Learning in Love
The education of children during the year 2020 and now entering 2021 has been a lot of trial and error. Safety dictates have set into motion what Ephesians verse 4:14 might call "tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind..." Though this verse is referring to holding onto our faith and doctrines, it feels like it fits this situation. What we once believed we knew about educating our children has been set aside in favor of experimentation to fit the present storm.
In a recent article in the news, it was reported that there are real concerns regarding the health and welfare of children learning remotely. "When I'm at home, fully remote, it's more like a sluggish feeling," one student said. "I'm usually feeling distressed and tired and I just don't want anything to do with school anymore.” Some students who have been given the option of hybrid learning, meaning one or more days at the school in person, have been unable to take advantage because of health concerns for themselves and those in their home, leaving children feeling trapped and lonely. One teacher observed this about students who are learning from home: "In the room, you get more eye contact," he said. "On the screen, oftentimes the kid could be sitting in front of a window. You can't see them, so it's hard to make sure they're attentive.”
Every teacher can relate to the importance of the physical environment of a classroom. This would include the color of the walls, organization of desks, decorations, and most importantly, displays of student work on bulletin boards. Currently classrooms are restricted by a paperless environment and separated desks. The energy in the room becomes stagnant. At home, learning is more comfortable and students can create their "classroom". Yet, there is stress there, too.
How, then, does a Christian family create a learning environment to ride the waves of 2021? Sarah Earles suggests some categories of activities such as the emotional activity of having a general attitude of gratitude, taking coloring breaks, and deep breathing. Brain activities could include something as simple as children adding the latest "order in" grocery receipt and making lists of household items needed for the next list. Taking indoor and outdoor exercise breaks will relieve stress and add some fun to the day. Think "recess" time. For social activities, connect to other family members, not in the home, as well as friends they miss from school. The spiritual life of the family is extremely important as you share online church services as well as prayer and devotions.
Above all, children thrive in a loving environment. Where there is love constantly given and shown, children can thrive. Colossians 3: 14 reminds us, "And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony." Our efforts may not look perfect, or harmonic, but love will always enhance the learning.
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 https://www.nbcnews.com/news/education/remote-students-are-more-stressed-their-peers classroom-study-shows-n1257632  ibid  https://scholarworks.wmich.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=3380&context=honors_theses  https://cfcare.org/counseling-support/covid-19-support/daily-activities-for-kids/