The Truth About Parenting, Working, and Educating At Home During The COVID-19 Crisis

Mom and three kids #togetherathome
"It's the end of the world as we know it." R.E.M

Since this past Monday, the theme song for "Friends" has been on replay in my head. Since then, I have been running an elementary school and a daycare and a law department all out of my house. Yeah, this is totally real and not a movie. How did I begin living this adventure?!  The Friday before last, the governor of Pennsylvania made the decision that every parent with school age children would become responsible for their instruction. And that Saturday, our day care closed as well. So, on Monday, I began running "La Escuela Chatón". I thought I was up for the challenge being the child of an educator and all. Needless to say, I have been humbled by this experience.

There’s a book that was turned into a movie called, “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” and last Monday day was kind of like that…

The Kids Are Alright, but Coronavirus Home School is Something Else!

the culprit who drew on my wals
It turns out, running an elementary school for two grades while working from home, while watching a toddler is a whole lot of work! The one comforting thing is that parents all over the country are in the same boat. I spoke to one of my male colleagues with a toddler and he sounded like he was at his wits end. One writer described it as "Coronavirus Triple Duty"--"#facts".

The First Day with Coronvirus Triple Duty

While I was on a conference call in another room, the toddler drew on the light taupe walls with a marker and a pencil. When I saw the damage I just about lost my mind. Yeah, it was my fault for not securing the markers and pencils before the call. However, there is only so much that I can do. The only reason I am sane is because everything came off of the walls. Thank God for Magic Erasers! 

Just when I was feeling confident that I only had to endure it for one day I was reminded that "the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." Around 2:30PM I received an email from my mother-in-law saying she was no longer comfortable watching the children at all because of health-related concerns. So, what began as a temporary exercise in creativity became permanent. 

That is when sh*t got totally and absolutely R.E.A.L.

At 3:00 our sitter came to help me and I started thinking about everything that we needed to be together all day everyday. So, I went to the grocery store because Whole Foods unilaterally cancelled my delivery the prior weekend. When I arrived at the store, they lacked a real produce selection, eggs, chicken and of course toilet paper. The entire scene sent me into a bit of a panic. It looked like the store was planning to close and I got worried that we might not be able to get food. So, I bought things I never buy, like pork. A pandemic just doesn’t seem like the time to adhere to voluntary dietary restrictions...

I was feeling proud that I had managed to make lemons out of lemonade when I opened my purse at the register and realized that I had forgotten my wallet. YEAH, THAT HAPPENED! I almost fell to the floor and started crying right there! There was a long line behind me. I had over $400 in my cart. People were stressed. And I was wasn't entirely sure that I was going to walk out of the grocery store unscathed if I couldn't pay for my groceries.

God Reminded Me That All is Well, Even in The Coronavirus Era

It turns out, I had a checkbook in my purse. Yup! They still make those. I asked the clerk whether they took checks. He said, “Nobody told me we don’t. Want cash back?!” While I had some internal ethical angst about him being willing to give cash to someone without identification simply based on her providing a check, I kept those thoughts to myself and simply thought, “Thank you Jesus!” and left with my groceries!

Then, I found eggs at the 7-Eleven (they also had toilet paper behind the register. I bought an extra roll.) And when I arrived home, I had an Amazon Prime order on my steps that contained 24 rolls of toilet paper. I forgot that I had reinstated my regular order before all of this started and it arrived yesterday. It was a reminder that God arrives right on time.

The rest of the week was an adventure and not perfect. However, I know that we shall continue to be alright.

Seven Free Resources to Survive Homeschooling During COVID-19 Crisis

  1. Schedule Maker: It's one thing to have a theoretical schedule, but it is better to write it down. Here's a free resource. Schedule Maker
  2. Free Scholastic Materials: Scholastic is offering free online courses so your kids can keep learning while schools are closed,
  3. Khan Academy: A non-profit educational organization created in 2008 by Salman Khan with the goal of creating a set of online tools that help educate students.  Remote learning with Khan Academy during school closures
  4. Spanish Language Support: Free on-line Spanish flashcards (flash cards) with sound for learning basic vocabulary for beginners to advanced. Click here
  5. Spanish Awakenings: A free language course with instructors providing lessons. Click here.
  6. Art Class: The Best Ideas for Kids. Click here
  7. Amazon Kid-Friendly Games: A list compiled by "Fairfield Moms", click here.

Homeschool Expectation v. Reality