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  1. I feel like I got the mother of all homeschool wake up calls this week. My head is spinning and I'm really worried about whether we can or should continue homeschooling...I will do my best to be lucid and get to the point as quickly as I can, but I've not slept much as yesterday was pretty upsetting. This is our second year homeschooling - dd nearly 12, ds 8.5 y.o. DS is a very social child and it had become apparent to DH and I that he might do better in a 'traditional' setting, even though we love having him at home. We found a lovely, small private school locally and went through the process of touring, feeling it out and then finally having him assessed to see if he could join in the 3rd grade class mid year. The assessment was a huge eye-opener, and not in a good way... Reading was off the charts excellent (he's a voracious reader of everything and anything), but...he performed very, very poorly on math and writing. Like a full grade behind poorly. In fairness, he's never really done a test before and likely just skipped stuff that he didn't 'get' right away....and he performed poorly on tasks he usually does well at home....but still...I was told in no uncertain terms that he was much too far behind to join the class....and in some areas, behind the 2nd grade...despite the fact that he is a very bright, mature, inquisitive, polite, gentle boy....The principle wasn't even confident he'd be ready by next fall. We knew he would be 'behind' (I understand the term is arbitrary and doesn't mean much when one is educating an individual child or measuring against one institutions particular yardstick) but didn't expect it to that degree. Last year was very tough going - he was an extremely reluctant writer and resisted any kind of seat work as his school experience up until then had not been positive for him....so we took it slowly, and it has helped. He has made progress across the board relative to his own skill level, but he is lagging....the assessment was a huge disappointment since we'd been so very proud of the progress he has made.... And the sad, sad truth is that I am responsible. Much of the blame for his delay falls on my shoulders because I have been so completely overloaded by everything else going on in our lives that to be brutally honest, there is a major consistency problem and a structure problem in our homeschool. It is affecting both of our children - my DD to a lesser degree, but it is affecting her still.... I think I've been blind to it because things have just been sliding gradually, but persistently...and I've been too utterly overwhelmed to grasp to what degree things are just not getting done.... Now, my son is not able to get something he really, really needs - to belong to a group of his peers, and be in a structured environment - because I have failed him...I feel incredibly guilty. It is breaking my heart. I am exhausted and burned out, and likely depressed. This state is related to lingering financial issues, DHs truly insane work and travel schedule, and the simple fact that I am left to look after pretty much everything - including all parenting, running our business, personal finances, homeschooling, house, home, cooking, shopping, pets....everything. I posted here about it last year http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/550581-rough-first-hs-year-suggestionshelp-for-year-2/#entry6334705 It hasn't gotten better since then - to be honest, it has gotten worse. Currently, we're half way through the school year, but just 25% of the way through some of our key materials. Not great on the heels of a fairly unproductive first year. My own stress and 'mental health situation' for lack of a better term, has been brewing for quite a few years now....we've had major challenges, and homeschooling was maybe not the best idea in light of everything we had on our plate, but homeschool we did. And now I'm seeing clear evidence of how my over-loaded-ness is affecting my kids academically, and I think I need to be honest about it and take action. It may be time for a course correction. Here is what I am thinking. First, I will be making a call to get some professional help for myself. I believe my current state is circumstantial, but I could sure use some support - and an advocate - to help me untangle things and guide me to a healthier place. I have been at or in a state of burnout at least twice per year for the past 10 years due to huge stress and major life events...no joke. I need some time to recover....I am at a low spot. My gut is that for the next 6 months, we may need to make serious changes to our homeschool as I simply can't keep it going. On the home front, the house has slowly become a disaster, I'm having a really hard time keeping home and business admin on the rails, we're reduced to the freezer section of Costco and Trader Joes for meals (I used to cook a lot, but can't seem to get on top of the planning, shopping, cooking cycle any more). Basically I have too much on me, and am only getting about 10-15% of everything done.....as a high achieving Type A gal, this in itself is incredibly stressful. Basically, I am no longer able to keep my kids moving forward academically... so I am thinking about enrolling DD in an independent studies program offered locally that would have her reporting to a teacher once per week. The teacher would assign and grade her work. We would lose control over curriculum. DD would also have some study support in ELA and Math 1-2 times per week. Not at all my ideal, but it would keep me from holding her back any longer. She needs to flexibility in her studies as she training and competing in show jumping. She is a good independent worker so will be alright, although she will be really sad to not be working with mom. DS, well I think it is time to bring in a tutor to work with him on Math and ELA....it would be pointless and harmful to put him into a public school situation at this point. He is ready to advance, just needs consistency and structure that I'm not able to provide right now. My goal would be for both of my children to be at 'Grade Level' by fall of 2016. This would open up the possibility of a return to school for DS, if that's what is desired and 'best' for everyone, and prepare my daughter adequately for entry into Grade 7 studies and looming high school....I want to keep their options open in the event that Homeschool isn't possible, practical or healthy for our family long term. They are both very bright children and I would be devastated if my failure to recognize my limitations prevents them from being ready for their own future. Homeschooling could still be part of that - I believe in it, but one has to actually 'do' it for it to be the right path. This approach would allow us to still do some of the 'fun' homeschool stuff together at a very relaxed pace - literature, CM Style language study, reading, history - but still get the kids working up to their potential in those core areas of Math and ELA....and would give me time to recover and time for DH and I to make some changes and decisions about how our home, business and lives need to be run in order for all of us to be well and healthy. His work shows no signs of changing - if anything, 2016 will be even more demanding. On a positive note (because there IS still much positive!), our time homeschooling has brought wonderful benefits as well. My relationship with our children is miles ahead of where it used to be. We've learned so much about them and they've . Our DD has had the time and energy to discover and nurture a driving passion and talent. Both children have had more access to their father, who would otherwise not see them much. DS has overcome a complete aversion to writing anything down, has developed surprisingly impressive reading skills and new friendships with other children in a new town. We have also seen his maturity and confidence grow considerably. DH and I are on the same page and have an incredibly strong relationship, despite (or perhaps because of) the truly Herculean efforts our chosen paths have demanded. I am grateful for any and all feedback from any of you kind and patient enough to read through....hopefully awaiting your good vibes and thoughts about my plans...
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