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What if I homeschool because I feel like it's my only choice? Questioning and struggling with lack of choices.


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#1 tori729

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 03:31 PM

Background: We weighed many choices when my oldest started school and decided on Christian school for him. I prayed about the next year because of the cost of schooling, and I decided I would be able to home school him. He is an EXCELLENT student - intelligent and relatively self-motivated.

 

Fast forward to now. My oldest is in 3rd grade. The past few years have worked well, but ever since January, I have felt pulled and haven't felt the desire to teach like I once did. 

 

My biggest qualms with homeschooling are having all four home with me 24/7 (have 3rd, 1st, 3yo, 2yo) and not having enough down time to do things that *I* like to do - couponing, selling on Ebay, and mystery shopping. I feel like I'm sacrificing my children's education for my own selfish desires. :( This year, they are doing two co-ops, both of which are drop off and give me some time to run errands on my own. But I find that on the other days, I'm not doing enough to get everything done. And I feel like they're missing out - I have barely done any history and science this whole semester and I feel HORRIBLE about it. :( Plus, I am SO jealous of others who happily send their kids to public school and have time by themselves, or have older kids out of the house and just have the freedom to do more of what they want. 

 

DH and I are on similar pages when it comes to homeschooling, but he's a little more resistant to public school. He is more concerned that the kids would be conformed and molded to be like the other kids and doesn't want that.

In our area, there are many Christian school but they are either very expensive, or very fundamental. 

 

I'm looking into doing CC with my kids next year, but that means much more expensive (even though it would replace one co-op)  and me having LESS time to make some money on the side. The drop off co-ops keep me sane, but I need the accountability of outside projects so that I have a reason to teach. 

 

I still, though, don't have the desire to teach them. When my oldest was in K, thinking about homeschooling stressed me out. I never saw myself as a home schooler - I thought we would be able to find a cheaper Christian school to send them to. But we can't. I think I'm pretty set that once middle school hits, they will go to charter. 

I also think my daughter is much harder to school than my son. So maybe considering something different for her only?? I just don't know. She is very easily molded so public school for her could be detrimental. 

 

I just wonder - is it really best for my kids to home school them because it's the lesser of other evils for me? Easiest/cheapest choice?

 

Any thoughts? How do I know??


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#2 Elizabeth 2

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 05:03 PM

tori729, I'm having much of the same dilemmas here as well.

 

I actually had my boys in public school and it was a relatively positive experience until we switched to the neighborhood school.  Then it was bad.  The stress of the kids being in a bad/stressful school was worse for me than homeschooling is on a daily basis, but having them in the better public school was less stressful than homeschooling.  I was still very much in touch with their education since I spent two afternoons a week in the classrooms.  I just had more time to attend to things without *all the people.*

 

It's more expensive to have them home because we qualified for free/reduced lunch, but DS's were sick from the much higher amounts of sugar in their diets. Also, there are some classes they might get in public school that I can't afford.  Curriculum is less than $500 a year, but is still a stretch for me to get it all in time for a new school year.  Music lessons other than trombone/tuba/baritone (because I have played them for 20 years), or special sports leagues are not possible.  I refuse a co-op because locally they are not terribly inclusive.

 

If DH doesn't want the kids in school, then he needs to pick up the slack in other areas so you get some down time too.  You need a chance to recharge by pursuing your own interests rather than constantly working for someone else's needs and wants.  He must be a partner, or else you need another one in the form of an educational institution.  DH found out the hard way that he needs to take the kids, all of them, to the store when he goes.  He needs to do more chores on a DAILY basis.  DH must participate in bedtime routines, and not sit in front of electronics.  He works 50 hours a week, but he is still a husband and father.  When the job was interfering with being a husband, father, and unhealthy for his mental health, the job had to change. (He had to change industries because it was such a problem.) That's no different than what you need now.  If the job of homeschooling your children is interfering with your ability to be a wife and mother, or unhealthy for your mental health, then the job needs to change.


Edited by Elizabeth 2, 20 March 2017 - 05:19 PM.

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#3 Hunter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 05:55 PM

Having my boys in school was more expensive, more time consuming, and infinitely more stressful.

And we had to conform to the school schedule which didn't allow us to budget our resources. It always seems that meaningless but expensive and time consuming things were thrown at us with no warning, and penalties were high for noncompliance.

And worldview. Egads. I'm much more easy going about that stuff now, but when I was younger. :lol: I still dont know how to keep my mouth shut and play as a team though. I might even be worse at that.
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#4 LMD

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:01 PM

Okay, firstly, a 3 year old and a 2 year old is going to be difficult no matter what! Have you thought about the option of pre-k or a day of childcare for them, or a mother's helper?

Does your dh work long hours? What sort of educational philosophy speaks to you?

Certainly, if you just don't want to homeschool, that is a valid feeling and you and your dh need to discuss it.
If you are just generally feeling overwhelmed with all the daily tasks and no free time, but homeschooling isn't THE problem, then we can help you brainstorm ideas.

And for 3rd & 1st graders, as long as they play outside and are read a variety of books, not much science/history wouldn't bother me at all.
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#5 MamaStephanina

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:41 PM

I had a similar question earlier this year, and ended up enrolling my 1st & Ker in the local public school.

It lasted one month. The schedule made me feel even more penned in, the sugar all day wreaked havoc on my Ker, especially, and I found myself spending all the time I did have with them trying to undo what they had learned (attitude-wise) or fill in what they hadn't (academics-wise).

It isn't perfect, and sometimes it's really hard, but after lots of prayer I do believe it's the right choice for us. Reading through Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie has also helped.

Like a pp said, is it that you wonder if homeschooling is right for your kids, or if homeschooling is right for you? There's an important difference there,and both questions are valid. Is it feeling overwhelmed, so tweaking expectations and planning may help, or a general dissatisfaction with the lifestyle?
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#6 JessReplanted

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 06:42 PM

I am probably in a similar situation. I don't have a burning desire to teach my kids. Homeschooling and being around them all day requires a lot from me. It's exhausting.

Just a few random thoughts:

We homeschool because we feel like it is the direction the Lord has led us in, and it is a conviction that He has not removed from us. To me, it is an act of faith and obedience - trusting that He is working out His plans in ways I can't see. Every once in a rare while I catch a glimpse, and for a moment it all makes sense.

I do try to focus on the things I am able to enjoy because I homeschool. We have a pretty relaxed schedule on most days and I love not having to rush out the door. I also love literature and enjoy reading books with the kids. We are part of a small co-op and I really enjoy talking with the other moms there. And there are many other things.

I have also realized how necessary it is for me to get out and exercise during the week, and to have other things just for myself. It helps fight the crazy.

This morning I woke up feeling like I was absolutely wasting my life in this house with my kids (horrible, I know). But then I saw my neighbor outside and she told me how wonderful my children are and what exceptional people we are (things I have a hard time seeing), and I was encouraged for another day.
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#7 reefgazer

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:04 PM

Can you outsource subjects you really hate to an in-house tutor?  I realize that takes money, but not as much money as private school and it would also give you downtime.


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#8 texasmom33

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 07:10 PM

I don't know if this is an option for you, but do you have anything like this around? https://highlandslatin.org

 

Schools like this are popping up all around where I live. I guess they are called hybrid schools? They meet 1, 2 or 3 days per week and provide the teaching and curricula. Parents help work with the homework and reinforce the teaching assignments at home. They're much more affordable than private school, yet aren't going full in at a public school or something. I have a couple of friends who are using them this year. They have husbands who travel so much they're basically single moms. These keep them sane. Kids are gone 6-7 hours a couple of times a week. It give breathing room. 

 

Our homeschool group offers one for $350 a month for 3x a week. That's a steal in my opinion. Maybe you have some similar options where you live. 


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#9 Hunter

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:59 PM

What about just paying for some plain daycare? Or maybe some cleaning, or more prepared food?

Can the load be reduced in an area other than schooling?
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#10 Ellie

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:15 PM

Background: We weighed many choices when my oldest started school and decided on Christian school for him. I prayed about the next year because of the cost of schooling, and I decided I would be able to home school him. He is an EXCELLENT student - intelligent and relatively self-motivated.

 

Fast forward to now. My oldest is in 3rd grade. The past few years have worked well, but ever since January, I have felt pulled and haven't felt the desire to teach like I once did. 

 

My biggest qualms with homeschooling are having all four home with me 24/7 (have 3rd, 1st, 3yo, 2yo) and not having enough down time to do things that *I* like to do - couponing, selling on Ebay, and mystery shopping. I feel like I'm sacrificing my children's education for my own selfish desires. :( This year, they are doing two co-ops, both of which are drop off and give me some time to run errands on my own. But I find that on the other days, I'm not doing enough to get everything done. And I feel like they're missing out - I have barely done any history and science this whole semester and I feel HORRIBLE about it. :( Plus, I am SO jealous of others who happily send their kids to public school and have time by themselves, or have older kids out of the house and just have the freedom to do more of what they want. 

 

DH and I are on similar pages when it comes to homeschooling, but he's a little more resistant to public school. He is more concerned that the kids would be conformed and molded to be like the other kids and doesn't want that.

In our area, there are many Christian school but they are either very expensive, or very fundamental. 

 

I'm looking into doing CC with my kids next year, but that means much more expensive (even though it would replace one co-op)  and me having LESS time to make some money on the side. The drop off co-ops keep me sane, but I need the accountability of outside projects so that I have a reason to teach. 

 

I still, though, don't have the desire to teach them. When my oldest was in K, thinking about homeschooling stressed me out. I never saw myself as a home schooler - I thought we would be able to find a cheaper Christian school to send them to. But we can't. I think I'm pretty set that once middle school hits, they will go to charter. 

I also think my daughter is much harder to school than my son. So maybe considering something different for her only?? I just don't know. She is very easily molded so public school for her could be detrimental. 

 

I just wonder - is it really best for my kids to home school them because it's the lesser of other evils for me? Easiest/cheapest choice?

 

Any thoughts? How do I know??

 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:

 

See, for my, taking the children out of the co-op and just being *home* would have been my answer. That might seem to be the counter-productive, but the thing with co-ops is that there are two days a week shot, that I'd be having to get the kids up and out on time, and be back on time, and then the other days would always feel as if we're trying to catch up, and I wouldn't have time to just...relax and be *home* with my children, to develop a daily, relaxed schedule that would involve and engage all of us. I'm thinking that since you say you're not getting things done on the other days that dropping the co-ops might be a solution for you, too.

 

Do your children have early bedtimes? (e.g., by 7 p.m.). Because that would give you time in the evening to do some things on your own. Are you a member of a support group? Not a co-op, but a support group? Some support groups do monthly Moms' Nights Out, which is great support for *you*. What books about homeschooling have you read? Are you able to do field trips with your children, or do you feel that you have to stay home and Do School with them on their non-co-op days?


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#11 OhElizabeth

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 11:31 PM

Look, it's your dh's problem to provide. You like homeschooling K5, maybe 1st, and you want to move on. So tell him flat up the oldest must go to school next fall and probably #2 as well. Don't mince words, nothing. That's just how it is. And he can make it his problem to decide if he's gonna work extra and find the money for the cs you want or send him to the ps or whatever.



#12 Evanthe

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:29 AM

 

My biggest qualms with homeschooling are having all four home with me 24/7 (have 3rd, 1st, 3yo, 2yo) and not having enough down time to do things that *I* like to do 

 

DH and I are on similar pages when it comes to homeschooling, but he's a little more resistant to public school. He is more concerned that the kids would be conformed and molded to be like the other kids and doesn't want that.

 

I'm looking into doing CC with my kids next year, but that means much more expensive (even though it would replace one co-op)  and me having LESS time to make some money on the side. 

 

I also think my daughter is much harder to school than my son. So maybe considering something different for her only?? I just don't know. She is very easily molded so public school for her could be detrimental. 

 

I just wonder - is it really best for my kids to home school them because it's the lesser of other evils for me? Easiest/cheapest choice?

 

Any thoughts? How do I know??

 

A couple of thoughts on your post...

 

I have 5 kids from ages 15 down to 2.  Yeah, there's no free time.  I start working around 6-7am and I'm on my feet until about 9pm.  I think people see stay-at-home parents as having tons of time to do extra stuff.  I gave up on my idea of having any hobbies/time to work out or heck, any free time at all on my own. *laughing hysterically* Free time, what's that??!

 

I feel the same as your dh, so public school is completely out of the question.  The schools here are awful.  

 

If you can't afford CC, I wouldn't do it.  I don't think the benefits would outweigh the financial strain.  There are almost-free co-ops out there.  Also, dragging everyone out of the house to a co-op might make your day even more stressful - not to mention, it's harder to get through schoolwork the longer you are out of the house.

 

Your daughter will probably change drastically over the years...  My 8th grader who couldn't read until he was almost 9 and cried every time we did schoolwork has been doing high school-level work with his older sister all year.  He now wants to be a doctor.  Ah, the irony.  It seems like just yesterday he was throwing himself on the floor and screaming, because I asked him to copy a sentence.  Now he wants to go to college like forever...

 

I wouldn't choose to homeschool, because it's cheaper...  Money is probably the last thing to consider when making that decision.

 

I do think a lot of the issues you are having are because of your kids' ages.  You're in the Vortex.   :glare:   In this house, those were the ages where it felt like I was being held prisoner in a zoo run by monkeys. 


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#13 whitehawk

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:04 AM

Do you like the teaching part?

 

If so, you can make the rest work. For me, 24/7 with the two kids under 4 would be the issue rather than teaching the older ones.  A baby-sitter from noon until dinner time one day a week might do a lot of good, leaving you some time to do Your Stuff at a far cheaper price than school tuition. And if you don't have an afternoon quiet time established (big kids read in their room), that can be a sanity-saver. You and your DH may be able to pick one or two Saturdays a month as Mom's Day Off as well.

 

If you don't like the actual homeschooling, that's more of a sticking point.


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#14 MamaStephanina

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 08:44 AM

I do think a lot of the issues you are having are because of your kids' ages. You're in the Vortex. :glare: In this house, those were the ages where it felt like I was being held prisoner in a zoo run by monkeys.


I think there's a lot to consider in the quoted, and also in an honest evaluation of expectations, both yours and your husband's. There are seasons of life that are just harder, and lots of littles seems to fit right in there. They will get older and they will get more independant, and even helpful. (I say this in faith that it's true, but I've read it from a lot of the BTDT moms here).

What expectations do you have for what your life, your parenting, your schooling "should" look like, amd where did those expectations come from? What are your goals for your family, your children, yourself? What's not lining up?

Also, I think Hunter made a good point, too. Where can there be a little (or a lot of) give, things that can be shifted off your plate? Maybe you can hire someone to clean regularly, so you don't have to factor that in and can use that time elsewhere. Maybe your husband can keep all the kids every Saturday so you can have that time to refresh yourself for the next week. Maybe you institute daily movie time so you have an hour of electronic babysitting where you can read a book. Maybe you can hire a mother's helper for the littles to make school time with the olders more efficient.

Virtual hugs aand chocolate. These are difficult things to wrestle.

May you find peace.
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#15 wendyroo

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:14 AM

I echo what most of the previous posters have said...

 

1 - Homeschooling with four littles does not leave me much time to do anything I want to do.  I have accepted this as a rough stage that we have to get through.

 

2 - The little sanity saving me-time I do carve out is possible because I enforce a fairly consistent daily routine: kids stay in their rooms until 7am, everyone has a rest/quiet play time each afternoon, all children are in their rooms by 7pm, etc.

 

3 - Two co-ops a week (probably even one) would drive me insane.  For us, being out of the house that much each week would be incredibly stressful.

 

4 - I would not fret too much about skipping formal science at those ages.  OTOH, I have found science and history much easier to accomplish on a block schedule, where we are never attempting to fit them both in at the same time.  Perhaps a couple tweaks (block scheduling, loop scheduling, morning time, etc) would make it easier for you to accomplish the things you feel are important.

 

Wendy 


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#16 wintermom

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 09:18 AM

I'm not more or less selfish than you. I build in my personal interests to the dc's curriculum. I like physical activities, and I know these are good for the dc, so we go skiing, swimming, hiking, etc. together.

 

You like couponing and shopping, so build in these things to your curriculum. Couponing would be PERFECT for math, reading, calendar, education. You could be a mystery shopper with youngsters along. Is there something in your contract that states you can't do this with children? It's real-life shopping.


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#17 texasmom33

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 10:24 AM

 

I do think a lot of the issues you are having are because of your kids' ages.  You're in the Vortex.   :glare:   In this house, those were the ages where it felt like I was being held prisoner in a zoo run by monkeys. 

 

:iagree:  Can I just say truer words have never been spoken? 


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#18 tori729

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:14 AM

Thanks all! Trying to address questions:
 
 

 
If DH doesn't want the kids in school, then he needs to pick up the slack in other areas so you get some down time too.  You need a chance to recharge by pursuing your own interests rather than constantly working for someone else's needs and wants.  He must be a partner, or else you need another one in the form of an educational institution.  DH found out the hard way that he needs to take the kids, all of them, to the store when he goes.  He needs to do more chores on a DAILY basis.  DH must participate in bedtime routines, and not sit in front of electronics.  He works 50 hours a week, but he is still a husband and father.  When the job was interfering with being a husband, father, and unhealthy for his mental health, the job had to change. (He had to change industries because it was such a problem.) That's no different than what you need now.  If the job of homeschooling your children is interfering with your ability to be a wife and mother, or unhealthy for your mental health, then the job needs to change.

 
 
DH is supportive of us looking at different options. He is also supportive of me getting enough time for myself. Other than feeling like I can't send them to public school (which I have issues with as well), he is really open to helping me out and giving me the breaks that I need. He works a normal, 8-5 M-F job which is good but he doesn't really have much flex time during business hours. All that being said, I *still* have the kids all day every day. He can't do anything about that fact.
 
 

Okay, firstly, a 3 year old and a 2 year old is going to be difficult no matter what! Have you thought about the option of pre-k or a day of childcare for them, or a mother's helper?

Does your dh work long hours? What sort of educational philosophy speaks to you?

Certainly, if you just don't want to homeschool, that is a valid feeling and you and your dh need to discuss it.
If you are just generally feeling overwhelmed with all the daily tasks and no free time, but homeschooling isn't THE problem, then we can help you brainstorm ideas.

And for 3rd & 1st graders, as long as they play outside and are read a variety of books, not much science/history wouldn't bother me at all.

 
I don't really feel like the littles are a huge problem - they do make focusing on the older ones harder sometimes, but I feel like because I spend my whole morning teaching, I use the rest of the afternoon to plan shopping trips, etc. and the house doesn't get clean and extra things don't get done. 
Educational philosophy: classical and Charlotte Mason. I do like getting out with the kids and don't love being home all the time. But having too littles makes it more difficult to get out, especially for longer day trips. I think I would really enjoy a day trip with the older two. Also like curriculum and guidance when it comes to what exactly to do. I love being able to choose what my children learn, and tailor it to their needs.
My oldest is a self-learner and they both love reading all kinds of books about animals and history. So they get it. It's just not led by me.
 
 

I had a similar question earlier this year, and ended up enrolling my 1st & Ker in the local public school.

It lasted one month. The schedule made me feel even more penned in, the sugar all day wreaked havoc on my Ker, especially, and I found myself spending all the time I did have with them trying to undo what they had learned (attitude-wise) or fill in what they hadn't (academics-wise).

It isn't perfect, and sometimes it's really hard, but after lots of prayer I do believe it's the right choice for us. Reading through Teaching From Rest by Sarah Mackenzie has also helped.

Like a pp said, is it that you wonder if homeschooling is right for your kids, or if homeschooling is right for you? There's an important difference there,and both questions are valid. Is it feeling overwhelmed, so tweaking expectations and planning may help, or a general dissatisfaction with the lifestyle?

 
Yes, the schedule would be a huge change. Like I said, my oldest went to Kindy and I picked him up every day at noon. That did get a bit old. 
I think homeschooling is great for my oldest. But the next one, I'm on the fence. She always says she hates co-op but I know she enjoys it when she's there. But she's also very needy - needs me to guide and help her, and doesn't play well by herself. Sometimes I feel like school for her would be helpful socially. She's also very dramatic and we have regular blow ups where she goes to her room yelling, etc. That really frazzles me.
 
 

I am probably in a similar situation. I don't have a burning desire to teach my kids. Homeschooling and being around them all day requires a lot from me. It's exhausting.

Just a few random thoughts:

We homeschool because we feel like it is the direction the Lord has led us in, and it is a conviction that He has not removed from us. To me, it is an act of faith and obedience - trusting that He is working out His plans in ways I can't see. Every once in a rare while I catch a glimpse, and for a moment it all makes sense.

I do try to focus on the things I am able to enjoy because I homeschool. We have a pretty relaxed schedule on most days and I love not having to rush out the door. I also love literature and enjoy reading books with the kids. We are part of a small co-op and I really enjoy talking with the other moms there. And there are many other things.

I have also realized how necessary it is for me to get out and exercise during the week, and to have other things just for myself. It helps fight the crazy.

This morning I woke up feeling like I was absolutely wasting my life in this house with my kids (horrible, I know). But then I saw my neighbor outside and she told me how wonderful my children are and what exceptional people we are (things I have a hard time seeing), and I was encouraged for another day.

 
That makes sense. We are both praying tons for leading from God. I honestly can say it was God who led me to home school when I had zero desire to do it the year before. And I think it's my own wants that keep me from enjoying it to the fullest with my kids. My own things that pull me and make it so I don't want to take the time to teach. When I've spent the whole morning teaching, I just want the kids to leave me alone for the rest of the day. That's just how I feel right now. And I hate it. Sometimes I think I will appreciate them more if they're in school full time.
I have others who say my kids are intelligent and wonderful and wonder what I do with them that makes it so. I feel like I'm doing nothing, haha. I've learned not to worry about things like crafts and stuff that aren't my forte. But some things, I really like and can tell that they like and I'm not doing with them. 
 
 

Can you outsource subjects you really hate to an in-house tutor?  I realize that takes money, but not as much money as private school and it would also give you downtime.

 
Honestly, I don't dislike any of the subjects. I just dont' feel like I have the time for them all!
 

I don't know if this is an option for you, but do you have anything like this around? https://highlandslatin.org
 
Schools like this are popping up all around where I live. I guess they are called hybrid schools? They meet 1, 2 or 3 days per week and provide the teaching and curricula. Parents help work with the homework and reinforce the teaching assignments at home. They're much more affordable than private school, yet aren't going full in at a public school or something. I have a couple of friends who are using them this year. They have husbands who travel so much they're basically single moms. These keep them sane. Kids are gone 6-7 hours a couple of times a week. It give breathing room. 
 
Our homeschool group offers one for $350 a month for 3x a week. That's a steal in my opinion. Maybe you have some similar options where you live. 

 
We do have a private school that does part time homeschool where you can pay per class. Still pretty expensive but may be an option for us. I need to look into more things like this maybe. 
 

:grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug:
 
See, for my, taking the children out of the co-op and just being *home* would have been my answer. That might seem to be the counter-productive, but the thing with co-ops is that there are two days a week shot, that I'd be having to get the kids up and out on time, and be back on time, and then the other days would always feel as if we're trying to catch up, and I wouldn't have time to just...relax and be *home* with my children, to develop a daily, relaxed schedule that would involve and engage all of us. I'm thinking that since you say you're not getting things done on the other days that dropping the co-ops might be a solution for you, too.
 
Do your children have early bedtimes? (e.g., by 7 p.m.). Because that would give you time in the evening to do some things on your own. Are you a member of a support group? Not a co-op, but a support group? Some support groups do monthly Moms' Nights Out, which is great support for *you*. What books about homeschooling have you read? Are you able to do field trips with your children, or do you feel that you have to stay home and Do School with them on their non-co-op days?

 
And I think this is why I'm considering CC - it's less time for myself, but it FORCES me to be with them and in their lives more. And that may be what I need - maybe having that will bring that desire back to me and make me WANT to teach them. I do like getting out with them. I go crazy at home all day. And CC starts early Monday morning which might be the boost I need at the beginning of the week to get it started right. Then the support of CC. I'm NOT getting that at the co-ops I'm at - one of them, most of the moms have younger kids so they think I'm the big cheese lol. Other one, I really barely know anyone because it's always drop-off.
Would love advice on books to read because I love reading! I've read The Well-Trained Mind.. that's it lol.
And I think I need more field trips. Co-ops have them but they have recently been very expensive and/or far away and hard for me to do with four small kids.
 

#19 tori729

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 11:14 AM

 

 
Do you like the teaching part?
 
If so, you can make the rest work. For me, 24/7 with the two kids under 4 would be the issue rather than teaching the older ones.  A baby-sitter from noon until dinner time one day a week might do a lot of good, leaving you some time to do Your Stuff at a far cheaper price than school tuition. And if you don't have an afternoon quiet time established (big kids read in their room), that can be a sanity-saver. You and your DH may be able to pick one or two Saturdays a month as Mom's Day Off as well.
 
If you don't like the actual homeschooling, that's more of a sticking point.
 
As I said before, I don't feel that the younger ones are a huge problem. I feel like it just takes lots of time for us to do things. Sometimes, I think setting aside specific times where we do less so I can work on more would help. I do enjoy some aspects of schooling them, but I don't enjoy it as much as my own interests. :( 
 

 
I think there's a lot to consider in the quoted, and also in an honest evaluation of expectations, both yours and your husband's. There are seasons of life that are just harder, and lots of littles seems to fit right in there. They will get older and they will get more independant, and even helpful. (I say this in faith that it's true, but I've read it from a lot of the BTDT moms here).
 
What expectations do you have for what your life, your parenting, your schooling "should" look like, amd where did those expectations come from? What are your goals for your family, your children, yourself? What's not lining up?
 
Also, I think Hunter made a good point, too. Where can there be a little (or a lot of) give, things that can be shifted off your plate? Maybe you can hire someone to clean regularly, so you don't have to factor that in and can use that time elsewhere. Maybe your husband can keep all the kids every Saturday so you can have that time to refresh yourself for the next week. Maybe you institute daily movie time so you have an hour of electronic babysitting where you can read a book. Maybe you can hire a mother's helper for the littles to make school time with the olders more efficient.
 
Virtual hugs aand chocolate. These are difficult things to wrestle.
 
May you find peace.
 
DH and I both went to Christian school for much (all for my hubby) of our childhood. We assumed our kids would do the same and when that wasn't feasible, homeschooling was the fall back. DH's mom tried to homeschool him and couldn't; he was a very distracted kid. So he went to school after that, and so did the rest of their kids. We still scratch our heads at how they could afford Chrisitian school for four kids on a pastor's salary, but the school was small and not nearly as expensive as the ones here are.
I think I need a good work-life balance. I need certain times blocked off for certain things. I have lately been doing more at night but I like my nights to unwind and hubby likes my attention as well. ;) So I can't always do that.
 

 
I echo what most of the previous posters have said...
 
1 - Homeschooling with four littles does not leave me much time to do anything I want to do.  I have accepted this as a rough stage that we have to get through.
 
2 - The little sanity saving me-time I do carve out is possible because I enforce a fairly consistent daily routine: kids stay in their rooms until 7am, everyone has a rest/quiet play time each afternoon, all children are in their rooms by 7pm, etc.
 
3 - Two co-ops a week (probably even one) would drive me insane.  For us, being out of the house that much each week would be incredibly stressful.
 
4 - I would not fret too much about skipping formal science at those ages.  OTOH, I have found science and history much easier to accomplish on a block schedule, where we are never attempting to fit them both in at the same time.  Perhaps a couple tweaks (block scheduling, loop scheduling, morning time, etc) would make it easier for you to accomplish the things you feel are important.
 
Wendy 
 
#2 Routines are good - and I need them just as much as the kiddos!
#4: Yes, I focused on both of them for the month of August; I plan on doing the same over the summer for us.
 
 

 
I'm not more or less selfish than you. I build in my personal interests to the dc's curriculum. I like physical activities, and I know these are good for the dc, so we go skiing, swimming, hiking, etc. together.
 
You like couponing and shopping, so build in these things to your curriculum. Couponing would be PERFECT for math, reading, calendar, education. You could be a mystery shopper with youngsters along. Is there something in your contract that states you can't do this with children? It's real-life shopping.
 
Great point about fitting these things into the curriculum. And I do take kiddos with me to mystery shop but most of the time, all four is way too much for me to pay attention to details. 
 
 
 
So DH and I had a GREAT talk last night. We discussed putting the second child in private school next year, but of course that's very expensive. It does seem like since I've had to push her more, it's been difficult. She's just HARD. While we think CC would be a great fit for our oldest, we're not sure that it would help our second. And our third would have to be in CC if I took him with me. So we're just on the fence. I'm going to visit a local CC, ask some questions about a local school, etc. and get some more thoughts. I think I could be OKAY with homeschooling, but not on fire/excited about it. 

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#20 Meadowlark

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:05 PM

Wow, I have to chime in because I can relate to you on so many levels, especially with your latest post. I started out homeschooling very enthusiastically-had the school room and everything. Things have kind of morphed over the years and here I am with 5 (6th on the way) and seriously considering putting them in school next year. It's just gotten to the point that I don't like *myself* and the mother I have turned into. I feel like you, like I am not doing enough with them (this pregnancy has been rough and so science and history rarely get done). And I definitely feel like my two littles are neglected most of the time because I'm so stressed out focusing on whether or not the two older ones needs are being met. Then comes the guilt. Guilt that I yelled, guilt that my house is never clean, guilt that I am grumpy and tired when dh comes home. I just feel like the time has come when I am clearly NOT called to do this anymore. It's scary. I WANT To be that mom that wakes up everyday feeling blessed and grateful for another day to spend with her kids. But instead, I'm the mom that lays in bed wondering how in the world I'm going to make it another day. I absolutely hate that. I too, wonder if I would appreciate them more if they were in school. Also like you, after the schoolwork is done, I want everyone to just leave me alone. I think I'm an introvert in that regard, and having 5 kids constantly surrounding me 24/7 in an open concept house...is just doing me in. Plus, with the baby coming...I just think I would seriously lose my cool if I was interrupted or what not...which is inevitable.

 

All of this to say, I hear what you're saying. I really don't think everyone is called to homeschool. I also think that sometimes we're called for a certain season of life, and it's okay to veer off in another direction if that's where you're being led. God wants the best for our kids, and I know that he doesn't want their own mother yelling at them and in so far over her head that she's not mentally happy. I want to look back at these years and remember the laughter and the joy...this year it's been less of that and more struggle. Don't get me wrong, I love homeschoolling. I want to make it work too but realistically, I know in my heart that's it's time to try something new. Don't stay with something because of guilt, or pressure or just because you started out that way. Do what you're called to do-whether it's homeschooling or not. Your kids WILL be okay. 


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#21 shawthorne44

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:30 PM

Take this with a huge grain of salt from an inexperienced outsider.   Reading your latest update makes me wonder if you don't have an idea in your head of what homeschool SHOULD look like and you are comparing yourself to that yardstick.  

For example, "My oldest is a self-learner and they both love reading all kinds of books about animals and history. So they get it. It's just not led by me."

 

I think what you've got with your oldest is a GOOD thing.  Even with crafts, just because YOU aren't leading the academics and crafts doesn't mean that what is done, isn't without value.  Honestly, I think that what you don't lead has MORE value.  

 

Your second might need more social time.  If I were you, I think I'd look into less co-op and more homeschool field trips and park days.  

 

I also wonder, do you enjoy the mystery shopping and selling on ebay and the other things?   I used to do mystery shopping, but then the money you got wasn't worth it.  

 

I also wonder if your standards for house cleanliness could be lowered.  Look at it as priorities.  Maybe vastly lower your daily cleaning schedule.  


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#22 Spudater

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 12:57 PM

FWIW, I find it much more useful to compare myself to my dh than my friends. He's tired and stressed and doesn't get barely any time for hobbies too, lol. And we're both kind of depressed and frustrated about it, but we chose this life and we feel it's what's best, so we're just trying to hang in there and not take it out on each other.
*please ignore this if it's out of line* but if you just issue an ultimatum and quit, and he feels like he has to work a bunch if ivertime to send the kids to Christian school or else send them to a school that he feels is detrimental to them, I can't imagine how rough that would be on your marriage, and dealing with that is waaay worse than not having enough time for hobbies.
I hope you can work something out, I know how rough it is. ((Hugs))
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#23 SamanthaCarter

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:22 PM

I get it. I homeschool not because I truly want to, but because it is the least bad option for our family. 

 

Something that works pretty well for us is Library school. I have the youngest in M-F preschool (which you could do with your two youngest) and we do school at the library during that time. The second grader can get all of her work done in that time and the 5th grader can get through everything he needs me for and go home with a list of the remaining things that he needs to do on his own. You do need the right configuration of library for this. One with lots of cozy nooks, or a faraway spot tucked in a corner. Or available study rooms. This is actually to help keep ME on task, because there are so many distractions at home, I'll have a hard time actually focusing on the task of educating these kiddos. 

 

You might want to do a cost-benefit exercise on CC verses putting the two youngest in preschool. The open afternoons might make life better even if you are with *some* kids 24/7. Hugs. 


Edited by SamanthaCarter, 21 March 2017 - 01:23 PM.

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#24 Alice

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 01:59 PM

 

I still, though, don't have the desire to teach them. 

 

 

 

This statement seems really significant to me.

 

There are a ton of different styles of homeschooling. It is normal to have it be hard when you have littler ones also. There are lots of ways to adjust what you are doing to have more time, or to make it more fun or to give yourself a break for not doing all the Pinterest-y crafts and such. 

 

But...my experience has been that people who don't fundamentally like or enjoy the teaching part of homeschooling will have a much harder time. I don't like it all the time and I there are some things I don't like at all. (I am so happy that I never have to hear a child sound out c...a....t again. That early reading stage nearly killed me.) But overall I like teaching. To be an effective homeschooler you have to be a teacher and if you really don't have that desire then I would reexamine whether or not it's the right choice for your family. I say that as someone who doesn't see public school as an unacceptable option. I'm not a believer in the idea that homeschool is always better than public school. 

 

I hope that doesn't sound harsh. It's not meant to be. 


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#25 Evanthe

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 03:11 PM

 I do like getting out with them. I go crazy at home all day. And CC starts early Monday morning which might be the boost I need at the beginning of the week to get it started right. Then the support of CC. I'm NOT getting that at the co-ops I'm at - one of them, most of the moms have younger kids so they think I'm the big cheese lol. Other one, I really barely know anyone because it's always drop-off.
Would love advice on books to read because I love reading! I've read The Well-Trained Mind.. that's it lol.
And I think I need more field trips. 

 

What if you did...read-alouds, math and language arts as your curriculum (until kids are a little older)...come up with a schedule for yourself to do some hands-on/out-of-the-house schooling.  Nature walks, mornings at the park, storytime at the library, free day at a children's museum...nature centers...big trips to the library and have the older ones do free reading while the younger ones take a nap...(not sure what you have around you as far as field trips)...

 

Maybe making a schedule out for yourself would help.  Last year, I actually started scheduling field trips.  For the first time in 8-9 years.  This has been one of the best school years ever.  I just finished planning the next school year and we are going to do a ton of field trips.  I'm taking them to a war reenactment (my kids are older - lol - you probably wouldn't want to take your toddlers to a war reenactment), we're going on a fossil dig, I'm trying to take them on a tour of a battleship...  I'm scheduling projects - even for the teens.

 

As far as reading, my favorite books have been The Well-Trained Mind (no one beats her in the expository writing department - Lol), Educating the Whole-Hearted Child, The Unschooling Handbook, Homeschooling with Gentleness, The Latin-Centered Curriculum.  Charlotte Mason Companion is pretty good.  Free Range Learning was fun to browse through.  I really liked The Teenage Liberation Handbook...but you wouldn't need that one for awhile.  

 

Just some ideas off the top of my head.

 

And our first two years homeschooling were disasters, BTW.  The first year, we basically had to start all over from the beginning (even though my oldest two kids went to ps the year before), so we were automatically "behind".  My son didn't even know his letter sounds.  And the second year was jumping from one curriculum and method to another.  I probably bought 5 different language arts programs that year.  It was ridiculous.

 

It takes awhile to get into a groove.


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#26 texasmom33

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 03:39 PM

What if you did...read-alouds, math and language arts as your curriculum (until kids are a little older)...come up with a schedule for yourself to do some hands-on/out-of-the-house schooling.  Nature walks, mornings at the park, storytime at the library, free day at a children's museum...nature centers...big trips to the library and have the older ones do free reading while the younger ones take a nap...(not sure what you have around you as far as field trips)...

 

Maybe making a schedule out for yourself would help.  Last year, I actually started scheduling field trips.  For the first time in 8-9 years.  This has been one of the best school years ever.  I just finished planning the next school year and we are going to do a ton of field trips.  I'm taking them to a war reenactment (my kids are older - lol - you probably wouldn't want to take your toddlers to a war reenactment), we're going on a fossil dig, I'm trying to take them on a tour of a battleship...  I'm scheduling projects - even for the teens.

 

As far as reading, my favorite books have been The Well-Trained Mind (no one beats her in the expository writing department - Lol), Educating the Whole-Hearted Child, The Unschooling Handbook, Homeschooling with Gentleness, The Latin-Centered Curriculum.  Charlotte Mason Companion is pretty good.  Free Range Learning was fun to browse through.  I really liked The Teenage Liberation Handbook...but you wouldn't need that one for awhile.  

 

Just some ideas off the top of my head.

 

And our first two years homeschooling were disasters, BTW.  The first year, we basically had to start all over from the beginning (even though my oldest two kids went to ps the year before), so we were automatically "behind".  My son didn't even know his letter sounds.  And the second year was jumping from one curriculum and method to another.  I probably bought 5 different language arts programs that year.  It was ridiculous.

 

It takes awhile to get into a groove.

 

I would add to this list Mere Motherhood by Cindy Rollins. I think this book has helped more than one of us with our expectations. 


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#27 tentwelve

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 03:40 PM

What if you did...read-alouds, math and language arts as your curriculum (until kids are a little older)...come up with a schedule for yourself to do some hands-on/out-of-the-house schooling.  Nature walks, mornings at the park, storytime at the library, free day at a children's museum...nature centers...big trips to the library and have the older ones do free reading while the younger ones take a nap...(not sure what you have around you as far as field trips)...

 

Maybe making a schedule out for yourself would help.  Last year, I actually started scheduling field trips.  For the first time in 8-9 years.  This has been one of the best school years ever.  I just finished planning the next school year and we are going to do a ton of field trips.  I'm taking them to a war reenactment (my kids are older - lol - you probably wouldn't want to take your toddlers to a war reenactment), we're going on a fossil dig, I'm trying to take them on a tour of a battleship...  I'm scheduling projects - even for the teens.

 

As far as reading, my favorite books have been The Well-Trained Mind (no one beats her in the expository writing department - Lol), Educating the Whole-Hearted Child, The Unschooling Handbook, Homeschooling with Gentleness, The Latin-Centered Curriculum.  Charlotte Mason Companion is pretty good.  Free Range Learning was fun to browse through.  I really liked The Teenage Liberation Handbook...but you wouldn't need that one for awhile.  

 

Just some ideas off the top of my head.

 

And our first two years homeschooling were disasters, BTW.  The first year, we basically had to start all over from the beginning (even though my oldest two kids went to ps the year before), so we were automatically "behind".  My son didn't even know his letter sounds.  And the second year was jumping from one curriculum and method to another.  I probably bought 5 different language arts programs that year.  It was ridiculous.

 

It takes awhile to get into a groove.

 

I did about the same thing in my first years of hs'ing.  Well, really longer than that, but who's counting.   ;)

 

OP, you might want to consider that the foundation you lay in those early years CAN pay off in a huge way when your kids reach the teen years.  And not just academically.  Emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  The early years were exhausting, true, but I found it was so very worth it to have all that in place and solid when dc reached the rhetoric stage ages (we did WTM).  Having established that base enabled us to enjoy those years.  Lots of deeper discussions, connecting all the subjects ... it was like their little brains suddenly opened up and put it all together.  And they began to get excited about their learning, along with digging deeper into their own interests because they had the time to do that at home.  At least, that's how it worked for my kids (5 average dc, hs'ed K-12). 

 

   


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#28 Arcadia

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 03:52 PM

He is an EXCELLENT student - intelligent and relatively self-motivated.

I still, though, don't have the desire to teach them.

I also think my daughter is much harder to school than my son. So maybe considering something different for her only?? I just don't know. She is very easily molded so public school for her could be detrimental.

My oldest went to public school when I needed a break from having two at home because he is more street smart and matured than my youngest. He is also an independent learner so afterschooling was easy.

My youngest is the one who would need help in public school or he would daydream and talk too much and end up being behind. Besides he is not street smart at all and more likely to be bullied. So the harder to school kid was the one we had to keep away from public school and use outsourced classes and tutors. We had to choose best fit tutors for him while my oldest would have been able to cope with a not as good fit tutor.

Neither my husband nor I have any desire to teach our two kids. We pulled our kids out of public school with the understanding that we would put them in private schools or hire tutors and/or outsourced classes. So we had a hard look at the cost of two kids in secular private schools and decided we could pull off $12k annual per child for K-5th. We end up spending less on outsourced classes and tutors so the surplus just became college savings.

We are out everyday seven days a week as my kids get cabin fever. The library and a supermarket is a short walk away so it is easy for us to walk there. We also have good public transport nearby so we could take the light rail train to go to many places if we get tired of walking around our local neighborhood.

#29 EmilyGF

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:36 PM

OP, this is a discussion we've been having at home, too, and I was struck by something I realized: my husband has to work and, in some ways, is stuck. He can't just quit his job. If he wanted to, it'd take a year or so to work out the logistics of quitting and transitioning to a new career. That helped me see my current situation in a new light - people do things because they have to (and because it is the least bad option) ALL THE TIME.

 

Does that mean you have to homeschool? No way! But this isn't a unique position to be in.

 

Emily

 

PS If I do put them in school, I'll be getting a full time job. But that's probably off a while in the future for a whole heap of reasons.


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#30 wendyroo

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 04:51 PM

OP, this is a discussion we've been having at home, too, and I was struck by something I realized: my husband has to work and, in some ways, is stuck. He can't just quit his job. If he wanted to, it'd take a year or so to work out the logistics of quitting and transitioning to a new career. That helped me see my current situation in a new light - people do things because they have to (and because it is the least bad option) ALL THE TIME.

 

That is pretty much my perspective as well.  

 

DH and I both get up at 5:30am to start the daily grind.  He gets ready for work, and I get ready for another day at home fighting the good fight.  Sometimes DH enjoys his job and other times he really doesn't.  Sometimes I find slivers of joy in parenting and homeschooling, and other times I just keep plugging along because I don't have any other good choices.

 

If we play our cards right, all the kids are in bed by 7pm and we can relax for a couple hours before bed.

 

On the small scale, it isn't like this is how DH or I would choose to spend our days.  There is nothing fun or glamorous about spending all day dealing with whining, messy, immature children or sitting in endless meetings.  But, in the big picture, this is the life we chose and we deal with the day to day because that is what we have to do.

 

Wendy


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#31 LMD

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:28 PM

Thanks all! Trying to address questions:
 
  
 
DH is supportive of us looking at different options. He is also supportive of me getting enough time for myself. Other than feeling like I can't send them to public school (which I have issues with as well), he is really open to helping me out and giving me the breaks that I need. He works a normal, 8-5 M-F job which is good but he doesn't really have much flex time during business hours. All that being said, I *still* have the kids all day every day. He can't do anything about that fact.
 
  
I don't really feel like the littles are a huge problem - they do make focusing on the older ones harder sometimes, but I feel like because I spend my whole morning teaching, I use the rest of the afternoon to plan shopping trips, etc. and the house doesn't get clean and extra things don't get done. 
Educational philosophy: classical and Charlotte Mason. I do like getting out with the kids and don't love being home all the time. But having too littles makes it more difficult to get out, especially for longer day trips. I think I would really enjoy a day trip with the older two. Also like curriculum and guidance when it comes to what exactly to do. I love being able to choose what my children learn, and tailor it to their needs.
My oldest is a self-learner and they both love reading all kinds of books about animals and history. So they get it. It's just not led by me.
 
  
Yes, the schedule would be a huge change. Like I said, my oldest went to Kindy and I picked him up every day at noon. That did get a bit old. 
I think homeschooling is great for my oldest. But the next one, I'm on the fence. She always says she hates co-op but I know she enjoys it when she's there. But she's also very needy - needs me to guide and help her, and doesn't play well by herself. Sometimes I feel like school for her would be helpful socially. She's also very dramatic and we have regular blow ups where she goes to her room yelling, etc. That really frazzles me.
 
  
That makes sense. We are both praying tons for leading from God. I honestly can say it was God who led me to home school when I had zero desire to do it the year before. And I think it's my own wants that keep me from enjoying it to the fullest with my kids. My own things that pull me and make it so I don't want to take the time to teach. When I've spent the whole morning teaching, I just want the kids to leave me alone for the rest of the day. That's just how I feel right now. And I hate it. Sometimes I think I will appreciate them more if they're in school full time.
I have others who say my kids are intelligent and wonderful and wonder what I do with them that makes it so. I feel like I'm doing nothing, haha. I've learned not to worry about things like crafts and stuff that aren't my forte. But some things, I really like and can tell that they like and I'm not doing with them. 
 
  
Honestly, I don't dislike any of the subjects. I just dont' feel like I have the time for them all!
  
We do have a private school that does part time homeschool where you can pay per class. Still pretty expensive but may be an option for us. I need to look into more things like this maybe. 
  
And I think this is why I'm considering CC - it's less time for myself, but it FORCES me to be with them and in their lives more. And that may be what I need - maybe having that will bring that desire back to me and make me WANT to teach them. I do like getting out with them. I go crazy at home all day. And CC starts early Monday morning which might be the boost I need at the beginning of the week to get it started right. Then the support of CC. I'm NOT getting that at the co-ops I'm at - one of them, most of the moms have younger kids so they think I'm the big cheese lol. Other one, I really barely know anyone because it's always drop-off.
Would love advice on books to read because I love reading! I've read The Well-Trained Mind.. that's it lol.
And I think I need more field trips. Co-ops have them but they have recently been very expensive and/or far away and hard for me to do with four small kids.
 


Big hugs. We all hit that point where we realise that it's is hard work. I remember being pretty upset that the rosy picture of homeschooling was tarnished, and it just became a drudgery.
I do think that there could be other solutions to your discontent, a cleaner for a couple of afternoons a week would be cheaper than private school! Ideas like - swapping babysitting with another homeschooling family, you take the older ones on a field trip while the other mum keeps the littles.
I think that if you take a couple of weeks off school, really think about your expectations and the roadblocks, listen to podcasts/read and try to ignite some passion - for whatever options you choose.
if you choose to continue homeschooling, let go of 'have to' and decide what kind of school you want.
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#32 catie_mac

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:31 PM

I just wanted to say that I can relate! Ever since my fifth was born, it's been a real struggle. And this year, we came really close to deciding to send them to school, but eventually decided against it. I second what another poster said about not doing co-op. We are in one this year, but will take off for next year. My plan is to have pretty much no weekly commitments during the school week next year. Being out of the house, even for just part of the day is so disruptive, plus it really zaps my energy sometimes. Instead, I am going to use our freedom to go on outings more suited to us, like visiting with family and friends. We are in a homeschool group that does field trips occasionally throughout the year. I'm really hoping these changes help me feel more in control. We're also going to do more of a year round schedule so that we can take time off when it's best for us through out the year. Ultimately, you'll have to figure out what's best for your family.

A seasoned homeschooling mom of 11 gave me some good advice last year when I was just about to lose my mind with homeschooling. She said that homeschooling isn't ideal! A shocking statement really! BUT, in our current time and culture some of us must choose homeschooling because it is the best option. That doesn't mean the next 18 years have to be a misery though. Spend some time figuring out what changes could be good for you and your family. Prioritize. Don't compare to others.
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#33 Sahamamama2

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 05:41 PM

See, for me, taking the children out of the co-op and just being *home* would have been my answer. That might seem to be the counter-productive, but the thing with co-ops is that there are two days a week shot, that I'd be having to get the kids up and out on time, and be back on time, and then the other days would always feel as if we're trying to catch up, and I wouldn't have time to just...relax and be *home* with my children, to develop a daily, relaxed schedule that would involve and engage all of us. I'm thinking that since you say you're not getting things done on the other days that dropping the co-ops might be a solution for you, too.

 

I was going to say exactly this, but Ellie said it sooner and better. ;) If I was already feeling stressed, even with two drop-off co-ops, there is NO WAY we would ever sign up for a mom-must-be-on-site co-op (and never would we sign up for CC). Just my two cents.

 

We started homeschooling because we felt, as you do, that we had no other choice. As far as we can tell, this continues to be the case, and at times I admit that I have felt a bit of panic, when I consider how constrained our options seem to be. This sense of dread also creeps up from time to time when I have to face my own limitations in teaching something I'm not really "qualified" to teach. I usually solve that by muscling through it, finding (at-home) resources to help me, and relying on the grace that God gives each day.

 

But, getting back to Ellie's advice, yes, the best decision we have made (and continue to make) in our homeschooling journey has been to "be home." Our routine may seem boring to some, but it is wonderful to give ourselves the gift of uninterrupted time.

 

Sundays = church as a family

Mondays = meals, chores, exercise, pets, school work, free time (at home)

Tuesdays = meals, chores, exercise, pets, school work, free time (at home)

Wednesdays = meals, chores, exercise, pets, school work, free time (at home) + children's Bible club (church)

Thursdays = meals, chores, exercise, pets, school work, free time (at home) + children's choir 

Fridays = meals, chores, exercise, pets, school work, visit with relatives (at home) + Family Movie (or Game) Night

Saturdays = outings, errands, recreation, etc. (in community) OR yard work (at home)

 

You don't have to fill up all your child's time with mom-planned, mom-directed stuff. In fact, I think a certain amount of "benevolent neglect" is a good thing -- each of you persuing his or her own interests for a part of the day. Find a way that works for you to accomplish the academic basics that need consistency (e.g., Math, Copywork/Composition, World Language), add in Read Alouds or audiobooks across the subjects (Bible, History, Literature, Science -- and forget teacher-intensive projects or labs), and establish a relaxed, productive daily home routine.

 

Spend time teaching the children how to do self-care, simple cooking, pet care, and simple chores. Neaten a bedroom, make some soup, fold some laundry. Over time, you and your children will "run the house" together. My girls, at 10, 10, and 12, make a meaningful contribution to the work of keeping things going. When we work together, this ends up giving all of us more free time. 

 

Spend time establishing routines for your oldest student, for work he can do himself. For example, he could possibly review math facts or spelling words on his own, listen to music or look at art prints, listen to an audiobook while he follows along in print, or memorize poems or Bible verses. Again, over time, children are able to be more independent in some of their work. I will say, you are in the "hard phase" of things, with 3rd, 1st, and toddlers. That seemed to me to be the most teacher-intensive stage of things (so far), but somewhere towards the end of 3rd, 3rd, and 5th for us (twins + an older), my workload really became so much lighter. Yes, I have to "start the girls" on their school day, in a way, but there are so many components that they do independently (and are happy to have it this way!), it's like night and day from only a few years back. Now, 7th grade next year for my oldest may be a different story entirely, but we'll know when we get there!

 

Spend most evenings at home; have family suppers, read alouds, early bedtimes (so you have time to yourself and also with your husband). I finally got to where I stopped looking at what "everyone else" does, all the running around, all the activities (that we can't afford). I mean, if a family likes that pace, fine, I have no problem with them doing it, LOL. But for us, what Ellie said -- "be home" -- has been the key to an enjoyable, pleasant, effective, and "doable" homeschool experience.

 

Also, every now and then, I tell my husband, "You need to take ALL the children and go somewhere, anywhere with them, please." :D He usually takes them to the post office to buy stamps. Or to Midas for an oil change.  :rolleyes:

 

HTH.


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#34 Cadam

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Posted 21 March 2017 - 07:18 PM

No one can tell you want to do, but I can share my story in the hopes that you gain perspective.

 

First, you sound burned out. The things you need to be a whole person are very, very important. If you are not functioning well, there is no way you can give your best to your kids. Something has to give.

 

For me, the answer was a sabbatical. I thought I would take a year off of homeschooling (kids went to ps). I ended up taking 4 years off (there were significant extenuating circumstances).

 

This is what I learned....

 

I had to take care of me. I didn't even know what I did for fun anymore. I couldn't answer questions about my own needs and desires. At least you know, you aren't too far gone!

 

Public School is not the horrible place many homeschoolers make it out to be. Yes, there are horrible schools. Yes, there are homeschoolers who have had truly terrible experiences.

 

I found that 95% of my kids' teachers were really wonderful people. Overworked, underpaid, passionate, funny, loving, talented people who could do more with 30 9-year-olds than I managed with one. A lot of them were Christians. This is their mission field. If you hang out in the classroom enough you pick up on the signs.....  Sure, some were mediocre, but most were really great.

 

We preferred ps because there are many kinds of Christians and we really don't want someone imparting their version of Jesus to our kids. :glare: (and we couldn't afford private school anyway).

 

If you are going to take a year off, do it now when they are young and the littles can go to a nice little pre-school and the big ones are still in elementary. You get a lot more contact and communication with an elementary school teacher.

 

Once the kids are in Middle School ( I have one child who has gone to ps 3rd - High School for various reasons) you get a lot less information. The academic and behavior standards go down in Middle School and the "issues" go up significantly. You just can't have that many people going through puberty, all crammed in a small space without problems.

 

If there was only one time I could homeschool, it would be Middle School.

 

I say this as someone who plans to teach Middle school English when I am done homeschooling (I just love the beautiful awkwardness of your typical 12 yo, So I feel it is my civic duty to take them on) - Public Middle school is pretty much a wasteland in terms of academics, maturity, and civil social interactions. 

 

Their teachers are superheroes, but it's a wasteland of crazy.

 

 

If you can't take time off entirely, get a mother's helper or something. Someone needs to give you a break. 

 

Also, you need to give you a break. Tell me exactly how much you remember from your second and third-grade history and science classes..................That's what I thought.

 

 

CC might be great if you need the community and you want to spend time with other moms, be encouraged and not worry about science and history. I love that it is academic so my kids aren't just having fun, they are learning and so it takes things off of my plate at home.

 

HOWEVER,

 

There is no way I would do CC, and another co-op, especially if I was already overwhelmed.

 

If you are doing CC, how are you going to find more time to do the things you need to do for you? Because you won't have to worry about science, art, history, writing , grammar? Because you are going to use CC as the base of your homeschool and therefore simplify things a great deal?? (if you don't have an idea of what this looks like, PM me and I will give you a run-down)

 

CC can be great and make your life easier, but it isn't going to give you less time with your kids.

 

Really think it through. You need to make choices that give you time to be a person. You are important too.

 

 If you are an introvert, you may be better off doing NO co-ops and just making school as simple as you can for yourself. Just the basics. Use that money you were going to spend on co-ops and CC to hire a mother's helper a couple afternoons a week. Part of her job would be to read nice books about history and science to the older kids while the little nap. Boom, those subjects are done while you do what you need/ want to do.

 

 


Edited by Cadam, 21 March 2017 - 07:26 PM.

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#35 Susan in TX

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:01 AM

I have found that this article shares some real life wisdom when it comes to making life choices.

 

My two cents:

 

1) having children in school is not as easy as it looks. You will have free time when the older ones are at school but I found that when I had mine in school that the work involved in getting them up and out the door in the morning, driving them to school and picking them up, spending about an hour on homework, and then rushing them off to bed so we could get up the next morning and do it all again simply wasn't worth it. And the worst part of it was that the time I had with them was shorter and more stressful.

 

2) You can fit homeschooling to your lifestyle and your teaching style. It requires some effort but you can set up a schedule and routine to allow you to have time to yourself. The easiest way I have found is early bedtimes and a daily nap or "quiet time" for all the kids. Also outside free play time. Homeschooling worked/works for me because I know my limits. I mostly use curriculum that is not teacher intensive like CLE. I focus on teaching the basics and pretty much unschool the rest. And for fun crafty things that I am NOT good at we use kits from Ivy Kids.

 

Susan in TX


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#36 SweetandSimple

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 12:42 AM

Wow, I have to chime in because I can relate to you on so many levels, especially with your latest post. I started out homeschooling very enthusiastically-had the school room and everything. Things have kind of morphed over the years and here I am with 5 (6th on the way) and seriously considering putting them in school next year. It's just gotten to the point that I don't like *myself* and the mother I have turned into. I feel like you, like I am not doing enough with them (this pregnancy has been rough and so science and history rarely get done). And I definitely feel like my two littles are neglected most of the time because I'm so stressed out focusing on whether or not the two older ones needs are being met. Then comes the guilt. Guilt that I yelled, guilt that my house is never clean, guilt that I am grumpy and tired when dh comes home. I just feel like the time has come when I am clearly NOT called to do this anymore. It's scary. I WANT To be that mom that wakes up everyday feeling blessed and grateful for another day to spend with her kids. But instead, I'm the mom that lays in bed wondering how in the world I'm going to make it another day. I absolutely hate that. I too, wonder if I would appreciate them more if they were in school. Also like you, after the schoolwork is done, I want everyone to just leave me alone. I think I'm an introvert in that regard, and having 5 kids constantly surrounding me 24/7 in an open concept house...is just doing me in. Plus, with the baby coming...I just think I would seriously lose my cool if I was interrupted or what not...which is inevitable.

 

All of this to say, I hear what you're saying. I really don't think everyone is called to homeschool. I also think that sometimes we're called for a certain season of life, and it's okay to veer off in another direction if that's where you're being led. God wants the best for our kids, and I know that he doesn't want their own mother yelling at them and in so far over her head that she's not mentally happy. I want to look back at these years and remember the laughter and the joy...this year it's been less of that and more struggle. Don't get me wrong, I love homeschoolling. I want to make it work too but realistically, I know in my heart that's it's time to try something new. Don't stay with something because of guilt, or pressure or just because you started out that way. Do what you're called to do-whether it's homeschooling or not. Your kids WILL be okay. 

 

Yes! This times 1000!

 

I thought that I would always homeschool my kids. I also thought that it would get easier "when the baby got older" and then "when the toddler got older" until he was a preschooler and it was still really rough!

 

I would encourage you to look at all of the school options that you have and see what choices you have that you may not be aware of.

 

I never would've known until I really did a lot of searching that there are A TON of schools near me to choose from. Traditional public schools, yes, but also many free charters and other "choice schools" that are public schools based on certain philosophies rather than neighborhood boundaries..

 

We took the leap and enrolled one of our kids into a Montessori charter this year, and it has been wonderful. The school does so much that I couldn't manage to fit into my day, and the social aspects have been so important for my little girl. All of my kids will be going to school next year, and I am feeling so happy and relieved. I guess that I was experiencing more homeschooling burnout than I realized...

 

I may homeschool again in the future-- I'm certainly not opposed to the idea, and I'm willing to do whatever is best for my kids. But I am very grateful that we tried the going-to-school thing this year. It was a good change.



#37 MamaStephanina

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 05:13 AM

Sorry, mistake post! Carry on...

Edited by MamaStephanina, 22 March 2017 - 05:21 AM.

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#38 RenaInTexas

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 07:32 AM

Have you considered a 4 day school week? Fridays / Mondays off and free?

Also, with kids your age, you probably should only be teaching half a day with the afternoon free for yourself while allowing them to explore their own interests, self-directed learning. 


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#39 Monica_in_Switzerland

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 07:45 AM

I haven't read all the replies, but the first few at least.  Sorry if I'm repeating.

 

I have four kids in a similar age range- 10 down to 2.  

 

My biggest message is to simplify, simplify, simplify.  We don't do in-depth history or science projects.  We listen to history audio books, and the kids read from history encyclopedias and historical fiction, as well as science encyclopedias and science-based novels as part of their reading basket time each day (They read for x minutes from mom-selected books, then either orally narrate what they read about that day or write a paragraph about it).  That's it.  We hit math, language arts (including writing) and foreign language each day.  That's it.  Everything else is organic learning and learning from reading during basket time and free reading.  

 

Next, simplify home life.  MEAL PLAN- single best thing to do.  :-)  Cleaning rotation of some kind, increase chores for able-bodied kids.  

 

Simplify your hobbies/side jobs.  I think you listed 3 things- coupons, eBay resale, and mystery shopping.  Choose ONE to pursue for this year.  Just one.  Let the others go... for now.  This is ONE season of your life, and there will come a time when your kids are old enough for you to pick up your other money-making ventures again.  


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#40 Evanthe

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:08 PM

A seasoned homeschooling mom of 11 gave me some good advice last year when I was just about to lose my mind with homeschooling. She said that homeschooling isn't ideal! A shocking statement really! BUT, in our current time and culture some of us must choose homeschooling because it is the best option. 

 

Right, and day-to-day homeschooling doesn't always look perfect, either.  It's hard for people to reach that realization in this age of glossy Pinterest pins, perfect homeschool blogs, Facebook where you only see the best of everything...blogs with these super-incredible homeschool rooms...   :tongue_smilie:

 

I have family coming to stay with us (who are not fans of homeschooling) and I'm already worried I'll be defending my kids left and right. My 3rd grader missed most of this past school year due to a brain injury.  She's going to look behind to them.  She will totally catch up!  But, it's going to be on her timetable.


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#41 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:41 PM

In my opinion, parenting means putting our own desires aside for a season for the best of our kids.  What is the best eduation-wise may vary of course - it can be public school, private school or homeschool or even a mix.  I don't think that means that the mother (or other parent) has to be beat down with no joy or outlets but often with school-age children that is going to be potluck and opportunities might have to be seized in small bites here and there.  Personally I've found my joy and outlets in homeschooling.  I find it fun to fold the kids into my interests.  But as others have said, I've had times when I've been totally ready to run away from the kids for a short time as well!  Learning how to juggle the needs of others is not easy but I think it is rewarding at the same time. 


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#42 Ellen

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:42 PM

I haven't read all the replies, but the first few at least. Sorry if I'm repeating.

I have four kids in a similar age range- 10 down to 2.

My biggest message is to simplify, simplify, simplify. We don't do in-depth history or science projects. We listen to history audio books, and the kids read from history encyclopedias and historical fiction, as well as science encyclopedias and science-based novels as part of their reading basket time each day (They read for x minutes from mom-selected books, then either orally narrate what they read about that day or write a paragraph about it). That's it. We hit math, language arts (including writing) and foreign language each day. That's it. Everything else is organic learning and learning from reading during basket time and free reading.

Next, simplify home life. MEAL PLAN- single best thing to do. :-) Cleaning rotation of some kind, increase chores for able-bodied kids.

Simplify your hobbies/side jobs. I think you listed 3 things- coupons, eBay resale, and mystery shopping. Choose ONE to pursue for this year. Just one. Let the others go... for now. This is ONE season of your life, and there will come a time when your kids are old enough for you to pick up your other money-making ventures again.

Well said. I have 4 kids, ages 1-9. Many of these same things make it work for me:

- school mornings, free afternoons
- everyone has quiet time in afternoons while baby naps. We use lots of audiobooks
- only out one morning a week (for a relaxed drop off co-op) and we only school the other four days
- checklists for kids' work
- meal plans
- daily chore plan - one for me, one for each older kid
- consistent bedtime. Evening is when I do "me" stuff and spend time with my husband. We don't go out a lot in the evenings.

What Ellie said about just being home makes a huge difference for me as well. I know that personalities vary, though...

Talk with your husband about what are the most helpful ways for him to support. Sometimes they don't know what would help us best.

It's a challenging stage and I definitely believe it's a calling and not for everyone. I am always letting some area slide. But the worth is tremendous.

If you keep at it, try to carve a routine that fits your priorities and know that, especially for a while with littles, it will be hard work. That said, my good friends who have their kids in school face their own share of school- related work, so I think some of this is just the stage. ❤

Edited by Ellen, 22 March 2017 - 01:45 PM.

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#43 J-rap

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 01:50 PM

Haven't read all the replies...  

 

We didn't begin homeschooling til our oldest were in 4th and 5th grades, about to enter middle school.  By then, they had already been through a really sweet K-3 multi-grade class, which we really liked.  So, we decided to do that with our younger ones too.  They all ended up attending preschool - 3rd grade in a nursery school and then public school.  That worked out well for us.  

 

I'm not saying this would be the path for you, but don't feel guilty about doing it a little differently, if that's what works for you and your family.

 

 


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#44 Mrs Twain

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 05:16 PM

The main issues I see are that you are worried that your children are not being taught enough, but for various reasons you don't want to/can't devote more time to teach them. It also sounds to me like you don't really enjoy the teaching aspect. Maybe you enjoy planning the curriculum but not the daily grind of slogging through the lessons.

If this is the case, I think you would be happiest if you work on outsourcing either some or all of school. You said that public school is unacceptable and private school in too expensive. There are other ways to outsource that you should consider.

An online program could work. K12 is a free public school option. Christian companies such as BJU offer online programs. There are many of these types of programs available.

Alternatively, you could piece together courses from different companies. IEW offers DVD writing courses where all you have to do is help edit the rough drafts and proofread the final papers. BJU has good science distance learning online courses where you don't have to do anything except help the child learn how to use the website. Mystery Science is mostly done for you and is inexpensive. I am sure I have heard of online history programs (Veritas Press?).

This year I outsourced half of my 8th grader's classes, and it has turned out to be a very enjoyable year for me. I can spend time with him on a few courses that I enjoy teaching and leave the rest to his other teachers. I spend a limited amount of quality time teaching him, and yet he is taking a full load of good quality courses. Perhaps an arrangement like this could work for your situation.

CC may meet your expectations if you are planning to do Foundations and Essentials, but understand that you will be on their schedule. That is not a bad thing, but it is constraining. CC would mostly help you with writing, grammar, public speaking, and memory work, and it would take up one whole day per week.

#45 Mrs Twain

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 05:29 PM

One more thought--
Does dear husband like math? Maybe he could teach the children their math lessons in the evenings. (Mine does.)
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#46 Ellie

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 07:49 PM


If this is the case, I think you would be happiest if you work on outsourcing either some or all of school. You said that public school is unacceptable and private school in too expensive.

<snip> K12 is a free public school option.
 

 

K12 (actually, you don't enroll your children in K12; you enroll them in YourStateName Virtual Academy or something similar) is still public school, which she has said is unacceptable.


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#47 EmilyGF

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:23 PM


CC may meet your expectations if you are planning to do Foundations and Essentials, but understand that you will be on their schedule. That is not a bad thing, but it is constraining. CC would mostly help you with writing, grammar, public speaking, and memory work, and it would take up one whole day per week.

In my experience, CC is excellent for people who don't have the discipline to do school on a regular basis. While this is constraining for some, there are many people out there who profit from that constraint.

 

Emily



#48 Mrs Twain

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 08:54 PM

In my experience, CC is excellent for people who don't have the discipline to do school on a regular basis. While this is constraining for some, there are many people out there who profit from that constraint.

 

Emily

 

My kids have been in CC for four years.  I think it could be a good way to help to enforce deadlines, but I don't think it would help much to reduce the teaching burden.  That was the point I was trying to make.


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#49 Mrs Twain

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 09:00 PM

K12 (actually, you don't enroll your children in K12; you enroll them in YourStateName Virtual Academy or something similar) is still public school, which she has said is unacceptable.

 

K12 is a public school curriculum, but it is not necessarily a public school environment.  It is worth consideration since cost is a factor.


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#50 Cadam

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Posted 22 March 2017 - 10:26 PM

 

 

I do think a lot of the issues you are having are because of your kids' ages.  You're in the Vortex.   :glare:   In this house, those were the ages where it felt like I was being held prisoner in a zoo run by monkeys. 

Word.


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