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Why these two Mentor grandparents decided to become stay-at-home teachers to their grandkids during COVID-19

Posted at 11:04 AM, Sep 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-11 11:04:46-04

CLEVELAND — Sunday is National Grandparents Day, and 2020 has reshaped their role. Two Mentor grandparents decided to become stay-at-home teachers to their grandchildren during COVID-19.

"We knew if the kids went back to in-person school in the fall we wouldn't be able to see them," said Kay Shaniuk.

Dan and Kay Shaniuk of Mentor are homeschooling their four grandchildren: Masie, Leo, Parker and Danny.

Why?

"Because we've set ourselves up in a little bubble," said Kay.

Dan is a cancer survivor and his medication makes him immunocompromised and vulnerable to COVID-19. They couldn't stand the thought of not seeing each other. So, as a family, they decided not to burst the bubble and keep isolating together.

They are both retired. Their previous careers had nothing to do with education, and they say they never saw themselves in this situation.

"If you'd have told me I was going to be the back-up French teacher at the age of 73," laughed Dan. "I wouldn't have believed it!"

The kids enrolled in the Ohio Virtual Academy. The online charter school provides the curriculum and Dan and Kay do most of the teaching.

"There's definitely really good times and there's definitely some 'Uh oh, regroup!' times, but really, it's fun," said Kay.

The kids agree. One said, "My favorite part is basically everything!"

"I really think the kids are getting a lot out of this,” said William Shaniuk, Dan and Kay's son. “In the past when they would come home after school, we'd say, 'what did you guys do today?' and they'd be like 'I don't remember'. And now, they can actually tell us what they've learned!”

“Thank you, thank you for all the support,” said the kids to their grandparents.

RELATED: How grandparents are providing a safety net for parents with children during COVID-19

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