Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Students at Archdiocese of Atlanta Schools began the school year, some on campus and some at home. Writer Andrew Nelson and his family choose the at-home learning option. (Unsplash/‘Photo by Annie Spratt)

Scenes from the First Day of Remote Learning School

By ANDREW NELSON, Staff Writer | Published August 13, 2020

Grind the coffee beans, measure the water, turn on the pot. Then to the oatmeal. A quick calculation of the ratio of oats to milk, when I picked up a 1/3 cup for measuring.

Now to to wake the rising third grader.

Wednesday’s routine felt familiar, but the day was not.

My child protested the arrival of the school year. My mind raced: was it the end of summer blues or reacting to being away from friends? It joins a long line of concerns bouncing around my mind.

Our first day of school photo isn’t her walking confidently into school and greeting friends, but at her living room desk. I offered to drive around the block and end up back at home, but she wasn’t having it.

Out of a class of 30, she and 12 others are remote learners. The youngster is staying home the first quarter of school as my wife and I exercised the virtual learning option. Set up with a laptop stand, a keyboard, mouse and headphones, all she lacks is a standing desk to be a member of the digital economy.

An hour into the day, a dropped video had me Googling router updates, mesh WiFi and best practices. An IT Department is more appreciated now than ever.

As the morning went on, I smiled hearing hunt and peck keyboard strokes. Suddenly, the conversations got louder and about computer games. Classroom students went to PE, leaving the other students to chat. I was prepared when recess later rolled around. We walked the dog, Ranger, around the block in the afternoon heat. (It was a reminder to spend my night finding recess and PE activities.)

The day ended with little fanfare. But some things don’t change: the first assignment is covering softcover science, math and other books with clear contact paper.

In a glass half-full view, she and her peers picked up where they left in the spring as they looked at each other on the screen. They are getting exposed to digital life earlier than many. They are learning in a new environment that I hope models for them flexibility and resilience and love.

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