Lifeschooling and the Coronavirus/COVID-19

Lifeschooling and the Coronavirus/COVID-19

EDIT: Please bear in mind that so much information is swirling around this issue and things seem to be changing rapidly, both with the impact of COVID-19 and the understanding of it. My own perspective is continually evolving. Please remember that we all need to be doing our own research so we can take care of ourselves and be wise! I am a busy homeschool mom, like you, and as such, my perspective is based on what I have had time to research.

My super-smart husband reads and researches a ton and I have talked with him more about what’s going on (so much to keep up with). I believe (at this point in time) that this is different than the flu…the infection rate is longer, so more are getting sick at the same time, meaning hospital beds are in short supply and doctors are not able to treat everyone they need to. People are also not being wise about staying home and those who are sick are often taking Tylenol, etc. to bring the fevers down, keeping their bodies from burning through it faster, so they end up sicker.

In short, there are so many different aspects to this, so please do your own research and give grace as things continue to develop! Most of us will be sharing and saying things that we may have to withdraw later, but I will be updating this post as I learn more and find more links to share. Let’s just remember that we can always trust in the Lord!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.
It will be healing to your flesh
and refreshment to your bones.

– Proverbs 3:5-8

Last week, when I was supposed to be catching up from two weeks of missed blog work, our family got the flu from Hades. It was awful. I stayed in bed with a high fever and pretty much slept Tuesday away, while my two boys did the same. Sweet Elleina (adrenal fatigue and all) tended to our needs, succumbing to the virus the next day along with my husband, Jon.

Of course, the first thing on everyone’s mind the moment that first cough escapes someone’s lungs is, “Coronavirus!” It’s a fearful time for many.

Looking at Coronavirus as a Learning Opportunity

But rather than going all aviary with either a “Chicken Little sky-is-falling” response or an “ostrich head-in-the-sand” response (those jokes would have been funnier if we were talking about bird flu, but alas, that was a pandemic of an earlier time), why not use this as a lifeschooling moment? Coronavirus/COVID-19 is, after all, a part of our lives whether or not we want it to be. We can’t help but read about it online, hear about it on the news, and be reminded about it at Costco, as the workers ask for six feet of personal space for customers and diligently wipe down all the cart handles before deigning them safe for the next customer to use. And just because the schools and colleges are closing down doesn’t mean we have to follow suit in our homeschools!

When thinking of lifeschooling with any topic, I always go back to the definition. So first of all, what specific interests do your children have and how can your children learn more about the virus itself so we can make this an “individualized process”? Do your children learn best through audio, video, reading, etc.? I’ve tried to include different resources below to cover different styles of learning.

Coronavirus/COVID-19 is, after all, a part of our lives whether or not we want it to be.Why not use this as a lifeschooling moment?

Science

Some kids may enjoy learning specifically about the virus itself if they have an interest in the medical field. Lifeschooling science at its best! These first few articles are better for teens and older kids, and I especially encourage you to read the second article, and the perspective (fourth and fifth articles) from Answers in Genesis. (By the way, I have personally previewed all of the articles, videos, and other resources, to varying degrees. But if you ever find anything objectionable, please let me know, as I am human and can miss things!)

Now here’s a really cool, interactive way to study how a pandemic works and how it can be fought to be contained. We have this Pandemic game and it really is fun and educational! What I love is the cooperative nature and how you are really fighting against the disease, not each other. This game shows you the three stages: outbreak, epidemic, and finally, pandemic.

Pandemic Game

Here are a few great YouTube links to explain the virus and pandemics in general. The first two are especially for younger kids:

Relational

Others may find the personal aspect particularly moving and enlightening. Did you know that the doctor who sounded the alarm on the danger of Coronavirus was a Christian man who died and left behind a beautiful wife (8-months pregnant and now also infected) and young child? He also wrote a very touching poem that ends with a quote from 2 Timothy 4:7. I’ve also included a video from a man who recovered from Coronavirus who describes what it was like to be sick with the virus.

Psychology

Being that I was a psych minor in college, I find the psychology of the whole thing rather interesting. Here are a few articles that give some perspective to the statistics and also help alleviate fears.

Economy

What about the economic impact? Personally, I took advantage and invested in some Bitcoin, since it went way down the other day! But it’s interesting to understand the impact that fear has on the economy.

Geography

Don’t forget the opportunity for some geography studies! Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the virus, used to be a bustling city of 11 million. It’s very interesting to see how silent the city has become since lockdown in January. The second video talks about the area as a tourist attraction. It really is a pretty amazing city (check out the cool light show at the end!) and I enjoyed learning more about it and seeing some beautiful videography! The third video is better for younger children and talks about the general geography of China.

I also can’t help but share one of my favorite children’s books that I discovered when we used Five in a Row a couple years ago (love that curriculum!). The Story about Ping is such a sweet story that introduces children to some culture and geography of China in a real-life way.

Math

Can you believe that there are also ways to incorporate math in studying the COVID-19 virus? One of our speakers from last year’s Lifeschooling Conference, Andrea Hall, has put together a great video on real world math and the Coronavirus. Here’s a great opportunity to show how math can save lives!

math and the coronavirus

History

It is also interesting to study pandemics throughout history.

Now, of course, you can go all kinds of directions and use these resources as natural jumping-off points for many other topics! Be sure to observe your children and notice what captures their interest (and what doesn’t). Use the Who Is This Child? Journal to record their interests and help you take their learning to the next level. And remember, it’s okay if you go totally off-topic and find yourself studying the migration patterns of Monarchs, for example! That’s kind of the point of lifeschooling, right?

Mission

Now, what about the aspect of mission? Can this apply to your child’s specific calling and mission, or perhaps to your family’s mission? Or, perhaps you can just apply spiritual principles and teaching in a more general way?

My immediate thought is… pray! Pray for…

  • The wife and family of Dr. Li Wenliang (One of the links above is from Intercessors for America and you can click “I prayed.”)
  • People to turn to the Lord as they recognize their need of Him!
  • Those whose livelihoods have been negatively impacted (I’m thinking of homeschool speakers, in particular, but there are so many others!)
  • Those who are now being forced to homeschool
  • Those who have lost money for some reason or another (my friend’s son had his college courses cancelled, meaning he can no longer complete required work for a certain license and will need to extend his studies)
  • Our president and leaders to have wisdom in handling the situation the right way

Answers in Genesis has a fantastic article on how to use the Coronavirus outbreak as an opportunity to be like Jesus to the world. The second article is also helpful, though I would personally disagree on the advice to get a flu shot and considering what is included in many vaccines, for one thing, I could actually make a biblical case against it…but that’s another subject altogether.

You can also discuss the laws God set up for the Israelites and how they would help stop the spread of such viruses.

What about your family? Have you used the Coronavirus as an opportunity to do some lifeschooling? In what ways? I’d love to hear about it!

Danielle Papageorgiou

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