Homeschooling Through Life’s Transitions

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This school year hasn’t looked anything like I planned it to be. We had completed a really good year of Transitional Kindergarten and I planned to power into Kindergarten with structure and motivation. I was teaching Earth Science for our homeschool co-op, and had stacks of curriculum from Timberdoodle and Gather Round ready to plow through. We were going to rock!

Except… just 9 days after we started our semester…

A test came back positive.

Don’t get me wrong, this test was very wanted. Intensely prayed for. The tears, the diagnostics, the supplements, the infertility, and even a year pursuing adoption. This journey was long, painful, and emotional.

So naturally, seeing two lines changed up our priorities for awhile. And then came the morning (all-day) sickness, exhaustion, and just trying to make it through each day. To say the least, I was not teaching much those days.

Co-op was our saving grace because at least my daughter was learning something and the basics were covered. But the pile of books at home remained.

I felt guilty. Was I failing my six-year-old while laying in bed, sick as could be? It took a few months for me to regain my stability, but eventually, the motivation came back and 2nd-trimester energy kicked in gear.

By January, I knew we needed a major pivot to finish the year strong. I mustered up my energy and cleaned up our office/homeschool space. I pulled out the curriculum and simplified it. What had I been trying to do that we just didn’t need to focus on. I gave away and sold some books we weren’t using.

With a simple focus remaining, I opened Google Sheets and made a weekly checklist that I could update every two weeks, print out, and check off our progress.

I looked at the workbooks we were close to finishing, like Science, History, Geography, and Art, and worked consistently at those until each one was finished. I already knew we would be schooling year-round to a certain degree, so taking time off for morning sickness, and then again for birth and recovery, was not a big deal.

Using our simplified plan, we will indeed finish our Kindergarten year by the mid to end of July and be ready to start 1st grade by mid-August. And of course, the planner in me is already making up a simplified schedule for 1st grade too.

So here’s the deal. When your homeschool year doesn’t go the way you hoped it would. When you find yourself in need of pivoting…due to family changes, natural disasters, illness, or other unexpected events…give yourself the grace to make changes.

The grace to say it’s okay to get back to the basics. Focus on reading, writing, and arithmetic, and add in extras as tolerated. It’s also okay to outsource. Tutors, co-op, family, and friends are all acceptable sources of education and restorative breaks.

Transitions require modification and homeschooling offers the most flexibility to keep the whole family afloat. Adapt and keep things simple. Allow yourself to let go, shorten the day, and change your expectations.

Embrace a new normal. You’ve got this. You may just find that a simpler way of homeschooling is the change you never knew you needed!

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