Schools are closed. Kids are home. What’s the long-term impact of that?

Sometime in February, it was clear that the US was headed toward crisis, and every day we don’t take major action would make the crisis geometrically worse. Suburban schools closed first. The last school districts to close are bigger cities, because they had to figure out how to get breakfast and lunch to the kids who depend on it. For homeless kids, and hungry kids, school is a home away from home. 

Taking kids out of school is the silver lining of coronavirus.

Coronavirus presents a snapshot of the failures in our education system: At their best, schools provide a safety net for low-income families. Beyond that school districts are simply a way to reinforce economic injustice. Study after study shows that the quality of the school isn’t what predicts education success; parent income predicts success. School districts map wealth distribution and serve to reinforce socioeconomic status. 

Five years ago I proposed to fix schools by getting rid of them: schools should refuse all kids except those who are most in need of social services. And schools should become a social service safety net. Education should happen at home.

Then we can use the education budget to lift kids out of poverty, which is what the education budget should have been doing for the last 100 years.

Removing all but the poorest kids from school would require one parent to be home with the kids. This would force companies to allow people to work from home because there wouldn’t be enough people in the workforce who could spend eight, uninterrupted hours a day at work.

Once everyone is homeschooling, regular school will feel like a sham 

Now. Look. My fantasy version of school reform is here. Everyone said it would be insanely disruptive to society. And it is. Coronavirus is so disruptive that there is no going back to how things used to be. From now on, parents will have a clear understanding of why homeschooling is easier and more effective than sending kids to school. Because the parents will have been forced to try it for a few months (at least!).

And from now on, companies will not be able to say it doesn’t work for people to work from home. Companies that can’t figure out how to make it work will be out of business by the time people can work at offices again. And employees will have become so good at working from home that it will feel natural to them to do it whenever they want.

We are far past the time when our education system is grounded in research:

We can’t use any of that research, though. Because we can’t afford a public school system where kids learn on their own. Because, as it turns out, kids learn best in very small groups with one or two adults, i.e. a family.

Disrupting education will cause disruption at work.

Even if parents try to replicate school at home, it won’t work.  Kids from middle-class families will end up doing some form of self-directed project-based learning at home. Parents will realize that self-directed kids are naturally curious, engaged, and hardworking. And homeschooling is easier, more efficient, and more fun than dealing with school’s arcane routines and false promises. 

During the coronavirus lockdown, adults will discover that they can work fulltime and take care of their kids fulltime because homeschooling is flexible and working from home is flexible. And adults will find that, it’s not just kids: each person flourishes when they get to make choices and take chances to figure out how they want to spend their days.

I know. I’ve been homeschooling and working from home for ten years. It’s not perfect. I am late with projects and late with kid drop-off times. But you know where I learned that imperfect deliverables are bad? School. It turns out that in the real world it’s okay to make a lot of mistakes in the work you do. There are no teachers in real life. It is just you, deciding what’s most important for you to get done for you, and teaching your children to do the same for themselves.


46 replies
  1. harris497
    harris497 says:

    this works if you don’t have to pull a shift at the local factory or fast food joint. I know cause i’ve lived it.
    Home is best, but home with the kids is expensive.


  2. Maria
    Maria says:

    We were middle income growing up and school was a safety sanctuary from severe physical assaults and trauma from an alcoholic stay at home mother and a father who worked and was burned out and depressed.

    Home schooling is not for everyone.

    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      I hear you. School was a safe haven for me, as well. But it wasn’t the classes that were great for me. In fact, the classes were very difficult for me because there was so much chaos at home that I could never focus on homework. School saved me because of the teachers who noticed I needed help.

      School provided me with counselors, and school negotiated removal from my parents’ home. When I didn’t have appropriate clothes a teacher signed me out of school and took me shopping for clothes. When I was too scared to go home the school let me stay late with a teacher in an empty classroom until I could find a friend’s house to go to.

