Learning at Home: A Balancing Act

By: Michelle Walker-Davis, Ed.D.
Generation Next Executive Director

Technically, this week is spring break for schools in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. If your household, like mine, has doubled as a classroom over the last few weeks, this spring break probably feels unlike any one before it.

Reflecting on my new role as a substitute teacher in my own home has led me to some realizations. Despite having been an educator and having access to all the technology and resources I need at home, I’m still falling short. I feel both out of my lane and out of my wits as I try to balance work and teaching my kids. 

Further, when I step outside my own circumstances, I’m reminded that so many families are trying to do this with far less. Many parents and kids in the Twin Cities are taking on “distance learning” without reliable internet (or none at all), attempting lessons without supplies, or trying to teach and learn in a one-bedroom apartment.

As I shared last week, this period of time has once again exposed the gaps in our systems. Like so much in education, it all comes back to equity. In that sense, while things are changing quickly around us and we find ourselves in unfamiliar situations, the disparities we see are dishearteningly familiar. And by the time kids start physically going back to school, the gaps will likely be wider than before.

What does this mean for Generation Next? This is the time for our coalition to double down on our commitment to tackling the systemic barriers and challenges that face lower-income families and students of color—and then bringing our partners’ expertise together to create solutions. 

To that end, we are less concerned with when we’ll go back to school—but how. How will we show up for kids, especially those whose lives were disrupted the most during this crisis? This kind of equity-centered question has always been at the heart of our work, and I know I am eager to take it on.

We know that students in Minneapolis Public Schools and Saint Paul Public Schools will be following their distance learning plans, which are linked here: Minneapolis Public Schools PK-12 Online Enrichment Resources and Saint Paul Public Schools Digital and Alternative Education.

In addition, parents and families may be searching for supplemental learning activities for their children. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Twin Cities has also put together an educational resource page, which can be found HERE

We would also like to share again the collection of resources our partners have put together to help families and children right now, found on the Generation Next website.

This now includes early childhood resources for families and providers, including a map of providers who are still open for children of emergency workers.  Click on the button below to visit our COVID-19 Resources page.