Distance Learning Taking Toll on Parents

Photo courtesy Leeron Tal Dvir
Teacher Claire Vencill reads to students Charlie Piedlow and Liam Dvir. Liam’s mother said she turned her garage into a classroom for the home-schoolers after her son’s struggles with distance learning.

Leeron Tal Dvir’s older son, Micah, is excelling in his 5th-grade classes at Thomas Jefferson Elementary School. In fact, he’s performing even better than he had during in-person classes.
But when her younger son, Liam, had classes online at Thomas Edison Elementary School last semester, he cried every day. “I hate fake school,” the 1st-grader would tell her.
Dvir hired a tutor to assist him in his distance learning lessons, and this semester she pivoted him fully to home schooling after building a classroom in her garage. Having someone to work closely with her son, the single mother said, helped immensely.
“I think a lot of parents are really struggling mentally,” Dvir said. “I think it is the school’s responsibility to make sure the families are doing all right. We’re all of a sudden responsible for having school in our homes. We didn’t sign up for that.”

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Experts Encourage New Traditions for Kids This Holiday Period

Photo courtesy Jessica Cribb
The owners of the Ugly Mug Coffee House in Burbank recently set up a mailbox where children, including the daughter of local resident Jessica Cribb, can “send” letters to Santa and get a reply.

Not many of Burbank’s young children mention the coronavirus pandemic when they write to Santa. But some do.
In early December, Steve Nalbantian and his wife, Emily, owners of the Ugly Mug Coffee House in Burbank, set up a bright red mailbox to Santa in front of their business. They started the ritual last year, but Steve said it has particular importance in 2020.
“We really want to start a tradition, but we also want the kids to remember the place that they went to. … We want to give the kids some memories about their childhood,” Nalbantian said. “The kids don’t have that right now because of the pandemic.”
The mailbox has proved popular. Nalbantian said between 30 and 40 letters were dropped off in December 2019. After the box was in place for about a week this year, he had received 70 or 80 letters.
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