‘It was just too much’: How remote learning is breaking parents

Apr 28, 2020 by

Daniel Levin’s son, Linus, 7, was supposed to be doing math. Instead, he pretended to take a shower in the living room, rubbing a dry eraser under his arms like a bar of soap, which upset his 5-year-old sister, distracting her from her coloring.

As much as he tried, Levin, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, could not get Linus to finish the math. His hopes for the reading assignment were not high, either.

“He’s supposed to map out a whole character trait sheet today,” Levin said one day last week. “Honestly, if he writes the name and the age of the character, I’ll consider that a victory.”

Ciarra Kohn’s third grade son uses five different apps for school. Her 4-year-old’s teacher sends lesson plans, but Kohn has no time to do them.

Her oldest, a sixth grader, has eight subjects and eight teachers, and each has their own method. Sometimes when Kohn does a lesson with him, she’ll ask if he understood it — because she didn’t.

“I’m assuming you don’t, but maybe you do,” said Kohn, of Bloomington, Illinois, referring to her son. “Then we’ll get into an argument, like, ‘No, Mom! She doesn’t mean that, she means this!’ ”

Parental engagement has long been seen as critical to student achievement, as much as class size, curriculum and teacher quality. That has never been more true than now, and all across the country, moms and dads pressed into emergency service are finding it one of the most exasperating parts of the pandemic.

With teachers relegated to computer screens, parents have to play teacher’s aide, hall monitor, counselor and cafeteria worker — all while trying to do their own jobs under extraordinary circumstances. Essential workers are in perhaps the toughest spot, especially if they are away from home during school hours, leaving just one parent, or no one at all, at home when students need them most.

Kindergartners need help logging into Zoom. Seventh graders need help with algebra, last used by Dad circa 1992. “School” often ends by lunchtime, leaving parents from Long Island to Dallas to Los Angeles asking themselves the same question: How bad am I if my child plays “Fortnite” for the next eight hours?

Yarlin Matos of the Bronx, New York, whose husband still goes to work as a manager at a McDonald’s, has seven children, ages 3 to 13, to keep on track. She spent part of her stimulus check on five Amazon Fire tablets because the devices promised by the city’s Education Department had not arrived.

Source: ‘It was just too much’: How remote learning is breaking parents – New York Times

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