Homeschooling and Moving

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

Spring is a time for many things. A time for yard sales, planting the garden, and riding bikes.

It’s also the time of year many families are preparing to move. ‘Round the corner, across country, or out of the country. I know our family is not alone as we pack boxes, attend to paperwork, and say goodbye to friends.

Moving happens. And for us homeschoolers, all the packing and preparation happens with children around the majority of the time.

Our family is moving back to Canada next month. And I sometimes fantasize about how much I could accomplish in a day if only my children were at the local school instead of making mess learning at home.

Not every day is easy but we’ve chosen homeschooling for the long haul and so we’re figuring out how to make the best of it while we move.

Here are a few things I’m learning along the way.

Set Aside Your Plans

Homeschoolers are a diverse group of folks. Some families are very loose with their planning while other families have lesson plans done months in advance.

A large scale life change like moving calls for relaxing these plans.

The circumstances of our move (diy home renovations, a livelihood change, and leaving the country) require a lot of time and effort. Because of this we made the decision a couple months ago to unschool during this intense life season.

We’re interest-led learners to begin with so this wasn’t much of a change. Even so, I am setting aside the plans I made earlier in our school year so I can focus on this move.

girls running in gymPhoto by Renee Tougas

That writing curriculum I planned to start will have to wait. As will our regular math practice.

But that’s ok.

Those subjects can always be picked up later, but most moving deadlines aren’t so flexible.

Flexibility is one of the keystones of homeschoooling. Use it to your advantage during a stressful life season like moving.

Be Open to Everyday Learning

I have to admit I was a little disappointed with myself, though greatly relieved, when we decided to unschool during this move.

I worried we would lose our momentum by letting go of my pre-arranged plans.

But you know what I found out? Although the kids aren’t learning some of the things I had planned for, they’re still learning. Lots. Everyday.

This should not surprise me. I know deep in my heart that my children were born to learn and have a strong desire to understand their world. Sometimes though I still have problems just letting go and trusting.

Observing and being a part of all the learning that has gone on in our home during this move is the encouragement I need to keep trusting.

girl writing storyPhoto by Renee Tougas

Here’s a very short list of what the kids have been learning lately:

  • Science – We hike as a family one day a week – part nature study, part physical education. As the snow melts there is also a lot of backyard science going on.
  • Language One of my children loves to write stories. She’s been writing up a storm which I think is also helping her process this change. (You should know she can’t spell, but that doesn’t stop her). We’ve also enjoyed playing Apples to Apples Junior together before bed.
  • Reading – Admittedly, I am reading less to the kids these days, but we still regularly gather around a story. Audio books have come in very handy.
  • GeographyWe are moving after all and that involves lots of geography-related family discussions and planning.
  • History – Re-enacting history through creative play is an important part of our kids’ learning and happens all the time regardless of moving.
  • Math – Our eleven-year-old helped Daddy with taxes this year. The youngest has been learning about money while playing pretend toy store.

boy with microscopePhoto by Renee Tougas

This list is just the tip of the learning iceberg and doesn’t account for the countless family discussions, character training opportunities and home management skill building going on right now.

Maybe someday you too will find yourself in a similar situation of having to let go and trust due to moving, a new baby, a family illness or some other stressful time.

I recommend journaling an informal list of what your children are learning.

It will encourage you and help you realize just how much your children can learn without carefully constructed plans.

Learning to Adjust

Learning to adjust and adapt to change is just as important as any academic subject.

Homeschooling allows us the freedom and flexibility for learning these necessary life skills.

Homeschooling also gives us lots of time together to work through the emotions of change.

Our kids are, for the most part, excited about our family’s move and on board with this life change. But there are still plenty of emotions to work through. Sadness about leaving friends and familiar places. Both anticipation and apprehension about the unknown.

kids playing unoPhoto by Renee Tougas

Having my kids at home with me gives us time to talk at the breakfast table, in the quiet hush after lunch, or even in the late hours of the evening. Our schedule is not dictated by buses, school bells, or extracurricular school activities.

I treasure this time to help my children (and myself) process this move.

Have you moved while homeschooling? What did you learn along the way?

About Renee

Renee is a creative homemaker and homeschooling mama of three. She loves to write, take pretty photos, and be in nature with her family. Her mission is to nourish, encourage, and teach; build relationship and create beauty. FIMBY is where she tells that story. Drawing from her years of experience and training, Renee also offers individual and personalized Homeschool Coaching.


