There is nothing quite like a quarantine to put our weaknesses under a microscope. In spite of degrees in education and social work, I still maintain my same AOL account from 1994 and have yet to learn how to “like” a friend’s text message. So, navigating this new world of a virtual homeschool classroom has been a bit challenging. Add on to that the emotional needs of my 7, 4 ½ and 3-year-old boys. They have been vacillating between playing nicely and Armageddon, making pit-stops along the way at every possible human emotion. When I hit a learning groove with one child, the others feel ignored and behaviors ensue. I have never heard my name called so many times – often in the polyphonic way my elementary school music teacher made us sing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”. When the first child gets to the third “Mommy”, the next child begins “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy….”. It has been an overwhelming riddle to find a way to orchestrate our school day in a way that the hours tick by peacefully.
Last week, I found the Infosys Foundation USA’s Pathfinders Online Institute in an effort to find a common interest for the kids. I signed up for a Family Code Night session, which proved to be a game changer. There was absolute engagement and intrigue – by multiple children at the same time! I feel like I literally witnessed the creation of endorphins in their little bodies as they found success in moving a bird through a maze using code. The reader helped the non-reader. The non-reader learned from and mimicked what the reader did. When they hit a road block, they did not immediately ask for help; they were driven to problem solve themselves because the joy of writing the correct code was such a strong pull. It was awesome. And it opened my mind to the world of digital literacy that my children will need to succeed in any future job… and that I will need to keep up with them. The teachers were so energized and patient, juggling the needs of multiple ages and skill levels across the nation. It was a completely digestible and entertaining learning experience that left us all wanting to do more. We will definitely be exploring more of what the Infosys Foundation USA has to offer!