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teaching is the easy pary...it's controlling our hs that's hard!

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I've lost control of our home school!


We just started, this is week 4. I mean, just started for the very first time. My kids are 4th and 2nd grade, but I've already lost control.


We're starting later and later each day. Today we didn't finish breakfast until after 9am and piano lesson is at 10am! So I am just having the kids each practice before we go, but it's basically a wasted morning. It'll be almost lunch time by the time we get back. And we have a PE class at 2!


Yesterday was a day that one distraction after another came at us, most unexpected, so we barely did the basics even. Between a few phone calls I couldn't leave unanswered, to a last minute babysitting need for our niece, to family stopping by to drop off stuff (twice), and a friend popping in...AAaahhh! I couldn't wait to leave for our Small Group last night because it meant I could just sit for an hour. And then today starting off as a waste...


So I have a bad attitude already for the day. I may take a walk while the kids are in lessons to get my head on straight.


Can anyone give me some "tough love" and tell me where I'm going wrong. I know the loss of control is my own doing. What do YOU do to keep on track, to keep disciplined, orderly...


At 4 weeks into my hs experience I'm disheartened. And the teaching is the easy part, LOL!


PS> Did I mention I'm not naturally disciplined? :tongue_smilie:


Going under... :banghead:

-Melissa in CA

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You need to make mornings sacred for homeschool lessons ONLY - can you reschedule the piano lesson for after lunch time on that or another non-PE day? Set alarm clocks if need to be, to ensure b'fast if done and everyone is ready to do school at a set time. Then hit whatever is hardest (usually math and get it done and out of the way (so you can enjoy the rest of the day) also, with younger kids, I would spilt up any reading work rather than try and make them read a lot at one time.


Then, you need to "train" relatives, etc. to NOT call or stop by until after lunch time (or 1 or 2 o'clock, whatever works best for YOU). Put a sign on your door noting "school in session, please come back later". Use an answering machine for "emergency" calls - if you were at a 9-5 job (say, a teacher in a classroom) you would not be taking calls during class time.


Just because you do school at home doesn't mean it is just like being home all day, if you get my drift.


A former board member, MFS, wrote a cool post about how she treated homeschooling and educating her kids as her job, and treated it as such. A joyful (most of the time) job, but a job nevertheless, with no slacking off or being on computer checking email (or these boards ;-) or taking/making phone calls during school time.

Edited by JFSinIL
i am typo queen
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yep, set boundaries. My family never calls me in the AM. I either don't answer the phone or immediately say we are doing school, call you later! I don't answer the phone unless I know who it is and it's very important. Most things can wait until after lunch.


We also don't have other things planned for the morning. I will do Dr appt's but I know that day is gone and I might as well schedule as much as I can that one day since we won't be doing school. I make exceptions for field trips, family visits from out of town and special things we could do. It means we add that day to another day of the week.


In the past I did 4 day weeks but we were running into summer every year, so we do 5 days of work and if I skip a day we do it in that week and not just move on ....otherwise I am back to the summer/year round schooling :tongue_smilie:


In the next 3 weeks we have one day a week with stuff planned and I wish we didn't! We are enjoying this full 5 day week. It's hard to balance but you have to do it.


As for mornings....alarm clocks for all people is needed. My kids know to be downstairs ready for school by 9am. They are to dress, eat and brush teeth before that time. It's up to them to get up and get it done. They naturally get up on time but they had to learn time management.


We are struggling to get music practice in and I had to add it to our school routine...at the end....but no fun until everything is done.


It will get easier. It means saying no to make your school a priority. No to the phone, no to visitors, no to early Dr appts, no to playdates unless that is truly the only time the people can play......saying no and making your kids education the morning agenda :-)

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I fall into that, too!! Here's what I have to do to get on track. It might not work for you, but it's what I do.


1. Get my morning stuff totally prepared the night before. Since I exercise in the morning b4 anyone else is awake, I have a drink ready in the fridge, my exercise clothes (inclu socks and shoes) ready to wear, etc.


I also have everything for breakfast (except cold stuff like milk) set on the counter or table, ready to be used. (the pancake pan is already on the stove, the mixing bowl is already out, etc.)


For the shower, I have my clothes already picked out, the deodorant and hair gel sitting on the counter, etc.



With everything pre-done, I just move through the actual motions of cooking, exercising, and bathing without also gathering the supplies. This can cut a 1/2 hour off my morning.


