For Cherry Creek parent, online learning is a 'balancing act'

Centennial mom focuses her kids on opportunities for adventure

Sarah Martin’s children — Arlo, left, seventh grade, and Arobine, third grade — doing schoolwork on laptop computers at home.
Sarah Martin’s children — Arlo, left, seventh grade, and Arobine, third grade — doing schoolwork on laptop computers at home.
Courtesy photo
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When the Cherry Creek School District announced it would remain closed for the rest of the school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, parent Sarah Martin wasn't fazed.

“After Cherry Creek Schools added a second week of spring break, we basically gave up on the kids going back to school this school year,” said Martin, 45, of Centennial. “We could just see that it wasn't in the cards with all the uncertainty around what the virus is going to do.”

She started working out how to get both her kids on laptops and tablets and prepared for online classes.

But the transition to kids learning at home has still taken some getting used to as an added responsibility for parents, said Martin, who works in public relations.

“Many of us are still working ourselves, trying to keep our own businesses and jobs afloat while adding the oversight of our kids' online schooling,” Martin said. “It's a real balancing act — that's for sure.”

Here are some reflections from Martin on how she's handling the new norm of her kids' online learning.

Q: What has it been like to hear about the escalating orders from the state and school district since the pandemic hit Colorado?

A: It's been a little nerve-wracking, trying to stay current with what's happening and figure out the technology to make it possible for both my kids to do online schooling at home. I think everyone is trying to figure out what's best and how to make it work in an ever-changing situation.

Q: How are you holding up emotionally through all the changes?

A: We're doing OK. We've figured out how to get each of our kids on the technology they need to complete their work. I've created a daily to-do sheet for them that they fill in with their schoolwork, various deadlines, a daily educational (online) "adventure" of some sort … We're all pretty grumpy, and us parents are pretty tired trying to juggle everything, but all in all, we're doing OK.

Q: What has been the hardest part of the school closure for you or your kids to adjust to?

A: My kids are missing their teachers and friends. They are pretty self-directed, but they definitely are a little tired of each other's company and would like to get out of the house and back to seeing their friends and doing some interesting things.

Q: What good do you think may come out of online learning for these last couple months?

A: We've told both our kids that they have a golden opportunity to investigate and learn about things they wouldn't normally have time for if they were still in school. We've set up a daily "adventure time" for them to go to virtual museums, or listen to podcasts, or take digital classes in different topics, anything they're interested in, so they can use the time to just be joyful learners and take advantage of all the incredible digital offerings that are available online.

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