Mandatory home education crash-Coronavirus-19 course. There have been several of you who have asked for me to share our home education routine. This is what works for our family currently with our boys who are in 2nd grade, Kindergarten, and 2 year old fun-school.
We might not keep this schedule forever, and we had a lot of trial and error before we came up with what works best for our family right now. Hope you can find inspiration here and make it your own style.
15 to 20 minutes during or right after breakfast.
Bible (sometimes we read from 24 Family Ways or Indescribable), Habit training, Catechism, Poetry, & art.
30 to 45 minutes:
Finish breakfast, clean up, get ready for your day.
I usually have each kid do one or two of the following chores each.
Common chores we do right after breakfast are make beds, gather trash, clear table, unload/load dishwasher, pick up toys, start a wash/fold laundry. If they finish their chores early they can play until we start our main lessons.
Main lessons: Math, spelling, & cursive. Little brother plays with whatever he can get his hands on!
Lunch time & Outside Play
I usually try to exercise at home/outside while kids are playing. Little one takes an afternoon nap about 1:30pm and big boys start their individual quiet reading time. I work on my own Italian lesson during this time or read a book. (When we were allowed to go to parks, nature preserves, etc we would have more diverse outside time!)
Snacks involved makes my kids ASK for tea time daily. This sometimes happens when youngest is sleeping still or right when he gets up from his nap and joins us for snacks. Tea time is when we do our history reading of a living book, science reading, and our read aloud book. If there is any memorization they need to do or anything else we need to go over we also do this during tea time.
Other things we incorporate during our day but not always daily:
Online Piano course from Busykidsdopiano at our own pace.
Older boys (before quarantine) played soccer at a local Italian club. And for their language enrichment they will watch a Netflix show or two in Italian while I prep dinner.
Have plenty of FUN and PLAY. That is what the kids will remember!
Of all the joyous motives of school life, the love of knowledge is the only abiding one; the only one which determines the scale, so to speak, upon which the person will hereafter live.
“Be sure of your call to every business you go about. Though it is the least business, be sure of your call to it; then, whatever you meet with, you may quiet your heart with this: I know I am where God would have me. Nothing in the world will quiet the heart so much as this: when I meet with any cross, I know I am where God would have me, in my place and calling; I am about the work that God has set me.”
― Jeremiah Burroughs, The Rare Jewel of Christian Contentment
Below are the last 9 instagram posts over @hollandfamilylife copied and pasted as a personal 'journal' through the virus days.
March 10, 2020
Day 1 house lock down in Italy.
We are allowed to leave only for groceries, emergency, to the hospital or the doctors. Those that have jobs in pharmacy, medical facilities, grocery stores etc can go to work.
All schools have been out all week. We home educate so boys still have school. 😄😄
Boys played rummikub on the porch. They cried when they learned our plane was canceled. (They wanted to see grandparents and have American cereal.)
Went to the store for groceries. It had most everything we needed, they only allowed one family member in at a time and allowed a certain amount of people in to shop at a time. They seem organized.
Loren made chocolate chip cookies.
March 11, 2020
Day 2 on lock down.
We started our day letting kids and us parents draw/write our expectations/feelings with the sudden change of plans. We shared these together, prayed for the fears/sadness, and will continue to do this as we need to in the coming days.
As both Loren and I are Third Culture Kids we know how many goodbyes and disappointments we had to go through at an early age. Thankfully our own parents did a good job helping us through these griefs.
A TCK expert Ruth Van Reken says "The issue is that transition always involves loss, no matter how good the next phase will be."
We had a good day!
March 12, 2020
Day 3 lock down in Italy.
Today I am thankful for the yard and carport area we have to play/exercise in.
Tonight instead of meeting with our Discipleship group in person we met online and it was a great time of prayer and studying the Bible together! God's Word never returns void.
March 13, 2020
Day 4 of Lock Down.
We had tea time outside today to change things up a bit.
The coming days will give a whole new meaning to 'staycation'. Thankful we got to have a prayer meeting together with the Church this evening online.
Please be in prayer for those who live pay check to pay check for weekly food but are on lock down- If they can't go to work- what do they do? Let us keep our eyes open to how we can help others in this time!
March 14, 2020
Day 5 on lock down.
Today we did a lot with not having regular school work to do. We made masks, played games, made pie (3.14 day), attempted to make homemade icecream, and got groceries! In order to leave the house to get the groceries Loren has to fill out a paper declaring his reason for leaving. This is a rule right now to have this form with you if you leave in case you get stopped by the police and they want to know where you are going. I ordered all the groceries online and Loren just had to go pick them up. That was nice!
