GILBERT, AZ — Many Valley families are adjusting to remote learning, but one Gilbert family has an added challenge of having 12 children, ranging from 4 to 14 years old, doing online school.
George and Kate Hursh have 12 adopted kids, 11 from foster care and the oldest is from a private adoption. "We've fostered about 45 kids throughout the years," said Kate Hursh.
The children range from Pre-K to 9th grade in the Gilbert Public Schools District. They're doing online learning from home from four different schools and with more than two dozen teachers.
"There are so many different needs in our family -- developmentally, emotionally, behaviorally," said Hursh.
The kids are working on the dining room table and in workstations in the same room. "I think tomorrow we may have to troubleshoot the situation and just go and adjust. I mean, really I think all of it is going to be we do the best we can because that's all we can do," said Hursh.
Hursh said Wednesday started out rough -- the kids couldn't log in and they had issues with the internet, which also impacts their father who works from home.
"And then we started getting emails from the district and all the schools saying everybody's having issues. So I thought 'Okay it's not just me, I'm not failing at this,' it's that the internet is just the bigger issue than we thought."
Their two first graders have special needs, and Hursh said they've had trouble connecting and staying focused.
"He'll click on something else or log himself out. At one point I think he locked his password, so that was fun," she said.
"There's a couple of times where I'm like, 'Do I just need to get homeschool materials for home and just do paper and pen?' Because I don't know. I don't know how this will work every day. I just hope tomorrow is better."
Hursh said the first day of school was a rollercoaster, but she's hopeful that things will improve with time.
"To us, this is just our normal, this is our family. We're big, we're loud, but there's nothing different about us from anybody else that has two kids and trying to do this. We're all working hard and all we can do is do our best.