What My Kids Learned When They Weren’t in School (The Atlantic)

New story over at The Atlantic:

In mid-March, my two middle-school-aged daughters were sent home from school. They didn’t know that their school year was essentially at an end, or that they would not see some of their friends for a long time. They didn’t know that they wouldn’t sit in a classroom for at least six months. They didn’t know that their lives would be changed for even longer.

Their lessons continued online, but the quality fell. The girls found them uninteresting. They tired of staring at a screen. They went from dealing with zero emails a day to dealing with 50. They tried to learn how to organize their days like business executives at ages 11 and 14. Their math skills faltered. Their Spanish vocabulary dried up. Their knowledge of science devolved. Their eagerness for standardized tests was unchanged, so at least one thing remained the same.

My daughters’ public school is excellent, and their teachers have done their best with the situation, but nonetheless, if they go back in the fall, they will be at least a quarter behind on the curriculum. Some of their classmates may be worse off—a few students never logged on after their school moved online.

But lately, I have been trying to look on the bright side. After watching my daughters during these months at home, I am less worried about their missed classroom time. There are things they’ve learned since school was canceled—since life was canceled—that they couldn’t have learned any other way.

Read the rest here.