When it comes to big changes in your homeschooling environment, what are your expectations of others around you? Or how about your expectations for yourself? Recently my family and I have gone through significant changes that were not anticipated, nor could they have been anticipated by anyone. When it all started it then snowballed into more and more of our lives. Our spider web of consistency and planning was stretched to its limit, but we were able to get it back in place.
Here are some tips, in no particular order, from our journey should you ever find yourself in a similar situation and need to know How to Deal With Change In Your Homeschool Environment:
- – Make time for yourself. This can be the hardest thing to do when life may feel like it’s crumbling all around you in so many ways. Grab the kids bubble bath after putting them to bed, watch a movie that you have on DVD, and most important of all … exercise! Try to exercise every single day in some way, whether that be a run, a walk, a swim, or anything at all to get your blood pumping and gets you physically exhausted! Watching out for your health helps your family through a tough period because having you down and out for days or weeks on end will not help anyone if you let the situation get the best of you.
- – Lower your expectations. No one can do it all and even the high achiever and dreamers have to take a step back in life some times. Take it from someone who put herself through it, having high expectations of yourself will only add to your stress levels and can lead to an overall decline in your wellbeing. If you have reasonably attainable goals both for your lessons as well as your home, then each day, even if more gets done it will make you feel fantastic rather than depressed that you could not get things done on your list for that day. This was a hard one for my family, but it does help in dealing with unforeseen changes.
- – Be flexible. No one can do that same thing day in and day out when the situation around you starts to fluctuate too much. When unexpected changes occur you need to be flexible enough to handle them without tearing yourself and your routines apart unnecessarily. There will be times that you cannot be flexible, but since you are a homeschooling family you can usually find a way to be flexible enough without sacrificing everything.
- – Cut down on outside activities. It is perfectly alright to cut back during this challenging time in your family on the children’s outside commitments that add stress onto your day to day lives. Yes, some family members or other parents in the organized events may give you the good old stink eye and let them, you are only doing what mothers do best and that is doing what is best for your child and family. As homeschooling moms we have a tendency to overschedule things in order to “socialize” our children, but during these times it is important NOT to over extend your family time. Keep one or two of the activities your children love the most and temporarily stop all of the others.
- – Family time! Make sure no matter what is going on you make time for family down time together. Whether your family enjoys a weekly game night, like my family does, or simply going on a walk together, be sure to make time to connect with your family in the down times as well as the highly intense and emotional times.
- – Only do the essentials. It is ok to only do what is essential and eventually when things find their new normal ground you can start to add everything else back onto your plate. These changes will be temporary and when you are going through a tough time it is easier to only look at the here and now rather than the future. There is time for the future planning, but you need to make sure you can get through the here and now too.
- – Perfection isn’t the Goal. Remind yourself that no one and no homeschool, or family for that matter, is always perfect, no matter how perfect it may seem. You do not need the added stress of doing everything right, but rather should relish in your togetherness.
If you have a family member or friend who is going through a rough time instead of yourself, here are some tips and suggestions of what helped my family more than words could ever express:
- – Meals. Make a home cooked meal (or two) to drop off. It might not seem like a lot, but when a family’s focus is on unforeseen changes in their lives a simple gesture like not having to cook can be enough to turn a tough day into a decent day. And the meals do not need to be elaborate as it is a family meal and not a festive banquet.
- – Share your DVD collection. Some families have fun watching movies and your favorite or that new one you just got and have watched a few times might be just the thing they need to take their minds off of what is going on. This fun might allow them to refresh themselves and refocus on their issues with new optimism.
- – Offer to teach for a day. If you are a homeschooling family yourself, offer to do a joint class or field trip. Since homeschooling can be flexible, a day off here or there might be just enough to help your friend or family member get something done without having to check boxes off their own homeschooling needs.
- – Offer to Babysit. This is as simple as it sounds. A little time to themselves might allow your friends to work on their issues without their children distracting them or run that errand they need to get done or simply spend a night out together.
- – Clean their car. This one might have you scratching your head as to how this would help. For me personally, our family vehicle was the first thing to take a back seat on the priority list on the day to day stuff. Our poor vehicle was used to being washed and vacuumed inside and out once a week. I cannot tell you the warm fuzzy feeling my family had when one of our lovely friends surprised us with a sparkling clean vehicle. We climbed in to take our son to occupational therapy expecting to have to cringe and close our eyes and what a welcome surprise it was instead!
- – Bottom line: genuine understanding. It might be hard to see what is going on from your friend’s perspective, but be sure to not disprove what is happening or down play the severity to that family’s life. Understanding without doubting is the best thing you can do for any family going through a rough patch. It is also important to note that you are allowed to have your own opinions and feelings about their situation, but the best thing for you to do is wait to be asked and not offer yours because they might not be ready for it.
How do you deal with changes in your learning environment? Hopefully at least one of these tips can help you learn How to Deal With Change In Your Homeschool Environment.
What is one tip that you wish someone could have passed along to you to help you weather the rolling tides that come hand in hand with homeschooling?