Coronavirus Home School

From the WSJ:

In Hong Kong, the home of schools that are the envy of high-achieving and aspirational parents everywhere, education is making a huge shift.

To the dining room.

Concerns about coronavirus have led to a two-month school closure for the city’s 800,000 students, prompting a crash course in digital learning.

Instead of calling off lessons, many schools expect students to keep up their work online, sending them assignments to complete and submit for grading. Six-year-olds are writing nonfiction books and toddlers are having live video interactions with nursery-school teachers.

The academic experiment has children and their parents, many of whom also have to work at home because their offices are closed, crammed into the same space. It’s a potential harbinger of what might face the U.S. if the virus continues to spread.

Karen Taylor, whose three children attend an English-language international school, used to send them off in the morning and return to their 1,100-square-foot apartment to work remotely as a manager at a software company. Since early February, her 5-year-old and her 10-year-old twins have been mostly cooped up at home, attending virtual lessons that include video meetings with classmates and teachers.

“I can’t watch every single one of them all of the time,” said Ms. Taylor, who has put up the children’s schedules on the dining-room wall.

So what does it look like?

Her husband, Paul Crowe, who still goes to the office, helps with homework after he gets home and sometimes works on the apartment’s balcony. On a recent day, he was doing work calls and answering emails from his spot outside, while a few feet away the twins helped each other with school work. At the dining-room table, Ms. Taylor tried to persuade 5-year-old to finish a worksheet.

Ms. Taylor has struggled to help her kids with fractions and long-division problems—“I only vaguely remember doing that at school”—and has caught them watching videos on YouTube during lesson time.

Recently, the twins’ teachers stopped classroom-wide Google Hangouts and moved to smaller online class groups.

Teresa Liu’s 3-year-old son Zachary started online classes this month. In video meetings, his preschool teachers told stories in English, Mandarin and Cantonese and talked about the importance of wearing masks and washing their hands.

Zachary paid attention for the first few minutes, but when teachers asked questions to other children, he lost interest and left his seat to climb on chairs and the table.

Bye Zach!