STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — For the Wood family, some days of two working parents balancing homeschooling is great. Other days it’s hard. But it’s realistic expectations that keep everyone grounded.
Betsy Wood is the director of community outreach for Alpine Bank, and her husband, Simon, is a project manager for Borrego Solar. And while Simon is used to working from home, as he normally does, he’s not used to having his whole family with him all day.
Otis, 6, is normally in kindergarten at Soda Creek Elementary School while Segar, 4, attends pre-K at Discovery Learning Center. But now the Woods are taking the reins on homeschooling their two boys. Their routine is simple: wake up, eat breakfast and get right to school.
Both boys have online meetings with their classmates and teachers for 30 minutes in the morning, followed by another 30 to 60 minutes of school assignments.
“It has been fun to see Otis progress in reading and math and navigate through his assignments and computer programs,” Wood said. “And Segar loves helping him with assignments. They absorb so much information so quickly.”
It hasn’t been without challenges though.
“We can have a hard time keeping them motivated and focused at home,” Wood said.
Plus, she and her husband each had to rearrange their work schedules and stagger their meetings to allow one parent to focus on work and the other to focus on helping the boys.
“I usually do the school work and mornings with the kids, and my husband takes the boys on adventures in the afternoon,” Wood said. “In between we flip flop back and forth, make lots of bribes and threats, and honestly, a lot of the time, we don’t even know what the boys are getting in to.”
And while there are lots of experiments and messes, Wood notes that her boys have grown closer than ever.
“They laugh and talk constantly, all day long,” she said. “They are more imaginative and more creative in their play. They haven’t spent this much quality time together ever and would not have if it weren’t for this pandemic.”
With normally busy lives shuttling between school, activities, work and planning the next event, the family is enjoying the slower pace of life and is taking the time to be more present and appreciate each other.
“The days are long and feel chaotic, but there are those sweet times during the day when we are all together, and I don’t want to take that for granted,” Wood said. “I know these times are rare.”
Her advice to other parents?
“Get the challenging stuff done in the morning so you can enjoy the rest of the day,” she said. “And when that doesn’t work — bribes and threats.”
As she points out: “No one is without the struggle.”
Are you or do you know somebody who is having success at “homeschooling” children during the COVID-19 pandemic? We want to know the best way you’ve discovered to help your students while at home. Send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org and you could be featured as one of Steamboat Pilot & Today’s Homeschool Heroes.