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I just can't do this anymore


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Since 2009 we have averaged about 1-2 days of school a week. Thats on a good week. Most of 2009 was taken up with my husbands job loss and 3 sudden and unexpected deaths in FL and GA that we had to rush off to for weeks at a time. Also, my inlaws had some health issues that required us to travel to their home three times to take care of them. 2010 was taken up with our first pregnancy and some health issues and my mom having two surgeries on her legs. Dh still does not have a job.

I have always been a die hard homeschooler and frankly right now I would put my kids back in school in a heartbeat. The problem is they are all too far behind to even consider it!

The only reason I would put my kids back in school is because I am not teaching them. I don't want to be *that* homeschooler! I'm devastated. I am not a "fake" homeschooler. I believe in homeschooling and believe it is best for my kids, but I feel so overwhelmed and guilty.

My 3rd grader is still struggling through Saxon Phonics 1 and barely sounding out words. My 6th grader writes and spells like.. I don't know what. Hers is mainly laziness, because it's only on her free time. Her school work is much better when I am monitoring her.

Every morning I wake up with the biggest plans for the day. Then something happens and the whole day is derailed.

I can't even set up the two older kids with independent work because they do it so poorly. Then when I get onto them they whine and complain that they don't know how to do the work. I know they do, but I feel guilty because I did not *teach* them.

I'm just so frustrated!! DH tries to help, but I think he is dealing with his own depression from the job loss and some other opportunities that have fallen through. I try so hard to support him and not nag, but I am at the end of my rope. He does help with getting meals together and does not complain when my day goes down hill.

I just really needed a safe place to say all of this. People are always scrutinizing my family in real life and I feel like I can't share with anyone the struggles we are having. I have to avoid the people who will pounce and say, "Aha! I knew you couldn't do it!"

On top of everything some of my best friends have just pulled away from me and I don't know why. I want to ask, but I know that they will act like I'm crazy and that they have not pulled away at all.

I just don't know what to do!

 

P.S. No, public school is not really an option for us. It just seems like it should be right now.

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:grouphug:

 

I wish I had some great wisdom for you but mostly just want to support and encourage. Have you thought about a computer based program like k12 or SOS for your older 3? I'll bet if you focus on school with the love and dedication you've given to everyone around you you could get up to speed in no time. :grouphug::grouphug:

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Well, maybe your children didn't learn phonics lately. Maybe they didn't learn handwriting skills.

 

But hopefully they learned about how family pulls together in a crisis. How to try to make someone else feel better. How to help take care of family or someone who is ill. Maybe they learned a little something about geography in your travels. Maybe they learned about health and physiology as the pregnancy progressed. Maybe they picked up some medical terminology while hearing you discuss your mother's surgeries. Maybe they learned about budgeting and saving and why that's important due to your husband's job situation (which I am sorry to hear about- I hope that your situation improves, truly)! Maybe in their "free time" they are playing educational games, reading, watching educational shows, spending time outdoors, observing nature, doing crafts, and learning in all sorts of ways you maybe aren't really thinking about right now.

 

Your 6th grader is certainly old enough to help you with meal preparation, housework and so on, and I hope that you are having her do so.

 

Sometimes life happens- you'll have to do some catchup with your kids but don't feel guilty that emergency situations took priority up until now. Hopefully you will be able to get your head straight soon. Hopefully the medical situations are improving. I hope that your husband finds a job.

 

And hopefully you will start to find the time to sit down and cover the basics with your kids in an effort to catch them up some, even if you only spend an hour a day on it. Even if it does mean going back to square 1. Even if it does mean you have to pick and choose what you cover with them.

 

Hang in there.

 

Meanwhile, you may have to have a heart to heart with your older kids at least. Don't be afraid to let them know what your situation is and how you are feeling and how you would appreciate their best efforts during this difficult time.

 

As for your best friends- I don't know. Maybe they are overwhelmed by all the difficult things going on in your life and don't know how to talk to you/handle it. Maybe they feel like it's all you've focused on and the negativity got to them. Maybe they think you are too busy for them. Maybe they aren't very good friends. Maybe you need to reach out to them. I'm not sure. But I'm sorry you are feeling hurt.

 

You've certainly got a lot on your plate and I'm sure it gets more and more overwhelming as time goes by, but take a deep breath. See what you can do.

 

And if, in the end, you DO decide that they need to go back to public school, whether that is permanently or for a year, don't feel guilty about that. And don't feel like you can't because they're behind- so, the school will help them catch up. It's not the end of the world. Maybe that WOULD benefit you guys right now, one year of letting someone else catch them up some, and letting you focus on other things in your life, and then taking them back when you feel more prepared....

 

It's up to you. Do what you think is best in the long run for all concerned and don't feel like you're ruining their lives. You're obviously a very caring and concerned parent.

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Hugs and prayers. You sound like you are stuck in a bad cycle. It's time to take a deep breath and get off this ride that is spinning in a downward spiral! It sounds like you have the materials you need to homeschool, just not the motivation to get it done. Can you involve your husband in the process since he's not working right now? It might help to give him some purpose while he is down about being unemployed. It would also give you an extra set of hands while you try to tackle bringing the kids more up-to-speed on their studies. I would focus on the "core" subjects with your kids right now, but also make sure to incorporate at least 1 fun learning experience each day so they don't view school as "punishment!" I will be praying for your situation to improve. Don't be too hard on yourself. Don't keep beating yourself up for what has happened over the past year or so....focus on today and then move forward. :grouphug:

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But hopefully they learned about how family pulls together in a crisis. How to try to make someone else feel better. How to help take care of family or someone who is ill. Maybe they learned a little something about geography in your travels. Maybe they learned about health and physiology as the pregnancy progressed. Maybe they picked up some medical terminology while hearing you discuss your mother's surgeries. Maybe they learned about budgeting and saving and why that's important due to your husband's job situation (which I am sorry to hear about- I hope that your situation improves, truly)! Maybe in their "free time" they are playing educational games, reading, watching educational shows, spending time outdoors, observing nature, doing crafts, and learning in all sorts of ways you maybe aren't really thinking about right now.

