Homeschool 101: Moving while homeschooling

Moving isn’t always pleasant.

I’ve done variations of major and minor moves, on average, of twice a year since I moved out of my parents’ home. I have moved with the clothes in a suitcase, and I’ve downsized a 4 bedroom house with 5 children. Moving is not the most fun, though there are decluttering and cleaning benefits. Moving while homeschooling does add an extra challenge to the whole procedure.

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Homeschooling makes it easier to move, in one sense.

There’s no need to wait for a school break, and you don’t have the extra hassle of transferring schools. Your kids won’t have to adjust to a new school schedule, and possibly risk missing out on concepts or repeating things they already did. Moving while homeschooling can make the transitions easier for your children.

However, homeschooling while moving can add extra work.

There are extra books, possibly furniture, and extra office and school supplies that need to be packed up and moved. There is less time to pack, because of still needing to at least supervise, if not teach, the little ones underfoot. The upheaval of moving can cause havoc on your homeschooling schedule and daily routines.

There are some things you can do to make the whole process easier.

All it takes is a little bit of proactive planning, and some temporary adjustments to your schooling methods, and you may find that you can occupy the children while educating them at the same time — freeing you up to do other things.

  1. Consider a reduced workload.

    What activities, topics, or subjects can be suspended for the duration of the move?  If you focus on the essentials of reading, writing and ‘rithmatic, all those art supplies, science experiment tools and history books can be packed up for the time being.

  2. Put the essentials aside.

    Get a plastic tub or crate to put the essential books, papers and school supplies in, and pack up the rest. That tub can be moved around from room to room as you need it, and everything stays in one place. It even will help when it comes time for unpacking, because all the immediately necessary items to pick up homeschooling again are together. That means you can start homeschooling again, even before the homeschool supplies are unpacked.

  3. Take advantage of natural opportunities.

    Shoo the kids outside with magnifying glasses and nets, and ask them to sketch bugs. Not only are they doing science and physical education, but they’re out of the way while you pack up their bedrooms. Give them pencils and paper, and ask them to plan our their new rooms with furniture placement. They learn geometry, and while they’re occupied (and feel involved in moving), you can work on cleaning out the freezer. Do a read aloud, and rest your feet and back, while the kids get the benefit of your attention and exposure to good (or bad?) literature. You can work in homeschooling to the benefit of the moving, not in spite of it.

  4. Involve your children in hands-on moving tasks.

    Need to repaint the window trim before selling the house? Get your 7 and 8 year olds involved. Even the smallest hands can put clothes in a bin or a bag while you’re packing. The old saying is true: many hands make light work. Your children learn the life skills of packing, cleaning, repair and maintenance of a home, while helping you do the work required to move.

  5. Use homeschooling to create a sense of stability.

    Moving is chaotic, unsettling and full of a ton of changes. By continuing to spend time every day doing the same lessons you were doing before you started the process of packing and unpacking, your children will have a sense of familiarity, despite the unfamiliar circumstances. You can give them a “home”, even when their physical home is literally being moved. Homeschooling can be a continual routine.  That will let everyone relax and breathe, because you’ll know exactly what this looks like, when everything else is new.

Homeschooling while moving can seem impossible.

Homeschooling is challenging at times.  Moving is also a difficult time, even under good circumstances. Combining the two can seem impossible, but it doesn’t have to be. Let homeschooling be a aid to moving, with it’s flexibility, having extra hands around to help, and the continuity it can provide while your family is in transition. Homeschooling while moving is not only doable, but can actually be helpful to the whole process.

Happy homeschooling!

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