COVID-19

Things I’ve Gained Through Quarantine

Here we are. Again.

Eight months into this pandemic, and we are back on temporary lockdown. Can’t go here, can’t do this, you can do this but with these restrictions, etc, etc, etc. In some ways, 2020 has felt like one big “NO.” It is insane to me how the span of eight months can feel like an eternity. But if we are thinking in terms of actual eternity, eight months is merely the blink of an eye, an almost invisible blip on the radar. 

It goes without saying that, for almost everyone, this has been a year of loss. Some have experienced significant loss: the death of a loved one(s), job loss, financial hardship, marital strife or even divorce, or the loss of absolutely every earthly possession they own in the wildfires that ravaged our region. Many others have taken on incredible amounts of stress as they work the front lines of this pandemic (shout out to ALL healthcare workers, law enforcement, firefighters…you’re the real heroes), or try to navigate the challenges of working from home while also trying to homeschool their children (for anyone in this position, you da real MVPs). And almost everyone has taken on the burden of navigating the loss of relationships, connection with others, and the feeling of isolation that comes with having our everyday lives come to a screeching halt.

It can be easy to toss around Scripture during times of stress, loss, and grief. The Scripture below is no exception, but it truly is one of my favorites in the Bible:

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am humble and gentle in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV)

Stop for just a second. Read that again. What blows my mind is that Jesus desires to trade our heavy burdens for his light one. That He wants to exchange our trash for his treasure…if we would just come to Him. He promises rest. I don’t know about you, but I could sure use a healthy dose of that after this year.

Because of all this, it’s a little comical that I felt like the Lord was prompting me to write this post about things I’ve gained in quarantine. It is so easy for us all to revert to all the things we’ve lost this year…but what about the things we’ve gained? When I look back on 2020, am I going to remember all the hardships and inconveniences? Probably, yes. But even more so, I want it to be burned into my memory the things the Lord has revealed to me this year, both about Himself and about myself. I want to focus on the steps forward that I’ve made and view this year as pivotal in my walk with the Lord, not as a year to be forgotten or written off.

 

Gain #1: Perspective
  • Social media has taken the world by storm, even prior to COVID-19 and even more so after. While it can be used as an incredibly powerful tool to keep us connected to our family, friends and communities, ask yourself: is it draining you? Are you constantly comparing your life to others or dealing with discontentment based on the squares of other people’s so-called “life”? Are you going down rabbit trails and finding yourself wracked with anxiety? Fasting doesn’t necessarily mean abstaining from food and drink. Maybe it’s time to disconnect from the virtual world that we are immersed in and get back to basics. My phone has become an “escape” (dare I say…idol?) during this pandemic and I have been convicted on more than one occasion to set it aside and engage in what is right in front of me rather than what’s on a screen.
  • I have felt numerous times over the course of the past eight months that this pandemic is absolutely a tool that God is using to encourage His people to press “pause;” to slow down, to rest, and to lean into Him. Not just lean in, but rely on Him. A MAJOR reset. I have longed so many times in my adult life for things to slow down; to be able to off-load things from my plate, to spend more time at home with my family, to just breathe. Yeah, it’s not always easy working from home full-time with a toddler. I am wracked with mom guilt a lot because she has above-average screen time as I try to juggle several things at once (like everyone else). No, I don’t get a lot of alone time. BUT, I’m home with her. I’m here. And even if I don’t feel present all the time, I get to be the one to be here for everything. And this is time I will never get back.
Gain #2: Self-Awareness
  • The ironic thing is, now that life is moving at a much slower pace, I find myself trying to constantly replace (or fill) the slowness. I feel restless, sometimes borderline impulsive. Like I need to disrupt my newfound peace and quiet to feel “productive”. Why? Why can’t I just soak in the peace that I have been craving for so long (and that God has graciously gifted me with)? 
  • As an introvert and a homebody, my tendency is to isolate myself and to go inward, particularly when I’m struggling with my mental health. To stay in my bubble, safe and unbothered. That’s dangerous, because being in your own head all the time is unhealthy. The Lord recently made it very clear that I need to be more intentional with my intentionality: seek people out, seek out opportunities to connect and stay connected, and be present.
  • Reading my Bible is similar to exercising; I never regret doing it, and I always feel amazing afterward. Why, then, are these things SO difficult for me to stick with? Particularly with this extra time on my hands? Let’s be honest, I am not that busy. This just tells me that I have some serious re-prioritizing to do.
  • In the same breath, I’ve realized that I’m done riding the shame spiral. Done putting unrealistic expectations on myself, done feeling like a failure when I don’t meet these unrealistic expectations, done putting myself in a box. A dear friend (you know who you are) recently pointed out to me that I like to proclaim things about myself and write them off as “truth”. That I resign myself to “facts” about what I can or can’t do, or that I am/am not passionate about something because deep down, I’m afraid to be a child at something and to risk failure. Annnnd…mic drop.
Gain #3: Appreciation
  • I have been clinically diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). This means that my brain literally never stops thinking, analyzing, worrying, etc. My therapist asked me once to think about when (if ever) I last experienced boredom. As the mother of a toddler, a serial overachieving perfectionist, and someone who used to base their productivity on how many boxes they could check off on their completely unrealistic to-do list, this was a completely foreign concept to me. For the first time in years, there are days during this pandemic where I have actually experienced boredom! It actually makes me feel triumphant when I start to feel bored, because this means that I am taking control of my mental illness rather than it taking control of me.
  • In contrast to my first bullet point, I am actually incredibly grateful for technology and the benefits it has given me during this time. I have transitioned to working from home full-time with virtually zero interruption and have been incredibly fortunate to remain employed; I am able to communicate and stay connected to those dearest to me; and I have even completed an inductive Zoom Bible study!
  • Finally, I am eternally grateful for the gift of time. Time with my daughter, time with my husband, time with Jesus. Time to breathe, time to explore hobbies I forgot I loved and passions I forgot I had. Time to focus on actual self-care (not just pampering and fluff): taking care of my mental, physical and spiritual health.

