Today’s post is written by contributing writer, Kim from Not Consumed.
We all have this idea of how homeschooling should look in an ideal world, but the world is not ideal. Babies die. Little girls get cancer. And daddies leave their families. The truth is that sometimes our world gets turned upside down. It’s in the turmoil that people are tempted to quit homeschooling, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
When our lives first got turned upside down, I was able to rely on the diligence that I had already put into homeschooling. For a short period of time letting go of school completely was in order. Think of it as a summer break just in the middle of February.
Once things settled down we started back on a routine again, only “normal” never came back. Over the course of three years our family endured quite a bit of turmoil and upset and life grew into a new kind of normal. While we do have a daily schedule that works most days, I still keep school fairly flexible. Here are some of the ways we make our new normal work:
Throw perfect expectations out the window.
Be flexible and ready for opportunities to teach when you least expect it. Get away from the idea that school is Monday through Friday from 9 to 3. Sometimes we school at night, on weekends or holidays. I’ve even known moms who schooled every other day of the week, having longer days on and then a day off. The key here is to think outside the box and look for ways to make it work for you.
Have school on the go.
Keep your child’s school work in a backpack. That way you can have school where ever you need to go: in the doctors waiting room, in the car, while waiting to see a counselor, etc. This also comes in handy if I need to leave them with a babysitter. There is always something they can do to get started on their work without me. While in the car, we listen to our Classical Conversations memory work CDs and books on tape. This makes every trip purposeful and helps me to feel less stressed about how school goes at home.
Teach your child to be an independent learner.
It’s best to have this in place before your family experiences something that turns life upside down, but even if you didn’t, start now. Teaching your child to work independently will enable school to go forward without your every breath.
Sometimes you simply can not be involved in every single minute and honestly you shouldn’t be. Few employers enjoy having employees that need a constant babysitter, right? Train your students early to work independently and diligently. One specific way that I do this is to make a weekly or daily checklist of assignments for each student. (I use Scholaric to do this!)
Let the computer be your friend.
We are on an extremely tight budget, but technology is a must in my home. I find creative ways to get computers and iPads into my home and am willing to sacrifice other material possessions to have them. For me, the use of computer-based programs to teach math is a must. Without the computer, I do not feel like my children are getting the individual instruction they need. I even use a program to enrich reading.
In addition to the computer, we use our iPad for educational apps daily. I love that my kids can practice math facts and learn geography in such an engaging way. Check out this series on educational apps for ideas.
Adjust the rest of your life.
Sometimes we miss the obvious while trying to fix the impossible. What I mean is, if you have tried and tried to find time for something to no avail, maybe there is something you are overlooking. As a homeschool mom, this if often the ins and outs of daily living. Look for non-school related ways to save time or make things easier. Create a workable chore list for the children to do. Do bulk cooking in advance. You would be surprised how much more efficient school will be if the rest of your life is under control. This series has ideas for easy meal prep and homemaking organization.
We would be foolish to think that life will never get turned upside down. Rather, we should be ready, always flexible and prepared for whatever life brings our way. Whether it’s a few days, a few weeks, or a few years, one day you will feel so comfortable in the “new normal” that it will be hard to imagine how you did it any other way.