How do we care for our kids during this time?
This is information we have gathered from talking with families that are experienced in homeschooling. There is a lot of information on here, and while we will do our best to keep it updated, don’t get overwhelmed by all of the resources listed below. Start small, don’t try to do everything like they do at school right from the beginning. Find out where you can start and grow from there. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, pull back and slow down! The most important thing you have to offer them in this season is you being with them, everything else is a bonus. You are not failing your children, and they won’t be behind when school resumes, I promise! While this season is overwhelming and scary for many of us, we have a chance to trust Jesus with our fears, let him hold them, and make this a special time with our families that will make our relationship with them closer and more special than it was before!
If you missed our webinar about homeschooling best practices (featuring educators and experienced homeschooling parents), you can watch the replay here.
• Kids thrive on schedules and instruction, while having a schedule takes time to develop, it will ultimately help your kids know what to expect each day. When kids know what is expected of them they are more willing to press in and do work knowing that free time is coming.
• Prioritize relational time with kids – this is the best gift we can give them in this time.
• Build in time for spiritual formation during their school time, start each day with Jesus and bring that theme into their studies.
• Customize these schedules to meet your families needs.
• Most homeschoolers for grade schoolers is from 9-12, you aren’t doing anything wrong if you finish early
Quiet time midday to recharge for parents.
• Prioritize sabbath.
• Family/Education Planning – helpful for creating a rule of life for this new season.
• Protect your quiet time, it is so important for you to meet the day with Jesus before you jump into academics.
• More than anything, this is a time to really press into and develop a strong relationship with your children. You being with them is ultimately what they need, everything else is a bonus!
• You aren’t alone. We are here for you, if you have questions, just reach out and we will do our best to help resource you.
• For parents with multiple kids, start with the youngest kid, focus on them for 20 min, then move to the next oldest and spend time with them. Let the older kids know that they can’t interrupt because their time is coming, give them a quiet project or a subject that comes easily to them, to work on while they wait for their focused time with you. Having a set time with each individual kid allows you to have productive work with fewer questions and interruptions. It’s like deep work with your kids.
• After quiet time, try doing the more hands on stuff; gym, read alouds from their curriculum or a favorite book (maybe do a tea party while you read or something fun to change things up!)
• Embrace quiet moments and don’t fear boredom; boredom is good for fostering creativity and independence.
• Don’t worry about your kids getting behind, focus on building memories, finding daily rhythms that aren’t overwhelming, use this season as an opportunity to capitalize on more moments to come together as a family than you would get with your kids away at school. This has the potential to be a really special, bonding, time for your family, so homeschool your kids with open hands and welcome interruption!
• If it’s just not working today, don’t get frustrated. Grab a snack and read a wonderful book together or play in the yard, do something fun and interactive as a family!
• Try to avoid regularly turning to TV, but there are many good resources available on TV that can supplement education.
• For working parents, try to homeschool and be with kids from 9-12, and then do creative time/screen time in the afternoon while you get your work done.
• Switch homeschooling responsibilities with spouse but stick to the same schedule so the kids have an easy transition
• Use technology like MarcoPolo, Vox, etc, to keep up relationships and to talk with other parents.
• Work with other parents in communities or bring other families into it, this brings socially distant recharging as well as accountability and increased creativity on how to teach.
• Have a relative or friend read or tell a story to your kids over FaceTime or Zoom
• Netflix Party: Watch educational shows with friends like Magic Schoolbus, Our Planet, Oceans, Growing Up Wild, Veggie Tales.
Where to Start:
• Seek clear direction from their school
• Build a schedule that’s workable for your family:
• Have strict bedtime and wake up times, just like your normal school routine.
• Start each day with quiet time and Jesus: The Bridgetown Kids curriculum, Imaginative Prayer exercise, Bible Reading, Bridgetown Daily, Prayer Requests and Praises, The Bible Project Videos
• Start school time with the hard subjects for your kids, they have the most capacity and focus early in the day
• Expect bad days to come and have grace for that. Focus on making sure your child feels heard, understood, loved, and cared for.
• Remember: Interruptions can be places and times for the really beautiful things to happen, so welcome this interruption and expect God to meet you and your kids in it.
• Start somewhere and try it for a few days, don’t worry about finishing something that isn’t working, try something new. Have lots of grace for yourself, you’re new to this and nobody is expecting you to teach your kids like their teachers do!
For Kids Aged 2-7
• Rainbow Resource – affordable Christian/Secular curriculum you can purchase, forums you can engage with other parents on, and a lot of other articles you can check out.
• Exodus Books – local, Portland curriculum, Christian.
• Novel Effect app – plays sounds while you read books aloud on your phone
• Khan Academy – Teaching videos for many subjects, is really helpful with Math/Sciences, he explains it in a different way that can help students understand when you are stuck in explaining a difficult concept.
• Audio books – going through an audio adventure together while listening to someone else (great for quiet time so you can get work done while they listen. Let them draw or do lego while they listen quietly) Audible.com has a 30 day free trial! They also have free online book readings for kids.
