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Chemeketa student-parents persevere through difficult quarantine

Student-parent work station, with children’s toys next to it. Photo by Elizabeth Desmarais.

Student-parents at Chemeketa are finding individual approaches to a new way of learning.

There have been numerous struggles as a result of COVID-19, many of which impacted student-parents. Parents are schooling online, their children are home-schooled and daycares are temporarily closed.

“I think finding the balance is key and pretty crucial. We actually have a schedule that I made up and it changes each Sunday, depending on how much the workload is on my slate,” Ashley Mosley, a current Chemeketa Student said.

“The week before school shut down though I had taken my son out so we were already home-schooling anyway,” Mosley said. 

Although parents and children are doing their schooling at home, family time can be hard to come by.

“Every Friday night is our family game night so starting at 6:30 after dinner, I put down my school work, he doesn’t have any school work and it’s just together, you kind of have to schedule those together times too,” Mosley said.

Aaron Wendling, another Chemeketa student-parent said, “Honestly I’ve been trying to convince my daughter to get her school work done first and then focus on my school work…with her being in first grade she does not like to be steady paced and actually get her work done. So then it turns into me not getting much work done when I want to and having to stay up after they go to bed to get anything done.”

There are many different ways to go about this and it’s crucial to find what works best for each family. Each family is going through different challenges during this time.

“I’m not even joking, the following Saturday after my first week of [my] second term [of college] and I became a single parent. Unexpected death. My fiance and their Dad passed away and it was all on me after that,” Wendling said.

Student-parents face many struggles, but they are not without support.

“I know that if I don’t know a resource I can always reach out to STEPS because they have such a bunker of knowledge as far as community resources go. One thing, I tried to get possible help with the internet, they’re still looking into funding with that,” said Mosley. “I know that STEPS has been able to help with my purchase of my books and other school supplies materials so that’s been a huge help. I know I’m going to be reaching out to St. Vincent Depaul for electricity help.”

At the end of Winter Term there was a worry that the resources STEPS provided would be gone due to the grant funding it running out. However another grant known as CCAMPIS still funded most of the services that were provided. Such as childcare, emergency funds, scholarship assistance among others.

It’s important to shed some light on the difficulties of being a student-parent during this time and for everyone to know that they are not alone. This is a trying time, but it is a perfect time to set a strong example for children. Where there is a will, there is a way.

Mosley had some words of advice and she said, “I would say give yourself grace for sure, because it’s a learning curve, and even with the students that are still schooling from home that are still actively public schooled you still got to give them that time too.”

Wendling had some advice for other student-parents, “No matter how rough it gets it is possible. Stay positive.”

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