- Schools across the US have closed temporarily to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, leaving about 30 million children to learn from home.
- Many parents say that it's unrealistic to be expected to balance working, managing the home, and also educating their children.
- Christine Tyler, a middle school teacher, is one of those parents. Tyler said that she is not homeschooling because it's too stressful and she doesn't feel equipped to do the job.
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When schools in Seattle, Washington closed due to coronavirus pandemic earlier this month, Christine Tyler, a middle school computer science teacher, didn't give much thought to homeschooling her two sons who are in seventh and tenth grades.
Tyler has 12 years of teaching experience and has won multiple education awards. Even still, Tyler said she doesn't feel qualified to teach her sons. Stepping into that role also just feels far too stressful during this tumultuous period.
"This is such an unprecedented time," Tyler told Insider. "I feel like parents immediately feel these expectations to perform, but they need to know it's OK to say 'no.'"
About 30 million children in the US are out of school due to the coronavirus pandemic
About 30 million US students have been affected by school closures related to the coronavirus. Some schools are offering remote learning opportunities, using apps such as Zoom, to continue the curriculum. But many schools, like the ones Tyler's children attend, aren't offering that option. In those cases, the teaching responsibility falls on the shoulders of overburdened parents.
But Tyler said that parents shouldn't feel obligated to suddenly devise rigid academic schedules and involved lesson plans. Instead, the middle school teacher said parents should embrace a rare opportunity to give their children some autonomy over what— and how — they learn.
"Instead of creating a stressful environment at home," she said, "they're doing other things that are so much more valuable and still cover the basics."
Christine Tyler, a middle school teacher, isn't homeschooling her children
Tyler's children are using this time to engage in self-directed projects, including tracking the stock market and building garden beds.
The gardening endeavor, for example, required her sons to hone a number of valuable skills. They researched the project, calculated the amount of supplies and then implemented their plan.
"That in and of itself is such a valuable way of teaching applied mathematics and applied skills," Tyler said. "I didn't need a teacher, a computer, and someone lecturing to my kids to do that."
Becoming a homeschool teacher takes years of experience
Tyler also noted that it's unrealistic for parents to be expected to become teachers overnight, a position that requires extensive training and actual classroom experience.
"It's a skill," Tyler said of teaching. "It's something that develops over time."
Tyler said that she doesn't even feel qualified to homeschool her children since she doesn't have a deep grasp of all the subjects they are currently learning in school.
Tyler said she understands that some parents might be worried that their children may fall behind in school. But Tyler isn't concerned for her children, or others. Once schools reopen, teachers will have to take into consideration that the students will have each had varying learning experiences.
"Schools are going to open their arms and embrace your children when they go back," Tyler said. "I can guarantee every teacher is just really missing that time with your children."
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