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Now for the news around here.
It was back to school this week. Miss Jo is in the Virtual Academy and in the gifted and fast tracked curriculum.
It is her first year of middle school. Even though she had been in sports and Girl Scouts in the building she had never really been there for school. And this year she would have been changing classrooms for each subject.
The school did a great job giving the children all the experiences they would have had in person but now were experiencing virtually.
The teachers are using Google Meet and using a camera as THEY change classrooms. Along the way they stop and introduce other teachers and chat a bit. Miss Jo is loving it.
Her gym class does exercises, a timed scavenger hunt for items everyone has, and the teacher has them doing outside things as the weather permits.
They get 5 minutes between classes to spend any way they want. Miss J uses it to get some fresh fruit or veggies and giggle with her friends.
And as expected the virtual kids saw growing pains as the first 2 days were buggy.
The school updated their internet technology to boost signals and such to accommodate the extra load.
But other districts were forced to share the same load and that was a problem. I was happy they had hired a certified tech to prepare as much as they could without the numbers actually testing the system. They then were there to override some of the problems that were found. And they are continuing on to monitor what is needed.
The schools provided the kids with ChromeBooks. But the fact everything had been beefed up the devices weren’t fully capable to handle the load. That is something they didn;t think through.
So those living farthest from the signal and had received older ChromeBooks had trouble when the signals got weak. By the third day it was much better.
Kids that had computers at home downloaded the software and used those. Others increased their home signals. And when they can get them, more computers will be on the way for the children not able to work more efficiently.
For Miss J’s birthday, both sets of grandparents are gifting her a new machine. The ones in our home are all set to be replaced. The newest is 5 years old. And our MacBook won’t be able to handle the next OS updates. She will then be able to pass on her school issued one to someone that needs it. I hope it won’t take months to get it.
The schools ordered more devices at the end of June. The company said they would be shipped by the end of August. They were just told it will be until the beginning of next year before they can even give a date. They now have ordered through another distributor but December is the first date they can get here. Fingers crossed as even American companies are getting them from China. We all know the restrictions in place on that.
We are a wealthier district than many around us. We are able to adapt easier than others that aren’t able to provide the services needed. I wonder what those schools are doing.
I have heard many of the companies around here are donating what is needed. We have the headquarters of many of the auto companies and suppliers in our county. I think it is their responsibility to use some of their “giving back to the community” funds and help the areas where they have let many of their workers go. We will see who steps up.
To make things more normal we bought school clothes for Jo. She really needed them anyway as a growth spurt put a strain on the outfits she already had. Being the fashionista she is it was an exciting time.
She had a fashion show as she tried on her outfits. Of course, being 12, she had everything needed to complete her outfits all the way from underwear to makeup. What a hoot.
To make things even more normal I have been walking her to and from the bus stop.
About 15 minutes before school starts she comes down from her “room/classroom” and we walk to the bus stop and back.
Then as school is letting out, I walk UP the stairs and get her. And we do our walk again.
She loves it. Me, not as much.
This much activity is really a lot more than I usually do outside. There are a lot of hills and that is hard for me.
And walking up those carpeted stairs with one railing I do not like. It is so very unusual my husband taped it.
I fall a lot and get dizzy easily. So this is a great plus for me. I have to face those setbacks. And the kids don’t like that I open up that possibility of an accident. But I have fallen so much I have learned how to “roll” with it. Pun intended.
In addition to the fact she is learning online, as a family we are all involved in making the experience a part of our family bonding time.
I don’t know what winter will bring. The area I live in is considered rural. But I am only 10 minutes from bustling activity. And just 20 minutes from areas of total development of subdivisions and large shopping malls. Detroit and Ann Arbor are 30 minutes farther from me.
Since the hospital is only 2-3 miles away we do get some quick services regarding snow removal and such. However we are definitely not the first.
And I am NOT doing the school bus thing in deep snow and ice. She will definitely have “snow days” where she works at home. LOL.
How has school changes in your area affected the children? Please let us know in the comments. I do read everyone of them!
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