Even in the rare easy times of life, homeschooling can be a lot of time and work. When you add in extra stress, it can be overwhelming. This has been the case around our house lately as we prepare to move, but when I look around, my stresses are so small compared to many I see. Currently I have homeschooling friends dealing with cancer, depression, chronic illnesses and the loss of a job. This is how life is, though, and with homeschooling, our kids are along for the ride, seeing life's messes up close. Here are a few ideas to help you get through the hard times.
Reach Out: You are not alone! When times are hard, it seems like a good thing to withdraw, but this is just the time you need to seek help. Real friends will help you however they can. A homeschooling friend's 5-month-old-daughter was recently diagnosed with cancer not long after a move to another state. The way people in her new community have stepped up to help is absolutely breathtaking, and they would never have known her needs if she hadn't shared them openly. Sometimes it's hard to be that open and put yourself out there, but you will find that there are many who have been through the same situation and want to help. Look online for help, too. There are many blogs and forums dealing with homeschooling through difficult times and these can be a valuable resource!
Cut Back: Under normal circumstances your schedule may be completely doable, but when situations come up that demand your attention right then, your schedule may have to change. Evaluate your outside commitments to see if there is anything you can leave for a time. You may even need to cut back in some school subjects, too. Don't get too stressed about sticking with a rigorous school load if you're struggling; these things can be made up later. Also, the lessons your children will learn as they walk alongside you during these times are some of the most valuable they'll ever learn.
Have a Plan: Sometimes, as with moving, you may know ahead-of-time that things are going to get crazy. If you can, plan ahead for this. Over the summer I started pulling the books I knew we would definitely need for school and getting those things organized. This has been a big help to be able to go pull the next thing off the shelf each time we're ready to move on.
Have a Routine: Your kids will be able to navigate changes more easily if they feel they have some knowledge of what's going to happen, even if it's a little as what subjects or chores they're going to be doing each day. And realize that sometimes the plan is going to go out the window!
Take Time for Yourself: This is often hard to do under normal circumstances, so obviously it's not easy when you're going through some major disruption. This is when it's most important, though! Remember to do something for yourself, even if it's small.
If you are not going through a hard time right now, you probably have at least one friend who is. Reach out to them and see if there's a way you can help, whether it's bringing over a meal or teaching a subject for their kids or just stopping by to have a chat. You can make someone's day by showing them you care!