Teachers and parents adapt to online homeschooling across the United States

Natalie Reaux helping her son Maxx Reaux with some math homework before his afternoon snack.

Janae Sterling

Natalie Reaux helping her son Maxx Reaux with some math homework before his afternoon snack.

Schools all across America were hit with an emergency closing leaving many to wonder when they will open their doors again. Many parents in Orleans Parish were told classes will begin again in April, but with COVID-19 spreading fast schools may be closed for the rest of the year. 

“I’m being instructed by the kid’s teachers to keep up with New Orleans news to hear if the governor says schools will be closed till next year,” Natalie Reaux, a newly homeschooling mom, said. 

Reaux said that she enjoys working from home and homeschooling her kids because she gets to spend more time with them. 

“I am a single parent, though, and during the day I have to juggle keeping up with work calls and paperwork while also checking my kid’s work,” Reaux said. Adjusting was tough to get used to the first couple of days, but afterward, Reaux said she was used to virtual learning and keeping up with her children’s assignments. 

Lee-Ann Baranowski, a first-grade teacher in Connecticut, has advice to all of the parents like Natalie Reaux who now have to act as instructors along with their teachers online, “Honestly, patience and teamwork. It is been a huge adjustment for everyone as we are all getting used to this new norm.  I can’t stress enough to my parents how much stronger we are when we work as a team and it really has been so helpful,” she says.

She said teamwork is key, and that she even ends all of her emails to parents with the phrase, “Better Together.”

She also said that the transition to online teaching hasn’t been the easiest. 

“It has been a huge adjustment not seeing the students every day. I am really sad about it. To go from spending 6 hours a day with them to nothing at all and no time frame when we will be able to go back is really hard. We never even really got the chance to say goodbye,” Baranowski said. 

In the future, Baranowski feels educators and students will be better prepared. Sites like Zoom will be easier to access the more children get to use them.

“I think maybe we need to make sure all students are familiar with Google Classroom and working their way around it starting at the beginning of the school year.  It can be something the students will be able to do with minimal support,” she said.

For more COVID-19 coverage, click here.