School looks different this year for just about everyone. Some students are at home, learning through screens; others have in-person classes, but with new rules and procedures upending the routine. Of course, these changes have just as big an impact on the parents who are now essentially homeschooling their children, as well as the teachers who must instruct through Zoom.
Although this new reality creates challenges, it also provides new opportunities to help. People all around you need encouragement, support, or supplies to make it through the school year. As God’s church, we are to bear each other’s burdens (Galatians 6:2) and show God’s love to others by meeting their needs (1 John 3:17-18). We should each look not only to our own interests, but also the interest of others (Philippians 2:4). By doing so, we can be a light pointing others to God (Matthew 5:14-16) and to His free gift of grace (Ephesians 2:8-9).
So how can you help? Here are a few ideas of how you can serve your school’s staff, students, and parents, demonstrating the love of Christ to neighbors and friends.
Supporting School Staff
- Reach out to your child’s teachers to see what they need most during this unique season. Remember to ask how you can pray for them.
- If your child is older, reach out to some of their teachers from previous years. Besides asking the same questions about what the teacher needs and how you can be praying for them, see if they have any students that your older child could help tutor or encourage.
- Drop off an encouraging note and a small gift (such as a bouquet of flowers or a gift card) to your teacher. Let them know that you are praying for them.
- Contact your school’s counselor and see if they know of any specific needs that you can help out with. For example, one counselor asked for coats and jackets in various sizes, so they could be anonymously given to kids who lacked winter wear.
Connecting with Other Families
- Connect with the parents of some of your child’s classmates. Offer to help each other understand assignments, troubleshoot technology issues, and provide support and encouragement as you go through the school year together.
- Invite a few kids in your neighborhood over for an after-school “recess” in the backyard, or for a socially distanced lunch gathering at a nearby park. Besides providing fun interaction for the kids, it can serve as a much-needed break for their parents.
- Become a “buddy house” for a nearby family who is doing school online. Allow their children to come over and work from your house on certain days or for parts of the day. Sometimes kids do better learning around someone who is not their parent, and sometimes parents need kid-free time to accomplish other tasks.
Serving Those with Unique Challenges
- If you know nearby families with single parents or with two parents both working full-time, offer to bring them breakfast. (If it is something that will keep overnight, like muffins and fruit, you can deliver it to them the afternoon before.) Include a note to let them know you are praying for them. You can serve these busy families by taking at least one item off their to-do list, freeing up additional time and making their morning less of a rush.
- Some older kids are now doing school at home while their parents work outside of the home, leaving these teens home alone. If you are a stay-at-home (or work-at-home) parent, reach out to these neighbors and offer to be available if there are any emergencies or major issues that need to be handled in the moment. Share your cell number with the parents, and allow them to share it with their children if they wish. They may never need your help, but it is reassuring to them to know that help is nearby.
- If you have experience helping your own child overcome a learning disability, offer to help another family who is dealing with the same thing. Or, if you don’t have experience but you know of someone else who does, connect your friend who needs help with another friend who can provide that help.
We are sure there are many other ways you can serve your school, and we’d love to hear about them. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know how you have been helping other parents, kids, and teachers!