A little over a year ago, we packed our van for a two-week long trip, and hit the road. Little did we know that we wouldn’t have a place to call home for the next six months. Our rental home went on the market and sold quickly, and the new place would be ready just 3 days after we returned from our trip. We packed up, moved all our belongings into storage units, and headed for a basketball tournament 1,600 miles away.
Things did not go as planned, and the move was not as smooth and co-ordinated as we anticipated. For reasons unknown to us, the new landlord decided to move into the rental home himself, and just like that, we had no place to call home.
So the six-month search for a new home began.
How to Homeschool In The Midst of a Major Interruption
When we returned from the two-week-long road trip we were welcomed into my mother’s home, temporarily we thought. It wouldn’t be any longer than a week. Maybe two at most.
But finding a new place we could afford, proved to be nearly impossible. Our dogs were a HUGE problem for nearly every landlord within a 25 mile radius. We expanded the search to 50 miles, yet still it wasn’t meant to be.
As the weeks went the only foreseeable solutions were to either get rid of our dogs, or to stay in that living room for however long it took. Since giving up the dogs was not an option, we remained as we were. In the living room of an already crowded home.
When you’re a homeschooler, regardless of the philosophy or style you subscribe to, your lifestyle, your day, your schedule, etc., is completely unconventional. And chances are that no matter how supporting, those around you are, they won’t understand exactly what or how you do what you do unless they walk in your shoes.
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The Six-Month Interruption
Webster defines interruption, as a stoppage or hindering of an activity for a time.
Interruptions can be a good thing, and sometimes we need them. Other times however they throw us off track, and prevent us from completing a necessary task or achieving a goal.
Our six-month stay was an interruption. At first, I was quick to complain about how it affected me. My routine, my comfort, my privacy, my day, my job, my way of teaching, etc. Then I realized it didn’t affect just me! It also affected my kids, husband, pets, and yes… it even affected those already living in the home we had been welcomed into.
When the latter hit me, my frustration turned to guilt.
I felt guilty for taking up so much space, guilt for eating anything in the fridge, guilt for using any of the appliances, and so on.
The guilt and frustration were so great, homeschooling came to a complete halt.
4 Tips to Embrace the Interruption
We homeschool moms, and all moms in general, are our worst critics.
You know it’s true. We’re quick to point out what we’re not doing, how we’re failing at teaching the times tables, not spending enough time on art, skipping science, or not making enough homemade meals. Interruptions like the loss of your home, loss of work, and hard things in general, magnify these feelings and constant self-criticism.
Sometime during the tenth week of not having our own place, I finally began to embrace the interruption. Here are 4 tips to help you get to that place, hopefully, sooner than I did.
- The beauty of homeschooling, is that you have a choice, and you’re in control. If you only have time for two subjects a day, do only those two, or none at all. Education is an atmosphere, textbooks are optional.
- If you need a break and the weather permits, get out the house. This is the perfect time to focus on learning about nature or the world around you. We made it a priority to leave the house and head to the library, coffee shop or the park at least three times a week. This is how I kept my sanity.
- Don’t spend so much time focusing on yourself. Thinking of others and how you can help someone else puts things into perspective. I spent way too much time complaining about how my situation affected me.
- Remember that God brings beauty from ashes ALL THE TIME. It’s His specialty. Call out to Him.
So what did we learn?
Don’t you love all the wisdom you can glean from a bad situation in hindsight?
We moved into our new home six months ago. In fact, this post will go online exactly one year after we received the phone call letting us know we had no place to call home when we returned from that trip. So much has transpired since, so much frustration, so much anxiety. Yet also so much growth.
Sharing a home with another family, grew our relationships.
Today, I’m grateful for the time I spent with my sister. It made us realize we have more in common than we ever thought. My girls made irreplaceable memories with their cousin. I had more conversations with my step-dad in just a few months than in ten years combined. My husband realized just how much my mom appreciates and loves him.
As I sit here and share bits and pieces of this story with you, I am in tears. Not of sadness, but of joy and appreciation for the interruption, that one year ago seemed unbearable.
Education is an Atmosphere
This is one of the homeschooling/life philosophies our family subscribes to.
What it means, is that everything around us shapes us in some way. It means we learn from life itself. We learn from what we see and experience more intensely than from what we learn in textbooks.
During the six-month interruption, there were times I faced serious depression, times when the girls and I felt so confined we couldn’t breathe. Times when homeschooling was the furthest thing from our minds. Yet it was the thing that brought a sense of normalcy to our day. It was the only routine (in the very loose sense of the word), that remained because we were constantly learning.
Are you in the midst of a major interruption? Or struggling with the need to meet your own expectations? Momma, you’re not alone.
This is day 20 of the Homeschooling in the Midst of Hard Things Blog Series!. We are so glad you are here!
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Tatiana is a follower of Jesus, wife and mum to one boy and five girls. Her mission is to inspire and encourage moms to raise kids who long to walk with Jesus, by equipping them with the tools to strengthen their faith, and teach their children to stand up for theirs. She’s a compulsive organizer, lover of books and coffee. She blogs about mum life, home education and organized living at The Musings of Mum. You can follow her on Instagram & Twitter @themusingsofmum.