Gulfport family juggles work, homeschooling during coronavirus outbreak

Gulfport family juggles work, homeschooling during coronavirus outbreak

GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - The home is now the classroom for thousands of students on the Coast as the coronavirus pandemic grips the nation.

It's a new experience for the Lawrence family.

“Juggling, I think is going to be a new challenge, you know, but I think, Baya was sad," said J.E. Lawrence.

“You were sad to leave your teachers, right?” he asked his daughter Baya.

“Yeah," she replied.

Earlier this week, Gov. Tate Reeves called for schools to keep their doors closed through April 17. It means Alicia and J.E. Lawrence will be juggling work with homeschooling their 6-year-old daughter Baya for a little while longer.

J.E. has a bit of an advantage. He’s a biology teacher at Gulfport High, so he does most of the homeschooling, all while teaching his students online. He knows how important having a routine is. They made this schedule for their daughter, even adding in time for recess.

“It goes by time, so it kind of follows what she normally would have been doing in class," he said.

Sometimes even little sister Tess joins in on the learning.

The Lawrences hope homeschooling will be the biggest change they’ll have to handle for a while. They worry about what the future will bring. For one, Alicia knows every paycheck could be her last.

“We live paycheck to paycheck. You know, we’re the normal, middle-class people," she said. "It’s very scary to know that I may not have income coming in.”

For now, they’re enjoying their time together during this unexpected interruption.

“I think that’s really the biggest advice is start taking advantage of the time to be with your family," said J.E. Lawrence.

They remain optimistic that things will soon get better.

“We pray every night, and you just have to have faith that everything will be okay," said Alicia Lawrence.

“That’s the thing that we all need to know is that the Lord will get us through this,” said J.E. Lawrence.

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