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  • Angela Valentino Macbeth

Our Struggles in Distance Learning.



Week one went like this: email after email containing details on how this will look. Print outs, 6 different log ins, more print outs, navigating how to do this from my laptop. Two weeks worth of lesson plans provided by the kindergarten teachers. They have put together some really great plans. Whom I’m sure are missing the classroom just as much as we are.


{PSA: this is in no way, shape or form on any teachers or administrators. I’m sure they are having their own stresses right now. This is our experience and my feelings.}


It has been the hardest transition for me. For starters I have a kindergartener who is on an IEP most recently updated the week before quarantine. (thank god that’s done) My husband is indeed still working. We also have a three year old son and moms of boys know, they have to stay busy! If left untended for more than 10 minutes the house turns upside down. Not to mention we are still in "potty training mode", good days and bad days.

A lot has changed since I went tooth and nail to fight for what she needs in the academic setting. Therefore, the hard part in distance learning. Not only am I suppose to morph into the role of teacher, but also a speech therapist, occupational therapist and a specialized academic instructor. I am a mom without a teaching degree. I’ll say it again, I am a mom without a teaching degree without a specialized degree in what she needs academically. Maybe this is easy for you, or maybe you have more help at home, maybe you are a teacher, maybe you have a typical or advanced child who’s over the moon for school. Regardless of how different our situations are; We ARE in this together.

Do I love the fact I don’t have to set an alarm before the sunrise? Yes. Do I cherish the fact that we get to all be home every night for dinner? You betcha. But do I lose sleep every night worrying about what’s to come for the rest of her schooling? Without a doubt. Not only does it put an already stressed out stay at home mom of 2 fearing from a pandemic but it adds a whole new kind of anxiety to the table. One I have never experienced. One in which I try to keep tucked. Tucked way down so my kids won’t see how much pressure we’re truly under. I don’t want them to go away from this different or changed. I don’t want them to feel scared, stressed, or anxious. All of the things we are pushing down inside.



I want them to remember this time as one of the best times. Like how we played in our pjs til whenever, or how we built a fort using a blow up river raft for the couch, or how family movie night was a weekday thing, how we colored, role played; if this then that, and the brownies...we must bake three times a week. Always ending with a who gets to the lick the a mixer first!

You get it. This time is a god given gift. It may never happen again. I know they are little so we only saw a sliver of extracurricular actives. Let me tell you: it is a game changer. In the craziest;

you thought you were busy before, best way. So really; this IS a gift that one day she’ll look back and realize as our world was in crisis we were cozy at home having the best of times. That’s what I want her to remember.



People are dying all around us. We are worried about our parents our grandparents, and frankly ourselves. My husband had to take a mandatory pay cut even though he is working harder than ever. It’s as if “distance learning” is a hail mary pass to parents. As if someone is on the mega phone yelling “you got this?” Followed by a “hope so, since we’re going to start grading.”

Well I am here to tell you, I don’t have it. I barely heard the words coming from the megaphone. But what I think I’m hearing is that I am responsible for three months worth of class work that will at some point in some fashion be graded?




What I do know is that even though I may not have this distance learning thing down, I do thankfully have some amazing support systems in place. One being a facebook group: Don't IEP Alone: A Day In Our Shoes. Most recently Lisa Lightner - (professional advocate extraordinaire) wrote an article on skill regression and the current national quarantine crisis. I'll link the full article at the bottom. One thing really stuck with me:


“You can do this.

When we return to school, we are going to hear about a whole spectrum of learning experiences. Some parents will have done nothing, and that’s ok–not everyone can. And some parents will have built mini-classrooms in their homes and done an extraordinary amount of teaching. And everything in between. You do you.

We’re all doing the best we can with what we have.” - Lisa Lightner


Again you may not be in this in this situation. Or don't agree with me, that's ok.

I hope you are thriving in this new environment. Teachers, students, parents, I truly do.

If you don’t have anything nice to say, keep it moving.

-A Macbeth


Full article:

How to Deal with IEP and Skills Regression, for Parents






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