Challenge: How to Homeschool When Life Is Busy
Sometimes life can become overwhelming and full, but this isn’t the time to throw in the homeschooling towel. Bethany has some fantastic tips for how to homeschool when life is busy.
Becoming overwhelmed with life happens to us all, from the most organized Type-A homeschool parents to the more laid back among us. And that is okay. Any number of situations can invade and overwhelm our well-planned homeschool year.
However, these times don’t mean you need to throw in the towel and find the number to the local school district. You can continue homeschooling even when life gets busy, and your time is short.
Whether it’s an illness, aging parents, too many activities, or a multitude of appointments, we can quickly find ourselves in our van more often than on our couch with a read-aloud. Don’t despair. Instead, try these tips to successfully homeschool when life is busy, and continue living a life of learning with your children.
Plan, But Not Too Far Ahead
Homeschool planning has never been my forte, and when my house was full of littles, that was fine. However, as the kids have grown and their activities increased, I have to keep track of all those details.
The best option is “big picture” planning. There is little need to plan every detail of the coming homeschool year down to the math pages for a given day, Instead, fill in all those weekly activities such as co-op and online classes. Once you block out time that isn’t available for sit down work, it’s easier to plan your homeschool schedule without feeling like a failure.
Planning for me is simple: do the next thing. Once I block out the times we are out of the house for theater, church, or classes, I plan the time I have left more effectively.
Carschooling (Take It With You)
Yes, carschooling is real, and it can do wonders for your homeschool. This past fall, when our schedule was full, I loaded a rolling cart full of supplies that stayed in the car. We would hit libraries or the park and pull out whatever work we needed to get done.
During that time, this option was a fantastic way to help me feel as if we were still accomplishing our goals.
However, carschooling also means learning as your drive from activity to activity. Maybe you don’t have time for a read-aloud before hitting the road, but you can play an audiobook in the car.
Recently, we’ve been listening to Masterpiece Makers podcast on our way to co-op, and it’s been an excellent addition to our history and art studies. So think about how you can capitalize on your captive audience.
Think Beyond a School Schedule
It’s easy to develop the mindset that academic learning should happen between 8 and 2, but there is no reason other than convenience that this schedule exists. So as homeschoolers, we can do our studies whenever we like.
One way to easily homeschool when life is busy is to adjust your homeschooling times. If you’re struggling to fit it all in, consider homeschooling at night or on the weekends. It might not be our preference, but it may be the best choice in certain circumstances.
Consider Making Some Cuts
No one likes to think this is necessary, but if your schedule has become too overwhelming, it might be time to cut back on the outside commitments. Your children will be okay even if they don’t do scouts, dance, tae kwon do, science club, co-op, AND volunteer at the animal rescue.
Of course, it can be disappointing to give up some of these worthwhile activities. Still, your health and sanity as a homeschool mom are more important than your 5th grader’s extracurriculars.
Do What’s Important and Let the Rest Go
If you’ve tried all the above ideas, yet you still are hanging on by a thread, it may be time to let a few homeschooling ideals go.
There are times when life takes precedence, and you have to make tough decisions. Yet, it is in these hard times that our children learn the most about relationships, caring, and doing hard things. These are lessons that rarely come from a textbook.
So during those times, take a look around and see what your children ARE learning. Value those things, no matter how small. If you drop your 7th grader’s science for the rest of the year, it won’t make a bit of difference in the long run.
Make the needed choices and drop the guilt.
Homeschooling Is Life
Homeschooling is not like school. It doesn’t happen in a vacuum removed from life. It’s present in our lives at all times, both good and not so great. Though this can feel burdensome and difficult at times, it’s also one of homeschooling’s most significant benefits.
Homeschooling doesn’t separate and sanitize education by removing it from the “real world.” It ventures into the real world every day. So forget about the school mold that lingers in your mind telling you to follow a schedule, and embrace ways to make learning happen no matter your schedule or circumstance.
What is your best tip for homeschooling during busy seasons?