When Kentucky schools closed March 16 to protect children and staff from the spread of COVID-19, it also meant that many moms instantly became homeschool moms.
For many, it was the first time they heard the term non-traditional instruction, a way for students to learn from home through online classes and video conferences with teachers and classmates.
Moms cleared kitchen tables and set up school-day schedules. It wasn’t so easy—not even for trained teachers. Many moms had to figure out how to juggle working from home while supervising their children and schoolwork through quarantine.
Translation: no breaks.
One mom who is homeschooling a 5-year-old and 7-year-old posted on Facebook: “My kid’s teacher deserves a raise. A million a year. No, make that a million a week.”
Another asked how to get her kids transferred to a different teacher. Cartoons surfaced of moms ripping honor roll stickers off bumpers.
And there were jokes: What do you call it when a homeschool mom talks to herself? A parent-teacher conference.
A note in the window of one house said: “If you see my kids locked out of the house, mind your own business. We’re having a fire drill.”
Southeast Christian Church member Laura Hall is a high school math teacher, now also homeschooling her three children as well as worrying about the students she does not see every day. By the end of her first week, she founded an online NTI support group for moms.
“Our NTI support group has an ongoing group text,” Hall said. “We share the kinds of work our kids have to do, funny memes, successes, failures, shows we are watching.”
Moms in this group often refer to their children as “coworkers.” That makes for some hilarious comments such as, “My coworkers were screaming and needed their diapers changed.”
It’s even more frustrating that the initial call for two weeks of isolation has stretched into the remainder of the school year—two months and counting.
“Remember this is not normal for you or your kids,” Hall said. “Grieve with them if needed. Many are missing out on trips, proms, graduation ceremonies. They miss their friends. Laugh with them. Give yourself and them lots and lots of grace.”
Moms in Hall’s group share homeschool tips and ideas. Here are a few of them:
>Kids miss field trips. Try to take them to the park for nature walks.
>If kids miss a school event such as a play or performance, recreate that as a family.
>Start an NTI support group with your friends. Conduct daily checks via Zoom or FaceTime.
>Let your child host a Zoom lunch with friends.
>Give your child’s teacher a gift card for teacher appreciation week because now you realize how difficult it is to teach your child.
>When you need quiet time, send children to their closet with a flashlight to read a book and call it the “spooky book nook.”
>When everyone is tired of working, call an impromptu physical education class and send them to the backyard to play, ride bikes, go for a run or do a family workout
>Bake or do chores for a home economics class.
>Kids love getting mail. Have them write and mail notes to their friends.
>Paint the front door or decorate the sidewalk with chalk.
>Do math by playing Yahtzee or another game where they have to keep score.
>Look at Pinterest for indoor or outdoor scavenger hunts for your kids.