Homeschooling Through Times of Grief

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Homeschooling brings about its own challenges each and every day. Whether you are a veteran homeschooler, or a relatively new homeschooler, educating our children keeps us on our toes, doesn’t it?

Even if we feel like we have a handle on all the “homeschool” things, real life has a way of happening. Homeschooling through those real-life moments can be challenging.

There are times when you might need to suspend homeschool for a bit because you and your family need to GRIEVE, but there are also times when it could be more beneficial to keep going with a predictable and familiar routine.

I have lived through several intense seasons of grief. My husband and I lost three of our parents within 4 years – and each of those losses involved extended care, hospitalizations, settling of estates, and just a lot of GRIEF. Losing my dad and my precious father-in-law during the same year my oldest went to college (which was 2020, in itself a difficult year, right?) was such a hard time for my husband and me.

I look back now and thank God for his GRACE and faithfulness during that time.

Wherever you are at, whatever your loss – I’m sorry. I pray my ideas in this post are a blessing to you.

#Homeschooling through times of grief

Grief is a natural part of life. It is good for our children to see us live faithfully through these seasons. I am abundantly thankful my children are under no illusions that life is easy or pain-free.

Life can be hard. Life can be difficult.

But God is always good.

We were promised sufferings. They were part of the program. We were even told, ‘Blessed are they that mourn,’ and I accept it. I’ve got nothing that I hadn’t bargained for. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not imagination. ~ CS Lewis, A Grief Observed

It Is Good To Have a Sense of Purpose

“This too shall pass” – look at the people in front of you.

My mother’s words to me once were, “Mary, it is good to have a sense of purpose. Never forget what a valuable purpose you have right in front of you.”

That advice got me through many difficult times. The gift of children (and of home educating those children) is not to be overlooked. Even when I have been overwhelmed, sad, and simply TIRED, I could hear my mother’s words.

“Everything will look better in the morning.” – God’s mercies are new each day.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. ~ Lamentation 3:22-23

I don’t want to diminish anyone’s grief, but so often I have relied on the fact that things WILL be better the more time progresses.

Do A Little Bit of Homeschool Each Day

Let’s get down to practicalities. How do you really continue to homeschool when you are paralyzed by grief, and maybe when your children are grieving as well?

Morning Time

If all you accomplish is a 45 minute Morning Time, you can rest knowing your children have learned something. When a parent is grieving it is traumatic for a child, and the simple act of continuing a cherished routine can be comforting.

This is also a time to simply be together, talk about how everyone is feeling, pray, and remember God’s promises.

Read Alouds

Reading aloud can cure so many ills. The simple act of sitting with your children and reading a book can be such a comfort during times of grief. Maybe you can’t school a full day, but you can snuggle on the couch in your pajamas and read a beautiful book.

Rest assured your children are learning what they need to in that moment.

Truth, Beauty & Goodness

There are things that assure us that there is still so much GOOD in the world.

Be intentional about continuing to read the Bible.

Play beautiful music in the background of your days.

Let your children create art.

Start a poetry study.

Take nature walks.

Lay outside and watch the clouds.

#Homeschooling Through Times of Grief

Grief Has a Physical Effect

I wasn’t prepared for the intense physical changes grief would bring. I found myself exhausted, getting headaches, and suffering from stomach aches.

Simply acknowledging that fact and giving myself grace to not be at my best was HUGE. A few things I did (especially after my mom died, which was so hard for me) include:

Take time alone.

For several weeks I needed to just be alone. I would go to my bedroom in the afternoon for about an hour and either take a nap or watch a mindless television show. Just this time away from the hustle and bustle of a busy house was helpful.

If you have young children and they don’t have a quiet time – consider implementing one. It is SO helpful for everyone!

Be gentle with yourself – allow for more sleep.

I am a high achiever and had to give myself grace to not be as productive as I usually was. I “lowered the bar” and found that when I did this for myself it allowed me more time to heal and grieve.

