Organization Part 2: When Life Happens... School Can Still Go On
Imagine your perfect homeschool day. You've prepped your lessons, you've brewed your coffee, and if you're really on top of your game, you've even surfed the web for a few minutes and came across your favorite blogger (me, right?)! Your kids are getting along, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping and you could almost hear the Hallelujah chorus (or something akin to Cinderella and her animal helpers). Yes, all is right with the world.
Then it happens!
Some form of chaos, drama, meltdown, or near panic, with the force of a Tsar bomb strikes, and your homeschool day is blown to bits!
As humans, we get set in our ways as age and time wears on. But as homeschool parents, we have to accept that things will not always go as planned. In fact, our public school system and those around the country have adapted an Alternative Method of Instruction for children when snow days or some mild disruption occurs. Yet, we feel discouraged by these little life happenings, we question our ability as teachers, and before we know it, we are questioning "why" we chose to homeschool. But what if there was another way? What if the "fear" we are experiencing could be turned into something less scary and more directional? What if homeschool parents had an alternative set of lessons for those "not so ready to homeschool" days.
Folks, I'm not even gonna lie. I have at least 50 back up lessons in total (about 15-18 per kid) in our homeschool. These are what I call our "Another Way". I have so many because 1.) we have three children at home, and 2.) not every kid is on the same level of learning, but mostly 3.) life happens more often than you would care to think, when you actually think about it! I dubbed the title after a horrible and chaotic situation occurred in our life. I blogged about that horrible event, you can read it here!
When I finally arrived back home, our schedule was out of whack to say the least. Lessons were behind, housework was not (thanks to my awesome husband). But I felt disappointed. My son asked, "So, were not doing homeschool?" I felt crushed. I didn't want their learning to suffer because of my accident. We muddled through the best we could at the time, but it felt empty, rushed, and nonproductive. I vowed right then that as soon as I could move around enough, I'd piece together some lessons to have on hand that they could do on their own, and with little help from me, should another one of life's lessons occur. They would be goal-focused, encouraging, and productive. Enter "Another Way". There is always a choice, an option, a fall back, a contingency -- whatever you want to call it -- that would allow them to still stay in the habit of learning. I just had to make it possible.
In the beginning, I wanted our alternative learning to be focused only on the basics: Reading, Writing, and Math. For each lesson, they would read something, write about it, and then practice some math skills. It wasn't the best, but it would work until life calmed down and we could return to our normal routines. Since then, I began adding other subjects that I knew the kids had covered that would prove as a review.
I utilized our resources for reading. We have a great homeschool library and I add to it often, so there is always something new to read. I focused on key concepts such as theme, character, writing style, purpose, symbolism, allusions, and others. Using these concepts I built worksheets that could be used for any genre of book (think book report worksheet). Their responses would include information and references from the text and answers to the questions posed. The writing portion almost always focuses on writing prompts, a narrative, or and expository essay. Their math incorporates lots of online sites such as Xtramath, Prodigy, or Khan Academy. These alternative lessons gave me peace of mind, knowing the kids would have some school and I wouldn't have to worry about missed lessons on top of whatever life was throwing our way.
I enourage you to create a collection of back up lessons for those unexpected hiccups in life that might otherwise destroy your success for the day. The kids enjoy them because it doesn't take that long to complete, they get to play math games online, and the reading is not lengthy, but still keeps their minds sharp in comprehension. Here is a list of the basics if you'd like to create a simple stash of prepped lessons.
Consider the following:
I hope this has brought some ideas to mind in preparing your homeschool for life's ups and downs. In closing, there is always "another way" to make your homeschool rock!
Until Next Time,
Welcome! My name is LaVonda. I am the wife of Rodney, the mom of 5 remarkable kids (well, 2 are adults now), an avid homeschooler, blogger, and sociologist. I am blessed with the ability to spend my time sharing our homeschool and life experiences with you. It is my hope to provide you with motivation, ideas, and some candid stress-relief through my blog - Mom's Scribe! Grab a cup of coffee, sit on down, and make yourself at home!