2. I turn off the ringers for all of the phones. I leave the answering machine plugged in, but with the volume all the way down. I can see if there's a new call (blinking light) and listen to it at my leisure. Unless it's a true emergency (hospital, jail, death!) I DO NOT return the calls until school is over.


I keep my cell phone on, but only my husband and MIL use it to call me on it, and ONLY for an emergency. If everyone uses your cell phone this won't work for you. You'll have to just turn it off.


3. I do not use the internet and I do not read a book during school. We ONLY do school work. I can easily let 5 minutes of reading stretch into half an hour without even noticing. I pretend I'm back at work. I wasn't able to sit there reading books at work, so I don't read them during school.


4. I clean up as we go, or in specified time periods. Right before school we tidy the school room (playroom) for 10 minutes. Right before lunch, another tidy. Right after school another tidy. When school is done, I do a deeper cleaning on whatever needs to be done (vacuum, etc--regular household chores.)


That keeps me going. And speaking of that, lunch was supposed to be over at 1:00, so I'm getting offline now!!!!

Edited by Garga
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You haven't lost control. You've just learned that some things need to be changed. If they were in school, there would be lots of wasted time too, so go easy on yourself. At the same time, it sounds like your schedule may need some changes. I agree that two activities on one day makes it really hard to get things done, unless you get up very early.


To get the kids up earlier, get them to bed earlier. The alarm clock is a great idea. If you get up earlier, eat breakfast and get a couple of hours of work done before outside activities or any distractions, you should have the majority of your "sit down" school work done for the day. Either take the phone off the hook, or screen your calls. Nothing but urgent calls needs to happen during school hours. A couple of focused hours of work will help you get on schedule. I wasn't disciplined in the elementary years either. :tongue_smilie:

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We are 7 weeks into our first year and I found the same thing happening. I am already too relaxed. We are not in a rush and get things done, but I feel if I loosen up too much now, it will all fall apart later.


Part of the reason for me is I am still trying to fine tune our curriculum and schedule. We are taking the last week of september off so I am giving myself that time to adjust and set a new schedule. My problem is perfectionism. I am super organized, but I can relax where need be. I just tend to constantly overthink everything....is this enough writing, should I have gotten AAS, I need more reading....drives me batty :D


I can already tell my DD is getting a little spoiled with a lax schedule so I am going to ramp it up after our break. I started to HS to implement higher standards of learning. I need to get back to that. Good Luck to you, the beauty of HS'ing is that we can change it all around if need be!

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A former board member, MFS, wrote a cool post about how she treated homeschooling and educating her kids has her job, an treated it as such. A joyful (most of the time) job, but a job nevertheless, with no slacking off or being on computer checking email (or these boards ;-) or taking/making phone calls during school time.


You've gotten lots of great advice, but what I quoted above is what really helps me. I think of teaching my kids as my job, and I'm determined not to give them less than I'd give an out-of-the-house, paying job. That means I don't show up late or unprepared, I keep my "work environment" neat and tidy, and I don't take personal calls in the middle of "work" unless it's an absolute emergency. I would freak if I was sending my children to a brick and mortar school and found out that their teacher was taking calls in the middle of class, starting late every day, etc.


Now, there are some people who are chronically late, disorganized, etc., for "real" jobs, and maybe for them this "mindset" wouldn't be at all helpful. But for me, it really opened my eyes. I know I'm capable of starting work on time because I did it for years before I had children. So now I do it with my kids, and hopefully, they're learning something about work ethic at the same time.


I've homeschooled all along, but it was hard the first year or so to make that switch from SAHM to homeschooling mom. This "treat it like a job" mindset really helped me see where I needed to make some changes, and things have gone much more smoothly since then. Your friends and relatives will catch on, too, but you might need to give them a hint or two.


Hang in there, and good luck finding something that works for you :)



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We have issues too. I'm working on it, but I figure a period of deschooling & light schooling is ok. I have added their math & grammar finally. Today, we did math and read science and literature. We didn't get to grammar, history, geography or programming today. We'll get there. It's a learning curve.

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We are pretty casual about our schedule. As long as things get done before bedtime, that's fine with me. I usually have the kids plan out when they want to do what, and if that means little bro is doing his work in the gym while big bro has basketball practice, that's fine with me. It sounds like you want to be very structured, and you've gotten a lot of great advice along those lines. That would drive me crazy, it's just not me. Sometimes I'm the one still lying in bed, with my kids waking me up to demand we get started on science (confession: this happened 3 times last week).


