Remodeling: When Homeschooling Plans Go Awry

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.”

-Mike Tyson

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?

About Stefani

Stefani believes that beyond "I love you," one of the most valuable things she can tell her three young sons (and herself) is "take your time." Homeschooling has afforded her the awesome privilege to say it often and with conviction. Stefani writes about her journey to mindful parenting and her learning adventures alongside her boys at her blog, Blue Yonder Ranch.


  1. I had a friend go through a similar experience two years ago – they were renovating their home but ran into major delays and all her books/school resources were packed away. They ended up going through most of the school year without a finished kitchen… or much of a finished anything. But in the end, their home looks fabulous and even better – it was an amazing family experience. Her teenage son could probably build his own house after the skills he learned. I’m proud of her and enjoy visiting their home which they toiled on with love.

  2. Love this statement: “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.”

    We will be moving once and possibly twice (and perhaps with home repairs/remodels along the way???) this school year and it will be good to keep these things in mind.

  3. julie lew says:

    i’d LOVE to see pics of the finished project!

  4. Great post – As usual!!! Isn’t it funny how when things go awry according to our plans… we learn so much from life!!! Have a fun weekend!!!
    se7en’s latest post: Se7en Tandem Nursing Questions… Asked and Answered…

  5. Ah… this explains why things have been so quiet at Blue Yonder blog… Sounds like a wonderful learning experience. Love the insights you shared Stefani, as always!

  6. Great lessons to live by. I always try to tell myself there is that possibility of things not going as planned and just relax and go with the flow. If Mama is uptight and tense the whole household feels it and nothing gets accomplished.
    Rana’s latest post: Blog Hop10!!!

  7. As a young teen, I learned more about life from our 2-year-long home-addition project than I did at school those years. Much much more, and what it did to us as a family was fabulous too. Nothing like a sustained upheaval to bring out the best and worst in us, but it really does reap tremendous benefits. Enjoy your new kingdom!
    Bethany’s latest post: Why Im Not at BlogHer 10- though its in my backyard

  8. Randall Moeller says:

    “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.” Sounds like an amazing experience in spite of, or maybe because of, the frustration… and the opportunities to overcome it.

    Randall Moeller
    Smart Kids Do This

  9. “so much of what we thought was important when we brought it home – is not really enhancing our lives.”

    I think most people find that to be true!

    What great lessons you all learned through this experience. Life is learning and sounds like you made the very most of it all.
    soultravelers3’s latest post: Camping Europe With Kids Free Kids Clubs

  10. How often isn’t it that things don’t go the way we planned, but they often somehow seem to turn out better than they did even in the plan! Great post, I need to remember this as I just now have heaps of things I am trying to plan… 😛

  11. Beautifully encouraging. I’m in the same boat.
    gina’s latest post: Ideas for Creative Travel–No Boredom Allowed

  12. This is a great post, I’m going to repost it! =)
    Cori’s latest post: August Nature Studies

  13. Things really don’t turn out the way you plan it, a lot of great things in this world was discovered by accident. Anyways plans are just guidelines, the best thing is for you to be flexible and adaptive at the same time being able to stay on course even being able to achieve something better. Great story, I really enjoyed reading this.

  14. You are awesome. But I repeat myself. Yes! I get caught up in getting it done!Instead of just living the moment and stopping to talk about ‘Why do birds feather fall out?’ . Sometimes on walks in the woods I find myself saying “Let’s go! Walk faster!” When in fact the goal of the walk in the woods was to relax and enjoy! I too get caught up in THE PLAN. This is THE PLAN! And forget sometimes the Journey. This piece spoke to me and my summer of stress! just as you always do. Thanks for this reminder, to reflect!

  15. This post made me laugh and brought back recent memories. My husband is the same. I am afraid to ask him to hang a picture because he might decide to tear down the wall.

    Our last “minor remodel” was so disruptive that we had to build a shelter inside our home to live in. We literally drywalled off our kitchen, family room and two of our bedrooms. The construction workers had no access to the inside of the house, but we lived in our shell (about 1/6 the of the normal square footage) for a year. I thought it would never end. Homeschool was a little challenging, but somehow, we managed.

    I think your advice in this post is a great reminder to keep it all in perspective. I hope the end result is great!!!

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  16. Stefani, I love and appreciate the wisdom shared here. I miss you. I do.
    Relyn’s latest post: Sunday Morning Poetry

  17. Don’t you recognize that this is correct time to get the loan, which can make your dreams come true.

  18. Great! I was searching for this for months now.

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