Around the Bluhmin' Town: Learning to learn in COVID times

Judy Bluhm

Judy Bluhm

Moms and Dads, we know this has been a tough beginning to the school year. As our governor likes to say, “Arizona is open for learning.”

Yep, we sure are, just not exactly in the way we thought it would be.

Little ones sitting in front of computers trying to absorb their assignments while remaining positive. Teachers doing their best to make learning fun and interesting. All ages are finding challenges, but the young children are just not able to sit still.

Frustrating stories abound during these “Covid-times.” One woman said her daughter, age 5, was so upset because she couldn’t follow the teacher’s steps for an art project, that the child took the scissors she was supposed to be using to cut paper with, and whacked off her hair.

Another parent said her child cries and runs every time she sees her teacher’s face on the computer screen.

Sure, teenagers need socialization, but they have a better chance of figuring out online classes. But what about the kids in grades K-4?

The parents are making herculean efforts to guide, comfort, encourage and manage this new learning reality. Children might have long periods of time that they are asked to sit at the computer, many do not feel engaged.

Others want to play and not be distracted by online school. There are plenty of families who do not have computers, so the parents must pick up “packets” of work every week.

Teachers are trying to make the best of a situation that they never could have imagined. We are all muddling through a difficult set of circumstances with great hope that school will safely open soon.

Remember the excitement about what to wear that first day of school? And the exuberance of a child telling you about something new that they learned, or the stories about lunch, projects, teachers and friends? This pandemic has created a bump in the road for education. But we are resilient and one day, soon, we will throw open wide the school doors and welcome the kiddos back. This will be a day of celebration, for parents, teachers and our entire community.

Naturally, there will be mountains to climb. Kids don’t like masks. They do not adhere to the rules of “social distancing.” They like to touch. Hugging is common. So is holding hands. They share things, like pencils, papers, books, and food. We have a teacher-shortage in Arizona, not enough classrooms to accommodate small class sizes with desks six feet apart. We also have mega-schools. My grandsons graduated from a high school with 2500 students. When the bell rings the halls are packed tightly with hundreds of kids moving shoulder- to- shoulder. School lunchrooms are jammed. And face masks cost money. Who provides them? Parents? Schools?

Yes, there are problems to solve. There are CDC guidelines to adhere to and many serious considerations. Yet, together, we are up to these challenges. And, as always, when it comes to education, it might not be easy, but it will be worth it. Hang in there, students, parents, and teachers. We are all learning.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Have a comment or a story? Email Judy at

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