The reality of our homeschool is that learning and life are integrated, and we do not recreate a classroom setting or schedule to achieve educational goals. Learning happens, and life happens. Whenever challenges present themselves, both big and small, we regroup when necessary and adapt. I think that the ability to adapt is one of the most important keys to successful homeschooling.
In Deuteronomy 6, God commands us to teach our children diligently all the time, incorporating teaching into our lives:
And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
Although we do sit down at times and “do school,” homeschooling is about more than that.
When challenges crop up, we may modify a little or a lot in order to keep moving ahead. But, because we homeschool year-round and take advantage of spontaneous “light bulb” moments, we have the flexibility to adjust.
Some things I have learned over the years that help keep us on track:
- In times of crisis or when hurdles crop up, scale back to the basics. Just cover the three R’s for awhile until things settle down, and add all the extras back a little at the time.
- Borrow some books on CD from the library, and listen in the car or have kids snuggle in and listen at home. We have completed several of our “school” books this way.
- Even if you teach from living books, it is nice to have a few workbooks on hand for times when you need the kids to work independently or take school on the go. When I was teaching in the classroom, I had to keep a set of substitute teacher lesson plans ready just in case. I look at workbooks as my substitute teacher plans. If we have to sit in a waiting room somewhere, my kids can bring along their vocabulary, handwriting, or geography workbooks.
- Invest in some fun educational games and kits: things like math card games, Wrap-Ups, geography puzzles, art kits, models, even Lego machines. Games and activity kits made for travel are nice to have on hand too.
- Set the books aside and watch a movie.
- I keep an “on the go” bag packed with a pencil pouch that holds basic school supplies, paper, journals, and a book of writing prompts. I can always throw in workbooks, etc. if we have to be out of the house for an extended time.
- Check out my list of 13 Ways to Revitalize Your Homeschool if you’re just in a slump.