My Preschooler and 4th Grader

In Teams, toddlers and cabinets: The joys of working from home, AP Writers Matt O’ Brien and Mae Anderson write about the frustrations of trying to be a home-school teacher while schools are shut down during the Coronavirus:

It is also forcing many parents into unexpected new roles. Carmen Williams, a therapist in Macomb County, Michigan, finds herself not only seeing clients sporadically, but shelling out for a babysitter, paying tuition for her 7- and 14-year-old kids — and still teaching them school assignments.

“I’m not an educator!” Williams said. “I’m used to helping with homework, but I am unable to teach thought-out lectures and work. It’s overwhelming!”

Williams’ lament about not being an educator is not lost on me. I’m a former public school teacher, and even I find this sudden thrust into a homeschool teacher role daunting.

I made a simple schedule for my children and myself last week, which basically limits screen time and has an hour or two a day for school work. But big news this week: Frederick County Public Schools are closed for another month! So it was time to up my game. 

I reached out to my former colleague and friend, Emily, who has two boys close to my kids’ ages. And OMG! She has them busy all day long with various reading and writing activities (we’re both former middle school Language Arts teachers, so you bet we got that down!) plus a ton of physical activity a la PE and “recess” lol 

It was VERY inspiring.

So I took that and the curriculum that my son’s preschool sent home for the next couple of weeks to teach him. That’s right, I’ve tried to make letters and numbers fun (and eh, not so fun sometimes!) with my 5 year-old. I found a cute alphabet video from the Jack Hartmann Kids Music Channel for the letter Q, which was his preschool’s letter of the week last week. Then I tried to set up Q words for him to copy, mostly lowercase. I tried. 

Yesterday we both enjoyed Cookie Monster’s version of the letter W, too. 

Are there moments where I feel I might have a “leg up” on other parents who are not educated, or have not been educators? Sure. But it comes and goes. 

I mean, that packet the preschool teachers sent last week…  First, there are always thought-out weekly themes such as Spring.

Then there are 5 days of projects, worksheets, and activities under each theme… subjects such as Language/Literacy, Mathematical Thinking, Arts/Crafts, Music, Listening Center, Songs, Writing Center, Art Center, Scientific Thinking…

Preschool, huh? 

All year, I’ve seen him be so excited when he comes home with his latest paper hat or art project… and WOW, there is alot behind it! 

And my daughter’s use of technology in 4th grade! Thank goodness that we were using Google classrooms when I taught so I have some background in them. (And slides, docs, etc.). And it’s neat to see her toggle back and forth between Google docs, slides, and the classroom.

Those teachers teaching my kids?  Worth every penny! 

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