How to Homeschool When Life Gets Crazy


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One of the blessings and curses of homeschooling is that you are solely responsible for your child’s education no matter what else is going on in your life. That means that when life gets crazy, you can’t send your child off to school for their education to continue without interruption.

At some point, life events such as a birth, death, move, or illness will impact your homeschool. I’ve had it pretty easy because the most stressful life event through which I’ve homeschooled was planning my daughter Brianna’s wedding. Add to that the fact that my teens are pretty self-sufficient and, yeah, I’ve had it pretty good.

Still, wedding planning while homeschooling was stressful. But it wasn’t as bad as I feared it would be because I took steps to reduce the stress. Those steps can be applied to most potentially-stressful situations to help you successfully homeschool when life gets crazy.

How to Homeschool When Life Gets Crazy

Take a Break

Often one of the best ways to deal with major life events is to take a break from homeschooling. Sometimes, it’s easy to plan your break. When you’re expecting a baby, for example, you can plan ahead to work around your due date.

I found myself thinking that we should have taken spring break the week after the wedding so we could all decompress.

With unexpected life events, such as a death or illness, sometimes it’s best to put school on hold for awhile. One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling is the flexibility, and those major life events may require taking advantage of that benefit.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Look for the places where learning is happening in your everyday life. Alter the mindset that education is something that occurs in a specific location during a particular timeframe.” quote=”Look for the places where learning is happening in your everyday life. Alter the mindset that education is something that occurs in a specific location during a particular timeframe.”]

It’s important to remember that during these times kids often learn lessons that don’t come from a workbook. The homeschool curriculum will be waiting for you when you’re ready to pick it back up.

Accept Help

Y’all there were aspects of this wedding that would not have happened had we not accepted the help that was offered. My mom, sister, and aunt took care of the planning and food prep for the reception, and my mother-in-law contributed food. (For the record, I made six gallons of sweet tea because, you know, sweet tea.)

Brianna wanted a Disney-inspired wedding with a different princess represented by each table centerpiece. That would not have happened if my mother-in-law and father-in-law hadn’t stepped up to plan and track down the elements of each centerpiece. My step-mom made the cakes and the flowers.

What does that have to do with homeschooling? Because they were handling all that, I could focus on continuing what needed to be done at home with my other kids. I didn’t spend weeks worrying about all those little details because they were in good hands.

Accept help. If someone wants to bring you a meal, let her. Some friends want to wash a couple of loads of laundry or clean your house? Let them. Another homeschool mom offers to drive your kids to co-op, a field trip, or a play date? Let her.

If your husband or mom offers to oversee the homeschool lessons, let them. Yes, even if they don’t do it like you would. Your kids can benefit from a different approach and another perspective.

And don’t forget to delegate. You can’t do it all. There are people in this world like me who are willing to help but don’t know what to do. Tell us! We are eager to do what needs to be done once we know what it is.

Determine What’s Important

When life gets crazy, you have to come to terms with the fact that everything isn’t going to get done. Choose what’s important and let the rest slide without feeling guilty. Maybe you need to focus on math and writing and allow spelling and science to take a backseat for awhile.

How to Homeschool When Life Gets Crazy

Just because you may have to set he books aside doesn’t mean that you’re setting aside school. Use the snippets of time you find to do what you can. Look for ways to homeschool on the go. You might try listening to audiobooks in the ca, practicing math or spelling with apps on your tablet, or reading engaging biographies or historical fiction at bedtime.

Look for Learning

Education is much more than textbooks and tests. Learning is happening all around us all the time. We sometimes forget the years of life experience we have that our kids don’t. There are things we take for granted that they haven’t learned yet.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Education is much more than textbooks and tests. Learning is happening all around us all the time.” quote=”Education is much more than textbooks and tests. Learning is happening all around us all the time.”]

Look for the places where learning is happening in your everyday life. Alter the mindset that education is something that occurs in a specific location during a particular timeframe.

The day before Brianna’s wedding, Megan was a huge help to me – and she learned a new skill. The short version of the story is that nothing we tried worked to get the wrinkles out of the chair covers that my step-mom had pulled out of storage, so we wound up having to iron them all. Like about 100 of them.

The chair covers were very attached to their wrinkles and did not give them up easily. Megan and my aunt ironed for about 5 hours on the day of the rehearsal. (Plus, I helped for a couple of hours, and my aunt had already spent at least an hour ironing the night before.)

Megan had never ironed before. I told her she was earning her ironing badge. {grin} Yeah, it wasn’t your typical educational activity, but it’s a life skill that everyone needs to have. Even people like me who almost never iron.

When life gets crazy, don’t overlook educational moments like life skills and character training. There’s a good chance that your kids are even learning things that would be labeled educational in a more traditional sense, even if they’re not sitting at the school table all day.

For homeschooling families, life and school are inextricably intertwined. When life events impact your homeschool, don’t get discouraged. Do what you can and be aware of the education that’s happening even without your guidance.

Have you homeschooled through a major life event? What helped you the most?

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