 

Your 6th grader is certainly old enough to help you with meal preparation, housework and so on, and I hope that you are having her do so.

 

Sometimes life happens- you'll have to do some catchup with your kids but don't feel guilty that emergency situations took priority up until now. Hopefully you will be able to get your head straight soon. Hopefully the medical situations are improving. I hope that your husband finds a job.

 

And hopefully you will start to find the time to sit down and cover the basics with your kids in an effort to catch them up some, even if you only spend an hour a day on it. Even if it does mean going back to square 1. Even if it does mean you have to pick and choose what you cover with them.

 

Hang in there.

 

Meanwhile, you may have to have a heart to heart with your older kids at least. Don't be afraid to let them know what your situation is and how you are feeling and how you would appreciate their best efforts during this difficult time.

 

As for your best friends- I don't know. Maybe they are overwhelmed by all the difficult things going on in your life and don't know how to talk to you/handle it. Maybe they feel like it's all you've focused on and the negativity got to them. Maybe they think you are too busy for them. Maybe they aren't very good friends. Maybe you need to reach out to them. I'm not sure. But I'm sorry you are feeling hurt.

 

You've certainly got a lot on your plate and I'm sure it gets more and more overwhelming as time goes by, but take a deep breath. See what you can do.

 

And if, in the end, you DO decide that they need to go back to public school, whether that is permanently or for a year, don't feel guilty about that. And don't feel like you can't because they're behind- so, the school will help them catch up. It's not the end of the world. Maybe that WOULD benefit you guys right now, one year of letting someone else catch them up some, and letting you focus on other things in your life, and then taking them back when you feel more prepared....

 

It's up to you. Do what you think is best in the long run for all concerned and don't feel like you're ruining their lives. You're obviously a very caring and concerned parent.

:iagree::iagree: I think she said it best!

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:grouphug:

 

Life can get overwhelming. For now, the important thing is not to concentrate on how behind you are or feel you are, or to concentrate on how things have been messed up. For now you need to focus on getting through each day. Don't make big plans for the day, just small ones. Write those plans down and do them. Consistency is important, so even doing a little each day will help in making big strides. Really, you have to roll up your sleeves and jump in. That isn't meant to sound harsh. I've had years that were messed up and I felt like nothing got done. I know I have felt behind. But dwelling on how behind I was did not help. I had to focus on now and just do a little each day.

 

I'm sorry that it's been hard to so long. You've had some very difficult things to deal with! When something that hard comes up I try to imagine how I would function if the kids were in school or I had a job. Sometimes (not always!) that helps me come up with a realistic plan for dealing with the crisis. I would not be able to pull the kids out for weeks at a time. Work would still have to happen, so I try to find a way to keep going in the middle of it all. It's hard, very hard. But it has helped me keep going and not feel like I'm drowning when the crisis eases up.

 

:grouphug: I hope you have a good week and I hope your dh is able to find some consistent work soon.

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You've been having a rough time, and your kids are right there along for the ride. Even if they'd been in school, they'd probably be having difficulties with their education. It's not your fault life hit you hard recently.

 

For your kids who can read,maybe just getting them to spend a lot of time reading would be helpful? They could pick up the rest later, when things calm down.

 

There are also a lot of documentaries you could watch. This has been nice for us when things aren't going well, as we end up sitting around watching something educational while snuggling on the couch. My kids really have picked up a lot this way, and the extra physical contact has been nice when things are stressful. Even reading aloud to everyone (if you have the time for that) can be very educational. If you get the older kids to do the reading, they will get even more out of it (and give you a break).

 

The year my dad died, we hardly got anything done. We were only able to recover the next year, because things let up a bit for us. But there are a lot of weeks even now, when things are on an even keel when we may only school for a couple days. (This is true of the public schools too.)

 

If you really do feel that a stint of public school would be good for your kids, I wouldn't decide not to do it because they're "behind". Lots of kids in school are at the levels you're talking about. In fact, if the kids are behind, they might get more out of school than a kid who is average or ahead because the school will feel they have to deal with it.

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I'm sorry you're struggling. Many of the good folk here will tell you to hang in there. I am saying that, too. But I am also saying that it's not 'failure' to try something different. I don't, in any way !!, think I am a hsing failure for having one of my children in school. My child is thriving, and is a wonderful human being. If others feel sending a child to school is a failure, that is their issue.

 

Whatever you decide...it's your life, your children, your family. What other people do or do not do should not play any part in the decisions you make for your own family and situation.

 

if you decide to trry school, remember that not all kids in school are on target. (That's what we call an understatement. ;)) It may be your children would only need a little help to catch- up. I don't think you should feel embarassed. If they stay home will you worry more that they are 'falling behind'? Are they actually 'behind'? Would reading about unschoolers (not 'fake' schoolers) help? What are your childrens' gifts? (Everyone has a gift or two). Is there a way to get outside help? What about family? Outsourcing? (Free things, of course.) Friends?

 

Think of your own family and what you have available to you. Take the Homeschooling Jones' out of the equation.

Edited by LibraryLover
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:grouphug::grouphug: Ditto what Nancy said. If you hadn't been homeschooling and your husband hadn't lost his job, you wouldn't have been available for your extended family. That means a lot.

 

I've known several families who have taken extended leave from "school" in order to take care of life. It's part of the lesson, you know? Maybe it won't help on a standardized test, but your kids are learning from you and your husband.

 

You're right, though, you can't ignore the academics forever. :) Your older kids should be able to work relatively independently. If all they do is read good quality books, they will do all right.

 

Do they spend a lot of time watching TV or playing video/computer games? All that needs to go away so they can focus on worthwhile activities. Easier said than done - it will take an iron will to follow through. Once they get serious about getting their schoolwork in, you might allow screen time for reward.

