Families & the Community

How Are Parents Dividing Home-Teaching Duties During Coronavirus?

By Catherine Gewertz — May 08, 2020 1 min read
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With schools and most workplaces shuttered due to the coronavirus outbreak, parents are shouldering huge new roles as shepherds of their children’s schoolwork. In scores of stressed-out Twitter posts, parents are detailing their struggles to manage it all.

In two-parent households, who’s taking on the biggest role as schoolwork supervisor? It appears that the answer depends on who you ask.

A survey published Wednesday in The New York Times asked 2,200 parents with children younger than 12 who is doing most of the homeschooling or distance-learning supervision.

Nearly half of the fathers said they shouldered most of that duty, but only 3 percent of mothers agreed with that picture. Eighty percent of mothers said they, not their spouses, were handling the lion’s share of that supervision.

In another report, released Thursday by a parents’ group, 78 percent of women who live with male co-parents report that they’re taking on most of the schoolwork supervision duties.

ParentsTogether asked about 1,600 of its members how they’re handling distance-learning. The results echo the difference in gender-based viewpoints that the New York Times poll found: Nearly 75 percent of the women in the ParentsTogether poll said they manage most of the distance learning, and 57 percent of the men said they did. Men were far likelier than women to say that they and their partner shared the load equally.

ParentsTogether said in a statement that co-parents who aren’t already sharing the distance-learning responsibility need to “step up and do more.”

Each study has its limitations: By asking which “spouse” does most of the home-schooling, the New York Times study appears to leave out families in which the parents aren’t married. The ParentsTogether survey’s findings are based on a sample gathered through Facebook Messenger.

Image: Cathlean Snyder, a Caddo Parish, La., teacher, teaches classes online and manages instruction for her five children as well. —Henrietta Wildsmith/The Times-Picayune/The New Orleans Advocate

Graphics: New York Times, ParentsTogether

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A version of this news article first appeared in the Teaching Now blog.

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