With kids out of school due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, learning at home is now the norm for families across the country. It's new territory for many, so as parents delve into it, Bringing Up Bates star Kelly Jo Bates admits homeschooling can be frustrating, but has shared some advice she's learned over the years as her own kids' teacher in an exclusive clip shared with Romper.
"I guess my top tip for homeschoolers would be patience," Kelly Jo, who shares 19 children between the ages of 8 to 31 with her husband Gil, says. Kelly Jo has been homeschooling her children for years from the conservative Christian family's home in rural Tennessee. "It's very easy as a mom to feel frustrated because not only do you have all different age levels maybe, grades, but you also have different personalities."
"You have some that run to you and come find you and say 'Can we go do school?' You know, they're excited," Kelly Jo, who's been starring the family's UPtv reality series since 2015, says. "And then you have some that are hiding and you have to hunt them down and they might whine and complain about going to school."
"It's very easy to get frustrated and to just be discouraged."
While she recognizes and has experienced the difficulties of homeschooling, Kelly Jo says trying to start the day on a positive note can help. "If you're already starting out the day discouraged, that's just going to add to the emotions you're already dealing with in the classroom, so I would suggest going in with positive enthusiasm."
Kelly Jo has previously opened up about why she prefers homeschooling her children. In a 2015 blog post, she said it was "one of the most rewarding choices" she and her husband made because "as a parent, I can watch, study, and diagnose my child's strengths, weaknesses, fears, tendencies, and attitudes."
"I can observe what motivates them and what helps them succeed. I can weed out curriculum choices that don't seem to work with a particular child," she wrote. "I can switch gears, switch goals, switch game plans and adjust as needed, because homeschooling provides the flexibility to cater to each child."
To get a taste of Kelly Jo's homeschooling experience and see where the Bates' family's reality TV journey began, you can stream the very first season of Bringing Up Bates for free online on UP Faith & Family. You can also catch new episodes of Bringing Up Bates on Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET on UPtv.
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.