HOUSTON — Many parents are grappling with making a decision on their child’s education. Do you send them to school during the pandemic? Is it safer to keep them home? But if you keep them home, how do you balance virtual learning with your job?
Two mothers began heavily researching their options months ago.
They discovered so many resources, they teamed to launch 39Hats.com a website for childcare and education in the pandemic.
The homepage reads: "Helping families navigate the chaos of today’s educational landscape."
Mothers Tanya Khan and Ramya Moothathu met years ago at Duke University. They became friends while earning a master’s degree in business administration. The pair have stayed connected through social media and have come to rely on each other over the last five months.
“Both Ramya and I spent tons of hours either, talking to our friends, joining tens of Facebook groups just to understand who should I talk to? What are the options in the area?” Khan said.
The two began researching childcare and education options for their young children. Their husbands work outside the home. The women are working from home, mainly at night or while their children nap.
“The reality is, there’s a really universal struggle here,” Moothathu said. “And I just think it’s bringing all of us, as families, together.”
The created and launched 39Hats.com in late July with the help of Moothathu’s husband’s cousin’s daughter. The name for the website, “came from the fact that we as mothers, in particular, are wearing many different hats. And then on top of all of that, we are now educators," she said.
The website offers free resources for parents looking to form a learning pod within their neighborhood. There are also databases for tutors and support programs, like childcare facilities that can supervise virtual learning. The data is alphabetized and sorted by community.
“We’ve been out there, cold-calling schools, all day,” Moothathu said. “And we were like, how come nobody knows about this? It would help so many parents out with this under-leveraged resource. And we’re trying to get the word out, among other things.”
The website is updated frequently, and the women are working to upload resources available in Fort Bend County.
“I think people are realizing there are so many options out there that they never even thought about,” Moothathu said.
It’s Texans helping Texans and beyond. While the women are friends, they’re not neighbors. Moothathu lives in Houston. Khan lives in Charlotte, North Carolina and is building a list of resources for her neighbors.
“As a community, whether it’s in Houston, Charlotte or other parts of the country, we’re not only able to survive but thrive during this pandemic," Khan said.
All thanks to a pair of multi-tasking moms who wear several hats.
“And yeah, we’d love to hear from other parents out there. How can we make this better?” Khan said.
Moothathu responded to KHOU 11 Reporter Melissa Correa’s request on Nextdoor for good news.