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Virtual learning impacting parents’ workload, survey reveals

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Posted at 5:56 PM, Sep 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-22 19:56:32-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- A recent survey showed that a growing number of parents have reduced or even eliminated their work hours so they could stay home and educate their kids from home.

Henrico mother Tara Courtland and her wife have two children learning virtually this Fall.

“I’m working part time now sitting next to my kid during school just monitoring making sure he turns his video on. Making sure he doesn’t leave and don’t come back. It’s difficult,” Courtland stated.

Courtland said navigating technical issues has been the most difficult part of virtual schooling.

“It’s a challenge, and it’s especially a challenge when you’re trying to work yourself and concentrate on your own work while also monitoring a kid,” she explained.

A survey, conducted by HomeschoolExpert.com, revealed that 42 percent of parents have reported their children’s virtual learning has impacted their workloads.

The website’s founder and CEO, Anne Crossman, found a large percentage of Americans are changing their livelihoods and lifestyles to homeschool as a result of COVID.

“It’s not as simple as opening a laptop and expecting a 2nd grader to sit down and get their work done. Or even a 10th grader,” she explained.

Crossman has homeschooled her four children since 2006.

“There is a great deal of hope for families right now. In fact, one of our key messages is you’re not in this alone,” she said. “A great education is possible with very little money. I’ve seen families over the years provide an excellent teaching resources with a math book and a library card.”

More than 70 percent of families are homeschooling this year, the survey showed. A third of parents surveyed said they felt confident in their ability to support schooling at home.

“Among the top concerns for parents was the social development of their children during COVID, with 50% saying they are “extremely” or “very” concerned,” according to survey’s findings.

On Monday, the Richmond School Board discussed the mental exhaustion caused by virtual learning, especially for elementary school students.

Richmond Public Schools has now proposed a shorter school day for elementary students with more virtual instruction happening in the morning and small group, asynchronous work in the afternoon.

“We found a way to balance it by using weekends for instruction and by using evenings so we can make career work with education,” Crossman said.

Her website offers additional free resources, such as articles and podcast interviews with experts.