Last week, our family stocked up on necessary medical supplies for members of our household who are at higher risk for complications from COVID-19. On the same day, one friend scrambled to prepare space in her home to educate her daughters while another one called to ask about my homeschool routine—and if she might borrow curriculum—because all public schools in our county are closed through mid-April. Each of our lives has been disrupted, but I realize that despite our family’s weakness in one arena, I can offer help and support in another. As a homeschool teacher, I can provide resources and encouragement to my friends who have been unexpectedly thrust into doing this for the very first time.
A Word to Homeschool Parents
It’s astounding to watch the educational landscape shift overnight. This isn’t the time for sarcastic comments aimed at the public system. It is the time to serve our friends and neighbors “in a manner worthy of the calling to which [we] have been called, with all humility and gentleness…eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit” (Eph 4:1-3).
Remember that “when one member suffers, all suffer together” (1 Cor 13:26). For some of our Christian brothers and sisters right now, pulling their children out of school abruptly for the first time is a form of suffering. But many of us know what that adjustment is like. We’re familiar with the challenges of parenting and teaching simultaneously. We’ve learned how to juggle lessons and care for an interrupting toddler who wants attention. And yes, we’ve learned to cry out to Jesus for help in the middle of a math lesson.
Most of us researched home education and chose curriculum before we started. Do you remember how daunting that was? Imagine how much more overwhelming it is for our friends and fellow church members who are figuring out a brand-new routine including online lessons—maybe even as they adjust to working from home—in the span of one week. Let’s show sympathy, set aside our educational preferences and opinions, and love others well in what we say and do in this unprecedented situation. We can share resources, answer questions, and offer on-call support to parents in our churches. How many might benefit from our experience and encouragement in coming weeks?
A Word to First-Timers
God is sovereign over everything, including COVID-19 and its impacts in our lives. Even though we might not have anticipated the situations we find ourselves in today—including the need to home educate—God knows all these things, and he’s with us. While your child’s educational setting is changing, the gospel and Jesus himself remain the same. As Hebrews 13:8 says, “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
Not only that, but you are a primary influence in your children’s lives; this truth is perhaps even more significant in this season of unexpected upheaval. Your presence offers stability even when the backpacks hang limp on their hooks. You’re being handed an invitation not only to teach but to spend significantly increased time with your children, positioning you to speak into their lives and providing a front row seat to see how God will work in your family during this season.
Just as you probably prayed each time you watched your son walk to the bus stop or drove your daughter to school, pray for God’s grace to homeschool. He can help you make sense of your child’s assignments and explain lessons in a clear way. Trust him and the unchanging promises of his Word. His grace is sufficient for you and his power is made perfect in weakness (2 Cor 12:9).
You also don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Reach out to other parents, teachers, and homeschool friends. In case you don’t already know, I’ll tip you off—home education requires improvisation and flexibility. So do the days we’re living in. We’re all adjusting in some way.
A Word to All of Us
Whether in the arena of health, education, food supply, or finances, COVID-19 has already disrupted our lives. But as our congregation gathered around screens at home to watch its first (ever) livestream worship service this past Sunday, we were reminded that the Church isn’t a building; it’s God’s people. How do we live and love one another as Christ’s body in these unique days?
What experience and gifts do you bring to the table that you can use to serve others right now? Some can offer medical expertise to at-risk friends. Others can grocery shop for a neighbor who can’t leave the house or show an older parent how to set up an online bank account. If you have funds that your church can use to serve the community, give generously. If you’re a pastor, preach God’s Word and counsel your sheep. If you’re an educator, offer support. “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ” (Col 3:23-24).
Katie Faris is the author of He Will Be Enough (TGBC 2022), God Is Still Good (Crossway 2023), and Loving My Children (2015). A pastor’s wife and mother of five, she is a member of Sovereign Grace Church in Marlton, New Jersey. To read more, visit www.katiefaris.com.