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It’s been quite the school year, there’s no question about that. We moved across the country, we hung out for five months with family, did school in their basement, house shopped on the weekend, then moved again to another state.  There were many times this year that I questioned everything, but now, looking back, I realize that it’s all ok. Even in the craziest of school years, there’s been lessons learned.

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Seven things I learned this school year...on a really "off" year.

Kids will learn, no matter what. 

It’s like a train you can’t stop.  We can’t stop–and we won’t stop. That’s right, they learn no matter what.  When we moved to Minnesota at the beginning of April, school took an immediate halt.  We didn’t do our regular school for a good three weeks.  I started to worry about this, as I had only planned on taking a week off and I was feeling like we were slipping farther and farther behind.  But some things happened that I didn’t see coming.  They didn’t learn new math concepts or finish memorizing the prepositions, but they did learn other things.

Sophia bought a rubber band set and made dozens and dozens of different designs of bracelets, necklaces, and rings.

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The boys started baseball and learned new things like how to bunt, some of the fine print rules of the game, and how to slide headfirst.

Jack got sucked into the world of Harry Potter and all the kids memorized our new address.

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It didn’t look like I expected, but they still learned on their own anyway.  You can’t stop it, kids’ brains are like little sponges.  I’ve started setting things around the house more and more that they can pick up and read or explore.

Life learning counts–big time.

When you move, there’s a WHOLE lot of life learning going on.  Measuring the walls for fitting in the furniture, learning how to use new tools, calculating prices for plumbers and electricians, figuring out the area of the floor for new carpeting, and above all else, how to place a call to order pizza.  This is what I like to call: LIFE LEARNING.

This is real! And my kids got so much of this type of learning this spring.  It’s not “regular school,” or checking off boxes in a lesson planner, but it’s really important and so great for your kids to experience.  I have seen my kids grow just in the last few months from what we’ve done together.

My kids have learned things like: how to use a pressure washer, how to properly pack for a move, how to hop into a new group of kids and play a sport with them, how to adjust to different time zones/ living arrangements/ climates, how to make certain meals, how to do new chores, new addresses, how to order a pizza, and so much more.

Life learning counts.  We may not finish this year with all our math lessons completed, but there are so many other invisible boxes checked off that we’re just going to roll with it.  It’s life.  They’ve learned a lot about it this year.

Reading aloud with your kids goes a very long way. 

There were times this school year where I could do nothing else but read to my kids.  That is it.  I was too exhausted, drained, and emotionally overwhelmed to do anything else.  But let me tell you, we read A LOT this year.  We read books like The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Heidi, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory…just to name some of them.

Even though we were lacking in some other areas of school, we excelled in this one and I’m going to take what I get!  I wouldn’t recommend it for all the time, but sometimes, when we have nothing else in us–just read.  It goes a long way.

It’s quiet.
They’re attentive.
They’re being swept away to another land.
Their minds are growing and expanding.
They’re learning new vocabulary and dialect.
Reading is good.

Our homeschool space matters.

Moving around so much this year, we had our homeschool spaces in several different areas…we started out with a great little corner space of our family room in NC.  We then moved to South Dakota and tried to do school around the dining room table–that didn’t work so well–way too many distractions.  Then we moved to the basement of my aunt’s house and that worked much better.  Then we moved to our new house–and it has a whole school room! I realize this is what works best for us.  We can’t really do school here, there, and everywhere.  My kids just are too distractible.  I realize that not everyone has an extra room for this, but even find a corner of your family room, your office–something that is just for school.

Less is more.  Almost always.

Since we moving into our new home in April, we have been doing the bare-essentials in school.  Currently, our days look like this:
-Idiom of the day
-Math lesson
-Spelling practice
-Grammar lesson
-Minnesota Study

It’s been going really well.  I feel like focusing on just a few things each day has made us more thorough in the things we are doing.  Now, I am excited for a little more next year–like fun history units and typing and cursive and foreign language, but for now–this is perfect.  Less=More.

We need routine more than I knew before.

I’ve always known this, but now even more.  Moving is hard and your routine kicks totally kicked out the window.  But I’m slowly regaining it back, trying to get my feet under me.  My kids thrive on a regular bedtime and a regular wake time.  Regular school time, play time, meal time is essential for them too.  It’s not a rigid schedule I’m searching for, but just a flowing one that makes sense for my kids–and me.  We’re still not there yet, and this time of year doesn’t comply very much with regular or routine with all it’s activities and warmer weather, but I’m working on it–bit by bit.

I mean a lot to this family.

Really, I do.
We mothers are the ones who keep this ship afloat.  I mean, I love my husband and he’s amazing at his job and is successful at everything he touches, but that’s just it–he’s out doing his thing!  I am the person back on the ship–keeping it afloat.  I love this–this is the job I signed up for, the job I was made for, and the job I love.

But sometimes I forget.

This school year, I have lost a little bit of myself.  I’ve let some things go that I never should have–mostly taking care of myself.  I’ve been so busy with working on my business, packing boxes, traveling five hours every weekend for weeks on end from South Dakota to Minneapolis trying to find a house, packing boxes again to move to Minneapolis, and unpacking and setting up a home–these have all taken a toll on me.

Everyone is fed and cared for, the house is pretty clean, and the kids are (fairly) educated 😉  But then there’s the one who’s supposed to hold it all together and keep things running smoothly, who is not getting enough sleep, not eating regular meals, and not taking very good care of herself at all.  I am starting to see how that really affects everything else in the household so much.  It’s not a good thing.

I’m trying.  I’m working on weekly goals and trying to get things together, but I’m not there yet.  A lot of it is just being too exhausted to have the self-discipline to get things back on track.  But I know it will come.  And I know how important my own self-care is to this family.  It really does matter.  I matter.

So these are 7 lessons of many I’ve learned this year.  We are winding down our school year.  Only two weeks left now.  I’d say I wished it had been a better, more thorough year of learning, but in a way, this was a great year.  There were many ups and downs and many unchecked boxes, but here we are almost on the other side of it.  We will have these school years, these seasons of more craziness than normal.  Next school year will look different…they all do.  For now though, I’m taking this summer to focus on little things–like sleep, a few new things to add into our mix of curriculum, and getting myself into a healthy routine.  That is all.  OH, and fun…we’re planning on lots of fun this summer.

Cheers to that!




  1. How refreshing to read this! Thank you for this post. There will be difficult times where learning is still going on – such a good reminder. By simply just reading during these times we are doing fantastic. Wishing us all more self-care and grace. 🙂

  2. Very encouraging about to start the school year in the middle of a move and this was so helpful!!

  3. What a big move(s) you did this year. I think your thoughts are right on target. We have certainly have years like yours over the last 16 years of homeschooling.
    Blessings, Dawn

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