      The thing is that I went to public school in a very expensive place to live. The teachers had to stop teaching the classroom in order to help me. The school wasn’t set up to take care of stray children, the school was set up to educate kids. I wish I could have felt less like I was interrupting everything all the time when I needed help.

      This is why I am so adamant that school should be for kids who need a support system and a safety net. Kids who have competent parents do not need to go to school. Kids can get an education just fine at home. The resources at school should be saved for the kids who don’t have parents they can depend on.


      • Reetra R
        Reetra R says:

        If most children aren’t in school, there is no way to know if things are shit at their home or not. Even if a family was doing well at some point, something could happen to change that. It is a huge shame to the parents to admit that they aren’t coping and need help, and until they hit that point, the children will suffer in hell. And because they are not in school, no one will know. And even if they were in school, no one might still know. Because children want to keep up the facades too as long as they just can. But there is a better chance of catching it by an adult who spends a lot of time with the child and knows them personally.

        For reference’s sake, I’m a divorced parent from Finland. My ex-husband pays his share and sees the kids often but all the meta work and emotional work is on me.

        Not all parents want to become 100% stay at home parents, I most definately do not want to be one. I’m a much better parent when I get out of home and do adult things that are meaningful to me at least part time. And my children are happy to be in school and meet their friends there. And the good quality free school lunch sure makes me happy because it’s one less meal for me to cook. Maybe that makes me a selfish parent but I doubt that I am alone with these desires. In fact, I believe that I’m in the majority.

        And speak for yourself alone, not for all parents and families. My children have been home from school for 2 weeks now because at least one of us has been sick, and it has been really stressful to oversee their studies. It might be different if I could freely set the pace of when we do the homework and what exactly we should do. Now teachers dictate what we need to do and my kids need constant hand holding and encouragement to do the work. I’m just the teacher’s assistant here. But even if I could do 100% free home schooling, I still wouldn’t do it.

        Also, it’s not economically possible for most families for one parent to stay home. If we really moved to this model, there would have to be monetarily support for the 90% of families. Basically, US would have to become a Nordic welfare state country. And that’s never going to happen.

      • Bostonian
        Bostonian says:

        “This is why I am so adamant that school should be for kids who need a support system and a safety net. Kids who have competent parents do not need to go to school. Kids can get an education just fine at home. The resources at school should be saved for the kids who don’t have parents they can depend on.”

        One of the most difficult parts of this proposal is the determination of which kids need such a support system.

        Under such a proposal, it’s likely that you, Penelope, would have been determined not to need such a support system, because your parents were rich and employed. Therefore would not have gone to school. Meaning that there wouldn’t have been teachers in your life to notice you needed removal from your parents’ home.

        Do you have an idea of how apparently well-off kids like you were could be identified as needy?

        • YMKAS
          YMKAS says:

          Now you have Devos considering waivers to stop giving services to those with special needs. Maybe this is one reason why this can’t be done wholesale. Because jerks like this want to deny people of their services who have IEP’s. And will keep cutting funding.

          • Penelope Trunk
            Penelope Trunk says:

            I’m surprised by this move from Betsy DeVos. I mean, in a way nothing surprises me because she lives in her own universe. But I didn’t think taking special ed kids out of public school would be up for negotiation.

            That said, the public school system definitely does not have enough money to give kids the services they have a right to under the law. And something is going to have to change because the way things work right now is totally unfair to kids whose parents don’t have enough time and money to advocate for their kids.


  3. MF
    MF says:

    Hey. You have a unique perspective. But please stop saying or insinuating that the way you think is best fur absolutely everybody. It’s this type of “my way or the highway” thinking that is so troublesome in our society. Thinking what you think is THE right way and trying to force everyone to do that. In reality, there are many different perspectives. The issues around school isn’t just based on economics but also racism and classism. Also, the result of living in a capitalistic patriarchal male dominated society that only values consumerism. People aren’t products. Schools CAN work fine for (some, maybe most) people if they are adequately supported, and not only with money (but that too). If people didn’t feel the need to be superior and rule over other people this would be easier to accomplish. But the moment anyone brings up being community minded you’re accused of being a socialist or communist.

