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6-5-2yo... seasoned hs mom needs to rediscover JOY in life w/2d round of littles


Tardis Girl
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I feel pathetic posting this, and am rarely on the K-8 boards because I've spent more time in the high school forum, but.... I could really use some encouragement. If anyone has some time to spare to read my dilemma and give me a hug and tell me it will be ok... and maybe throw some practical suggestions my way(!), I would be so grateful. :crying:

 

I've been homeschooling for 14 years, but am really struggling with being a joyful mother of LITTLE children right now. My littlest ones are 6, 5 (just turning), and 2. When my oldest ones were that age, I did all kinds of things with them -- nature walks, nature notebooks for fun, LOTS of read alouds, hands-on activities, and on and on. We were very CM (Charlotte Mason) in our style and worked on habits and everything, too. Maybe it's that I was 15 years younger then and had more energy? Or that I only had little ones and could keep my focus in the same general area?? But I am just tired and don't feel very joyful with "round 2" of little ones. I feel like I yell a lot and am cranky and not a very fun mom, either. We don't even read scriptures together consistently. And -- big surprise :glare: -- they aren't nearly as "good" as my older ones were at this age. (By good, I mean speaking kindly, thinking of others, grateful, etc.) I know it all comes back to me, my example, my lack of consistency, etc.

 

I know that they are little and I don't have to be all structured, etc. I know that. And the 6 and 5yo can both fluently read, so they have that going for them. But I feel like they are leagues behind where their older siblings were at this age -- and while I am definitely thinking of some academics (specifically history, elocution, math, nature, and art), the even bigger deal is the habits... or lack thereof.

 

BUT the thing is that I am just so tired. The house is a mess. And it is so hard to keep up with them all. If it were just the 6&5yo, that would be more manageable. But the 2yo!! He's a wonderful bundle, but he wants to be with me ALL the time and do everything his siblings do. I feel like I can never do anything individually with the older ones. Yes, I know I could have the 6 and 5yo pair off with the 2yo at times so I could work with the other one. But then they argue or get into mischief, or the 2yo wants no one but me. We started D'Aulaire's Greek Myths, Little House on the Prairie, and SOTW-1 a few months ago.... We're on page 24 of Myths, about 2/3 through Little House, and chapter 3 of SOTW. C'mon!! :willy_nilly: Oh ya, and I pulled out Primary Language Lessons for the 6yo because I know she would like it -- gathering dust on the shelf. And let's not even talk about the RightStart math I thought would be such fun and mostly just sits in a box. (OK, yes, I did just buy yet another RightStart product -- the card games book and the Activities for AL Abacus because *maybe* that would be easier to do than the Levels A & B "graded" curriculum I already own. Obviously I'm throwing gasoline on a fire here and not addressing the root of the problem. I'm crazy! lol)

 

When I try to read aloud, the 2yo is pulling books off a shelf, ornaments off the tree, typing on the computer, pushing a chair over to the stove or counter and grabbing something I think is completely out of his reach. I try to find something "special" for him to play with in the same room, but it rarely makes a difference. Once in a while it works, and that's great.

 

I know there are moms out there with many more littles than I have. And I know that they WILL get older. But what do I do? I always felt like I had it pretty together with my first round of little ones -- I mean, not perfect or anything, but things were good. Now I don't even enjoy most days. There are some good days here and there, but overall I feel I am not a joyful mother of children. I feel guilty about that and know I should be joyful and WANT TO HAVE THAT AGAIN! I want to love spending time with my little ones. I want to enjoy them and these early years before it has passed us by. I want to have routines and be consistent and, yes, I want it all! lol

 

Can anyone offer me some encouragement?!

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:grouphug: You have my sympathy. I'm going crazy trying to keep my 3 year old safe and out of trouble, occasionally teach my 5 year old some math and reading, and driving around my 16 year old, teaching her to drive :eek: and getting ready for college. I often feel short-tempered, overwhelmed and yes, cranky.

 

The fact that your 5 and 6 year old are already reading is great! You obviously are doing something right. I would suggest you take a deep breath and relax. Maybe give up on anything but scripture for the holidays. Then once all the craziness is over, slowly add in other things. Two year olds are very difficult but it is a stage and it will pass. Probably way too fast.

