Newport News grandfather’s ‘HomeSchool Blues’ gains traction online during pandemic


NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Does the pressure of helping your children with distance learning leave you feeling blue?  If so, you’re not alone.

Award-winning singer Bobby BlackHat Walters, of Newport News, is also feeling blue about COVID-19 distance learning; so he penned the pain in a new song titled “HomeSchool Blues.”

“I just captured what I was feeling and what a whole lot of parents are feeling now,” said Walters.

A recent survey shows many parents and teachers are stressed out managing the “three Rs” — reading, writing and arithmetic — remotely during the coronavirus pandemic. Schools in Virginia shut down in mid-March due to the coronavirus crisis, forcing schools, teachers, and parents to adapt to distance learning via video chat, deadlines, homework assignments, and remote graduations.

The bluesman and his wife are now the substitute teachers for two grandchildren, ages 7 and 4.

The children’s parents are essential workers, so Walters is now wearing the hat of the first-grade teacher. It can’t be that difficult — so he thought.

“I have had four or five first-grade teachers sending me science, history, math, reading, language, P.E., computers — when did first grade get hard?” he said.

During math lessons, Walters found out he wasn’t smarter than a first-grader. That experience ended up in the song.

“As the song says, they do math a whole different way than when I learned math. My grandson will say ‘No, papa, that’s not the way we do it.’ It’s tough,” said Walters.

Based on his experiences around the kitchen table, Walters concluded, contrary to what some parents may think, teachers are usually correct in their assessments. He also adds the nation’s educators are underappreciated.

“They deserve more praise and more pay,” said Walters.

The HomeSchool Blues debuted on April 18 and it’s getting airplay in Nova Scotia, Hampton Roads and Greenwood, Mississippi. You can download a free copy of the song at

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