RINCON — Parents determined to help their children learn while schools are closed are getting a lesson in education at Teach Right!
Teach Right! specializes in resources for students in preschool through eighth grade, making it a great option for parents during the ongoing shutdown necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Effingham County schools closed March 18 and won’t reopen in 2019-20.
“Some of the parents are overwhelmed (about homeschooling),” Teach Right! owner Marian Hodge said Thursday. “... I think they are a little stressed about it.”
Teach Right! has been hurt by the decision to close schools but it created one unexpected benefit.
“The initial shock of this was good for our business because of the parents coming in,” Hodge said. “Parents used to think that this is a teacher store but they are learning now that we have more to offer than just for the teachers. That was one thing we were having trouble getting the word out about.”
Located at 586 S. Columbia Ave., Teach Right! sells quality materials to teachers, parents, grandparents, churches, daycares and anyone else vested in the educational development of children. It carries professional books, trade books, arts and crafts materials, and a large stock of unique toys that enhance learning.
Teach Right! has moved its teacher-oriented products to the back of the store. The ones tailored for parents are at the front.
“I have a mama (at the register) right now,” Hodge said. “She teaches the second grade and she has a preschool child at home. She doesn’t know how to teach that preschool child because she doesn’t know what he needs.”
Hodge’s staff presented serveral options desigved to help the boy learn the alphabet and develop rhyming skills.
“It’s hands-on things,” Hodge said. “You don’t want the preschoolers in books all the time. That kind of thing has happened over and over (during the pandemic).”
Even though schools are closed, older students still have work to do. They complete their assignments online.
Hodge said the situation presents a unique challenge for parents who have older students and preschoolers in their home.
“The older kids have their packets of work to do but the preschoolers have to be occupied while they do it,” Hodge said.
Hodge said it is important that parents develop a schedule for their students to learn. She believes her daughter, social worker Erin Woodcock, has a good plan for her grandson.
“She is not a teacher but they get up and get their school work done in the morning,” Hodge said.
Hodge’s grandson’s day is far from over when the instruction stops.
“They are pressure washing and calling it PE,” Hodge said with a laugh. “They are taking adventure walks and field trips out in the woods.”
Unfortunatey, the pandemic has forced changes in the way Hodge handles her business, too. Teacher traffic has been light in recent days because of Gov. Brian Kemp’s shelter-in-place order.
“February is our back-to-school buying time,” Hodge said. “We bought for back to school and we are fully stocked for back to school. There is no room.”
Teach Right! isn’t allowing customers to enter the building but is serving them in other ways. It takes orders over the phone (912-826-1681) and via Facebook, email and texts. It delivers the orders curbside at the front of the store.
“We have done some Facebook posts to remind teachers that they can shop early, Hodge said. “Right now, if we have teachers come in, it is because they are shopping for their own children.”
Teach Right! sells gifts for teachers, including monogrammed products that can be designed by customers on their computer. The web address for Teach Right! is https://teachrightstore.com/.
In another attempt to drum up business, Hodge has increased her social media presence. Teach Right! presents “Story Time” on its Facebook page each Thursday.
“We’ve made it fun,” she said. “We get the kids up and do some movement activities.”
In addition, the store occasionally conducts live sales on Facebook.
“I’ve become more comfortable doing live videos,” Hodge said.
Easter baskets have been a good seller during the pandemic. The colorful items are filled with age-related games and toys.
“We will post them online and the parents can choose what they want to help the Easter bunny because the Easter bunny is on break right now,” Hodge said.