The Casten Kids Find Privacy for E-learning

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by Michael Casten |

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School books, folders, random scratch paper, art supplies, food, drinks. All of this lay aimlessly on our kitchen table. Until recently, my children — Ava, Henry, and Ella — spent much of their day at the table. There, they engaged in e-learning, arts and crafts, and eating. We also use that table to have our family dinner. 

Having three children at home 24/7 creates messes. They work hard on their lessons but lack room on the table to spread themselves out. While they did not argue or bicker about the lack of space, it was not conducive to e-learning.

My wife, Lindsay, and I decided it was time to get the kids their own desks. Henry had a small space in his room for a desk so we did some measuring and found the perfect desk to fit. Ella’s room didn’t have enough room and it would be difficult to get her and her wheelchair up and down the stairs throughout the day. We found a spot in our living room that would accommodate a small desk.

Ava already has one in her room but she uses it for gaming. She still likes to work on her e-learning in the kitchen and do her gaming in her room. We felt that since Ella and Henry would do their work at their respective desks, it would be all right for Ava to continue using the kitchen table. 

On the third day of e-learning, the two desks and a chair (for Henry) arrived. Lindsay put together Ella’s desk while Henry and I put together his desk. Once the furniture was in place the kids organized their books, pencils, computers, and the lights we bought for each of them. Each of our kids now has their own space to continue their learning and social interactions with peers.

Every morning the kids wake up between 9 and 10 a.m. They log onto their computers and get started on their e-learning. Their teachers also use Zoom, which is a video conferencing platform that allows up to 100 people to video conference at the same time — 500 if a plan holder pays extra. The teachers use this program to touch base with the kids, do read alouds, and answer questions about e-learning assignments. 

It’s fascinating to watch our kids adapt to the new learning environment. They caught on quickly to the format provided by teachers and they are invested in their learning. They enjoy “Zooming” with their classmates and teachers, so they still keep the social aspect of schooling alive. 

We’re uncertain when the kids will be able to return to school, but we’re glad they are continuing to learn in their own personal space.

How is your child handling e-learning? Has SMA affected it?

Ella e-learning at her new desk. (Photo by Michael Casten)


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