  1. great post and so well-timed. we’re gearing up for an across-the-ocean move in less than 2 weeks. there’s a lot of flexibility going on around here! 🙂
    andie’s latest post: about the hiatus in posts

  2. Great post..I hope moving goes smoothly!
    Savannah’s latest post: Cleaning Up!

  3. Great advice! A lot is true during other times too. I’m pregnant right now and quite sick, and learned to make a lot of the same adjustments. Good luck with your move! I moved at least once a year as a child and remember how exciting and stressful it can be.
    Magic and Mayhem’s latest post: Lesson Number One of Homeschooling

  4. We are packing right now too. Although our move is only 30 minutes away.

    I have packed all the books, so we make sure we are stocked up from the library with books, audiobooks, and educational dvd’s.
    Paula’s latest post: Full Disclosure

  5. Excellent post!
    We are in the middle of moving right now. We’ve actually moved twice this school year: once in Jan to put our things in storage and move in w/my parents temporarily and now once again to our new home. Frankly, I hope we never have to move during the school year again, but of course that is always a possibility. I love your ideas here! I guess we’ve been doing lots of *unschooling* here, too:) This week’s learning has consisted of studying our tadpoles in the backyard, lots of backyard/treehouse time, a packing break to see Schoolhouse Rock Live and our co-op classes to name a few. No formal learning at all, but we’ll get back to that soon:)

  6. We too are moving in with my parents temporarily. We purchased a trailer to move and store our stuff so we don’t have to pack, unpack, pack and unpack again.

    Good luck with the rest of your move. Sounds exciting and stressful as all moves are!

  7. This is a great post. Kids don’t stop learning just because you *close the books*. We went through some tough times during homeschooling, family issues, business issues, even taking in 2 young grandchildren. Eventually *school* started again, but in the meantime they learn from everything you do!
    Living the Balanced Life’s latest post: Letting go of the hard stuff so the real me can emerge

  8. Thanks for sharing how your family is handling a move in the midst of homeschooling. A big part of why my husband and I have decided to homeschool is that he is in the Coast Guard and we have not lived in any one place for more than ten months since our oldest was born. Along with so many other benefits, we will be able to keep an element of fluidity to their education that we wouldn’t otherwise have. I especially appreciate your mention of how handling this kind of stress is an important life skill. In the end, we *hope* that our nomadic lifestyle will have been more beneficial to our children than harmful.

  9. Thanks REnee.

    When we moved our oldest was just 3 years old so it was a totally different story. I really enjoy peeking into your journey like this. Love the pics too!

  10. good luck with your move!

  11. perfectly timed. We are moving to a new country where we know no one and have only visited a couple of times.

    I’m going to print this post out and keep it in my journal to look in on when times are challenging!

  12. Once again, simple Homeschool has a timely post for something we are currently dealing with. We are moving, too! It was so hard to let go of the lesson plans! I really wanted to maintain the same momentum we’d had since Christmas. But I was so tired and stressed that school was becoming something the kids dreaded! My husband suggested we stop formal lessons and I eventually agreed. It was tough but I do see that my kids are learning as they explore the world on their own and my relationship with them is so much better. It’s a comfort to know that others are out there doing the same thing and it is not only okay to be less formal but expected. Thanks for sharing your experience with me!

  13. I love this peek into your adventure, and can imagine the stresses that go along with it as well.

    It is so worth it and I can’t wait to hear more as your wonderful plans unfold. We moved six times in the first seven years of our marriage, but have thankfully stayed put for a while since the kids have been small. Moving now would be a completely different story!

  14. We are moving just around the corner in about a month. We have been anticipating our move and we have done some extra school ahead of time, so that when it comes down to crunch time we will hopefully be done. I am also expecting shortly after our move, so I didn’t want the pressures of an unfinished school year and a baby just after our move. If we haven’t finished school when I need to stop and focus on packing we will be done anyway knowing that we almost completed our year and what ever we may have missed is going to be repeated next year anyway. Now its time to start packing up more regularly, and we have a family goal that we pack one box a day. I know that won’t always happen, but anything we can pack now will ease the packing when it is time to be out of our current home.
    Suanna’s latest post: Is your room clean

  15. Yes, we have moved to different provinces and to different countries, all while homeschooling. Well, of course, you can’t really homeschool as you pack and move and resettle. But you take advantage of every opportunity to learn and consider the move itself a life experience that teaches.
    jimmie’s latest post: Notebooking Round-up for April

  16. We moved (rather abruptly) just a month ago due to a job promotion…and I was *so* thankful for homeschooling and the flexibility. We’re still sort of in transition as far as school goes- but we’ve already settled into a rhythm of learning again, barebones as it is. It’s about the only ‘normal’ thing going on! 🙂

    if you can look past all the boxes…
    Joy’s latest post: Set a while…

  17. This is a very timely article for our family as well! The house is getting slowly packed, while it is still cold and rainy here. Today, we alphabetized the VHS tapes, before boxing them up – very important skill! I am glad that we started school in July last year, so we are almost finished, and ready for our year end review!
    This is also the busy home school convention season and I am a vendor consultant! I am having a hard time splitting my brain between the two tasks!
    Thank you for this encouraging article!

  18. moving for kids is not only stressful, it also scares them because of the unfamiliar territory that they would be.

  19. We are in the middle of a move too. While I am not stressing about missing some of my planned lessons, I am still trying to keep a routine since we are just starting out. One thing is for sure the homeschool library will be the last to get packed.

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