Guidelines on Thriving at Home with Children
Dear Veritas Families,
I hope your family is safe and well.
It has been five weeks since your children began online education. Some of you may be adjusting better than others with the new situation of being with children at home all day long. Depending on how you respond to this challenge, it could either be a negative experience or a positive one for the entire family. I would like to recommend some general guidelines, and some specific recommendations so that your family is not just surviving but thriving during this time.
- Create a Clear Structure for the Day. Students should wake up at a regular time and sleep at a regular time, with sufficient amount of sleep. Creating a pattern and rhythm to life is essential. Train the students to do this on their own as much as possible. A general schedule could be posted somewhere for everyone to see. Keep it simple, and not too rigid. The order is generally schoolwork, housework, and family time/free time. Begin the day with reading from a few verses from Proverbs and pray together for God’s guidance.
- Keep Students Accountable for their School Work. You never had so much control over your children’s education, while getting all the help. Do not be afraid of setting new expectation. In your family meeting, establish simple clear rules based on God’s Word, and encourage everyone to follow through. Regarding homework, your expectation should be that your child finishes the assigned homework for the day without any distraction. This includes using computer or phone for anything else other than homework. The value of this discipline cannot be overstated. Real progress in developing critical thinking cannot be expected if the student is not focusing while learning, including the live sessions and homework. The other values are training in responsibility and work ethic. Work closely with your teachers to make sure that your child is learning, and not just getting by with good grades.
- Teach Your Children Life. A great advantage of online education is that you have an unprecedented opportunity to train your children on good, life-long skills of life, such as chores and contributing to the well-being of your family. Depending on your family’s unique make-up, make sure each student is assigned to a fair amount of chores. Make sure there is regular group project, so that chores turn into fellowship and training in teamwork.
- Limit Technology. First, adults should set an example for children. Besides the school-related screen time, students should not be on the screen (all types, including phones, social media, games, TV, ipad, etc) for more than 1 to 2 hours a day. Bedroom should be free of electronic temptations before sleep time. Get passwords to your children’s devices. Use filters, and accountability software like Covenanteyes.com. Have periodic media-fasting together. Regularly discuss what is edifying way to use the limited screen time, both methods and content.
Create Family Traditions. This should not be for children’s sake only. Family traditions are Dt 5 ways of creating opportunities for parents and children to enjoy God’s truth, goodness, and beauty. Schole, which is where we get the word “school,” means “undistracted time to focus on things that matter the most.” Schole can apply to the ways your children learn things on their own, as well as the way your entire family learns God’s truth, goodness, and beauty together. This could include Morning 10 minute Family Devotional, After Dinner Conversation about what they learned that day that reflects God’s truth, goodness, and beauty, or After Dinner Reading of a great book together. It could include board or card games. Finally, a regular walking or hiking even around the neighborhood is highly beneficial. Ask your children to come up with a list of 20 things they would like to do (that is non-electronic/computer) when they have free time, and hang that on the refrigerator door. When they have done their homework and chores, they can pick from the list.