Homeschooling during a Military Deployment
My husband is my biggest supporter in homeschooling. On days when I struggle with children who don’t want to learn or follow directions, he’s a phone call away. If I can’t seem to teach a math concept in a way Bug understands, he’s able to re-teach it when he gets home. My husband is the one who listens to me late at night when I am worried about “ruining the kids for life” and reassures me that even when our school day isn’t picture perfect, that I am still doing a good job.
As a military wife, I don’t always have my husband, and my main source of encouragement, close. We are often faced with separations, some short, and some very, very long. As much as I may want to crawl in my bed and not get out, I still have to get on with life. Homeschooling during deployment, or times when you are without support is so hard, but I have found a few simple things that make it more manageable.
Be patient with yourself
There will be days when you really don’t want to teach, and would rather lie in bed all day. One day will not ruin your whole school year. Call a “sick day,” cuddle up with the kids, and spend the day watching movies, or reading good books.
In my house, without Dad’s work schedule setting the tempo, I am freed to “do school” on a Saturday if I took a mental health day earlier in the week. You can cut yourself some slack and do the same when you need to.
Plan activities outside your home
When Dad is home, I look forward to him coming home each day. I need the adult interaction and the break in my day. When he is gone, I still need that break, so I make it for myself by scheduling something outside each day. Some days we go on a play date, or grocery shopping, or to a local park. I try and spread out activities and errands so there is something scheduled almost every day.
You don’t have to go far to get out. Sunshine does the soul a world of good. Getting out for a daily walk around the block can lift everyone’s spirits first thing in the morning (double points because it can count as physical education and nature study too!).
Lighten your load
Have you been eyeing some online learning programs? There tons of good kids sites for every subject. If I can work them into my budget during deployment, I do. There are also menu planning services you can subscribe to online, and many bases have daycare and other respite childcare programs for families of deployed services members. Take advantage of them!
Let friends help you out with the kids, or keep you company as you do housework. Sometimes it’s easy to let pride get in the way of getting help, but allowing your friends and community to bless you is not a sign of weakness. If people want to help, let them.
Find a social group
I like to be surrounded by positive, supportive friends. In my area, I have a homeschool support group, the base has a spouses club, and our unit has a spouses group. There are also church groups, MOPS, preschool play groups, and so many more.
Find a group in your area! Groups are listed at the Family Resource center on base, on Meetup.com, and many other places. Ask around, and start attending. It may take you a few tries to find a group you are comfortable with, but especially in military communities, there are many groups to choose from.
Get help when you need it
If you find yourself having a hard time getting out of a deployment funk, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call a family member or friend. Contact your husband’s point of contact, or your First Sargent (they are there for families too). You can call your bases Military Family and Life Consultant (a counselor who is free and anonymous to use) or put in a call to Military OneSource to talk to one of their counselors online. You can also call your family doctor for help with depression.