 

I guess what it boils down to is this: we have a choice. Every day, the stress of this year (or life in general) threatens to swallow us whole. And let’s be honest: some days we give in. We let doubt, fear, anxiety, worry, apathy, shame, guilt, and pride creep in and settle in the places where Jesus has been working so hard this year to clean house. It’s there that the enemy wants to keep us, focusing on all the things that have gone wrong this year and the uncertainty of what is to come.

But guess what? Jesus always has the final say. And He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. Stay the course, friend. 

Much love,

Ali

 

About Ali Gadbaugh: Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ali is a homebody who counts coffee, her husband and daughter, and Jesus as a few of her favorite things. She likes to add a little sarcasm and humor to life, and is passionate about growing and deepening her relationship with her Savior.

 

Living As Light

 

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light  (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. It is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” – Ephesians 5:11-14, NIV, emphasis added)

 

We bought our house in the dead of Winter. Abandoned for a year, the inspection was done without electricity and water. There was a leak in the roof, filthy toilets, a bullseye target painted on the window, and remnants of someone who’d used it as shelter during the time it sat vacant. We hoped and prayed everything would work when we made an offer and called it our own a few days before Christmas.

But sheer angst was what we experienced several days later.

Winters in the Pacific Northwest are dark and dreary, so we were excited to see the sun finally peek through the clouds while unpacking. It was the light that unleashed what was hidden. Thousands upon thousands of beetles scurried out from under the cedar shakes on our south-facing home to bathe in the warm sun. Once gray in color, our new house looked black. It was absolutely covered in insects. 

I took the window screens off and hundreds dropped out. Even the attic vents were full of the pesky bugs. More beetles tucked themselves under the shingles than I knew what to do with. Years of no one dealing with the pests made for a breeding haven and I was completely overwhelmed. There were times that I stayed inside on sunny days to pretend they weren’t there, and even thought about cancelling plans with friends so they wouldn’t see my infested home.

When ignoring the problem no longer worked, online tutorials and articles helped me decide how to overcome my new arch-enemy. The plan for victory meant keeping a pressure-washer always ready with a special soap and water mixture.  Spraying them with the sudsy solution was tiresome and tedious, but it worked! The beetles dwindled in number and what began in anguish ended in anticipation. I rushed home on sunny days just to deal with my pests and get rid of them for good.

If you’re anything like me, you may not always want to expose things that are hidden. Like the beetles that lived under my shingles, It may seem easier to pretend they aren’t there than go through the hard work, exposure, and even embarrassment of dealing with them and admitting they’re a problem. 

