Homeschooling When Life Blows Up

The following is a post by contributing writer Michelle of Raising Cajuns.

Everyone has good days and bad days.  Homeschoolers are no different.  Some days flow with ease, while others sputter and chaos ensues.  At the end of the tough days, you go to bed knowing you can start with a clean slate the next day.  That maybe the kids were just tired, or you had too many commitments that day, or you just plain woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  You know that tomorrow will be better.

But this post isn’t about those days.  This post is about the days, weeks, and even months of your life when everything around you has fallen apart.  You know with a good amount of certainty that external circumstances will not be better the next day.  In fact, they just might get worse.

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photo by Roger

Take Heart

Homeschooling doesn’t have to stop just because your life explodes.  What I have learned is that homeschooling can actually help you make it through these difficult times.  Recently, I hit the perfect storm of health complication, work overload, and personal life collapse.  Sure, I spent some time wondering how I was going to homeschool through this and whether I would be better off if my kids were enrolled somewhere else until this difficult season of my life passed. In the long run, however, we were all better off for embracing homeschooling whole-heartedly through this crisis.

Here are five ways homeschooling can actually benefit you when life blows up:

  • Honor your needs – You can sleep late, eat what and when you need to, or get extra rest by having lessons on the couch or snuggled in bed.

  • Shift routines – Change your daily routines to whatever works better for you.  Start your school day later or earlier, or have lessons in the afternoon or on the weekends.  If you absolutely need a break, take a look at your yearly calendar to see if you can take a break now and take fewer breaks later in the year, or consider shortening your weeks and adjusting your calendar that way.

  • Welcome distractions – Had my kids been in school, I might have crumbled into a pile of sadness on the floor for several days.  But having them around gave me a welcome focus and distraction to get me through a rough emotional time.

  • Flexibility in approach – Remember the impromptu movie day when you were in school?  Yeah, your teacher probably had a bad day back then, too.  There’s nothing wrong with throwing in the towel on a really bad day, but a homeschooler’s version of throwing in the towel might still involve watching an amazing documentary on Netflix, playing a game of scrabble, finding new online math games, or writing funny limericks together!  My favorite sort of back-up plan is to declare the entire day a project day.

  • Stick together – Tough times can bring families together.  Having my girls around all day helped me remember that.  I could get the emotional boost of kisses and hugs any time I needed them.  I focused my attention on the simple fact that we are a team and that we would get through this together.

Michelle is a wife, mother, writer, and Cajun who prefers everything extra spicy. She writes about their homeschool adventures at Raising Cajuns.

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