Parent Perspective: Juggling 3+ by Amy Kopecky
Hope families all have unique quarantine challenges, don’t we? It’s so helpful to read these newsletters and be reminded of our different working/parenting/learning households and how we can learn from and support each other. In the Kopecky house, Hope youth pastor Jonathan works from home, and I work a few part-time jobs while growing our fourth baby. We have a third grader, first grader, and preschooler, so we have a loud house, and I mean LOUD—sometimes Jonathan wears noise-cancelling headphones and I hid in the laundry room last night during bedtime routines for some peace and yoga.
When Hope to Home Learning was announced, we quickly made a simple survival plan as best as we could to protect our sanity:
- Our weekdays have to look different from our weekends.
- The kids should be dressed by 9:00 for family devotions so we have an official start to the school day.
- Give encouragement and grace to each other.
Number three is our priority. Over these nine weeks, some things have gotten easier as we’ve learned to adjust, and others have become more challenging. But above all, we don’t want our kids to be discouraged with education or themselves. We’ve learned to put less focus on completing each assignment and more on promoting a healthy balance of learning and living together at home.
With that said, here’s a little bit about how each of our kids has coped:
Pre-School: Mrs. Figgins has led the preschoolers with phenomenal packets of activities, story time videos, and video tutorials. It’s been so much fun to watch Calum grow in his excitement for learning. But the challenge has been helping him do the activities and giving him attention when his brother and sister need a parent’s help almost constantly.
It’s helped to put each of the kids in separate common rooms with headphones so when one child turns on a video, the other two don’t get sucked in, too. It’s also helped to save Mrs. Figgins’ cool experiments like exploding volcanos and until the oldest two are done with their work so they can join in the fun.
First Grade: For the first couple of weeks, Aria faced tech challenges. She did all her writing and assignments on an iPad, but even with the purchase of a stylus it was frustrating and time-consuming and we got farther and farther behind. We did two things I wish we would have done sooner: 1) we bought a printer so most work could be done by hand, and 2) we expressed our concerns to Mrs. Alba. She gave us complete support to lighten Aria’s load which has helped immensely.
Even with these tools, I will be honest and say Jonathan and I did not expect to do as much teaching as we’ve done. We envisioned administrating, encouraging, answering a question here and there, but our reality has been much more intense, sometimes working through each problem and each answer one at a time. (We’ve had to re-learn first grade math methods, too!) We’ve learned to take breaks when necessary and that we need to respect a time limit for daily schoolwork. Home learning is very different from school learning, and we are so thankful for Mrs. Alba.
Third Grade: Elias started out strong and motivated, so the greatest challenge was submitting his work and accessing different websites. While most of those kinks have been worked out, I can tell he, like all of us, is getting distracted while missing his teachers and friends and school environment. However, he takes so much joy in the class Zoom calls, and we are thankful for Mrs. Norton’s book she reads aloud and her easy availability for questions.
A bright spot in all the “heavy lifting” schoolwork has been the art, music and PE projects. The kids love more excuses to explore the neighborhood on their bikes, and even though we have not taken on the extra Zoom opportunities for these classes, they always get excited about the art and music assignments.
Even though we wouldn’t have chosen this road, our family is discovering more about what Calum is learning in Mrs. Figgins’ class—truly living out the Fruits of the Spirit with each other. We are thankful for this once-in-a-lifetime gift to spend extra time together and we are grateful for our wonderful teachers!