Updated: Aug 27
The Coronavirus pandemic caused all schools and daycare centers to be closed as of mid-March. Since then, parents have been facing tremendous challenges from doing remote learning from home while trying to manage all the turbulence caused by this pandemic.
I still remember how overwhelmed I felt when I had to deliver the news to my 9-year-old daughter that school would be closed until further notice. I knew this wouldn’t be an easy conversation to have with my daughter who is a social butterfly and loves attending school. I slept on the news, as a way to give me more time to figure out how to tell her in a mindful manner. The next day, I sat with her and broke the news. As soon as the words came out of my mouth, her eyes watered up, and she began to cry. Since that day, for me, it's been a roller coaster of emotions, filled with constant changes and struggles.
As a parent, I feel this urge to want to fix things for my child, to help her cope. Yet, the struggle was knowing that this was out of my control, I had no solutions this time. All I could do was hold space for her, allow her to tell me how she was feeling, and tell her that all her feelings were valid. Like most children in the world, she was already feeling worried about all that was going on with this pandemic. As a parent, I wondered how other parents were dealing with the pandemic and homeschooling.
I spoke with a few parents where I live and asked them how they were coping with all the changes. Here is what they had to say:
“I am a mother of 3 school-aged girls and it's not easy. They have work to do from different workbooks and on the computer, They are all over the place! Each of my children uses different apps. I am also a healthcare worker and I am not able to be at home with them. And I know other mothers who are struggling even more because they have language barriers and are not able to assist their children,” said Gisselle Ordonez
“My kid is thriving in this environment. As a kid that faces a lot of criticism and even bullying for being different, this has allowed him the space to be himself and manage his work at his own pace… What’s challenging is being together all the time. We are super alike and we butt heads,” Maria-Victoria Ramirez added.
“Well, being that my hours just got cut, that was a loss already. I am a single father and now I’m really stressed about homeschooling. My son has occupational therapy which we do now by phone. It's a struggle now because of the coronavirus there are a lot of things that we cannot do. I don't want him to catch the virus, so every time we leave the house I have to sanitize everything as every other parent should. I wish things would change sooner than what they are telling us. But right now, we have to do what we have to do,” said Charles Bates.
Parents from all walks of life are having to make day to day adjustments because this pandemic is fast-moving and ever-changing. That is what makes it all the more difficult for parents to navigate and process. Yet, homeschooling is affecting low-income families and people of color significantly more as they are faced with extreme financial hardship while trying to feed their children, set up schedules, get access to electronics, and gather teaching materials.
For parents, who relied on the school system, it has been a whirlwind of change. More than ever, parents are longing for a sense of community. Whenever I get to speak to other parents, it gives me an opportunity to connect to someone who is going through a similar experience. We are able to support each other, even if it’s just by listening and allowing each other to vent. We know that the only way to get through this is by working together and staying connected even while physically apart.
Right now there are discussions of reopening guidelines being created by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help states safely reopen to the public. At this point, all we can do is hope and wait to see if Schools will be re-opened for the next school year.