Bethlehem Press

Monday, July 13, 2020

The Family Project: Mother at home teaching in place

Friday, May 15, 2020 by CAROLE GORNEY Special to The Press in Focus

Q. I am a mom who is totally losing her mind trying to home-school three kids, cook, clean and work. I feel guilty about having to divide myself so much. How can I spend more time with my kids and give them the attention they need?

With the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic stay-at-home mandates. the panelists had words of encouragement for the mother.

“First and foremost,” said panelist Chad Stefanyak, “we need to let the mother know that this is everybody right now. She is not the only one feeling this way.”

Said panelist Joanne Raftas, “‘I feel guilty’ is something we need to talk about because it is such a wasted emotion, and there is nothing to feel guilty about. We are all trying to accommodate this new schedule.” she said.

Panelist Pam Wallace said, “Prioritize the things that really need to be done. You can do cleaning later or less often. Elicit the children’s help with cleaning or straightening up; the same with cooking.”

Stefanyak added, “If it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t get done.”

Said Raftas, “This is all new as well for teachers, many of whom have children of their own. Nobody is being very strict right now. If the mother’s children are behind in a subject, the mother should just reach out to the teacher.”

Panelist Erin Stalsitz urged the mother to find out what school activities are actually required, and which ones are not. “Not everything listed for the school week has to be done,” she said.

“Some schools are only giving out pass or fail,” Stefanyak said. “It is less about grades than about exposure to the material.“

Panelist Wanda Mercado-Arroyo recommended that the mother look for home-school resources on the website of the Pennsylvania Department of Education: There are videos and other materials on the coronavirus page, Continuity of Education - Resources for Instruction.

This week’s team of parenting experts are: Pam Wallace, program coordinator, Project Child, a program of Valley Youth House; Erin Stalsitz, Lehigh Children & Youth; Wanda Mercado-Arroyo, educator and former school administrator; Joanne Raftas, Psychotherapist, and Chad Stefanyak, school counselor.

Have a question? Email:

The Family Project is a collaboration of the Lehigh Valley Press Focus section and Valley Youth House’s Project Child.

The Times News, Inc., and affiliates (Lehigh Valley Press) do not endorse or recommend any medical products, processes, or services or provide medical advice. The views of the columnist and column do not necessarily state or reflect those of the Lehigh Valley Press. The article content is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, or other qualified health-care provider, with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.