It’s obvious we’re in unprecedented times with all the closures, cancelations, and quarantines. I’ve never seen anything like it! I don’t want to take the Coronavirus challenges lightly, but outside of the stress and uncertainty, I’m intrigued by what this forced unstructured time is providing for our family and many homes across the nation.
Here’s some of what a “normal” week looks like in our suburban, metro, home education life:
- Two different violin lesson time slots
- Gymnastic at the YMCA
- Youth Worship Band Rehearsal
- Youth Group
- Kids Choir
- One day a week biology co-op
- Two mornings a week literary, geography and art co-op
- One morning a week for a general co-op for music, finance, logic, and art
- Two nights a week for dance class
- Weekly Sunday school and worship
- Weekend ministry conferences and special events
- And then all the usual stuff like study, meals, appointments, and other obligations
Now, in a somewhat surreal season, much of this canceled until further notice.
Aside from the usual study, which will be a big part of these few weeks, we’re in the midst of lots of unstructured and uninterrupted time.
A google search can pull up the many ways unstructured family time can benefit the growth and development of kids. And now, here we are with a ton of this time.
I’ve seen many organizations put out free online stuff for kids – we’re taking advantage of many of them:
- Cincinnati Zoo Facebook Live Tours – Each day you can join a member of staff a take a quick tour of a different animal at the zoo! It’s cool.
- Dance Classes – A ballet company in Virginia is offering five free online dance classes and instruction.
- Kids Playlist – Pull up this list on Spotify for some fun worship music during these next few weeks!
And of course, there’s a digital revival among those in church. You can choose from an endless number of people leading devotions, songs and worship services. Here’s our Sunday service: Worship Online Sundays at 10:00 am.
But digital life, as much as it’s become more of a necessity, doesn’t come close to the awesome opportunities we’ve been able to be together and find some joy in the midst of an otherwise crazy time.
We’ve looked through pictures on old hard drives, we’ve eaten lots of meals at home, we’ve built a fort for a contest at church, we’ve talked on the phone with lots of people and we’ve played lots of music. There’s more time to pray, talk and read. It’s a good time to read more scripture!
I once read a book by Kevin Leman called, It’s Your Kid, Not A Gerbil. His invitation was to get your child off the hamster wheel of life. It’s the job of the parent to curb the busyness of the family schedule. Quality time is definitely good, but it’s the quantity of uninterrupted and unstructured time that helps grow deep roots and connections. These times help build memories and stories, create nicknames, teach emotional and relational skills and in general is good for kids. They crave it!
Whether we like it or not, this time has been set aside for us.
I know this first week may be a novelty and that in a couple weeks people will be itching to get back into a routine, but for now, let’s embrace the opportunity to impact our young kids. The coronavirus situation will be a conversation piece for a generation.