Sometimes life hits you like a freight train, and you just don’t feel like you can keep up with all the daily routines you’ve set in place on your homeschooling journey. Mama Abbie Foster Chaffee offers some easy tips (and great resources!) for keeping the learning flowing during big life transitions.
By Abbie Foster Chaffee
Whether it’s a big move, a new baby, or just an emotionally exhausting season of life, when big changes are happening in your life, you can feel swallowed up by all the little things you think you need to be doing instead of homeschool. These feelings are inevitable along our journeys — life is predictable if only in the sense that it can seem painfully difficult at times.
I am currently in one of these seasons. We are gearing up for selling our home and moving 1000 miles. This is not how I envisioned our homeschooling life would look this spring, but sometimes when opportunity knocks, you have to seize it and figure out the details later.
In order to maintain some tiny semblance of learning on a daily basis, we have transitioned into a minimalist approach to homeschooling. Okay… it’s not just minimalist, it’s bare-minimalist. When all your supplies, toys, and books are packed away, you need to get creative when it comes to learning! Here are some ways we’ve been making it work.
Remember It's Okay To Say... Not Today!
Know that saying no to the projects that take up a ton much mental and physical energy from YOU is absolutely okay. I am giving you permission to do it and not feel an ounce of guilt about it! Big life transitions are maybe not the time to pull out all the art supplies and tubs of glitter. Even those kitchen science experiments can wait. Anything that requires you (as the primary caregiver) to scrub any surface of your home maybe isn’t the best choice when you’re already exhausted and overwhelmed.
Take a deep breath and tell yourself that you aren’t letting your children or anyone else down by taking a break from your normal homeschool routine.
Outsource Your Learning
To help preserve your own mental energy during the trying seasons of life, find ways to outsource your daily learning in simple ways. Here are the resources I’m finding are helping our family the most during this current big transition:
Right now, 100% of our homeschool resources are from our local library. Books, audio players, even games and puzzles are available at most libraries for patrons like us to check out and use. This solution has helped remedy nearly all my ‘mom guilt’ over not having our normal daily items around!
Audio books are my absolute favourite resource when life is really chaotic. We go through about three a day during our busy seasons. Right now, we are loving listening to the works of Beatrix Potter!
Similar to audio books, these are such a fantastic resource for any homeschooler. I love podcasts! There are so many great ones out there that encourage creative thinking in kids. Here are my top five:
I don’t know where I’d be during these crazy months without our trusty iPad. I have it loaded up with brain food apps (no junk food apps allowed). Here are some awesome educational apps for elementary-aged kids that we love:
Get Everyone On Board
Sometimes we simply need to reach out to a family member, friend, or even a neighbor to say “I am feeling overwhelmed right now, can you please help me with XYZ?” This is such a difficult thing for most of us, but knowing when you are at your limit is so important in the self-preservation of your own mental well being. Even you just need someone to hang with the kids while you run to the grocery store solo, or an invite to visit their house to get out of your all-out-of-order space.
Finally, communicate with your children and partner about why things are being pared down. They surely already sense the stress from the big life transition — whatever it is — but having a nice chat about what’s going on can help put things into perspective for everyone.
Oh, and one last thing… Make it a priority every day to have a bit of together time. This might be the most important thing you do to help ease everyone into this new chapter of life. Even if there are boxes to pack or a baby to feed, find the time to read a few books snuggled up together. Little moments of connection can go a long way during these seasons!
Do you have experience homeschooling amidst big life changes? What helped you get through?
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Abbie Foster Chaffee
Abbie is a photographer, writer, and homeschooling mama to two precocious girls (ages 7 and 4) living in the US. She is passionate about interest-led home education and believes in seeking adventure in the ordinary whenever you can. With a camera never too far out of reach, she spends her days capturing the little moments of her girls' childhood; one snap at a time. Find her on Instagram @abbiefosterchaffee to follow along with all their daily adventures.