Survival Tips for Homeschooling Through a MoveAmy Schaffner
Moving. This one simple word is loaded with expectations, stress, mile-long to-do lists, and emotional baggage for days. Moving, even under the best of circumstances, is stressful on a family. When you add homeschooling into the mix, the to-do list gets even longer.
My family is three weeks away from a move to Canada, a move that we have prayed over, talked through together, and think of as a great family adventure. Even so, this move has completely disrupted our lives.
As the teacher in our homeschool, I have been heaping a huge pile of guilt on myself. Selling our house means that the level of cleanliness that I am generally okay with is no longer acceptable. Our house has to stay ready to show at any time, so I find myself constantly cleaning and staging things.
I know this is part of the process, so after several weeks of feeling a load of guilt for no longer keeping with the schedule I had set for myself in our homeschool year, I decided to let go.
I took a deep breath and let go of perfection.
Here are a few ways my family is handling all of the changes in our homeschool while we plan our move to Canada.
Some things will simply not get done. The only way to get through a big move without losing your mind is going into it knowing that life is going to feel upside down for a while. That is the new (but temporary) normal. Embrace the craziness and remind your kids that it’s an adventure!
Find Your Baseline
What are the absolutes in your homeschool? What are the things that you are determined will get done every single day, even if the other things don’t? Decide what those are, and let the rest go until the moving is done.
In our home the baseline is math, reading, and writing. This doesn’t mean that I think science, history, language, and other subjects are unnecessary. Setting a bar for the bare minimum means I know what I have to do and I know what I can put on hold for this season of moving. If we sneak those three subjects into our homeschool day, it has been a success.
Of course, you can still sneak in a little science or history by combining those subjects with reading! Choose books that will entertain but also educate. You could have them read All American History Volume 1 Student Reader. Instead of teaching it classroom style, just let your student read through it as they would with any recreational reading.
Make Moving Into a Unit Study
Are you flying to your new location or driving? If flying, you can study flight, airplanes, and the history of aeronautics. If you are driving you can plot stops along the way at notable historic markers. Print out a few WonderMaps before you pack the printer, and document the trip from the backseat.
We are moving from the US to Canada, so part of our homeschooling moving unit has been to study the country of Canada:
- system of government
- provinces and capitals
Even border crossings can become a teachable moment. Teach your kids why it’s so important for the border patrol to ask the questions they ask and to search through your belongings. This could easily be turned into a teachable moment about 9/11, terrorism, smuggling, or any number of other reasons for the inconveniences experienced at a border crossing.
No matter how well we plan, life inevitably will throw curveballs. If you find yourself moving in the midst of your homeschool year, take a breath and give yourself a break. Remember that this kind of flexibility is one of the beauties of homeschooling. Your kids will catch up, and you will find a new normal when the dust settles.
Now, go pack that last box. Then make your kids count the boxes so you can check math off the list.