If you are a homeschool family that is in it for the long haul, sooner or later you will have extended periods of “life” that happen. Not just a sick day or week. More than just a day full of appointments and errands. Or the occasional celebratory occasion.
You’ll have “life” that happens for several weeks…several months. Sometimes for families it can even be a year. There will be chaos. These are the times are when you have to praise God for blessing you with the opportunity to homeschool your children. I can almost guarantee that if you had to manage daily drop-off and pick-up, homework, fundraisers, and the like that accompanies school outside the home, the chaos would seem even bigger and more overwhelming than it does when homeschooling is a part of your life.
This is when you need a Plan B.
In actuality, Plan B’s often get a bad rap. They aren’t always a negative thing. Sometimes it’s just how you respond to Plan B that determines the outcome. Plan B’s are often your silver lining in disguise.
Think of how many times in your life that YOUR Plan A didn’t work out, and you had to resort to Plan B (which in reality was God’s Plan A for you the whole time)….I know I can see the beauty and the joy in those situations. In hindsight, of course.
So the trick it to know going in that you have a Plan B that works. That when life happens, homeschooling and learning can still go on. It may look a little differently than it did the month before, but that’s okay. There are scores of homeschoolers in this country who practice what most of us call “unschooling”. And what you may wind up doing during this season of your life could possibly look a little like that at times.
This has been on my heart recently because we are most likely looking at a season of moving into interim housing (rental home, apartment…not sure what it will be yet) while my husband gets our new home built. The “interim housing” part is perhaps one of the biggest moving parts of this whole adventure. People move all the time. You pack it all up, get it moved, and unpack it again. When there is a stop along the way, you have all kinds of things to consider…especially when that stop is a fraction of the size where you currently are. But the tips I have for you will work no matter what your journey looks like.
1. Assemble your team.
Everyone in the family needs to be on board with the fact that during the chaos, there will be changes. Chances are, if you follow tip #3, your kiddo(s) will have a ton of fun with this interim way of doing homeschool. Looking ahead at what we will have going on for the next 9-12 months, I think my daughter will simply love it. In many ways, it will bring a more relaxed schedule. There is only so much you can heap onto your plate when “life” is happening, so something naturally has to give.
2. Keep your most important resources at your fingertips.
This will mean different things to different folks. For me, it will be of utmost importance that the homeschooling resources I will need during May, the summer AND part of next school year will be labeled prominently and NOT stored in the back of a storage unit behind everything else I will not need before the final move. If a move is not part of your picture (and even when it is), efficiency is a necessity, and being able to get to what you need quickly will make each day run a little more smoothly.
3. “Funschooling” rocks during chaos.
Take this opportunity to change things up a bit. We LOVE learning with games, movies and field trips! And those are fairly easy to utilized during this time….not much planning is involved for any of those three choices. And if being on the road a lot during this time is part of the changes, make sure you make use of all that car time. We have a DVD player in our Odyssey, and it is such a blessing! If not movies, audio books and other such things on CD are a GREAT tool!
4. Be the definition of flexible.
You’re heard of Murphy’s Law, correct? Well, the fact that you are in the middle of the chaos is by definition the very time when things can go wrong. Your reaction to these things will determine the outcome. Something comes up and you can’t get math and science done today? Yep, it can/will happen. If you are flexible, it could turn out to be an awesome day! If all you can do is focus on what can’t get done instead of what is happening in its place…well, then not so much.
5. Have the Calgon on hand.
This is all doable. But I’m not going to lie to you and say that there will be no stress involved. Whatever is going on in this season of your life is quite possibly a source of stress. The fact that you are not able to stick to your neatly planned out schedule could be difficult for you. I know for a fact I will have a hard time with this. As well as many other things during this process. So it will be key for me to find ways to relax and enjoy the time I have been given. A long hot bath…exercise….maybe just a date night with my hubby. Whatever it takes to keep the stress at bay, I will do.
My prayer for you is that you will be able to enjoy the blessings of all the seasons of your life. Sometimes we have to look harder to find them, but they are there. Because remember…nothing that is going on in your life right now is a surprise to God. He has crafted everything according to His plan.
How can we pray for your season of chaos?