Homeschooling has it challenges even on the good days so what do you do when life gets difficult and homeschooling seems impossible? Two years ago I learned first hand how to homeschool through a difficult season in life. I was put on bed rest with my sixth child for the last four months of my pregnancy. With the baby’s life and my own life at risk, the stress on my family was enormous. I was so concerned about who would care for my kids during the day, run the errands, clean my home, make the meals and keep the laundry going that homeschooling didn’t seem feasible.
Through it all God showed me that not only was homeschooling possible but my kids were learning so much more than I could have ever imagined. It was through this difficult event in our lives that my children learned about God’s sovereignty, faithfulness and love for them. They experienced first hand the compassion and generosity of others and they learned how to trust God in all circumstances no matter the outcome. That is a lot to learn in 4 months and we even squeezed in some academics as well.
Here are my 6 tips to homeschool when life is difficult. And don’t forget to pin this image for later!
Keep Your Focus on the Lord
When you face challenges in life, the most important thing is to keep your focus on the Lord. It’s also important to help your kids focus on the Lord as well. Take time to pray with your kids. This will help build up their faith and give them an outlet for their fears and anxieties.
You can also fill your home with God’s Word by placing scripture around your house. Post a verse on the refrigerator or bathroom mirror, write an encouraging scripture on a picture frame or a ceramic plate hanging on your wall.
Keep track of all the ways God blesses your family during this challenging time. This will serve as a reminder to you and your family that He is always with you and will never leave you. Write down, in a journal or a poster pinned to your wall, the different ways God has provided for your family. Perhaps a neighbor brought a meal, a friend prayed for your family, you found a reason to laugh or you were able to be together as a family. Keep track of them and then make time to thank God for his faithfulness amidst the storm.
Ask for Help
This isn’t the time to be super woman. Ask for help! Most people want to help but don’t know how. Don’t wait until they offer their assistance, instead make a list of your family’s needs and then let people know how they can bless you. Perhaps someone can coordinate meals for your family or drive you or your kids to appointments and activities. Maybe you need help with child care, cleaning your home or doing laundry. Give others the opportunity to be a blessing to you and your family. Don’t try to do it all on your own!
Get Creative with School
Start brainstorming ways to fit learning into the challenges you are facing.
- Would a different curriculum make it easier for your child to work more independently?
- Is there a family friend or family member who can assist with school work?
- Are their educational apps, computer programs or shows that could be used during this season of life?
- Does your library have audio books that your younger child can listen to or that you all can enjoy while driving to and from appointments?
- Can you think of creative places and ways to fit school work in?
When I was on bed rest, we set up a small table by the couch that I spent my day laying on. My children would gather up the school supplies they needed and then join me at the table for some instruction and assistance with their school work. We hired an older homeschool student to come twice a week to help the kids with school work (and to do some light housecleaning and prepare meals for our family).
If your difficult situation takes you and your kids out of your home, find a creative way to make your homeschool supplies portable. Workbooks, flashcards, books to read and apps on mobile devices make it easier to do school almost anywhere even at a friends house, a hospital waiting room or in the car.
Stick to a Daily Routine
If at all possible, try to stick to some kind of routine. Kids thrive better and feel more secure when they know what to expect. Having a routine can be as simple as letting your kids know that after breakfast they work on school work (even if they are in the car) and after lunch they get free time (even if it’s playing video games on your phone while you’re at the doctor’s office). Even if you have to be away from your home and your kids have to be shuffled to different locations, you can usually incorporate some sort of structure to your children’s day.
Give Kids Responsibility
You aren’t the only one who is probably feeling helpless during this time. Your kids are struggling as well. Assigning your kids some responsibilities gives them a sense of purpose and belonging during this difficult season. It also helps keep things running even when you can’t attend to them. Find things your children enjoy doing and let them know how important they are to the family and how much their contribution during this time means to you. Don’t worry if they make a bigger mess in the process of tackling their responsibilities. Just praise them for their efforts. Everyone in your family could probably use a good dose of encouragement during this time!
Do What You Can and Don’t Worry About the Rest
When it comes to homeschooling during a difficult season my motto is, “do what you can and don’t worry about the rest.” Whether formal academics takes places or not, your children are learning valuable lessons during this time. Don’t discount what the Lord wants to do in and through this challenging time. God is in control and your children will learn exactly what God has planned for them to learn.