When we have kids we think everything is going to be all sunshine, kittens, and rainbows. And most of the time it is. Then when we start homeschooling we think that the good times are going to continue. And most of the time they do.
But sometimes, things happen beyond our control. Jobs are lost, kids get diagnosed with diseases, Mom or Dad get really sick. Our worst nightmares sometimes come true.
That was the case for me, when in 2000, my then 5 year old son was diagnosed with leukemia. Want to talk about having the rug ripped out from underneath you! Your worst nightmare has been brought to the light of day. And come true.
Whatever your crisis is, whether you are looking for another job, or fighting hard for your child’s health or your own, it takes everything in you to fight. But wait! You homeschool! How can you wage war in this battle and still homeschool? I know I questioned myself. A lot. “How can I keep homeschooling with “this” going on?”
I’m here to say you can do. Because I did. And I’m no different from you.
Like in everything else, though, you can’t do it all. Something is going to have to give. Fancy meals will have to be traded for simple, homecooked meals, freezer meals, and sometimes take out. In depth unit studies, detailed science experiments, and lots of field trips will have to be traded for just the basics for a season. It can be done, though. Kids will be fine if they don’t do every experiment or go on every field trip possible.
You will have to set the priorities for your family. Meals, laundry, medical needs, and emotional needs of the children will likely be at the top of your list. Then you can fit in school work in between. Math will be a homeschool priority. You don’t want to get too far behind in math, as it takes too long to catch up. For elementary and middle school aged kids, every other subject can be covered by reading good books. Read aloud when you can, have whoever is watching the other kids while your at doctors appointments or in the hospital read to the kids. The kids can also read for themselves. High schoolers can take responsibility for their own schoolwork and do the majority of their work by themselves. Really. Yes, you are still involved. Picking the curriculum, helping them when they get stuck, correcting their work when needed. But they can do most of their daily work by themselves.
If you have to take off two weeks because of a hospitalization, the kids will be ok taking an extra two weeks off. Think about it. Over the course of 12 or 13 years of school, is an extra two weeks off going to make a difference? No, it’s not. Even if you take off a week or two several times a year, your kids will still be fine. They will quickly catch up. They will have learned much from reading. Their reading speed and comprehension levels will have increased. This will benefit them in their lessons when they are returned to.
My son received chemo treatments for over three years. During that time, we didn’t do any schoolwork to speak of on clinic days or when he was hospitalized. The remaining kids at home didn’t do any schoolwork on those days either. When my son was diagnosed, our children were 14, 12, 5-the one diagnosed, 3, 2, and almost 3 months old. When he finished treatments three years and three months later, they were 17, 15, 9, 8, 5 and 3. I have been there and done that.
My advice for homeschooling in a crisis is to pray. Then pray some more. Then set your priorities. Daily living, (meals, laundry, etc.), medical needs, (or job hunt, or whatever is needed for your crisis), the emotional needs of the kids. Then school. Relax. Cut your self and your children some slack. If you can barely concentrate on anything because of the overwhelming feelings caused by a crisis, how can your kids concentrate on schoolwork? Circle the wagons. Gather together as a family. Gain strength from each other. Your family can draw closer together and learn much together in a time of crisis. These life and family lessons will be of greater benefit to your children than another science experiment, workbook page, art project, or field trip will be.
You can deal with a crisis and keep homeschooling. I’m living proof.