NORTH AUGUSTA, SC -- Parents are finishing up their first week of homeschooling across the CSRA. It's uncharted territory for plenty of families across the two state.
"This is a pretty scary time, pretty scary topic, so they just want your comfort and your understanding," said Brandy Mitchell.
Mitchell, the founder of CSRAKids.com, offers advice for parents of children enrolled in public/private schools as well as homeschooled children. The site also features recommendations for activities, parks, and school advice.
Students who've been sent home due to the COVID-19 pandemic often receive packets from teachers to help guide them along the way. The education system has changed since many parents were in elementary, middle, or high school. Even Math is taught differently at some levels. It's important to know your limitations and not be afraid to ask for help.
"If there's something you don't understand, make sure to pull in your resources. Call, email your teacher if you don't understand something," Mitchell added.
Parents are finding out first hand the challenges that come with being a teacher. It's hard! It may also be harder on parents to pick up where teachers left off.
"What parents are doing now is they're dropped into something someone has already done," said Margie Asselin.
Asselin has been homeschooling for 13 years and is the director of Classical Conversations in the CSRA. The organization helps homeschool parents create and model their education systems and philosophies around the classroom system.
It's a good reminder this is a job parents already have. Being a teacher isn't something that's entirely new to parents.
"I would say parents are children's first and best teacher. So you love your kid more than anybody, so you're going to do a great job," Asselin continued.
Stay-at-home students do have a mandated amount of work they need to complete assuming schools resume on March 31st in Georgia and South Carolina. Individual district returns may be different. There's an obvious difference between learning at home and learning at school. It's something Asselin believes should be embraced.
"Don't try to recreate the classroom in your house! This is an opportunity for a completely different kind of education. If your child is really on fire for a particular subject, and something's grabbed their attention, stop! If there's a little spark, fan it into a flame!"
Parents: this isn't all on your shoulders. It may be difficult to do for some, but stay-at-home students need to buy into their new place of learning, too.
"Give your parent a break. Let's try to work together in the house and let's see how we can help one another," Mitchell finished.
The weekend will give both parents and students alike a chance to recharge. Both Mitchell and Asselin agreed that having a schedule is important right now. The particulars, that's up to you. Asselin praised having Pajama days, both encouraged leaving plenty of time for creativity and learning beyond the classroom. Both also encouraged parents to reach out to any homeschool organization in the area, or even to them, if parents have any questions about handling their homeschooling situations.