FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- Working from home and attending online classes is hard enough, but some are doing it with poor or no Internet.
The Speranza family – Scott, Kimberly, Stella and Sam – live in rural Williamson County.
Sam and Stella are both 9th graders at Battleground Academy. They have online classes and office hours every school day. Their parents have business meetings to attend virtually. All are battling for the Internet.
For people with your typical, high-speed internet, it takes less than a second to pull up a Google search. It takes them five seconds to receive a Google search result.
That also makes it hard to participate in online lectures.
“The teacher goes in and out constantly, as well as the students in the video. The quality is bad,” Freshman Sam Speranza said. “We don’t necessarily receive emails on time.”
Neighbor Scott Brickell is feeling the same pressure.
He has several students in his household, including his wife, who is working toward her doctorate degree.
“You can really do only one streaming thing at a time,” Brickell said, who owns BrickHouse Entertainment. “If any of us want to watch a Netflix show, or have a Zoom conference or anything like that, everybody has to shut down.”
Hilary Scharton, the Vice President of Strategy for Infrastructure – which created a learning management platform called Canvas – said learning at home is going to look different than learning at school.
“We are used to out kids going to school and getting six hours of learning time with their teachers, and it’s just not going to look like that at home,” Scharton said.
This is especially true if parents are working, and said she expects kids to be working in small batches throughout the day instead of completing all their schoolwork in a single hours-long period.
She also recommends making a schedule and sticking to it.
“Kids do really, really, really well if you give them a schedule,” Scharton said. “It’s nice to know what to expect.”
Scharton recommends using YouTube videos and an app called Photomath for homework help.
Khan Academy, Study Geek, and FactMonster are other free resources online.
The Speranza family and the Brickell family expect to have high-speed internet in the next couple of months, but say for now, it has a bit of a silver lining:
“By the grace of God, our family has been safe,” Scott Speranza said. “This level of intimacy and the restrictions on the Internet has actually produced some of the best family time that we’ve had.”