'This is not normal:' Struggling to juggle work and homeschooling your kids at home? You're not alone

RALEIGH (WTVD) -- Tieska Jumbo and her husband have been flirting with the idea of eventually homeschooling their toddler boys, 2 and 4.

"This is not quite what I imagined," Jumbo said. "What we're doing now is not actually homeschooling. This is quarantine schooling. Because this is not my idea of homeschooling."

Her husband works as a facilities manager and she works as a technical communications manager for a financial software company.

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The two sit together each evening and outline the family's schedule for the next day.

"If I didn't have to work that would be most helpful," Tieska laughed. "Parenting, working full time and homeschooling. And those three things are incongruent," said Tieska. "So just sometimes work is just going to have to wait. Sometimes I have to remind myself that the company I work for is not my own. So if I stopped, the company would keep going and that's the same way today too."

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And her job understands. Her boss often tells her and her team: "If you just need to walk away for a few hours, then just walk away for a few hours. That being said, I manage a team of people who need my attention and need responses from me."

The dichotomy among keeping a healthy marriage, raise and educate two children, and complete their own work isn't overlooked, but rather acknowledged.

"I'm trying to keep in the forefront of my mind that (my children) need an extra level of grace because they're out of their routine too. They're not used to being in here," said Tieska.

Raleigh education expert, Russ Munisteri, is in the business of helping students learn in a virtual setting.

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"It's not an easy thing to do at first. But once they understand what the goal is for the student or their child to learn, then their student will become engaged with it," Munisteri said.

He works as an assistant director of education for MyComputerCareer.

"If you keep your child structured, and you have goals set each and every day, that will help with time management. And it can also allow the child to do some work on their own while the parent has to do their stuff at work."

Munisteri also recommends having conversations with your children and other adults in the room if you to create a space as an adult to focus at work.

The assistant director describes this type of learning as "edutainment" in his setting. "(Teachers) are always engaging their students. They're taking material and they're bringing life to it. And that's what parents have to do for their children as well."

Dr. Colette Poole-Boykin works as a child psychiatry fellow at Yale-New Haven Hospital. She also serves as a member of the ABC News Medical Unit. She recommends the following tips for helping educate your child:

  • Multiply the child's age by 2-5 minutes to determine how long they are likely to focus
  • Elementary age students can tolerate from 1-2 total hours of instruction per day
  • Middle school age student can tolerate between 2-3 total hours of instruction per day
  • High schoolers can tolerate between 3-4 total hours of instruction per day


Dr. Poole-Boykin also suggests incorporating music, reading, and other fun activities into learning.

"This is not normal. If it's hard, it's not because you're doing a bad job," Jumbo said. "It's hard because this is impossible what we've been asked to do."
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