Home School Life Journal

Home School Life Journal ........... painting by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

How to Homeschool Through Difficult Times and Our Homeschool Weekly Report, May 31-June 6, week 30

There are times in which we as homeschoolers go through in which, for one reason or another, we can't homeschool the way we want to. Sometimes it is moving into a new house that gets in the way. Sometimes it is a chronic illness. Sometimes it is not a extended period of time, but days instead of weeks. Either way, it is important to realize that you can homeschool through difficult times.

Steven working on the front porch.

If you get out of the typical schooling mind-set and realize that you can and should educate your children year round. I don't mean a year around book-learning-at-the-table type learning but that you can cultivate beneficial learning all day, every day.
I have realized through my years of homeschooling that it doesn't matter what you teach or how much of any particular subject you teach, but that the most important thing to teach is how to teach yourself.
Part of that, of course, is learning the basics of reading, writing and mathematics, but it is much more than that. It is how to find out what you want to learn. How to think.
What are the steps to this?
Fill their lives full of good books, good toys, good games and as little television as possible. Fill their lives with constructive things to do, handicrafts and pastimes of simpler days, activities and things that inspire creativity and thinking.
Make sure they have plenty of free time to be able to explore their own interests and to learn how to amuse and teach themselves. If you schedule each hour of their day with activities, they never learn these skills.
 The garden is coming along.
All of these things are good background things to do to prepare for difficult times, but what do you do when the difficult times come?
Remember to stick to the basics, (reading, writing and mathematics) and they will explore the other things on their own.
If you can, have other family members teach some. Have Dad pitch in, or an older sibling. A little from everybody, like the proverbial stone soup, makes a complete program. The exposure to alternate teaching styles is another bonus.
Blogging sometimes makes us feel that if our school is not photo-quality, then school is not getting accomplished. That is not true. You do not have to do an exciting, hands-on, photogenic activity to do schoolwork.
Remember that you don’t have to sit at a table to do schoolwork.
Read together in your bed, if that’s where you spend most of your time. (That is where we do a lot of our reading even when I’m well.) Play educational board games. Do verbal games such as reciting passages or times tables.
But most importantly, do not worry, they are learning. All the time. Every day.
So for my homeschool weekly report, I don't have anything to show you, because we only...
read books of all types, fiction and non-fiction. We learned, among other topics, about horseshoe crabs, the cities and towns of Maryland, the American presidents, and Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt in particular, the Wild West. We have been reading works of fiction such as The Secret Garden, Crab Moon, One False Note.
watched videos on the state of Delaware and on the Twentieth Century.
tended the gardens, from watering to weeding.
had many, many discussions about all sorts of topics, from how salt lowers the freezing point to the purpose of mosquitoes.
visited a Mexican market and talked to the owner about how to prepare cactus to eat. (We will be going back again, so I will take pictures then.)
learned about beetles after finding one in the backyard and identified leaves found on a walk.
played at the beach.
played WWII Monopoly, Mahjong, Solitaire, Mancala and with a US map puzzle.
looked at the globe.
made some preliminary plans for James' half-birthday carnival and for Camp Bergenholtz.
made new and old favorites recipes.
made homemade sorbet and ice cream including some with fresh strawberries.
made Watermelon Rind pickles.

What learning took place at your house this week?
I just included this for fun. We see it on our way to and from radiation treatment every morning, and I loved it, so I thought I would share it with you.

Join me at...


  1. I am continuing to pray for you through these treatments and all the hard times... and for your whole family.

    I love hearing your updates and seeing how you can try to see the good in everything. We are thinking of you!

  2. This was a beautiful post, friend! I have been in a huge rut. I needed your words.

    I think I missed something in my absence! Who is having radiation???

  3. I love that last picture too. I should send it to my sister-in-law, her brother is a fire fighter.

    As to the subject of your post, I love it. It's so very very true, learning is not just hands on activities or writing down from books. It's life!

  4. I love that sign by the roadside, Phyllis! Thank you for sharing your insights and wisdom this week. A lot of learning indeed takes place through discussions and just thinking (either together or on one's own), which cannot be quantified on paper as such. I have enjoyed this post very much. :-)

  5. You know Phyllis, even if you took weeks off completely during this tricky time, your family would still have covered and done more work than the average home school family over the year. You just need to look back on all your wrap ups and it is clear for anyone to see.

  6. You might become an unschooler, yet :) This is a beautiful post. No one would ever doubt that your children are being educated.

  7. Phyllis I LOVE this post. I absolutely agree 100% and you stated it so eloquently. Favorite line, "The most important thing to teach is how to teach yourself" Love it! Your kids have got to be learning tons. You do more together than anyone I have ever read. I do hope if you aren't feeling well you will continue feeling better and better. You are in my prayers every day. Hugs to you.

  8. Your homeschool looks and sounds wonderful. I'm looking forward to learning more about eating cacti!

  9. I love that sign at the end. They are heroes!

  10. That's all you accomplished this week, Phyllis? WOW!!!! I love your front porch! Wish I could come over and set a spell!

  11. I love your front porch!! It is so inviting, making me want to climb up, sit down, and visit for a spell! Great post, too! There was a period where I had three horrible school years...in a row. Major life changes (and losses) before I had one good one. I almost gave up home schooling that third bad year but knew I needed to give time a chance. I took a well-deserved summer break and was geared up to move on with home schooling. I'm glad I didn't over react but "under react" instead.

  12. What you wrote here is so important! I needed to hear it even though I know and preach it myself. Praying for you.
    Blessings, dawn

  13. You have reminded us that learning is a lifestyle. Thank you! Well said!
    Most of our school days are not photo-worthy, and I have felt that burden of thinking it meant our day was wasted. Not so.
    Thank you for sharing with us today, and thank you for the pic of your beautiful front porch!

  14. Wow - only??? I hope difficult times will pass, and know that you are an inspiration to many.


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