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South Salt Lake Journal

Learning in a COVID-19 world

May 13, 2020 11:33AM ● By Bill Hardesty

By Bill Hardesty | [email protected]

At the Massey home on the east side of South Salt Lake, everyone is adapting to what mom Codie calls, “the new normal.”

“At first, it was we are at home. We take care of our responsibilities of daily living at home and then we play. We have a good time. It was difficult to find what I say is the new normal,” Massey said.

A new normal

Their new normal is to get up, have breakfast, prepare for school, and at 9 a.m. school starts. They work on school items between then and 3:45 p.m. with a short day on Friday (just like it was). In fact, Massey follows the same procedure used in her child’s class. If you get your weekly work done, there is free time on Friday. If not, you work some more on Friday. Massey also scheduled in time for recess during the day.

Massey has two children — a first-grader and a preschooler.

“It is hard to play the dual role of mom and teacher. You are always the mom, but not always the teacher. Setting the boundaries that now it is school time and I am the teacher. That fact was a big adjustment for kids, including my own,” Massey said.

She learned classroom management skills. When her preschooler son is online, she works with her first-grade daughter. When the daughter is doing her reading online, she goes through her son’s flash cards.

While they have found a new normal, Massey is concerned about what her children are not getting because of the lack of social interaction.

“It definitely is a struggle because you are not with other kids. You are not practicing your life skills of waiting in line, taking turns, or trying to be a good friend and play with other people at recess, or find the kids that need a friend. You can’t do that with social distancing,” Massey said.

To teach some life skills and provide some social interaction, Massey has her children write letters to their friends. They learn how to address the envelope, put a stamp on it and put in the mail.


When we think of the new normal, we think that only public and private schools are affected. Not so, according to Emily Clawson, principal mentor for scholar-age kids for the Shining Light Commonwealth.

“We have a Shakespearean play on definite hold. Our kids are doing their classes via Zoom. It has been a challenge. Because the whole point of being part of this [commonwealth] is to allow them to have great interaction with other families and other kids of good character. To have great mentors to teach them.”

The Shining Light Commonwealth is a nonprofit consisting of about 30 families with 60 to 120 students participating. It is used to supplement the homeschooling.

Speaking about public/private/home students, Clawson made the point that this new normal is hardest on kids.

“They are having to learn a whole new skill set that [we] haven’t used before…. Their whole world is being turned upside down.”


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