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Parents look for ways to outsource help as children learn virtually

Published: Aug. 20, 2020 at 4:42 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - School for some central Kentucky districts is set to begin next week all virtual.

As that date looms, some parents are still scrambling to make plans for their child’s learning environment, including working parents who can’t stay home to help.

The National Retail Federation says families are expected to spend nearly $800 this year on back to school shopping, but for many families that doesn’t include your typical supplies.

This year the list includes shopping for childcare and tutors to help with in-home learning, and it has some parents getting creative on how to make it all work.

At this Lexington pediatrician’s office, doctors Megan Poole and Kibbe Crowley are busy with routine checkups for their patients. They are two working mothers who juggle not only the demands of their practice, but also a busy home life. Like many of the parents they see, they too have a lot on their minds when it comes to their child’s learning this fall and what it will look like in this COVID-19 world.

“I really want my kids to love learning, my daughter is going in first grade, my son is going into kindergarten,” said Dr. Kibbe Crowley.

“I think one of the biggest things I worry about is the constant changing environment the kids are living in,” said Dr. Megan Poole.

Crowley’s children are in public school and Poole’s attends private-both have to make plans for virtual learning and like a lot of parents, they’re working to try and to figure out what is best and affordable.

Poole’s seventh grader was set to start in-person, but that has already changed and its why Poole says having a plan B was important.

“She is able to do a lot of the learning on her own, she’s pretty good at that. I have definitely looked into trying to see if I can have somebody come in once a week just to keep her on track,” said Poole.

With smaller children at home, Crowley and her husband are looking to outsource family help, but that means moving her mother into their family bubble and taking extra precaution.

“It’s a tough dynamic for families to have to work through with outsourcing because each time you go outside your circle, you increase your exposure and ultimately your risk,” said Crowley.

A new Bankrate.com survey found 61% of parents said remote learning will negatively impact their finances. Things like paying for extra childcare and even outsourcing instructional help to keep their students on track.

“I know a lot of parents are struggling and I know it’s difficult to manage doing a job and education at the same time,” said Joann Clapp.

Virtual learning has created a space for retired teachers like Joann Clapp. She has nearly 40 years of experience in the classroom and has offered up her services via Facebook, Zoom, even texting to try and help parents.

“There is a lot of room for retired people like myself because for one thing we know the ends and outs of the school system and we know the resources our school systems have,” said Clapp.

At this Harrison County all-star cheerleading facility, tumbling will soon be met with learning.

The owners are using their space for an educational day camp.

“The one thing we have in here is a lot of space,” said Greg Shirley.

Owners Greg and DeDe Shirley saw a need in their community for working families.

“We realized a lot of parents were scrambling trying to figure out what they were going to do with their kids and even if they could have accommodations for them during the day they would come home to six hours worth of school work that night,” said Shirley.

With two buildings on site at HarriCyn Athletics, the Learn and Play at HCA Day Camp can accommodate about 20 children.

For $25 a day campers will be socially distanced and have certified substitute teachers on-hand to help with learning.

“It was just a need that we saw and we could fill,” said Shirley.

As parents try and navigate this new school year, pediatrician Dr. Kibbe Crowley says no matter what working parents choose-there is one thing to remember.

“Make sure you cut yourself some slack, I mean I think ultimately what we are learning right now more than ever is that there is not a right or wrong way to do things,” said Crowley.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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