The same is true for sin. Only when it’s exposed and known can we truly surrender it to the Lord and be cleansed from it. The pesky, debilitating, and loathsome problem of sin can only be reconciled in the light. 

I believe we are living in a time of sin-reckoning, Sisters. I believe this current pandemic, racial tension, and national discord is exposing both personal and corporate footholds. They are bringing to light weaknesses in our character and revealing values inconsistent with Gospel truth. They are uncovering idolatry and the darkest places of our heart. They are unveiling the filth that lurks under the surface. 

And I believe the same is true for the Church at large. God’s bride has been hiding sin in the shadows. Covering it. Justifying it. Perhaps even unaware of it. The Light of God in all His radiant perfection and glory exposes things we may not have wanted to see –  In ourselves, our neighbors, our systems, our communities, our leaders, and those we love. 

But there is beauty in the revelation of sin – If we humbly acknowledge it and repent from it. The apostle Paul tells us that everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light.”

Imagine for a moment what the world would look like if we, daughters of Christ, fully surrendered our sin and walked in the light of the Lord (Ephesians 5:11)? If we let Him refine and cleanse that which has been exposed? We would illuminate our homes, workplaces, and nation for His glory! 

Oh Sisters, may we boldly ask the Lord to reveal our offences and humbly repent of them. May we bravely plea in the same manner as David: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalm 139:23-24). May we reflect His image “in all goodness, righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:11). May we be examples of confession and reconciliation for all the world to see and “live as children of the light” (v.11) for His pleasure. May we stop trying to hide our fear of being exposed (John 3:19-20) and fully surrender to our great God’s mercy. May we hold fast to the truth that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” (John 1:9).

May we let Him consume us. Refine us. Cleanse us. Purify us. All for His glory and His Kingdom. Amen.

 

About Lisa: Lisa DaSilva is a wife, mom of two teenagers, teacher, and advocate for women to love God with their heart, soul and mind as they engage in responsible study of His Word. She is the Director of Arise Ministries Collective in the Pactific Northwest.

Loving Jesus and making Him known really is her everything.

 

 

 

Not Sure What Bible Study To Do This Fall? 11 Ideas to Get You Started

It’s the time of year when individuals, small groups and churches commit to Bible study curriculum for the upcoming Fall season, but finding theologically sound resources to accommodate a particular timeline, group dynamic/need, or topic can be difficult. We know many of you might be studying alone at home or with kids around while social distancing and supervising school. We want to help!

Below is a list of options we think will help women better understand the Word, the character of God, and the purpose He has for our lives. Each one varies in terms of time commitment, depth of study, and suitability for group/independent learning, so we tried to provide some helpful notes to guide your decision. This list is not at all exhaustive, but we hope it will serve as a launching point for upcoming studies. You can find more of our suggestions by linking to last year’s ideas here.

If you do choose to use one of the resources listed below, click directly on the image or title to view and purchase the resource from Amazon. We earn a small commission if you do, and every little bit helps us minister to women.

You can find more of our suggested books, studies, Bibles, and even resources for children by clicking here.

 

Bible Study for Busy Mama’s: Thirty Days 1 Corinthians 13 

  • Author: Pam Forster
  • Timeline: 30 Days
  • Homework: 5-15 minutes per day with options to go deeper
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insight: This is a great way for anyone (you don’t have to be a mom or even particularly busy to glean from these studies), but ideal for women homeschooling/supervising remote learning this Fall. This study is geared towards moms with little ones at home and includes activities/suggestions for involving them in what you’re learning. For more in this series, click here.

 

Matchless: The Life and Love of Jesus

  • Author: Angie Smith
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes, but not necessary
  • Additional Insight: This study has just been released, so none of us on the Arise team has had a chance to finish it, yet. That said, we absolutely loved Angie’s other study, Seamless, so have faith that this one will be theologically sound and a great resource as well.

 

 

Jude: Contending for the Faith in Today’s Culture

  • Author: Jackie Hill Perry
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1-3 hours per week
  • Video – Yes. Not necessary, but strongly suggested. Each episode is 8-20 minutes long and can be rented or purchased from Lifeway.
  • Additional Insight: A teen version of this study is also available.

 

 

 

Lord, Teach Me to Pray in 28 Days

  • Author: Kay Arthur
  • Timeline: 28 Days /4 Weeks
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is an all-time favorite for a few of us on the Arise team. It’s a great independent study, but also has questions in the back for use with a group. We strongly recommend this one, and love doing it alongside others for accountability.

