Who likes having seasons of pain? One of my favourite songs says, “Who doesn’t wish for sunny days? When the skies above us would never turn grey. But life isn’t always sunshine, we have times that leave us asking why…” Ecclesiastes 3 has always been a passage that I go to when I’m going through struggles. The Lord never promised us a life without pain but He did say we would have a season for everything; seasons for birth and death, times for weeping and laughing, and seasons for mourning and dancing.
We don’t particularly like those seasons of pain. When death, weeping, and mourning come it’s hard sometimes to pick up the pieces and continue to move. Depression can become very real to people and resting in God’s promises is hard. But it’s necessary.
Homeschooling through seasons of pain can make that season feel even more difficult. I feel for every wife and mom that is going through this season right now. The last almost eight weeks have been hard ones for us. Multiple doctor appointments or necessary bloodwork have made getting our weekly assignments done almost impossible. Last week, I took the opportunity of feeling better to clean the house and absolutely no school was accomplished all week. And that’s okay!
One of the struggles many homeschool moms face is how to keep the momentum in their homeschool going when all they want to do is curl up in a ball on their bed and ignore the world. I’ve dealt with chronic health issues for many years, sometimes with many good months before a crash hits. It’s too easy to want to ignore my responsibilities when I’m not well.
I’ve seen the posts from moms in a similar place. They’re asking for prayer, for guidance, and for a way to pick up the pieces and keep going. They receive a lot of good advice on these forums but today I wanted to just share a few things I’ve learned as I’ve navigated seasons of pain and how the Lord has helped me through homeschooling and more.
#1 Piece of Advice
One of the biggest pieces of advice that many moms give is to allow yourself a season of rest. Rest and good food are really important for healing. If at all possible, just give your kids a break from schooling and allow yourself some time to grieve, to heal, and to be still in Christ. The story of Elijah always reminds me that it’s just as spiritual to sleep and eat then to be busy all the time.
But for those moms who need to keep working with their kids, whether because of government laws regarding homeschooling, or because taking time off every time you’re not well would mean little school gets done, here are some other ways to keep yourself from burning out.
How to Homeschool Through a Season of Pain
- Keep it relaxed. School does not need to look like a public school day. It doesn’t need the same structure, form, and teaching that a classroom requires. You don’t need to all be sitting at a desk. You don’t need to do every subject every day. And you don’t need to put unneeded pressure on yourself by doing every activity in every book. Keep it relaxed, do what’s necessary and let the rest go.
- Teach laying down. There have been many days I have worked with my children from a prone position. Some days I have lain on my bed while one or both worked on the bed beside me. Other days I have lain on the couch while they sat on the floor with their books on the coffee table. It does not affect their quality of work at all and they actually find they get more one-on-one time with me and enjoy it.
- Teach one child at a time instead of trying to work with multiple children at the same time. My kids actually love when I do this. Most kids adore one-on-one time with their mom. Don’t get me wrong. This does not mean I help them with every question. My 3rd grader is an independent worker. And those times I work just with him, he’s still working independently beside me and I’m getting some rest time in. Answering the occasional question from one person instead of from multiple children at the same time reduces a lot of stress from your day. Sometimes I will work on school with one child and do multiple days of work and then the next day do the same with the other child. If you have more children you may need to opt to do one in the morning and one in the afternoon in order to fit them all in in a week.
- Encourage them in other activities such as independent reading, musical study (piano practice, etc), nature study (playing outside), using their imagination (playing with legos, etc)
- Use this time of rest to teach them skills regarding household chores and cooking/baking. My 8-yr old gets more time in the kitchen when I’m not well than he does when I am! He doesn’t always clean up after himself, hah, but he loves to make supper on those days I’m at my worst. It allows our children to show compassion and love to us but we have allow it.
The important thing for us to remember is that this is a season and only a season of life. I love the verse in Psalm 30 that say, “Weeping may endure for a night but JOY cometh in the morning.” That season of pain may seem like it’s lasting for a long time but God has something for us to learn through it and the joy that comes later will be that much sweeter if we learn to lean on Him and trust Him through it.
I’m praying for you, sweet Mom. Don’t give up. <3