If I have one more person tell me that things should be easy for me right now since my family already homeschools I may just snap! The Coronavirus Pandemic has effected us homeschoolers just as much as anyone else. Homeschooling through a crisis is not like regular homeschooling. It’s this weird blend of survival mode, trying to keep life as normal as possible, and constant adaptation. The changes brought on by a major crisis are just as hard on us. It’s not all bad, though. Homeschooling through a crisis can also strengthen our families and our faith.
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Keep the Faith
In times of crisis, it’s easy to pull away from God. We’re hurt and it can feel safest to wall ourselves off and hide away. Don’t do it! The most important thing to do right now is to make a conscious choice to stay connected to God. Use this time to form an even closer relationship with Him!
Spend Time in Prayer
Anxiety. Stress. Overwhelm. These are all words associated with times of crisis. Wisdom. Peace. Comfort. These are all words associated with times of prayer. That should make it pretty clear why prayer is important. We need to spend time in prayer so that we can bring our cares to God and he can bring healing to us. Spend time in prayer each day. Not just praying for relief and protection from the crisis (though you should absolutely bring those cares to God), but also thanking God for the blessings he has given you.
Spend Time in the Word Alone
I’m going to be real here for a moment. Spending time reading my Bible alone is something I struggle with. I always have. I’ll get better about it for a while, then slip back into old ways. This is not good in general, but it is especially bad in a time of crisis.
When storms come rolling in you need to anchor yourself to the Word! Every day, spend some time reading your Bible. It doesn’t have to be first thing in the morning, or for an hour, or with a fancy journal and Bible concordance. You just need to open your Bible (or your Bible app), pray for guidance, and read for a bit.
Spend Time in the Word Together
Spending time reading the Bible together each day is going to help your kids develop a habit that will carry them through life. It’s also going to teach them to seek answers and peace in God’s word rather than in man’s abilities. Think of all the times God rescued the Israelites in times where they were clearly doomed. As you read through these passages together talk about how things looked hopeless to man, but with God’s power, everything worked out. Help your kids to find peace in the pages of their Bible!
Stories are fantastic for helping kids (and adults) gain a new perspective. They can give us a fun way to see how other people worked through their struggles while giving you quality bonding time as a family.
Stories as an Escape
When you are homeschooling through a crisis, reality can feel overwhelming. Stories help kids ‘escape’ that reality and live someone else’s life for a bit. This is especially true when you read through a book series like Magic Tree House or The Chronicles of Narnia (two favorites in our house). Kids are comforted by the familiarity of the characters and settings in a time when their routine is far from familiar!
Use Stories to Teach Character
A well written book can do an amazing job of teaching good character to our kids. Think of the character traits you want your kids to develop and then find books where the characters exemplify those. The Little House on the Prairie series shows a family that understands perseverance. If you’re looking to teach caring for/about siblings, The Boxcar Children is a great option.
Sometimes in a time of crisis we need a bit of space! I know that as we have worked through our time of quarantine for Coronavirus we have all needed a bit more quiet time each day. Audiobooks are an absolute gift in this situation. They will let your kids absorb all those wonderful stories and lessons while giving everyone (especially you) a bit of independent time!
Do What You Can
Hear me when I say this, now is not the time to try to push through and do everything. Avoid the temptation to keep checking all the boxes! Think of this as a great exercise in prioritizing. Do what you can and forget about the rest for a bit.
Listen to Yourself
Whatever the crisis is you are facing, it’s going to take a toll on you. Whether it’s a health related that is sapping your strength and energy, or something in the world that is causing intense stress, your bandwidth is going to be limited. I am begging you to listen to your mind and body! If you are physically exhausted, take a step back and do less. Cut out some activities or lessons if you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed. It really is for your own good and the good of your children!
Listen to your Kids
You may be ready to roll with the punches and keep things going, but are your kids? You need to listen to their minds and bodies, just as much as your own.
They won’t always be able to come right out and tell you that they need a break, so you’ll have to watch for the signs. Are they stalling on school work more than normal? Have they been especially moody or whiny? Do they seem to suddenly have mysterious tummy aches? These can all be signs that they are overwhelmed and need to take a step back.
Consider Year-Round Schooling
Following the standard public school schedule often seems like the most logical plan. Your kids could be on the same schedule as their public school friends. It’s not always the best plan, though. A traditional school schedule doesn’t offer a whole lot of flexibility. Consider switching to year-round schooling so you can take breaks as you need them during the year.
Embrace Creative Time
Now is the time to embrace creativity. Not only because it’s a good thing, but also because it can help you solve some of the problems you are facing. It can be as simple or as complex as you like. Draw, cook, build with Legos, or whatever inspires you.
It Connects us to God
I read a devotional once about how we humans are created to be creative. You see, we were made in God’s image, and God is the creator of the universe. That means we were made to be creative. When we choose to get in touch with that part of ourselves, it connects us back to God, who created us!
It Gives us a Sense of Control
Oh my do times of crisis leave us feeling out of kilter. Often things are happening to us that are far beyond our own control. That can be very unsettling. When we make something, we direct the outcome. We are in charge. That gives us a sense of control that we so desperately crave!
It Makes Our Kids Happy
Times of crisis are hard on everyone, but especially on our children. One thing I have seen during our time in quarantine is that my kids are having to miss out on many of their favorite activities. They need something to look forward to. Giving our kids creative time to do whatever they enjoy makes them happy, and goodness knows they need happy moments during times of crisis!
When you are homeschooling through a crisis, you may not have access to your usual curriculum and community resources. Maybe your co-op meetings have been cancelled, or perhaps you lost your materials in a fire. These struggles make it a time when you need to think outside the box a bit and be resourceful.
Look for Videos
I can pretty much bet that anything you want your kids to learn has some sort of educational video that covers it. Seriously, if Netflix and Prime Video don’t have it, YouTube definitely will! Look for videos that will cover what you’re wanting to teach. The beauty of these is that you can do learn from anywhere, whether you’re quarantining at home, or you’ve been evacuated during a hurricane.
Look for Mentors
Do you have a friend who has experience or expertise in the subject your kids need? See if they would be willing to help, or offer lessons for pay or trade. If you can’t get together in person you could even do it online. During the lock-down for Coronavirus in our state a friend put out a call for help to see if anyone would be willing to help her kids continue learning Spanish over video chat! She thought outside the box and found a new way to help her kids continue to learn.
Look for Creative Methods
Let’s say you can’t get access to your math curriculum, but you want to continue what your children are learning about fractions. What can you do? Get in the kitchen! Cooking is a great way to practice multiplying fractions, equivalent fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, etc.
Looking for creative methods to cover the same topics will help you to continue learning in spite of the crisis you are working through! Take some time to find new and different ways to cover the same material you would otherwise miss out on.
Homeschooling Through a Crisis
Homeschooling through a crisis is a time to focus on what is most important. Stick with work that feeds your minds and souls and forget about the other stuff. Remember that you don’t have to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them. Be creative and show lots of grace to each other!