When Your Homeschool Goes on Survival Mode

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Your school and your life are intertwined. When the things of life show up–guess what, you have to be flexible. Sometimes this puts our homeschools in a season of survival mode. You know, the days when the homeschool plan floods along with the basement? What if a friend calls with an urgent need for child care? Or your husband calls from work to say his truck broke down, and you win the prize of bundling up all the kids during math to pick him up? Can you tell I’ve been there? Sometimes it’s a critical emergency that you¬†suddenly¬†find yourself in the middle of.

A look into our real life homeschool: Last January we were just getting back into our normal routine after adding in our precious Liam Joseph {baby #5 & 4th boy}. He was 2-weeks old and we were back to adding table work time into our days.  Math assignments were under way and books were being read. The preschoolers had their creative projects in-the-works too. Laundry was caught up and the day was full of promise.  Then I received a phone call.

My mom’s house was on fire.

By God’s providence she was away in another state. But the fire raged for an entire day as the fire department fought the flames on the dry ground bordering the George Washington National Forest. Our homeschool plans for the next several days were in flames too, so much for back to routine. We met with the Fire Marshall, Insurance Investigator and fielded a swarm of phone calls and¬†inquiries. ¬†It was back to survival mode for our homeschool.

Here are some thoughts to help get you through when homeschool goes on survival mode:

Get creative and learn something.

In our case with my mom’s house burning down we had many discussions on fire safety, drafted our own emergency plan, practiced our escape routes, and visited the fire station {now, our daughter wants to be a ‚Äúfire fighter girl‚ÄĚ}. We also talked in great detail about calling on the Name of Jesus for help in any situation in which we don’t know what to do. I say those experiences can be classified as life learning, which is really the best.

Make the most of the good days

      ¬†Thank goodness the basement doesn’t flood everyday, the hubby will have his truck fixed, and we can all learn something educational from a fire.

There are more good days than not.

      On the days when the work is flowing, noses are dry and dinner is already in the crock pot, add a little push to tackle something additional. Even if the additional is an afternoon game of monopoly.


  • If you stay calm the kids will too. Usually for me these are ‚ÄúJesus, help me not freak out‚ÄĚ moments. The events of the day can be another tool in the potters hands to work character not only in the children, but momma too. As I keep smiling and moving forward, so will the kids.
  • Do what you can do.¬† Set the timer for an amount of time that you feel you can dedicate to “formal” education for that day. ¬†Pour yourself into that time, be it 30 minutes or an hour. ¬†Just start somewhere. ¬†When the timer goes off stop the kids where they are and give them lots of encouragement for their hard work.
  • Write down your to-do’s so you can go on auto-pilot when need be. Here’s my easy daily planning list for moms¬†{free download}. ¬†It’s a simple way to add back in some order to survival mode.
  • TVSchooling…just a little! ¬†Educational DVDs count for something.¬† If there’s big pressure situations and everyone just needs a break don’t feel guilty about putting on a DVD. ¬†Find something that is wholesome and your family can watch together. ¬†Some of our favorites are Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, Fiddler on the Roof, The Music Man and anything from Vision Forum.

Reading redeems any day.

      Short of life or death, a little snuggle time with a few good books can cover the calamities of the day. Right after the new baby, and in the days following my moms great loss, we read a lot. Reading is what we default to, and I say it’s a great habit. If nothing else, reading great literature and the Bible is an immense education.

More encouragement for those difficult homeschooling seasons:

What are some ways that you keep functioning when your homeschool goes on survival mode?

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