 

 

Living Victoriously in Difficult Times

  • Author: Kay Arthur, Bob & Diane Vereen
  • Timeline: 6 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 1 hour per week (see Additional Insights below)
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is designed to be completed as a group with all of the work/discussion taking place together over a 40 minute period together. We suggest allowing more time to go through the study in a group format (at least 75-90) OR asking participants to complete the 40 minutes of content individually before coming together to discuss. This study is also suitable for independent use.

 

I Am Found: Quitting the Game of Hide and Seek with God and Others

  • Author: Laura Dingman
  • Timeline: 6  Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: No
  • Additional Insights: This is a topical study about issues surrounding shame and identity. It’s less of an in-depth Bible study, but uses Scripture to lead women on a journey toward healing and surrender. It’s suitable for individual use or study with a trusted group of women.

 

 

All Things New: A Study on 2 Corinthians

  • Author: Kelly Minter
  • Timeline: 8 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2-3 hours per week
  • Video: Yes – Helpful, but not necessary.

 

 

 

 

What Matters Most: A Study of Philippians

  • Author: Karen Ehman
  • Timeline: 7 Weeks / Sessions
  • Homework: 2 hours per week
  • Video: Yes

 

 

 

 

Illuminated Bible Journals  (ESV)

  • Author: Published by Crossway
  • Timeline: Varies depending on which book you choose to study
  • Additional Insight: These Bible journals are amazing! Scripture is printed on one side, with lined pages on the other for your observations and notes. There are large margins for marking the text and recording insights. We suggest reading about Inductive Bible Study and printing our downloadable resources to help you work through the text. The book of James would be a great place to start, but journals for each book of the Bible are available.

 

We also love Precept Upon Precept and Bible Study Fellowship classes. These are facilitated by trained instructors all over Canada and the USA. Click on the links below to find one near you.

 

Podcast 028 – “Unexpected Homeschool Mom – Strategies to Help you Thrive” with Angie Forrester

Whether fully homeschooling, supervising online learning, or doing a model that integrates both, we want to help you thrive. Join Lisa DaSilva and longtime homeschool mother of 5 Angie Forrester as they talk through some strategies and offer Christ-centered perspective.

Find more conversations about Covid-19 education options along with helpful tips and resources in previous podcasts in our Unexpected Homeschool Mom series by clicking here and here.

Show Notes

Strategies to Foster Success
  • Have a Family Meeting
  • Make a PlanHere’s an basic idea of how much time it will take to get through school based on age: 1st-3rd – about 2.5 hours  (this time is very parent lead); 4th-6th – about 3.5 to 4 hours (this time is about half parent lead and the rest student lead); Jr High & High School – about 6 hours (this time is mostly student lead with tutors or online support as needed)
  • Create a School Area and Practical Structures 
  • Actively Engage and Be Interested in Your Student’s Learning
  • Have Fun and Make Memories
  • Give (and accept) Grace
  • Make Christ the Center
Scripture References

John 14:27 (NLT) “I am leaving you with a gift—peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.”

Philippians 4:6–7 (NKJV) “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” 

Genral Resources and Links

For updates on State Law requirements:  https://hslda.org/

Exodus Books is Angie’s favorite homeschool bookstore. It’s small and family owned, so if you have any questions they are very helpful in working out what will be the best fit for your family.
Charlotte Mason Resources and Links:

Wild and Free: Charlotte Mason inspired podcasts & content bundles. They also have small nature groups that gather around the country to enhance your homeschool experience.

Sonlight: Rich literature and hands-on science.
My Father’s World: Similar to Sonlight, and in the past have been a little more affordable.
Beautiful Feet: History book collections that teach through the power of story.
Ambleside: A free resource.
Classical Education Resources and Links:
Classical Conversations: Nationwide local communities with weekly classes.
Logos Online School: Classical Christian School with classes online.
Calvert Academy: Offers online classes or box set resources.
“Box Set” Classroom Links and Resources:
Abeka – Online or boxed curriculum options
Closing Thoughts

Our hope and prayer is that you would cling to the hope in Christ as you navigate this season of life at home. May these suggestions and resources bring calm and clarity, and may you rest in the unwavering truth that you truly are the very best teacher your children have.

