Written by Simple Homeschool contributor Stefani Austin of Blue Yonder Ranch
It was a good plan. It was a simple, doable, good plan.
Step 1: Clean, organize and paint the boys’ bedrooms while they were away at camp.
Step 2: Finish outlining our homeschooling plans for the year.
Step 3: On July 5th, walk together, hand in hand, into a new year of learning.
“Everyone has plans… until they get hit.”
Around the time the ink was drying on my freshly made plans, my husband, dear man, picked up a hammer and smashed them to pieces.
See, he grew up in our house. He loves it deeply. So when I brought out the paint samples something inside him cracked. He began festering over all that our home could be and promptly lost his mind.
Painting became moving everything out of the boys’ rooms and ripping up the carpet. That led to taking out the carpet in the hallway, which led to pulling it out of our bedroom, which, in the end, led to moving everything we own into the garage and removing every square inch of flooring in our home.
And that was only the beginning.
All the pent up frustration with an older home long in need of repairs came flooding out. Appliances came out, doors came down, bathrooms were demolished, and cabinetry was removed.
Nothing was safe from my husband’s hammer, most especially my plans.
So what happens when the heart of the homeschool, the home, is in turmoil?
Well, as it turns out, that’s when some really great life lessons are learned.
So now, as many families are diligently making plans for their adventures in home schooling, I’d like to share with you how we got schooled by our home.
Here’s what we learned:
Lesson #1 –Don’t let your plans get in the way of a good thing.
As trying as remodeling has been, I’m ecstatic about the transformation in our home. Watching the last of our nasty, old carpet tossed into the junk heap, I felt like singing, “Free at last! Great God Almighty, we are free at last!”
Had we stubbornly stayed the course, stuck to all our well made plans, we would have missed out on seeing our home restored. Worse, we would have missed the changes that this experience has brought out in us.
This year, make your plans, but don’t let them make you.
Lesson #2 – We need less than we think we do.
We ended up sanding, scoring and staining our concrete. This involved emptying the contents of our home into our garage, then cleaning every last bit of it when all the dust from the sanding process unexpectedly seeped into the garage. Every single thing was covered in a fine, but doggedly persistent, powder.
Then, of course, we had to move it all back in.
Needless to say, we became very closely reacquainted with all of our stuff. In doing so, we found that so much of what we’ve accumulated – so much of what we thought was important when we brought it home – is not really enhancing our lives.
In the same way, so often, the latest, greatest craft supply, book or curriculum seems so necessary but in the end, just isn’t.
Remember, some of history’s greatest minds have risen from meager surroundings.
Lesson #3 - Stuff goes wrong, and that’s okay.
We’ve been through a lot – bills that far exceeded estimates, unanticipated detours like the simultaneous backing up of both toilets and both showers, over-staying our welcome with relatives, having to take apart the refrigerator because it wouldn’t fit through the door. The list goes on and on.
I really believe though that the experience of being completely out of control, being dependent on others, and having one derailed plan after another, has brought me a kind of peace.
Your plans WILL get messed up, and remarkably, learning will still happen.
Lesson #4 – Things will often take longer than you thought.
When we started this little project, we naively thought that we’d be done in a week. It’s going on six now, and there’s no end in sight.
Similarly, at the start of the last year I felt so pressured to stay on track and finish our curriculum in 32 weeks because, well, that was the PLAN. It took me three weeks to realize that it was more important to actually absorb, learn and be inspired by the material than it was to stay on schedule.
Take your time!
Lesson #5 – Hard fought battles bring the sweetest victories.
I’ll be honest with you, there have been tears. There have been tense moments, bristly words and many cool-off walks around the block during the last six weeks.
But, when we stepped onto our new floor, when the boys lathered up in their new shower, when we gathered around the table after weeks of being away to eat our first meal at home… we felt like kings!
Educating young minds at home is hard too. Balancing home, social life, and the gathering of knowledge can make day-to-day existence feel like a circus act. Really though, guiding children on the path to wisdom, witnessing those light bulb moments… there is no feeling in the world to compare.
So chart a course for your new school year, but should the wind push you into unexpected waters, be open to enjoying the adventure!
How do you handle it when your homeschooling plans come undone?