As the national debate about reopening schools puts working parents in an impossibly difficult position, some are turning to creative alternatives to teach kids from home.
Some parents don’t have a choice. School districts in New York City and Los Angeles have already announced that when schools reopen in the fall, they’ll be in-person for no more than two or three days a week, and fully virtual, respectively, and other districts are likely to follow suit. Other parents are opting out of in-person school voluntarily, worried that it puts kids, teachers, family members and the community at risk. (The virus isn’t going anywhere, FYI.)
Conversely, having kids at home for virtual learning just isn’t cutting it for working parents. There’s no way parents will be able to give their all to their job—if their employers even allow them to work remotely—while acting as homeschool teachers. Talk about a whole new level of working mom guilt.
Now, parents are putting their heads together for a working mom-friendly solution: a full-time at-home teacher, shared with friends. Paige Harden, a psychologist, geneticist and associate professor of psychology at the University of Texas, shared her experience with her Twitter followers, and it’s a must-read.
Though it may sound like something reserved only for the wealthiest of working parents—obviously not everyone can afford this kind of deal—she explained that it won’t cost all that much more for parents of two kids than what they’d be paying for daycare, and sharing with another family helps too. “I think LOTS of working families are used to paying through the nose for childcare for 0-5 and this just feels like an extension of that,” Paige wrote.
The mom of two said that many of the applicants for her job listing weren’t returning to school in the fall because they’re older, they’re high-risk for getting the infection or their daycare or school had closed.
With an anticipated 40 percent of daycares closing permanently and moms losing their jobs over a lack of childcare, the already tumultuous COVID-19 crisis is soon to be exacerbated. The bottom line is this: There is no easy solution. Working parents are facing a lose-lose situation and almost anything is worth trying these days.
If you’re like most working moms and can’t imagine spending the rest of the year with your kids under your feet while juggling homeschooling, working full-time and making sure the house stays intact, an at-home educator could be just the ticket. It just might prevent a staggering numbers of parents—moms especially—from quitting their jobs due to lack of childcare.