We all have hiccups and bumps along this homeschool journey. A seasoned homeschooler understands that to maneuver through those hiccups and bumps and provide your children with an education can be tricky. Tricky but doable. Your homeschool day might not be as fruitful as you would like. The laundry may never ever get done and supper might come from a box or a bag. No judgments here. I have used many a box and bag in my day.
What happens when the hiccup becomes a “ big belly whopper” of a crisis; an illness, devastating diagnosis, or loss of job? Barbara Johnson, funny lady and author, once wrote that she had learned to praise God through the “whatevers” of life. I can’t tell you how much that ministered to me personally. I have had more than my share of “whatevers” and when I’ve been the midst of the storm, conjugating verbs and learning the multiplication tables were last thing on my list of things to worry about.
Should we throw up our hands and put everyone on the next school bus?
I can’t be critical of anyone who chooses to do that. I will be the first to say one must do what one must. I am here to tell you that it is possible to homeschool in the midst of a “whatever,” and quite possibly, the “whatever” experience will be a far greater lesson than any you can give academically.
I started my long list of “whatevers” well before I became a mother. A car accident left me permanently gimpy. A few years later I went into congestive heart failure and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. I was 27. Since then (in many years that have followed), I’ve had a few serious health issues. You can imagine the toll it has taken on us as a family.
First, let’s consider that Homeschooling is itself much more than a method of education.
We each homeschool for a variety of reasons. My husband and I decided to pull our son out of public school when it was discovered he was dyslexic. We decided that we could give him an individual education and let him mature and develop at his own pace…not being pressured to fit into the mold that someone had decided every little boy must fit into.
I will admit I struggled with the decision initially. Because of my health issues, I worried that I wasn’t going to be able to “pull my weight”: that Josiah would be one of those poor suffering children holding court by his mother’s bedside with smelling salts and a damp hanky.
I won’t say that every day has been rosy.
There has been a lot of grace dosed out and we have been able to face each challenge as a family. His character is being molded and shaped not by strangers, but by the care and love of his family. In the long run, our reasons for Homeschooling became so much more far reaching than we ever imagined.
Here are 6 lessons I’ve learned in navigating the “whatevers.”
- When you get caught up and overwhelmed, consider the big picture. It’s easy to get caught up in the non-essentials. Ask yourself this: In the long run, will it matter during this time if you cut everyone’s apples in the shape of the Eiffel Tower or that they make a replica of the Great Wall? Get your priorities straight.
- Hugs and Kisses. Those should be in big demand. Keep in mind that most of our troubles last only for a season.
- Use the time to grow together as a family and in your relationship with God. Your kids will learn more by the example you set.
- Many times kids can feel helpless. I don’t believe in keeping Josiah in the dark. If I am having a tough day physically, he knows that there are certain things he can do to help. He has taken the “keep mama hydrated” mantra seriously. He is now the first who offers me his arm when we encounter slick walking conditions. I worried for a time that I was putting too much on him. I realize now that he has become more aware and compassionate as a result.
- We can become so burdened with our own feelings of guilt. I have discovered, however, that the only one “guilting” me is myself. Those feelings don’t do anything except place us in bondage.
- Simple is so much better. Take a look at your life. Can you simplify? Maybe you need less stuff, easier meal plans, naps, fewer distractions and activities.
What is your number one reason for homeschooling?
All of us have a list of at least few things. As a parent, my desire is that my child has an intimate relationship with Our Savior. Down on the list is that we grow together as a family. Even further down on the list is that he achieves academically. Did you know that even that goal is possible to achieve outside of a structured school day?
I have some more practical ideas on my blog. For now, take a deep breath and remember that there won’t be a task given to you that God will not also equip you to do. Depend on Him. He will see you through those “whatevers.” God is not intimidated by long division or our current crisis. He is MORE than able.
Rebekah Teague is a homeschooling Mama of one creative and highly-entertaining son. She has been married to The Muffin Man who is a pastor and a great guy. She resides in the Ozark Mountains and blogs at There Will Be a $5 Charge For Whining.