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homeschooling through crisis…

February 6, 2012

I wish I could say that we schooled seamlessly through the birth and death and the months after losing Miranda… but that would be a complete lie. We began the 2011-2012 school year on August 1st with the intent of getting through the first 6 weeks of school and then taking time off to await the birth and first precious weeks of our newest blessing. We started okay and went on until the second week of September and then took time off so I could finish some prep work for the impending birth. I put up food, stocked my pantry, knitted lots of layette items, and cleaned my home better than I had in years! I knew it would be easier for me to handle the school day with a needy nursling than an uncomfortably pregnant belly.

We were ready…

or so we thought.

When the train derailed in three hospital transfers all my expectations deflated. During our month with Miranda in the PICU my children saw my husband and I every day, but schooling was probably the lowest item on our priority list. We were unintended unschoolers for the time. Francesca loves school and she kept on reading with the skills I had already worked with her. She SOARED through books, using what she already knew and taking those tools to figure out what she didn’t. Evan and Andrew worked on science projects. A little more than I was ready for, but they were experimenting and it was good. Evan worked diligently at the keyboard. He started using the lessons that are programmed in and all I can say is WOW! He has been gifted with an incredible ear and formal lessons are certainly in his future.

When Miranda died I just wasn’t able to focus on school.

I wanted too.

I craved routine during a time when nothing was routine.

I didn’t have the heart to fight with my pencil-phobic boys.

I needed easy.

I’ve had enough challenge.

The children continued to attend their weekly homeschool gym class and I was encouraged by my oversight group to take my time settling back in.

As the calendar year wound down I prayed and contemplated what “school” should look like moving forward. Do we pick back up where we left off? Do we scrap it and start again since they may have forgotten everything we had done? Do we move forward in “survival mode” just covering the basics until this school year ends?

The answers weren’t coming easily.

Do we put them back into public school?

So I had to re-evaluate why we were homeschooling in the first place.

Putting them back in public school was not the answer. How could I usher my children onto a bus to be away from us for the majority of their wake hours while they were in the midst of grief. I couldn’t place them in an environment where they couldn’t freely share that their sister had died, that they believed God has her in Heaven, that Jesus had died so that they could one day be in Heaven too. I couldn’t expect them to productively function in the world that never knew their sister or the huge impact her too few days would forever have on us all.

One question answered.

Moving forward in survival mode wasn’t an option either. Sure we could trudge through math and reading and the very basics of education, but to what purpose? The decision to homeschool was not only about academics, it was about building into our children to prepare them for life. Pressing forward with the minimum requirements would not achieve our family goals.

Another question answered.

Our collective self-esteem would not handle scrapping what we’d done to start again. We needed to not look back.

One more question gone.

Pick up where we left off? After almost THREE months off? It seemed crazy.

But it worked.

Once again God showed His hand in how He orchestrates all things for good. Last year I reported to the county, this year we are under an oversight group. Last year I pieced together a very eclectic set of curricula and I often felt overwhelmed at the thought of covering every subject the state requires, this year I am using an organized complete curriculum from Heart of Dakota(HoD).

I still sometimes feel overwhelmed, but not about making sure my children are covering what needs to be done. HoD has done the foot work for me and I just get to teach and train.

We haven’t had a week go by without any hitches yet, but we are moving forward. They are learning, through books and more importantly through the life that God has given us and the season He is currently carrying us through.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2012 3:16 PM

    Sorry to hear of your loss. I am glad you understand that God is “carrying you through”. Sounds like you made an excellent decision for your family to continue to build them up and set them up for life. Keep on blogging and we’ll keep encouraging you!

  2. February 6, 2012 3:59 PM

    I am so, so sorry for your loss.

  3. February 7, 2012 2:28 PM

    No words come except that I pray God is visibly evident every day to you.

  4. February 8, 2012 4:19 PM

    Lisa – I could have written so much of what you said. I too have questioned the decision to homeschool during this time of grief. March – June of last year we were so numb to everything that nothing really got accomplished. This school year – if I was honest – we are still in survival mode. Most days I am content if reading, writing, and math get done. We all struggle to find purpose and fulfillment in schooling at present. How do you care about Biology? There are days when it is so hard to concentrate on anything when your heart is grieving.

    But we have found security and comfort in the routine, in being together as a family through this time, in being honest as to our emotions – backing off the hard days and pushing through on the better ones.

    I remember last fall having to return a call to our home school liaison at the public school – didn’t know why she had called – was so scared she wanted to put my kids back in school – that she knew we were struggling. Ended up she was only checking on the immunization records on one of the kids, but while talking she asked if there had been any changes this last year (referring to address etc). I felt God whisper to me – telling me to be honest. So I was – I shared briefly about David’s death and the effect it had on homeschooling – the challenges we were having – the doubts I had as to whether I should have kept homeschooling. Her answer amazed me. With such compassion she stated, ‘Joy, you made the right decision. Your children are in the right place. If there were here (in public school) they would be no better off – actually they would be in a worse situation as they would be struggling to keep up. ‘

    It was the confirmation that I needed – from a source I never expected. I believe that those words apply to your situation. Lisa – you have chosen what you feel is best for your family at this time. There will still be challenges as you walk this path but God will carry you. He will take care of the rest.

    • February 17, 2012 5:47 PM

      Joy, I so enjoy gleaning wisdom from you. While we both may still be waist high in grief I am constantly encouraged by what you share. 🙂

  5. September 18, 2013 8:03 AM

    Lisa and Joy,

    Thank you so much, as we are walking this road behind you. I lost my beautiful Maia Rose on Dec. 2, 2012, when I was 9 months pregnant. I have 4 other kids, all homeschooling. It was so hard, we just took time off.

    We’re back on track now, but out of nowhere today is really rough for me, and I can’t seem to pull it together. Reading your words of encouragement and insight has helped. I appreciate your transparency and willingness to share. Thanks again.

    • September 18, 2013 3:43 PM

      Chana, I am so sorry for the loss of your sweet Maia. Learning how to effectively ‘do life’ in the wake of loss has been an incredible challenge. There are still (2 years later) times when I think I can finally exhale, and then grief hits again… sometimes it hits harder than others. Praying that your school year will go smoothly and that you’ll continue to grow as a family together and grow stronger each day! p.s. My current (or, well, mostly current) blog can be found at, I no longer write new posts here. 🙂

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