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Home-School Mom: 'This Isn't Typical Home Schooling'

An empty classroom with desks arranged in a square.
Colleen Cayoup

Millions of children are shifting to virtual and in-home learning as schools remain closed due to the coronavirus. For parents, this may be the first time they’ve pulled double-duty: acting as both parent and full time teacher. Others have been at it a while. One long-time home-school parent who says right now, everyone is in the same boat.   

“Teachers of any kind…are very focused on academic energy and on getting a certain amount of work done. One kind of has to suspend that in these circumstances," says Cathy Campbell. The Tallahassee mom has home-schooled all four of her children and she says the current situation, is anything but typical.  

“What I think the situation lends itself to is real-life learning. Centering our academic activities around what’s going on in our lives. Taking time to make the most of the opportunity of being at home with this much down time…and fitting in academics around that so for the children, the sense of home is maintained so they don’t get frustrated any more than they already are.”

That looks a lot like learning together, Campbell says. It’s important to show engagement and excitement to get kids excited too. But make no mistake: everyone’s lives, those in home school and traditional schools, have been disrupted. For kids in school—their friends and teachers form parts of their communities. For kids in home-school, it’s the same thing. And the activities both participate in, can’t be done anymore due to social distancing and quarantines. The losses are the same.

“In Tallahassee we have incredible communities built around home-school orchestra program, sports, drama…where the kids are engaged at least one day a week, maybe more…and those become communities for them as well. In this circumstance parents and children have all lost their communities, even their faith communities," Campbell says.

Those losses could place extra stress and strain on family relationships. Campbell says everyone, regardless of their educational preferences, is pretty much in the same boat.

“On top of that, our college kids are back home. So, it’s like everybody is home schooling again. All families are wondering’ how many zoom meetings at one time the wifi can sustain?" she says, laughing a bit.  

Campbell’s best advice: Try to make the most of the opportunity, to the best of your ability, while you have it. 

Follow @HatterLynn

Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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