Of all the current changes and challenges coronavirus has brought to America, none might be more drastic and challenging than parents becoming de facto teachers.

With virtually all school-age children now taking their reading, writing, and arithmetic at home, parents are dusting off their knowledge of verb conjugation and long division (though today’s long division ain’t your grandmother’s long division) in an effort to help guide their kids through their education.

It hasn’t been easy, as a CivicScience study of over 1,800 parents found. Among people with school-age children, nearly a quarter are finding eLearning and at-home schooling to be “very difficult.” Half say it’s manageable, and another quarter-plus say it’s been a breeze.

Older parents are finding at-home education more manageable than younger parents. This could be the result of having older children who are more self-directed, or because with age brings experience and wisdom.

In general, people who are finding at-home instruction difficult are twice as likely to have developed a higher appreciation for teachers than those who aren’t experiencing challenges teaching their own kids.

Supplemental Tools and Programs

Of course, there are other educational options out there for parents. Countless sites and apps are available for parents to supplement what their children are receiving from their schools. So far, nearly a quarter of parents have spent money to supplement their children’s education during the coronavirus crisis, and another 11% plan to do so.

The biggest marker of parents who choose to supplement their children’s education? By a wide margin, it’s those same people who say their own ongoing education is important to them. Taken together, it’s clear the more parents care about their own learning, the more time, effort, and money they are putting into their children’s learning.

Age also plays a role, with younger parents more likely than older parents to have purchased outside educational material.

Income and education level of the parent play only a minor role in whether they buy supplemental educational material for their kids with those making $50K or less most likely to purchase additional learning tools.

Obviously, the American educational system has dramatically changed in recent weeks, and it’s changed enough that nearly a quarter of parents have seen fit to spend extra money on their child’s education. Will this trend continue post-coronavirus? It’s certainly something CivicScience will be tracking.