The Realities of Virtual Learning: Dads' Perspective

With only a few weeks remaining in the academic year for students at St. Michael’s College School (SMCS), it appears, increasingly, that the school year will finish at home and not in a classroom.

The adjustments continue in the ‘new world’ of online learning, especially for parents.

Current SMCS dads provide a glimpse into their world.

SMCS student engaged in his virtual learning environment during school closures due to COVID-19.


CEO, ENTREPRENEUR, father of three, including Grade 9 and 10 students 

What did you do to prepare your sons to suddenly pivot to an 'online classroom'?

I have been clear about my expectations regarding time and attention to academics during school hours.

What has struck you most about how they are adapting?

I have three boys, all learning online from home. The biggest surprise has been how much positive peer pressure they exert on each other to be good students.

Any tips you have learned that you are open to sharing?

We kept our family sleep-wake times and morning-evening routines intact.

We also kept school-night screen time limits intact. The surplus time has gone to reading, board games, puzzles, and science shows.

We added a daily strength and endurance conditioning routine to the boys' schedules before and after their school day.

If you have other children, how has your son's learning experience been impacted, if at all, by the other children's current school schedule?

We have two sons at SMCS (Grade 9 and 10). It helps that their academic schedules are synchronized so they don't feel like they are doing this alone.

What have you learned as a parent, navigating remote learning, during an uncertain time?

Remote learning has shown me the importance of teaching our boys to be more independent and adaptive.

SMCS student engaged in his virtual learning environment during school closures due to COVID-19.


DENTIST, father of three, including a Grade 9 student

What did you do to prepare your son to suddenly pivot to an 'online classroom'?

To prepare our son for the transition to online learning we really worked on his organization skills. Online learning requires an independent approach therefore he had to be disciplined, efficient, and focused to be successful.

What has struck you most about how they are adapting?

He has adapted quite well to the online classroom approach. Due to the shorter school day, he is learning to be extremely organized and more efficient with his time, much like a university student.  

Any tips you have learned that you are open to sharing?

One tip I have for people learning to adapt to online learning is to have your child do his work while it is fresh in his mind and then rewarding with free time.

SMCS student engaged in online learning classes during school closures due to COVID-19.


If you have other children, how has your son's learning experience been impacted, if at all, by the other children's current school schedule?

We have a second-year university student and a Grade 12 student in the house as well. They are all learning online simultaneously, so it has been easier for our son in Grade 9 to adapt to this new way of learning.

What have you learned as a parent, navigating remote learning, during an uncertain time?

My wife and I have learned that online learning is a powerful tool to allow our kids to learn while socially distancing. However, there are certain topics that are not conducive to online learning and we cannot wait for our son to return to normal classroom learning.

St. Michael’s College School transitioned to an online learning environment on March 24, 2020, as a result of school building closures mandated by the Ontario government stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.