    Not everyone wants to (or should be) a teacher. Not every parent wants to be cooped up in the house all day. Not every person, with or without kids, wants to be stuck in the house the entire day. Some people enjoy going to an office. Some workers especially low income have NO CHOICE but have to provide for their families. Not everyone has the temperament, ability, skill, knowledge or aspiration to teach. Are you suggesting that it’s an easy job ANYONE can do? If so, I beg to differ.

    How about envisioning a society and system that is flexible and resilient enough to serve us all? And also where women, particularly black and women of colour (who earn the least in our society), can earn a GOOD living and take care of their children and selves (with or without kids).

    School in and of isn’t the problem, it’s a visible symptom of the problem. And please refrain from taking your unique personal circumstances and extrapolate that as a solution for everyone else.

    • Jennifer Kaufman
      Jennifer Kaufman says:

      Yes, to pretty much everything you’ve posted. You’re a person of empathy who sees others with understanding and open-minedness. It isn’t all about you.

  4. Lisa
    Lisa says:

    Hi p – yes I agree with you and I agree with your commentators- I’ve stayed home full time , part time , had. My own business – and tried everything possible to be both a good mom and a good worker and I also think homeschooling is the only sane response to the way families are struggling – using schools as a source of social services is already happening – in wealthy as well as poor districts but more so in poor – I consult with a very poor district and they have many more services then do the wealthy – wealthy people can find a way to get their kids services – the poor cannot and do not – it makes a lot of sense , let’s see what becomes out of all this

  5. Erin
    Erin says:

    This blog post is like a rallying cry. An inspirational “we can do it”! Thank you for being a voice of encouragement at a time when many parents probably feel like they’re drowning.

  6. Ann
    Ann says:

    Delicious food for thought as usual! I’m into permaculture, was a high school teacher and allowed my son to opt in and out of school. The permaculture people are nicely set up to ride this crisis out, many having cultivated a home-based, self-reliant lifestyle for years. Many are part of local sharing communities, participating in food swaps, harvest festivals and such.
    My son is self-educated. When he first took a term off in Year 10 we studied Pride and Prejudice together. He said he learned more in the first hour than they would cover in a term in school.
    The pandemic crisis is a great opportunity to give momentum to healthy trends that make sense – homeschooling, working from home, self-reliance. And imagine the reduction in carbon emissions that will probably result from lockdowns!

  7. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    I’m loving having my whole family at home. We have friends so close we consider them extended family, and they’re here every day too. I am bummed that we can’t go skiing anymore, and very bummed that all the swimming pools are closed, along with any sports the kids might do, because our health will probably suffer. And my kids can’t see their friends because their panicking parents have them on lockdown, so that’s bad for the mental health of the children. Which of course they can’t see a therapist about because the therapists are in their own bunkers. But it’s nice to have my family around all the time.

    I think one of the most obvious insights we learn from the pandemic is that humans are social creatures. When we are uprooted from our social networks, we suffer. My son and I are pretty much introverts. But not seeing his friends is taking a toll on him. The true extroverts must be suffering terribly.

    • Jennifer
      Jennifer says:

      Introverts are suffering, too. With my family home, I haven’t had a moment alone in 5 days.

    • Jennifer Again
      Jennifer Again says:

      Also, your kids’ friends’ parents are not ‘panicking’, they are ‘quarantining’, which does not mean ‘go around visiting friends and family.’

      • Bostonian
        Bostonian says:

        Jennifer, “quarantining” is something that sick people do (or something that is done to sick people). The subject in question has to be sick, or suspected to be sick, for it to be a quarantine. My kids’ friends’ parents are not “quarantining,” because they are not sick, nor suspected to be sick. They fear getting sick, and their kids getting sick. Overly, in my opinion. The word for what they are doing might be something else than “panicking,” perhaps; I suggest “bunkering.”

