Our Head of Education, Steve Beegoo, offers some practical pointers for parents having to homeschool once more during the national lockdown.
As the surprise announcement of the closure of schools came in the last few days, many parents were met with a plethora of challenges. As were schools! In my role as Head of Education for Christian Concern, and an experienced teacher with three children all working at home, I want you to believe that the Lord has the answers. At a time of great turmoil, the prophet Isaiah relayed this key instruction, “Look unto me and be ye saved… For I am God and there is no other” (Isaiah 45 v 22 KJV). He especially wants to guide parents and teachers at this time. “He gently leads those who have young” (Isaiah 40 v 11 NIV).
Whatever the challenges for parents processing the pressures of the problem solving, or for teachers with the turmoil of tackling the troublesome technology, there is one who can guide us into practical solutions and exciting opportunities.
It is important for parents and teachers to have the mutual understanding that it is challenging for all of us. If you are a parent or/and a teacher, juggling multiple responsibilities here are some practical principles which will see you through this season – PARROT:
- Pray: Yes this is practical! Because as you pray, daily, you engage in a conversation with God, and this allows him to bring you the peace you need. With a settled spirit, his spirit can guide you into all wisdom. Wisdom is found in knowing God, and then what to do. “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you” (James 1 v 5 NIV). And pray with your children for such wisdom.
- Ask: Parents, do not be afraid or too proud to ask other parents. Teachers, do not be afraid to ask other teachers, even in other schools. Too often the enemy likes to ‘silo’ us, and we miss out on the wisdom we can gain from the people around us. Some schools are better than others at providing support to their teachers and their parents, but an asking which doesn’t aggressively demand, can readily elicit the support and advice needed, even when there are stretched resources on all sides. As you pray, ask!
- Relax: As parents and as teachers, do not entertain the fears that come from constantly asking condemning questions. For example, ‘Are we doing everything we can?’, leads to a wrong pressure which strains the children. Of course, you could be doing more! Change the internal question to ‘Are we doing everything we reasonably can?’, where you cut yourself some slack on the ‘reasonably’! It is a very difficult and unusual time. Stressed teachers and parents will result in stressed children who cannot learn well. So, try to relax, and allow the Lord to show you what is reasonable. “My yoke is easy, and my burden is light,” whose yoke are you and your children wearing?
- Relate: All good teachers know that you cannot teach well, if you don’t have a good relationship with your student. Smile, laugh, tackle problems together, make time for conversation, communication and fun. Teachers who are doing on-line teaching lesson after lesson, understand the value of regular breaks where we can relate in this way. This re-energises everyone. Parents, grab hold of the potential of any extended opportunity to build relationship with your children. Indeed, make time for it. It won’t last.
- Organise: Taking the above on board, allows you to organise with the attitudes and relationships you need. Teachers understand about planning and organising, and how this can bring peace. Making and using organised plans, where you have thought through in advance the implications of activities, is wise. Commit time to this and prepare. Yet be totally flexible, as so many unforeseen circumstances are likely to mean no plan is executed to the letter! The internet goes down, the printer stops working, you are just all feeling exhausted, all should be responded to by adjusting or even ditching the plan. Go back to just praying, asking, relaxing and relating if necessary. And don’t forget to organise regular exercise, perhaps with one other person, or it won’t happen.
- Training: “Train up a child in the way it should go and when it is old it will not turn from it” (Proverbs 22 v 6). In all of this lockdown season, as at any time, there are unique God-given opportunities for teachers, especially parents as teachers, to point children to the Lord Jesus Christ in worship, in prayer and in wisdom. Show them your relationship with God. Show them how to allow the scriptures to guide you. Show them how to pray and trust in him when they get tense about their work. Show them love. Be vulnerable and honest and learn about this with them. This season could be exactly what they need to form a deeper relationship with you, and a deeper relationship with God. What could be more valuable? You can do this. You have been called to this.
In that spirit, may the PARROT help you! You can find so much support from your schools and on-line for curriculum and general advice, but these godly principles, will also help you as a Christian parent or/and teacher, to keep ‘Looking unto God’, and guide you into making the most of this opportunity.
You can find links to other helpful articles here: