SummaryThrive, find peace, enjoy the day; four homeschooling moms share how the pandemic has altered their approach to school and family life in surprising ways.
Think Outside the Box
Last August, we moved. Prior to the lock-down, we already found ourselves somewhat isolated. Years ago, as new homeschoolers, we participated in co-ops, had weekly play dates, and went on regular field trips.
Unfortunately, that has changed in time, owing mostly to our location (we lived in the country) and our work schedule (we bought a restaurant). So, when COVID restrictions were enacted, we found ourselves even more separated from family and friends.
Then came our big move onto a cul-de-sac in a neighborhood. The isolation was hurting us, so I made it my mission to find creative ways to meet new friends and build relationships. Two neighbors were in a similar boat (isolated with children).
We agreed to meet up in a driveway every Thursday evening. Initially, the kids played, and the parents talked. Then, one family bought a projector, and we offered the side of our house as the screen. Hence, Thursday Movie Nights was born.
Having a standing date with neighbors has been a blessing. It kept us on track with making friendships a priority and it has given us the freedom to live in communion with our neighbors. Thursday Movie Nights has fostered “old-fashioned” community that led to a cul-de-sac BBQ, Dad Nights, Mom Nights, street hockey games, sledding, and more.
The restrictions turned out to be a blessing in disguise, in some regards. They reminded us of our real need for connection. The removal of our old habits fostered new ones. We worked harder to establish and nurture relationships and we continue to do so. Thursday Movie Nights is a keeper in our book.
Tara Brelinsky – Wake Forest, North Carolina
Make Life Intentional
A habit I would like to keep after the world goes back to “normal” I call intentional family time, especially in the evenings. I know, we are homeschoolers, we are together ALL THE TIME, right? Well, yes and no. We are together physically, but too often we are doing our own things.
My teens would be online, either for their classes or for scout work. My younger ones watching videos, drawing, or out in the backyard. I would be finishing that day’s tasks, preparing for tomorrow’s, or, my guilty pleasure, cooking games on my iPad. (Does art imitate life or what?!) My husband, exhausted from an early commute in DC traffic, would be helping kids or making fantasy sports teams deals.
During quarantine that changed. We set aside one evening a week without electronics or distractions. We got some of those escape rooms in a box, we did a paint night, we built Legos, and took turns telling each other about our creations.
We read aloud from James Herriot’s wonderful “All Creatures Great and Small” books. It was amazing. No matter what your family does, make it intentional and involve everyone. Let it draw you closer together and remind you of the joy and love of our Creator. Find out what makes your family unique and wonderful and celebrate it!
Kristin Brown – Woodbridge, Virginia
Enjoy the God-Given Day
During these unprecedented times, we have taken the time to be in nature more and appreciate God’s goodness. We have been going on family hikes through the woods or in some of our local parks. We have been able to explore many different areas that we have been meaning to visit.
When we go on our family adventures, we think about all of the good that God has given us in the world. We take in the scents of the forest; the songs of the birds; the sounds of the rivers and streams, all of them in a perfect symphony by one grand Creator.
It may not seem like a grand gesture, but it has reminded us of ways to find peace, to seek grace, and to just enjoy the day that God has given us. We are also reminded that sometimes we may seek solace in our electronics, but there is a great, big world out there just waiting for us.
We are also reminded that we need to take care of our bodies to give ourselves strength, in all parts: spiritually, mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. God and nature provide food for every part of that well-being.
We plan to continue our family adventures, and maybe as we are able, we will invite friends along to enjoy the strength and good in nature as we nurture our relationship with the Lord.
Marianna Kasprzak – Middletown, Delaware
Be Not Afraid to Thrive
Is it possible to thrive during a pandemic? Is it possible to choose faith over fear? Yes, it is possible, and our family is proof of it. From the beginning of the COVID pandemic, I chose to not be afraid, and to keep our lives as normal as possible, and to not listen to the fear that the media was trying to sell us.
We already were into our 20th year of homeschooling, and my husband was already working from home, so our lives did not change at all in that respect. But seeing how the world was reacting, we chose to increase our prayer life by adding the Divine Mercy Chaplet to our daily devotions.
Our family has also become more politically active during 2020 and will continue by supporting pro-life candidates, and those striving to get life back to pre-COVID standards.
The kids have also benefited from some of the stricter regulations, which opened the doors to more creative ways of homeschooling. Our co-op lost its space at a community center, but we were welcomed at an outdoor wedding venue, which has allowed our kids to keep up with social activities.
God has even blessed us with good weather on co-op days! A woman in our neighborhood offered outdoor PE classes for homeschoolers but discontinued because of COVID fears, so we homeschool moms regrouped and stepped in as teachers, so our kids could continue their outdoor weekly classes. We only had to cancel one class in the winter because it was too cold. We hope to continue the classes for as long as needed.
Can people thrive in a pandemic? Yes, because we chose faith over fear, and when we put our faith in God, and not in man, He blesses us beyond measure.
Susan Brock – Charlotte, North Carolina