This month we are featuring our Director of Christian Education, Josh Wolfenden. He has a few ideas on how we can help our children adapt during this Pandemic
Settling in to Homeschooling
As we adapt to new ways of work brought on by our current situation, one of the biggest changes in our lives is probably filling the role of teacher while we are still trying to work from home. We have had a few weeks now to learn the new technology and develop daily routines and, if your kids are like ours, they became comfortable with the digital format much quicker than we have.
Here are a few tips and suggestions for navigating the world of digital learning for the rest of this school year:
1.) Routines are good- Maintaining a set routine will make the day feel more like school and ensure that your child is aware of the expectations for each part of the day. Some flexibility can be good, but for the most part, kids should be able to anticipate the next transition and know what they are trying to accomplish at different checkpoints during the day.
2.) Communication is key- When you have questions, email your child’s teacher. Teachers are adjusting to this new platform as well and, while they have your child’s best interest in mind, they may not always think about the project that was assigned by the gifted teacher or the art assignment that was uploaded at the same time they are assigning an essay. If things are starting to stack up or if your child is becoming overwhelmed, reach out to the teacher and let them know. Often, they will extend deadlines or even adjust the workload.
3.) Listen to your kid- You know your kid. You know when they are happy, you know when they are having a tough day. Kids can’t always verbalize exactly what they are feeling or why they are feeling that way. Pay attention and step in when they are a little off. Kids are missing their friends, they are missing their teachers, many are worried about the severity of the virus, and sometimes they just get tired of being at home. When your child is having an “off day”, switch up the routine a little and get some fresh air. A bike ride in the middle of the day or a quick dip in the pool can be the “reset button” they need to get back in the right frame of mind.
4.) Socialization is still important- Not everything we learn in school is related to curriculum. There is so much social learning that takes place every day and we have to address that as we homeschool. Reach out to the parents of your child’s classmates and see if their child would be available to FaceTime. We thought our kids would have an awkward 5-minute conversation and be done. 45 minutes later (after they gave their friend a guided FaceTime tour of our house) they were still talking about Minecraft, schoolwork, sports, you name it. It was really neat to see the social side of our kids that we are not always able to observe. The kids loved it too.
5.) Pray- Incorporate prayer with your child(ren)/family every day. Your kids need to know that God is in control and we will be alright. Guide them in prayer for their friends who don’t know Jesus. Pray for our leaders, medical workers, and those who are sick. Pray for the elderly and pray for protection for those who are well. Model this to your children so they have peace in their heart during a strange and unsettling time. The strength of our God will prevail. He will make a way and our kids need to know that.
God bless you all in your efforts to succeed. Please feel free to reach out to me and Angela with any questions or suggestions for our collective homeschooling experience. We are happy to share what we have found helpful and we’d love to hear your strategies as well.
Blessings, Josh and Angela Wolfenden (and Jacob and Caleb, too