by Dave Warner
Jessica Kelly and her husband Jareth consider themselves very lucky because they both can work from home. Her husband works for Beechnut in an administrative capacity and she works for Herkimer College as a professor.
The couple already had a home office setup, separated from the main house because of Jareth’s earlier position with GE, where he worked as a remote employee for a number of years. Kelly said, “We have a pretty good setup, as we just walk down the driveway to ‘go to the office’.”
She says, “it would be really challenging to focus on work if at the same time you were filling up sippy cups, tying shoes and answering all of the sorts of nitty-gritty parenting questions.”
“His job now is a pretty traditional 8-5 role and I’m able to be home with our girls during the day, which is great,” she said.
The college has switched to all on-line instruction, which she said is fantastic. “I’m doing my instruction in the evening, so my husband can stay with the girls. It’s definitely different, and trickier than it has been in the past, but we are making it work.”
The couple feels pretty lucky that they can manage relatively easily compared to some other parents.
Before the college closed the campus, Kelly was teaching four courses online and three in person, but now she has all seven online, which she says is a lot.
“Two of the courses that are online, are ones that I’ve never taught online before, so I’m quickly trying to figure out the best most effective way to teach subjects like trigonometry online, which is a new challenge for me,” she stated.
Kelly has been teaching online courses for over five years now, so it’s not that new to her.
She says that her kids are doing great and adjusting well to the ‘new normal’. “My primary purpose at this point is to keep them happy and safe since it’s a super stressful time for everyone. Kids are not immune to that stress as they recognize that their entire world has been flipped upside down.”
Kelly is trying to fit as many fun things as she can into each day to keep them engaged. Tasks include baking, lots of games, reading, coloring and on nice days, they are able to get outside.
“We have a farm road that we can walk down and see our neighbors cows and we’re doing that on nice sunny days. We’re trying to find fun things to do while doing instructional things as well,” she stated.
They are writing postcards every day because Kelly said that her eight-year-old hates writing. “This is a way to get her to do some writing in a fun way and keep in touch with friends. We have an old stack of postcards and we’ve been burning through those in a fun way.”
They’ve also tuned in a lot to Mo Willem’s, author of the elephant and piggy books, and lessons that he does each day at 1 pm. “Mo is great and he has a really nice method of teaching the kids every day. He reminds me of some of the older tv personalities like Mr. Rogers or Romper Room. He talks to the kids.”
Kelly says they are also baking every day. “They’re working on measuring and scooping and instructions. Of course, you end up with a great treat at the end of it.”
They’ve also been making sure to read every day and they are trying to bring out different books each week to keep them interested and engaged. “We recently started the Wildwood Collection, which is a series of novels for children.”
“We’ve also been looking for signs of spring on our walks every day and then we make a science journal when we come home to note what is changing in our environment and making observations in this much slower-paced life,” Kelly said.
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