The global spread of COVID-19, the respiratory disease that the novel coronavirus causes, has pushed many communities into lockdown. In the US, Monday is the day of reckoning for many families dealing with the widespread closure of schools in states including Florida, Illinois, Michigan and New Mexico. This means the start of a new adventure in education: home schooling.
Parents are taking to Twitter to share their triumphs and trials as they attempt to transform these stay-at-home days into productive academic time. It's not going smoothly for everyone, as accompanying hashtags like #imexhausted and #coronapocalypse suggest.
One of the hottest tips floating around Twitter is to set a home schooling schedule to provide structure for each day.
Creative director Scott Duvall shared his kids' schedule, which starts with breakfast and getting dressed and ends in the late afternoon with free time when computers are allowed. Academics, a workout and creative/quiet time are in the middle.
Sports talk radio host Josh Beard made a valiant effort to design an intensive schedule of video game tutorials, including Pokemon tournaments and how not to be bad at flanking in Overwatch. "My wife refuses to teach or let me teach any of this," he reported.
Despite planning and good intentions, some parents are simply embracing the chaos. "We went from 'home-schooling' to a roller skating party real quick," tweeted Cory Childs, a father of three kids.
Some parents are turning scheduling duties over to their children, with some pretty sweet results. Anthropologist Kristin Krueger's kindergartner designed a day full of reading, math, lunch and an unspecified field trip.
A little levity is helping a lot of parents stay sane as they work out lesson plans and try to keep their kids' learning on track. One parent shared the perfect sweaty Jordan Peele meme for anyone trying to remember how to do math so they can teach it to their kids.
A parent of an "angsty teen" is considering assigning book reports on Netflix movies and shows.
A dad turned his youngster's interest in bananas and ducks into the world's cutest TED Talk.
Some clever parents are inventing entirely new courses, like "Honors Laundry," "AP Vacuuming" and "Cat Litter Box Cleaning and Fine Scooping Skills 101."
Another theme has emerged during this homeschooling surge: Teachers are important. Some parents are taking time to express extra appreciation for school teachers.
"I'm about to hit the streets demanding teachers be paid a million dollars a year," one parent tweeted after making it through just 47 minutes of home schooling while also juggling a work-from-home job.
Parents aren't all alone when it comes to thinking up educational content for their kids. Scholastic is offering free online resources and activities. NASA's Kids' Club has space games and learning modules for the younger crowd. The European Space Agency started a Twitter thread linking to cartoons and other activities related to space science.
TED Talks tweeted a reminder about its free educational videos.
The move to home schooling won't be easy for many, but a bit of humor should help parents survive the transition. Molly McNearney, co-head writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live and wife of the late-night TV host, distilled the situation down into a brief summary: "Quarantine without kids = staycation. Quarantine with kids = hostage situation."
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