Stress Less When Your Homeschool’s a Mess

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We all have times when life gets a little crazy and our homeschool runs off the rails. It could be that you are sleep deprived and nursing a newborn or spending your energy packing up a house for a move. Maybe you or one of your children is dealing with illness, doctor’s appointments or hospital visits. Perhaps you are taking care of an elderly relative and spending a lot of time away from home. At times, it just isn’t possible to do it all. When things are super hectic, schoolwork can become pretty low on the priority list and that’s okay.

If you are comparing your homeschool to a traditional school, remember, there are interruptions all the time at school. In any given week, children may participate in field trips, assemblies and guest speakers might interrupt classes, and teachers need to take time out to help students with conflict resolution. Also, students and teachers have occasional absences without penalty of any sort.

When things get hairy, there are ways to ensure your kids continue learning:

  • Focus on independent work. Some kids are able to carry on with curriculum on their own. Some can work on bible devotionals, copywork, or workbooks. Others like to read or learn about a special interest. Educational videos and apps can be super helpful for children who are more dependent on their teacher.
  • Allow older children to teach or assist their younger siblings. Giving them a chance to be “the expert” can help, even reluctant learners, develop confidence and a sense of responsibility.
  • If regular curriculum is out but you are still completing daily tasks, use the opportunity to help your children get the most out of the mundane, learning skills they can use in the future, such as shopping, cooking and budgeting.
  • Encourage play, physical fitness and creativity. Often, when school is in, we get too caught up in academics and the non-essentials get set off to the side. Homeschool down times can be great for adding to Lego structures, playing dress-up, jumping on the trampoline, visiting the park or painting a masterpiece.
  • Are your kids staying with friends and family? Perhaps they are visiting places they’ve never been before, trying something new or learning how other families do things differently. Remember to recognize the value in these learning opportunities.
  • Emphasize character development. Are your kids having to pull more weight than usual? That’s cooperation. Are you giving your time to someone in need? You are modeling kindness. Is life just plain difficult? The children are likely learning patience, perseverance and how to put their trust in God.

What if you can’t even manage the basics? You’re doing your best, but it just doesn’t feel like it’s enough? That’s when you shake off the guilt, recognize that the academics will come in their time and think about why you started homeschooling in the first place. Do what you can, let other people help and let God take care of the rest.



Shari Talbot is a Freelance Writer from Wasaga Beach, Canada. She currently homeschool two wonderful bobbins, supports her husband in business and blogs at Becoming the Proverbs Woman.

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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).