 

What curricula are you using? You might want to re-read your copy of WTM for some inspiration. :) If you don't have a copy, I have an extra (second edition) and will be happy to pass it along to you.

 

Don't panic!!! You'll overcome this. Would you like prayer? My heart goes out to you!

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I have been having some of the same issues here and realized that if I was to put my dc in PS they would all be a grade behind at least.:glare:

 

So what I decided to do was re-evaluate what I was using for school. I switched some curriculum which was teacher intensive to something they could do somewhat by themselves or with little help from me. Some of the things I started using were audio cds for history and read alouds. Computer programs such as teaching textbooks or SOS for math. I even bought hooked on phonics, the new ones have dvds to introduce phonics skills. And I use MUS which also use dvds. Also I am doing ETC with my youngers which are pretty easy to teach.

 

It wasn't easy because money is tight, but I had to do something else. I hated to switch curriculum but I also had to be realistic about how much one on one time I had available also.

 

Hang in there:grouphug: I am sure your dc children are learning real life skills that would never get in PS. Not to mention growing closer as a family which is priceless.

 

Jenny

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First of all if I could give you a big hug, I would :grouphug:

 

Second, you have a lot to deal with - a whole lot and then by your signature line a new baby, too. We went through a job loss last year and I know personally it is devastating. With my husband home during the day, too then it was kind of a "hiccup" in our routine. We were used to having the house to ourselves during the day (that may or may not be affecting you).

 

I bet your kids are not as behind as you think. Honest. The public school in the neighborhood we just moved from (we just moved) would spend about 20 min. a subject on certain subjects some parts of the day and skip that subject the next day or couple of days. Plus, they had a LOT of half days when the kids got out at 11 am. On a normal day, they were home by 1:10. I know there are great public schools, but I promise your kids are not as far behind as you think they are.

 

I'd just take one day at a time and make my goal to have a good day the next day. Just try for one day (don't aim for months, aim for one day) to do your best at homeschooling them. Just say for today I am going to do this, etc. and follow through with it. The older kids might resist because they are used to being "off" some now. They are old enough for you to just tell them this is how it is going to be, etc. Could your husband take care of the younger kids while you homeschooled? Don't let the older ones whine. Just don't let them whine without a consequence. Otherwise, you'll go crazy. Do you live close to a library? Could you take them there for a couple of hours and let them work and let your hubbie watch the younger ones? When we traveled a lot, we used the library for homeschooling and it worked great. There were others doing the same thing, too! Just get the kids on a routine and tell them this is the way it is and just stick to your plan for one day. Take each day one day at a time & do your best for that day. It WILL get better, I promise. Your friends probably aren't saying anything because they don't know what to say. I had some friends & family say some pretty kooky things when my husband was out of work. It's just awkward to some people and they don't know what to say, so they just pull away.

 

I wish we could all give you a big hug. I think we've all been there at some point with something not going right in our homeschooling if we've done it a while. We've had a lot of moves & bumps in the road but it all works out in the end.

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:grouphug: I'm so sorry. I'm sure whatever you decide to do will work out for the best, since you are acting in the best interest if your family. I'm sure once you get back on track everyone will catch up quickly to where they belong, whether that is "behind" or "ahead". Maybe just keep your goals for the day small and attainable at first, do lots of read-alouds, etc. until they're a little more independent. Ultimately they'll be fine, and like others have said, they'll be able to look back on this time and see what a strong family they have.

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:grouphug:I'm so sorry things are hard for you right now.:grouphug:

 

When I'm struggling with getting it all together, it helps me to attack one thing at a time. It gets overwhelming when you start to look at the big picture and fix it all at once.

 

It's amazing how fast kids can catch up once a routine is established--I think school can wait while you get into a good, healthy family routine. Chores, wake up time, work start time, checklists of what need to get done in a day so it all doesn't fall to you. Getting caught up on things that need to be done.

 

Next, sitting down and talking with your older dc about the importance of school and studying and taking it seriously. I would be honest about how far behind they are and that it is going to take a little work, but, you all are committed to catching up and doing what needs to be done. Let them know that you are committed to making it work with them.

 

Set up a time for YOU to get things done--lessons plans, bill paying, errands--and let your kids help by taking care of each other for the time you are busy with those things. You are a family and YOU are the mom--you need and deserve time to do what you need to do to keep it all together. You also need alone time and husband time--dh and I have to schedule it, but, it's a priority so we do put it on the weekly schedule. Even if it's just a walk or something, we make sure we do it.

 

Don't allow distractions. I turn off our phones during school time. I don't usually answer the door during school time. Our family/friends now know when is a good time to reach us and a bad time--they respect it now.

 

Just take one day at a time. Today we will do this, this and this and we plan for tomorrow, but, we only think about what needs to get done today. If it all doesn't get done, adjust for tomorrow--but, try to get it all done in the day.

 

Be realistic, it will take time. We've almost all been there when life just gets in the way, it's not un-fixable! You can do it!!!:grouphug:

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:grouphug:

 

is it possible you are suffering a bit from depression, too?

 

:grouphug:

 

sometimes, we can only do one thing at a time. so maybe this weekend, you could make sure everyone is eating something relatively healthy at set times at the table all together.

 

by monday, you'll be almost used to that. have everyone at the breakfast table at, say, 8am. choose a book to read aloud (we found little house on the prairie worked for all ages and genders in our house).

 

then everyone goes to their rooms to get dressed, make their beds and put their laundry in the hamper.

 

keep the other meal times during monday. if you still have energy, add in a walk outdoors. choose a time when it can happen most days. take everyone. do this for a few days. add in a consistent bedtime.

 

what you are doing is weaving your days, a bit at a time.

 

once you have the frame of the day (rising time, eating times, outdoor exercise time, bedtime), then you can start to hang the rest of the things on the frame.

