How To Homeschool Through {Just About} Anything: Part Three


In this weeks installment of How to Homeschool Through {Just About} Anything we are going to talk about preparing your family for hard times.  I'm also going to cheat a little bit and direct you to a series of pieces that I wrote for Peanut Butter & Grace last summer.

The truth is that nothing can really prepare you for the unexpected and that is precisely what makes it difficult to deal with.  That being said, I believe that intentional family living (living on purpose for a purpose) makes a big difference when you find yourself (your family, your homeschool) feeling out of control.  When I am writing about intentional family living, I can say with confidence that the tools I share are very useful in supporting strong family relationships.  I can also say that at times we do a great job with this and at times intentional living (much like homeschooling) is left to the sidelines when we are simply hoping to keep our heads above the water. 

Note:  If you are currently in one of these periods of life and waiting for me to actually talk about homeschooling during them, don't worry.  That is coming next week.  Feel free to skip this week, because in the middle of the storm is not the time to work on these things.   To start with the first post in this series, click here.

For us, the effects of intentional family living became clear as we began to wade our way out of the trenches after Siena's brief life and death.  I didn't realize it at the time, but our habits carried us through in ways that I am still only realizing now.  I spent a good portion of my time on bed rest finding places for everyone to be during the day because I couldn’t care for them.  Since we homeschool, that meant an extra detail to take care of and extra bodies to account for even during the day.  Family meals and family meetings stopped.  Mass was a challenge when I was well enough to make it at all. We were completely at the mercy of other people for most of our basic needs.

It was actually during this time that I realized the value that investing in intentional family living has, largely because for a season we didn’t have it.   Our regular methods of communicating were stretched. Our typical routines for handling various situations were nullified by our reality. This disciplined structure that our family was accustomed to was no longer possible.

Everyone was feeling the strain, but I found that as our tangible structures were falling apart, our relationships were not. This is one of the keys to both intentional living and also to homeschooling through difficult times.  No matter what happens with the structures of family life, the relationships need to be maintained and protected.  Our defined roles shifted as kids and grown-ups naturally recognized what they could do to help. The phrase from our mission statement, “We work together,” was lived fully and almost automatically.

Siena's First Birthday

After Siena's death, you might imagine that our family slipped further into disarray, but the truth is that we almost immediately began to emerge stronger.  Yes we were horribly grief stricken (and still are), but there was something else there as well.  Both slowly and suddenly (if that’s possible) we were able to use the structure of intentional family living as a support system for our days and for our family when nothing else made sense. There was comfort and security in doing what we knew how to do even when it was impossibly difficult.  When we were so distraught in grief that we couldn’t remember the words to prayers we have known for a lifetime, we could slip back into the intentional routines and structures we had been forced to abandon for a season. Slowly, everything else came back around us.

Because in this family, we had established our priorities. At no time during the chaos did I realize that one of the things keeping us moving was that we had all individually taken ownership of a common goal. It wasn’t until afterwards that I realized that the conviction of intentional family living was carrying us even when it seemed like we were ignoring it.

It was our automatic reflex…our auto pilot.

We were on the same page because before this season of chaos we committed ourselves to being on the same page as a priority. It didn’t happen overnight and at many times, particularly when my children were all younger, I wondered why on earth we were trying. I'm not sure in all those years, I ever fully knew what we were preparing for in practicing intentional family living.  Yet over time, there it was.

Exactly where we needed it to be, when we needed it to be there. 

{Click here for part 4}

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This post is adapted from How Habits of Intentional Living Carried Us Through Our Season of Grief, originally appearing on the Peanut Butter & Grace blog as a part of my regularly occurring Intentional Family Living Column.  There you can read more about our mission statementdeveloping a mission statement for your family, family meetings, rules of family life, and more.

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