WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Working from home is a new normal for many businesses and schools this year. But it can be very stressful for parents who now have to both work and help their child with online school. A West Des Moines company that has found a way to make that easier for parents and students by bringing them both into the office.
“I personally really like it because I like home so being able to be home in school still be able to be school like from mentality thing because I don’t think I’d be able to handle like being in my house 24/7,” Valley High School Junior Madelynne Straker-Seay said.
Straker-Seay is doing her junior year of high schoo in her mom’s office building.
“My mom has a history degree and illiteracy something. So, I’ll be like, Mom. US history. Please help, or like I’ll go Carson’s in my grade.
Carson Harvey’s mom also works at Telum, an environmental service company, and he said doing school at the office means fewer distractions.
“Because at home I got all my video games and everything like that like, I’m pretty much just space off to whatever,” Harvey said.
Telum Owner and President Jared Burma said this alternative school is helping his employees be more productive.
“Now they’re not chasing kids around and dropping them off at schools, I know the kids are gonna get back school but from an employer standpoint, it’s been actually really great it also keeps the anxiety, you know, the stress of going to work,” Burma said.
Especially for parents who don’t have options for childcare.
“So, if I had to do school at home it wouldn’t be good because there’s no one there. So, I’d have to call my mom just for help. And it would make her kind of frustrated. So, it’s better to come here because there’s more people. And also, there’s dogs here which makes me happy,” Des Moines Public School 5th Grader Khloe Simms said.
So, besides the dogs, the company tries to make it feel like a regular school day, and everyone takes a break for lunch.
“Lunch is awesome,” Harvey said.
Thursday, they had a pizza party.
“Sometimes we’ll like order food as an office. Or sometimes we’ll like to bring it from home just like you normally would,” Straker-Seay said.
“It keeps it a little more fun relaxing we just had a circus going on outside,” Burma said.
And by circus, he means gym class.
“You have to get a fitness app and just record. At least 90 minutes of exercise. And what I do since I started unicycling, I just go out and I ride my unicycle for 90 minutes,” Harvey said.
Straker-Seay gets points by practicing color guard
And even though these students miss the social aspects of school, they are thankful this workspace, is also a safe space.
“My grandma has dementia. And so, she’s forgets to take her medicine sometimes. And, I just go there every day and I make sure she takes the medicine and everything like that she feels well and everything. I feel really bad if they were to get something just because I went to school. And when I had the option to go online to,” Harvey said.
The company said they will continue to do this type of alternative schooling for as long as the students need the space to work.