There will be times where life throws a few curve balls your way as you homeschool. These are my best tips for preparing for the unexpected in your homeschool as well as an overview of what this looks like in real time, in my own life.
The best laid plans…am I right?
After almost an entire year of planning with you each week as part of this interest-led lesson plan series, we have had a major life event derail almost everything, including our homeschool.
When Unforeseen Circumstances Derail Your Homeschool Plans
Without getting into too much detail, a close family member was diagnosed with a major medical condition earlier this month, and will be having a very invasive and involved surgery the week after Thanksgiving.
In addition to the stress and worry I feel for this person’s overall health and safety, I am also trying to navigate how best to care for them, as well as manage the holiday season, work, and homeschool my son.
I am overwhelmed, to put it mildly.
With this in mind, I thought I would share what I am doing to help navigate this unexpected change to our plans, specifically in all the ways it effects our homeschool.
Preparing For The Unexpected In Your Homeschool
These are the four steps I have learned to take in our homeschool when life takes an unexpected turn. In the past, this has involved my son’s health and hospitalizations. Now, I am able to more easily apply my experience without getting completely off-track.
Start with the calendar
The very first thing I have done is map out exactly what the next few weeks will look like, to the best of my ability. Because my family is in another state, I will be traveling back and forth several times in order to be present for the surgery and post-op care.
After blocking off the days I will be gone, I was able to start to define what could be done on the days I am gone vs. what can wait for the days when I am back home.
Make a list and then make another
This is not necessarily related only the homeschooling portion of my life, but I have made several different lists to help me manage myself and everyone else. They include:
- A list of school activities for my son to complete in my absence
- A list of YouTube videos I think he will enjoy watching as a part of school in my absence
- Meal ideas for both my son to grab on his own and for my husband to prepare in my absence
- Medication schedules and notes for doctors (for my son, in my absence)
- Anything I need to remember to pack for myself
- A running to-do list for my work clients
These lists are keeping me sane right now.
I am also leaving a list, by day, for my son and my husband to help them navigate the schedule while I am gone.
Slow it all down
We already keep a pretty relaxed pace when it comes to homeschooling, but the next several weeks will look positively glacial in comparison. I don’t feel even an ounce of the guilt this would have once caused me.
We will have plenty of time to do the things we need to do in our homeschool when things calm down.
Just do the next thing
With so many competing priorities right now, it is difficult to manage the overwhelm. I am reminding myself daily that I am only one person and I can only handle so much. This translates into my just picking the very next thing that needs to be done, and then the next.
This is true in our homeschool as well as my life in general.
Our Homeschool Lesson Plan For Navigating The Unexpected
Rather than planning out each day of the week for the next few weeks, I am simply keeping two running lists of things to be done for learning in my absence and things to be done when I return.
Learning Without Mom
Learning When Mom Returns
- Drivers Ed
- Current Events
- Mapwork – Asia
This feels like more than enough to help us continue to have some sort of learning routine while not overwhelming either my son or me. Preparing for the unexpected in our homeschool also involves keeping us connected as best I can.
While I am gone, I will check in with my son daily, not only to say hi and I love you, but to hear all about his outside classes and YouTube videos.
This feels like more than enough, for now.
Shawna Wingert is a former training and development professional turned education specialist, and has homeschooled her two children for the last ten years.Shawna has written four books about homeschooling unique learners and has been featured in homeschooling discussions on Today.com, The Mighty, Simple Homeschool, My Little Poppies and Raising Lifelong Leaners.
You can find her online here at DifferentByDesignLearning.com.