When I hear or see the word “crisis,” I think of something really bad.
What is a crisis?
- a time of intense difficulty or danger.
- a time when a difficult or important decision must be made.
We are a military family and my husband has deployed and we PCS (move to a new location) every 2-4 years and that often calls for daily living in crisis-mode.
If I really think about it?
We’ve been in crisis-mode for the duration of our marriage.
All of life’s stressful events – marriage, the sudden deaths of both Aaron’s parents, births of babies, moving across the country a few times, deployment…those are crises and somewhat unusual for most people to experience in their lives – and seldom during the same year.
I don’t know any other way other than to keep on keepin’ on.
I dive into work and homeschool and cleaning and doing daily life.
We don’t have to follow a traditional August-June school year in our homeschool and sometimes, we PCS well in the fall, after most schools have returned to their regular routines. We generally homeschool year-round to give us more freedom in our schedules, especially during PCS years.
During the purging, organizing, packing, loading, moving, unloading, unpacking, organizing, and set-up that accompanies all the moving, we only do the barest schooling necessities. I only keep school items that can fit in each child’s backpack since we don’t have much room in planes or the van when we travel from our old home to a new one. Check out our overseas PCS while homeschooling.
I think there are many opportunities for life school along the way on these adventures.
When we left Georgia for Texas, Elizabeth was only 4 (isn’t she cute!?). We had such great fun exploring the rest stop museums and learning along the way, seeing Gulf Coast beaches and then desert…and we had no intention of homeschooling then!
When we left Texas for Hawaii, Liz was almost 7; Tori was 2, and Katie was a newborn. We brought some light learning toys with us on the long plane ride and left the heavy school books for the packers. I regret that, since it took a long time for our possessions to arrive in Hawaii by boat. We didn’t receive them until well after all the homeschool co-ops began their “school year.” We were still so new to the whole homeschooling world. It was such fun being in such an exotic new place. We did lots of new things and learned a lot about ourselves as a family during that tour.
When we left Hawaii for Utah, Liz was almost 10; Tori was 4; Kate was 3, and Alex was a newborn. The girls all had backpacks filled to the brim with workbooks, school things, snacks, and fun manipulatives to spend quiet activity time on the super long plane ride. It took a few days to recover from the jet lag and receive our van from the boat. Aaron flew to the west coast to drive it home. And this is the first location where we had any real seasons. That was a learning experience!
Then he deployed only a few months later.
It was hard saying goodbye.
My first winter in my entire life, alone with four kids in a strange state, thousands of miles from any family!
Again, we used this as a learning experience. Geography and history about the region where my husband lived in the desert for 7 months. Politics that led up to the conflicts. Learning about our new state too.
The kids and I all learned to rely on each other.
My girls helped so much with their baby brother if I didn’t feel well. Liz really stepped up and started being so responsible with everything. Thankfully, we didn’t have too many problems. We experienced some illness and I handled it, taking Alex to the ER for a breathing treatment when he looked rather bluish around his lips one evening. We all pulled together and got Chick-Fil-A for dinner!
Thankfully, there were no injuries. There was no car trouble!
The kids and I did fine. We took it one day at a time. The home dynamics were so different without Aaron here. I ran this place like clockwork. We were scheduled to a fault, but I knew that I wouldn’t be able to “hand them off” if I got too tired or frustrated, so I made sure I was super proactive about meal planning, cleaning, school, everything.
I’m very self-reliant, confident, and capable. I was a single mom before I met Aaron. I’m capable and intelligent. I can be a little too controlling.
And I realize that I can be a little lazy when my husband is home!
Homecoming was great. Everything was on time.
I had no help from Aaron’s co-workers or any of the military spouses or our church. I guess no one really understood that I was alone with 4 kids 24/7 for 7+ months – homeschooling, cooking, cleaning, functioning – with no breaks and no help. The only offers of help were people who wanted to babysit my kids so I could go out. I had nowhere to go and no one to go with, so that was pointless for me. And the commander’s wife came and shoveled snow in my driveway. That was weird and uncomfortable for me and I didn’t need her to do that.
I really just wanted someone to take the kids for an hour maybe once a month to get them ice cream or go to a playground to give me a little break at home.
As an introvert, it’s hard for me to ask for help when and if I need it.
My parents visited in mid-May and that was a disaster. I had to entertain them and we have quite a strained relationship. The kids don’t know them and were constantly sent to the basement to quietly play. The kids’ schedule got way off and they became hungry, tired, and irritable. My parents got mad and left early, telling me I’m a horrible mother.
When our basement FLOODED on Memorial Day morning, I learned what true friends we had in our neighbors. I Skyped with my husband, feeling so helpless and frustrated that I could only keep the kids out of the way…while the men of my neighborhood put their fishing trips on hold and rushed over to clear out our basement (it’s our school space!) and place everything in the garage and then they removed the carpet to dry. They sterilized the basement that day.
It was over a month before everything was back to normal. We sifted through the garage for items we needed to complete our lessons. Everything was a mess and we did the best we could, completing our schooling in the kitchen and living room and even on the deck since it was getting warmer into late spring. And it encouraged me to simplify our schooling and store everything well in plastic tubs for the future!
We had to be flexible.
I know many people have horror stories of their spouse’s deployments – illness, injury, and other major crises that I cannot imagine. We were really blessed to only get a flooded basement.
Click to see how others homeschool in a crisis!