July 31, 2020

K-12 IMPLOSION UPDATE: Less stress, better grades: With schools closed, some kids thrive.

“I was worried about the distractions of being home with my mom and my sister and doing extra chores,” Natalie said. “But then things changed.”

Things changed, too, for Marcos Adame, whose grades improved because he could spend more time on problematic subjects. They changed for Sebastian Hernandez, 15, who has more energy, and for 10-year-old Jacob Lalin, who discovered he could mix schoolwork with Lego.

At a time when many of their peers struggle with isolation, uneven online teaching or lack of access to computers, a fraction of students have discovered that distance learning can offer a unique kind of relief — and they have thrived. . . .

“There are intrinsic characteristics that may allow a child to thrive more under the current circumstances,” she said. Children who are introverted or those “who process information internally and gain energy from time and space for introspection” would likely fare well.

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Austin Beutner agreed that some students, especially adolescents navigating middle school, have excelled at home, away from the pressures of school and a strict routine. He praised Natalie’s school, the Harry Bridges Span School in Wilmington, as an example of one doing “extraordinary work” with online learning.

“Actually, we’ve heard from middle-schoolers; some students who felt they’d been bullied or were having trouble socially in the melting pot that’s middle school are actually liking a little bit of space and enjoying study more,” Beutner said. “And so there are some for whom being in this environment has actually benefited. We’ve heard all kinds of anecdotes.”

Natalie said she felt more relaxed despite what she considered an increased workload. She ate healthier, slept longer, rushed less. She spent more time on projects and stayed connected with friends through texts.

Note the beneficial effect of extra sleep, mentioned by many in this story. Sleep deprivation is a major and destructive side effect of schools.

Related: Viewpoint Diversity Gets a Boost as Families Flee Public Schools: Independent education means a wide range of approaches as to what children are taught.

If only someone had thought about this stuff before.

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