12 Things About Distance Learning that Don't Suck

Pick whatever seat (or angle) you choose for online learning.
Pick whatever seat (or angle) you choose for online learning.
9/8/20 - By Roberta B

Distance learning is hard and almost no one's first choice—this we know. But not everything about it is awful. In fact, there are even a dozen or so things about it that my family has found kind of nice.

We may be wishing for the good old days, but sometimes it's good to remember that these are the good old days. And the 12 things below might even be things we'll miss about remote learning when all this is a bizarre memory.

Find loads of remote learning resources in our 2020 Back-to-School Guide.


No more fights about what to wear to school!

1. Every day is Pajama Day.

From kindergarten through high school, kids love Pajama Day. The lack of pressure to look perfect, the silliness, the special occasion of it—it's always a treat, and as long as we're going to school remotely, today is Pajama Day, and so is tomorrow, and so is every day on the calendar. Sure, some schools may try to enforce dress codes, but who's to say what a person sleeps in anyway? If it's clothing enough for Pajama Day, it's clothing enough for today.

2. No more schlep

Depending on how far you live from school, how many kids you're dropping off, and how involved prep time is, distance learning can give you back an hour or even two hours of your day! There is no stressful morning routine to get everyone ready and into the car; no carpools, school buses, or traffic; no looking for shoes while your head explodes; no waiting in line at the school gate. With remote learning, the words "Hurry up" can be a thing of the past. And when school begins and ends without all the kerfuffle, suddenly the day feels like it has more hours in it.

3. Snacks

This one speaks for itself. My kid has a full snack bar spread out before him, and it definitely makes his day easier. There's no worry of allergies or not having enough for the whole class. 

4. No mysteries about what went on at school today

As long as Distance Learning is in place, you never have to be satisfied with a shrug in answer to "What did you do in school today?" You'll know. You may even be able to share a laugh or two.

5. No more leaving homework/lunch/instrument at home!

If you've ever made a second trip to school on the same morning, because your heart is just too big and you can't bear leaving them without lunch or that science project, you'll appreciate this one. The teacher says, "Take out your textbook..." and anyone who doesn't have it walks to the next room and gets it. Mom might not even have to get up from her chair.

6. You can make lunch at lunchtime.

Not a fan of making kid lunches at 7am? During distance learning, you can make it at lunchtime—what a concept! You can even enjoy lunch together, like I used to in first grade when I was a kid in New England, and we actually used to walk home for lunch. Simple pleasures. 

7. No carrying a backpack

If it breaks your heart to see your little one sagging under the weight of a backpack full of books, remote learning is the answer. Put the books in the corner, and let 'em stay there until needed. No one needs to carry more than one at a time for a while.

8. Kids can take a nap.

I'm not sure who will love this one more: kindergartners or high school seniors. Big kids and little kids can hit a low by lunchtime, and both can decide to use that 45 minutes in the middle of the day to catch up on sleep, now that snacking in class can be an option. Even though some kindergarten teacher still give kids "quiet time," there's nothing quite like your own bed for a nap.

9. You know what the homework is.

If you've got a kid who shrugs when you ask what the homework is (or says there isn't any), distance learning may be the cure! Whether or not you're in the same room, have them keep the volume up and keep your ears open for that two-syllable word.

RELATED: How to Create a Homeschool Pod or School Pod 

Pets are joining the 'classroom' in 2020 and bringing the chill vibes.

10. Every day is Bring a Pet to School Day.

Kids with pets always fantasize about bringing their pets along to school. Normally Mom says no to torturing the cat this way, or letting Fido tag along, but during distance learning suddenly it's OK with pretty much everyone. We have heard rumors of a couple of stick-in-the-mud teachers trying to ban pet interruptions, but seriously—anyone who's ever done a conference call knows there's no banning the cat.

11. School can be anywhere.

Maybe it would be easier to do all this from Grandma's house, so you can have another pair of adult hands? Maybe you'd like to escape and let school be a beach cottage for a few days? I actually saw a girl in my son's Spanish class on a sailboat this morning! As long as you've got WiFi where you go, homeschooling doesn't have to be at home. Put the "distance" in distance learning and go set up school somwhere fun, easier, or both. If not now, when?

12. We're all in this together.

As I walk around my neighborhood, or even just my apartment building, I hear every different kind of schooling going on. Out the bathroom window I hear third grade math; out the patio door I hear high school choir. Believe it or not, it's kind of nice. Our neighborhood is our schoolhouse. We can hate it, or we can embrace it. This week, anyway, I'm voting for embrace.