Can you believe the week is over? But don’t worry- I will be writing more posts about our experiences with homeschooling in the military, including some personal stories.
Just as a recap, here are my posts so far:
- Introduction to our family
- Benefits and Struggles of Homeschooling in the Military
- Homeschooling During a Military Move
- Connecting With Others
- What Laws Should I Follow?
Today I am going to attempt to tackle one of the most popular, and difficult, topics in military homeschooling.
How do you continue to homeschool, survive- and thrive- when your spouse is deployed or otherwise separated from you?
Woo- this one is a doozie!
My extremely short answer that would end this post is:
You just do it.
But I know that you are looking for a little more information and encouragement than that!
Deployments and separations are stressful times. We have been through 2 deployments (16 and 12 months) and right now my husband is in Korea on a 12 month assignment. We have managed to homeschool the whole time.
I could write a book about this subject (in fact- I just might), but for now I will share with you some of the tactics we have used.
Ask for and receive help
Being on your own to homeschool the kids doesn’t mean you are “on your own”.
There is no way that I would have been able to survive the last two deployments without the help I received from friends.
While I don’t mind having my kids with me all the time, it was difficult to buy a car, have dental work done, and give birth to our son without some form of help. I learned the hard way that you have to humble yourself and ask. Let others have the opportunity to be blessed by serving.
If you can afford it- pay for some help! I know many military moms who have hired a teen or young lady to come and do lessons with their kids once a week, or just play with them while they took some mommy time to run errands (or just take a shower!).
If you can’t afford that, then you can always ask to trade babysitting services or teaching certain subjects with other moms in similar situations.
Get involved somewhere
At some point, you will all be driving each other crazy. Instead of holing yourself up and barreling through the curriculum, take a break and get some fresh perspective!
Take a class together, volunteer somewhere, or just arrange monthly playdates.
Take up a hobby, and share it with your kids.
When things get stressful around the house, it is important for you and your kids to have a creative outlet. Finding projects to do and activities to be involved in doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can make it an adventure to find as many cool free things to do as you can.
Let your kids have free time
Opposite advice from above, I know. On the one hand, it is nice to keep them busy and involved to ease the tension in the house. However, over-extending them will have worse consequences.
Kids also need time to decompress, to relax, and to pursue passions. Just like blogging is cathartic for my soul, my daughters de-stress through playing computer games and playing outside for hours.
Uninterrupted free-time is very important, not just for deployment stress but also for your child’s development.
So don’t schedule their entire day. Let them have some time to be kids. During that time (whether it be a few hours each day or a few free days each week)- don’t regulate their use of technology. Sometimes we all need to veg out in front of the TV for a while.
Veg out with them. ;0)
Keep up communications with your spouse
Easier said that done in some situations, I understand.
But as much as possible, stay in contact with your spouse. And let the kids email, video chat, and talk on the phone too.
Don’t stress the small stuff
You are one person doing a lot of jobs. Chillax!!!
Be choose-y about what you are going to focus on in your life, your homeschool, and your relationships during the separation.
It is not going to do you any good to push structure and book learning on your kids if it will stress them out. You will have a negative impact on their love for learning.
Slow down and remember that you have time- lots of time to cover a variety of things with them. Pick a few and work on those. Then when you are finished pick a few more.
And seriously, don’t drive yourself mad by comparing your family to others. Whether they be military, homeschooling, or anything else.
Or you might end up like this:
How did you survive homeschooling through a deployment or separation?
This series was a blast to write! I love sharing, and have been hearing some great comments over on Facebook about what you guys have experienced. Thank you!