With great expectation as you embrace this hard holy work,

Angie and Lisa

 

Meet Our Guests

About Angie Forrester: A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for 9 years, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lisa Da Silva: Lisa has never (ever) officially homeschooled her children, and is increasingly thankful that her kids are young adults with schools that are pulling off remote learning with great success. She is passionate about education and loved being a public school teacher before starting a family. She is honored to be the Director of Arise Ministries Collective, and longs to see women transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is willing and ready to come alongside all the mamas with children unexpectedly at home during this season.

 

 

Podcast 027 – “Unexpected Homeschool Mom: Options & Encouragement for this Holy Hard Work” with Angie Forrester

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

What will my family do for school this Fall? How will my kids handle remote learning? Online classes? Is traditional homeschool a viable option? What about community learning pods or other alternative models? How do we even decide and what should we look for moving forward? Can I really do this?

We hope you’ll join host Lisa DaSilva and longtime homeschool mother of five Angie Forrester as they talk through some of these questions in an effort to relieve anxiety and bring God glory heading into uncertain times this Fall.  

Listen to the conversation and find Christ-centered encouragement, hope, and practical ideas, then scroll down for resources in our Show Notes.

You can find more helpful tips, strategies, suggested books and resources in an earlier podcast with Angie Forrester by clicking here.

Show Notes
Questions to Guide Your Decisions
  1. What does the Bible say? Does scripture align with and support your options?
  2. How is the Holy Spirit prompting or leading you?
  3. What do your Christian mentors/wise people in your life think?
  4. What are your personal preferences? What are the preferences of your spouse? Your children?
  5. What doors are open to you? What options are available?
Genral Resources and Links

For updates on State Law requirements:  https://hslda.org/

Exodus Books is Angie’s favorite homeschool bookstore. It’s small and family owned, so if you have any questions they are very helpful in working out what will be the best fit for your family.
Charlotte Mason Resources and Links:

Wild and Free: Charlotte Mason inspired podcasts & content bundles. They also have small nature groups that gather around the country to enhance your homeschool experience.

Sonlight: Rich literature and hands-on science.
My Father’s World: Similar to Sonlight, and in the past have been a little more affordable.
Beautiful Feet: History book collections that teach through the power of story.
Ambleside: A free resource.
Classical Education Resources and Links:
Classical Conversations: Nationwide local communities with weekly classes.
Logos Online School: Classical Christian School with classes online.
Calvert Academy: Offers online classes or box set resources.
“Box Set” Classroom Links and Resources:
Abeka – Online or boxed curriculum options
Scripture References
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.” Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (ESV)

 

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.” Hebrews 10:24-25 (ESV)

 

But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:14-17 (ESV)

Commit your work to the Lordand your plans will be established.” Proverbs 16:3 (ESV)

 

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another.26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.”1 Corinthians 12:12-26 (ESV)

Closing Thoughts

Our hope and prayer is that you would cling to the hope in Christ as you navigate this season of life at home. May these suggestions and resources bring calm and clarity, and may you rest in the unwavering truth that you truly are the very best teacher your children have.

With great expectation as you embrace this hard holy work,

Angie and Lisa

 

Meet Our Guests

About Angie Forrester: A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for 9 years, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lisa Da Silva: Lisa has never (ever) officially homeschooled her children, and is increasingly thankful that her kids are young adults with schools that are pulling off remote learning with great success. She is passionate about education and loved being a public school teacher before starting a family. She is honored to be the Director of Arise Ministries Collective, and longs to see women transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is willing and ready to come alongside all the mamas with children unexpectedly at home during this season.

Podcast 024 – “Unexpected Homeschool Mom: How to Survive (and Thrive) During Covid-19 Closures”

“Children are not a distraction from the more important work, they are the most important work.” – Dr. John Trainer

Let’s be honest. We just weren’t prepared for this. Mamas and caregivers around the world are suddenly  responsible for educating their children at home with limited experience or resources. Even with school districts posting lessons and offering support, we need help with the basics. That’s why we called on Angie Forrester, homeschooling mother of five with nearly a decade of experience. We hope you’ll listen and be encouraged as she shares tools and ideas to help us thrive during the COVID-19 school closure.

Scroll down to find a summary of things we discussed, additional helpful strategies, as well as direct links to some of the resources Angie mentions.

