Lisa was preparing to begin her home visits with parents and students when she asked if I would take a look at the resources available to help her make the home visit fruitful. I began by searching for LCMS school home visits, then just for Lutheran school home visits, but I did not find what I needed. Knowing WELS and ELCA also have schools, there could be better search options. Regardless, we'll go with the assumption that there is not much of a guide out there, and that it could be useful for someone to have some gauidance when heading out for home visits. Granted, many Lutheran schools, whther elementary, middle school, or high school, have gone away from home visits. However, many schools still want teachers to make a connection at home, so the following article will discuss what Lisa learned about making the home visit worthwhile.
One of the lessons Lisa did learn, albeit a bit late in the game, is that scheduling the home visits with other teachers might be a good idea. This is convenient for the parents of multiple students, but it also simplifies the meeting for the teachers, as they can confirm expectations and share resources. In fact, the whole process might be easier if the scheduling is done in a centralized manner, as in through the office, with teachers only making adjustments if their own schedules conflict. Think how handy this model would be for a family with four kids in the school.
---this article will be updated as Lisa plans and implements home visits...if you have advice for her, please leave a comment below.
Here's the agenda Lisa created for her first home visits. She told me they went well, but it felt like she could have made the agenda a bit less wordy (it was adapted from a letter). This means that if you want to use the text here as a guide, then alter it for the amount of time you want to spend talking. That said, you now have a guide for your Christian school home visit that did not exist before, so go ahead and click on a Google ad so we can feed our kids today. Or at least check out Cranium hard case covers for your Chromebooks.
As an added note, she had bookmarks that she gave the kids. If you don't have a bookmark, you'll probably want to skip that part.
Home Visit Agenda
Back-to School Devotional
“Fountain of being! Source of good! Immutable Thou dost remain! Nor can the shadow of a change obscure the glories of Thy reign.” - (George) Walker’s Collection
As we turn the corner from summer to fall, you’ll begin to notice the atmosphere around you changing; subtly, but surely. The green leaves gradually reveal their deeper shades as they get less sunlight. At first there is a hint of yellow to the trees outside your window. Then, seemingly overnight, each tree is dressed in resplendent orange, burgundy, or gold, and whole hillsides are a riot of color. Apparently never-ending summer days begin to darken earlier, bringing the mosquitos out of hiding that much sooner. By October, night sets in at a comfortable post-dinner hour; then in December the world is in a hush of darkness before rush hour traffic has even commenced. The cycle of the seasons affects humans, too: many notice the first cool notes in the rush of wind that greets them as they open our front door in the morning to get the newspaper. It no longer feels like a warm caress upon their cheek; rather, it has a sharp quality that makes them draw quickly back inside. People realize it’s time to gather the flower pots indoors, harvest the bounty of their gardens, pack away the shorts and pull out the sweaters.
As a middle school student, perhaps you’re experiencing the winds of change, not as a familiar seasonal transition, but as a rude awakening. Throughout your childhood, each fall is marked by the commencement of a new school year. However, the start of your eighth grade year can bring a lot of mixed feelings as you go through the preparations of shopping for back-to-school clothing and supplies, setting the alarm clock for an early hour, and registering for classes.You may not have seen your school friends in a while - will they have changed over the summer - gotten braces, grown severl inches, found a new hobby? What will it be like at Hope, with several new teachers, new procedures, classrooms with new decor? How will it feel being a school leader as a member of the 8th grade class?
Now, before the butterflies that have been fluttering in your stomach float to your head until you plop down and have a good cry, let’s take a second to remember what’s still the same in this back-to-school scenario. Well, you’re still you, and I’m guessing that underneath this scared-kid exterior there’s also the excitement and ready-for-launch enthusiasm that has carried you through previous back-to-school jitters. If you worked hard last year,, you should have the skills and brain power necessary to rise to the challenge of becoming an eighth-grader!
Second, you still have your pep squad – parents to cheer you on (and to complain to when you get that big assignment, lose a game, or feel left out), your best friends (who are hopefully nearby or, thanks to technology, a mere text message away), your Hope family, and your biggest fan, Jesus (the one who holds the road map on this twist-and-turn-filled journey to adulthood).
Notice who’s the nearest and easiest to reach at all hours – that’s right, Jesus. If you keep Him in your corner at all times, cry to Him when you’re struggling, and shout His praise even when you realize you left your lunch in the car on your first day, His Holy Spirit will be there to comfort you and support you through this transition. How do I know? Because He has His eye on all of His children. Scripture is full of God’s everlasting goodness to those who fear (love and respect) Him. Remember Psalm 23? “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me…Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever” (Psalm 23:4, 6). Recall the Lord’s shepherding of His people, the Israelites, in the desert en route to the Promised Land? “By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light […] In all the travels of the Israelites, whenever the cloud lifted from above the tabernacle, they would set out; but if the cloud did not lift, they did not set out – until the day it lifted. So the cloud of the Lord was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel during all their travels” (Exodus 13:21, 40:36-38).
Even though your life is full of changes, they’re nothing He hasn’t seen before, and nothing you can’t handle with His help. Best of all, you have the hand of the One who never changes guiding you, the One who is in control, holding the whole world in His palm. “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired…He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint” (Isaiah 40:28-31). Check out Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 1:10-12 for more on God’s eternal immutability.
How can you remember that He is with you, even when He might feel far away? While you should certainly try to preserve your spiritual habits and make them part of your new school year routines, try this little trick to remind yourself of the change that made His relationship with you changeless: put a little cross somewhere you’ll find and see it often (in your purse, your wallet, on a chain around your neck, or a sticker version on index cards posted on your mirror). (Christian bookstores are a great place to get little metal crosses that fit well in tiny places.) Remember that if Jesus loved you enough to die for you on that cross so that you could be His for always, He won’t do anything to sever that tie. The depth of our faith often depends more on our desire to stay close to Him: “It is a sobering thought that we too [like Jesus’ disciples] are as close to Christ as we really choose to be” (J. Oswald Sanders, Enjoying Intimacy With God, p. 18). By His grace, you have Him on your side through this and all life transitions. When you feel that cross in your pocket or against your chest, thank Him for His presence, and let it be a reminder to you to lean on Him and to take Him with you in the days ahead.
Here is also a bookmark to bring with you into your autumn adventures. May it remind you of God’s love and our Christian love for you when you run across it in your textbook, Bible, or bedside novel.
Getting to Know You