Grief is not something that is widely talked about in the homeschooling community.
We all try to come across as these amazingly strong supermoms. I think we are just so tired of being scrutinized by the world so we are afraid to show an ounce of weakness for fear that people will say we aren’t fit to homeschool our children. Well, I call BS, I think it is time that we show our vulnerability. The world needs to see that we are human too, and grief is a part of life. We need to let our friends know that we aren’t ok, without fear of being judged by others. We all crave that deep connection and being vulnerable with those around us will open others up to sharing that part of themselves with us as well.
Losing a loved one is one of the most difficult periods in a someone’s life. It really changes you down to your core. I lost both of my parents within 18 months of each other, both were only 53 years old. I can still vividly remember breaking down on the bathroom floor in gut-wrenching sobs that seemed to drain everything out of me. For about a year I would cry every evening while cooking dinner because the act of cooking reminded me of my Dad, who was a chef. I tried to hide my grief from my children the best I could because they were still so young, but I know to some degree they knew their mom was different, a sadder version of herself. Kids are much more intuitive than we give them credit for. I don’t know where I would be without their hugs on some of those extra tough days. It was still hard to explain why Mommy was crying on Mothers day when they gave me my coffee and cards in bed. Grief is crazy that way, coming in waves that can be so strong you feel like you’re drowning at the most inconvenient of times.
Throughout my periods of grief, I dove fully and wholeheartedly into our homeschool. Watching those lightbulb moments with my kids filled me with so much joy that in those moments I would forget that I was grieving. I think for that time I almost became too dependant on making myself busy with our homeschool work and activities so my mind wouldn’t be idle. I don’t recommend that, I think in hindsight doing that was self-preservation but I didn’t really give myself enough time or space to truly grieve. Maybe I should not have taken on quite as much as I did, but at the time no one could tell me otherwise.
My advice for homeschooling through grief is to just give yourself grace and know that if you need time to heal you should take that time.
It is ok to slow down your homeschool for a season to focus on your emotional healing. Let audiobooks be your friend, take quiet trips to the library and let the kids pick books, let them play Minecraft or tablet games, enjoy unstructured time at the park. They will be learning all on their own and you can play catch up when you are physically and emotionally ready. Believe it or not, your children will be soaking up knowledge during this time without you planning structured activities or lessons. You need to put on your own oxygen mask before helping others and that is what you’re doing for yourself, taking the time and space that you need to heal. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. People are there who want to help but often don’t know how to give you what you need. You may be able to set up a time where you can drop your kids off at a friends house so you can have some quiet time. If you feel you need to put your kids in a school so you can take time for yourself don’t feel guilty about that either, I had to do just that a few years ago.
Grief never fully leaves us.
Over time the bathroom sobs turn into misty eyes and we learn how to live with this weight on our hearts. We learn to never take the beautiful gift of life for granted because it is a blessing. We celebrate those who we lost by carrying on their stories with our children in hope that they will pass them on to their children one day and we know their memory will never fully be gone. We grow into stronger versions of ourselves and show that vulnerability does not equal weakness. We take our grief and use it to propel ourselves into living our fullest life. Home education is not only about teaching our children how to read and do math, it’s about teaching our children how to navigate the emotional rollercoaster that is life and come out of it happy and healthy adults that can navigate our world. At some point, they will face grief and they can remember how their mom showed true strength by continuing to homeschool even through pain and heartache.