It warms my heart to see the support for the schools and the children during this difficult time. There has even been support for families around ensuring the children have food for the weeks they are out of school. Many technology companies are waiving fees for their products to ease the burden and help with children’s e-learning. We have rightfully been concerned about the children during this time, but I do not think enough concern has been on how parents are doing during this difficult time. Most parents did not sign up for homeschooling, but now they are forced to home school. Honestly, it is not fair because they have to manage a household still. So, I asked parents about school closure, how they feel, what do they need help with, and how the school supporting them. Here is what some parents told me.
Rakita Spears, mother of 2
It’s just like they’re giving out too much at one time. They sent her a packet thick enough for 2-3 weeks, and they want it done by Sunday so they can get another one on Monday. They are overloading us with information and giving little to no resources to help us understand.
Rhyan Smith, mother of 1
Well, I was in the middle of IEP testing. So, I feel stuck. I am hoping that I have answers soon. I don’t feel equipped to teach my son. I feel like he has underlying learning challenges, and I am saddened because I feel like we just took another step back.
Samantha Douglass, mother of 3
I actually feel like I am in a position where I could home school my kids. I have four children, three that are school age. They are in 1st, 4th, & 6th grade, with the older two being in excel. I do most of my work from home, so I definitely have the availability and probably the know-how, but I do feel like I need some kind of outline or structure to guide me on what to do with them. My current plan was to order age/grade appropriate workbooks and use that to work from and to give me direction.
Marvin Smith, father of 1
Things have been hard because my teenager is left at home while his mom and I work. We periodically check in on him, but his school did not send any work for him to work on during this time. I do not want him to fall behind academically, but his mom and I do not know how to help him. We have asked some friends to share some work their children have gotten so he can have something to do while he is at home.
Quinton Holland, father of 2
Overall, it has been a great experience. My children have been at my house for the first week. My children’s teachers have continued to be engaged and the school has kept me up to date. My grade-schooler was provided a chrome book and daily assignments. My high school age child does e-learning from her laptop. Her teachers provide live sessions to discuss materials
We are in uncharted territory with these school closures. Schools are scrambling to put together a plan to fill the educational gap; parents are juggling work and the oversight of their child’s education, which is now resting squaring on their shoulders until at least May 1st. We put a lot of emphasis on the emotional well-being of the teachers because they are tasked with educating the children, but during this time, the parents need those same emotional supports.
They now have to juggle paying the bills and making sure their children complete the e-learning/remote learning work that schools have sent home. What good is a well thought out plan for children if there isn’t the same well thought out plan for parents? We have to consider the educational level of parent’s equity in e-learning for students must also equal equity for parental supports. It has helped to hear these perspectives from parents about their experiences. As a school principal, I am thinking about how we will structure this time for our scholars, but more importantly, how we will support parents during this time that is also a significant change for them.
Parents remember you can create an environment and experiences where learning can happen for your child, which makes you a teacher to your child forever.
Join IndyK12 David McGuire and EmpowerEd Families Ashley Virden on Saturday, April 18 at 10:00 am for “At the Breakfast Table” Virtual Meeting for an honest conversation with families to talk about how they are feeling during this time and what they need to do ensure their child continues to be educated. The event will be live-streamed on Facebook.