Home homeschooling Homeschooling on Accident? Don’t Fret the Interrupted Day

Homeschooling on Accident? Don’t Fret the Interrupted Day

by Kelly Crawford

I had had one of those mornings….

slow getting awake because the baby had woke several times during the night…

too many morning phone calls (I miss my caller ID!)…

spills and boo-boos galore….

a day where my “neat and tidy” routine gets ambushed a thousand ways.

Once upon a time this kind of day would make me question my whole existence as a homeschooling mother. These kinds of days have pushed many homeschoolers back into the conventional classroom.

But I have learned to stop…look closer….think…

Education is not a set of memorized facts, though facts may be a part of education.

Education is not boxed up in a classroom.

Education is whole, diverse and happens all the time.

Education is part academic and part life experience; the life part is equally important, if not more, according to Scripture. An interruption in our academic schedule does not stop our education.

My older children still did their “school work”–reading, math, grammar, etc., making good use of some travel time.


But they also learned flexibility in dealing with unexpected events in the day. They learned some background history as we listened to a Mozart CD and read the fabulous, accompanying insert about his life.

They learned that my favorite thing to do in the morning is snuggle them tightly, whispering how thankful I am for the gift of their lives.

They learned to quadruple a recipe we made to take to our volunteers at the job site.

They learned patience, tying a sister’s little shoe and helping her sound out her letters.

One that I whisked away with me on a quick errand learned how the huge conveyor belt coming down the mountain near the local cement plant brings rocks from the quarry–and why we hear dynamite blasts ever so often.

She also heard Dave Ramsey’s advice to a caller and asked me, “why does he hate credit cards?” “Well, let me explain…”

My son drank in the mechanics of my father’s newly-purchased saw mill (we’re cutting our wood for our houses from all the downed trees from the storm) when we visited the site for lunch.

One picture from our read-aloud-story sparked a 10-minute explanation about beavers.

And the thank you notes written to a friend afforded a spelling lesson or two. But more than that, it caused us to pause and let gratitude wash over our busy minds.

They learned that we fall to our knees in tears and beg our Heavenly Father to intercede on behalf of our dear friend who collapsed with brain bleeding at 24-weeks pregnant.

Education happens. An interrupted schedule isn’t cause to fret; the flexibility homeschooling provides gives me cause to rejoice as I look for ways to teach my children *wholly* among the imperfections of our day.

May God grant us eyes to see.

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Jennifer November 1, 2011 - 9:19 am

Words can’t express how I needed this reassurance this morning! Baby number 9 is now six weeks old and still we haven’t gotten in the swing of things. My eighth child turned one two days after my ninth was born and adjusting to that close spacing has been….interesting 😉 Thank you so much for the reminder that education doesn’t only come from seat work and books!!

Mrs. S November 1, 2011 - 9:34 am

Great post!
I like to remember that things don’t always run as scheduled at school either. I was a sub teacher when I was first married and sometimes even school kids watch movies ect. because the teacher can’t make it.

Word Warrior November 1, 2011 - 9:45 am

Mrs. S.

How very true. I was a teacher, and if parents had any idea how much wasted time there is in a school day, there would be much less worry.

tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations November 1, 2011 - 5:15 pm

Yesterday I found this guy who is a school teacher teaching all these songs and silly stuff used to control and entertain or teach the children in a classroom. It was the silliest thing I had ever seen. I kept thinking how silly my son would become if he had this man for his teacher. I kept thinking of how boys nowadays don’t mature but keep on being boys even when old because of lack of good manly examples. So much wasted time in school learning what???

Yesterday I also got my HSLDA magazine where the founder talks about 10 things he learned in 30 years of homeschooling his 10 children. One jumped out at me: stick to the basics: Math and Language Arts and everything else will fall into place. For a year now that is what we have been doing. I have been concentrating in doing Math and Language ARts with my children really well and in depth and because they know these 2 subjects they can learn by themselves the other subjects. Those 2 tools help them learn everything else like Science, History, ARts and anything else their hearts desire.

So important to keep our priorities straight… I am learning that each day… thank you Kelly for taking the time to encourage us. 🙂

Erin November 1, 2011 - 9:38 am

Thank you for that! I have been struggling with that same issue due to 3 weeks of banging that workers have been doing on our house. I try to remember that sometimes little lessons add up to big learning! No lesson plan needed!

Nicole November 1, 2011 - 9:42 am

I have a ‘curriculum’ but am in a tailspin trying to figure out when to ‘alter’ the curriculum when we have unexpected things come up. I love knowing that my older girls are getting the ‘structured education’, because I don’t see myself planning a curriculum for them. However, it is tough to know what to skip when I feel like it’s all ‘laid out for them and one things builds on another’. It’s hard to get out of the ‘public school agenda’ (this is our 1st year) and realize that a day of learning how to cook, doing laundry, taking care of a baby, etc is ‘learning’. I love the flexibility that homeschooling offers, I am just looking forward to the day that I can confidently say that my girls are getting a good education from me.

