Life does not go as planned. My homeschool rarely went as planned. Life happens. This truth would often send me into a bit of a tailspin as I am a planner. I love lists of goals, short-term and long-term; I love filling in my calendar, and it pains me to mark through a plan that I’ve established. But God has taught me much through these often-interrupted homeschooling years. He has taught me how to be flexible, how to see the joy in the interruptions, how to extend grace to the interrupt-ees, and sometimes how to re-prioritize.
In the past thirteen years, my life and my homeschool have been interrupted by caring for aging parents, doctor’s appointments, family tragedies, illness, injuries, and simply life. During these years I’ve observed my carefully planned school year fall apart, and I’ve found myself often discouraged as I’ve allowed my focus to be diverted from the real successes. We may have not accomplished every point on my checklist, but the kids have learned. They’ve made strides in their academics as well as huge strides in their acquisition of invaluable life skills. They have learned how to live life. Real life is messy and filled with unexpected interruptions as well as timely blessings.
For this, I am so grateful, for I did not learn this as a child. My public school life was very predictable. Sunday nights were spent finishing up homework from the weekend and laying out clothes for Monday morning. Morning would come and I would arise at the appointed time and head to school where the schedule was predictable each day. If there was an interruption to my school day, it usually came in the form of a substitute for the day or a pop quiz. Otherwise, school life went on as usual from day to day as if I existed in a steady, secure bubble. It never occurred to me that life really could throw interruptions in that would derail my day. Therefore, I wasn’t prepared for these real-life occurrences of adulthood.
Life has unexpected joys as well as unexpected sorrows. It has seasons of rest and seasons of trials. When the seasons of sorrows and trials have come, homeschooling afforded us the opportunity to grieve, grow, and go on together. This is probably the most important lesson that God has taught me and that I’ve been able to teach my children. It cannot be taught in a book or in a classroom, and it cannot be scheduled. It must be lived daily. So, I feel confident that when life’s difficulties and interruptions come, my children won’t panic as I did. They will persevere and grow from it. After all, they’ve been practicing it for years.