How to Homeschool Through {Just About} Anything Part Four


I want you to stop for a moment and imagine you are standing beside a dirt road.  There are crowds of people.  It is a sunless day.  People are screaming and there is a group of people approaching up the road that seem to be the focus of all of the action. 

As they draw closer, you see a man dragging a heavy wooden cross behind him.  The man is being forced to carry this cross up to the top of a hill.  He looks miserable and you feel compelled to wipe his face with a cool cloth to offer some relief from the misery he must endure at the hands of the soldiers surrounding him.

You hold out your hands, only instead of being greeted with appreciation, the man slaps your hands away.  He takes out his anger and frustration and pain on your tender offer of help.

That may not be how the story really goes, but how often in our own lives do we push away those who are only trying to offer a small amount of comfort during a trying time?  Moms have human, earthly limits and when we are backed against them, we have a tendency to push harder rather than yield to the assistance that we are granted.

I know I have been guilty of this many times.  Even complaining that the help offered wasn’t what I thought I might need at that moment.  Or resenting the fact I needed help so much that I resented the person offering it!

What can others do to help with homeschooling during a crazy life period?  If you are on bedrest, maybe a friend could stop and pick up some new books at the library so you can read out loud.  If you aren’t able to read aloud, maybe thats something a friend or family member could do with your children.  Can friends and family take your children hiking or fishing or to a museum or zoo?  Could your music teacher make arrangements to travel to you for a season instead of the other way around?  If finances are an issue, could your co-op board make arrangements to assist your family?  Be creative and look for simple practical changes that don't require a lot of effort or energy to institute.  Small things that make progress towards the end goal without sacrificing your entire homeschool plan to that point are the best adjustments to make.

Maybe you can still homeschool during this period physically or practically, but you have a reason that keeps you from doing the "ands" (homeschool and laundry, and dishes, and..., and..., and....).  If you have a limited amount of time and/or energy available for household jobs (this was huge for me after our house fire, between being pregnant and dealing with insurance claims/information), what can be handed off to someone else?  Cooking, cleaning, and errands are all things that just about anyone can do.  If someone offers help, don’t be afraid to suggest one of these less than glamorous duties!

One caution about accepting help.  Help is a verb…an action.  Accepting help does not mean forcing yourself to sit and listen to other people tell you what they think you should do or letting others complain to you about how inconvenient your situation is to them.  Not only is it counterproductive to you mentally and physically, it is literally taking away from what little time and energy you may have to be successful with homeschooling.  While some level of comfort is useful and important, encouraging and supportive words cannot be the only form of help that you accept.

I saw an excellent graphic a few years ago describing circles of support.  The person (or family) with the crisis is in the center of the circle, then in expanding rings are those closest to her, then friends, further extended family, maybe coworkers further out.  Each circle being further away from the person based on how close that relationship is.  Each of us has a circle and are a part of many other circles.  The idea of the circles is that in any given situation, you can dump out (people in larger rings) but support in (those closest).  In other words, don’t complain to the person in the crisis or his/her spouse or children.  It’s just bad taste and I don’t see any reason that you need to be asked to endure that.  

And I say that having endured my share of people dumping in!

When your family faces a life crisis, it feels like life has stopped.  I would even question the crisis label if you don’t feel stuck and overwhelmed.  That’s an unfortunate part of the process.  You have to change gears from full stop to partial steam ahead.  The train has to leave the station slowly and pick up speed each passing mile.

You don't have to do it all alone.  It's ok to let others carry you in their prayers and in their arms for awhile.  Don't get stuck in full stop mode, overwhelmed with what it would take to get moving again.

{Click here for Part 5}

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This post is the fourth in a series, to start at the beginning click here.  To be notified of the next post in the series, be sure to subscribe to our email list in the right side bar!

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