Thursday, October 29, 2015

Homeschooling Through Busy Times

One of the great things about homeschooling is that we have lots of freedom and flexibility with our schedules!

But even knowing this, sometimes homeschooling through busy times can still seem overwhelming.

We recently went through a 10-day busy period while my family and I were very actively involved in a Share-a-thon (sort of a fun mix between an old-fashioned revival campmeeting and a fundraising event) at a Christian outreach ministry in our community. While this is something our whole family really enjoys and looks forward to working in twice a year, there were lots of quickly grabbed suppers, very late nights, really rough mornings, and a pretty distracted homeschool teacher and student!

Here are some things that helped us manage to keep our homeschool afloat during this very busy time:

Know Your Priorities

Knowing which school subjects or activities are the most important to your family can help you better determine the things that really need to get accomplished. If you really need to do a math lesson each day to stay on target, then you will want to focus on at least getting that done. Or if Bible time or reading are most important to you, then focus your school time energy during those busy times on getting those done.

During our busy time, I knew if we could at least get Bible, math, and spelling accomplished for the week, we were doing fine. Those were our top priorities at the time. We actually managed to get in much more, but those were the most important. Having that in my mind kept me from feeling overwhelmed or worrying that we were getting behind.

Life is School

Do not underestimate the importance of simple life lessons that can take place in the midst of all the busyness.

Chores and housework are worthwhile activities both for us and our children. Whether you call it "Home Economics" or simply "Life Skills," these are very important, character-building learning experiences; and it is perfectly OK to focus on those sometimes!

What is the nature of your "busyness?" If you think about it, I am sure you can find something worthwhile and educational in what you are doing for your homeschooler(s).

Participating in the Share-a-thon included some fun learning activities for Big Brother! Just as a few examples, he was able to talk on live radio (science/technology/public speaking), help figure up fundraising totals (math), recite Scriptures (Bible/public speaking), as well as listen to and sing along with some great Gospel music and hymns (music)! So even though we were supper busy and were not on our "normal" homeschool schedule, learning was still taking place. And it was meaningful!

Fill in the Gaps in Fun Ways

We put our history textbook work on hold for those 10 days. We were up to the beginning of the War for Independence, so Big Brother enjoyed listening to some dramatized history stories about that time period on tape. While this was not our "normal" history curriculum, it was very enriching. This was something he could do on his own while I was busy preparing a simple, quick meal! And once our busy season was over, he was able to really get excited about reading about that time period in his History book.

If there are subjects like this that have to be put on hold through a busy season, try finding a fun and/or simpler alternative to fill in that gap until things calm down at your house.

And It Came to Pass

I have heard it jokingly said that some of the sweetest words in the entire Bible is the phrase "And it came to pass." Busyness and being "off" your routine does not last forever. Soon life will calm back down and things will be back to "normal." Just realizing that adjustments needed only to be made for a season helped relieve much of the stress for me and I was able to actually enjoy this time much more.

Not every busy season our families face involves something as nice as a Share-a-thon event or revival meeting. Maybe you are going through a time of sickness, a move, the loss of a loved one, or some other kind of busy season. We all hit those times. Hopefully the ideas I have shared here can also apply in those situations.

Remember, homeschooling is real life schooling. Our students are learning in everything we do together, not just by studying their textbooks while sitting at a desk from 8 to 3 every weekday! Don't let seasons of busyness or stress get you in a bind. Stick to your priorities and embrace the many learning experiences God sends your way!

How do you handle busy times as a homeschooler?

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