Dealing With Unexpected Events in Homeschooling

How do we deal with unexpected events while we're trying to homeschool?

Recently, Cutzi asked me:

I'd love to know how you tackle the unexpected in the school year? Kids progressing more quickly/slowly than you anticipated, different learning styles, unexpected life circumstances, etc.

For example, I realized very early on this year that the same reading curriculum I used for my son and was planning to use for my daughter was not the right choice for her. I then had to make a quick (or not so quick) change.

I also found out I was pregnant (yay!) and (surprise! - my baby was only 8 mo. old) and so many plans I had hoped to have were down the drain due to nausea. Ugh. Would you say you are flexible with your plan or do you pretty much stick to it strictly throughout the year? Or somewhere in between?

Quite honestly, there are a lot of years over the past two decades that seem like a blur. As much as I can plan, unexpected events do pop up; that's the nature of our messy lives. Since 1997 when we started homeschooling, we:


  • moved
  • had 5 more babies
  • endured 20 more months of morning sickness
  • sub-contracted the remodel of 5 bathrooms
  • discovered I was pregnant when the baby was just 5 months old
  • found our 7-week-old in a coma
  • remodeled the kitchen
  • ran over our 5-year-old with a 12-passenger van
  • tore down the staircase and rebuilt it
  • had two kidney stones
  • lost old and trained new employees
  • grieved with friends over unexpected deaths
  • discovered our 8-year-old in septic shock
  • spent 34 days in the hospital with kids
  • had abdominal surgery
  • lost a beloved pet
  • had a miscarriage
  • wrote a book for an unanticipated deadline


This year ahead proves to add more - our son's wedding on our property, building and moving to a new office building, speaking around the state, and a trip to Italy where my husband will officiate our niece's wedding.

And yet, school marches on. It has to. 

I am a big believer in using the schedule/plan/routine as a tool and not allowing it to be our taskmaster. History lessons meant for Monday and Tuesday can be bumped to Friday afternoon. Math books left unfinished in May are steadily worked at one page at a time through the summer. 


Flex. Pray. Change. Morph. Be surprised by what happens when life is going on.


Somehow, our oldest graduates with his BA in English this June at the age of 20. Our second born was accepted to the university of his choice. Throughout all the chaos, homeschooling still works.

And they grow and learn and are fashioned by the Holy Spirit. Two high school sons went off to Mexico last year and upon their return, their leader told me, "I loved watching your older kids with the children. It's so obvious they've learned to love all ages in your home. What a gift!"

It was kind of an "Aha!" moment for me. Aha! God really, truly does the work. All the while we think we're not enough, He is enough. And He who began a good work in our homes will be faithful to complete it.