As the first complete month of remote learning in Massachusetts comes to an end, parents are expressing how they feel about it.
This month, Boston.com asked parents how they are juggling working from home while helping children learn during the coronavirus pandemic, as well as their thoughts on schools shutting down for the remainder of the school year. Parents responded by email and on social media with their thoughts.
Here is what they had to say.
“My 2 year old daughter walked up to my Teams meeting the other day and said ‘poop comes out of your booty.’ That about sums it up.” — Nick LaVerde
Amy Vercillo shared the following video of her 4-year-old niece Jordan swiping her mother’s lipstick and turning herself into a “killer clown” while her mother, Julie Vercillo Hutcheon, a Boston Public School teacher at the Chittick School in Mattapan, taught from home.
“I told you I had a meeting and to behave,” Hutcheon told her daughter in the video.
“My husband and I are both working from home while managing my second grader’s school work and trying to keep my preschooler busy. I have several zoom meetings a day. The kids know to try not to interrupt us while we’re in a zoom meeting. My 4 year old woke up one Saturday and the first question she asked was ‘mommy how many zoom meetings do you have today.’ I laughed and realized the line between work, school and home is now even blurred for the kids!” — Kara Kieran
“It’s a nightmare.” — Matt Ripp
“I am lucky enough to work from home, and have been able to shift my hours to start around noon and end around 8:00 p.m., so I can do school work with my girls in the morning (I have a husband who finishes his work day around 5:00 p.m. who makes this possible). I have two daughters, one is in first grade who has an IEP and gets a bunch of additional services. Many days, in addition to completing her assigned school work, she has Zoom meetings with her reading specialist or her mentor or her therapist. Her school work takes her longer than most kids, so today we did assignments together from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. (two hours after I should have started working). I so appreciate all the dedicated people (professionals and volunteers) in her life that have stuck by her and maintained contact to help her keep growing at this time, but with the combination of her being slower with her school work and having multiple extra activities to incorporate, it is looking like I may have to quit my job. And then there is the issue that I am spending almost no time with my older daughter, though we are both home all day. I am curious how other parents of kids with special needs are doing this, because seriously I don’t know how to make it all work right now.” — Ann Marie Udale
“I put a lotttta trust into that mute button.” — Meghan Ann
“We have two daughters, one age 6 who is in kindergarten and a 2.5-year-old, and a stepson who is 13. Stella (age 6) has an elaborate lesson plan every day from her kindergarten class in addition to her art, music, PE, and library teachers. It can sometimes be tricky staying on schedule while also running after our 2.5 year old, Lola, who is potty training (sigh) and also trying to do our own work. My stepson Jack is in 7th grade. I have great appreciation for teachers and what they do. It is not easy to keep a child’s attention for hours on end. I think the key is committing but not over-committing to all the tasks that need to get done. Everything doesn’t need to get done in a day. Our top priorities are working and teaching, but we also try to incorporate activities that keep us active. Some days we are on schedule and others we aren’t even close! Between housework, our jobs, taking care of the children and making sure we are taking care of ourselves, there is definitely a breaking point for each of us every day, but we get through it. Knowing my family is safe at home makes up for all the craziness.” — Renée Moran
“I understand the decision [to close schools for the rest of the year] but mixed feelings on how it’s going. 11 year old is motivated and doing his requirements each day. 13 year old basically refuses to get anything done.” — Shirley Lewis
“Let’s not pretend this is ‘distance learning.’ Neither schools nor families were prepared for this. This is crisis management. But let’s also be honest — the single most incredible thing teachers do every single day is to meet each student where they are at — wherever that is — and help them move forward. Nothing will change when schools eventually resume. Students will still want to learn and teachers will still be there to help them. And to be brutally honest — the three months of the school year we are missing almost entirely composed of test prep for the idiotic MCAS! Big deal! I’m actually glad we’re missing all that unnecessary stress. How about this plan: in order to make time for the learning we missed this Spring, let’s cancel the MCAS completely moving forward. That will give teachers lots more time to teach and students lots more time to learn! There — problem solved!”— Jerry Peters
“Completely unsustainable” — M
“I think it depends on the district you’re in. I have 2 sons, in 2 separate districts (older one is at technical high school). The H.S. one is no problem at all, everything is scheduled, great communication etc… BUT the middle schooler is struggling due to no implementation of a curriculum. It’s a ‘here’s some websites, do some activities.’ Also most of it is ‘optional.’ If the state could get together a curriculum for each grade, and make it mandatory to follow such plan, I think it’d be going more smoothly.” — Lindsey La Cara
“Keep us safe and we will deal… we just need to support the communities that don’t have the resources to just deal.” — LE Power Estey
“It sucks for them. I never had to go through this. They’d much rather be spending this time with friends but I’m grateful my kids are adaptable and understanding. They can see the big picture sometimes better than I can.” — Xavier Pedrosa
“This isn’t ‘homeschooling’ this is crisis schooling — and everyone will survive crisis schooling for this time.” — Meghan Bassett Clark
“Impossible.” — Shauna G. Winer
Some parents simply answered with a meme, like the one below.
How’s this for an answer…and this is me, not the kid! pic.twitter.com/kZV8zTjjFM
— 🙂 Tom Makes Me Smile 🙂 (@TomMakesMeSmile) April 26, 2020
Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.