What do I mean? Oh, things that we all might encounter during the years of homeschooling... a broken bone, a sick child, a job change, someone we love being admitted to the hospital. Having been through all of these in recent years, I'll be honest and admit I've worried too. How will we ever get "caught up?" What would that look like, and does it matter anyway?
First, breathe, second, pray, third, let go. Let go of your plans and try to embrace the plans God has for you. I might have had great aspirations of finishing a 36 week course with the girls in 20 weeks. I might have had designs to clean the house, plant the garden, or even read a book, but God had other plans.
How does this work in the real world? When one of the girls is sick, we usually end up with a 'documentaries on Netflix' day. This is a great time to pool ideas from your friends. If you haven't thought ahead and made a list of possibilities, ask them now. Social Media can get you a few great answers, some decent answers, and a couple mediocre answers in about 45 minutes. Usually someone is sitting there watching your post pop up in their newsfeed, and will share some ideas. If you're not sure they will work for your children, click over to Netflix and read the descriptions. It doesn't really matter how much they learn, it matters that you can keep an eye on them all day, from the comfort of the couch, near the bathroom and the kitchen. Since our girls are High School age, we can always just peruse the 'documentaries' listings and find something. If your kids are younger, pay attention to the descriptions. If your children are little, pick a sure-fire movie instead of a documentary. Maybe Winnie-the Pooh?!
Job change? Yeah, been there, done that more times than we care to recall over our past 11 years of educating at home. How does that work? For us, in bits and pieces. If you need to help your husband proof-read his resume, or prep for an interview, your kids just have to learn to adapt. Some people are very hands-on in their teaching style (not me) and letting their kids work independently may seem little scary. (If you've taught them to work independently, it will be a great help right now.) In the big scope of life, it really doesn't matter if your child only does 3 math lessons this week instead of 4. If you are so committed to your schedule that you can't be flexible to be your husband's 'help-meet' when he deeply needs you, then you love your schedule more than you love God. Let go. Start writing in pencil, because from experience I can tell you, this will NOT be the only time you are going to have your homeschooling interrupted.
Notice I said interrupted, not stopped. Just because your child isn't doing lesson #143 in their science book today does not mean they won't be learning. As homeschoolers, we have got to abandon the wrong idea that learning only happens from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you are still clinging to this idea - stop! Our children have learned loads of life lessons about to how act (and how not to act) by watching how Kurt and I interact with each other and with our jobs through tough times. Life is not all sunshine, rainbows, and unicorns! It is healthy for your children to see that you struggle. It teaches then to turn to God (assuming that YOU are turning to God for help) for answers they cannot find on their own. It also teaches them about contentment. You may not find your dream job on the first try. Most people don't. Yet, you can be thankful for any opportunity God brings you, and ask Him to teach you through the struggle.
Broken bones, hospital admissions? We've been there, done that too during these homeschooling years. In our lives God has used His people to step in and parent our daughters when we couldn't. A few years ago, Kurt was in a car accident and broke his leg. During the first two weeks he was home (of 11) the girls spent each day with various homeschooling friends and their families. Did they get a lot of schoolwork done, no, but I didn't expect them to. They were fed, loved on, and comforted during the times when I couldn't be there taking care of them because I had to drive Kurt to his various Doctor appointments and tests, not to mention the seemingly endless phone conversations about insurance, or keeping track of times for his medicine.
This was the body of Christ in action. The girls got to play, swim, draw, spend time with their friends, and we got food. Lots and lots of delicious food, that I didn't have to shop for or prepare. The girls still talk about the things they did during those two weeks.
Earlier this year Kurt became violently ill. He ended up spending several days in the hospital with pancreatitis, and eventually having his gallbladder removed. Once, again, the body of Christ sprang into action. Rides for the girls, meals for the three of us that were still eating something other than jello, even some gifts to help pay our bills. Did the girls finish every math lesson on time? No. Did they learn about serving others through being served? Yes.
Our school days went a little later in May than I had planned, our garden isn't outstanding this summer, and we still have some decluttering to do in the house before next week. These are all minor trifles in caparison to the great love and grace that the girls were reminded of through the actions of friends and family. Kurt is healed, life goes on, learning continues.
At the end of each day/ year/ interruption to our schedule, as I look back, I see that God has been faithful to work through HIS plan to educate our daughters when I couldn't. When I look at our goals for our homeschool, I see He has met all of them already, and the girls aren't even ready to graduate yet. What an amazing God we serve!
Ecclesiastes 3 begins "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." (KJV)
When life happens, remember that you really do want God, who has a masterful plan, in charge of your life and your homeschool.
Remember, breathe, pray, follow HIS plan.
Blessings on you all!
Click here to read more about: