As the summer begins, I’m reminded how things have changed for my family and I during this once in a lifetime experience. As a working parent of a dual income family, the COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to a number of challenges to working parents, not least of which is educating their child in the absence of a teacher’s constant presence. Sure, there were Zoom meetings with the class and the teacher was always available via email, but the job of teaching our daughter this past three months had largely fallen to us.

Beginning March 16, My husband and I were tasked with juggling our full time jobs while serving as a substitute teacher and it was not easy. My daughter had math, spelling, grammar, phonics, Spanish, science, social studies and religion work every week. The teachers essentially provided the lesson plan and we executed it all. 

Did I mention my daughter had three or four tests a week? Well, my daughter had three or four tests a week. Thankfully the first six months of first grade acclimated her to all these tests due to a supportive teacher and she didn’t find them burdening. She completed them. Following completion of the test, we took a picture on our smartphones and emailed them to the teacher to be graded.

As another Zoom call ended, my husband and I traded off on the school work. His mornings were sometimes less busy than mine so he tackled math and reading assignments. I came in during the lunch break to do science, social studies and writing exercises.  And in the short period in between my several client and internal calls during this pandemic, I was able to give my husband a short break so he can go back to his day-job as a reporter covering this health crisis in New Jersey.

Thankfully our daughter was only in first grade and we’re able to understand everything pretty well – although some of the new math concepts took some getting used to by a generation taught differently. On a daily basis I had a number of things I needed to take care of after each call. But the homework still loomed. The homework in this case was my first grader’s math lesson on adding and subtracting money. 

I don’t know how these three months of home schooling has affected my daughter’s education, but I had hope for the best under these non-normal circumstances. Her report card recently came and she did well. She appears to still be learning as we continue to school her this summer and has kept up her work habits. 

Shortly after school ended, we rewarded our daughter with a visit to my parents (social distancing of course) after four months of not seeing them and took some much needed time off to enjoy a day with Mother Nature picking the last strawberries of the season at a farm in Monmouth County, New Jersey.

As we transition now into full virtual summer camp mode, we’re looking forward to having more instruction come September whether in a classroom, on Zoom or a combination of both. Despite the challenges of this juggling act, it’s great to have a strong team to rely on during these unexpected times. 

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