School online is not working for parents. Here is a tweet from the frustrated mother of a first grader that sums up this sentiment perfectly:

The school requirements are driving everyone crazy, and I mean everyone: the teachers, the parents and the kids. It isn’t because the teachers are not trying or don’t care. It is because it is impossible to recreate the classroom online. We should stop trying.

Parents are receiving emails and requests, like the one below:

Good morning! This is an email to let you know that we will be sending another email later this afternoon. That email will contain a special passcode, and in a separate email, we will send you the link that requires this passcode. After that, we will be sending email updates in fifteen-minute intervals with meeting times you will have to remember for the upcoming week. The first Zoom meeting your child will have is at 6:53 am this morning and the following one will be at 10:07 am. These times have been specifically formatted so that we don’t overuse our server, so please do not attempt to join at 10:00 am, a nice round number that you will more likely remember, or at 8:00 am when your child might actually be awake.

This gives you a sense of the current situation. Parents are stuck in a difficult spot. Do you disrupt your own schedule so your child stays in school online? What happens if your child falls behind? What does it mean to fall behind?

Is it really essential that kids learn how to read by the end of first grade? By the end of first grade most kids are turning seven. In Finland, kids are just starting kindergarten at age seven. It doesn’t seem to hurt their education at all. Finland ranks at the top of PISA test scores globally.

Our kids will be okay if we relax and remember this is just temporary and ask ourselves how important is memorizing random facts? The primary focus of school is memorizing facts for standardized tests that in most cases have little meaning to kids or value to careers.

The problem facing parents is what should you do when you have kids at home and you also have to work?

There is no one right answer, but you need to do what’s right for you. Don’t leave your children in online school if it is impossible for you to work at the same time. Just do your own thing. Leverage the many resources available online that are more engaging for students and better fit for their interests.

So what if kids miss six months of school?  Everyone is missing school in the traditional sense. They will all be behind. Does it really matter? What kids should be focusing on is social emotional skills; learning how to help at home, deepening relationships, building empathy and taking on challenges.

There are multiple products and services you can put in front of your child that will help them to learn and not place added stress on you. Just pick a few and let your child work with a friend or learning buddy. A friend is the key. No one wants to learn alone. The friend can be a sibling, a cousin, the next door neighbor, or a classmate from school. They can both work from their own devices at home together. Online we are all connected.

More to explore

  • Check out my podcast interview with Guy Kawasaki this past week to learn more about my approach to parenting and raising successful children.
  • Join me at UNITE on Saturday May 2, at 3 pm PDT where I will be sharing the stage with Maria Shriver and discussing how parents can cope most effectively in this crisis.