How To Homeschool Through {Just About} Anything {Part 2}

This post is the second in a series, click here to start at the beginning.

During some seasons, extra time to read in a tree is all that is needed!
What qualifies as {just about} anything?  Almost from the moment I started homeschooling, I overheard experienced homeschooling moms discuss the advantages of homeschooling during certain seasons.  Help from older kids when a new sibling was born, being able to travel and attend far away funerals of family, and more.  What I never heard anyone talk about was a time when homeschooling just wasn’t possible or needed drastic overhaul.

Occasionally I would hear about a particular child for who it didn’t seem to be a good fit, but never a time that it just wasn’t going to work.  Little did I know back then, how our own homeschooling journey would test the limit of that theory.  Times when homeschooling didn’t just take a back seat, but wasn’t even a flitting thought across my brain.

Our first homeschool trial came towards the end of our second year.  We went to bed one night and smelled something unusual.  I told my husband not to worry, it was just neighbors grilling, but his instincts said it was something more.  He went downstairs and could see the flames from our engulfed garage flickering under the door.   We quickly and safely evacuated everyone and called 911, but our house was eventually declared a near total loss.  All of our belongings needed replacing and the house would need to be stripped down to studs in some places and rebuilt in others.

Our garage, including the melted chest freezer (lower left corner)
For days I never one thought about how my kids were missing out on school or when and how we might start to homeschool again.  I remember clearly the first time I thought about homeschooling because I was sitting in the clinic parking lot for an OB appointment (I was pregnant with Logan) and a blogging friend called me.   I didn’t know she had my phone number, but I had won a contest on her blog some weeks back and she had my mailing address and was able to track it down.

She told me that she was going to send us a box of curriculum for whenever we were ready.  When I hung up the phone I promptly burst into tears and didn’t stop for at least the next hour (my poor OB!).  All of the craziness of the past few days and what it was really going to mean to my life finally sunk in.

While we were eventually in a stable housing situation, homeschooling continued to be a challenge because of the location and the vast amount of leg (and phone and paper) work that was involved in the insurance and recovery processes.  While we made several attempts to restart, homeschool effectively ended in March that year and we never returned until the next fall.

I think about this particular experience as one of those season things I heard so much about.  Our kids were learning about the generosity of others and having lots of extra playtime and time with friends.  We all did what we needed to do and we survived intact.  When we returned to homeschooling, we hadn’t missed any significant amount of time and nothing about our homeschool had really changed.  While house fires are rare, most moms I have spoken with can point to a period like this in their own lives.  When letting everything go for a season was just what was needed.

There are, however, seasons that get to be a little too long to skip school completely.  It really doesn’t matter what causes this situation for another family, only what causes it for you.  There is no comparing situations because there are many factors such as family size, situation, and existing support networks that change how a family is able to respond after a crisis.  Some examples, however, might be a death in the family, extended illness or hospitalization, a move, legal issues, job loss, other financial causes, and more.

Due to hospital bedrest, high risk pregnancy, poor prenatal diagnosis, and eventually the death of our daughter Siena during the 2014-2015 school year, we faced a different type of homeschooling season.  During this season we couldn’t forgo school completely.  Our kids needed some sort of stability and they needed to keep their minds on something other than all of the crazy things going on in life.  More than one person suggested that it would be best if we would enroll them in school for that year.  

Instead, we chose to shift the focus from our Montessori style learning to a more traditional workbook approach centered on basic subject areas.  These are the types of periods I am aiming this series towards: those that cannot simply be weathered by putting schoolwork aside until another time.  Don’t worry so much about what that looks like for other families, but think about what that does (or could in the future) look like for your family.

{Click here for part 3}

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