ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – A Roanoke County mom built a mini classroom in her basement to provide a learning environment for her three daughters who are doing virtual learning from home.
Thursday was just another day in school for 3-year-old Trinity, 5-year-old Hannah and 7-year-old Savannah. However, their classroom is anything but ordinary and their teacher is none other than their mom, Billie Jean Jones-Green.
Given the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, Billie Jean and her husband decided to have their girls virtually learn from home.
“I didn’t know how far, you know, really the desks would be apart, how much really the kids would keep their masks on, or how the day would go without recess and without some of those things that we’re used to having," said Billie Jean. "Deep down inside, we just weren’t quite ready.”
She used to be an elementary school teacher in Roanoke County, so the stay at home mom pulled out some of her school supplies, bought desks online and built a fully-stocked classroom in their home’s basement.
The girls even stick to a schedule every day.
“We don’t just jump out the bed and come down with our pajamas on. We actually go through that same process of getting dressed, we get washed up, and we get our hair done," said Billie Jean. “With that structure, they learn well. They learn better.”
Like so many other families, Billie Jean said it hasn’t been easy managing their homework and technology. The girls have to share the one laptop that was provided by the county school system, which can be challenging when the girls have classes at the same time.
Even though the girls had their father’s laptop available for them to use, they still had to ensure their home’s internet had enough bandwidth for everyone to use.
“It was stressful. The first day of school, technology, everything that could go wrong, went wrong," said Billie Jean. "And I sat at this very desk and I cried.”
Billie Jean said after that first day, things got better. She and the girls learned and adjusted.
She said no matter what your classroom might look like, just do what works for your family.
“You don’t have to have a classroom like mine," said Billie Jean. "But find something that will inspire your children while they’re learning.”