How to recover from Disturbed Schooling ~ Spot, Skip, Speed

How’s this for disturbances that have prevented our normal schooling …


Lambing season in bitter winter storms!

My laptop’s hard drive crashed!

During lamb season we often have weak lambs, orphans or a rejected twin lamb in our house for warmth, feeding and TLC.  My kids love feeding and cuddling these “hanslams” and take time with feeds …  When our special powdered milk for our lambs ran out, we literally forded flooded rivers to get to town for more.

And we urgently needed to collect my eldest daughter’s Grade 10 June exams papers, so that was another day off schedule.

Then we took time off school to help Farmer Dad ear-tag moms and their lambs and medicate sheep.  My younger kids are hands-on with injections, medications, catching and holding lambs, assisting with loading the ear tag machine, identifying and linking mother ewes and their lambs for our record keeping.   And although this all is lifestyle and life lessons, our school work did fall behind.

After a particularly freezing cold night of rains and winds, my help was needed in the sheep kraal to clear out wet muck and strengthen roofing.  Another day off school …

And to crown it all, my laptop crashed.  It is still in for repairs.  I am grateful for Dropbox and my fairly recent back-ups, and so I hope I will be back on track with my homeschooling soon.  But my current internet bookmarks for our Famous Impressionist Artist and Composer studies lessons that I was working on are gone and I had to skip those lessons.

Normally, I would be stressed about catching up.  But I have a few tricks up my sleeves …  We can:





  • Spend a few days focusing only on the important subjects and projects.
  • Stick to one important subject for the day and catch up everything; read, discuss, watch videos, do the lapbook and notebook pages, complete a fun hands-on activity.
  • Do a “Science Geek Week” and read, experiment, hands-on and write notebook pages and reports.  We once did a whole term of science like this and had a blast!
  • Go Geo Glad” and cover your geography with maps, reviews, quizzes, notebook pages, fieldwork and outings.
  • Make it a “Fine Fine Arts Week” and dress up, listen to classic music from a famous composer, watch a Classic movie or a Shakespeare play, go to the theatre a enjoy a live show (ooh, how I miss this!),  read poetry, have high tea, sketch, paint, study a Famous Artist’s work …


  • Skip the core subjects (History, Geography, Science) and push through all the seat work/ basic discipline subjects.  This is helpful when your kids are insecure/ tearful and stressed about maths and spelling and reading.
  • Play Maths games and Spelling  City games instead of normal lessons or …
  • Skip all the seat work and only do only core subjects till you have covered everything on your schedule.


  • Make basic lessons short and sweet.  Put a timer on and stop when the bell goes.  Sometimes this helps stop dwaddling!
  • Give the kids a time limit to write and let them orally narrate the rest.
  • Do a quick finger puppet narration instead of a lengthy written narration.
  • Play a 1 minute “Simon Says” and get them focused!  Then quickly sit down for the next lesson!
  • Complete a timeline for the section – it is a great review or revision trick!  I do this often when lessons have dragged and we can’t seem to finish things off.  Play timeline games and give the kids the figures/ pictures and let them put them in order.  I recently put up my old “around the room” wall timeline.  It made a huge impact seeing everything in perspective.

And to justify myself, here are some basic truths about education I learnt when I was a teacher:

  1. You always have good days and bad days in a week.
  2. You tend to have 2 good days per week, where you can literally do a week’s worth of work.
  3. Bad days make the whole week seem to wobble.
  4. Good days give everyone confidence!
  5. It is easier to keep going than to stop and restart schooling.
  6. Restarting always feels like bad days.
  7. It takes a few weeks to get into a flow.
  8. We seldom had uninterrupted weeks.
  9. Interruptions were silly administrative issues.
  10. Interruptions always happened every week.
  11. When there has been interruptions, children need revision.

So, don’t fret when the inevitable happens and school days are disrupted, just Spot, Skip or Speed on through a week or 2 till you are back on track.

And if all else fails —

Go sit, relax and read a good book together!



This post features on the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers where South African home schoolers share experiences, ideas, philosophies and much more.  You can join the carnival too by heading to the South African Carnival of Homeschool Bloggers sign up page.   We hope you enjoy the carnival as much as we have!

22 thoughts on “How to recover from Disturbed Schooling ~ Spot, Skip, Speed

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  6. Thanks for sharing this post! It does help to realize that interruptions are Going to happen. Then we can take them in stride and also know they will not last forever.


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  10. Nadene – I’m so glad to have come across your blog via the carnival 🙂 Very exciting! This post is just so good to read. I think all homeschoolers should post it up near their home schooling spot! 🙂 Just to remind themselves on those yucky days when everyone is falling apart! 🙂 Very inspiring!


    • @Kendra, so much is similar in South Africa and Australia! Good to know “we’re not alone”! Courage!
      @Angelique, I love your Dory quote – find myself singing that number to myself quite often! Groete van die Klein Karoo!
      @Jimmie, our lambs are totally cute when they are young and then they become funny, bouncy, jumpy little friends, chasing each other and head-butting each other – quite like little children!
      @Grace’n’Chaos, hope you can catch up in a fun way before Fall! 🙂
      @Sara, thanks!
      @Shona, I love your PS. Prayer and short time in the Word together before school is so important!


  11. Oh my goodness, how I needed to read this…It felt to me as though I was never going to have a ‘normal’ week…But I see now that there is no such thing. We also live on a farm and have frequent house-guests, or fires that need fighting or unexpected extra-mural hiccups or a week of sick kids followed by a week of sick mommy. I have been homeschooling for five years now, and have finally realised the truth of everything you’ve just posted, or, as Dory (on Nemo) would say “just keep swimming”. Thanks for a very encouraging post! Groete from the Bosveld!


  12. Those lambs…. I want one. They are the most adorable animals.
    Your advice is great. We have to make adjustments when life destroys the scheduled plans. There’s nothing wrong with it. That is one of the beauties of homeschooling.


  13. Nadene, thanks for sharing your 3 ‘s’ system this helps not feeling overwhemed. They put things in perspective, especially these summer months when you feel you didn’t get everything done and don’t want to start the fall term work until you’ve got a clean slate again.


  14. It’s so good to hear it’s not just us that experience weeks like this! I long to have a week without interruptions!.
    I love your ideas for how to keep going – and most of all, I just love the encouragement of knowing that I’m not alone.
    God bless,
    ps. just thought of something that helps keep us on track… when we start our little ‘school’s begun’ routine (prayer, song and concentration game), the girls fall into the groove much easier than if I try and skip it, simply so that we can get the ‘real’ work done.


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