How to Handle Homeschool Challenges

The following is a post from contributing writer, Sarah of Sidetracked Sarah and Homeschool Survival.  


In the past six months, our family of eight has dealt with a lot of unusual medical problems!  Thankfully none are life threatening, but most of these are things that we never really expected or even thought about, including a life flight (helicopter ride to a larger hospital), three hospital stays, two surgeries, and two other ER visits.

I know that we’re not the only homeschool family who has had problems in their school year.  Obviously, there’s more than one way to homeschool while in the midst of struggles.  Today, I hope to share with you some of the things that I have learned throughout the years.

How to Handle Homeschool Challenges

Stick to the Basics

When life seems stressful and I’m having a hard time getting myself and the children to focus on our school schedule, I decide to just stick to the basics.  We usually do the 3 R’s for the smaller children.  For the older children, it depends on what is the most important thing for them to complete.  If they would get far behind in a certain subject by not continuing, we pick that.

We nearly always stick to math because we tend to get behind in math easily.  Reading is super easy to get in anywhere that we go, so we tend to pick that as well.  We all know kids can learn a ton from just reading!  Don’t worry about getting permission to minimize your school day.  Homeschooling is a lifestyle, it adjusts as life adjusts.

Take a Break

Sometimes when you’re in the midst of a difficult season, it makes the most sense to back off of your family’s regular school schedule and take some time to relax and play.   There are many options of how you could do this.   You could change things up this year and school year round, taking 2 week breaks at a time.  Or, you could take a week or two off and then double up on your lessons in the coming weeks.  Lastly, you could take a couple of weeks off and then add some time to the end of your school year.

Most importantly, I would suggest laying out what it is you would like to accomplish by the end of the school year and see what you can afford to miss and what you can double up on to get caught up.  We all hit slumps, but it’s never impossible to get caught back up.

Remember Your Maker

You may not understand why you’re going through all the extra stress right now, but our Heavenly Father does.  He has a master plan in mind for you and your family!  He knows that the struggles He allows us to be in will help to form you into the person He wants you to be, if you handle it correctly.

Keep your eyes on Him.  Ask God to lead you in the way you should go each day.  Pray over the school work He wants you to get done.  Study in His word, the Bible, and let Him show you how you are supposed to be living each day out.  He speaks to us through His word and we must not forget our Maker, even in the hard times!

Cut Out Extra Curricular Activities

When our family is going through hard times, the one thing that ends up adding more stress to my husband and I is all of the extra activities we have to do.  You have sports functions, fund raisers, church obligations, homeschool group, etc.

Sometimes you just have to say no.

It doesn’t mean you’ll never do those things again, it just means you understand your limitations.  I realize that sometimes you feel pressure to carry out what it is you committed to, and I agree that in most cases that you should follow through with your commitment.  However, sometimes it’s better to be open and honest with those with whom you’d be letting down and let them know how much stress this extra activity is placing on your family.  More times than not, they willingly release you from your obligations until you feel like you can handle them again.

Strengthen Your Family Bonds

When your family is under stress and pressure, it can be easy to become grumpy and reclusive.  I urge you to use this time to draw closer to one another.  Play games, talk, or go bike riding.  Spend time with one another.  A strong family sticks together!  Don’t become the weak family who just wants to hide from each other behind their electronic devices.  These are the most important people in your lives.  Be good to them.  Build relationships with them.  Enjoy them.

Above all, I want you to know that it is more than okay to take breaks and make changes to the way that you homeschool during these harder, more stressful times.

Sarah  recently started a new site for homeschoolers going through hard times, called Homeschool Survival. She’s always looking for new stories from those who have been there, to share about how God provided for them in their hard times.  She would love it if you would stop by and share your story!  She also blogs about life as a busy, sidetracked homeschool mom at Sidetracked Sarah.