Distance Learning During a Pandemic – Kelly E.

Kelly Eubanks, California

What is your greatest struggle when it comes to homeschooling, or crisis schooling as so many people are calling it today?

Balancing teaching what material is supposed to be taught with what I’d like to teach and what my son wants to do. Also, [it’s hard] that we can’t really go anywhere or socialize with others. I think all things considered we are very lucky and making it work, but I am now my son’s playmate. I think it’s been tricky as he went from 6 hours of independence from mommy to being back in my care full-time. 

What resources have you been utilizing to help you on your unexpected homeschool journey?

The internet for games & research: Epic!, Lexia Learning, IXL, Seesaw, LEGO, museum websites, and zoom),

Videos: PBS Kids, GoNoodle, The Learning Station, Jack Hartman, Cosmic Kidz Yoga, etc.

Video games: Just Dance, FIFA, Minecraft

Friends who homeschool or are teachers, find outdoor games & toys, and artists & art studios I follow: Purple Twig in LA, Hootenanny Art Brooklyn, Arteria LA, Pinterest. We also get a lot of resources & assignments from our school. 

Are you working from home while you are homeschooling? What challenges does this entail?

No, but I’m very lucky in this way in that I only have one child. My husband is working which I’m grateful for, but the challenge is keeping my son relatively calm and quiet while my husband is on important calls throughout the day. This has been tricky! 

How do you find balance and time for self-care in the midst of daily life as an unexpected homeschooling parent?

Again, I feel lucky because I only have one child, so sometimes I exercise while he’s doing an online assignment or watching a show. We do art together and my husband allows me time to walk or call friend, and have an hour for my own art during the week and on weekends. I also drink tea and try to play music which lifts my spirits. Some days are easier than others, but I’ve worked to make time [for self-care] as has my husband. 

In a perfect world, what would your ideal homeschool day look like?

I’d say it would be how it is, but I would have more guidance from school tailored towards my child. I think now that he’s home, part of the struggle is the assignments are very boring and easy for him, so it’s like pulling teeth. Fortunately, when he focuses [he gets done] quickly. I wish he enjoyed art more, and I think if we could go on field trips and see friends this would actually be more of my ideal. When I see it as it is every day, I feel overwhelmed, but I also really cherish seeing him more. I wish school days were shorter. 

But in reality, what does your typical day look like?

There’s about an hour give or take of TV, getting “ready,” and breakfast to help ease into the day, then 30 minutes to 1 hour of playing outside which is usually good. On a good day we get some school work done before 11am, but on a bad day it’s a lot of me saying, “OK, one more this or that” while he pushes it off. We finish some or most by lunch, more TV, reading, play outside or walk, and then finish school work: what’s assigned and a few things I make up like coloring and writing prompts or videos I’ve found.  Sometimes there’s a 30 min zoom in morning or after lunch. We are done between 2:45-3:30 and then I can sometimes sneak in more math, reading, art, science or we just play outside until dinner. If he’s tired or I am, then more TV. 

What are your best homeschooling memories thus far?

Watching him do music with his music teacher, seeing him make clay sculptures, doing science experiments, reading together, when he discovers something outside and wants to learn more, his relationship with our cat (that’s actually a neighbors but comes every day), dance parties, family lunch, and game nights. 

Is there anything else you’d like to add that I did not cover?

I don’t think so, but I’d love to learn more about homeschooling from you. I know everyone does it differently. Do you go thorough a homeschool?

(Editor’s note: We actually homeschool through a local public charter school that caters to homeschoolers. So we get help and guidance from a homeschool teacher, funds to use for curriculum and enrichment classes, and speech therapy for my eldest son. We do participate in all the state testing since it helps the school keep it’s charter and allows us to homeschool with help.) 

I do think what I’m doing may resemble homeschooling more because I have always considered it, have stayed home with my son, and have been very involved in his education in part because I didn’t like mine. I do think if I worked or had multiple kids it might look very different. If I was choosing to homeschool instead of being sorta thrown into it, it would look different as well. I kind of feel like I have the best of both worlds, but I’ll have to see as time goes on. 

I’d love to get to know you! Are you an unexpected homeschooling parent interested in being interviewed? Or perhaps you would like to collaborate on a project? If so, send me a message.