by Katie Julius

You’ve spent all summer researching your curriculum, planning, praying. The day has finally arrived. You take your excited kids out to the porch or the yard for the obligatory “First Day” photos. Maybe you have a cute sign you’ve made or purchased that they each hold as they give you a toothy grin. The smell of new books and school supplies fills your home.

Then it happens. Maybe it’s in the first five minutes. Maybe it’s a few days later. Maybe a few weeks later. If you have been homeschooling for more than a day, you’ve experienced it. Your plans are out the window. The toddler spilled milk all over the kitchen table on your brand new planner. The preteen is struggling with big emotions fueled by changing hormones, easily frustrated with a math problem. The hands-on lesson you thoughtfully planned to teach the kids about mummification in Ancient Egypt just grosses out everyone. The dog has brought you a very special “starting school present” from the yard. The kitchen sink pipe bursts, flooding your main living area. The painters’ machines are loud and fumes a bit too nauseous to be inside, despite the week-long heat wave.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had days or weeks or even months like this. Nothing seems to go according to plan. So, what’s a homeschool mama (or dad) to do? After all, we do have a responsibility to be educating our kids.


As a Type A, organized, planner mom who creates detailed itineraries in a folder for family trips,  flexibility does not come naturally for me at all. But over the years, I’ve learned that being flexible is essential. If I don’t get through all five lessons I planned this week, it’s okay. Whatever came up was likely more important and often creates opportunities for non-book learning – character building, life skills, etc. Of course, the “book learning” is important and can’t be completely neglected. However, being flexible with what that looks like and when it happens can take some of the pressure off so you can focus on other things. 


I have a friend who shares about her family’s travels. They have developed a saying when things go wrong – it’s just “part of the adventure.” The same can be true of homeschooling. Someday you and your kids will look back and laugh or fondly remember how you dealt with the adversity that you faced in any of those situations I described earlier. It will become a part of your great homeschooling adventure!


Sometimes we need a change of scenery when our plans go sideways. Whether it’s going outside in the backyard on a blanket with your schoolbooks, heading out to the local children’s museum, or stopping for a special frozen treat, changing up your surroundings and routine can help you and your kids cope with everything that seems to be going awry.


As believers, this should be the first thing we do. So often, though, it’s the last (or it doesn’t even make the list). In the oft quoted Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV), it says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.” While trusting God doesn’t mean that all your problems will go away, it does allow us the freedom to know that He is the One in control and we can give Him all our worries and struggles. Our strength to get through the day when our best laid plans fail is in Him alo