 

happy horizontal hour, right after lunch each day, is a good one to add in early on. they can read, play quietly in their rooms, etc, etc.... but no media at all. you get to do what you would like.

 

then you can add in the curriculum you already have, or try Five in a Row. most ages can do it together, it can take only a few minutes-an hour a day, and its cheap (you need a teacher's guide, and then get the books from the library). for that few minutes to an hour, unplug the phone, don't answer the door. i suggest it because it is simple to implement, covers all subjects except math and learning to read, and is fun and gives you lots of good cuddle time.

 

then you could add in math where they are, just 15 minutes a day. (we do ours after room rescues after breakfast.

 

good luck - let us know how you are doing!

ann

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:grouphug:

 

It might be time for you to put your power to work for you.

 

I don't know anything about depression. If you think your dh needs to see a medical professional start making noise about him going. The sooner the better. As to the unemployment, what I would do is give my dh a good (metaphoric) kick in the pants. I'd point out that he may not have the job, but he can go out and get a job. (I say that thinking you are not in a rural area.)

 

It also sounds like it is time to review your disciplinary methods with the kids. Do the olders do their work poorly because that is what they can get away with? They can whine and complain on their own time, but not yours.

 

Over the weekend create several schedules, (school, chores) school rules and a consequences chart. Menus are very helpful too. Also spend about 4-5 hours getting the house to the point that it is satisfactory to you. The kids need to help. (Dh too if he is not our looking for a part time job.) At their ages they need chores and responsibilities. Even the 4-year old is capable of doing the simplest chores.

 

Turn off the phone, lock the doors and let dh and dc know it is time to work on themselves. Do not allow the interruptions. Yes, it is family, but family is going to have to give you a break. Your or your dh's siblings can take care of your parents for a while. Or parents can hire out for a companion or help.

 

I know that sounds harsh, but you've got to get your house together before you can consider helping others. Homeschool is important to you and your family. It is time to get back to it.

 

As to your friend, well, if she is pulling away when you need her most, is that something you want to fight for?

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You have some great replies here.

 

I would encourage you to take baby steps and stop every thought that comes to mind that is discouraging.

 

Take a couple days at a time and work on the foundation... routine... like bedtimes and breakfasts followed by family chores.

 

Then add in just one subject to the routine for a couple of days.

 

Get some household habits going all around... manners, attitudes, being a team.

 

And then add in another subject. After a few days add in another.

 

Waking up and saying "Today I will get it all done!" isn't working. You set yourself up and then get disappointed.

 

AFTER getting some routines in place and practicing good self talk, look at each child's schedules and your daily schedule. A good exercise to bring perspective and reality to your daily plans is listing out what each person in the family has to do each day and how much time it takes. Include yourself. Sometimes we are in seasons where we need a schedule on paper to guide us. There are times I can wing it successfully and times where I need to look at the next thing on the list.

 

Blessings to you!!

 

:grouphug:

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Well, maybe your children didn't learn phonics lately. Maybe they didn't learn handwriting skills.

 

But hopefully they learned about how family pulls together in a crisis. How to try to make someone else feel better. How to help take care of family or someone who is ill. Maybe they learned a little something about geography in your travels. Maybe they learned about health and physiology as the pregnancy progressed. Maybe they picked up some medical terminology while hearing you discuss your mother's surgeries. Maybe they learned about budgeting and saving and why that's important due to your husband's job situation (which I am sorry to hear about- I hope that your situation improves, truly)! Maybe in their "free time" they are playing educational games, reading, watching educational shows, spending time outdoors, observing nature, doing crafts, and learning in all sorts of ways you maybe aren't really thinking about right now.

 

 

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

 

I was in a similar situation, though not to this extreme. When my mom had to go to the nursing home for a broken pelvis (and we weren't sure if she was going to survive), I had to go to see her for several hours each day - to make sure that she cooperated with the physical therapists, to make sure she got her pain meds before therapy, to cheer her on, etc.)

 

A dear friend suggested hiring outside help to assist me with the homeschooling. I hired a college student (who was formerly homeschooled) to work with my kids 5 days a week for a couple weeks (mostly my younger since my boys were a little more independent.) Plus, a couple moms did work with my boys on a weekly basis to make sure that they were getting their stuff done. When things settled down a bit and I was less overwhelmed, I had the college student come once a week for the rest of that school year. This helped keep me accountable - I was too embarrassed for her to come and it be obvious that I had done NOTHING (when, to be honest, that is all I felt capable of doing.)

 

While it was difficult for everyone, we pulled through and my daughter made progress. Having someone from outside the family helped break up the tension and helped me get some badly needed structure so that I could cope with the day-to-day stuff.

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My husband lost his job in Jan. 2008..... we had unemployment and his 401K, so money wasn't too bad, but our motivation was. We took that time and went to all the State Parks in the area of GA that we lived in. The kids learned an incredible amount about the Trail of Tears, etc. We went to reenactments, fairs, pow-wows, etc. I tried to "school" but wasn't motivated to do so...what with all the resume writing/job hunting/getting hubby ready for interviews, etc.

 

My son was 2nd grade and couldn't read a word... couldn't pronounce the letter sounds.... barely knew the alphabet. My girls SUCKED at math... I mean, just SUCKED! :lol: But, we did what we could and just enjoyed the time we had together.

 

Jan. 2009 we got a job offer in MN! We moved up here, lock-stock-and barrel! The kids and I tried to get going with school again...and we made progress...but not in ways you would have thought. I dropped formal math lessons for the girls and we just worked on their basic functions using Math-it. The boy still wasn't reading and we just kept pushing at it... found out he needed glasses...and his reading took off. :001_huh: I don't know how much the glasses helped him, but he does seem to get tired eyes fairly quickly, so maybe that's what helped him. I think he also got embaressed by his inability to read.