However, I just wanted to suggest (a) don't be so hard on yourself. Consider it a process to move toward your goal; not an instant thing to find the perfect rhythm for your family's school days.


And (b) this year I knew we had a lot to get done, and we hadn't been doing much academically over the summer so it would be a big transition. So I eased the kids into the year (much like a frog getting used to boiling water, haha). We started in early August with 2 subjects a day, added a few more each week.


Oh and one more thing -- I pre-plan and pre-print everything I know I will need, about once or twice a month, so I'm not stopping in the middle of a lesson because I can't find X or need to print something out. It really helps with our flow. I also make sure that anything they can do independently, they do. And all supplies are at the ready so they don't even have to ask me for them.

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It takes awhile to get in a good groove. Don't stress out too much about it. I think it is key to not have anything scheduled in the morning. That way even if you wake up later you are not running out the door to something. At least with us, the afternoon can turn out to be unproductive if we have been busy doing outside activities in the morning because everybody is worn out and wants down time (including me). Another thing I finally did last year was not allow people to stop by during the day and I did not answer phone calls during school. It takes awhile, but now I rarely get people calling during the day to chat because they know I won't answer. Hope it gets better for you. This is our first week back and I have been very disorganized as well. It is not what I hoped for, but there is always the weekend to regroup and will try to start fresh next week.




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Guest Alte Veste Academy

You have received spectacular advice. I am slightly (and pleasantly) stunned that you have not been bombarded by suggestions to relax. In my experience, people who homeschool confidently and effectively with relaxed methods don't feel the need to send out the same sort of hyperventilating SOS as those of us who do not. :tongue_smilie:


The most helpful thing for me this year has been to start school during breakfast, which I serve at 9:00. I do allow a reasonable wake-up, quiet play period before this but they must be dressed and at the table at 9:00. I found that it was hard to get my pupils back after I released them for any length of time, including the 5 seconds it took them to clear their dishes! Now we do a lovely, gentle "together time" while we eat (singing, calendar, group math, memory work, etc.). Then I take their plates for them and put clipboards with the day's schoolwork in their place. At every other meal, they clear their own but I want them to just stay seated after breakfast! :tongue_smilie:


I also agree with the first year being the hardest. It is a transition for everyone, whether they have gone to school or not! I promise you'll be happier if you nip this in the bud though. It is too easy to let things get more and more lax. Ask me how I know! :rolleyes:

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Wow, what great advice you all have. I knew this was the place to go to get my head on straight and my feet back on the floor.


So tomorrow I'll stay relaxed but on task, then for Monday be more disciplined myself. STARTING with going to be at decent time. =)


And just for the record, on my own I'd be an organized yet relaxed teacher. But I've found, with hs AND family time in general, that if I don't provide a schedule of sorts to my kids, pulling them out of their free-time (aka selfish time) in order to do schooling or chores, etc. is next to impossible! So with a schedule we go...albeit an easy one. My goal has been to get through Math, LA, and History/Science (depending on the day) before lunch, with journal or cursive practice while I make lunch. Then just reading after lunch or anything that needs finishing up.


Tomorrow is a new day! =)


Thanks again everyone!

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I didn't read the other responses, but I have some varied opinions. When I first started homeschooling, I wouldn't answer the phone during school times. That is one of the best ways to totally lose control of your (usually younger) kids. Now, I have changed that rule. I will only talk to other hs moms during the day. They know the struggles and they don't mind to stop mid sentence for me to instruct for a minute or two if needed. Other folks seem to be put off by that. They also understand if I scream, "gotta go, bye" and run off to take care of screaming siblings or the like.


I also used to be very rigid in my daily schedule. We didn't leave the house (ever) before school was done. As I have gone on over the years, I have figured out that sometimes, the best park hours are early in the AM when the air is cool, ps kids and most homeschool kids are in school and we have the place all to ourselves! :) I also found that going to yardsales on Friday mornings and doing school Friday afternoons is actually okay afterall. Who'da thunk it? Not me. But it has taken us years of discipline and rountine to get to the place where the kids and I can all do these things and know that school still has to happen. In the beginning, I would not have worked at all.


All this to say, crack down for now but know that it isn't the end of life as you know it...things can relax (with you still in control) in the near future.

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