Across the country, tens of millions of American schoolchildren have suddenly found themselves being homeschooled, thrust into the situation as their schools shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. And some parents, not prepared for the demands of being an educator, are simply giving up and not doing it.
As Insider reports, some 30 million children in America are at home until further notice, as their schools are closed for weeks at a time. Many of those kids were sent home with weeks’ worth of assignments, and the expectation that their parents — also quarantined at home during the coronavirus pandemic — would take up the slack and teach them at home.
Many parents are finding out that that is not as easy as they previously thought.
Christine Tyler of Seattle was a teacher before her school shuttered down. Though teaching children in a school setting was something that came naturally to her, at home, she couldn’t do it.
“That was not something I was willing to take on,” she said.
Similarly, Tova Stulman, who has been forced to work remotely during the pandemic, says that staying on top of her job — while simultaneously being a teacher to her children — is off the table. Even keeping them occupied and out of trouble at all, much less teaching them school subjects, is hard enough as it is.
“Being on top of their schedules and trying to do my work remotely – something’s gotta give,” she said.
Andrea Pinkus, a mother of four children — including one who has ADHD — says that she has no interest in trying to be a teacher. She’s not qualified, and if her kids fall behind academically, so be it.
“I don’t see any benefits to [homeschooling], and I think it could do a lot of damage to our family’s mental health,” she said.
As it turns out, some educators are saying not to sweat it if homeschooling one’s kids is not a feasible option.
In the United Kingdom, the Pediatric Mental Health Association has told parents to replace lessons with cuddles, as The Sun reports.
“Arguing with your kids to do work is not what anyone needs right now. Instead, cuddle up together and read… Do a puzzle. Build a fort. Watch TV,” the association says.
However, not all educators are accepting of the “less is more” attitude when it comes to homeschooling. As Yahoo Lifestyle reports, Katie Simon, the dean of curriculum at a charter management organization in New York City, says that there should be no excuses when it comes to educating one’s children.
“We cannot let these become excuses to ‘opt out’ of providing academic engagement in the home,” she says.