Rick and Sue have three kids right now all at home. They have one in the 8th grade, another in 7th grade, and one more in 5th grade. Sue is also a teacher and has to continue to manage her own classroom with her school. Since these are unprecedented times, I have asked her to write some spiritual tips, to the best of her ability at this time, for parents who may also be struggling right now with all the changes. Enjoy.
5 Tips for Managing your Kids Education during Quarantine
By: Sue Velez
Our families all had a flow, a rhythm of how we functioned….get up, go to work or school, and return to discuss our day’s events perhaps over dinner. That norm, that routine, was flipped upside down without warning, without permission.
Although we all love our family, we never expected to be spending as much time together as we are now. For some, this has been quality time much overdue. For others, the day has seemed to be never-ending with the new demands that have been placed upon us. You’ve been thrown into a situation that is unfamiliar and somewhat scary! In just one week, we went from simply being parents, to now becoming homeschool teachers without training, without preparation!
By profession, I happen to be a teacher so you’d think it must be easy for me to do this homeschooling thing. But, truth be told – like many of you – I’m juggling working from home now. I’ve been participating in staff conference calls and organizing daily digital lesson plans for my students and have been responding to many anxious parent emails. In just one week, we moved an entire industry (education) from the classroom to the screen.
This new way of learning has come with specific challenges in my household for sure. For example, we now need to share devices in order for everyone to get their daily work done. At times, there’s been resistance from my children to do their best work on these digital assignments. The personal touch of the teacher is missing, so the desire to please them has gone out the window. Can you relate to any of these frustrations? Are you experiencing some resistance in your home too?
Here are 5 tips to help you get through this time with God as your guide:
#1. Be Grateful (Colossians 3:15-17)
We have been doing a Gratitude Challenge with our children, where we each come up with 3 things we are grateful for each day. At first, it wasn’t well received by the children, as they grumbled, “Why are we doing this?” The more we made it a new norm, the easier it has become. The need to express our gratitude for each other, our teachers, our friends, our church, our health, for our God, has never been greater than now.
I am grateful that I have a church family to pray with during this national health crisis. I am especially grateful to have a husband and children by my side that I get to serve daily, as I bring them closer to Jesus through my repentance.
#2. Stay Positive (Galatians 5: 22-23)
Keeping a positive attitude throughout the day is key. This is an adventure that we’re on! Build in spontaneous laughter throughout the day: it brings joy to the heart, a smile to your face, and it burns calories (always a plus!). Your kids are watching you to see how you respond to the stress you are now facing. They will model your behavior. This is a powerful time to model the fruit of the spirit: empathy, self-control, patience, generosity, kindness, peace and love.
#3. Be Consistent (Proverbs 29:17)
At school, your child had a weekly schedule that was consistent, predictable. Provide a similar structure at home to establish predictability in their day….and yours! Children of all ages thrive on clear expectations. The consistency keeps them happy because there are no surprises. For the most part, your kids do want to please you. Just be clear on what it is that would make you happy. Explain that you are counting on them to do their part to help make this new way of learning work for everyone.
Your “school” day may look something like this:
7:30-8:00 Quiet Time
Review Expectations (5-10 min)
11:00-12:00 Physical Activity
12:00-1:00 Lunch/Free Time
1:00-2:00 Science/Social Studies
2:00- 3:00 Art/Music/Games/Chores
#4. Be Flexible (Proverbs 29:17)
Ask the kids to have input on the learning schedule you create. This flexibility will be key to maintaining your sanity. If your expectations are rigid or always revving on high, your child will have a hard time being flexible and forgiving with themselves and others.
There will be days when the schedule you set up works. There will be other days when you’ll have to build incentives to bribe them, “We can bake brownies tonight if you…” There will be other days when it all goes out the window. Your “school day” will not be perfect and that’s OK. Try to remember that you’re both adjusting to something new so expect there to be bumps along the way. Be patient with one another and extend lots of grace! (Colossians 3:12)
#5. Have Fun! (Philippians 4:6)
This is a great time to dust off those board games that’ve been sitting on that shelf! Other boredom busters: learn a new game together, do some much needed spring cleaning, watch your favorite movies, get some fresh air, cook/bake together, or exercise. This is also a great time to relax together by teaching the kids some yoga – stretching and deep breathing could do us all some good.
Most importantly, PRAY TOGETHER!
David had a sling and a pebble.
Moses had a staff.
Rahab had a string.
Mary had some ointment.
Jesus had his Father.
We have Jesus.
Remember to pray in his Holy name.
You are NOT alone.
“I am with you always to the very end of the age.”