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Work and school at home: How's that working for you?

Amber Acree is playing the role of mom, educator and student as COVID-19 prevention measures keep the family at home all day, every day.

NAMPA, Idaho — Work and school - at least one of those things typically takes many people out of the house most days.

That changed in the middle of March, as part of measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Now, students from grade school through graduate school are doing all their coursework online, at home.

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Teachers have prepared lessons for those online classes, but still, many parents are doing double-duty -- helping the kids with their schoolwork while doing their own work from home, too.

It's true that many families choose home schooling for their children's education year-in and year-out, but in this age of COVID-19, many others have been forced to make some sudden adjustments.

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How's that working?

Amber Acree is mom to two children who attend Victory Charter School in Nampa: eight-year-old Kooper, a third grader, and 11-year-old Carter, a sixth grader.

"The teachers were really good about giving us emails updating us on how things were going to work, which was super helpful," Amber said. "They did send us a schedule of what the kids needed to do every day during the week."

Amber is also a student herself. She's working toward a psychology degree from the University of Idaho.

She's familiar with taking classes online; she just didn't think she'd be doing it at the same time as her kids, while working full-time.

"If I'm on a call and they need help, they just have to sit there and wait 'til I'm done," Amber said. "It's hard going back-and-forth between being an employee and being a teacher-slash-mom.

"We've had some tears. That was just out of frustration, because what a lot of what I'm getting is, 'well, that's not how we do it in school. That's not how we're supposed to do it.'"

Amber said she's concerned that her children may not be getting the same level of education while they're outside of their usual classrooms, but she also sees a good part to all of this.

"I feel like I'm more hands-on with their learning," she said. "I understand more of what it is that they're doing every day in school without actually having to go to the school and sit there and watch them."

Amber says she, Kooper and Carter are prepared to round out the school year like this if they have to.

She's confident they can adjust to it.

She also wants to remind parents out there who are in this same boat that it may seem rough right now, but calm waters are ahead.

She said it's worth reminding yourself that this is all new to all of us; we're all just figuring it out, and tears are OK for parent and for kids.

And when it's all over, spring semester of 2020 will just be a blip on your kids' overall education.

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