Distance Learning, Family Style

Our two daughters are home with us, practicing social isolation for who knows how long.  Today was the first day that everyone practiced working/schooling from home.  My daughters are both involved in graduate work, and one daughter is still working as well (lucky girl). My husband is launching a new business (not great timing, we know).

We have a small house, and we are now four adults.  This distance learning involves a lot of talking and noise. Yesterday, we decided to get organized for the week. I set up my office in the guest room.  Morgan decided that she would work from her bedroom (which is right next to the guest room.  Tim and Mackensie planned to have offices downstairs. Mackensie took over the sunroom, and Tim, the living room.  This seemed like a good plan.  We wanted to make sure that people were free to go in and out of the kitchen, that the dog had someone to let her in and out (She seems to want to go in and out all day now!), and that everyone had a space that offered privacy.   But when the morning came, it quickly became clear that adjustments were needed.

I had my first meeting at 8:30.  Both girls were still asleep. I certainly can’t be talking in my Google Meet in the room upstairs that sits between the girls’ two rooms, so downstairs I went to the sunroom.  At 8:55, Mackensie sent me a text.

“When do you think your meeting will be over?  I have a class starting at 9:30.”

“I’m finishing up in a few minutes,” I texted back. (Texting each other from one room to another may be another strange part of this distance learning situation.)

Thankfully, my meeting came to a close, so I went up to my office, and she took over hers.

Then Morgan’s classes started.  Did I mention that Morgan is getting her MFA in dance? Classical music started playing, professors were talking, and she was, yes, dancing.  I really enjoyed the experience, but it was a bit distracting. Morgan quickly realized that her small space in her small bedroom does not work for a dance floor. Tomorrow we are redesigning the dining room and making it into a dance/exercise space. We are all pretty desperate for exercise at the end of the day, so maybe we can have a family exercise class in the early evenings.

Then it was my time to have another meeting, and Morgan was on a meeting at the same time.  My desk is just on the other side of the wall from her desk.  This won’t do!  Into my bedroom I went for the next hour or so.

This new distance learning/working is going to take some adjustment, but we all survived the first day.  We will see what tomorrow brings.

8 thoughts on “Distance Learning, Family Style”

  1. This resembles our arrangement. I like how you detailed all of the little adjustments. We had three humans on three conference calls throughout much of the day yesterday…and one puppy who was feeling quite ignored. It’s nice to have a short commute and a much more relaxed dress code, but it’s a different kind of jumble.

  2. You are adjusting and changing the way you use the spaces in your home. Ralph and I are thinking about moving the entire dining room into our family room, getting rid of some furniture, and having a downstairs office where our printers and desks would reside. I understand about Zoom meetings. My big problem is I have three Welsh Corgis who love to be vocal! Have a good day, Lisa!

  3. I read your post with a lot of interest! My son, who is in grad school, is home and had to sign on to a class and a meeting today. His school was “on spring break” last week after they announced they were going digital for the rest of the year. He does not know when he’ll go back (he attends university in the next state over). My youngest is in HS still, he’s a senior. He’s been great at studying all morning and then uses his afternoon to do art. He’s in his room for most of the day. Luckily, I am done with my online classes, so I can move around the house as need be to create quiet space for others. My husband is spending a lot of time in his woodshop. And, our 20-year-old is the only one still working during this time because he took a year off of school. He’s now planning to go back next year! It is an adjustment for all!

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