On March 15, Gov. Chris Sununu announced K-12 school closures across New Hampshire and a transition to remote learning. Just over a month later, he extended his order through the end of the school year.
The decision changed the way the education system operates.
As this unprecedented school year draws to a close, New Hampshire Public Radio wanted to share first-person accounts of what it has been like for teachers, parents and students. They got in touch from across the state, through our K-12 remote learning survey. Earlier, we heard from teachers.
Here is what some of the parents had to say.
What have you learned about your kids during remote learning?
“I've learned a lot more about my daughter's learning style since this all started. I knew that she struggled in certain areas, but until I saw how she went about solving problems with different kinds of assignments, I really didn't know how to best help her excel. I'm starting to see things from her perspective more easily and that's helped us both.”
— Neva Cole, Raymond
“How important structure and predictability is to teenagers. (OK. So I didn't learn that. But, the point has certainly been reinforced.)”
— Philip Young, Nashua
“She's MUCH better behaved in school.”
— Jamie Bourgeois, Nashua
“That remote learning does not serve them well and leads them to feel more frustrated than successful.”
— Hester Heath, Keene
What do you worry about for your children during remote learning, or when they transition back to in-person school?
“Anxiety is a huge part of life right now. For two of my kids, school and schoolwork are an extra trigger. I worry that there will be kids academically ready for advancement and others who aren't yet, and they will all be subject to the same expectations. It will be very discouraging and difficult for my son, who struggles with online learning, to arrive back at school and find himself very behind.”
— Lisabritt Solsky Stevens, Concord
“My daughter is a very social kid. She's an only child so having that daily interaction with kids her age has always been really important to her. She's always been around other kids, either in daycare or in kindergarten, preschool, etc. And now, suddenly, that's all been taken away and she's stuck with her boring parents! I worry that, come fall, when she is expecting to be able to start third grade, we aren't going to be able to safely send her back, and that's going to be a huge disappointment.”
— Neva Cole, Raymond
“During remote learning, I worry that my child is lacking structure and socialization. There is nobody except a parent encouraging him to get his work completed, making it very difficult to get it done. Teachers are not communicating with my child, so instead we are left to use Google to help explain how to do something. We are excited to get back to school.”
— Ashleigh Hutwelker, Swanzey
Walk us through your daily schedule. Give us examples of negotiations you’ve had to make as a family, what routines work, and what strategies have failed.
“Every day is open for negotiation. Everything is fluid. I’m trying not to be restrictive or rigid. We discuss what assignments are going to be done and a time frame for their completion. What is going to count as physical activity, social activity and educational activity for that day.”
— Rhonda Dowling, Lebanon
“Negotiations: being OK with my preschooler watching more TV and movies than he's ever watched before. Failed strategies: set up a remote classroom space separate from where my child likes to play. Quickly aborted as he wants to be near me while I'm teaching. Now, I teach from his dresser in his bedroom, the kitchen table, outside on the porch. ...Wherever it's easiest to oversee what he's doing and teach at the same time.”
— Cristina LaRue, Plymouth
“I think if we didn't have the schools pushing some kind of schedule, we'd all be in a world of hurt right now. We're the kind of family that needs structure, at least in some basic format! So having to get up and get ready for a 9 a.m. classroom meeting, and then having other scheduled things throughout the day, turned out to be a very good thing.”
— Neva Cole, Raymond