Homeschooling Through Transitions: the hard times and the happy ones

4 Practical Tips for Homeschooling Through Family Transitions

My oldest child is soon turning 5 years old (say whaaaaa?).  I am by no means a homeschool expert; I have researched and read since I was 3 months pregnant with her, played around with schedules, dreamed of homeschool room ideas, used a few different curricula and tried different learning activities for my two oldest.

And still, I am a novice.

So please always take my homeschooling posts for what they are worth, I don’t write from a point of “know-how” but from that of a student- I am learning, too.

In the last few years we have had several family transitions- 2 babies born, rather large moves (one cross country), and job changes for the husband (one job that meant a LOT of travel)- that means we have “schooled” through some tough changes.

No matter how uncomfortable or scary our changes have been for the kids, I have found that homeschool ALWAYS makes our home feel like, well … home.  After the latest move my daughter told us she didn’t like this rent house, it wasn’t home.  So, as any mama would do I stayed up that night contemplating what would make all the kids (because she was surely expressing what her 2 year old brother was feeling but couldn’t say himself), feel comfortable again, feel at home.

And I almost immediately knew it was school- school, our Bible, reading, activities, learning and working their brains, that is what made our house home and gave our days intention.  Homeschooling isn’t just school- it is a lifestyle, it is IN the center of our home, of which the central focus is Jesus Christ.

Schooling Through Transitions:

1. Prioritize:

What is most important to your family?  For us it is reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and Bible/read alouds.  My kids are still very young (though my oldest is ambitious), so our main subjects that require “work” are only for the oldest: reading/phonics, math, handwriting, and copywork. Science and art are on the back burner until the fall, after we move and get settled.  (I did this because getting out all the things we need for science and art is a mess, and keeping the  baby hands off of it in a home that is not exactly set up for homeschooling is hard!  But if your children are older and can work independently and more responsibly, then go for it.)  Also, make sure you are doing work that everyone loves- because otherwise you are less likely to make it work during the transition.

2.  Start earlier than scheduled in the year:

Even year-round schoolers like us take a break and have a specific date in mind for introducing their full-on school year.  When you are expecting a new baby, or making a move, you know school is going to get delayed at some point.  For us, we have always moved school earlier, again prioritizing the most important subjects, and then taken a break when needed (the week OF moving/baby being born) and then slowly gotten back into the groove of things.

3. Get back into routine:

Most homeschoolers I have talked to or asked have said getting back into the routine of school after a big life event is not only comforting, but helps all the kids behavior wise as well. (that is definitely true in our home!)  Most kids do well with structure and expectations, so it would make sense that their routine at home helps with behavior and a sense of stability.

4.  Relax:

At this time, it will do everyone good to relax (I know, easier said than done).  We kept a general routine, but some days I had to get meals made for the week or things packed up for a move, so the kids just colored while we talked about the letters they heard in words I called out.  I know mine are young, but this would be okay to do with olders too!  Reviewing math facts, memory work, having them do copy work and art, etc can get you by until things get more formal again.  The beauty of homeschool is that in general, we can take breaks when needed and always have time to catch back up (there aren’t hours spent standing in lines, taking bathroom breaks, etc so we can do double the work in half the time when we really need to!). 

So breathe, Mama- relax and find learning opportunities in everyday life to make your life easier through this transition!

How does your family school through big life events?

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2 comments

  1. Lori H says:

    What a reasonable perspective on big life changes and how to keep on going before, through, and after them. The tips you present are very helpful. Thanks for sharing them.

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