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Homeschooling Through the Unexpected

The unexpected hit us from many directions this year. From the minor (computer in the shop for a week) to the major (death in the family) we’ve overcome them all. With each unexpected event, we learned a lot and remained standing on the other side. Did I mention I learned an awful lot?

hs unexpected

The main thing I learned was flexibility.

It’s one of the reasons we homeschool – greater flexibility. That being said, I like to control the flexibility. We enjoy vacationing off season. I call that flexibility. But it’s a very controlled flexibility. What about sick days, or leaving town unexpectedly? Those are NOT controlled flexibility.

How do you handle the uncontrolled flexibility?

1. Build in days for flexibility. Or weeks – I have the whole month of December for flexibility (except for co op classes and a few courses that started late). If we stay on top of things, we can use that time to rest, or get ahead. If we fall behind, school carries on!

2. Remember, not every workbook page NEEDS to be completed. Replace some history chapters with a documentary covering the same information. Curriculum is just a guide. Not the only way to teach that subject matter.

3. Whatever you do – Do NOT stress.

4. Trust God’s plan – not yours.

The heart of man plans his way,
but the Lord establishes his steps. Proverbs 16:9

5. Believe in what you’re doing.

What are your tips for Homeschooling through the unexpected?

When School Feels Dangerous

…and homeschooling isn’t an option.

I don’t want to write about this. But the ugly truth is, well, ugly. Last week a young man lost his life too soon in a school stabbing. In my town. All the schools in the area were on lock down. Parents were panicked.


Last night a local church (the church we attended when all of my babies were born. my old church. hallowed ground) held the memorial service for this young man.

And shots were fired.
Please note! The news report (Yes the local news – not mere rumors) was incorrect. Shots were not fired. A scuffle broke out but no guns were involved.

At church, people!

Oh how my heart aches.

What I want to do is rant and rage and point fingers. But that won’t help. I’m going to give you scared mommas some peace. If I had to send my babies (ahem, I know they are teens, but as we all know, they are always our babies) to school today, my nerves would be fried.

When school feels dangerous (and homeschooling isn’t an option) there are things you can do.

1. Pray

2. Trust – Give your children to God and leave them in His capable hands.

3. Teach them what to do in dangerous situations. Knowledge is power. Tell them what to do when a fight breaks out. It’s human nature to want to see what’s going on, but a whole lot safer to walk away. That being said, keep it age appropriate. A six year old does not need images of bloodshed. You can teach them about fighting without words about blood and knives.

4. Do not put your fear on your kids. They are kids. They do not need to carry your fears around with them. Do what you can to alleviate their fears.

5. Don’t hesitate to talk to the school. If you have concerns, ask your child’s teacher. They are there to help. They want to provide a safe place for your child.

6. Don’t make rash decisions out of fear. While I’m a huge proponent of homeschooling, I caution people about making rash decisions out of fear. If you have a high school student, find out everything you can about local private schools or homeschooling before pulling them out. Ask yourself Should I homeschool? And give yourself a few weeks to answer.

7. Keep Praying.

For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time… Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. 2 Timothy 1: 7, 9, 12

Homeschool Survival Bag (pass it on)





park passI spent weeks planning this and yesterday was my target day; however, we woke to horrific news about a fatal stabbing at a nearby school. I almost didn’t do this activity. I almost didn’t run this post today. BUT yesterday was the perfect time to spread a little sunshine. Today is the perfect time to run this post. We all need a little sunshine. Let me tell you – it’s worth it. The smiles, texts, facebook shout outs made it worth every penny and every minute I spent. I learned a few lessons. But I’m saving those for another day.

I made a few of these bags and delivered them to some fellow homeschool moms ding-dong-ditch style. It definitely added some excitement to our day! Feel free to take my idea and pass it on! (and to the traditional schooled moms- take this idea and make one for you! The point is to get out there and make someone smile!)

Homeschool Survival Bag

Dear Mom,

You’re starting another year of your calling. While it’s the biggest blessing of ALL, it’s also a challenge.

Many moms worry about completing homework. The homeschool mom worries about providing the entire education their child will receive. Is it an adequate education, preparing your child for college – and life beyond? Heavy questions.

Many moms worry about waiting in the carpool line. The homeschool mom worries about turning an ordinary walk into a major science lesson, or on some days, finding time alone to shower.

This bag is for the days that don’t go as planned. The days a school bus looks like a bit of freedom…

May these days be few and far between!

Tea – to relax in the midst of chaos.

Post it notes – keep sticking to the truth!

Chocolate – just because it makes everything better!

Park Pass – When all else fails, PLAY!

Have an amazing year!

The Vogels

*Please take this idea. Download my Park pass and letter and use it to spread a little sunshine to others.*

Pass It On!

Should I Homeschool?

shouldihomeschoolOne of my friends, that Carol Jones, hears this question a lot. Since she doesn’t homeschool, I told her I had a few insights. Apparently, she decided to feature it on her blog, . Check out what I said.  Then come back and share with me your story. I would love to hear what YOU have to say!

Stuck in our homeschool

School starts back in four weeks. We have not completed last year’s work. Some work will get finished just-in-time. Some won’t.

And I’m ok with that.


But I feel like I’m stuck. How do I get out? I need a shovel.

I will confess… I had a moment of stress. Rather, a whole day. The only thing that did was keep me buried. Then I reached out to a fellow home school mom on facebook. She shared with me some great tips and listened to my venting. (shovels!)

Through all of my stress, I didn’t pray.

God still took care of me. He gave me a tremendous idea about how to dig myself out of the hole. (Prayer is the biggest shovel of all. If only I’ll grab the handle…)

To get out of this hole, I have to look hard at what I’m doing. I know what’s working. I know what’s not.

I know what needs to change.

Now it’s time for implementation.

1. Schedule. I had a great schedule last year. But I changed it too many times. I didn’t keep a hard copy of the original to show the kids where they were and where they were supposed to be. I didn’t hold them accountable. I changed our schedule so many times it became invalid. (Shhhh… don’t tell the kids, but their days might just be scheduled as well!)

2. Accountability. Dad will have a hard copy of the schedule. I will check work daily. Instead of asking what was done, they will show me and I will grade it. Then the hard copy will get checked off. Dad will stay informed. (We had our first ultra official parent/parent/teacher date meeting this week.)

3. The work that did not get finished will get done, based on relevance and in keeping with the academic standards. Not every page of a text book needs to be read. Some worksheets can be skipped.

4. There are some non-essential work that did not get finished. Instead of completing the traditional textbook work, we will take field trips and reports will be written. It might not happen next year, but it will happen. Living history is always more effective than just reading about it.

5. Admit my mistakes. Learn and move on.

No more stress.

No more guilt.

It is what it is.

A chance to grow.

Maybe I’m not as stuck as I thought I was!

How are you doing in your homeschooling? Ready for the new year? Hmmmm… another topic I’ll be looking at all-too-soon!

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