        Thankfully, not all my kids’ friends’ parents are “bunkering,” and we have friends who are so close they are practically family, who come visit with us daily. Otherwise we’d all go mad.

        I suffer also as an introvert. My nap today was entirely fruitless, as it was perturbed by my wife on a business call above me and my son caterwauling his latest song in the room next door. I would like more alone time too. But, these days, that’s what the outside is for.

        • Elizabeth
          Elizabeth says:

          Curious if your opinion on “bunkering” has changed in the last 10 days? As someone living in one of the nation’s hotspots that got hit early, I had to quickly evolve my own incorrect opinions on the matter and we have been totally isolated for more than two weeks now.

          • Bostonian
            Bostonian says:

            Hi Elizabeth. Nope. My opinion on bunkering hasn’t changed. I think some people are taking it too far, some people are being too complacent, and I think we’re taking it just far enough. (Kinda like driving: if you’re going slower than I am, you’re an idiot, and if you’re going faster than I am, you’re a maniac.)

            Here’s the way I see it: if you have folks in your bunker who are in a high-risk group, like old people or people with underlying health conditions, then you should keep the door shut for sure. If your bunker just has young, healthy people in it, then you should think more about keeping yourself that way. Kids, for example, really need to see other kids for their mental health, even if it’s just to talk to them from six feet away. For most of this week, I’ll be taking care of my son, my daughter, and my daughter’s best friend. That choice will benefit so many people: my daughter, her best friend, her best friend’s mom, even me. I’m glad her mom is a doctor and knows how to calibrate her fears.

            I wish my son had at least one friend whose family felt similarly confident, but he’s not suffering quite as much as she would. One result in him has been an increase in the amount he gets outside for exercise. He rides his skateboard for miles at a time now. I encourage that, because part of staying young and healthy is going outdoors and getting regular exercise. My wife and I are going for a run in the park in an hour. Yes, there will be other people in the park. I’ll try to stay six feet away out of courtesy. But not getting daily exercise would be a terrible choice for me.

            I’m giving up on naps. They are impossible with a full house. More coffee. I roast my own, so we’re never out of it, and the coffee shops closing has zero impact on us.

  8. Susan Hall
    Susan Hall says:

    My son attended a Sudbury School for a year where the focus is on self directed learning. There was a 5 year old student who was reading C.S. Lewis. My son and one of his friends built a computer from parts.

    Skeptics tend to think that when tasked with self directed learning students will loaf and not do anything. It took my son awhile to figure out that the school meant it when they said that he could decide what he wanted to learn. I think that’s because from k- through 6th grade teachers had told him what to do, how to do it and when to do it allowing little to no independent decision making or critical thinking. After several weeks he figured out that no one was going to force him to do anything.

    My role was to assist him with resources. Parts, supplies, books, experts in the field etc. Some community colleges allow homeschooled students to attend classes. One of the things he was interested in was auto mechanics so he signed up for a course at the community college.

    One of the biggest differences I’ve noticed is that he’s extraordinarily compassionate. I think that not being in the public school environment where bullying, social ostracization and cliques are the norm has a lot to do with that.

  9. Tom
    Tom says:

    In Australia the government is choosing not to close schools as the knock on effect will mean parents and grandparents stay home and will likely be infected by kids who unknowingly have the virus but aren’t showing symtoms. Despite this though schools are reporting between 20 and 50% of students staying home. I personally think staying home from school is the best course of action. What are your thoughts Penelope?

  10. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Can you do a post about where you see the future of colleges in the usa post-corona? With so many colleges/univ’s going online as a result of social distancing, my guess is smaller colleges will fold and many students wont go back to school.

  11. JML
    JML says:

    Being at home has been surprisingly great and I’m going to have to think really hard about whether I want to send them back to school (I’m a stay at home mom). It’s now clear what I hate about school – being on time (drop off and pick up), making lunches, dealing with teachers. Everyday that goes by makes me question why I send them there. They do like seeing their friends, though.

