GALION — Students, parents and teachers at St. Joseph’s Catholic School have hunkered down during this stay at home order and are keeping busy with continued learning and teaching.
Joni O’Leary, the parent of two students at St. Joe’s and also a member of the school’s student advisory council, said it has been a challenge to keep her preschooler and kindergartner at task at times, but they are doing the best they can considering the situation at hand.
After two weeks of distance leaning at home, O’Leary said her kids are so young it was a somewhat difficult in getting them used to working on the computer.
“We kind of have different challenges, but the school has sent home different packets. We got two weeks worth of work and the kindergarten teacher sent home supplies with us to use,” she said. “Most of what we are doing is on paper with online resources.”
O’Leary said she probably spends about an hour with her kids doing academics and then the family uses online resources to use at home.
“When we first started doing this stuff my kids were calling me ‘teacher’… it was kind of funny,” she noted.
O’Leary said their packets we’re minimal at the beginning, but said families recently received an email from the school saying if the stay-at-home order continues the packets will be a little more demanding on families.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine on Monday said schools will be closed at least through May 1.
“I downloaded a COVID-19 sample schedule for daily activities and we kind of try to loosely stick to that, but we haven’t done a great job to be honest,” she said with a chuckle. “It’s crazy, but we’re doing a lot of reading and I do worry about all the kids and my kids, that I’m sure I’m not doing the job of what a teacher could do in eight hours of school. Some of my friends said some of their older kids have settled into more of routine, but mine it’s just the opposite. They are losing their attention span. My kindergartner the other day was crying, saying she missed her friends, she missed her teacher and she doesn’t like being home with her baby sisters.”
O’Leary said she is worried that her kids will get behind in school if this continues, pointing out she only has one laptop and said she was actually thinking about getting her desktop computer out and running again.
“I don’t know how many of our parents were set up for long-time, distance learning,” she said. “I’m happy they did the packets at St. Joe’s , but it’s still tough.”
She further noted the teachers have been great, texting updates and evening answering questions parents email to them.
“But I think they’re going to have to set up something more,” she said. “One of my friends, their kid is older, and she said they are having trouble with some of their math work. Things like that…it can be hard for parents. It’s totally different, but teachers have said just (teach) the way we know how to do.
“I’m nervous about the next wave of distance learning,” she noted. “I’ve feel like I’ve gotten a little to get us through, but I’m worried about this going longer term,” she said. “But I also feel like I don’t know how I could send my kids back to school. What a strange time.”
Lauren (left) and Megan O’Leary work at home last week on their home computer. Their mom, Joni, O’Leary, said the family is getting the job of home-teaching done, but her children struggle with staying focused and miss the daily interaction they used to have with friends and their teachers at Galion St. Joseph School.