Parenting In a Pandemic: Daniela

With schools closed across the country and parents trying to manage their children's learning at home on top of everything else, we asked some of our members to share how they're coping. Daniela and her daughter Emma live in New Orleans. Here's their story.

"Emma is six. She goes to kindergarten at Noble Minds, which is an amazing school. When they had the last day of school, on that Friday, Emma came home with a whole package of materials. It was all set up already.

I was speechless because I heard from other families it wasn't like that with other schools. But our school was really prepared. In the first week, they reached out to the parents to find out our needs. Does anybody need a computer? You have internet? I think they helped the parents to get refurbished laptops if they needed one. They also worked with AT&T or one of those providers together to get internet to the house. They were really encouraging and trying to help set the kids up.

They have three hours of Skype schooling: 9:30 to 10:30, 11:30 to 12:30, and 1:30 to 2:30. As soon as the teacher starts, it's real. She's teaching. It's the same as in school. The kids should be quiet and if they're too loud or whatever, she talks to them like, 'Look, you need to pay a little attention…'

The first hour is usually math. They just started subtraction. She puts the worksheet on the screen and all the kids can see it. They write the answers on their paper and then they signal the teacher that they are done. She works with a whiteboard, and when everybody's done, she pulls it up and they can check their stuff. The second hour is usually literacy. They’re reading out loud. She’ll put the story on the screen. And she also sent it to us as a PDF. And then the third hour is for kids who need one-on-one time or more support from the teacher.

Personally, I'm not concerned about Emma’s academics right now, but I know she is a high-performing kid. Her reading is already on the level for first grade. I know she loves school. Even here at home at the weekend, she comes to me like, 'Mom, can I log onto Zearn?' She loves to do math. So I'm not concerned. But I know many parents are.

I work in a restaurant, so obviously I'm out of work right now. I'm a single mom, so it’s just me and her at home. Her father can't help because he's tested positive for the virus. He's doing okay. But of course he can’t take her to the park right now or something like that.

If you would've asked me a few weeks ago, I would've said, 'Oh man, I do not know. I think after a week, we're going to kill each other.' But I'm lucky. Somehow we’re managing really well. I see this as a chance to spend time with my daughter. Usually, I’m working every Saturday. The only day I have completely with her is Sunday. So I’m enjoying this.

Sometimes you wish you will have a break, just an hour for yourself. That's the most thing I'm missing right now. Otherwise, it is what it is. We can't change it. I’m from Germany. I do not have any family here. If something would happen to my family there, I couldn't even go. I'm stuck here. So my main thing right now is, please keep our friends and family safe and healthy, and the rest we'll figure out. My focus is on health. Of course there's the money issue. But somehow, it will work out."

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