Sarah Michelle Gellar, Patrick Dempsey and More Celeb Parents Get Real About At-Home Learning amid Coronavirus
"Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week."
Whether distance learning, virtual learning or homeschooling, with many kids home from school this year, parents have been also taking on the role of teacher — often while working a full-time job on top of that. Needless to say, life is looking a whole lot different amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Whether you're struggling to balance your child's schooling and work at the same time, constantly grappling with how to talk to your kids about the pandemic or running out of creative activities to do, it's not easy.
In case you wanted someone to commiserate with, here's how they're all coping:
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Mom to Charlotte Grace, 11, and Rocky James, 8, Geller spoke to Parents about assisting her kids with virtual learning. Although it has its challenges, the star says she gets through it "by having compassion and understanding that there’s no manual on how to do this. None of us are perfect."
“All we can do is the best we can and understand that maybe math or reading is not the same place where our other children were at this exact point but that their independence and their ability to pivot and be flexible is a life skill that will probably serve them even better than what they are going to learn in some of those classes,” she added.
"It's really hard because at this point, certainly at their age, the socialization's so important," Dempsey said of the twins. "And then being in a Zoom school all the time is very challenging. I think the mathematics and certainly the sciences are very hard to do."
But despite the challenges, he went on to note that "the school's been doing a great job of trying to keep everybody focused and organized and they're making it through. But it's hard for all kids, I think, right now."
"I'd say the biggest challenge for me is just homeschooling," she said, to which Geist, a dad of two himself, answered, "Amen!"
"It was an incredibly stressful time for me, and I will make any action movie over and over and over again before I homeschool again," Theron added.
The 2019 Sexiest Man Alive told PEOPLE that he and wife Chrissy Teigen have a new appreciation for teachers since taking on the role themselves amid the pandemic. Like many parents, Legend, 41, and Teigen, 32, have found themselves doubling as daycare and pre-K teachers to their two children, Luna, 4, and Miles, 2, in the wake of school closures. “It’s not easy,” said the singer. “I think every parent is realizing how hard it is to be a teacher.”
But according to Legend, his wife has really risen to the challenge. "I knew she had it in her, but she's been an extremely creative mom during this time," he told PEOPLE senior editor Janine Rubenstein. "Every day, she's trying to figure out a new craft or activity with the kids. She tells me now that one of the things she wanted to be when she was younger was a preschool teacher. And I'm definitely seeing that aspect of her."
The musician, 41, also opened up about the new normal of his home life during the conversation for Meredith's :BLACKPRINT initiative, and says it certainly hasn't been without its challenges.
"We've had to essentially homeschool them and entertain them. Every parent has been trying to figure that out," Legend says. "It's hard — especially with toddlers, because there's no such thing as independent study with toddlers."
The Queen of England's grandson-in-law, Mike Tindall — who shares 2-year-old Lena and 6-year-old Mia with Queen Elizabeth's granddaughter Zara — has found teaching his daughter, Mia "sometimes really nice, sometimes really frustrating," he told the Daily Telegraph
“[Mia] can be brilliant one minute, and then something you’ve seen her do a thousand times she’ll just go, ‘I don’t know how to do that.' And then you go, ‘Well, I know you do.'" He added that discipline is particularly difficult for him and his wife, noting that Mia "enjoyed it the first week because it was different being around Mum and Dad all the time, but then, ultimately, it’s the same people who are telling her off or telling her what to do and I think then she gets bored of that.”
Kristen Bell's daughters, Delta and Lincoln, are whip smart, which means that they've got some comebacks for their mom when it comes to her teaching abilities. Bell posted a photo showing off her daughter's handiwork, a grid with opinion and evidence of her mom's "bad reactions."
"Trying to get my 1st grader to write her first opinion essay, and was quite impressed with the topic she chose as she presented her grid with opinion and evidence," Bell captioned a photo of the grid.
"How my momy reacts to me," Lincoln's grid read in the middle, with sections emanating from the center that read, "bad reactions," "doesn't believe in me," "no patience" and "stern voice."
"It's a nightmare for me. It's a nightmare. This is like a wash of a semester," Berry told Entertainment Tonight. "They're really just not learning anything and it's hard. ... What I learned is that when 6-year-olds see other 6-year-olds do things, then they do things. Like, they sit and they eat because there's 25 other ones doing it. They stay at their desks and color because there's 25 other ones doing it."
"At home, there's not 25 other ones doing it. So, to get them to focus and realize they're at home but yet they're at school, it's really been a challenge," she added. "But I have enjoyed having all this extra time with them. We have been making good use of the time when they're not in school."
