When life becomes overwhelming and you are in the midst of trials, how do you continue to keep your homeschool running?
We were only four months into our homeschool journey when crisis hit–after a month of running from appointment to appointment and different professionals, our one year old was diagnosed with a chronic illness that would cause us to sell our home and move to a different city to be close to the only doctors who specialized in her care. That first year after diagnosis was a whirlwind of appointments and struggling to survive as I also navigated learning what it took to homeschool my older four children.
Since that time, I have also homeschooled through another move, the deaths of close loved ones, pregnancy, and post-partum depression. There were many times when I felt as though our homeschool journey was just about surviving. I also recognized that during these times, when I was struggling to keep it together, our homeschool served as an anchor for my children.
So how, when life’s whirlwinds are swirling about you, do you keep consistency in your homeschool?
While I recognize that everyone’s needs are different, here are a few of the things that I have learned to do to, as Dory would say, “Just keep swimming.”
Give yourself permission to do less. Volunteering to organize and schedule field trips for your homeschool group is worthwhile. Running kids to and from piano, soccer, and drama activities can be enriching. But neither is necessary, and both can be added back in later. Don’t feel guilty if you need to drop activities. Remember that there is a time and a season for everything. Honestly evaluate what you are capable of handling, and drop the rest.
Return to the basics. While Latin is wonderful and mummifying a chicken is a great learning experience, cutting back to the rudimentary basics of Reading, Writing and Arithmetic can be beneficial and, at times, necessary to keep going. Other subjects can be added back in later. Focus on those that truly matter. For older kids, have them do more independent study, or look into a co-op that doesn’t require you to take turns teaching. For younger kids, look into all-in-one workbooks to minimize your workload.
When you can’t thrive–survive. Do your best to follow a normal routine. Eat, shower, get dressed. Lower your expectations and be realistic about what you can achieve. Simple routines are best. Do as much normal as you can and don’t worry about the rest.
Get help. Ask those around you for help. Can your husband or older children pitch in? Are there other homeschooling mom’s who may be able to help you out? Or a friend or family member who can step in to help with some cleaning catch-up? Don’t feel like you need to do it all. Reach out to others to help bear your burden. Sometimes, we are the ones who serve others and sometimes, we are the ones who need to be served. Don’t deny others the opportunity for service. If you are suffering from depression, also look into seeking professional help.
None of us are immune from the trials of life and at times, homeschooling can appear to be an added stress at an already stressful time, but by having coping mechanisms already in place, it can help to better prepare you to weather the storm and keep some consistency in your homeschool.
A big thank you to Destiny of Some May Call It Destiny for writing this article.