Homeschooling comes with it’s own unique set of challenges, but when you add a huge life interruption, good or bad, it can quickly become overwhelming. How do you push through when the stress threatens to undo you? I’m going to share a couple of things I do when the road becomes difficult.
Life always brings along interruptions: phone calls, appointments, weddings, births, deaths, illnesses, holidays, surprise visits. Every day there are minor interruptions and every so often, a big one comes along. Sometimes those big ones come at you one after another. Knowing this, and allowing for it, can help you keep the stress at bay. It can help you focus on what’s most important in those moments.
Our lives have been a little upside down for the past few months with my seizures (still not officially diagnosed yet), my grandson not breathing when he was born and being sent to a NICU three hours away, my husband’s car breaking down and a few other life interruptions. It’s enough to make you a wee bit…frazzled. So how do you keep going with homeschooling during these times?
Evaluate the Situation
When a life interruption comes along, it’s time to take a deep breath and relax. Ask yourself some quick questions: Is this a small interruption or a huge one? Is it a good interruption (think wedding, holidays, etc.) or something difficult to handle? Will it be over quick or is this something to be faced over a period of time? Are you looking at days, weeks, months or even years? Perhaps it is a new hurdle that could change your life as you currently know it to be. After evaluating the situation, you might need to take a deep breath again. Go ahead. I’ll wait. Feel better? Okay, let’s move forward.
Ask for Help
The best place for all of us is in our Heavenly Father’s presence. Too often I freak out before I stop to pray and give it to Jesus. I hope someday to have that be my first response. But no matter, He listens when I come to Him and pour out my heart. Sometimes it’s so small, and I know it to be silly, but still He listens. He loves me enough to listen to those small things. And when it is too big for me to bear, He shoulders the weight. He gives me peace that passes understanding. He even allows joy to bubble up within me when everything seems bleak. He is faithful when life is messy. And hard. And dark.
So seek Him first when life interruptions begin to feel stressful. He will give you wisdom on how to continue with the day to day homeschooling. Sometimes we’ve had a really. bad. day. He helps with that. Sometimes the days disappear into the next and the next as we face a crisis. He helps with that, too. He will show you how to navigate through those days as a homeschooling mama (or dad).
Sometimes we need to ask help from friends and family. Our pride can rear its ugly head during these times. But to not allow others to bless you, robs them of the joy and rewards of being used by God. There is wisdom in going to someone and saying, “Hey, I need help.” Someday, those same people might need you to help them. Then you can bless them back. That’s working out the love of God right there.
Remember the Beauty of Homeschooling
One of the things I love about homeschooling is the flexibility. I can homeschool whenever and wherever I want or need to, and however I deem best in the moment. Our curriculum and our plans and our schedules are all tools. They are not our task masters. When everyone is having a hard day, grab a book, cuddle up under blankies and enjoy a read aloud. It’s still learning. If the strain is huge on your family, set aside those books, and turn on a science video. Perhaps the life interruption can be used as a way to teach your children about acts of service, or compassion or even about natural healing remedies.
Life IS education and it comes in many different forms: curriculum, books, videos, CDs, through a variety of people, during various hands on opportunities, etc. Plus, education is not locked into specific months of the year, days of the week or even times of the day. If you can remember this, then the feeling of not doing enough can melt away. You are not bound to specifics. Let God lead you through your schooling and when life interrupts, you’ll be able to weather it just fine knowing He will provide a way for you to work through or around it.
Make a Plan
Now, for those small interruptions, the plan is more of a decision for the day (or perhaps the week) type of thing. But what if you are faced with something that will definitely impact homeschooling quite a bit. Then it’s time to plan. What are the most important subjects to you? For us, Arithmetic and Reading/Language Arts are the two biggies. We can drop other things for a time, but we like to do as much of these two subjects as possible. This paring down will help ease the burden when your time, energy and emotions are demanded elsewhere. As things calm back down, slowly add things in until you are back to full throttle again.
Having these things defined ahead of time can help you easily transition into a lighter load. Knowing you can use a variety of things such as computer software, online programs, videos, books, etc. can also help you guide your kids into a more independent study for a time. You will be amazed at the depth of learning your kids will gain. There have been seasons when life got crazy, and my kids spent a lot of time reading a wide variety of books. When we came back together for our normal school routine, I learned just how valuable books are for gaining knowledge.
Life interruptions will come. Sometimes they will be small and over quick. Sometimes they will be long lasting and life altering. You may need to adjust what you are doing, and that’s okay. God will give you strength and guidance if you ask. I moved to a Seasonal Schooling mindset a while ago. Plus, I shifted to a lifestyle of learning mentality. These two changes have helped my family get through some pretty crazy things over the years. Let me tell you, I have TESTIMONIES! Yes, I do. God is so good.
I hope I’ve encouraged you. I hope these ideas help you when life interrupts, and you don’t know how you will “do it all”. You won’t. No one can do it all…ever. But you can do the best you can with what you’ve got for your family at this time. That, dear mama, is all you need to do.
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