 

Anyway, the kids have caught up......... they are on grade level for math and reading and their knowledge of Native American culture is very good. We can all honestly say that it was our best year ever...the year "Dad didn't have a job"! :lol:

 

I would suggest drawing back and reassessing......get the kids involved in the household chores..... and try to have fun. :grouphug: I think you will find that when all is said and done, your kids will be just fine.

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:grouphug: I'm sorry you're having a hard time. It's difficult when life piles up on you at once....

 

The other ladies on the board have better advice than I can give, so I found a couple of older posts that might have helpful advice.

 

(I don't know how to make a link :blush:, so I'll just type in the titles, and you can do a search for them if you like. )

 

"Am I doing them a disservice?" - posted by CynthiaOK

"If life events forced you to simplify school..." - posted by Another Lynn

 

Best wishes to you and your family!

Edited by Jenny Piaaree
misspelling
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:grouphug::grouphug:

 

 

My hubby was unemployed for all of 2009. He got laid off 1 week after the baby was born. The unemployment adds so much extra stress to life and homeschooling lots of people is hard all by itself. :grouphug: I'm saying a prayer for you.

 

There are many times that I want to throw in the towel. Homeschooling is HARD!!! Public school is not an option for us either. So after a good cry and lots of chocolate I put my big girl panties back on and keep at it until the next meltdown.

 

Which happened to be yesterday. :001_smile: HA, it did NOT go well. Hubby let me go to the library as soon as he got home to chill out and decompress and he took over here. That was helpful. But today I'm finding I need to figure out what's going wrong and get back in the game. It is hard!

 

 

Last fall I hit a wall with my oldest. I cancelled school for everyone else for about 2 weeks. I got him back on track and then was able to resume with everyone else. I am currently having issues with my 2nd son. He's also in 7th grade. Hmmmmm....I'm just starting to connect the dots. Maybe he needs a 2 week intensive to get him on track. Hmmmm....off to think about this possibility in more depth.

 

:grouphug: Hang in there!

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

 

I think it's awful that anyone would judge you harshly, considering everything you've been through and how much your family has sacrificed to be there for others in your extended family who needed you. I'm so glad to see that you've received nothing but kindness and support here, because you deserve it!

 

First of all, stop judging yourself and feeling like a failure. Ok, the kids are behind in their schoolwork. But you can deal with that. If they're healthy and happy kids, that's the main thing. Schoolwork is important, but they've probably learned a lot more in their daily lives than you realize. Start slowly on the schoolwork, and focus on the absolute basics -- reading and math -- and add in more subjects as you're able to do it, in order of priority. (What I mean by that is that you may want to focus on core courses that your kids will need for life, like grammar, writing, and spelling, rather than tons of science, history, and foreign languages for now!) If you spend most of your time on the basics, they'll move ahead quickly and get back up to grade level in a relatively short time. Seeing progress will also help you feel a lot better -- it's so easy to fall into the trap of feeling overwhelmed and hopeless, but it's amazing how quickly kids can learn if they're spending their time on only a few important subjects.

 

I have to say that I also agree with the previous poster, who suggested that your dh needs to get out and get a job. Any job. Part-time or full-time -- anything. Even a lousy job that pays by the hour will provide your family with a few dollars, but more importantly, it will also give your dh a schedule and a purpose while he looks for a more ideal position. He could work at McDonald's or Walmart, or mow some lawns, load packages onto UPS trucks -- whatever -- it doesn't matter. (Ok, if he starts selling Mary Kay and giving free facials to lonely housewives, that might not be ideal... and I would discourage anything that includes the words "male stripper" in the job description... ;)) But sitting at home isn't helping anyone, unless he's taking over the homeschooling and household chores and you go out and get a job. Helping out here and there simply isn't enough, and in all honesty, I think you'll begin to resent having the vast majority of the responsibility around the house, when your dh isn't going out to work. Jobhunting isn't a full-time thing, unless your dh is hitting the road every morning and going door-to-door looking for work. It can be stressful having a spouse around the house all day long if he's not pulling his weight (without waiting to be asked to do things -- it's uncomfortable to have to ask!)

 

Anyway, I know everything will work out with the homeschooling, but you need to give yourself a major break, and realize that it's not possible to accomplish every last thing in the world, so you're not a bad person if you've been lax at homeschooling while you took care of life's crises. You weren't out shopping and going to lunch with friends -- you were dealing with stress, grief, and probably exhaustion. Give yourself credit for the good things you've done for others, and then get started on developing a new routine for your home and homeschool, knowing that it won't be easy and the kids will probably whine and complain like crazy about it. But do it anyway, and start small, so you'll see little successes quickly.

 

And keep posting here when you're feeling overwhelmed. Many of us have been through similar situations, and you'll get lots of support! :)

 

Cat

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:grouphug: This year I had to buckle down! I decided that even though I love the freedom of homeschooling and not doing it like the public schools, I had to get organized! I decided to make homeschooling my full time job. Just like a real job, I stopped taking (personal) phone calls, stopped running errands during the day, and I do not do any chores during "school time". I have to turn down family and friends. It was hard to adjust, but it helped me tremendously!!!! I get up at 5:15 every morning and I get a ton of housework/computer stuff done before the kids get up. Getting up early EVERYDAY has been life changing! I hope that you can find a routine to work for you!

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:grouphug:

 

is it possible you are suffering a bit from depression, too?

 

:grouphug:

 

sometimes, we can only do one thing at a time. so maybe this weekend, you could make sure everyone is eating something relatively healthy at set times at the table all together.

 

by monday, you'll be almost used to that. have everyone at the breakfast table at, say, 8am. choose a book to read aloud (we found little house on the prairie worked for all ages and genders in our house).

 

then everyone goes to their rooms to get dressed, make their beds and put their laundry in the hamper.

 

keep the other meal times during monday. if you still have energy, add in a walk outdoors. choose a time when it can happen most days. take everyone. do this for a few days. add in a consistent bedtime.

