Family creates at-home learning “classrooms”

Maryland

FREDERICK, Md (WDVM) — By mid-morning, Carter and Brooklyn Thomas are in their classrooms at home.

It’s a different set-up than they had only months ago, working from the kitchen table when the Frederick County Public School system first initiated distance learning due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year, the one thing that we learned from that, was that we can’t have it casual like you’re not walking into the kitchen. That’s when we decided to designate those areas,” explained parent Latoya Thomas. 

In an effort to encourage learning throughout the entire semester, Latoya reworked her home office into a classroom for her 8th grader Brooklyn, fitted with a desk for her Chromebook and calendars to jot down assignments.

“I put some things in there to personalize it for her, so she’d know it’s her space,” Latoya said. 

Just behind the desk hangs a custom made sign that reads “Brooklyn’s 8th grade distance learning.”

“I kind of like it better down here cause it’s a lot quieter, “Brooklyn said of her new workspace, “It helps me to log [online] to make sure I’ve got everything.”

FCPS created bundles of supplies for students, including textbooks. Administrators say it’s best to try and keep materials organized.

“So that when a teacher says ‘Hey boys and girls let’s get this material out,” that the child at home can do that. So whether that’s bins, or buckets or cubbies,” explained executive director for Curriculum, Instruction, and Innovation with FCPS, Dr. Kevin Cuppett. 

For first-grade student Carter, Latoya says she creating a designated reading space and a behavioral chart to mirror a typical school day.

“To make him feel like it’s more school and motivate him in a positive way to want to be on the screen, want to behave, and actually make it through the day.”

And when there are challenges, Cuppett says reach out to teachers for help or resources.  

Latoya admits her teenage daughter had some difficulty adjusting to the new school day, especially the change in socialization between friends and classmates.

“She just got into a little funk when it came to school. I got in touch with the counselor and worked with her. It was a struggle, I think just not having that social part of her life as a new teenager,” Latoya recalls, “We just took it slow, her teachers were understanding.”

Cuppett adds that parents and students should be aware of their background surroundings when logging onto video meetings.

FCPS students will continue with virtual learning for the entire fall semester. In a statement, the board of education announced they will evaluate when students can return to the classroom.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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