Saturday, January 31, 2015

Homeschooling Through Crisis

At first, we thought it was funny.  My husband and I would watch our son start to nod off during car rides. He would seem almost infantile in his struggle to be awake and it was funny to see him nod off and jerk back up.  Then he started doing it at meal time. It was funny then too.  I caught it on video several times with the intent to use it as leverage when he got that first girlfriend.

Then he started napping right after breakfast. Then lunch. Then I could not keep him awake. Initially, I thought he was coming down with something. Then I thought it was a growth spurt. Then I realized that something was wrong. One day I simply could not wake him up. I thought he was unconscious. I very nearly called 911 until I pinched him and the pain stimulation woke him up.

It wasn't funny anymore.  Something else was wrong.  We were back in crisis mode.

I once heard a preacher say that you are either in a crisis, coming out of a crisis, or getting ready for a crisis. I don't know that is overly encouraging but I find it has a lot of truth.

When a homeschooling family is in crisis, they not only have to figure out how to continue their lives but they also have to figure out how to fit school in.  If one child is affected but not the other kids, what do you do about their activities, their schoolwork, etc.  If a parent is affected then how do you deal with a spouse in crisis and take care of the kids' schooling?

Homeschooling during a crisis is about as much fun as peeling your fingernail off.  But, it can be done.

1. Be prepared for crisis (as much as one can be).  I have a chronically ill child. For us, being prepared means having age/grade appropriate worksheet books to turn to when I can not teach a lesson or be "hands on mom"  and for taking in a backpack to doctor's offices. It also means knowing where insurance cards are, always.

2. Have a small cooler washed and ready to use.  When I have a lot of errands or doctor's visits in a day, I pack a cooler with ice, water bottles and some cut up sandwiches for snacks. It helps a lot to be able to feed the kids on the road if necessary.

3. Rethink your extracurriculars - but only temporarily!  When you sign up for things, know how to extricate your child from them and the consequences for doing so. If you must pull your child out, then ask if they can return when things are better.

4. Stick to your normal routine as much as possible.  Your family benefits from routine when everything else seems messy and troubled.  Even now, we all get up at the same time, we do school in the mornings (barring appointments and anything happening that I must be there for), we have lunch, they play and so on.

5. If you have a sick child and he can do something, then make him do something. It keeps them feeling more normal and keeps them from falling farther and farther behind. Don't let them slack unnecessarily on their school work or their chores.

6. Take excellent care of yourself. This is my biggest hurdle. Take time out when possible for you to recharge and regroup. Make sure you give your spouse time out as well. Take time out with each other.

7. When people offer to help, accept it. If they say let me know if there is anything they can do, ask them if they mean that then find something for them to do. Maybe it is helping you catch up on your laundry, making you a couple of freezer meals, picking up a prescription for you, taking your car in for an oil change, etc.

8. Don't be afraid to say no. No is a magical word. It helps you to keep your time free. Don't feel guilty about saying no.

9. Take time off. You can just sit and breathe. Maybe this time is when you all spend days with each other and do nothing but comfort each other. Sometimes, that is just what we need. No pressure of life, just family togetherness.

10. Seek help. If you need help, get it. If you think you need help, get it.  No man is an island and we should not live like one.

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