 

what you are doing is weaving your days, a bit at a time.

 

once you have the frame of the day (rising time, eating times, outdoor exercise time, bedtime), then you can start to hang the rest of the things on the frame.

 

happy horizontal hour, right after lunch each day, is a good one to add in early on. they can read, play quietly in their rooms, etc, etc.... but no media at all. you get to do what you would like.

 

then you can add in the curriculum you already have, or try Five in a Row. most ages can do it together, it can take only a few minutes-an hour a day, and its cheap (you need a teacher's guide, and then get the books from the library). for that few minutes to an hour, unplug the phone, don't answer the door. i suggest it because it is simple to implement, covers all subjects except math and learning to read, and is fun and gives you lots of good cuddle time.

 

then you could add in math where they are, just 15 minutes a day. (we do ours after room rescues after breakfast.

 

good luck - let us know how you are doing!

ann

 

 

:iagree:

 

And I want to add...

 

How do you eat an elephant? A bite at a time.

 

1 Corinthians 10:5 says "bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ"

 

So it's time to revamp your thoughts. Cast away all thought of failure and all the overwhelmed feelings. Wake up telling the Lord " I will get done today what YOU want me to get done." So if some stuff gets laid by make sure it is because God didn't see fit to allow it to happen.

 

Once you get into a household routine, then you can try to start working school into the routine more. It seems that more than anything, the last few years has erased any sense of structure in your life; it is HARD to get it back and your kids are not used to the structure, so it will take time. Be patient! Start them working in 15 minute increments and then have snack. 15 more minutes and then do a quick craft. 15 minutes then play outside for a few minutes. After 3 days work up to 20 minutes, then thirty.

 

If your kids are doing any TV or computer it may need to go away (or at least be only allowed at specific times of day) till they get used to the structure and routine. As other posters have stated, they should be helping with the household stuff.

 

This is just a suggestion, but it has tremendously simplified my life... At age 11 my dd began to do her own laundry. The other kids all have their own laundry baskets too. Each person has her own laundry day when all their clothes are washed in one huge load. Not having to sort and carry laundry to all corners of the house was so freeing to me.

 

My oldest washes, dries, folds and puts away her own laundry. For my second dd, I do the washing and drying, but she folds and puts it away. I just hand her the basket from the dryer and the rest is up to her. For my 3rd dd, I wash dry and fold and she puts away. I only have to fold and put away mine, dhs' and my 2 yr olds laundry. Each child has 2 towels. If they don't hang them up, they won't have a towel. Only once have they forgotten and had to stand around shivering till they dried. (I guess I am a meanie!)

 

Many evenings before I start cooking, I tell the kids "I'm cooking and cleaning up. It is up to you to unload the clean dishes from the dishwasher." Then I leave the kitchen, and they work it out how to fairly divide the unloading.

 

Any way, these are just some suggestions. I'd bet that once you get your household routine humming, you will feel less overwhelmed and it will be easier to work some schoolwork into the routine. Your kids probably will need to do year round school for awhile till you feel like they are more caught up.

 

But it will be ok. :grouphug: Make sure that your get plenty of sleep and try to eat correctly.

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Since 2009 we have averaged about 1-2 days of school a week. Thats on a good week. Most of 2009 was taken up with my husbands job loss and 3 sudden and unexpected deaths in FL and GA that we had to rush off to for weeks at a time. Also, my inlaws had some health issues that required us to travel to their home three times to take care of them. 2010 was taken up with our first pregnancy and some health issues and my mom having two surgeries on her legs. Dh still does not have a job.

I have always been a die hard homeschooler and frankly right now I would put my kids back in school in a heartbeat. The problem is they are all too far behind to even consider it!

The only reason I would put my kids back in school is because I am not teaching them. I don't want to be *that* homeschooler! I'm devastated. I am not a "fake" homeschooler. I believe in homeschooling and believe it is best for my kids, but I feel so overwhelmed and guilty.

My 3rd grader is still struggling through Saxon Phonics 1 and barely sounding out words. My 6th grader writes and spells like.. I don't know what. Hers is mainly laziness, because it's only on her free time. Her school work is much better when I am monitoring her.

Every morning I wake up with the biggest plans for the day. Then something happens and the whole day is derailed.

I can't even set up the two older kids with independent work because they do it so poorly. Then when I get onto them they whine and complain that they don't know how to do the work. I know they do, but I feel guilty because I did not *teach* them.

I'm just so frustrated!! DH tries to help, but I think he is dealing with his own depression from the job loss and some other opportunities that have fallen through. I try so hard to support him and not nag, but I am at the end of my rope. He does help with getting meals together and does not complain when my day goes down hill.

I just really needed a safe place to say all of this. People are always scrutinizing my family in real life and I feel like I can't share with anyone the struggles we are having. I have to avoid the people who will pounce and say, "Aha! I knew you couldn't do it!"

On top of everything some of my best friends have just pulled away from me and I don't know why. I want to ask, but I know that they will act like I'm crazy and that they have not pulled away at all.

I just don't know what to do!

 

P.S. No, public school is not really an option for us. It just seems like it should be right now.

