This week I'd suggest that children who are at home for their education witness their mother and father dealing, with their aging parents. Through the period of time when we cared for my in-laws and my grandmother my children learned the following:
1. How to sacrifice for those they love. The summer my mother-in-law went to Florida to have lung surgery was a long one. We thought she would be coming home in about a week and instead we spent over three weeks at the hospital, where she finally passed away. During that time my grandmother, who had been living with us died. Needless to say the summer was a very busy time and I was not prepared to start lessons in August. We didn't get much of a break from school that year, as we tried to play catch up. And through it all we were dealing with the grief of losing two grandparents.
2. Responsibility - That summer the kids also learned that we have a responsibility to those we love. Yes, there are easier routes when we care for our sick loved ones, but they were home to watch Bloodhound and myself balance schedules and finances in order to complete the more challenging tasks.
3. They are not the center of the universe. - Most obviously the children learned that they had to take a back seat while we were caring for our parents. They didn't arrive home after school at 3pm and wonder what was going on. They were a part of the process and, therefore, there wasn't resentment but rather cooperation.
4. They are not Helpless - They didn't have to be an innocent bystander to the situation. They could help by filling in where Bloodhound and I couldn't carry our normal load.
I am not suggesting that these lessons couldn't be learned if the kids had been in a normal school setting. I do believe it is easier though when they are home witnessing this kind of crisis, and being asked to step up and help the family.
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