Parents Team Up, Ensure Children Have Learning Assistance
By WVUA 23 Digital Reporter Kenzie Morgenlaender
TUSCALOOSA, Ala- School is back for some but not for all as Tuscaloosa city and county schools are taking on a staggered learning approach this semester.
Returning students are divided into groups and attend in-person instruction on varying days, while others remain home full time.
Last semester’s sudden in-class end because of the coronavirus pandemic increased the popularity of private tutors and learning pods for those with financial means.
But tutoring isn’t cheap.
Some families have decided to pair together to create a learning pod of their own.
“My daughter is in third grade with the county and her friend is in fifth with the city,” said Heather Lowery, parent of a virtual student. “We made the decision to bring the girls together for remote learning as it was the better choice for our kids. I’m currently laid off so that allows me to sit with the girls every day.”
It is an adjustment, but many are trying their best to make it work as they take on this new role of both parent and teacher.
Creating a schedule is key when learning from home, Lowery said her girls start their school day at 8:30 a.m.
The structure of online school days varies depending on the child’s teacher and school.
This can cause conflict for parents with children in different schools and in different grade levels.
“For my country girl, all subjects are loaded with a video and article,” Lowery said. “For my city girl, she has a Google Meet call with her class and then dedicated small group times.”
Both students still participate in music, art and physical education classes from home. They have even been able to participate in a virtual field trip to the San Diego Zoo.
In a mass-message sent to parents of Tuscaloosa County Schools said: “Students have the option at each nine weeks to determine if they will be an on-campus learner or a remote learner.”
This allows families to choose if in-person instruction or virtual learning is the right fit for the time being.
Students will begin their status (on-campus or remote) for nine weeks on Monday, Oct. 19, then families will have the option for their child to return to campus or not.
Information for Working Parents
With businesses beginning to reopen, what are working parents supposed to do on the days their children will be learning from home?
Several organizations in Tuscaloosa are offering children a spot where they can learn while parents are away.
The Tuscaloosa Park and Recreation Authority is offering active classrooms which began on Aug. 31.
At PARA, students have a daily schedule which includes remote learning support time, as well as other activities including recess and art class.
Other organizations offering similar support includes Campus Connection, put on by the YMCA and private learning spots.
The University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business is offering Learning Initiative and Financial Training.
LIFT provides free classes for anyone in the community who would otherwise not have access to such courses, including free tutors.