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Learning Curve: One Las Vegas Family On Pivoting To Remote Learning

DEBBIE ELLIOTT, HOST:

Classes online or in person but socially distanced, pods, hybrids - education in the U.S. looks different from town to town, grade to grade, family to family. Throughout this school year, we'll hear about it with a series called Learning Curve.

JOHNATHAN MUNOZ: Good morning. You ready for your first day of school?

XAVIER: Yeah, I'm ready for my first day of school.

MUNOZ: Are you excited or no?

XAVIER: Not really, pero (ph) got to get there.

ELLIOTT: Today we meet the Munoz family of Las Vegas. They have five kids. Four are in school, which means at the dining room table on laptops. Both parents have jobs in the food industry. They're relying on their 10th-grader to help out with the younger kids while they're at work. The dad, Johnathan Munoz, recorded this audio diary of the first week of school.

MUNOZ: Hi, kids. Good morning.

ZYRA: Good morning.

ADRIAN: Good morning.

MUNOZ: You guys ready for the first day of school?

ZYRA: Yeah.

ADRIAN: No.

MUNOZ: Why? Are you guys nervous?

ZYRA: I'm excited, but I'm nervous.

MUNOZ: You?

ADRIAN: I'm asleep.

MUNOZ: You guys should get everything ready. And then Mom and me are going to be here if you have any questions, and then Xavier's (ph) going to be here, too.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

MUNOZ: Today is Day 2 of school. I know yesterday we - it was a challenge because we couldn't log in.

How are you doing today?

XAVIER: I'm doing pretty good.

MUNOZ: Are you ready?

XAVIER: Yeah, I'm ready.

Adrian (ph), do you need any help on anything?

ADRIAN: Reading.

XAVIER: All right. With what?

ADRIAN: English.

XAVIER: All right. All right. Hold up. Zyra (ph), what about you?

ZYRA: I need help on writing.

XAVIER: OK. Let me help Adrian first and I come to you.

ZYRA: All right.

XAVIER: All right.

It's going pretty well. First day, second day, I was having trouble. But I was emailing the teachers. They were helping me out. The Google Meets, the students - the teachers are nice. Today - third day was - it went pretty well.

MUNOZ: Let's hear if the little ones have any type of questions.

Are you having a hard time on anything, Adrian?

ADRIAN: No.

MUNOZ: What grade are you in?

ADRIAN: Fourth.

MUNOZ: Fourth grade. So everything's - how's it been for you?

ADRIAN: Good.

MUNOZ: Zyra - and how are you feeling? How are you doing?

ZYRA: I'm doing good. It's just - it feels weird 'cause I'm in middle school already.

MUNOZ: Are you having any problems with the teachers?

ZYRA: Just two.

MUNOZ: Yeah. What's going on?

ZYRA: My science teacher is - keep marking me absent for a reason. I don't know why. And then my second period - my English class - she's being so mean to - like, mean to us. Like, can't have your sibling sit in the background or other mean stuff.

MUNOZ: But other than that, how do you feel?

ZYRA: (Groaning).

ELLIOTT: She speaks for so many. That's the Munoz family of Las Vegas sharing their audio diary from the first week of school. Tomorrow on Morning Edition, a single mom from Charlotte, N.C., talks about her four children who are online at home while she works at a grocery store. She's worried.

UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: As of right now, that's my main concern - the time I'm at work - especially with the two little ones because those are the ones that I really got to worry about.

ELLIOTT: Her story tomorrow as our series Learning Curve continues.

(SOUNDBITE OF YO HAK!'S "4RUNNER") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.