It’s Tough to Get Teens To Stay On Top Of Their Work and Zoom Classes

It happened again last week — I got an email from two teachers letting me know that two of my kids had not signed into their morning Zoom meetings. As the school heard not from me about an excused absence, they wanted to know what was up.

Um, so did I. As far as I knew, my kids were in their rooms doing what they were supposed to be doing without me micromanaging them. One said they forgot. The other said they thought their math class was on a different day.

My teens have been trying to stay motivated all year with online learning. (Twenty20 @takemewu31)

My teens have been trying to keep up with schoolwork and Zoom all year

I say they have been at this for almost a year now and they should know what’s going on because I certainly don’t. They argued that they are bogged down with instructions and different emails and it’s really hard to keep it all straight. And, they are right.

Keeping track of it all is really challenging for them. And as a mother to three teenagers, I feel like it’s impossible for me to keep track of it all together with my own work schedule which is hard enough to keep track of.

I find myself floating between giving them some grace because regardless of how much time it’s been, this is really, really hard for all three of my kids. It can’t be that they are just forgetful or don’t care.

I too go crossed-eyed when I look at their schedule. And I need to take into account that our kids are having to learn new things in ways they’ve never been asked to learn before. It’s hard on them and their teachers.

Even when I knock on their doors every morning and ask them if they are awake and if they have their schedule all set for the day, they always say yes. But it never fails, at least once a week I hear from a teacher who is working their heart out and has better things to do than to send me (another) email letting me know one of my children just didn’t show up for a Zoom class. Or, they showed up but they don’t have their camera on and they didn’t participate so for all the teacher knows, my kids are snoozing or playing video games.

I’m trying to balance helping them and letting them figure out their own schedules

I’m trying to find the right balance of hand-holding and letting them have room to figure out for themselves how they can stay on top of their schedule. After all, their teachers have a lot of students to look after, and their own work schedule to manage. I work all day and it’s impossible for me to keep track of three Zoom meeting schedules. I can’t check off each assignment as they complete it.

There are weeks where they seem to have acclimated but then burnout sets in — they get so overwhelmed that they stop caring. I know that I’m not alone when I admit I’ve had more than my share of times this past year when I don’t care either.

Moms are work from home and keep track of their kids’ schooling

We all know moms are taking the brunt of this pandemic as we try to work from home and are expected to do the heavy lifting as far as our kid’s school schedule is concerned.

I’m doing my best but trying to keep my kids motivated and on task is hell. Even though we barely leave the house, weekends still feel like weekends. At least over the weekend, I don’t clench my jaw every time my phone pings in case it’s one of my kids’ teachers letting me know they have reached out to my child a few times and never got a response. It’s nice to have two days when I don’t need to oversee their schedules and I can enjoy them to the fullest.

You can have a good kid who was a good student but now struggles with online learning

You can have good kids who do fairly well in school and they can struggle with online learning so much that their natural reaction is to shut down. I’ve talked to a lot of moms who have great students who are floundering under these conditions and we feel like it’s our job to pick up the slack.

But picking up the slack can involve being on them every second to make sure their work is handed in on time. It means making sure they don’t miss a Zoom meeting and that they are still participating in their classes.

There are days in my house when other than turning on their computer and physically making them sit up to attend a class, and hovering to make sure they hand something in, nothing works.

The only thing that’s keeping me sane is that my kids have wonderful teachers who keep doing their best because they care about their students so much. So, that’s the only thing I can expect from my kids and myself: our best.

More to Read:

Seven Teen Habits I Don’t Understand And Likely Never Will

About Katie BinghamSmith

Katie Bingham-Smith lives in Maine with her three kids. She is a Staff Writer at Scary Mommy, shoe addict and pays her kids to rub her feet. You can see more of her on Facebook and Instagram .

Read more posts by Katie

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