When the Homeschool Train gets derailed

locomotive Tom Curtis / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Homeschooling should not feel like riding a relentless locomotive with no brakes and only a vague idea of the destination.

But then one day there's a penny on the tracks - a minor incident happens; a plugged toilet, a flat tire, no ink in the printer, and suddenly the morning has flown by in a whirl of activity, but nothing schoolworthy has been accomplished. Or so it seems.

What did the kids learn today? How many shades of magenta mom's face is capable of displaying? How many words mom knows that are not allowed on network television? Oh yeah - they learned something all right, just not something you want them to write a report about.

Keep a sense of proportion and priority. Use every circumstance as an opportunity for your family work as a team, to learn patience and coping skills. 

Until. . . the caboose got left behind at the station - it's a bit more serious this time. Someone in the family, or possibly everyone in the family, is sick for a few days. You've emptied the shelves at Walmart of Kleenex and Sudafed. You didn't know the human body could produce so much . . . stuff. Nothing is getting done - dishes are piling up, the laundry has become a sentient life form, you need a backhoe to clear a path down the hall. And what's worse, ain't nobody learnin' nothin'.

Life happens. Traditional schools allow for sick days, and so should you. If you feel up to doing some reading, that's great. If not, put in an educational DVD, microwave some chicken noodle soup, and let everyone heal. Including you.

KABOOM! This time it's catastrophic. A serious accident, unemployment, even a death in the family. Will life ever be the same again? Can we truly recover, and regain lost ground? Advice at a time like this sometimes seems shallow and insincere.

2 Corinthians 1:3-5 Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort; Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God. For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ.

Some interruptions of our homeschooling can be dealt with ahead of time by incorporating some flexibility into our plans. Use holiday breaks to refresh your mind and body, insert some Teacher In Service Days for study and planning, pencil in some sick days, plan a couple of 'field trips' to your kitchen or back yard.

Other situations cannot be anticipated. Know that God knows.