Parents in Poway join forces for 'micro-school' to help with distance learning

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-03 15:13:44-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Some parents in Poway are teaming up to help their kids when the school year begins with virtual learning in a few weeks.

In the spring, when Ellie, 6, and her brother Ethan, 7, were learning Spanish while distance learning, their father, a college professor, and mother, a lawyer, were working from home.

"I had my daughter to my left. I had my computer in the middle, and my son at my right. So when they had questions, which was constant, I could help them," said Testa.

Testa says the end result was stressful.

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"Trying to get kids to stay in front of computer and stay focused for an extended period of time was a challenge. When you're working full-time, its a constant interruption because they do need assistance at that age," said Testa.

The mental juggling is a distraction for her own work.

"We are working long days and weekends to make up for it," said Testa.

So when she and her husband were planning for the upcoming school year at Valley Elementary, they knew they needed help.

"It's a total of three families and it's families we know and trust," said Testa.

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Those other families all have kids in the same school, and same grades, as her children. Julie says they're planning on forming a rotating micro-school of sorts.

Every third day, each household will take a turn hosting all eight kids, guiding them through the day of virtual learning.

"You have parents able to dedicate the time to make sure kids stay on task, take them outside and play when it's recess time ... make sure the kids are sticking to lunch and snack schedules," said Testa.

Julie says their micro-schooling offers something that is in short supply with distance learning.

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"Critical time for them when it comes to reading and math. Somebody needs to be there to review your work. With the distance learning, I believe they will have some one-on-one time but the majority of the time, they're still going to be working on their own," said Testa.

Testa hopes the parental 'co-op' approach will give the parents a break and their kids a chance to socialize.

"We haven't figured out everything yet, but the will kids be bringing on their own lunches. No sharing of food. They'll be washing their hands a lot," said Testa.

Testa says it may not be realistic to keep kids at that age from interacting from each other. She'll be relying on the other parents to be honest about any signs of illness.

"We trust each other to follow the health protocols," said Testa.

Their school year is set to begin August 2.