Monday, February 7, 2011

School in the Time of Upheaval

Just when I felt I had this homeschooling thing figured out and running smoothly—weekly schedule ironed out, lessons planned, supplies purchased or borrowed, chores assigned—our family and household has been thrown into some upheaval.
We’ve had the unexpected addition of some extra people to our household and it appears we will be accommodating said extras for an indeterminate amount of time. This has changed the dynamics of everything from meal times and preparation and timing of lessons to space in the house and the car.  Maybe that sounds like no big deal, but believe me—it is.  There are discipline issues and differing expectations that make for plenty of awkwardness and Motrin-worthy headaches. There have been no end of distractions from schooling (some minor and just annoying, some major and downright frightening.)  And this is not including a newfound anxiety of where to put and what to do with the baby I’m due with in a mere four weeks.
Consequently, we’ve had to fit school in wherever and whenever we can.  I never considered myself a “structure” person, and never put much stock in having a routine, but now that we don’t have any of that anymore, any sense of routine and normalcy is what I crave most.  There have been days where I’ve had to abandon formal school time and just grit my teeth and endure the goings-on around here.  There have been times when I’ve needed to put myself in “time out” so I don’t turn a hard situation into an awful one.  I long for things to go back to  normal…but it appears we’ll have to redefine normal.
I apologize for sounding both cryptic and grim.  What I’d like to get across in this post is that even though we’re in the midst of a less-than-ideal situation, we’re trying to make the best of it.  I’ve had to let go of my expectations that things will run smoothly in any given hour, and I’ve had to practice patience when I’d rather run screaming from the room (or send other people screaming from the room!)  I’m trying to find humor in all the craziness, and I think I’m succeeding (most days.) 
My point here is that even when times are hard, and things aren’t going as planned, we can still accomplish a lot.  We can still learn a lot.  It’s a matter of reassessing one’s priorities. In our case right now, we’re more in survival mode than anything else.  We’re spending less time learning math, grammar, and history, but more time learning adaptability, patience, and diplomacy.  I suppose I should include that we’re learning more about love and charity (by far, the hardest lessons for me.)  In the grand scheme of things, those are probably the most important lessons to learn.


  1. We all understand the importance of exercise. With that in mind, I think of the line someone mentioned. Perhaps it was a quote. Anyway.
    "Life - a workout in God's gym". I really like that. You're right. Some of the most important lessons we need to learn, don't come from a book. They come from life situations. What we do with those things, how we handle difficult and stressful times - will be what our children see. Hopefully we will be able to teach them, through our actions, those very important lessons. I, too, home schooled my kids - who are now adults. It was one of the best things I could have done. I realize everybody is different and there are all kinds of variables to take into consideration. But I will say, for me, home schooling was an awesome experience for our entire family.

    Take care~

  2. Hi Shay, thanks for your comment! I like that quote, it's so true! Hopefully, at the end of our lives, God's gym will have turned us into the spiritual equivalent of hulking body builders (without the steroids and nasty protein shakes!)