By Ray Knapp
COVID-19 has captured the world’s attention to the point that little else is talked about or matters. At a time like this, many parents are finding that children are about the only outlet to sanity in a world gone mad. For others, their children are driving them mad – or vice versa. Then again, many parents and their children, isolated together 24 hours a day for the first time since the child was first dropped off at a day care are finally beginning to appreciate and truly love, or at least understand one another.
Teachers are also gaining respect from parents for putting up with students five days a week for months on end. On TV, I’ve noticed teachers giving a “shout out” to their students and if they are being honest, actually love and miss them.
Emulating a teacher with your child’s homeschooling is a real task. First, most parents have to be taught by their child how to operate a tablet. Then sweeping cobwebs off memories from classes taken eons ago, they delve in to help teach their children only to learn that some new classes are from outer space or somewhere other than the school you attended. They didn’t have GPS when I went to school. Kids look at me in disbelief when I tell them I used an instrument called a sextant back in my navy days to determine the location of our ship, aircraft – or just where I was located by shooting the sun and stars. Fortunately, I don’t have one to show them how it worked, as I’ve forgotten.
Basic subjects are more of a challenge than they once were. What is a dangling participle? Well, we will get back to English later. – Mathematics, the course that always gave me trouble, is still taught using hard-to-recall formulas. Is it radius squared times pi to find the area, or is it the circumference of a circle? – Just basic mathematics I can do, at least well enough to balance my checkbook. Now they have courses they did not have when we were in school. What is Boolean algebra for instance? However, I do have one up on my grandchildren; I know how to write in a secret code called cursive handwriting. They will never master that type of communication.
I have several grandchildren that have a far better education than I do. One granddaughter, Haley Bascom, is majoring in chemistry. I nodded my head knowingly and said, “Good choice,” when she informed me of her major. I had no idea what a chemist does. After checking with Google, I see that some examples of the diverse research done by chemistry experts include discovery of new medicines and vaccines. I wish she had already graduated and was hard at work on a vaccine for coronavirus.
I don’t know exactly if the school year has ended for some, or what. I do know that most high school students are taking on-line schoolwork. Grade school students have sheaves of homework to complete before the end of a normal school year. From firsthand experience, I know that making up or catching up with classmates after a three months hiatus is quite difficult. I missed the last three months between the fourth and fifth grades – the fifth grade school year was half over before I caught up with my classmates.
That was all in the past. coronavirus is here and now. Getting through it – and we’re not through it yet, means a big change for everyone. This is especially true for children. Reassure your child by reminding them of other challenges your family has faced before with the message that you’re all in this together and nothing lasts forever. Spend more time with them than usual, if you can, and keep your patience with them if they get irritable. Children can sense when you feel uncertain and have no control over this pandemic, so try to keep your conversations with them on the positive side of the news, or better yet, steer conversations away from the news.
As this column closes, let’s say a prayer for all those in harm’s way of coronavirus.