 

 

Oh I have been where you are, and before you say "yeah right", I have. I pulled my kids in December of 2005. In January of 2006, the same day we found out I was expecting the 9th child for our family, my husband also lost his job. So now I was new to homeschooling, with 2 kids pulled out, pregnant, and with no financial means to really do much in the way of schooling. I copied their Table of Contents from their books, and figured it would be easy enough to find lessons on the stuff they were doing online. Except I was tired, and stressed, and really had no motivation. So I took a page out of the advice that said "let them deprogram". So that's what I did. 9 months later I had my 3rd c-section, and hubby still had no job. Out of desperation 2 months later he took a delivery driver job at Pizza Hut. He is a pc tecnician by trade and has been in the business since he was 23, he's 41 now, and was 38 then. In January of 2007, I discover Homeschool Learning Network. They lack in Math and LA, but something at that point was better then nothing, because the guilt was eating at me. It was $15.95 a month, regardless of how many students. The problem was the boys had already had a yr off. While they were begging to be homeschooled before and excited about the opportunity, they had turned lazy. They didn't want to do school. They 1/2 butted it the whole time, and it was a nightmare. Everyday was fight and more often then not I gave in or up, however you want to look at it. August of that same year we moved. The fallowing month I went ahead and enrolled the oldest t start 9th grade. He had been WAY ahead of his classes before, and I figured anything had to be better then what he was doing before. To my surprise he still tested ahead of his peers and went into his classes, helping his teacher teach and assisting students. I kept his brother home, and was told that if he wanted to enroll the following year I would need to concentrate on LA and Math. Who knew that all the Science and History I had been killing myself and them to do meant nothing. It irked me, but what could I do?? So we cut everything out, I ordered Saxon 8/7 and we continued to use the LA program the site provided. I really had no idea what to look for in a LA program back then. My husband had found a couple of short term contracts starting the January back. Finally landed a yr contract the June before we moved. And he was still working PH part time. We were doing pretty good. Then the following June (2008), they said they couldn't afford him anymore, and we moved from Las Vegas where we had been living to Reno. The son I had been homeschooling, started his Freshman year. I was nervous about how little work we had done, and how he would place, but he did fine. Especially in Math. He has consistently for the last 2 years been ahead of most of his class and helped the teacher and students when needed.

 

My point to all this is, even though we may beat ourselves with the guilt in carrying this responsibility, a lot of times they are doing better then we realize. Especially when put up against public schooled kids. For instance, at that point I had pulled out the next two middle schoolers on the advice of a friend who worked on the Reno School Board. Later that year, when we moved to Texas because yet ANOTHER job overestimated their ability to fund the additional position, I was forced at the demands of my in-laws to put all the kids back int public school, with the exception of my Kindergartner. 5 months later, we moved out and got our own place. At the end of Summer, my daughter came to me and asked to homeschooled again. I tested her in Math, she was in THE exact same place in her Saxon book as she was when she left to go to public school. She even got commended on her stupid TAKS test and got almost all A's. How could that even be?? She lost a year of homeschool math due to public schooling. And this past Summer when I chose to pull them all out, I tested everyone. My son who chose to stay in, tested in Algebra 1/2, while the sister who stayed out last year tested in Algebra I. They are in the same grade. I shake my head that that is even possible, but sadly it is. I learned through testing he has problems with simple things like fractions and decimals. Simple things, that he just couldn't remember.

 

I know you feel horrible right now. Stretched in so many different directions. Worried, stressed, and guilt ridden all at the same time. But I would wager a guess that even with the little bit of schooling they are doing it is more in depth then the full week they'd get at school. Rest in your abilities. All kids have problems in some area whether it be writing, math, foreign language, etc... It's normal, even for public school kids. Maybe you could do away with something else for now to help them focus more time and evergy there. And even though, you may feel like you have nothing else to give, all you husband needs right now is love. I know with my husband I had to be the one with hope and faith because he couldn't find his. I had to be his cheerleader. And yes, there were times I didn't have mine too, and I just needed and wanted someone to reassure me, but in the end it all worked out. I did lose some friends. I think it's hard to hear about someone else's struggles so much, that it brought them down and depressed them. I understand, even though I thought that friends were supposed t be there in those parts too. But sadly, I learned to stand on my own. I learned that friends come and go, but my family is the one absolute, and nothing else matters. There are lessons in here to learn, and just remember you will get through. God is watching you, and prayer is invaluable.

 

I wish all the best for you and your family. If you ever wanna talk, feel free to PM me.

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If you were in Texas, we could co-op together. :001_smile:

 

Can you get a curriculum that the three oldest kids can work through independently? Like CLE? Or SOS? They're dry and not as wonderful as something like TOG or SOTW, but...hey, you could just have them work through the workbooks on their own during school hours and they would eventually catch up. CLE is really no-frills. It gives you the information and that's that. It's written so the student can just go through the workbooks on their own. The older kids can even check their answers themselves in the TMs. It's $3.20 a workbook and you can finish a workbook (slowly) in about 3 weeks. It's extremely cheap. I think SOS would be fairly cheap/easy to use also.

 

This is my back-up plan if I end up having a bad year...toss the CLE workbooks at them. :001_unsure:

 

Also, I think the last two years have been massively horrible for a lot of people - for some reason. It's REALLY going around. :grouphug:

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I haven't read the other posts. You say that public school is not an option; homeschool doesn't sound like it's working though. Do you see anything changing in your life that will make things easier? If not.... well, I'm not - as you can see from my siggy - a die-hard home educator.

 

If I were in your shoes, I would work hard on the 3Rs for all the children, ignoring all other subjects. At the end of the year I would reassess to see if the basics had been covered and whether the children were progressing well. At that point it would be time to look at whether school or home education was a better option, assessing brutally your own capabilities in your current situation.

 

Laura

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Julie you have a lot going on and the stress is tremendous. Compassion is not my strength but your post is really on my mind. Is it possible that you are also suffereing with depression? With as much stress as you are dealing with, and the hormones from your pregnancy and birth it is a possibility. The other thing that jumped out at me was that you make plans and then they fall apart. That is often a sympton. It can be hard to ask for help, and to admit a need for medical intervention but without it the problem only gets worse.

 

My other thought is to streamline the kids education. Take small steps in reading and math, and no matter what, commit to making sure that each child does both every day. As for the other subjects, I would look at sonlight or Charlotte Mason and check out those books from the library for the olders. I would also look at the curriculum that you are using. I know that financially it might be hard to switch it around right now, but if you would post what you are using, or the cycles that you are on, it is possible that you could get some easy, or inexpensive ideas to get the kids more independent, or could combine some subjects.

