Life Happens. We all know it. And in the midst of all the mess, it can be hard to find a way to keep moving on. This is where homeschooling gets real. Over the last six years, we have weathered many storms, from health issues, to unexpected catastrophes, to numerous other problems life has thrown in our path. I have approached each difficult season differently based on our situation. One of the beautiful things about homeschooling is that you have the flexibility to deal with things as they come up.
At one point, we went through foreclosure and had to find a new place to live very quickly. During this time, our lives were a mess of packing, searching for houses, making phone calls, sorting through stuff etc. Honestly, during this time, we simply stopped school for a short period. We were just too busy (and emotionally exhausted) to deal with reading, writing, and math. Instead, we spent a lot of time together as a family, getting ready for this move and trying to handle the feelings that went with it.
At another time, my husband became seriously ill. We were at a point where we did not know what was going to happen. This was in the summer right before school was set to start, and on top of the uncertainty we had going on, it also left us in a very serious financial predicament since our savings was eaten up by medical bills. I was left with no money to buy books and no motivation to really do school. However, this time, I decided to start some light schooling anyway. I borrowed books from friends and from the library, I kept things basic and did a lot of unit studies, Bible study, and reading out loud. I did this mainly to keep myself and my children from going insane. At that time, we were in a sort of holding pattern while we were waiting for the doctors to figure out what was going on and what they were going to do. So, rather than sit and dwell on our problem, I used school to keep us busy, and it worked.
Most recently, my father in law (who lives three hours away) has been ill. We have spent a lot of time driving back and forth between where my in-laws live and where we live. Basically, that means we are doing a lot of schooling in the car and in waiting rooms at hospitals. What we have been doing is bringing our work in backpacks, and my kids work through as much as they can over the journey. Once we get past this season, I will look at where we are and what we need to do to meet our goals at the end of the year. For my younger son, that may mean carrying some things over into the next year. For my older son, it may mean cutting down on some things and focusing on what is most important. Either way, we will finish what we need too.
I think the most important thing my kids actually learn during these seasons is the very real lesson that life does NOT go as planned. Which, as we all know, is just the way things go. When my kids get older, I want them to be the kind of adults who can adjust when they face the unexpected. I want them to be adults who do not let problems and difficulties stop them. I want them to be adults who lean on the Lord in times of trouble and move forward, adjusting as they need to. I think the best way for kids to learn this is to see their parents model it, and that is what I try to do.
So I guess, if you are going through a storm or a messy season right now, the best advice I could give you is to pray your way through it and be sensitive to your needs and the needs of your children at the time. In some cases, it may be a good idea to stick with the familiar routine of school, or maybe just do a few subjects. At other times, you may just need to halt school for a while to focus on dealing with the problem, and that is okay too. Don’t worry about messing up your school year, you can just make adjustments later. Relax and take a deep breath. This trial may just become a testimony for your children later on.
To see more advice from crew members about how to homeschool when life happens, click here: