How to Move From Survival Mode to Mission Controlled

Here’s the last post in my series Homeschool Reality Check. You don’t want to miss the wonderful advice from one of my amazing blogging buddies.


On April 11,1970, the Apollo 13 crew blasted into space. They expected to be the the third crew to walk on the moon, but about 56 hours into the flight Jack Swigert stated, “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” (And no, that isn’t a mistake. In the movie the quote was changed just a bit.)


Within seconds the mission changed. Now they hoped to survive.


Dear Mom, have you ever felt like that in your personal homeschooling journey? You launch out with expectations of an exciting adventure, but then you find yourself in survival mode? I want to encourage you, it doesn’t have to stay that way.


From Survival Mode to Mission Controlled

1.Understand your mission.


Why did you choose to homeschool? Have you lost site of your reasons? Or were they not very good ones in the first place, at least not the kind that will keep you going for the long-haul?

If you want to persevere even when things are tough, you must have a compelling why.


NASA had a specific mission for Apollo 13. According to, Apollo 13 was to land in the Fra Mauro area of the moon—that was what they were aiming for. However the explosion forced them to make a new plan.


“Apollo 13 was to be the third lunar landing attempt, but the mission was aborted after rupture of the service module oxygen tank. Still, it was classified as a ‘successful failure’ because of the experience gained in rescuing the crew.”


If you have started to think, we are failing at this homeschooling thing, then come up with a new mission as a family. Let’s face it, homeschool success takes the whole family working together to achieve a goal. For Apollo 13 to return safely to earth, both crew and Mission Control worked together.


So write out a mission statement and hang it up where everyone will see it often. Learn from your mistakes and create or refine you mission. You too can have a successful failure.


  1. Make a course correction.


“Before the explosion at 30 hours, 40 minutes, Apollo 13 had made the normal midcourse correction, which would take it out of a free-return-to-Earth trajectory and put it on a lunar landing course. Now the task was to get back on a free-return course.”


If you don’t like the current trajectory of your homeschool, maybe it is time to make a course correction.


Evaluate your educational methods and philosophy. Does it align with your children’s interests, personalities, and gifts? If you realize that it doesn’t, you can either adapt the resources or curriculum you currently use or choose a new one. But make the changes.


Have a family meeting. Ask questions like, “What do you like about our homeschool? What do you not like? Where are you struggling? What do you think we can do to make it better? Come up with a plan for moving forward and work the plan as a team. And let your mission statement guide you.


  1. Celebrate your wins.


When Apollo 13 safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, Mission control erupted in cheers and applause. After the sleepless nights and hard work, with every man doing his part to get the astronauts home safely, there was a lot to celebrate.


When things aren’t what we hoped they would be, it is easy to dwell on the negative. But please don’t stay there.


Do the hard work of getting your homeschool back on track, look for the little wins along the way. Celebrate them, no matter how big or small. And don’t give up, because failure isn’t an option.


Failure Is Not An Option

Four more missions were sent to land men on the moon after Apollo 13 and each were successful. They didn’t give up after their “successful failure”.


In the movie, Apollo 13, Ed Harris playing the flight director Gene Kranz says, “Failure is not an option.” Though Kranz didn’t say it during the mission, he later used it for the title of his memoirs, because it was the reality of their situation.

So say it to yourself. “Failure is not an option.” Understand you mission, make course corrections, and celebrate the big wins and the small ones.


And when you reach your goal—when the mission is successful—celebrate again as you launch your young adults into their next adventure.


Quotes from Apollo 13, “Houston, we’ve had a problem” at


Kay Chance educated her two sons for 15 years. Now that they are in college, she blogs at where she provides encouragement and resources to help homeschooling moms build strong relationships with their children so they can educate the whole child—heart, mind, and soul.



More Reading

How to Conquer Homeschool Burnout

5 Ways to Cope with a Bad Homeschool Day

Dear Mom Who Thinks She is a Failure

Can You Restart Your Homeschool Curriculum?


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