I could never be homeschooled

A senior reflects on distance learning


Julia Smeltzer

Staff writer Julia Smeltzer examines the pros and cons of her experience with distance learning.

I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be homeschooled. Wake up at noon, stay in my pajamas  all day and not have to leave the house; doesn’t that sound amazing? However, ever since March 30th when North Penn went digital, I don’t think homeschooling is as glamorous as it seems.

When I first found out that all my classes would be online for the rest of my senior year, I had mixed emotions. However, I won’t lie and say that when I heard that we had no finals, and we were graded solely on participation, I felt a wave of relief. At first, I was kind of excited to get back in the swing of things for a little, and to finally do something other than lay in my bed all day or scroll through my phone. 

During the first week of online learning, my schedule was nice. I woke up at 8:30, went downstairs to make some breakfast, and had all my work turned in before noon, the time I would usually get up. To me, It felt like things were almost normal, which was nice. I expected work from all my classes and it wasn’t anything so tedious that it would stress me out, and I would have expected the same workload if I were in the physical classroom. But then things started to change.

On Thursday, April 9th, I vividly remember waking up at 11:33 am to the sound of my phone going crazy. I rolled over to check what was going on and that’s when I felt my heart sink into my stomach. A text from my best friend that said “our senior year is officially over.” Confused, I started to google anything that would give me validation, and unfortunately, it was true. Governor Tom Wolf shut down all PA schools for the rest of their academic school year. Even though many had a feeling that would happen, I still had hoped that we could return for the last couple weeks of school to live out the traditions that are held for seniors. I remember my mom coming upstairs to console me as I cried in her arms. In fact, I cried all day. I was so upset because I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, and I’m not sure if I still am. I cried because I felt that everything I had worked for was ripped out of my helpless hands. To me, my life stopped for a day. 

The reason why the decision to close all schools impacted my relationship with distance learning is because nothing feels worth it anymore. Why should I have to worry about two points of participation when my senior year was snatched away? I know we all have to move on at some point, and parents or teachers may roll their eyes when they read that last sentence, but for every senior out there, this is what we looked forward to, and this is what we worked for. So to me, I could care less about two points for participation, if I’m being completely honest. What is the point? Yes, I understand we still have to complete the courses and continue learning, but every senior’s heart is broken right now, so completing a task that really has no benefit to me right now is the last thing on my mind.

I don’t know if I’m feeling this way because I can’t let go yet. I’m not ready to let go of North Penn just yet, but it seems like everyone is ready to move on. I’m hoping a lot of the seniors feel the same way right now.

I’m sure teachers have the same emotions too. I know my favorite part about school is interacting with my peers, socializing with my friends, or talking to my teachers, and I’m sure teachers are missing their classrooms and their students a lot. For me, I’m a visual learner, especially when it comes to math. I have to see the problem on the board or have them physically in front of me on paper to really understand, so I’m having a hard time with online classes. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for students with learning disabilities or students who need additional support from aides or teachers. Is also important to note that everyone has to be adaptive for this to work, and I think we are all trying to do our part.

What I’m trying to get at is that my priorities and mindset have shifted. It is hard to value school work right now when there is so much going on around us. It is important to try and keep as much normalcy as we can, but I don’t think that we should move on and pretend like all of this isn’t happening, because I’m not sure if I’m ready to say goodbye to North Penn just yet.