Wow, you guys have blown me away with your input! Trying to, again, reply as much as I can.
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.
I DO think we need more field trips! Our one co-op does them once a month but last month it was a trampoline place?!?! and would have been $40 to go there and no educational value so yeah. The other one we were busy.
I think I need to pare down MY activities. I'm trying to do too much myself, and then I get annoyed or stressed out when I have to spend time on the kids instead.
And I laughed so much about the house cleaning thing. If it got much worse, we might get diseases. lol I kid, I kid, but really I'm pretty lenient when it comes to cleaning, plus I outsource a lot of it to the kids.
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))
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.
I feel a lot better since several of you have said something like this. I DO like teaching my kids, but I think I prefer more of the hands-on teaching than the book work. BUT at the same time, I LOVE being able to choose our curriculum and what they are learning to tailor to their and my needs.
I am going to look into preschool for my almost 4yo. I would already have to pay for him to go to CC, which I don't think would really be worth it this early in the game for him. So maybe 2 days a week in preschool would be better.
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.
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.
My hubby feels the same way about his job - he doesn't love it, wants to do more (actually a high school teacher, haha) but for different reasons, he's just not there yet.
Homeschooling may not be my "ideal" in a perfect world, but it is the best we can do for our kids right now.
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.
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.
I do like the idea of CC for the reasons you said - in some ways, it forces me to be there for my kids and be more involved and I like that idea.
Funny - we have some great charter schools for middle school, so I'm leaning towards that from middle on out.
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.
I do only teach in the mornings but if I want to do anything else that day, I have to plan for it and sometimes I need time in th emorning to plan because if I start after lunch, it's like 3 or 4 when I finally get out and by then, I'm too tired lol.
This all being said, I'm leaning towards CC for the older two, and we will see what to do w/ the younger ones. I would probably still keep the Wednesday co-op - gives them time with other friends, is only $100 total for the year for all three, and I'll get a little time to run errands. We will see if that's what the Lord has in store. I'm going to look into PS for the one kid.
There is also a possibility of my in laws moving to town this year but they have to sell their house first. If they moved, I would feel SO much better about hsing because if I needed a break, they could help me.
And don't worry; I'm not offended when people suggest public school. I have plenty of friends who use it and have liked it and I'm not against it. I would NOT like K12 though because yo uhave to use their curriculum and the thing I love about hsing is being able to choose what you want yourself.