Editor’s Note: Every Tuesday, Abby Freireich and Brian Platzer take questions from readers about their kids’ education. Have one? Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dear Abby and Brian,
I’m trying to supervise my 9-year-old grandson through online learning. He has ADHD, is extremely smart, and gets bored with the slow pace set by the teacher, who’s trying valiantly to engage 28 different students.
Often, once he has figured out the answer to a problem, he starts playing online games. Keeping him off those creates endless battles and frustration for both of us.
Meanwhile, our 12-year-old granddaughter, who always excelled in math and science, is now failing, and has been diagnosed with depression.
I’m sure some students have done well with online learning this past year, but that hasn’t been our experience. Is there anything I can do to help turn things around?
Your letter speaks to the profound pain and sense of helplessness that a large number of kids, parents, and caregivers—many of whom are grandparents like yourself—are enduring. A year in, even with vaccinations under way, this pandemic seems to be dragging on and on, and is giving rise to mass trauma that has left so many children reeling academically and psychologically. Despite the scale of this trauma, the challenges facing your grandchildren—and the complicated mix of emotions underlying those challenges—are unique, as they are for every child. Taking an inside-out approach that starts with inquiring into how your grandkids feel is the key to developing practical strategies that will help them.