Susan Otineru-Gonzales, Southern California. USA
What is your greatest struggle when it comes to homeschooling or crisis schooling as so many people are calling it?
Creating a school schedule is a struggle. I am approaching distance schooling with realistic expectations. I have three children in elementary school, 5th grade, 4th grade, and Kindergarten with different levels of education as well as different Zoom and Google Chat time frames.
What resources have you been utilizing to help you on your unexpected homeschool journey?
Electronic communication! My children’s teachers text, post in Class Dojo, and link to sites my children can use. Without the internet, distance schooling would be much more difficult!
Are you working from home while you are homeschooling? What challenges does this entail?
Luckily, I was on my last 3 weeks of disability when the schools closed. It was hard healing and trying to complete my kids’ tasks and activities in the beginning. When my disability ended, I was lucky that my company paid me through May 1st since I am unable to work from home. My husband is able to work from home, but he is working and I am now teaching.
How do you find balance and time for self-care in the midst of daily life as an unexpected homeschooling parent?
The schedule we follow gives my whole family some self-care time. That’s why I refuse to go to an all day school like schedule. After lunch or zoom meetings, it’s free time! Sometimes the kids are on TikTok or playing games on their phones. Then I do some reading, watch Netflix, try new skin care products or scroll on Instagram.
In a perfect world, what would your ideal homeschool day look like?
Honestly, it would be impossible to imagine my kids quietly on task, getting out their school supplies, putting them away on their own, and keeping indoor voices. Hahaha….but that didn’t happen when they were physically at school!
But in reality, what does your typical day look like?
Our typical day I try to keep pretty lax. We start actual school, teacher assigned lessons, around 10am. We eat breakfast and try to be active first. Lunch is between 12p-1p. After that we try to be creative. Chalking, bike rides, walks, bake, color…. anything. Usually Zoom and Google chat meetings for school are done by 3. Then we all have free time, and maybe a family movie after dinner.
What are your best homeschooling memories thus far?
Before wearing masks outside, it was easier to enjoy outdoors. We walked different beaches. It has been nice being together more.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that I did not cover?
My children expect me to know all the answers for everything they learn. I always sucked at math, and even helping my 4th and 5th graders with Common Core math was hard when I helped with homework. Sometimes I would say, “Skip that one and ask your teacher about it tomorrow.” I can’t do that now, so now they try to help each other. I have to tell them to ask “Alexa” for info, too. I love that they think I am smart, but I am really feeling overwhelmed trying to remember grammatical sentences & Mathematics. When I get tired, I tell them, “OK, quiet reading time!”