Enough Is Enough: That’s the “E” in E-learning

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A mom holding a laptop arguing with her daughter about e-learningA mother throws her daughter’s packet of work across the kitchen. A son and his mom are both in tears. A father loses his cool and yells at his kids. A boy punches his fist through the drywall. A husband and wife crack open beers at the end of the day to calm their nerves. Do any of these reactions sound familiar? These are just a few of the stories I heard after asking my friends, “How was your e-learning day?”

Oh, Hurricane Idalia. Thanks for not completely devastating our city. But no thanks to you for the learn-at-home day.

Parents, do any of you enjoy e-learning days? Do your kids self-motivate and do their work without needing your intervention? If so, bless your heart and congratulations: you’ve won the parenting lottery!

The rest of us freaking hate e-learning days. Even the kids aren’t impressed.

My sixth grader said, “It feels like a weekend when you wake up but then they make you do eight times the amount of work you’d do in actual school. It sucks.”

My second grader couldn’t pinpoint exactly why he doesn’t like e-learning days but was adamant that they’re a real bummer. I concur, my child.

My husband jokingly marked me safe from e-learning on Facebook after I endured the day at home with our boys. My day was no joke.

A mother hangs her head in frustration with her young child wiggling behind her on an e-learning dayWhy I Don’t Like E-learning

  • I’m not a teacher. I never pursued a degree or career in education because I knew I’d be a terrible, impatient, mean one.
  • I don’t homeschool my kids. I would lose my dang mind. I almost lost it during the early days of COVID when school was shut down.
  • My kids aren’t self-starters when it comes to schoolwork. They need a lot of coaching, coaxing, and cajoling to get anything done. I was the opposite as a child: self-disciplined and obsessed with good grades. It’s hard for this nerd to accept that her kids don’t share the same drive to dominate academics.
  • I have to basically hold my kids’ hands throughout their e-learning journey. I’m breathing down their necks all day. If I didn’t, they wouldn’t get their assignments done. It’s exhausting and frustrating for all of us.
  • It’s nearly impossible to get any of my own work completed while actively overseeing my kids’ learning.

My husband and I remember growing up in Maine and absolutely living for snow days. Snow days were a treat: no pressure and a little break from the mundane. A mental health day before mental health days were a thing. I can’t imagine our parents being cool with learn-at-home days back in the ’80s and ’90s. It just doesn’t seem like something that would’ve gone over very well.

It doesn’t seem to be going over very well in the present, either.

COVID really screwed us in so many ways, with the normalization of e-learning being one of them. Learning at home was a necessity during the height of the pandemic. Our lives depended on it. Giving all the kids Chromebooks or iPads was a lovely, smart, survivalistic idea during a scary time of upheaval. We are not in that anymore, thank goodness. Just because we used e-learning as a solution during the pandemic doesn’t automatically make it a good solution from here on out.

A middle school-aged boy sits at a desk writing in a notebook, in front of a computerIt’s hard on kids who need the structure of school to excel. It’s hard on parents who need to work. It’s hard for parents who aren’t natural-born educators. It’s hard on teachers who have to organize online assignments or put together packets for their students. It’s hard on everyone who is trying to stay safe and calm during a natural disaster. It’s hard on kids who don’t have Wi-Fi at home. It’s hard on parents who feel guilty for harboring resentment at their children who struggle to focus. It’s hard for anyone who loses power.

Do I loathe e-learning for selfish reasons? For sure.

Do I detest e-learning because it’s objectively a horrible idea? Yup.

Do the costs outweigh the benefits? Yes, ma’am.

Here’s a solution: do away with it. I understand that the school system needs to reach a minimum of 180 days to stay straight with the state. I also understand that there are some weather make-up days already worked into the calendar. Let’s use them. My kids don’t need a whole week off at Thanksgiving. Or let’s earmark a few days from holiday break as additional make-up days. Or let’s turn some of the early release or half days into full days. Or let’s throw a few more school days onto the end of the year, just in case.

Let’s overthrow this e-learning regime. Who’s with me? Power to the people, y’all!

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Jenna Arsenault
Jenna is a Maine native who moved to Charleston in 2006, moved away for a while, then moved back again in 2018. She just couldn’t stay away from this city that feels like home! She’d choose palm trees over pine trees any day of the week. Jenna and her husband of 12 years have two rambunctious sons, ages 10 & 6, and live in Mount Pleasant. A social worker and registered nurse by trade, she is passionate about maternal mental health and is currently a postpartum doula specializing in perinatal mood disorders (www.jennadoula.com). Jenna loves to read, kayak, paint in watercolor, and travel with her family. Visit her personal blog on all things motherhood at www.snarkmom.com.