March 15, 2020
Day 6 lock down.
We have an eternal peace in God even though the world we live in is being turned into a standstill.
We did church online today like [many] of you did!
To my friends in places around the world where things are still "like normal"- take this virus seriously. Please stay home. This is not panic- this is choosing not to spread the virus. We had 3,000+ more cases pop up today alone in Italy. If you know of 1 or 2 cases in your state the likelyhood of thousands already infected is strong but won't come out for another couple of weeks.
Do you have a fear that grips your soul and you want to talk to someone about it? Please feel free to reach out to me. I might not have all the answers but I know a radical truth that can give you peace even in chaos.
March 16, 2020
Day 7 lock down in Italy.
We already home educate so the morning routine around here stays the same, but it's our afternoons that have changed! No more soccer practice, no more gelato for a weekend treat, no more pizza buying on Thursday night... but it will be worth it in the long run because we are taking it seriously as a country.
We are still hearing of thousands of new cases being reported daily.
We have now been in limited movement as a whole country for 7 days and still the numbers continue to rise for those going to the hospital. You can have no symptoms for 2 weeks and still be passing along this virus. Or you could have it, it not effect you that bad, then you get better continue with life and keep passing it on for another long time! If you have or have not been in an infected city. Consider yourself as a possible carrier. Get tested if you start to feel bad.
March 17, 2020
Day 8 of lock down in Italy.
Today we spoke over the fence (with proper distance in place) to our neighbors. It is nice to talk with those who you live closest to. I challenge you- if you don't already know your neighbors- reach out- if they are living alone or need help- let them know they can contact you.
Weirdest St. Patrick's day we have had yet. But we still celebrated with green swirl pancakes and our favorite Voice of the Martyrs St. Patrick's book.
To my friends who find themselves schooling at home all of the sudden... Your whole family will take time to adjust to the new rhythm. Form a new rhythm.
Have something daily to look forward to!
Do what works best for your family. If you school at home it doesn't have to look like a classroom. Is it easier to school today in the afternoon instead of the morning?! Do that!
Getting too overwhelmed? Take breaks, go for a walk, read a favorite book, or eat one bite of a favorite snack per problem you accomplish!
There might be some anger, miscommunication, and all kinds of sins that get exposed when you are living in closer proximity to those you love. Practice forgiveness and choosing to love in words and actions.
God places us in challenges to grow us- so we seek Him- so we can find Him.
What is the most important lessons you can be teaching your kids right now? Relax, and talk about that when you sit, lie down, and go about your day. You got this if you go through Jesus for strength!
March 18, 2020
Day 9 on lockdown in Italy.
The days are starting to run together and the weekend feels just like the week- I am forgetting what day it is, yet having a set schedule has been so helpful!
March 18th alone: 4,207 new cases in Italy. Making it the highest number of cases so far in one day. And we are still a week away from what Doctors are guessing the peak is. 475 have died today. 1,084 have recovered today.
I just want to point out that about 3 weeks ago there were no to maybe a couple of cases in Italy. Now over 36,000 cases. This is how fast this thing spreads. If you think to yourself that "not that many cases, not a big deal" as we did 3 weeks ago- it could be a big deal in a couple of weeks. Advice from Italy? Go ahead and cancel all plans for March and April unless it is an emergency, or you are an AMAZING Doctor or nurse who will be fighting on the front lines. You are my hero.
Now take a big breath. Know God is ultimately in control and none of this is surprising to him. Give your anxieties to him because He cares for you.
Pray. Pray for the healthcare workers. Pray for others to come to know Jesus the true healer of our souls!
Oh and have your kiddos find bugs in your yard to study. 😄
We hold our plans with open hands.
...and then plans changed.
Cases of the coronavirus are multiplying rapidly and the Italian government has instituted a country-wide lockdown. Our family had planned to leave for the USA on March 12. Despite planning six months in advance to head to the US to see family and share about God's work in Italy, He has determined that we should remain. The next three weeks we are not able to gather as a church. Instead, we will be meeting virtually.
Last Sunday I handed responsibilities over to memebers of Rome International Church. Now, we will be present to see how it goes!
Alaina read Isaiah 6:8 where God asks, "Who will go for me?" Isaiah reminded us of our answer years ago, "Here we are, send us".
pray for us as we remain here in Itlay to minister to our neighbors and love his church.
