Although Illinois’s state-wide quarantine has been received with mixed-emotions, it has turned out to be a chance for students to experience what learning from home is like. As controversial as it may be, remote learning stands as the superior learning style. It is accessible, less stressful than “normal school”, and it allows for students to take greater control of their learning experience.
COVID has forced people from all different walks of life to live and work from home; students, workers, and otherwise. As a result, this has made school and work more accessible for those who have difficulties coming to the place they need to be, whether they be physical or emotional. For some MCHS students, remote learning is just a continuation of what they had already been doing.
“During freshman year I did full-time regular schooling, but with mental health issues and just having a general bad time, it was really really hard to focus and do what I needed to do” senior Noah Koch says. “Junior year, I switched to partial homebound. I would go to school for four periods to complete the classes I couldn’t do at home. Then, after fourth period, I would go home and finish the rest of my classes.”
Instead of completing all of his classes one after another, and having to physically be in the classroom, Koch was able to give himself breaks throughout the day and do what worked for him. Koch believes that all students should have this option, as no student learns exactly the same.
“There are kids who are helped by actually going to a school and being in a learning environment, and that’s great. But, a lot of kids get so distracted by having other people there.”
Koch also believes that his choice was immensely helpful in his ability to be the student he wanted to be.
“Beforehand, just having the looming due date, being distracted by others in class, and having to explain to my teachers face-to-face why I wasn’t able to complete work sometimes was so overwhelmingly stressful.” Koch states. “Now, I’m able to finish all my work when I have bursts of energy, I’m ahead in math, and I’m on track to graduate in December.”
Before March of this year, many students had never experienced what it was like to be homeschooled, as it didn’t seem to be an option. In many high schools, there has to be a solid reason or event leading to why a student is learning from home, senior Becky Arendarczyk explains.
“I know that if you´re a 504 kid you can opt out of doing school in-person. I have friends who do because of mental or physical health issues.” Arendarczyk says. “If this year had been ‘normal,’ I probably would’ve been remotely learning anyways.”
As cases spike and people start traveling, visiting family, and getting sick with common cold weather ailments, the likelihood of MCHS returning to school seems small. But, even if MCHS students convert to a hybrid option, M and other students will still have to stay home from school.
“They had it set up that if you or a family member was immunocompromised, or you had a 504 plan, you would stay learning remotely,¨ Arendarczyk states. ¨They just thought it´d be easier for people´s accommodations.”
This year has proven to be increasingly difficult for students with accommodations, as the uncertainty of what accommodations are needed as well as how they will be provided for has been a topic of debate.
“I had to make so many phone calls. My school therapist originally was making accommodations for me for the hybrid plan at the beginning of the school year, and then we weren’t doing hybrid. Then, we were going to go back to hybrid. And then we weren’t.”
But, remote learning has allowed Arendarczyk to feel more comfortable doing her schoolwork, as she too is set to graduate in December.
Remote learning has a plethora of different positives to it that may not have been considered beforehand. It allows students to take control of their time, their energy, and their learning experience. If remote learning were in different circumstances, it’s almost guaranteed that it would be much more popular than it is. But, of course, it’s understandable that remote learning has been given a bad reputation. After all, no one likes being forced into a school environment that does not work for them now, do they?