Throughout the past year, remote learning has proven to be an uphill battle for many families who have had to adjust to learning without the proper technology, Wi-Fi access and other resources.
Bronx mom Shantasia Black, disillusioned by the city’s inconsistent approach to COVID-era education, decided to take things into her own hands. The Morrisania resident found that virtual learning was not working for her second and fifth grade sons Jared and Josiah. She felt the city’s lack of concrete plans did not make things easier on the students.
“They’re still trying to teach kids the same way they were in the classroom,” Black said. “A lot of parents I know have been complaining about how [virtual learning] works. There’s a lot of mismanagement with the Board of Education. They make it so complicated and it really isn’t.”
After doing extensive research, she turned to homeschooling and signed up for Time4Learning, a web-based program “accessible from any computer with an internet connection.” According to the site, members who sign up get an all-access pass to educational material for the entire school year.
Black, who is home on maternity leave and works in real estate, said the program has helped her sons. Both boys have individualized education plans (IEP) — Josiah’s plan caters to his “socioemotional difficulties” and ADHD while Jared’s IEP is geared towards his autism.
According to Black, homeschooling was a bit of an adjustment at first but now everyone is enjoying the experience.
“When you are a working parent, you don’t really get to spend too much time with your kids,” she said.
Black took the Time4Learning prepared curriculum and transformed her living room into a classroom, complete with workstations for each of her sons. In addition to the basic subjects, the program offers lessons in coding and Spanish.
Black explained that “the city made her jump through hoops” to switch to homeschooling, but felt it was worth it. While the youngsters miss their school friends, they still get to see each other through FaceTime play dates.
Looking back, she is glad she made the decision to start homeschooling her kids with Time4Learning. Black joked that her boys even call her “miss mommy” now.
“To some extent, I try to be more of a teacher and less mom,” she said.
Black told the Bronx Times the plan is to make homeschooling permanent. Although she’s faced some challenges combining homeschool with Jared’s autism, the transition has made things easier.
“I think Time4Learning has definitely helped in shaping what I think makes sense for my kids,” she said.