BAR HARBOR—When schools closed in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and students began learning remotely, families adjusted to new routines.
Edith Schriever is an Ed Tech at Conners Emerson School with three teenagers of her own. When schools closed, she found herself working remotely to support her Conners Emerson students in their classes. Meanwhile, her children, in grades 8, 10 and 12, were engaging in their own remote learning. Schriever’s husband, a Jackson Laboratory employee, started working from home as well.
“I feel lucky because we have a big house and relatively good internet,” said Schriever, which allows everybody to work independently. The high school students in the family have morning classes, and independent study the rest of the day.
Schriever’s workday is about four and a half to five hours. She meets online one-on-one with the students she works with and attends the same online classes they do. In her meetings with students, she tries to keep the connection going that they had at school. “We have found a lot of online [educational] games to play together,” she said.
The biggest change to family life, Schriever said, is what happens after the school day and workday are over. “We have dinner every night as a family,” she said. That’s something that never happened when school was in session, because of sports and social schedules.
“The kids had a huge social circle. They were always away for sleepovers and movie nights.” Now with social distancing, the family spends their time together. “Most of the time, it’s a pretty positive change,” Schriever said.
Bradley Stager, a self-employed home inspector and renovator in Bar Harbor, has cut down on his hours at work to help his fifth-grade daughter with her remote schooling.
Stager, who shares custody, has settled on a three-day-a-week work schedule and a two-day home-school schedule.
“I work Monday through Wednesday on home repairs and home inspections,” he said. “Current rules allow home repairs with social distancing.” Thursday and Friday are when he and his daughter hit the books.
“I was shocked at how well Gwen adapted to school online,” Stager said, though getting started each day is not always easy. “She needs a lot of encouragement to get into her assignments, but once she gets there, she just does it.” About home learning he said, “I think she thrives on it, on one level,” even though “she would rather be there in person.”
“Our school day is an hour here and an hour there,” Stager said, with movement breaks in between classes. Soccer in the yard is a favorite family activity. “She wants to watch TV; I try to limit that.”
Karina Guzman Bosio of Tremont is a physical education teacher at Cave Hill School in Eastbrook. She and her husband, who works at Jackson Laboratory, are both working from home while educating their children, who are in Kindergarten and first grade.
Teaching physical education remotely, Guzman Bosio encourages her students to “go outside, play games with their family and explore trails,” she said. She takes her own advice with her own children, taking them outside every chance she gets.
“Even if it’s cold or raining, it’s no excuse,” she said. Working outside with her children can be not only fun, but also educational, she said. Dividing seeds to plant in different holes in the garden turns into a math problem.
Recently the family went out and built a throne out of sticks that they found in the woods, cutting them down to matching sizes and fastening them together to build a structure that could hold their weight. “We were all involved,” Guzman Bosio said.
Some work is done electronically. The children have iPads from Tremont School that they use for daily check-ins with teachers and have certain activities to complete. “The principal and the teachers are amazing,” Guzman Bosio said.
Even though this is an unplanned situation, Guzman Bosio said, working from home has given the family lots of time together. “We try to make it quality time.” Of her children, she said, “I hope that in a couple years, they can remember this time.”