Real life happens. It is inevitable! And real life comes with a certain dose of reality. Trouble. Pain. Suffering. Crisis. What happens to your homeschool when the crisis hits? I have blogged often about the crisis we face regularly with my trachea but it occurs to me that I have never blogged about how we deal with that in our homeschool.
I have told you these things so that you will have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. Jesus, in John 16:33
Our Crisis-Mode Homeschool looks a little different than our day-to-day school, but not too much. I think the first time I had to have surgery, our homeschool just shut down. But my oldest was only ten. And we had to get our act together fast because since that day I have had fifteen additional surgeries with another one rapidly approaching. Here are some steps you can take now to “crisis-proof” your homeschool before the crisis hits. I think these steps will also help if you are already somewhere in the middle.
1. Work towards independence.
I think we all have a tendency to expect less than what our kids can actually accomplish. Expect more! You will be amazed at how much your children can learn on their own. Practice independence for one or two subjects per day. Rotate through the subjects so that your kids get some experience working independently on as many subjects as possible. Look for online games, disposable workbooks, and reading material to supplement your regular curriculum — these are things your child can do once or twice a week on their own. Have project days once a week, and teach your children how to notebook or assemble a lapbook on their own. (Or every day of the week if you are in Crisis-Mode!)
2. Write Down a Plan.
My husband will laugh if he reads my blog and gets this far. He knows the truth — I do not like plans. However, that doesn’t mean I don’t see value in a plan. My kids each have a plan of what they are supposed to finish on a daily or weekly basis. We stray from that plan, but the first thing I do when Crisis-Mode arrives is pull out the plan.
Usually, when we hit Crisis-Mode Grandma is close at hand to help. We hand her the plan and she is good to go. She understands the need for flexibility, but giving her a written plan helps her understand what could get accomplished in a typical day or week. Grandma loves that plan! I also have children who thrive on having a plan. Those are the ones who take after their Daddy more… For those children, we can get much more specific with their plan and this helps with their Independence.
3. Expect Delays.
It’s just a fact. Off days (aka extra days off) are gonna happen. In my house, if Mommy goes and has surgery then the day Mommy comes home is not a big school day. Instead the kids tend to spend time with Grandma cleaning the house extra special, making jello, and making me welcome home cards. And that’s okay. Because I start out the year with the realization that off days (off weeks, off years?) are going to happen. Learning still happens. The Plan can wait until tomorrow. Worries just make us more sick and increase our down time.
4. Take Care of Mom.
Here is my typical MO (mode of operation). Get home from surgery. Rest a little. Do too much too soon. Rest more. Waste more time resting than I could have. Add unnecessary delays. I realize not every crisis is about Mom, but no matter who is in crisis Mom needs her rest and food. And more often than not, it is Mom who is staying with or in the crisis and ignoring her own need for rest or food. Uh-uh. That does not work! You will crash and burn. And the worse thing is — you will usually crash and burn after your help goes home! (Ask me how I know!)
Does this help? Do you feel more prepared for a crisis? Of course not! Nobody ever feels prepared when a crisis happens. However, if you have taken these four steps you are more prepared whether you feel like it or not.
Never be afraid to ask for help!
If you are in the middle of a crisis right now, may I encourage you to reach out to help? Very few people will help you without being asked. Most people who love you are, in fact, waiting to be asked. They don’t want to invade your privacy, they don’t want to seem nosy, they don’t want to assume (Blah, blah, blah). Or they think you are SUPERMOM and you’ve got everything under control. Ask for help! If I could do one thing for you right now to really help your family – what would it be? Maybe you need someone to help each child write out his daily plan. Maybe you need someone to vacuum. Maybe you just need someone to listen. Ask.