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Encouragement and Tips from a New City Public School Teacher

We asked two of our New City members, Katie Jumper and Abigail Lund, to offer some encouragement to our parents and caregivers in this season of homeschooling. This post comes from Abigail Lund.

Abigail Lund and her husband Jon have been members of New City for 2 ½ years. They welcomed their son, Jan into the world a year ago this week! Abigail loves coffee and Ault Park. Abigail teaches in Cincinnati area schools prior she taught in Chicago.


As I type this letter my son is taking a nap, I am still in my PJs, I haven’t had breakfast yet, and I have 16 tabs open on my work computer and it’s… 9 a.m. I want this post to be a source of encouragement and reminder that none of us are doing this perfectly and that’s okay. Praise God that he is in perfect control of everything! Working from home, teaching your kiddos, and taking care of a household is A LOT. So keep asking the Lord for grace… I am taking a moment to do so now. 

 If you have any school-aged kids, you are probably wondering right about now… How do we keep this thing going for possibly weeks? 

As a 5th grade teacher of more than 10 years, I am only going to offer a few thoughts that hopefully help someone out there! 

First of all, it’s so important to remember that there is no academic emergency… so go easy on yourself! We are all learning a new normal. If you are stressed and tired your kiddos will feel that too, so just do a little at a time, sometimes less is more when it comes to our mental health.

As a little PSA: Teachers were given a very short time to push out work, and will continue to do so if your child is learning online. From a teacher’s perspective, what is being asked of us is changing everyday. So don’t stress over all the work teachers are sending. We just want to make sure parents have enough materials to work with at home so that they are covered in their jobs. If the opposite is true and you hardly have enough resources, feel free to reach out to me for resources (abigaillund@foresthills.edu).

I recommend beginning the school day with a mindful activity.  And the sky's the limit here: read Scripture together, play music, etc. Consider doing the same thing at lunch. Turn off all computers and for 20 minutes just sit together and eat, talk, or play a game. It’s so important for all of you to find joy in these days.

Also, bear in mind that kids really can’t sit and do one task for longer than 10-15 minutes. They need to get up, move around, play. Make space for breaks; kids will get their best work done if they rest in-between and do not power through it all. 

As we look to the nitty-gritty of schooling at home, here are a few tips and resources teaching specific subjects.

Reading time: Make sure your kiddos have a good book to read… this can be an audio book, a book you can read to them if you have time, or a book they can read to themselves. This should take up the bulk of their reading instruction. 

Science/social studies: Part of my science lessons right now is to just go outside and play. If this isn’t part of your kids lessons, make it part of their lessons. They need the fresh air and so do you. Try to go for a walk rain/shine. Everyone will feel better. The zoo has a free safari simulation that is a fun thing on a rainy day at 3:00 p.m. to participate in as well.

Math: EEEK this is a scary one for a lot of you because they don’t do math the way I know how. And as a math teacher I get that! There is a great resource called Zearn that teaches K-5 math conceptually if you need some extra guidance. I also have so many resources available as well! Only make your kiddo work on worksheets for 10-15 minutes, then call it quits. You do not need a frustrated kid on your hands for the rest of the day. If you don’t understand what is being asked in the worksheet, maybe move on to another worksheet.  

A final word of encouragement... Take some time to listen to music! Have kiddos do a workout kids video! Join Mo Willems over lunch for art lessons! There are so many awesome people in education out there trying to make this time easier for everyone, so please don’t recreate the wheel! Take advantage of the resources, and have fun!

Praying for your families in this time. The Lord is our strength. And I’m here to help if I can (abigaillund@foresthills.edu). Hug your kiddos tight tonight!

Thanks so much, Abigail, for sharing your wisdom and offering encouragement in this season!