Thank you for this reassuring post….this has been in my thoughts continuously lately 🙂

Mrs. Santos November 1, 2011 - 12:27 pm

Wonderful Post! Thank you. What causes us to worry anyway? Fear of man most of the time. I think also that “interruptions” teach us (and the kids) how to walk after the spirit and not after the flesh – to give up our own agendas for God’s will. This is not to say that a routine doesn’t bring peace. But ultimately, who is in control of our routine? Thank you for the reminder.

Sometimes I feel alone in my convictions and then you write a post that helps me to walk more confidently. We truly need the body of Christ. Thank you for your encouragement.

Jen November 1, 2011 - 12:29 pm

Thanks – I needed to hear this today too….. it seems the days never go as planned!

Stephanie November 1, 2011 - 1:30 pm

Love this post! Thanks for the sweet reminders that home schooling is so much more than sitting around the table with our textbooks. SO MUCH MORE!

Nancy Schmidt November 1, 2011 - 1:51 pm

WoW! Even on a “chaotic” day, how did you manage to get that much done? I’m impressed, sometimes I feel that hardly a thing was accomplished other than keeping everyone “alive”. I guess that too is a lesson–in patience. “The mind of man plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

Ruth Adams November 1, 2011 - 1:52 pm

Thank you. I have been living in a very intense season in our homeschooling. My two year old is going through a very stubborn streak where much training is needed. My one year old is into everything, and I have three others who need my assistance. On top of that Daddy’s work schedule has been crazy and unpredictable. We have also had all kinds of issues with our old house that needs constant repair. Yesterday I was beating myself up over everything. Thanks for the reminder that learning is happening every moment, and sometimes the life learning is the most valuable education.

6 arrows November 1, 2011 - 3:08 pm

Thanks for this post, Kelly. Today was to be the first day of our newly-revamped schedule (inspired by ideas from the book Large Family Logistics), and we were already “off-track” by noon, LOL! A lot of good things happened this morning, though, and they were great learning experiences for all of us, including this mom, who’s still learning flexibility!

On the subjects of composer studies and read-alouds, you might also enjoy the book Spiritual Lives of the Great Composers. Each chapter includes a little vignette from the composer’s life; a history of the composer’s musical contributions and how he integrated his faith and work; a brief study on a prominent character quality the composer exhibited; and a recommended listening list of his most famous works. It’s a great book I highly recommend for not only music studies, but also character studies and so much more!

Also, Kelly, I want you to know I am praying for your friend who collapsed with brain bleeding during her pregnancy. I hope for God’s healing touch and protection for her and the baby. I’m also praying for her family at such a scary time. Let us know how they’re doing.

Bless you in all your endeavors today (interruptions and all!)

andrea November 1, 2011 - 3:29 pm

Thank you for sharing this. So refreshing! These past few weeks of school, I’ve felt burn out and we’re only 2 months in! But I think God is using it to free from expectations and turn my eyes to Him..trusting that He will bring the learning opportunities our children need. Thanking God that He’s the One I get to answer to. 🙂

Kelly L November 1, 2011 - 4:22 pm

Wonderful post, praying for your friend and her baby.

I love getting things off my check list in school, maybe a little too much. This is a great reminder for the days upcoming during the holidays!

Sarah Hyde November 1, 2011 - 7:37 pm

“Education happens. An interrupted schedule isn’t cause to fret; the flexibility homeschooling provides gives me cause to rejoice as I look for ways to teach my children *wholly* among the imperfections of our day.

May God grant us eyes to see.”

God bless you for this realization you have put forth and also the fact that we can be free from the constricting standards of public schools!

Love me some Kelly!! 😀

JSi November 2, 2011 - 7:43 am

What a wonderful (and for me, perfectly timed) post. Thank you for these words, what a fantastic reminder that opportunities for learning are everywhere. I find this especially helpful as my family enters a busy season of hosting multiple out of town guests, and traveling for the holidays.

Many prayers for your friend and her family.

Karen Holsomback November 2, 2011 - 7:54 am

Thanks so much for your post Kelly. You dont know how much it means to me. It doesnt matter how much I try, it seems like it is always something going on. Hard to have that perfect day. I am very black and white and I fault myself when things dont go as planned. Thanks again for this reminder of the “whollistic” approach to education~

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No.17 November 2, 2011 - 9:31 am

The last few weeks have been so hard for me and I have raked myself over coals over and over for not keeping up 100% with homeschooling. Things have gotten in the way and when I read this, I took a large SIGH of relief.
Thank you.

Word Warrior November 2, 2011 - 9:56 am

Thank you all for inquiring about the friend I mentioned in the post…her outcome has been miraculous. A ruptured vessel in her brain caused her to faint, convulse and sink into a coma almost immediately. (Her husband was working out of state and her children had to get help.) During brain surgery to stop the bleeding, her 24-wk old baby began to show serious signs of stress. They simultaneously performed a c-section to deliver the 1 lb. 14 oz. little girl! Mom began a rapid recovery as did the baby. Mom got to come home today (still some therapy to do, I think) and the baby will stay in NICU for a while. It has been incredible to see what the Lord has done for this family. Thank you for your concern!

