Parents make Facebook connections in group started by Shamong mother

Kim Megill’s initiative echoes her own issues with son’s school closing

Screenshot of “08088 Remote & Homeschooling Support” on Facebook.

A shift to remote school instruction for the foreseeable future has inspired a Shamong mom to address area parents on Facebook.

Shamong resident Kim Megill created the Facebook group 08088 Remote and Homeschooling Support for any parent who has a child in the Woodland, Southampton, Tabernacle or Shamong districts registered for all-remote instruction or home schooling.

“I know it is a difficult decision to make and a lot of firsts and unknowns for both parents and students alike,” Megill said. “We were faced to make a decision for our 5-year-old son and I knew I was not alone.

“This upcoming school year would be challenging, but with creating this group, I knew as parents of this community, we would get through it together.”

The March close of schools due to COVID-19, including her son’s preschool, affected Megill, as stress, anxiety and loneliness set in, and like other parents, she had yet to know the plan for school reopening. Parents in the Facebook group helped her cope with advice and shared experiences.

“The impact of the group as of right now is a place to connect with parents that are going on the same journey, sharing resources, learning websites, events in our area for our children, where to buy learning supplies, etc.,” Megill noted.

The 115-member group is accessible through a search on Facebook and is open to residents of Seneca’s sending districts. Teachers and college students have yet to join, but a Girl Scout recruiter who did plans virtual lessons for area Scouts.

An initial, in-person meeting of the group will be scheduled as the first day of school approaches. The session would group parents by grade levels and district schools so families can communicate with one another. Megill wants to meet twice a month once school starts.

Parents of students in all grade levels requested admission to Megill’s group after word had spread about the page. It was initially for elementary school parents, but expanded to other grades once Megill heard about stress among other parents.

“Our biggest concern was socialization,” she explained “It’s such a big part of school. I’m not concerned about it anymore, because we have this group and we can set up home school and remote learning play groups and educational trips.”

As districts approved school reopening plans, Megill expanded the group’s mission to bring students and their parents closer together. And what if schools make a full return?

Megill pledged to keep the Facebook group going so visitors can touch base with nearby families and students and learn of parties, play dates, study groups and other activity options.

“I hope no one feels alone; I hope we can all come together and come up with grade-level,  educational meetups,” Megill said. “My aspirations are to make friends with other families, meet new families, for our children to have new friends, and to be able to socialize with children their age, even though they are being home schooled or doing remote learning.”