• Raddish Kids has posted some free recipes on their websites. Try turning mealtime and baking into education, recipe planning, math, etc
• Read Aloud Revival – great book lists broken down by genre, age, wordless, etc.
• Smarter Every Day – Kid friendly, science YouTube videos – have them listen and then tell you what they learned, trying to remember actual terms
• Mark Rober – He will be live streaming science classes on his YouTube page every Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 1pm PST.
• Metropolitan Opera in NYC is going to start streaming their HD opera recordings each night. The operas will be available for 20 hours after they first debut.
• Museum of Natural History’s interactive website
• Library Resources (e-books)
• Language Arts Teaching – Three free weeks of intensive teaching for kids Grades 3 – 12 on all things grammar.
• Social Emotional Learning – As our rhythms get disrupted and many normal distractions are stripped away from our routine it is common for social, emotional, and mental health issues to start popping up in our kids lives. This online resource is helpful for equipping parents with tools to engage with their kids and to allow them to process through this difficult time.
Books for helping explore the ideas behind homeschooling.
- Mere Motherhood By Cindy Rollins
- For the Children’s Sake by Susan Schaeffer Macaulay
- Teaching from Rest by Sarah Mackenzie
Some Great Books to Read aloud to Kids
- The Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer (History)
- Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (Poetry)
- Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Ramona Books by Beverly Cleary
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Science books with Great ideas, thoughts to ponder, and experiments:
- Exploring Creation with Astronomy – Jeannie Fulbright
- Exploring Creation with Chemistry & Physics – Jeannie Fulbright
Mental Health Resources
*As information and the situation with COVID-19 has been changing rapidly, some of these resources are no longer completely accurate. Keep that in mind when reading them, but hopefully, they are still helpful in getting information about how to support your children through this situation.
Supporting Kids and Teens Through COVID-19
- How to support your child or teen during COVID-19 (Unicef) – Helpful basic guidelines for how to manage quarantine or “staying home” with children.
- How to talk to your child about COVID-19 (Unicef) – Good general guidelines to use when preparing to speak to children about COVID-19.
- Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus (Child Mind Institute)
- Managing Anxiety and Stress during COVID-19 (CDC) – Gives a list of behaviors that children or teens may exhibit due to stress from COVID-19 and ways to help before seeking professional help.
- Parenting during the Coronavirus (Focus on the Family) – If you scroll partway down this page, you’ll find tips for parents including parenting effectively during the outbreak, educational activities for kids who are stuck at home, practical resources for teaching kids from home, how to talk to kids about COVID-19, staying sane while working from home with kids, and showing grace when in close quarters.
- How to handle increases in sibling fighting (Raising Children – A parenting website). Includes resources around what to do after a disagreement or fight. With older elementary students, you can teach them to go through this process themselves, although some will continue to need guidance.
- Committee for Children – online resources for families that are free through June to help kids with managing their response to COVID-19. They have resources for mindfulness (Mind Yeti) which can help children learn skills in stress management.
- Managing Mental Health when in quarantine – This resource isn’t child specific, but speaks in general about how to address mental health concerns, and how to manage it if you or a family member already struggle with mental health. Remember that 19% of adults at any given time, and 13–20% of children experience a mental health illness during a given year (statistic from the CDC).
How to know if your child or teen needs additional support with mental health
- Signs that your child or teen may need professional help (Cleveland Clinic) – Offers a good general list of symptoms to be aware of in regards of when to get help.
- Signs that children/teens need professional help (Cheri Louvre, CMI) – This page was developed to help note when help is needed for children or teens who are grieving, but is also a good general list.
*Generally, our Kids’ team advises contacting a mental health practitioner if a child’s symptoms last more than 3–4 weeks and get in the way of his or her every day functioning (i.e. social relationships, schoolwork, ability to engage in extra-curricular activities). However, having kids stay home for long periods of time with little to no in-person contact with others outside the family may mean you want to intervene faster than 3–4 weeks. If in doubt, contact the child’s pediatrician and know that many mental health practitioners are continuing to “see” clients, but are working through technology rather than in- person visits.
If you have a child or teen that is struggling with mental health and you want to get help:
- If you think your child or teen needs additional help, the first step is to contact his or her pediatrician. They are often the gatekeeper for mental health services and know how to proceed based on your insurance. When you call, it helps to have a list of the symptoms you’ve noticed in addition to the severity and length of the symptoms to share with the doctor or nurse. They can then direct you to the next steps.
- Mental Health Services for children and teens on Oregon Health Plan or who are uninsured.
- Emergency mental health services in Multnomah County – This site has crisis line and walk-in clinic information (which may now be done by computer or phone). They are prepared to help people of all ages, and they are multi-lingual also. It also includes crisis line information for Washington, Clackamas and Clark counties. If you are concerned that your child or teen is suicidal, you can call these numbers or 911.
If you have questions, or additional resources, please send us an email and we will get back to you as soon as we can!