My husband lost his job a couple of months ago. He’d been with the company for eight years, basically as long as my children have been alive. This is, by far, the biggest transition we have gone through during our five years of homeschooling. It’s scary. The adults are worried about money, Dad’s home when he normally wouldn’t be, and it just feels like everything is out of whack.
Life is always full of change. There are good changes like a new baby or a new home, and there are bad changes like the loss of a job, an illness, or even death. Regardless whether it’s positive or negative, one thing is for certain: change can wreak havoc on your homeschool! Here are a few things I’m learning to help us continue homeschooling through the upheaval.
Stick to a Schedule
As soon as we found out my husband was being laid off, I sat down with my planner and a notebook and made a schedule. We’re normally pretty relaxed homeschoolers, but having a daily schedule during this time has helped ensure that we get things done during a time when I’m prone to stressing out and giving up.
It's times like this that having a well-planned curriculum makes life easier. There are fewer choices for me to make when I can trust my Instructor's Guide to list out what we need to do each day.
Focus on the Basics
When your mind is distracted by other things, it’s not the best time for you to start a whole new curriculum or plan a big unit study that is going to require a huge time commitment on your part. For me, if my kids stay on grade level in math, reading, and writing, I’m happy. Right now we are supplementing these things with lots of science and history books from the library. If we get anything done beyond those things, it’s just icing on the cake.
Write it Down
Every day, I write out the aforementioned daily schedule on a big whiteboard. This gives all of us guidance in those moments when I might flake. Writing our priorities for the day down helps me know that we’re getting our basics done, and helps the kids stick to the plan too.
Make Time for Yourself
My first reaction to a crisis is to jump in and make sure everyone else is taken care of. I want to protect my children from any insecurities we adults might be feeling. I want to support my husband emotionally and be the cheerleader he needs while working through his own feelings of job loss and making a career change. Moreover, I want to find ways to contribute financially.
These are all honorable desires, I’m sure, but it took all of two weeks before I was huddled in the bathroom, crying because I felt I didn’t have a single ounce of energy left. You have got to make yourself a priority during this time, even if that simply means sneaking away for a bubble bath and a cheesy romance novel for an hour or two on Friday night.
Enjoy Time as a Family
Whether it’s movie night, a walk in the park, or a splurge on ice cream at our favorite shop, I try to add some fun family time to our week. It’s easy to dwell on the bad things, especially when the bad things are all around you, but it’s important to take time to appreciate the good. Right now, I honestly feel like I have more important things to do than play a board game with my eight year old. But to that child, there isn’t anything more important.
That’s not to say every minute has to be sunshine, roses, and doting on our children, but it will help everyone to take a some time to focus on the good and let go of all the bad things even if it’s just for a few minutes here and there.
About the Author
Stephanie Black is a writer and homeschool mama of two boys in Indianapolis, IN. Along with her husband and feisty rescue dog, they enjoy hiking, road tripping, and loudly singing 90s rock music.