  12. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    “Even if parents try to replicate school at home, it won’t work.” I disagree. It will work because parents will replicate school at home and they’ll tell themselves and their children that it does work even if it doesn’t. They’ll give numerous examples including their experiences at school and they’ll point to successful people who have degrees from prestigious colleges and universities. And as if that isn’t enough, they’ll have many other sources upon which to draw. I think the number of children being homeschooled will see gains as a result of schools closing temporarily as a result of this coronavirus. Will the bump be sustained or accelerated? It’s hard to say but I’m not too optimistic even though I’d like to see much more self-directed learning and less compulsory public schooling. I’m more for learning choice than anything else as determined by the child and their parent(s) however that’s accomplished and in the best interest of the child. It was today that I read – “we worship conformity and permit the mediocrity of bureaucrats to dictate our lives.” So true and there are many places where this applies. There’s a good wiki page from the Mises Institute where they trace the history of public education from various countries including the United States. Seach ‘mises wiki education’ and it should show at the top of the search page. As long as the government and taxpayer money is involved, there will be regulations, special interests, etc. that will interfere with the best interests of the child in some way to some extent.

  13. YMKAS
    YMKAS says:

    My husband has to work from home while all my kids are home and while we are social distancing and not leaving the house except to putz around the backyard for fresh air.

    My oldest was already homeschooling but the younger two will now be doing e/learning through school and my youngest will get her special education through video chats. That doesn’t start until mid-April. They aren’t in school right now-it’s just cancelled. So we are all just doing whatever we want. And I’m not going to pretend like they are doing anything special or important because they aren’t.

    My oldest was already doing graphic design while being here. My middle who is TEN is binge watching Seinfeld all day every day this week and I don’t care. My youngest plays roblox all day.

    I just want to be left alone. If anyone looks at me I might throw something…by anyone I mean my husband. What’s he even doing here?? Oh yeah…several people tested positive at work. So he’s here for at least two weeks. Yay me! Not.

  14. celestial
    celestial says:

    I follow the homeschooling trend with interest, and thought that I wanted to try it with my eldest. He is an extrovert, very driven, physical, focused, razor sharp and not ready to suffer any fools gladly. By the time he was in first grade he had challenged both pre-school and kindergarten teachers and god forgive me, I knew that I simply could not handle him in an educational system of my own. He did not accept anything anyone said at face value, he was a “learn by doing” kind of kid and he exhausted everyone around him, especially his introvert, science-driven, silence-loving parents and sister. I just don’t think one of us (he or me) would be alive and healthy had I homeschooled. It is a very difficult and individualistic decision. (His sister was quite the opposite and if she had been born first, I would have insufferable in thinking I knew everything. Ha!)
    He is now 28, set up his own lawn-care business in high school, got through college on scholarships, has traveled to 42 countries on his own dime, snowboards all over the US, and worked for 2 start-up companies before being accepted to a top-10 business school on full scholarship. He also developed Type I diabetes at age 7 and has handled that well. I don’t know what the answer to schooling is; I just know that some kids are incredibly difficult AND incredibly resiliant.

  15. Anna Mike
    Anna Mike says:

    It’s interesting to read this article about giving proper guidance to our children to let them sustain on their own than mostly depending on others or several other things. I’m working as a Professional Trainer in a maid agency and I hope these tips will help me to coach the nannies in a more advanced way when I take on them next time.


  16. Bostonian
    Bostonian says:

    I read an excellent article in the Atlantic today. It’s called “How the Pandemic Will End,” by Ed Yong. I won’t link, because you all know what happens.

    Here are some interesting and relevant (to this post) statements from the article:

    So, now what? In the late hours of last Wednesday, which now feels like the distant past, I was talking about the pandemic with a pregnant friend who was days away from her due date. We realized that her child might be one of the first of a new cohort who are born into a society profoundly altered by COVID-19. We decided to call them Generation C.

