Going on week five of extended learning, the Belton ISD community has grown accustomed to practicing online education due to the extended closure of the district to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, or the coronavirus. Therefore, we thought it would be interesting to get the perspective of the newest teachers emerging throughout the district: the parents.
Within the next three weeks, we will be asking a parent of an elementary student(s), a middle school student(s) and a high school student(s) questions regarding their response to the district-wide transition to online learning and how his/her household has been impacted by it.
Husband and wife duo Brian and JoElla Reinhardt are the parents of two and one upcoming Lakewood Elementary School students. JoElla’s responses to our questions are as follows:
CP: Has the curriculum provided by Belton ISD for elementary students proven effective in keeping your children’s minds active?
JR: “I think they’ve done an excellent job given the circumstances,” Reinhardt said.
CP: How have your children responded to online learning thus far?
JR: “Our house is not set up to be a conducive learning environment,” Reinhardt said. “My kids need peer-to-peer interaction, so studying remotely has not been super fun.”
CP: How much time do you spend administering schoolwork per day? How much time do your children spend completing schoolwork each day?
JR: “We pick and choose what we do, so I don’t necessarily have a set time each day. The only nonnegotiable time is reading. All my kids have to read for an hour every day,” Reinhardt said.
CP: What has been the most challenging aspect of this transition for both you and your children?
JR: “Trying to find a balance and trying to figure out how to help your child without busting out old school methods of doing things,” Reinhardt said.
CP: What, if any, supplementary activities (Zoom meetings, alternative online learning resources, etc.) have your children’s teachers provided?
JR: “They have Zoom meetings every day, sometimes twice a day, and supplementary assignments are available,” Reinhardt said.
CP: When Belton ISD returns to school, would you like online learning to continue to be incorporated into the curriculum?
JR: “Only if they provide parents a script on how to assist the kids in their assignments,” Reinhardt said. “Subjects are taught differently now than they were 20-30 years ago.”
CP: Has this heightened your interaction and relationship with your children’s teachers?
JR: “Not really; if anything, I communicate with them less. I know they are under a great deal of pressure from administration to stay on top of things and to be innovative and responsive to the students and parents…all while being quarantined in their own houses with their own families to care for,” Reinhardt said.
CP: How are you keeping your children excited about learning during this unprecedented time?
JR: “It’s a struggle,” Reinhardt said. “We take advantage of the outdoors as much as possible, and I try to incorporate as many lessons as I can into everyday activities.”
CP: If there is anything you would like to add, please feel free to do so!
JR: “No one could have predicted, with enough time to prepare, what has happened. We are all learning to adapt and change in these times,” Reinhardt said.