The pandemic has thrown many Americans into the roles of both teacher and learner, and it is stressful. Many parents have found themselves thrust into the role of ‘teacher’ while both parents and non-parents have been tasked with figuring out how to use new tools to work from home (if fortunate enough to have work from home options). Compounding the anxiety, suggestions to ‘take this time to improve yourself’ abound. While these new efforts can have positive results, they are often hard and frustrating, and are not something most hope to continue long-term.
The most anxiety producing behaviors identified in this research are using online tools for children’s education (31%) and offline homeschooling activities (30%). In addition to increasing anxiety, 37% of parents now homeschooling feel overwhelmed trying to balance work and other needs of the family and 31% are frustrated with online school systems. One-in-tend parents are also having technical issues with online schooling platforms.
Home schooling (online or off) is also a top contributor to difficulty sleeping and a quarter [of parents?] indicate that helping children with online learning causes them grief, possibly over what both they and their children are missing. As one NY Times article notes, “…our kids are desperate to see, touch, feel, smell their friends,” said Jon Steinberg, the creative director for Epic, a production and publishing company. “Weirdly, Gen Z could come out of this with a permanent, lifelong, forged-in-disaster appreciation for physical connections over digital ones.”
There is a silver lining. While homeschooling and online learning are hard – they are also rewarding to parents. 40% say these activities increase their sense of connection and 34% say they increase their sense of hopefulness. That said, most either aren’t willing to make or can’t afford the tradeoff long term: Only 19% feel that homeschooling as a trend will be ‘here to stay’.
This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll from March 6-8, 2020 among 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact [email protected].