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Schedule, Creativity Helps With Home School

(Korbin, Tabitha, Hannah and Tessa Harney find room to do their schoolwork at their Waterville home kitchen table.)

When asked which of them was the student most in trouble, all three of Korbin Harney’s sisters looked at him.

The Waterville fourth grader shrugged. He then grinned at his mom, Corinne, and held up a sign that said My new teacher is mean.

Emily and Devyn Roy had a pajama party last week. The Clinton fifth graders wore matching plaid pajamas as part of their fun.

Sisters Mackenzie and Ally Bugbee made bird feeders last week. Mackenzie, a sixth grader at Brookfield, and Ally, in third, teamed up on their projects.

As students finish the first month out of school buildings and at home learning, they and their parents have expanded the kid-parent relationship to student-teacher. Last week Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all schools in the state closed for at least the rest of April.

Parents who have found some success in home schooling said a set schedule and finding ways to make it fun have been key to making this work for everybody. “We do the more difficult stuff in the morning,’’ Julie Barnes said. “In the afternoon we do science experiments and virtual tours.’’

Corinne Harney of Waterville has turned teacher for her four kids: Tessa in kindergarten, Korbin in fourth grade, Hannah in eighth and Tabitha in 12th. The two older girls, she said, are pretty good at setting their own pace.

The Harneys all have a spot at their kitchen table for doing their work together each morning. “If they are all working at the same time,’’ Corinne said, “it’s easier for them to focus.’’

The Harney kids said Tessa is the teacher’s pet. “I don’t get in trouble,’’ said the kindergartner.

Tabitha said the hardest part of this big change in her senior year is missing her friends. “Just being at lunch or talking,’’ she said. “That’s what I miss.’’

Barnes has twins Ethan and Layla in third grade at…

The full story is in this week's edition of the newspaper. 

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