New Life Children and Parents - Welcome to Holy week. It is hard to believe that Easter is just around the corner. We know that this Easter will be very different for us. Some of us might normally travel to visit grandparents or other family at this time of year. Many of us would gather on Saturday or Sunday to share a meal together. Our egg hunts might happen just in our own backyards this year. But one thing hasn’t changed. Jesus still lives and the tomb is still empty. That is indeed good news. So as we walk to the cross with Jesus and later to the tomb with Mary let us remember that we are a resurrection people. From despair we grow joy. From fear we grow hope. From death we grow life. Because Jesus lives!
For the week of April 6- April 12th here some things for you...
Lectionary reading: Mark 16:1-13
Jesus was crucified and died on the cross. His friends took his body and placed it in a tomb. On the Sabbath Mary and two other women went to the tomb to take care of Jesus’ body. But what happened was not what they expected. Have you ever been really surprised when something you expected to happen, happened in a whole different way?
Where do you see new life in this season?
Take a picture or video of your sightings of new life, send them to church for Easter Sunday Worship.
- Easter story for toddlers
- Easter story for upper elementary
- Easter Songs (yes a little ethnocentric sorry)
- More Easter Songs
In case you wonder what our kids learn, here you go…
How Do I Teach My Child (Insert subject here)?
As we navigate this new world of education the most common question I am hearing from parents is “I’m not a teacher, how do I teach my child (pick subject)?” This is usually followed almost immediately with “I am so stressed. My kids are so upset. This is stressing my relationship with my kids. I can’t do it all!”
First things first my dear parents. Take a deep breath. No really take a deep breath - in through your mouth and out through your nose. Now do it again. And again. Every time you start to feel overwhelmed the first thing you need to do is give yourself a moment of grace. Just a moment of deep breathing will provide a much needed pause and help to reset your nervous system.
Second. For as much as things have changed, nothing has changed. Your children are now learning at home, but they are still being taught by the teachers who have loved and challenged them all year. You are not homeschooling your children, you are parenting your children. Your job is still the same. Instead of making sure your child is up, out of bed, dressed, fed and on the bus on time - you are there to help your child get onto their school device and set aside the time each day to do their school work. You are teaching your child the same lessons you have always been teaching them - be responsible, be respectful, give your best effort, be honest, ask questions, do your best. Your child’s teacher is asking nothing more than this of you.
Third. “My child doesn’t know how to do this lesson and neither do I.” Don’t fret and don’t panic. Don’t try to teach the material to your child, help guide them to solving their problem. What resources has the teacher provided? Have you checked those resources? Do you have a friend you can contact to see if he or she understands it? Has your child contacted their teacher directly and explained what they don’t understand? Not just “I don’t get it.” but what specifically are they confused by? Tomorrow is another day, if your child is not understanding something right now, step away from it and try again later, this is how school and lessons work in the normal classroom.
Fourth. “I don’t want to bother the teacher.” You are not bothering the teacher by communicating with them, you are being respectful to their training, expertise and experience. For example, suppose that your child’s teacher is normally available to students from 1:00-1:45 each day, but because your children are sharing a device, or you have to work, your child can’t get to their school work until after 4:30 each day. What can you do? Communicate with your child's teacher who will work with you and your family to solve this. However, they can’t help if they are unaware of the situation. Teachers can’t be expected to be available 24/7, but they are willing to find work arounds for their students, just communicate.
Finally. “I can’t believe how much time this takes!” The best advice from what we are seeing from administrators and education researchers is that
Any lesson should be:
- Elementary = 15-20 minutes
- Secondary (Middle School and High School) = 20-30 minutes
The total for the student’s day should be:
- Elementary = 1-2 hours total
- Middle School = 2-3 hours total
- High School =3-4 hours total
These shortened times are recommended because of how much harder students have to work to learn in this fashion. A lesson that would normally take 45 minutes in class with the teacher providing direct instruction and interaction will take almost four times as long in a distance learning format. Your teachers need reasonable expectations and so do you. If you find yourself spending significantly longer than these times with your child on school work, talk to your child’s teacher.
Parents and families need balance. Education is important and a schedule will help keep you in balance. But the schedule must be reasonable. When everything is said and done our children will have learned so many important lessons through this experience - but reading, writing and math are unlikely to top the list. Trust that your child’s teachers will meet them again, where they are, and will work with your child to help them learn the skills they need to be successful. Your job, as always, is to be the parent in your child’s corner.
BE AWARE OF YOUR CHILDREN’S MENTAL HEALTH
Most children will manage well with the support of parents and other family members, even if showing signs of some anxiety or concerns, such as difficulty sleeping or concentrating. Some children, however, may have risk factors for more intense reactions, including severe anxiety, depression, and suicidal behaviors. Risk factors can include a pre-existing mental health problem, prior traumatic experiences or abuse, family instability, or the loss of a loved one. Parents and caregivers should contact a professional if children exhibit significant changes in behavior or any of the following symptoms for more than 2 weeks.
Preschoolers—thumb sucking, bedwetting, clinging to parents, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, fear of the dark, regression in behavior, and withdrawal.
Elementary school children—irritability, aggressiveness, clinginess, nightmares, school avoidance, poor concentration, and withdrawal from activities and friends.
Adolescents—sleeping and eating disturbances, agitation, increase in conflicts, physical complaints, delinquent behavior, and poor concentration.
From the National Association of School Psychologists
Some additional resources
Goosechase (9-12) is an online scavenger hunt recommended from Hong Kong Academy, a school that is just now transitioning back to classroom work.
An online collaborative puzzle game is Edpuzzle (6-8).
GoNoodle (K-8) offers educational physical and mental health practices
For now my dear families Peace be with you all.
Faith Formation Chair - New Life Presbyterian Church