 

No matter what though I hope you know that it will be okay. There might come a time when you will decide that the best thing for the kids is public school, but please don't give up if it is what you really want to do. :grouphug:

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  • 3 months later...

I know this is an older thread but I wanted to come back and say thanks. I just sat down and read through it again and picked up even more great ideas. We are still struggling but it has not been as bad.

We still have off weeks where it does not get done, but we are having more days that it gets done than not. Big improvement. :)

Today was a bad day but I put the kids down with some National Geographic and Liberty Kids videos and later we will do some reading.

I have spent some time going over curriculum and schedule changes.

I'm switching from Saxon to MUS for math. I was thinking of switching the olders from R&S Grammar to something a little less intensive but I may wait on that and just make them work more independently.

We are still plugging through Phonics with the 9 and 7 year old. They are both doing well. I am pushing the phonics a little harder as we start with my five year old. I don't want to end up at a place again where he isn't reading at least some by 2nd grade. He is doing well with OPGTR.

One thing we are going to start next week to see how it works is focusing on one general subject a day.

Monday will be Math, some family reading, Science and Bible. Our Science right now is just a short reading and then the youngers tell me about the reading while the two older kids write about it.

Tuesday is a busy day with piano and dance so that is just a family reading day and Bible.

Wednesday is our co-op day. Since we are doing 4-H with our co-op and studying gardening we will use this day to work on our project book and our at home garden. Also we will have family reading and Bible.

Thursday we will do English/Phonics, History, family reading, and Bible.

Friday will be History and Science projects, writing/copywork/handwriting depending on the child, kids read aloud and Bible.

 

I think this schedule is going to free me up so much. The kids seem to think it will work as well.

We'll see how it works. I'll just keep tweaking.

Thanks to you all! :grouphug:

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I just read your original post and felt your pain. Some days, months, years are harder than others, but if you had not been homeschooling you would not have been able to do all of those things you did. I have a homeschooler friend with 10 children 2-23. I remember one day I had asked her if she could watch my kids so I could work, but she had other things that needed to be done. Her reply was that if she couldn't teach her children that is was important to help other people she wasn't teaching them at all. That's always stuck with me.

 

Have you tried Classical Conversations? We were introduced to it a couple of years ago and it has really helped us to keep our focus. As long as they were learning the memory work, they were learning something in every subject. The history is to a song, there are songs on youtube for the science memory work. If you look it up you will find that they say you have to go to a class to do it, but not the foundations part. All you need is the Memory work CD. I have compiled written pages for each week of work so the kids have it on paper as well as listening to the memory work. If it is something you are interested in I would be glad to share my files.

 

Praying for your endurance. Hang in there!

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We are somewhat in the same boat and I know exactly what you mean! My husband just became employeed after being out of work for 2 years during which I worked 8 months. In those two years, school was hit or miss. Then when things were beginning to get back to normal for us, my dear sweet grandmother had a massive stroke during a scheduled operation and never recovered. We brought her home to die-she lived with my mother-and I was one of her caregivers. I can honestly say that it was the roughest 2 years of the 20 years my dh and I have been together. BUT the four of us had a lot of great famliy time that brought us even closer together and then we were all able to be with our extended family throughout my grandmothers hospice. My girls were able to be there through the whole thing and learned so much about real life!! They were very close to my grandmother because we were able to spend lots of time with her and my mother-partially because we were homeschooling. I would not trade the time that they had with her for anything. I think that because of the stress and anxiety we felt/exhibited as a family during the last two years would have affected their performance in school anyway. At least this way, we were able to deal with this as a family and they turned to us rather than their peers (which is what I would have done when I was a kid in school). We have come thru this stonger and more determined. Now, I am having trouble getting back on track-but as building school is not an option for us-I am trying to find a way to make it work. I have taken a big portion of what was left of our tax return(2/3 of which we owed to my mother and in-laws for helping us when we had no money) and have purchased some curriculum that I think will work for us. I bought a combination of TT, SOS, and enrolled in Seton for several subjects for the accountability factor. Hopefully between the ease of the computer based curric and the accountability, we will get back on track! I will let you know how it turns out!

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:grouphug:I'm so sorry things are hard for you right now.:grouphug:

 

When I'm struggling with getting it all together, it helps me to attack one thing at a time. It gets overwhelming when you start to look at the big picture and fix it all at once.

 

It's amazing how fast kids can catch up once a routine is established--I think school can wait while you get into a good, healthy family routine. Chores, wake up time, work start time, checklists of what need to get done in a day so it all doesn't fall to you. Getting caught up on things that need to be done.

 

Next, sitting down and talking with your older dc about the importance of school and studying and taking it seriously. I would be honest about how far behind they are and that it is going to take a little work, but, you all are committed to catching up and doing what needs to be done. Let them know that you are committed to making it work with them.

 

Set up a time for YOU to get things done--lessons plans, bill paying, errands--and let your kids help by taking care of each other for the time you are busy with those things. You are a family and YOU are the mom--you need and deserve time to do what you need to do to keep it all together. You also need alone time and husband time--dh and I have to schedule it, but, it's a priority so we do put it on the weekly schedule. Even if it's just a walk or something, we make sure we do it.

 

Don't allow distractions. I turn off our phones during school time. I don't usually answer the door during school time. Our family/friends now know when is a good time to reach us and a bad time--they respect it now.

 

Just take one day at a time. Today we will do this, this and this and we plan for tomorrow, but, we only think about what needs to get done today. If it all doesn't get done, adjust for tomorrow--but, try to get it all done in the day.

 

Be realistic, it will take time. We've almost all been there when life just gets in the way, it's not un-fixable! You can do it!!!:grouphug:

 

:iagree: I'm just going to echo what Dayle said here. This is excellent counsel, and I could not agree more. You CAN do it. Here are some hugs from me too. :) :grouphug: :grouphug:

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