In January 2007, my mother unexpectedly passed away at the age of 69 (after her mother had lived to be 101!) We were all shocked and grieved so deeply --and still miss her. How thankful we are that she knew the Lord. She had planned to spend the month of May with us to celebrate her 70th birthday, Katie Beth's graduation from college, and Julianna's graduation from high school. There was so much disappointment for me and with a heavy heart, I tried to make my lovely daughters graduations as special as possible.
After my mother went home to Jesus, I spent nine months driving back and forth to South Florida (four hours away) to take care of my dad and clean out their house. I would take the younger children and their school books--it was a challenge! My children and I spent the entire summer cleaning out Daddy's house and then moved him up closer to our family.
Once Daddy was here, we had to find doctors (he was very sick, staying alive through the prayers of our church family) and life became full of doctor visits and medical decisions. Added to this, I was homeschooling, leading worship, and leading the ladies' ministry at church. 2007, 2008, and 2009 were not been "normal" homeschooling years.
What is a "Normal" Year of Homeschooling?
There are not simple answers to homeschooling in the midst of trials. We think that everything has to be a certain way ("normal") and that there are hoops we have to jump through (or else!). Our expectations are of perfection instead of being a family that is educating at home. Every day has its own set of problems and every homeschooling mom has unique circumstances to overcome. There are no normal days and no normal years in homeschooling. Just as life is full of twists and turns, so homeschooling is an adventure!
Homeschooling in Tough Times
If we let go of our expectations of perfection for ourselves and our child, we can relax and enjoy the journey. Surrender your home school to God. Trust Him to overcome every obstacle and barrier that gets in the way of homeschooling. He wants your children to learn and grow! He will always provide resources and plans that are better than we can come up with on our own. When plans have to change, go to Jesus! Ask Him to provide better plans. Daily, ask Him for wisdom to teach our children.
When Daddy was in the hospital having surgery or procedures, we would learn about it. They have lots of neat booklets that even children can understand. We took our books along and read and working in hospital waiting rooms. I made curriculum choices based on whether they would work "on the go." We listened to books on tape and teaching CD's on our long treks to South Florida.
Keep homeschooling simple. Read lots of living books and write down things that happen so you can remember this time later on.
Realize that tough times are character building times in you and the lives of your children. Keep life simple and focus on praying together and expressing affection to one another. Compliment your kids when they show compassion and kindness. Realize that they are learning as situations arise. Jesus is with you.
"In this world, you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world!" (John 16:33 NIV).
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)