Teachers, students and parents are learning to adjust to homeschooling since public schools have closed due to the COVID-19 crisis.
This transition has parents learning how to teach their kids at home, as well as teachers adjusting to provide online classrooms through Zoom and Google Classroom and give content for parents and students to follow.
There has been an overwhelming response from parents and teachers adjusting to helping their kids.
Lindsey Richards, who works for Springfield Public Schools, is balancing tasks as a teacher as well as a parent to her own kids — a fourth-grader and an eighth-grader.
“I miss my kids that I work with,” Richards said. "I work with early childhood special education (and) so much of our work is hands-on. Balancing work and helping with my own two kids’ school work today has been difficult, to put it nicely.”
Richard’s advice to parents right now is, “to do what you can. Kids will be okay, regardless of how much school work the kids actually do over the next couple of weeks.”
Richards recommends Khan Academy for online tutoring. Khan Academy is a website that allows for kids to learn at their own pace and provides lessons for students K-12.
Michele Rossi Clark, a first grade teacher at Horace Mann Elementary, offered her assistance to anyone who needs help with SPS home learning via Facebook.
SPS has helped to create a lot of the curriculum for teachers and work packets made for elementary kids. A schedule is in the packets and posted online for parents to follow to guide their child’s learning, according to Clark.
Some other websites Clark uses are Lexia, Dreambox and Raz-Kids.
“Parents just need to be flexible, remember this is all new to teachers too and do what works best for them and their child,” Clark said. “Teachers want what’s best for kids so reach out to them. I keep telling parents that no question is silly — so ask away.”
While teachers are doing their best to support families at home during this transition, some parents are still struggling. Parents shared their frustrations on a Facebook post about their kids' attention span at home since being at home, lack of access to WiFi and proper technology, not being qualified to teach their kid’s classes and their children's mental health.
“It’s hard,” said LeAnn Kerby Pyatt who has four grade school boys in SPS. “I’m not a teacher but a work-at-home mom.I’m not qualified to teach my kids what the state requires them to know. This is definitely a unique time for all involved.”
Pyatt said her kids did complain about starting school at home but have since enjoyed the change of pace.
“Don’t confuse busy with success,” Pyratt said. “Don’t confuse busy with happy either. I don’t think my family has ever been happier, not saying it’s not stressful.”
Cissy Neff is struggling with not having access to WiFi for her freshman daughter to do her school work.
Neff was told by the SPS they didn’t have any more hot spots to give out. Neff said that the schools won’t provide her with worksheets to supplement for not having access to technology.
“It’s depressing and makes me feel like I’m failing as a parent,” Neff said.
Jessica Bruner, who has a student at Fair Grove High School, appreciates that her kids' school is “more focused on mental health for students than learning at home.”
While many parents are enjoying their kids being home during this time, some parents have found that they actually enjoy homeschooling their kids more.
“I love having my kids at home,” Leanne Ahearn said. “The online curriculum is not hard at all to navigate and I love how much more I understand about what they are learning and where they are struggling.”
When asked if she would consider switching her kids to homeschooling permanently, Ahearn said she would if the kids could participate with public school sports and clubs to continue as normal to help with socialization and scholarship opportunities.
While parents are given guidelines about how to continue homeschooling their children, parents have been making their own schedules.
“Our schedule is much like regular school,” Richards said. “We start at 8:30 and finish at 2:30. “Breakfast, reading and writing, lunch, science, math and frequent breaks and lots of outside time for my fourth-grader. My eighth-grader was done in less than two hours.”
Some parents are using the extra time to teach new things to their kids that they typically wouldn’t have time to learn, and incorporating more ‘life skills,’ such as cooking and household chores as part of their kids education.