Thursday 14 March 2013

Day 4 - Homeschooling in a Crisis

A crisis can take on many forms. The hardest part is knowing what to do when you are confronted with an unexpected turn of events. The biggest question home schooler's face is whether or not to continue on their home educating journey in the midst of a crisis.

Types of Crisis
  • Depression
  • Financial 
  • Death of a loved one
  • Terminal illness
  • Major injury
  • Physical disability
  • Long term health challenges
  • Natural Disasters (floods, earth quakes, fires)
  • Terrorist attacks
  • Divorce
  • Moving
  • Immigration
  • Chronic pain
  • Premature birth of your newest baby
Our Journey
Homeschooling in a crisis for us meant that school was one less thing to worry about. I did not need to fit in taking children to school or fetching them, preparing school lunches, talk to teachers about what was happening or do homework at the end of our day.

Our family has been through several crisis situations in the last 15 years (two immigrations and two spinal surgeries). The first major crisis was when my husband fell on our roof and ruptured a disk in his lower back.  Unfortunately the extent of his injury remained unknown or correctly treated for over a month during which time we were in survival mode at home.

Homeschooling was a saving grace during this crisis as we were able to be home and help him.  It allowed our two children at the time to work through the process of Daddy is not well and walk along with us in his journey to being well again.
It allowed us the flexibility we needed once he was admitted to hospital and on an emergency surgery list and this in turn allowed us to drop what we were doing at a moments notice to go and be with him.

Once he had surgery being home with us helped us all realize he is on the road to recovery and the major benefit to him being on bed rest meant that Daddy did all the read alouds for six months.  It was the highlight of our day! Actually it was three or four hours a day that Daddy read to the family.  We built family bonds we would not have had otherwise.

This experience helped us cope when my eldest son had an accident at work and needed the same surgery that Paul had had five years before and it was not as scary a thing as it could have been had he not walked this journey with us before.

I do confess I had a major panic about two months into our situation when I realized we had done no formal schooling.  At this point Paul still was not well enough for us to do full days of school so upon evaluation we settled on the three R's as a daily minimum.

A month later Paul was on the road to recovery and took over reading out loud to the children so that I could catch up on life at home. Washing, ironing, groceries etc.

A few weeks later I took up the books and we slowly built up to full school days and I was surprised to see that the children had not fallen behind. It was easy picking up our full routine at this point because it's how we had always done things so they new what to do.

  • Take time off official school to cope with / work through worry, fear and anxiety
  • Flexibility with time. I was able to go to the hospital as often or when ever we needed.
  • Character growth. Our children learned many character things over this period such as putting the needs of Dad ahead of their own.
  • Walking through the crisis together can strengthen family bonds.
  • When moving you don't need to look for a new school. 
Supporting a family in crisis
  • Pray for the family who are in crisis mode
  • If it's within your power to do good,do it!
  • Offer to be available to baby sit at a moments notice.
  • Buy milk and bread and some fruit and take it over.
  • Take over some baking and have a cup of tea
  • Drop them an sms to let the family know they are in your thoughts.
  • Take over a ready cooked meal
  • Offer to do a couple of errands.
  • Do NOT suggest putting the children into school . . .
On the web
The thing that I have come to realize retrospectively is that I should have claimed some short periods of time in my day during the crisis to look after me. That would have helped me stay energised and would have prevented the crash and burn that happened after wards.

As a home school mom if you are walking through a crisis right now give yourself permission to take some time off school, work through the crisis then come back to school and move forward.  During your crisis claim 15 min of time twice a day to have some time out and recharge especially if the crisis will not be a short term thing.

If you have home educated through a crisis I would love to read more about what you did.


This post is part of a week of blog hopping hosted by The Schoolhouse Review Crew: 5 Days of Teaching Creatively Day Four

5 Days of Teaching Creatively
Day 4
  1. Delight Directed Instruction
  2. Schooling in the Kitchen
  3. Toy's, Games & Puzzles
  4. Homeschooling in a Crisis
  5. Hands on Projects

Don't forget to enter the Teaching Creatively Giveaway.  Pop on over to Ben and Me to enter in order to win one of three prize packs. (1st prize $525 value, 2nd prize $225 value and 3rd prize $190 value)

Crisis image courtesy of Free Digital Photo's -  Stuart Miles


  1. Looking back I can now see that when we were living in the caravan that was a crisis to me. We still homeschooled, but it was modified somewhat.

    Life brings lots of little crisis'. I do love the flexibility of homeschooling. It enables one to be able to make room for life.

  2. "twas good to stop by and read your words today. :)

    annette @ a net in time

  3. When we were in the hospital last summer I really appreciated those who stopped by with fruit, bread and milk. This simple gesture means so much. You are right-on with your advice.

  4. being in crisis does change how we do our schooling doesn't it?


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