But it's not all a nightmare, "When I'm not cracking the whip for school, we do have a lot of family time, story time and bonding time that we don't often get to have, so there is the silver lining," Berry said.
Even a superhero doesn't find distance learning easy! Hemsworth, 36, who has been social distancing at home in Australia with his wife Elsa Pataky and their three children — India, 7, and twin boys Sasha and Tristan, 6 — told Entertainment Tonight he wishes he "had a positive attitude about [homeschooling]."
The bright side? "My negotiation tactics are improving though! It's like, three hours of that and then 20 minutes of actual school work."
"Having to homeschool is a challenge, and it makes you greatly appreciate the people who teach for a living. They are making this system work in such an unpredictable and scary time," Miller, 38, said in the special June/July issue of Vogue, in a feature titled Postcards from Home: Creativity in a Time of Crisis.
While the "experience is overwhelming," the actress is "trying to bring in as much optimism as possible" to their home "and make the most of the time I get to spend with my daughter."
"There's been lots of baking, lots of makeup, lots of swings," Miller added.
“School started, and it all went out the window,” the 45-year-old actress said of her “inventive” ideas for her daughters’ day-to-day, like using chalk to make hopscotch drawings and taking bike rides. “The minute I thought, ‘Oh, I’m three weeks in, I’ve got this,’ I cried every day, all day long.”
“It was the messiest plate I’ve ever held in my life, to be the teacher, the parent, the disciplinarian, the caretaker. And I thought, ‘Oh my God, and teachers have children [of their own]. Do they survive it because they get to go away and work with other kids? Have they had their children in their classroom? How did this all work?’ ” she added.
“I didn’t think I needed to respect and appreciate teachers any more than I did,” Barrymore said.
Kim Kardashian West
During a video call-in for The Tonight Show‘s at-home edition with host Jimmy Fallon, Kardashian West, 39, shared that the task of educating her two older children with husband Kanye West (son Saint, 4, and daughter North, 6½) has been no easy feat.
“It’s spring break now, but we have school, usually,” said Kardashian West. “So to be the teacher to four young kids — well, two are in school, so two — is insanity. I’m, like, hiding from them.”
When she appeared on The View, the mogul said that she has a "newfound respect for teachers."
“The kids just got on spring break, thank God! Being their teacher, too — my newfound respect for teachers!” she said. “They deserve so much. It’s been tough juggling it all. You really have to put yourself on the back burner and just focus on the kids.”
"Kanye escapes to his office for a work break. He also let Kim have a break last week when he took some of the kids to Wyoming. They have been taking turns caring for the kids," the source said.
The Late Late Show host, who shares son Max, 9, and daughters Carey, 5, and Charlotte, 2, with wife Julia, admitted that it has not been easy learning from home. He called the process an "up-at-dawn, pride-swallowing siege" while calling into On Air with Ryan Seacrest.
He said, "I've never had greater respect for teachers everywhere and also, I will never come home from work ever again and say that I am exhausted."
"The homeschooling is horrific," Corden admitted. He joked, "If somebody came down from a different planet and observed me and my son and then were asked 'Which of these is the teacher?' they would never choose me."
Lopez is currently social distancing in Miami with her fiancé, Alex Rodriguez, his daughters Natasha, 15, and Ella, 12, and her kids, twins Max and Emme, 12. While chatting with Ellen DeGeneres, Lopez said, "I help with the homework. All four kids are doing virtual school right now and so I stay more on top of Emme and Max about that."
She added, "I think we're all like 'What is this?' I'm not a teacher. And also, have you seen the math that they make the kids do now? It's a new math! It's crazy. So half the time I'm like ... 'Okay, yeah, let's look up that word. What's that mean?'"
She may be responsible for some of the most popular shows on television, but Rhimes isn't finding homeschooling her 6- and 8-year-old children easy. After homeschooling for "one hour and 11 minutes" early on in social distancing, she tweeted, "Teachers deserve to make a billion dollars a year. Or a week."
The Younger star took a break from teaching her 8-year-old son, Luca, to post a photo of herself relaxing on Instagram with the caption, "2nd grade teachers love @whiteclaw ammorite?"
She's currently social distancing at home with her husband, Matthew Koma, and kids Luca Cruz and Banks Violet.
She told Yahoo! Life, "I feel bad complaining. But it is so hard. The patience I’m exercising is insane, and to then deal with my 1.5-year-old on top of it… But Matt was just like, 'Well, Drew Barrymore cried on TV about being a homeschool teacher.' So at least it’s not just me! I just cry in my bedroom though."