To God be the glory both now and forever.
We love Christmas! Looking back on all that God has given us this year has been a humbling task to say the least. As we celebrate the living God coming to dwell with us, we have been deeply moved at how profoundly we've experienced his nearness this year.
As we draw closer to the new year, we are praying for new partners to join us in the work of establishing Gospel-centered churches in Rome and across Southern Europe.
Thank you for praying and partnering with us as we trust the Lord to build his church here in Rome!
Loren, Alaina, Zane, Roy, and Pax.
Rome International Church seeks to lead transient people to find their lasting purpose in Jesus Christ. Here are two ways we are looking to serve the most needy of our international friends:
1. Rome International Church is partnering with a women's resource center nearby that is meeting the physical needs of refugee families. These families (often single mothers) are considering abortions and seeking help to provide for their children. The center has asked for diapers, towels, blankets, sheets, and more.
2. Joel Nafuma refugee center has asked if our church could provide support to feed a number of refugees Saturday mornings. They've said about €55 a week will provide a good meal for those who otherwise would not have one.
As a church we are committed to doing what we can. Would you come alongside us in sacrificially giving to meet these needs?
You can give to RIC here: http://ibcmworld.com/join-us/donations/
You can give through our mission here: www.cten.org/lorenholland
In either case, indicate your gift is for refugee relief. All gifts are tax-deductible.
Alfred Kamara suffered a massive heart attack in the middle of the night. Without warning and within moments, he had gone from life to death. Over the next few days I sat and spoke with his African community about funeral arrangements, care for his widowed wife, and the Gospel. The last conversation I had with him was regarding membership at our church and his understanding of the Gospel.
Thousands of people attempt to make their way to Italy against impossible odds. Physical danger and eternal paperwork and changing politics threaten the hopes of these people at every step. Understand that the African community is largely unwelcome in Italy, and therefore Africans regularly hold the most menial of jobs when there is work offered. Their rights rarely concern government officials or employers. Whether as refugees or visa holders, their living conditions are often the poorest possible. Kamara had arrived from Sierra Leone to Italy 20 years ago, he had a job, was recently married and truly loved those around him. I’ve heard countless stories of his kindness from both the African and Italian community.
“I thank God”.
This is the response I get from every believing African to whom I ask, “How are you?” Cultural or intentional, I don’t know, but as a believer, it should be our answer, no matter what circumstances we are facing. Romans 1:21 explains that the wrath of God is revealed against mankind because they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs believers to give thanks in all circumstances. This is the posture of the believer who acknowledges that God has done all that is necessary for our eternal salvation through Christ Jesus. The work that affords us eternal life is accomplished. Gratitude must be given, not as penance, but as genuine rejoicing in the undeserved benefit of a personal relationship with life’s Maker. With this lens, everything else that God has richly provided us can be seen as the additional grace that it is.
The Gospel spreads through the most unlikely of people. God chose to display his glory through the foolish, the weak, the low and despised (1 Cor. 1:27-28) who hear the Gospel and believe. Much of the groundwork of Gospel spreading in church history comes through the common man telling his neighbors, family and community about hope in Jesus while they display a changed life to the world around them
The wealthy in this life are warned of the temptations to which they unwittingly succumb (1 Tim. 6:6-10). The poor are tempted to despair in their lack, lest they know the incalculable price paid for their eternity. Timothy is to charge the wealthy to hope in God, not money; to do good, be generous and plan for life after this one (1 Tim. 6:17-19). Oddly enough, this charge is often better lived out by those who have little to nothing than by those who have much. Case in point: an estimated 150 people attended the meeting to discuss arrangements for Alfred’s funeral and offer their assistance. Within a few hours, the money was put forth by those in attendance to more than cover the funeral price of 2,500 euros.
I thank God for the opportunity to build relationships within the African communities. I thank God that I have been given the opportunity to preach the Gospel to a crowd that will include many Muslims. I thank God that he has provided all that we need for life in Italy and godliness among the unsaved. I thank God for the many who give sacrificially to the work of the Gospel among international communities here in Italy.
Alfred Kamara did not have much according to worldly standards. But, he had the one thing that mattered, life in Christ. His life and death is a testimony to the community as one who took hold of that which is truly life (1 Tim. 6:19).
Don’t Be Afraid, Trust Me
We are transient people who find our home in Christ. We write about living overseas, doing ministry with family, traveling, missions, schooling, favorite books, and why we are here on this earth.