How’s school going? Here’s what readers are telling us

As term two began in Victoria on Tuesday, we asked readers how the first day 'back' at school was going for them. Thousands of Victorian families have officially begun the challenge of learning from home, while others were among the few to turn up to classrooms.

A drawing by Hannah Lemon, year 9, on learning from home.

Technical glitches, confusion, and anxiety about the ability of parents to simultaneously help their kids and work were among common concerns.

Others seem to have it sorted, with timetables stuck to kitchen cupboards, and great guidance from schools and teachers. Here's just a sample of what you told us. Some responses have been edited.

It's a disaster

An absolute nightmare! Three kids, Grade 2 Grade 5 and Year 7. Wifi is dropping in and out, Grade 2 can’t concentrate with the noise, distraction. He needs the structure of a classroom environment at school. My other 2 children are trying their best. Kids need routine and structure. This is experimental learning at best, and not what my children deserve. Open schools up Dan Andrews! You’re at odds with the PM on this. – Anonymous


My daughter's first day back, she is doing year 12 VCAL online at Nagle College, Bairnsdale. The online website crashed. She is now having a day off. – Charley Daniel


It's a disaster, school says they'll be teaching for about 2 hours per day. Parents of primary school kids can't work at home and supervise kids learning at the same time. Need one teacher and 1 assistant teacher online seven hours per day per class, this will allow 1:1 teacher discussions while the other staffer supervises the rest of the class online. – James


Congratulations to the NBN who have chosen this morning to conduct three hours of planned maintenance in our area between 9am and 5pm. Excellent for all the distance learners. – Ellie


It would help if they gave us more info other than we're back at school and log in online to empty portals. They've had weeks to get sorted! – Anonymous


I'm sure it would be fine if I didn't have to work. But it seems the government position is to make me choose between keeping my job vs education for my 5-year-old. – Anonymous


It's a nightmare having a 15-year-old turning 16 "studying from home". I cannot micromanage him whilst I am working from home. – John

Evie Macheda, 5, starts remote learning at home on the first day of term two.Credit:Tanya Macheda


I have three younger brothers (two in year 9 and one in year 11) who are unable to get onto their school’s online portal to complete activities/schoolwork. I’m just glad that I finished year 12 last year! – Matthew Kanizay


Dreadful. Clearly our government thinks working from home is a joke, and we all have plenty of spare time to supervise children. Grade Preps don't learn without supervision, and parents who are working hard (which is the case for most of us who still do have jobs) don't have the ability to provide this supervision. – Anonymous


Poorly organised by school and even with a laptop and three ipads a lot of the tech and applications pretty hit and miss. Stressed kids x 2 and frustrated parent, impossible to work from home while home schooling concurrently. Nil productivity for ANYONE. All because teachers don't see their role as essential and just do their job, like all the others doing their jobs and keeping the community and society moving. – Walter


Lots of information etc. for schools, but no information, direction or support for kindergartens! – Anonymous


After 30 minutes both my kids are crying and my wife is angry at me. I now have a greater respect for teachers. Lets pay them more. – Anonymous


As a teacher, this has been worse than any day at school. It has been a constant barrage of questions from almost every corner including kids who for some reason now can't read instructions, we still have to contact students we haven't heard from (over half of our cohort) whilst reviewing work etc. It's been a nightmare! Give me face-to-face teaching anytime… – Peter


I'm hiding in the staff room. – Natalie Bailey


Not so good. I have a grade 1 and grade 2. We just finished today's tasks (11.40am), so we have been busy for 3 hours. I took the day off work to get them started, but I can't do this everyday. I'm about to go to the school to see if they will be able to attend tomorrow. If both parents are working during the day then this isn't going to work for very long. ScoMo is right. – Anonymous

Donna Lancaster’s four children made this timetable to help them negotiate home school a little easier.Credit:Donna Lancaster

Pretty easy to be quite honest. (Even though I'm in year 12 and still confused on what the VCAA are doing) Considering it will be a half day of school with only having 3 classes. – Nick


It's going as well as can be expected: by which I mean we have agreed to a plan, a 'timetable' that includes some breaks – for all of us – and we'll see how it works today, and work together to improve tomorrow. It's a team effort. – Anonymous


Pretty good. Joined a call this morning at 9:30 am. The call ended at 10:20 am and I have been doing the assigned work since then! – Sebastiano Byrne


As a teacher in a state school, my kids don't fully return until Friday but I have sent work out for them to complete. Almost all of my kids have completed it this morning because 'they are bored and want to return to school'. I think this will be much more successful than originally thought! – Anonymous


Beautiful. Kids self-motivated and happy. Internet working for all. No complaints here. – Sophie

Time will tell…

Eight-year-old Zack Wong sent this drawing of his Easter in isolation.Credit:Zack Wong

It started very positively. The kids were ready by 8.30am, and we flew into the basics, literacy and numeracy, and all done by 11.20am. I am hiding my anxiety. There is no way I can produce high quality strategic plans and reports whilst overseeing my children in their learning. My employer (state government) is flexible in every respect, and clear in their communications, that they are here for us to find the "balance". But in this scenario, there is no balance to be found. The way I could find balance would be to take leave without pay, or at half pay. But that's not a financially viable option for my family. I feel our essential services like supermarkets and triage have been able to put effective hygiene protocols in place that are working. Please, we need to install these protocols at our school gates and get our kids back in. Social distancing can continue in the home and authorities regulate accordingly. But our kids are the losers in all this. No school, no social contacts, no playgrounds….. it's gone, overnight. Living their young lives via a virtual reality should not be our go to option, until we're in a position where school hygiene is insufficient protection. – Kate Hill


The screaming and shouting has subsided a little now, but it's going to be a very long term! – Anonymous


First day back at school is going okay but a poor substitute for kids interacting directly with teacher and classmates. I can only comment on primary school age kids but the more kids you have in different years – particularly below grade 4, the trickier it is for the parent to co-ordinate. It's not remote learning – there's no chance the parent can get on with their own work – it's constant supervision. – Anonymous


I'm a primary school teacher and I've been on call with families and students regarding learning at home since 9am. Yes it is hectic. Parents are going to be overwhelmed. Teachers are overwhelmed. Think about the teachers who have children of their own who also need to support their own child. Everyone is learning. But it is only temporary. As much as I would love to be in a classroom with 30 of my students, I'd rather everyone is safe and healthy for the time being. In the grand scheme of things, this is a time period we can learn and adapt to challenge our persistence! Good luck to all families, parents, students and teachers on term 2. – Anonymous

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