The ups and downs of parenting and virtual schooling

Court reporters and captioners with school-age children at home are among the many parents dealing with virtual schooling because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Myra Ponce, RDR, CRR, an official court reporter in Los Angeles, Calif., has two children in eighth and tenth grades who she is supervising with their online schooling.

“I am teleworking and conduct court hearings via video teleconferencing,” Ponce said. “The kids understand when I’m in court, no interruptions whatsoever.”

She said her work has only been affected by occasional slow internet connections. Her children have sometimes experienced technical difficulties with being kicked off Zoom.

“I commend the teachers and staff/administration for their efforts in this new style of teaching,” Ponce said. “They, too, had to adjust a great deal — having to learn the platform Zoom, adjusting their teaching styles to accommodate for the distance learning, and, for some, having to teach from home, where I’m sure there are many distractions and obstacles they need to put aside. I commend our IT/AV staff as well, as they were able to implement the video conferencing expeditiously since the closing of our courts back in March and as they continue to keep us running through this pandemic.”

Amy Patricia Rostad, RPR, is a freelance reporter in Kirkland, Wash., who has a seventh-grade son. She said she and her husband share the supervising as their work schedules allow, but they are “pretty hands-off parents when it comes to remote learning.” 

Rostad said the first couple of weeks of school have gone well.

“He’s developing excellent time management skills,” Rostad said. “He manages his synchronous learning time by using his Outlook calendar and setting alarms for himself to ensure that he is punctual. He manages his asynchronous learning time by planning it out to ensure that he completes and submits his assignments on time.”

While eating lunch as a family and getting hugs during breaks are positive things Rostad has experienced, her family has learned to deal with tighter quarters than usual.

“It hasn’t really affected my job, except the three of us have to work as quietly as possible,” Rostad said. “At the end of June, a city water main broke and flooded our basement, so we’ve been living on the top floor of our home ever since. Thankfully, our lovely neighbors offered us the use of their home until the end of September. When we’ve needed a quiet space to work, it’s been such a blessing to have the use of their home to spread out in. My fingers are crossed that the reconstruction is complete before our neighbors return home.”

Heidi Belton, RMR, CRR, CRC, is a freelance reporter in Walnut Creek, Calif., who has a daughter in ninth grade. She said the only downside right now is her daughter getting headaches from too much computer time.

Workwise for her it has been positive.

“I don’t have to schlep her around,” Belton said. “So, I can actually work more. It makes work easier. We all have more time in our day because we are not commuting and packing lunches.”

Belton added another positive thing about her new schedule. “I love my Zoom depos. My dog is right at my feet!”

Rostad found another upside to virtual learning.

“I have a confession to make,” she said. “Unbeknownst to my son’s teacher, I joined in on part of his gym class last week, which was a fun and much-needed break from proofreading. His teacher was playing music and demonstrating proper stretching techniques for the kiddos to do, so I jumped right in and joined my son.”