Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer closed K-12 schools on March 13 after issuing a stay-at-home order. Many parents were left with the responsibility of becoming the home teacher and creating routines for students to complete their daily work.
Four moms from different parts of the country give their day-to-day explanation of how having their child home full time has been for the past couple weeks.
Amanda Decesare, mother of three living in Kentucky, said, “I think it’s a challenge. But it’s the best we can do under the circumstances,” Decesare said
“ I think if I didn’t have to work at the same time it could be fun. Right now the teachers are having to make up the curriculum and we are having to learn as the teachers would. The kids are having to adjust to doing all online and it’s just an adjust(ment) for everybody.”
Shannon Sebala, a Michigan mom of two girls also created a routine for her kids to follow at home. The girls wake up in the morning, complete their homework then are given some free time
It’s been going pretty good, but it’s been harder trying to find things for my older daughter to do because she is missing her friends,” Sebala said. “ We’ve been encouraging her to do Facetime, when she can to try interacting with other kids as much as she can right now.”
Some school districts already use online tools such as Google Classroom that make the transition from home to school quite simple.
Mother of three Ashley Nuno has a 12-year-old , 6-year-old and a 6-month baby.
“For my sixth grader, he already had Google Classroom for all of his classes,” Nuno said. “… The teachers said they were going to update and just check his email. The whole Traverse City Public School District had a mass email and said they would have new Google Classrooms, during quarantine.”
While others have not had that option, it has been a little different to get in the groove of things at home. Districts are calling homes to check to see if children have internet access to complete online assignments or to provide learning packets.
“Homework was hard because I just heard from my youngest [daughter’s] teacher this week,” Sebala said. “We had one homework packet and we were going based off what the principal sent out to do stuff that is free to the kids, right now online. As far as … little art classes, there are science programs online, RAZ kids. I mean there are a lot of opportunities to stay learning through this process.”
During this time, some kids would rather play with their toys instead of during their homework. Brittany Turner, a mom working from home, says it is a challenge trying to get the kids focused and doing her work as well.
“I had to make a schedule for my kids because there was way too much screen time,” Turner said. “ We dedicated time for doing academics off the computer and academic time on the computer. Then also having creative time and outdoor time. I feel that made it a lot easier to come up with a schedule for them.”
Turner said this experience has shown her why teachers stick to routines in the classroom.
After Whitmer said in an interview with WWJ in Detroit that school opening back up was “very unlikely, ” Turner said “I am not sure how I feel about it,” Turner said. “It’s kind of surreal at this moment, I am just going to do what I have to do. As long as I am working from home, it’s not an issue, but finding a daycare would be pretty hard especially considering the stay-at-home order in place.”
Whitmer later ordered schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year.
(Editor’s note: With classes moving online, some Michigan State journalism students are reporting about their home communities.)