Grief also made me very tired, and I actually required more sleep to function well. The world will not end if everyone sleeps in for a few weeks, or if you take an afternoon nap.

Keep eating healthy and exercise!

I know this takes a lot of self-control (believe me, I know!), but maintaining a healthy diet can be very helpful when you are grieving.

At the very least, limit sugar and watch your portions!

Getting out for walks was very helpful for me as well. Have your children get out there with you – wearing everyone out will make for a more successful quiet time!

Do Things You Enjoy

Whatever it is that you enjoy, please try to keep doing it!

Maybe you enjoy journaling, knitting, or reading. Or maybe you enjoy thrift shopping and hunting for bargains.

Remind yourself of the good things you have in your life and take part in them. I know this is much easier said than done, but I found it to be so helpful for me.

When my dad passed away I had a hard time reading physical books. My concentration just wasn’t there. But, I could listen to audiobooks and enjoyed losing myself in a good story.

And, don’t forget – you probably enjoy LAUGHING, right?

My father passed during the pandemic, and it was several months before my family gathered to have our official memorial service for him. On the evening after his memorial, I saw that Tim Hawkins (our favorite comedian) was going to be in town. We got a group of tickets and went to see him. We all laughed until our faces hurt – it was the BEST medicine, and I think my dad would have approved!

(You can look up Tim Hawkins videos on YouTube and get some good laughs, too – it’s ok to laugh when you’re grieving.)

Share With Friends & Family

I have a friend that lost both of her parents within a few months of each other. She knows what grief is. One of the best things she did for me when I lost my dad was to ask me to share stories about my dad with her.

It was so cathartic to TALK about my loss and to remember the person I had lost with my friends.

Also, be sure to encourage your children to share about their loved one and their grief. My daughter made large photo collages for my husband and me, and while they were a huge blessing to us, I know they blessed her, too.

#Homeschooling Through Times of Grief

Other ideas along these same lines:

  • Grief Group – I know many churches have grief groups. Get involved in one!

  • Journaling – The act of writing about our grief – pouring out our hearts on paper – can be so therapeutic.

  • Sharing in your own way – I would make regular Facebook posts about my losses. It was a way for me to process and remember, and now that a couple of years have passed, I can look back on those posts and be so thankful I have those memories and thoughts in writing!

Rely on Scripture

I saved the most important for the end. I’m not sure how I would have gotten through – or will get through – grief without my Heavenly Father and the gift of His word.

A Praying Life by Paul Miller

This book changed my prayer life. It enhanced this part of my faith life when I needed it most and I am forever grateful for the friend who recommended it to me.

A Grief Observed by C.S. Lewis

This book is one I read over and over again. C.S. Lewis offers insights on faith, hope, love, and loss – in a raw, honest style.

Make a Scripture Ring

Make a Scripture Ring

I give scripture rings to anyone I know going through intense grief. Whenever my thoughts started to stray into dangerous territory, I captured them by pulling out my scripture ring and filling my mind and heart with God’s word.

I made this scripture ring for my mom when she was battling cancer. When she passed, my dad cherished it, and when my dad passed it came back to me and I use it to this day.

Verses to include in a scripture ring:

  • John 16:22

  • 2 Corinthians 4:16

  • 2 Timothy 1:7

  • Lamentations 3:22-23

  • Psalm 118:5

  • Philippians 4:6-7

  • Exodus 14:14

  • Philippians 4:13

  • Psalm 34:19

  • Matthew 11:28-29

  • Isaiah 26:4

  • Psalm 116:1-2

  • Psalm 138:3

  • Matthew 6:8

  • Psalm 30:5

  • Jeremiah 29:11

  • Ecclesiastes 3:1

  • Philippians 1:6

  • Psalm 91:1

(You can make your own scripture ring or you can search on Etsy and find several beautiful options to purchase.)

Do you have helpful tips for homeschooling through seasons of grief?

Share them in the comments below.

#Homeschooling Through Times of Grief

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