    Generation C. I was wondering what was going to happen when we ran out of numbers with Gen Z. Now we know. Also this:

    After infections begin ebbing, a secondary pandemic of mental-health problems will follow. At a moment of profound dread and uncertainty, people are being cut off from soothing human contact. Hugs, handshakes, and other social rituals are now tinged with danger. People with anxiety or obsessive-compulsive disorder are struggling. Elderly people, who are already excluded from much of public life, are being asked to distance themselves even further, deepening their loneliness. Asian people are suffering racist insults, fueled by a president who insists on labeling the new coronavirus the “Chinese virus.” Incidents of domestic violence and child abuse are likely to spike as people are forced to stay in unsafe homes. Children, whose bodies are mostly spared by the virus, may endure mental trauma that stays with them into adulthood.

    If you grew up around people who grew up in the depression (or worse), you can think back a bit for similarities. Gen C isn’t going to be the same when we finally beat this coronavirus into submission.

  17. Mark W.
    Mark W. says:

    Every year for the past eighteen years or so, I’ve been a judge at the local regional science fair. I was thinking about this event this morning because it was scheduled for tomorrow morning but was canceled due to this coronavirus pandemic a few weeks ago. It’s been an honor to judge and a learning experience for me at the same time. Besides asking the student technical questions about how they researched their subject and conducted their experiments, I like to get some background on why they chose the area of study they worked on and are presenting in the science fair. Some of them will say it was further study of an existing class while others will say it was recommended to them by a teacher. Some will say it was inspired by their parents while others will say it was an interest of their own choosing discovered by their own curiosity. I look forward to judging next year when I ask them these questions. I wonder how much and in what ways their time away from the classroom will affect their decisions in picking their science project.

  18. Roger
    Roger says:

    Great post on the silver lining. As you point out the disruption in schools does cause a disruption in the wordplace. This was very sudden and unexpected so most parents haven’t had a chance to plan for this. Overall, the suddenness of this may have a negative impact on home-schooling but I guess we’ll need to wait and see.

  19. Bill
    Bill says:

    The suddenness of these closures has caught many schools by surprise. My youngest child is in public school and ironing out the issues with the online learning has been an issue. There are many children that don’t have easy internet access. The schools are trying to accomodate them with equipment but getting an internet connection – especially in a rural area like we are in can be problematic.

    They will work through these issues of course and distance learning may become commonplace.

    I’m hopeful that telemedicine may get a boost from this as well. Living in rural America makes it harder to easily get to a doctor or nurse and it is frustrating to make the journey and have a 10 minute conversation when it could have been done in a video conference. This may be the impetus for the transition.

  20. Michele
    Michele says:

    You are wildly overestimating how many parents want to be home, homeschooling, and how many of their employers won’t instantly demand they come back to work once able. Our world will change forever, but it’s not like many people won’t want to resume their old lives.

    You also wildly overestimate how much emotional and educational neglect homeschooling can cause, and that not all parents are equipped or able to meet the demands.

  21. YMKAS
    YMKAS says:

    My youngest kid’s teacher sent the sweetest video through Seesaw. And she has been reading stories to the class through seesaw daily. I guess that’s how the kid will get special ed services as well.

    Meanwhile the school district is totally into this whole learning from home thing. They’ve set up multiple meals to be picked up for those that need meals, they have child care for healthcare workers and first responders. And they literally brag about their yet to be tested e-learning on social media.

    ‘During her first planning week, [..] biology teacher [..] learned how to use Zoom, Google Meet, Ed Puzzle, Flipgrid and Screencast-o-matic.

    “Our technology integration specialist has been working nonstop to help us learn the tools we need to use,” she said. “The professional development and collaboration that has occurred over the last week has been extraordinary.” ‘

    They are anticipating doing this until May. I guess this is like homeschooling but with tutors or something. I don’t know…I do know that the kids each have two iPads now. And I don’t want to do anything because my anxiety is through the roof. I don’t fall asleep until 3am and can’t wake up until 1. All the kids are in therapy which they do over video now instead of going into the office. And their therapist suggested I get therapy and would recommend someone. I just need coronavirus to go away. That will be my therapy.

