Defining Moments video to see more of the background story. The short version includes a very-sick preemie, feeding tubes, 20 hospital stays before her third birthday, a seven month inpatient wait for a heart transplant, and a thriving little spitfire that's seven years old now.)
So, instead of talking about how to homeschool through a crisis, I'll talk about how I continued homeschooling through a whole bunch of crazy days. I remember once having three medical appointments in a day, with each of the appointments in a different state (Virginia, Maryland, DC). I remember early one morning telling the big kids to grab a backpack of school materials instead of their swim team backpack because we needed to take Lauren to the hospital. I remember the months that I spent walking in circles around the sixth floor of the hospital while the big kids were staying (and doing school) with their grandparents. I remember all sorts of days when homeschooling didn't look the way that I had always thought it would -- the days we remember simply as being crazy.
So how did we homeschool on those crazy days?
1. I learned to be flexible.
One of the best things about homeschooling is that due dates and assignments aren't set in stone. Before Lauren was born, I loved putting check-marks next to all of the assignments in the teacher's guide to our curriculum. After Lauren was born, learning became more important than checking boxes and making sure each assignment was completed..
2. I learned to be prepared.
For years I kept an overnight bag in the trunk of my car in case Lauren was unexpectedly admitted to a hospital (either our relatively local hospital or the one three hours away). My regular diaper bag always had a few games and a book tucked into it so that we could make the most of all the time we spent waiting for appointments. I remember sitting in the pediatrics clinic reading a chapter books to the big kids while Lauren rested in her stroller. I also remember the days when we spread out in the floor of the allergy clinic to play a card game. I also learned that crayons work much better for drawing on exam room paper than markers.
I also learned to be prepared in case someone else taught school for a few days (or even longer). I didn't always have a specific lesson plan written out, but I knew which subjects could be handled as "just do a page per day," what books we were going to read next, and what subjects could wait until another day.
3. I learned that good enough sometimes is "good enough."
When I started homeschooling, I decided that I'd read all of Addison's read-alouds to her. She was often capable of reading them independently, but I wanted to read all of them together so that we could discuss them. When we started going to appointments all over the Washington DC area and sitting in rush hour traffic on the beltway, I realized that audiobooks were not the horrible substitute I had made them out to be. In fact, we listened to many more stories than we ever would have if I had stuck to my initial commitment to do all of the reading myself.
4. I learned to relax and to take advantage of learning opportunities along the way.
I remember seeing Brennan and Addison practice their reading while leaning over the side of Lauren's crib in the NICU. We still have the lapbook Addison made shortly after we found out about Lauren's heart condition; it has a model of a heart, copies on an echocardiogram, a list of NICU abbreviations, and more. A good friend emailed me pictures of Addison and Brennan flying the kites they made while staying with their family for a week during Lauren's first hospital stay in Philadelphia. I remember field trips to the Franklin Institute and Valley Forge because we were going to be in Philadelphia for appointments anyway. When I look back, I see an endless list of things all of us learned, most of which never would have been covered in our regularly scheduled curriculum.
5. I learned to pray and to trust more than I ever had before.
I once thought it was up to me to have enough faith to weather the crazy days. I was wrong. I learned that God will give generously and that He can give me hope that defies all human logic.
Many of the other Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers are talking about "Homeschooling in a Crisis" today. Be sure to visit the crew blog or click on some of the links below to find out what everyone's busy making. Also, be sure to take a few minutes and enter into the huge Teaching Creatively Blog Hop Giveaway -- there's over $1000 worth of prizes up for grabs!