Monday, July 8, 2013

Homeschooling Children for Ministry Part Five


Homeschooling Your Children in the Midst of a Loss
Homeschool years are never free from interruptions and problems, but the loss of a loved one can cause a huge setback in your children’s schooling if you are not careful. My family experienced such a loss last year when my mother passed away after her two year battle with cancer. These following tips are some things that we did to help us get through that difficult time.
Emphasize Heaven.
Heaven is as real to my family as Paris or Rome. While we have never been to those cities, we know that they exist. In the same way, when my mother passed away, my children talked about Heaven as if she had gone there on a trip. They still draw pictures of her in Heaven and talk about being excited to go see her someday. Their belief in Heaven is so vivid and strong that it has taken much of the edge off of the pain of losing their nana. I read aloud “Heaven for Kids” by Randy Alcorn with my kids a few months before my mom passed away. This book is a Scriptural account of Heaven that is comforting to both parents and their children and it answered a lot of the questions that my children had about death.
Reassure your children that someone will always care for them.
When a close family member passes away, a child can become insecure that they may lose their parents, too. It is both unwise and unrealistic to tell your children that you or your husband would never die. A better solution is to tell them that it is unlikely that you would die, but that you have a plan for them just in case. It is vital to prepare a will and select a guardian for your children. My kids know the guardian that we have prayerfully chosen for them, and they find this information comforting. A death in the family can cause anxiety in your children, but by being prepared for the worst, you can reassure them that they will always be cared for.
Be Honest.
Tell your children the truth about the situation, but do it in increments that they can digest and manage. The information that you give them needs to be appropriate for their ages. My husband and I told our children that my mom had cancer, and described what it was. Later, we explained that God heals some people from cancer, but other people pass away. Once it became inevitable that my mom only had a couple of months left, we told our children that Nana would go to Heaven soon. They could see for themselves that she was becoming worse, so they were able to accept the information. When a death happens suddenly, the circumstances will call for a different approach. In that case, you must use pray and rely on God’s wisdom to help you to have the right words to say. There is no easy way to lose a loved one, but you can prepare your children in advance by allowing death and Heaven to be a natural topic of conversation in your home.

Keep your homeschool routine.
The different stages of grief can be easier for you and your children if you keep a routine. Knowing that you have something to get up for each morning and then going through the motions will help occupy your mind and give reassuring structure to your children. It may be too overwhelming to teach difficult school subjects, but you can make slow and steady progress on the easier ones. We lived with my mom during her last two months, and I had the kids work on their school work almost every day. She enjoyed seeing them doing school, and it gave all of us something else to think about besides cancer. If you ignore your children’s school work, then not only will you feel terrible from the grief, but the weight of getting behind can add additional stress. Accomplishing tasks is therapeutic and also necessary for your family's sense of well-being.
Plan activities for your children.
You will have days when homeschooling will just not be an option. On those days, ask your husband, friends, or family to take your children out of the house for the day. You may need a day to stay in bed and cry, or you may have unpleasant errands to take care of. I was very blessed to have friends who took my children swimming and others who had them spend the weekend at their house. I knew that they were well cared for, and I could handle difficult tasks without them around. My children still talk about how glad they were to have those special times with their friends and how it helped them not to be too overwhelmed about losing their nana.
Make special memories now.

There are no guarantees as to how much time we may have with our loved ones. Create special memories as a part of everyday life. Make lasting physical mementos as well. My friend recommended recording a special message of my mom's voice and putting it into a Build-a-Bear. So, my mom made one for each of my children, and they treasure her voice telling them how much she loves them. She also made a storybook with a recording of her reading it. Make videos of your children's grandparents and special relatives. You will find that these reminders become even more special over the years. The important thing is to make them while you still have time!



Joyful said...

All good advice. I'm sure it will be helpful in years to come for those who home school and find their way to this page. Blessings. xx

tinita said...

Great post and I enjoy reading it, Indeed it was true.

God Bless!

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