From elementary to high school: inside one Berkley family's virtual learning

Going back to school looks very different this year. For many students here and across the country, a lot of students aren't going anywhere, so what does virtual school from home look and feel like?

We go inside one home in Oakland County to see what one family's "virtual classroom" looks like - crowded and stressful. 

"Currently we have a college sophomore working from home, a high school freshman and a first grader working from home. Plus mom and dad working from home," says Connie Smith, who's a producer at FOX 2. At her home in Berkley, she's mom, teacher, tech specialist and morale booster.
"Learing how to use Zoom as an adult is challenging, let alone for a first-grader. My first-grader is wandering around looking for snacks during a lesson. And I'm like, 'You don't do this at school why are you doing this at home?'"

As children sit at home with a computer for a classroom, human interaction - whether it be with a teacher, in a hallway, at recess, or during lunch - is noticeably absent. 

"They're missing their friends. They're missing chatting with their teachers, their fellow students and just the moving around and seeing different people, seeing different things," Smith says. "We're trying to make the best of it and be grateful that we have an education system in place and our teachers are working really hard but I feel like this is not in their best interest."

Virtual learning is also testing technology. 

"We had to borrow maybe a hot spot; we had to buy a hot spot. At one point our internet was lagging this week so you could tell that five people working on the internet all at one time is definitely taxing to the services that we have currently."

As cameras bring children into these virtual classrooms, there's also the unexpected stress of making sure nothing else shows up at school.

"One of the things we've run into this week with where one of our desktop computers is facing is a direct angle into the bathroom, so making sure the door is closed so nobody sees into your home, making sure nobody's coming out into a towel so the high schooler's class is not seeing Mom and Dad in just a towel and catching any glimpses. There have been some moments when you're just like [face palm]. There's a lot of challenges, a lot of different things that you're not thinking of that you have to work on, and that's one of them."

Connie says parents are helping each other offering support and encouragement. 

Wednesday morning on FOX 2,  a Beaumont Health child therapist joins us live on The Dr. Is In to offer help to parents and kids dealing with all these changes and challenges right now.