6 arrows November 2, 2011 - 12:34 pm

So thankful for God’s merciful hand on your friend and her baby…thank you for the update, Kelly. We will pray for continued progress for mom and baby, and deep peace for this family as they rest in the Lord’s awesome providence!

tereza crump aka MyTreasuredCreations November 2, 2011 - 10:20 am

Praise the Lord!!!

Jennifer November 2, 2011 - 7:31 pm

Added this to my favorites )

Julie November 2, 2011 - 9:58 pm

I can’t believe the timing on this! I have seriously thought I might be doing more harm than good to have my boys at home. They are 4, 6 and 7 and I am constantly doing and cleaning and…school is hit and miss most days.
It is so hard to break out of the Public School mode. I just remember doing TONS of worksheets and book work. When we learn by life it almost seems wrong to me…does that make sense? Yet, it’s how they learn best.
So glad your friend and baby are alright!

Felicia D. Settles November 2, 2011 - 10:51 pm

I must say I had never heard of this website before. Someone sent it to me from my scche group and I’m so glad she did. Reading your story Kelly and all the other ladies made me realize I’m not the only one having failure feelings. I Thank God for all of you ladies and what you wrote. It has made me feel so much better as a homeschooling parent. Great encouraging words. Also Kelly, I’m glad to heard that your friend and her baby girl are doing better. I will pray for them to continue their recover. God bless you all.

Word Warrior November 2, 2011 - 10:55 pm

Welcome, Felicia! Thank you, and I hope you find a lot more here to encourage you–check out the archives or feel free to search for specific topics.

Adeline November 3, 2011 - 4:17 am

Beautiful.Just Beautiful.How often do we think like this?It’s a good thought that needs to be implanted in our lives.

Lora November 3, 2011 - 10:21 am

Thank you Kelly! I have had a season of unscheduled days! Being new to homeschooling – my first year was terrific. This year has brought me a new baby and much less routine than last year. I have been battling the message, “It would be so much easier if they were in school, and they would actually LEARN something!” Ha! They are getting an education…just not a conventional one! 🙂 Your post is a perfect reminder to me that there is more to homeschooling than “school at home”!

Virginia November 3, 2011 - 3:07 pm

Just WOW!!! Oh, and thank you!

Tricia November 3, 2011 - 4:57 pm

Thank you for this beautiful post. Yesterday I blogged about feeling like a zombie because my baby did not sleep at all the night before. I let the kids watch educational videos all afternoon. So, yes, I guess I did act like a substitute teacher. Thank you for sharing!

Tawny November 3, 2011 - 10:13 pm

‘I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.’
Mark Twain

Danelle November 4, 2011 - 7:01 am

God led me to a post today that I needed to read desperately. . . yours. Thank you for these words. Just yesterday I was wondering if my boys were getting all that they would in “school”. How hard it can be sometimes to go against the “norm”. As we were walking our dogs on a “break” my younger son said, “Are you sure you can’t teach us college, mom?” and I seriously almost broke down and wept on the culdesac. My.
And this morning I am led here and I am so thankful. Life is school, isn’t it?
Thank you sweet friend.

Word Warrior November 4, 2011 - 8:39 am



Kathy @ Teaching Good Things November 4, 2011 - 7:08 am

Actually, the institutionalized form of education greatly retards real education.

I’m convinced that this year, the year of The Tornado, has advanced the education of so many by leaps and bounds! Life is NOT about the classroom, even if it has a kitchen table in it, but it is about LIVING and learning! Teach it as you walk…sit…drive.

There is plenty of time for books if a person turns off the TV and stays off the phone. 🙂

KTHunter November 4, 2011 - 8:08 am

There is a difference between the “trained” person and the “educated” person, and I think you’ve nailed it here. We can get training to perform one kind of job or another, but education helps us to know WHY we do what we do or how to choose what we do. (Either that, or I’ve watched “Dead Poet’s Society” too many times 😉 ) The ability to use math, etc., in the course of life is much more important than the ability to fill out a worksheet (although those are good for getting started on a new skill). I think your family is getting an important lesson throughout the time post-storm: how to make the best out of the situation you find yourself in. That’s definitely on-the-job learning! It is a skill that is hard-won and a rare and wonderful gift.

The house is looking beautiful, and I can’t wait to see the pictures when you move back in!

I’m glad your friend is doing better, and I hope she and her baby thrive!

Word Warrior November 4, 2011 - 8:42 am

Very well-said. It reminds me of something I’ve said before; that textbooks are tools for helping us live, but modern education has turned them into gods, removing the pupil from real life to worship them…or something like that 😉

Kelly L November 6, 2011 - 8:41 pm

That reminds me of something my daughter’s pitching coach has said (whether you agree with girls in sprits or not…) She said it is harder to teach home schooled girls pitching because they always want to know “why” before they do it. Public schooled girls jut obey. I have received copious compliments about our kid, but this is one of the best….

Nikki January 25, 2021 - 2:22 pm

I know this is an old post but THANK YOU! This is my 1st year home schooling and it has been a morning. My mama soul needed this today. Now off to read a book with my little ones and count that as a lesson for today.


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