Monday, April 7, 2014

We interrupt this bring you a homeschooling BONUS lesson!

If you were following my five part series on our family's homeschooling evolution, you know that I posted parts I, II, and III, but then I sort of disappeared. Yep, I just kind of vanished. Sorry 'bout that!

Read part I of our homeschooling evolution HERE.
Read part II of our homeschooling evolution HERE.
Read part III of our homeschooling evolution HERE.

You know those times when it feels like everything is rolling along and going great, then suddenly...


Everything kind of falls apart!

Yeah, that's kind of what happened here. Thankfully, I think I'm climbing back up to the mountain, headed in the right direction, despite having lost the trail.

I spent weeks and weeks feeling under the weather but kept plugging along when I should have taken a rest. As a result, I ended up fairly sick. I spent loads of time in bed, sleeping, when I wasn't at work. I couldn't afford to take time off from work to focus on feeling better, so my recovery took much longer than it should have. Of course, just as I began feeling better, my allergies went completely bonkers. Totally haywire!

In the past week, I've spent more on new allergy medicine, asthma products, and so on than I think I spent on similar products in all of last year! Yesterday was the first day I've felt even slightly normal.

So, although not part of my series on how our homeschooling approach has evolved, here is an important homeschooling lesson for you:

Homeschooling BONUS lesson: Adapt and be flexible.

Many new homeschoolers wonder, "How do we keep homeschooling when I'm pregnant and on bed rest?" or "I'm in the hospital with pneumonia. What do we do about lessons?" or "Grandma is super sick and we have to go take care of her. Will my kids fall behind?"

The answer is, take a break! Adapt and do what you need to do in order to take care of the situation at hand. Taking a break from lessons does not mean your children will stop learning or suffer. In my opinion, learning to deal with the problems at hand can be much more informative than just about any formal academic lesson. How you handle a crisis will go a long way towards how your children handle future hiccups in their life plans as well. 
Typography poster: Everything is going to be OK by NeueStudioArtPrints on Etsy
Here are my five steps to homeschooling through a crisis:
1. Set the books aside and focus on making it through.
2. Talk to your kids about what is happening and what is most important at the moment.
3. Find alternative options to your usual lessons - documentaries and videos, books on tape, notebooks and pens, paper and crayons, whatever helps get you through without making you feel like you've lost your grip entirely.
4. Tell stories. Either make up stories from scratch or tell true stories about your family's history. Talk to one another. Learning to communicate face to face is sadly becoming a lost art in this day of technology and social media. Communicating will bring you closer together.
5. Reschedule lessons for another time. Instead of working Monday through Friday, do lessons on the weekends. Instead of taking a traditional breaks to match the local school calendar, take a break a week or two later. If you have to miss a significant amount of the school year, plan to work through part of the summer.

And, bonus step:
6. Your kids will still learn even without formal lessons. It's going to be OK! In a crisis, loving your family and supporting one another is far more important than just about anything academic.

I hope to have parts IV and V of my homeschooling evolution series up by the end of this week. Thanks for being patient!

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