E-learning in Wilton — off to a good start

Luke Thornton, a third grader at Cider Mill School, conducts an egg experiment at home.

Luke Thornton, a third grader at Cider Mill School, conducts an egg experiment at home.

Contributed photo / Tammy Thornton

WILTON — Last week was the “trying it on for size” stage. Now it’s going to get real.

Up to this point, many Wilton families may have looked at their time at home as an extended holiday as they eased into the the e-learning that will be with them for quite a while it seems.

Leigh Heffernan has a high school senior who’s been studying in her car “to be completely silent,” she said.

She’s also got a sophomore and said “both are doing what they can but they are still in the maintenance stage” which changes this week.

“The hardest part about this is helping the kids understand they can’t be going out,” she said. “The whole day, it’s gorgeous out and they don’t understand why they can’t go hang out with their friends or go out to lunch. From a parent standpoint, that’s the hardest. The e-learning is a snap, but this part with high school kids is hard.”

Tammy Tornton’s been busy keeping her first- and third-grade boys, who have to share a computer, busy.

The first week, she said, the “looked over all the information and printed out a few things. They offer great suggestions and timelines and ways to break up the day. It was trial and error to see what works for our household.

“The kids are using the computer more than usual, which is exciting for them,” she added. Luke, her third grader, enjoys science and has been doing experiements. Noah is in first grade.

“It’s different when you’re in a class with 20 other kids. There’s a lot of time to fill,” she said.

Kelly Hunt has three boys at home, along with her husband. Thre boys are in fourth, eighth and 11th grade.

Having school closed “definitely threw my junior more for a loop,” she said. “He was about to take the SAT. That was upsetting, it’s an academically demanding year and it’s making it a little more stressful for him, especially with AP classes. His college visits are canceled. It’s shifted expectations of what is coming next.”

Her eighth grader is adjusting and her fourth grader, Ryland, has put his time to use creating his own “newspaper.” (See related story.)

Sarah Beach said her three children — Doug, a senior; Lucy, a freshman; and Daisy, in seventh grade, spent the first week home busy “without feeling overburdened,”

“My youngest has had some fun projects that you could add on to if you wanted — a chorus assignment where you could rope your whole family in to sing with you, and a science project where you could either draw the Brazilian rainforest or make a model —we killed some time and had fun together making a model.”

Lucy has been “definitely busy and productive for several hours a day. She is utilizing her spare time well doing things she wouldn’t normally have time to do, such as designing and sewing a skirt and working on a huge and detailed paint by numbers.”

As for social distancing, she said, “we have been getting outside for some fresh air every day. It’s hard not seeing our friends but we are communicating using the technology we have.”

As vice president of Wilton Children’s Theater, Beach is planning a Zoom karaoke party for members. “Hopefully that will be fun!”