Daddy Sidekick

Week 1 of Distance Learning Due to COVID-19 (Mar. 30th – Apr. 3rd, 2020)

Well, we did it, to all the parents that are new to this distance learning thing with their children. Job well done, week one is in the bag and I must admit, it wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. There are a lot of parents that have turned to homeschooling their children even before this lock-down, so they have a slight advantage over the rest of us. I have two kids; my son is in the third grade and my daughter is in the seventh, so I have two different sets of work to oversee. I know, the thought of it can become overwhelming which was my mindset exactly one week ago today.

I am a lot more optimistic entering our second week though and I’ll tell you why. Both my kids use a computer in the normal course of learning at their schools, so this was not much of a change for them. The challenge was for me to organize which subject matter they work on, when and for what length of time. The weekly schedule my son’s teacher sends out really helped with that and I allow him the freedom to spend the same amount of time that would be allocated to a specific subject as if he was at school. My daughter has this online learning process down to a T, so I just stay out of her way and allow her to do what she usually does during a routine school day.

While they are busy working, I’m writing, at the same table to provide guidance, ensuring they stay focus and to answer any questions that they may have. In other words, I allow them to take the lead as much as possible while I am there as a sidekick, well kind of. Keeping them focus is a constant challenge, my son distracts himself all the time and thus distracts his sister. They both become fidgety every 30 minutes, so we have put together a workout routine and added it to our daily bike ride time which allows them to burn off more energy.

My son asks most of the questions, I think that’s because he is not focusing as much as he should. Luckily for me, the questions are easily answered by going over the instructions and reading the questions with him a second time, slowly. He also tries to move on to another subject before he has fully completed what he is currently working on. That habit we will break before classes resume.

Honestly, I get nervous when my daughter says she has a question or needs some help. After reading any subject question she has an issue with, I’m like, what type of work are they are giving seventh graders. She shrugs her shoulders with a smile. But me being the “Dad”, can’t tell her I don’t know the answer, so we would re-read the question and go over each answer choices one by one. Since I am a sidekick without superpowers as most sidekicks are, we use a process I like that’s called eliminate the obviously incorrect answers, most times it works and other times not. At that point I would have to call on an old friend, then after much searching and consultations, we would come up with the correct answer. Thanks, Google.

I can’t forget to say thank you to all their teachers that send emails and reach out to ensure this process is as smooth as possible. Even though students are stuck at home engaging in distance learning, the teachers are still doing their part to keep all students up to date and not allowing any to fall behind. Teachers continue to do an awesome job and I would like to express my gratitude and state that I will be your sidekick throughout the remainder of this situation.

Truly, Julian R. Johnson (Daddy Sidekick).

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