    • Bostonian
      Bostonian says:

      YMKAS, I’m sorry to hear you are taking the shutdown so hard. I wonder how effective my kids’ schools plans for distance learning will be. I participated in two “zoom meetings” today with the school, and they were terrible. I think zoom’s single best feature is that I can choose not to share video or sound of me groaning.

      I feel bad for my kids that they don’t get to see their friends. I also feel bad that my daughter doesn’t get to do her sports. No pool, no swim. And, of course, my son can’t play in any of his ensembles. I keep mum about how little I am concerned that my kids might “fall behind” academically through this; I expect my son will be helped by it.

      I have come to enjoy having everybody home. I think the key is having a big enough house that everyone can go work in different rooms. For most of the day, I’m in the kitchen, my wife is on the third floor, my son is in his room, and my daughter is in the living room. We all check in periodically, and I keep the fridge full.

      The only thing that seems impossible so far is me taking a nap. I think I have to wait until everybody else goes back to work / school for that to happen again.

      You should go ahead and get the therapy. Maybe they can give you a pill that reduces your anxiety. You can stop taking it when things go back to normal.

      • YMKAS
        YMKAS says:

        Our house is larger than most but not a mansion by any means. And we are separated by levels and I have pills…

        I do think technology is going to be another one of these socioeconomic separators that end this school year. Kids will fall behind based on what they can afford. And don’t even get me started on domestic violence…

        Anywho…My kids all miss their friends as well but are connecting through chats and therapy talks and the school counselor.

        Glad you are getting closeness with your family! How is your wife liking being home?

        • Bostonian
          Bostonian says:

          YMKAS, I think my wife is loving it. She works on the third floor most of the day, touches base with the rest of us a few times between meetings, and her commute is significantly shortened. We get to have a walk or a jog every morning it’s not raining too hard, which is very nice. And her best friend (and daughter) eat dinner with us about every other day. So I think for her that’s a pretty good trade.

          As we are properly crazy people, we just bought a new (bigger) house, which is big enough to have one room dedicated to be her office, and we have ordered proper new office furniture for her. I don’t imagine that if restrictions are released in May it will be for good. She will probably continue working from home sometimes, and when shutdowns come again she’ll have a ready office space.

          As for falling behind, one of the persistent themes of this blog has been that only poor kids really need school. They’re the ones who will fall behind without it. During this crisis, kids who aren’t poor both won’t fall behind without any help from their schools, and are more likely to get help from their schools. My daughter gets daily zoom meetings with her class, one-on-one time with her teacher, online work, home projects, etc.

          My son is starting to really like the shutdown. He can’t really see his friends, which depressed him for while, but he’s turned the corner and is putting that into art. He’s started a youtube channel and is posting new music and videos. His friends are subscribing, he’s talking to them, seeing their stuff. So he’s thriving.

          I’ve also discovered that “I’m going to do some work on the new house” is a good way to get some alone time. Nobody wants to hang out with me while I cut brush or scrape radiators. Win-win.

  22. Alix
    Alix says:

    So, my friend is a widow with 3 kids 6-11. Until recently she had been living in Indonesia where she is Australia’s health lead on COVID-19 there. Now she has evacuated back to Australia. Currently in 14-day isolation in a rental property (her house is rented out as she wasn’t expecting to be back in Australia) with the 3 kids, who she has to supervise while they are doing schoolwork (from an OS school). She is still Australia’s health lead to Indonesia. No, I don’t think working from home works for her. As soon as her isolation period has finished she will get a full-time nanny but will still be at home with kids (and now another person) while trying to manage a pandemic in a foreign country. I’m glad home-schooling works for you and your kids and your situation but it’s certainly not working for my friend.

Comments are closed.