By Emma Curtis and Tanya Jansen
Both veteran and rookie homeschooling parents are giving advice on how to adjust to monitoring their kids’ education under quarantine. Ever since COVID-19 caused school districts to temporarily shut down and turn to online teaching, parents are finding it hard to acclimate to a new school environment in their own homes. For many parents who were already homeschooling their children, quarantine learning is no big change.
Lanie Vasquez, a 34-year-old mother of two with one on the way, has been teaching her two sons, Carlos, 6, and Sebastian, 3, at home since they were of the age to attend school.
Vasquez is no newbie to homeschooling and has noticed that parents who are now being forced to do it have false assumptions about how it’s done effectively.
“Ever since the schools shut down, parents are focused so hard on trying to mimic their child’s school life at home,” Vasquez said. “Re-creating an eight-hour school day is impossible when you’re also trying to now balance your job from home. Make a schedule with your kids and find times that work for both of you.”
As a single mama trying to navigate #workingfromhome and #homeschooling, it feels like I am never done. And I now know that we are never supposed to be done, BUT that doesn't mean we can't make it easier. One dish dinner for the win #COVIDー19 #adulting #edtech pic.twitter.com/wi0yu2nZB6— Shauna McEachern.3P (@3pShauna) May 5, 2020
Vasquez struggles to help her kids differentiate between the two mindsets they have at home and at school, but acknowledges that it is difficult for them too.
Time in school does not have to be sitting at a desk doing a worksheet either, according to Stacy Coronado, a mom who has been homeschooling for 17 years.
“I know for us, we even bought a bunch of garden seeds,” said Coronado. “That’s science right there! Don’t overthink it. Don’t think you have to do it by the text.”
Coronado says that the most important thing for parents who have been forced to homeschool is finding a support group. “You can’t be afraid to admit that you need help. And I think that’s hard to do sometimes because we all want to think that we have it all together. But we don’t. Let’s be real. All of us don’t have it all together all the time.”
On top of having to switch to at-home-schooling, parents who have jobs that have closed since quarantine are now having to work from home.
Julianna Rea, a 31-year-old virtual assistant, is a mother to a preteen and kindergarten student at home.
“This is my first time working from home or homeschooling, so having to do both has been really challenging,” said Rea. “It’s almost impossible to devote 100 percent of your time to both your kids and your job. I’ve found it helpful to incorporate some of their lessons into my own work so we are all getting something done at the same time.”
Rea has a strict schedule both her and her kids follow to ensure they are getting the most out of their days at home.
“It makes it more fun for my kids knowing that I’m being forced to work too and it’s not just them,” Rea said.
Homeschooling is not a one-size-fits-all according to Mary Kridler, a home school teacher of 15 years who works with homeschooling families.
“If all we are there for is to do a thing and then hand it in, we’ve accomplished a task but have we really gained anything by it? Have you really learned anything by it? Any type of school, whatever it is, needs to represent authentic learning,” Kridler said.