Editor’s note: This piece was written by Jestina Simbo, and ALG member.
By Jestina Simbo
I would be lying if I told you that my entire routine hasn’t been altered due to the impact of Covid. I find myself still making decisions on whether to involve my child in an environment where he could interact fully with his friends and teachers or stay home and speak to his laptop, all in the name of social distancing.
I feel as though there is truly never going to be an equilibrium when it comes to making sure my child is safe and healthy and also well versed within the educational spectrum.
As a parent, I have to listen to the advice of senior health officials and school district officials, who dictate the next steps I make. This does get confusing for Jason (8 years old and in third grade) who just wants to see his best friends at school, be seen when his hand is raised and participate to the best of his ability.
There have been countless talks I’ve had with him, and although he will never truly understand the seriousness of the pandemic, he does know that a lot of people have been tremendously impacted and he is empathetic to their plight.
He has been consistent with his schoolwork and participation. He does get a bit frustrated when technical issues occur where his audio is malfunctioning and he can’t fully be in tune with the lesson. There have been many trips to the school to replace his laptop, But it has been the trouble.
I love having him home and seeing him enjoy his education through my own lens. I sometimes want to help him with answers and I forget that grade school ended for me many many years ago. Although he is back at school (for the time being), the time I have spent studying his learning styles, his communication skills, and his aptitude to learn has given me a new perspective and ideas on how to support him better.
The African Leadership Group made an immense difference while Jason worked from home, with its learning pod and its Youth Empowerment program. ALG has provided the tools, environment and support that I truly needed. I cannot thank them enough for being there for me and my son.
With a busy one-year-old, I can admit it was hard keeping up with reviewing and helping to solve math problems, thinking of content for short essays and other schoolwork. Without the help of ALG, Jason honestly wouldn’t have had the support to remain updated in his assignments, reading at his grade level and overall confidence to keep up with his work.
If I can provide solutions that would make mine and other parent’s lives easier one would be to allow the kids to have at least one day a week to interact with each other if the online option were to be permanent). I believe the best part of school for me — and I’m sure I can speak for many others — was seeing, speaking, learning and interacting with teachers, friends and all staff. it makes the experience worthwhile and well rounded.