Karla Petersen had a gut-level feeling that staring at screens all day was harming her kids.
The single mom had to help seven kids manage up to 32 separate daily log-ons to schooling platforms. Space in their Northgate home was limited. The district-provided Wi-Fi hotspot booted them offline and out of class up to six times an hour. And remote learning was stoking anxiety in the kids, who were already coping with trauma.
So Petersen redesigned school. She let her live-in kids, who range in age from 6 to 17, log in at their own discretion and supplemented with her own loose curriculum of on-the-fly adventures: scavenger hunts in the park (physical education), gardening (biology), and, most recently, a unit on caring for animals, courtesy of two local guinea pigs who needed a new home.
As Washington families continue to adapt to the mess of a pandemic, they’re struggling to