Students across the country have had to adjust to conducting their classes online because of the pandemic, but their parents are feeling the pressures of virtual schooling too.
More than 3 in 4 parents (78%) report spending an additional two hours or more each day helping their children with schoolwork, according to new research from consumer product manufacturer BIC. In fact, 25% of those surveyed said they spend four or more extra hours a day helping their children compared to what they did before the pandemic.
And besides having to juggle educational duties with their work, parents also find they need to reacquaint themselves with long-forgotten academic subjects, as well as deal with higher-than-usual school supply costs.
School work can be challenging for parents too
The problem isn’t just about finding time — some parents are also discovering that their mastery of school subjects isn’t what it used to be.
For example, 40% of parents admitted to struggling when helping out with math, followed by 18% who said science was giving them a hard time, and 17% who reported having trouble helping with reading and writing assignments.
Interestingly, 26% of fathers admitted to having trouble with science, compared to just 9% of mothers. On the flip side, 53% of moms found math difficult, compared to 28% of dads.
Despite the struggles parents faced, most gave their own teaching skills a passing grade. Specifically, 40% of parents graded their teaching abilities as an “A,” and another 35% gave themselves a grade of “B.”
Parents paying the costs of remote schooling
Parents aren’t just spending more time on their children’s education — they are also spending more money than they usually do.
An earlier survey projected that virtual learning would likely lead to higher costs for new technology needed by students, as well as higher food costs, since children would be home all day.
The BIC survey bore this out, with respondents reporting paying out more for supplies this year. Parents with children between the ages of four and 10 spent the most on back-to-school items, at $580 more on average. They were followed by:
- Parents with children between 14 and 18, who spent $478 more on average
- Those with children between 11 and 13, who spent $469 more on average
Some working parents are also struggling to handle their professional duties while they help their kids with virtual school. Another earlier survey found that 57% of working parents were worried that the pandemic could hurt them at work.
The BIC survey asked about the most challenging aspects of parenting during the COVID-19 crisis. In response…
- 59% said keeping life “normal” for their children was difficult
- 44% found it hard to juggle their own workloads with helping their children with schoolwork and doing housework
- 44% also said finding safe ways for their children to socialize with their friends and other peers was a challenge
In their bid to make life for their kids as normal as possible, some parents are encouraging their children to find creative outlets outside of schoolwork. While 68% of parents said their kids are spending more time in front of a computer or electronic device since the pandemic,
- 59% of children are also reading more
- 53% are drawing more
- 52% are painting more
- 46% are writing by hand more frequently
Methodology: BIC commissioned a leading market research firm to survey 500 parents during Oct. 8-13, 2020.