What Your Toddler’s Distance Learning Looks Like In Your Home Based On The Liberal Arts College You Attended

Like parent, like child.

Polly Duff Kertis
Published in
2 min readJul 10, 2020


Photo by Rohit Farmer on Unsplash


You refuse to call school subjects by their traditional names. English is “Thinking and Speaking.” Math is “Qualities of Quantities.” Science is “Climate Change Through the Lens of the Arts and Humanities.”


Your toddler is required to formally propose his chosen course of study, which you approve or deny based on your mood. Successful proposals include: making arty punk rock with household objects, baking weed brownies, and recreating the daily heated arguments you and your creatively frustrated spouse have had since quarantine started.

The New School

Your gender-fluid toddler shadows you while you work from home to give them exposure to industry-specific training that will prepare them for jobs in publishing and/or social justice nonprofits and/or social justice nonprofit publishing.


Whenever your toddler asks for a “wiggle break” from his back-to-back Zoom classes you calmly hit mute and inform him that if he wants to succeed in life he will stay in his seat, but if he wants to work at Taco Bell when he grows up, he can go watch Ninjago.


Your toddler has memorized the Biden phone-banking script.


Your toddler has impressed her Movement teacher with her “pong” skills. Your house is totally disgusting, and everyone just pees in the corner.


You haven’t seen your toddler in weeks, and you didn’t realize schools had closed. You’ve been locked in your home office writing your latest soon-to-be-Tony-winning adaptation of The Canterbury Tales set on post-colonial Mars.


When you found your toddler’s school closed one Monday, you assumed you’d spaced on what month it was. You’ve been celebrating what you believe to be summer vacation by listening to CDs of the Phish concerts you recorded illegally, eating weed gummies, and teaching your toddler to ride a longboard. You haven’t read the news since 2017 because it’s too boring, and you don’t understand why everyone at the health food store is wearing a mask.


You’re writing daily emails to the principal at your kid’s school explaining Ivan Illich’s philosophy of unschooling and why your kid should be awarded full credit for watching Ninjago all day.

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Polly Duff Kertis

Polly’s writing has appeared in Hysterical Rag, Tin House, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. For more humor and fiction, visit pollyduffkertis.com.