NORTH BEND, Wash. - School districts have worked since the end of last school year to figure out how to make distance learning possible for all students. But learning is not a one size fits all.
For the Stevenson’s and their five children, ranging from kindergarten to 7th grade, Zoom based curriculum was rough.
“You have to be actively involved in the video call to make sure they’re staying on task and not running off or playing games while the teachers trying to do their assignments, it’s not just put them on a zoom call and walk away,” said Nick Stevenson.
With his wife Sarah working fulltime from home and spending most of the day on Zoom, it would fall mostly on Nick to monitor the kids' Zoom calls.
“Some of their Zoom calls are scheduled at the exact same time so literally you’ll have three different meetings for three different students. For five kids we would've been looking at an average of 20 to 25 zoom calls per day,” said Nick.
So the family made the decision to homeschool, something they said they would’ve never done pre-coronavirus pandemic, but for now, it’s the option that works.
“There's definitely a lot of added stress when you think about trying to work from home, trying to put together lesson plans. We're trying to make sure what we're teaching the children stays in line with what the district is doing so next year when they're enrolled they’re not behind,” said Sarah.
The plan is for Nick to homeschool the three youngest, and Sarah the two oldest. But with Sarah’s demanding job that’s not easy. So the family is having to seriously adjust their schedules to fit it all in.
“Our plan is to do a lot of instructional teaching time over the weekend and then have assignments for them to do over the week…so there’s not a lot of free time anymore, it's school and work, pretty much,” said Sarah.
But balancing the schedule is just one part of adjusting to this new way of life.
“It’s different with our different children, different personalities, different way of learning, and all of them handling this different. We have children who are introverts and love the fact that they’re at home and can be by themselves, and we have ones who really strive off of social interaction,” said Sarah.
Nick agrees, adding “trying to make sure that each one gets what they need, that’s been probably the biggest struggle of being home.”
As they all adjust to being home together 24/7, juggling work, parenting, and now being fulltime teachers, they say the struggle of it all comes with some pretty incredible perks too.
“We're definitely much more tight-knit than we were before this started, even more, family-oriented than we were before,” said Nick.