virtual learning my girls need extra encouragement to make it through a full day of zoom lessons.  Particularly after lunch can be tough as their excitement starts to wane. That’s when I put my cheerleader hat on and give them pep talks to make it through the last few calls. I walk through the house shouting, “Almost done!” “Last call! You can do this!” Some days it works, other days they turn and walk slowly to their Ipads. Nonetheless, we’re all learning a lot, and we certainly have more good days than bad. I’m thankful that as a result of being closely involved in the girls’ learning, I’ve been able to identify areas that I can provide more support in our free time.

When we’re not distance learning, we go for walks around the neighborhood or in the forest, bake gluten free goodies, learn dances, craft, grill in our garden, and research answers to the burning questions on their minds.

To all my fellow parents reading this, I just want to encourage you to keep pushing. We’re all doing the best we can to support our little ones at home, and that is not always an easy task. Some days are great and others leave us mentally and physically exhausted. Whether you realize it or not, we have all grown stronger and more resilient during this challenging time. Hopefully our little learners will be able to return to campus soon, but until then I hope you discover strength you didn’t realize you had, and make it through each day with a bit of joy!

Take Care,

Denisha Mathews