 

From Surviving to Thriving: 6 Strategies to Help You Succeed

Create Routine – Children thrive in structure and need consistency. So do we. It’s good to know what to expect each day, especially when things around us seem unpredictable. Create a schedule using your child’s input if at all possible. Kids often respond to change and expectations better when they’re part of the process and feel ownership. Be sensitive to what’s working and what’s not as the days (and weeks) go by, and feel the freedom to make adjustments.

Foster Character Through Responsibility – Giving your child chores to complete during the day not only keeps your house tidy and organized, but cultivates responsibility. He or she will soon learn that others in the home depend on their hard work and effort. If you have multiple children, consider rotating responsibilities to ensure that everyone gets a chance to try something new. We also hope you’ll allow your son or daughter the opportunity to manage their own time and make decisions independent of you during this season at home. Responsibility is often learned behavior that comes through experience. Use positive reinforcement to encourage helpful behavior whenever able. You’ll be surprised at how quick your child rises to the occasion!

Provide a Space for Optimal Learning – Angie suggests giving each child a personal space to keep their school books and supplies. This may be as simple as giving them their own area on a bookshelf, desk, or table. For kids that work better on the move, consider a rolling system like the ones in the link below. Angie’s three younger students prefer this method. One of their actual rolling carts is featured in the image to the left. Whichever method you end up using, encourage your son or daughter to be responsible for his or her space just like they are at school. It should be tidied up in the evening and ready for learning in morning. They may even begin to enjoy using and taking care of their new school area and resources!

Reframe Expectations – Our frustration and disappointment is often caused by unrealistic or unspoken expectations. Remember that everyone in the home is experiencing a new reality. We’re not used to being around one another for extended amounts of time. Angie reminds us that our own selfishness often gets in the way of optimal learning. Take some time every day to surrender your will to our Father. While self-care is always important, acknowledge that regular alone time may be less feasible in this season. You and your children are learning new rhythms together!

Give Grace – Understand that your children may be suffering, too. They’re not used to being home and learning from their mom. They may miss friends and all of the learning and social benefits they experienced at school. Both of you are first-timers, and both of you need grace for one another. We think it’s ok (and advantageous even) to be honest about your fears and trepidation. Maybe your children want to share their own with you. Be willing to say sorry and commit each day to prayer. We’re all going to need it.

Make Memories! – You have always been your child’s primary teacher. While we know that this is a season of hardship for many, our prayer is that you would enjoy this unexpected gift of time as much as possible. Take a moment each day to make a memory! Go on a nature walk. Bake something together. Write letters and put them in the mail. Learn a new instrument. Snuggle on the sofa and read a novel out loud. Make small care packages and anonymously drop them off on a neighbor or friend’s porch. Paint. Play board games. Document this adventure in a journal. Do a Bible study together. Linger at the table after meals. Do whatever you can to make positive memories and leave a legacy of the way your family tackled the COVID-19 homeschool season.

 

Active Learning Activities and Supplies

 

Suggested Picture Books and Novels to Read Aloud

 

Click here for a direct link to our Recommended Resources page where you can find Gospel-centered children’s books and resources to encourage and equip moms from a Biblical perspective.

Websites with Free Printables, Online Support, and Suggested Activities

Khan Academy

Read Aloud Revival (great book lists)

Board Slam (free printable)

Classroom Freebies (reading logs and worksheets)

Virtual Field Trips

 

Closing Thoughts

Our hope and prayer is that you would cling to the hope in Christ as you navigate this season of life at home. May these suggestions and resources bring calm and clarity, and may you rest in the unwavering truth that you truly are the very best teacher your children have.

With great expectation,

Angie and Lisa

Meet Our Authors

About Angie Forrester: A northwest native, Angie enjoys spending her time cultivating gardens and young minds including her five “free-range” children.  She has been a home educator for 9 years, working alongside other mamas to build community for homeschool families.  As a lifelong learner you may find her reciting Latin, reading aloud to her children, or applying National Park stickers to her water bottle from her most recent adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Lisa Da Silva: Lisa has never (ever) officially homeschooled her children, and is increasingly thankful that her kids are young adults with online programs mandated by their schools. She is passionate about education and loved being an elementary school teacher before starting a family. She is honored to be the Director of Arise Ministries Collective, and longs to see women transformed by the gospel of Jesus Christ. She is willing and ready to come alongside all of the young mama’s unexpectedly at home during this season.

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