Seattle's Child

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In their own words: How Seattle-area parents are coping with the shutdown of schools

Families will face another few months with learning from home, as Washington state declares all public schools closed for the year.

Households with essential workers, children who rely on school and special services, and those who seek safety from their homes at school will especially be hit hard these next few months as the state plans for the community’s new normal. Children and parents find juggling school and work more than a challenge in an already stressful situation, while others search for the silver lining. Parents around the Seattle area share their thoughts on how homeschooling is going for them and how they plan to handle the next few months of social distancing:

“I’m a single mom and I have my own business and work from home. I haven’t been able to start any official schooling. I have materials from the kids’ schools, but I’m completely overwhelmed with the barrage of emails and I’m just feeling good about getting through the day and limiting screen time.” – Eva Live, Seattle

“I own my own business as a fashion consultant and I’m also a dance teacher. I teach all my dance classes virtually, which is when my husband takes over with the kids. I am blasting music through the house, so we are all affected by my classes. I can do some of my business, while my kids are doing school, but some of it just has to wait.” – Lauryn Chavez, Seattle

“We are doing shifts but remaining agile and flexible.” – Benigno Paul-Valenciano Gonio III, Bothell

“I switched from full-time to part-time work for the first time in my life. Every day, while I work the kids have four hours of Zoom calls prescheduled with grandparents, aunts, cousins, a babysitter, and Outschool.” -Tira Schwartz, Seattle

“I’m still working from home full-time, while my husband is doing the stay-at-home duties and distance learning for our kindergartner. It’s hard that my son’s missing school, but in some way I’m excited that he gets a bit more time to just be a little kid.” – Tracy McIntyre Hartsell, Seattle

"I can't even imagine if this happened when I was growingupin a single parent household withtrouble just waiting around the corner in our upstate project apartment. The amount of stress would be unbearable." —Tiffanee Jacob, Woodinville

“I’ve got one of those kiddos who always refused to do homework. He was fine AT school and stayed on task, did his work. So, guess what life is like now that he sees all of it as homework? Everything is a fight and he just refuses to do anything but show up for his Zoom meetings. This is one child who will NOT be prepared for the following school year. I worry for him.” — Jennifer Littlefield DeCuir, Bothell

“I have three little kids and my husband and I are both working from home, or attempting to. This year will be about grace with my job and school. No one is going to be earning bonuses and my kidswon’t be ready for their intended grades, but we’re going to try and do things we’ve been “too busy” to do.” – Kristen Bates, Issaquah

“My daughter is learning more than ever since we can tailor her education. She desperately misses her friends and teachers but doesn’t want to go back …” -Susan Richardson, Seattle

“I have seen a lot of people complain about homeschooling their kids, but you have to understand where the kids are coming from now, they are used to things being a certain way and getting used to that change can take time.” – Karen Locke, Seattle

“This is my third year of homeschooling and I loved it right up until we were all stuck at home all of the time. It’s so hard to be all cooped up, not able to go anywhere or do any of our usual educational things. I’m not cut out for homeschooling, at home! I’m sure everyone is struggling and missing their old routines whether it was a traditional school or some form of homeschooling. … This is hard!” -Julia Wales, Bothell

“I was having a hard time getting my daughter to do anything besides the bare minimum and decided that it’s just not worth the battle. She does the short assignments from her teacher and then we play something amazing. What’s come out of this, is my relationship with my daughter has gotten so much stronger, less butting heads. She’s got her moments, but I never get or will get this much time with her without the full schedule and responsibilities, just to have fun.” – Sayeh Ghassemieh Jackson, Woodinville

“Schools NEED to stay closed for the remainder of the year, it’s for the best, in order to keep our kids safe.” -Destiny Odeneal Madrid, Bellevue

“I have two small kids and a baby. My husband is an essential worker for the Department of Defense and works at the Naval Shipyard. I always see mom posts about how they are all doing scheduled lessons and activities with their children and I feel the pressure and guilt that I can’t do it with my son because of his younger siblings. I’m happy knowing that my kids are safe at home, but at the same time sad that he [my son] didn’t get to say bye to his second-grade friends and teacher before summer starts. Now that the school year ended, I know it will be difficult to dedicate and give him the time and attention he needs to work on his lessons. … I feel like him [my son] being out of the school and classroom environment affects not only his willingness [to learn], but his focus level as well.” -Angie Furutani, Poulsbo

“With the announcement that school won’t return until fall, we took the day to be bummed out about it. We miss our morning drives to school and hanging out with kindergarten friends. We miss the excitement and energy of the classroom. But on the flip side, my kid is doing exceptionally well. He is finally sleeping through the night. He isn’t having huge outbursts, and his energy is calmer, and he is more relaxed and confident, probably because we are going at a pace that works for him with the learning from home model.” -Katleen Snedeker, Mill Creek

“[Homeschooling] is not working. Try having two, full-time working parents with 3 children in elementary school and receiving 20 emails from the school, referencing additional emails. Some teachers are better organized and adapt to technology better than others.” -Kelly Delahunty, Seattle

“It has been so hard homeschooling a high-energy 5-year-old boy who would rather do anything else than listen to me teach. Not to mention I am still working full-time. His dad and I trade off days, so that helps, but it’s still challenging when I don’t feel like I can give my best to my son or my job.” -Sydney Alise, Seattle