What I learned from homeschooling through crisis

homeschooling crisis

We’re entering our sixth year of homeschooling. More than half of our homeschooling years, so far, were marked by crisis and trauma. The feelings of my inadequacy to keep up the academic home front were strong. However, I knew in my gut that homeschooling isn’t just school at home, it is a family philosophy of sorts where life is our learning medium and academics aren’t the end all be all. Plus, I wanted to be with my kids to help them process everything that was going on in our life. In hindsight, I’m glad we stuck it out because it taught me a lot, too.

  1. Kids learn even when we’re not teaching.
    Despite the fact many check boxes went unmarked and the best of intentions were left just that—intentions, all of the kids learned something. Some kids didn’t even fall behind. The momentum of years of nurturing and valuing education carried them through the rough season. Plus the extra free time allowed them to explore and learn within their interests, not mine.
    Kids learn even when we’re not teaching. #homeschoolingthroughcrisis Click To Tweet
  2. Kids have more executive functioning than you think.
    Left to manage their own time, they explored their interests, learned to feed themselves, and apparently did some schoolwork.
    Kids have more executive functioning than you think. #homeschoolingthroughcrisis Click To Tweet
  3. Academics are overrated.
    Even if they had fallen years behind academically, they were learning about people, relationships, character, and faith. I just started a book called, How Children Succeed, which claims all those soft skills are better predictors of success anyway.
    Academics are overrated. #homeschoolingthroughcrisis Click To Tweet
  4. How to accept help.
    We had to be desperate to ask for help, but I’m glad we did. Our friends wanted to help and were blessed when we accepted. We weren’t imposing. They brought food, tutored, prayed, and listened. The truth is that had the roles been reversed, we would have wanted to help. I’m glad we were able to experience the power of community through this time.
    Accept help. You aren't imposing. #homeschoolingthroughcrisis Click To Tweet
  5. I have less control than I want. It’s okay.
    I joke sometimes that the intensity of crazy in our lives is just evidence of how stubborn and serious of a control freak I am. God knew what it would take to teach me this lesson and nothing less would have broken me. Nothing will test the faith you proclaim with your mouth like a family crisis where you learn how little control you have and how at the mercy of God you are. People often wonder how we managed what was on our plates the last couple years. We didn’t, none of it really makes sense unless you take into account the God factor.
    God's really in control. #homeschoolingthroughcrisis Click To Tweet
  6. Minor in the minors.
    There’s nothing like crisis to force you to prioritize. Math and English are important, the rest is minor. The kid playing Minecraft for 12 hours? Also, minor.
    Minor in the minors. #homeschoolingthroughcrisis Click To Tweet

While I wouldn’t wish crisis on anyone, I am thankful for the perspective we’ve gained given the fact that we did walk through a crisis season.

If you’ve homeschooled through a difficult season, what did you learn?

Posted in Education and Homeschooling.


  1. Homeschooling can sometimes feel like crisis management. What I didn’t expect was all the good that come from all the lessons learned, for the kids and us parents alike. Also, most people don’t understand, but a lot of us do…thank goodness for blogs like this to keep us connected 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  2. 1. To forgo the extras. That extra playdate or that extra field trip might be fun. But, if you’ve gone to four doctor’s appointments in one week, staying home, letting the kids play on their own for an hour while you refuel before you start school work might be a better choice.

    2. Expect people not to understand. I went into a crisis two years ago expecting people to want to understand what I was going through. But, one crisis was the catalyst for two more involving family members who took it personal when we struggled to cope with the primary and then secondary crises in our lives. I learned from the experience to share when I could tell someone really wanted to understand and not to share if they didn’t.

    3. People will tell you what they think you should do, but that doesn’t mean you have to listen and do what they say. Two well meaning ladies from my church lectured me in the midst of the crisis. I walked away from the second who came after me and I respect her for reconciling with me after the accusations she threw at me. The first told me everything she thought was wrong with me, to which my husband reminded me that the woman was responding from her own wounds and putting her opinions on me which wasn’t how God made me.

    4. To Give Myself and my Kids Extra Space
    There was a great story in an American Girl magazine about a girl who’s mom was sick. It opened the door to my kids and I talking about how sometimes people won’t understand our lives and what we’ve gone through. They may judge us and treat us differently, but when they experience something like it themselves, it will change them.

    #2-4 don’t directly apply to homeschooling, but indirectly I think they do. I had to get emotionally on stable ground before we could tackle our days and have patience with my kids as they did their work. I learned how to give myself space, let them work independently for a little bit in the mornings and then get going.

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