I didn’t even feel when it happened.
The step down from the rolling door of our barn is a steep and awkward one, and when exiting two weeks ago I came down hard on my right foot. Not paying attention, I hurried inside to check something in the oven.
Later in the day, I felt a painful twinge in my ankle. By that night, the twinge had grown excruciating. And that’s how I ended up homeschooling from the couch for the past two weeks, or as I’ve since termed it: couchschooling.
I’ve been either in the bed upstairs or on the couch downstairs for most of every day, trying to give this sprain time to heal. Not exactly how I planned to end my February (as if the month isn’t already challenging enough, right?!)
Yet as Caroline Ingalls once noted, “There’s no great loss without some small gain.” Though this minor injury wasn’t on my agenda, I’ve had a few positive realizations from it that I hope to carry with me.
1. Lowered expectations are fine when needed.
My first of two new GG mugs for my birthday!
It’s amazing how much you have to let go when you’re unable to do even basic tasks. My biggest accomplishment each day became getting dressed and successfully making my way to the bathroom and back on crutches. (And yes, sometimes I even asked the kids to applaud for me afterwards.)
I also realized just how much time I typically spend tidying up each day. But guess what? There’s not much tidying up you can do from the couch. And since the kids’ standards of “tidy” vary just a tad from my own, I’ve had to allow imperfection and messiness.
You know what? It’s been fine. Also? Kind of freeing.
2. My kids are capable of so much, and they are developing servant hearts.
My children (ages 13, 12, & 11) have blown me away with all their help. Along with my hard-working husband Steve, they have done much of the cleaning and cooking, have brought me meals, put away my laundry, given me foot massages, and just been above-and-beyond awesome.
Even my child who struggles with anger and self-control has risen to the challenge. Moved by seeing real needs and with a deeply compassionate heart, this child has had a string of good days since I sprained my ankle.
Perhaps being a little needy ourselves allows our kids’ servant hearts to rise to the surface!
3. I have to guard my joy.
Maybe it’s just the end of winter, I don’t know. But we had been having a week or more of what felt like days slodging through mud. Bad attitudes, yucky arguments, moodiness, and many tears shed (& that was all just from me, LOL!).
After a bit of despair I realized yet again that I have to guard my joy each day, or it vanishes in the heat of normal family drama. So from my spot on the couch, I began a daily joy list, writing down everything that went right in our days–all the good I saw my kids doing and learning.
This always has a powerful effect on me, and it meant a lot when Steve commented that he’d been impressed with how I’ve handled this whole mini-crisis with joy throughout most of it.
A few frustrating days into my recovery I decided I might as well view this time as a God-imposed rest–a “couch vacation” so to speak. After all, as crises go, this one was very minor.
Taking on that perspective changed so much: When I wasn’t couchschooling with the kids or doing the basics to keep this blog going, I napped, read books, searched for a new TV series to get into, and tried to be thankful for God’s provision of what I’m always craving: TIME. What a gift!
We tend to think of these instances in our lives as interruptions, but examined in hindsight we just might find that these seasons are what our family needed most.
When life is your school, the unexpected might just be the greatest teacher of all.
“The great thing, if one can, is to stop regarding all the unpleasant things as interruptions of one’s ‘own’, or ‘real’ life. The truth is of course that what one calls the interruptions are precisely one’s real life – the life God is sending one day by day: what one calls one’s ‘real life’ is a phantom of one’s own imagination.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Have you ever had a minor or major crisis disrupt your homeschool flow? What did you learn from it?