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Guest RecumbentHeart

Empathizing. I right in the midst of it with you and your 2yo sounds like mine. How can one child be so darling AND so naughty? It baffles me ... And wears me slap out ... And this is only my first round of littles. I've actually been trying to figure out how to make things better for them. Still figuring ...

 

Ok, one thing for sure I'm starting with is changing my eating and drinking habits in an attempt to help the energy situation.

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I don't remember those days.

 

 

Seriously, I was so stressed I have few memories (when my twins were 3 months old I got preggers again-so I had three back to back-two three year olds and a two year old). And my kids are awesome now. But you go though it and it's a season and you tread water and spit it out when it gets in your mouth and you try your darndest to not go under.

 

Keep treading.

 

Real things to do? Always take your vitamins, and guard your rest like it was fort knox. If you are tired and sick you can't get a leg up. It really isn't selfish to take care of yourself first--it's actually the most important thing to do.

 

Let things go. Wake up to dishes in the sink a few times. You won't die. Get an older kid to do the laundry. The older ones should also be helping with those dishes that are in the sink. I'm always reminding everyone that we are a team. ;-) Take these weeks off and reassess. Make a list of what needs to be done to make you sane and happy and after a few weeks, take another week to do the list. The older ones should be able to help here and there while they do their schoolwork on their own, and it won't matter if you take the time off with the youngers-you getting your feet under you is more important.

 

Most importantly-hang in there. This too shall pass and before you know it they'll all be flown, you'll look at your clean floor and go buy some legos and spill them so it looks more normal.

Edited by justamouse
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Yes, yes! I have the 16 & 17yo both learning to drive, too!! lol Going on college visits, trying to facilitate AP courses for them, etc. I've pretty much given up on even trying academics until the new year, but focusing more on scriptures would be good.

Edited by StaceyZ
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Oh Stacey! :grouphug: :grouphug::grouphug:

I can SOOOOO relate! I have a 7yo, 6yo(extremely ADHD w/mild autism), almost 3yo and almost 2yo. And my oldest are 25 and 24:eek:!! So this is round 2 for me too. And yes, I am tired and my house is a mess and I'm usually pretty cranky! I don't know how much advice I can give but I wanted to let you know that you are not alone! And it is wonderful that your 5 and 6 year olds are reading!! My 7 and 6 yr olds are not yet. So I'm happy if I get a phonics lesson in every day. I've been feeling like a failure too. But remember how quickly this time passes! Doesn't it just seem like yesterday that your olders were this little? And I know how exhausting a 2yo can be. My 2 little guys are into EVERYTHING and climbing EVERYWHERE and they are ALWAYS NAKED!!!!!! What is up with that?!? I don't remember my olders being naked so much!!!!!!!

But, I digress. I feel your pain.

Really, give yourself a break. They're already reading, so let them read. Put away the RS and just play some math games and count. Work on habits. Once you get a few good habits. Add in a nature walk once a week. After you get into that routine, then add some hands-on stuff. Oh yeah, and start this AFTER the holidays.

And on a more personal note, be sure you are getting some scripture and prayer time in for yourself. Even a short time consistently is better than nothing. You can't function on an empty tank, mama! (And I am speaking to myself here as well-I need to step it up!)

Sorry for the ramble, as usual I'm pretty tired by now:tongue_smilie:. Feel free to pm me whenever you want. I may not be a fount of wisdom, but we can cry on each others' shoulders (and compare toddler horror stories!)

God bless you and your sweet babies!!

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Cheryl, your post brought tears to my eyes at hearing some of your same thoughts.... then I laughed at the whole naked thing, too. lol Your kind words are appreciated. OK, baby steps, I can do this. And you're right... I'm not as consistent at keeping my own tank "filled" I know. A couple of months ago I told myself I would only cry when I took a shower at night. Just keep it together until then. And somehow that really helped and by the time I took my shower before bed I rarely needed to cry anymore. I *do* remember how fast these years go, you're right. It's crazy. And the things that seemed like such a big deal at the time, usually aren't when you look back (or then become fond memories, of all things! "oh, remember when you climbed up on to the stove when mom stepped out of the room for 30 seconds and you ate out of the pot of oatmeal that mom thought you could never reach and burned your tongue? aww, that was so sweet!" lol). Thank you!

Edited by StaceyZ
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Ok, one thing for sure I'm starting with is changing my eating and drinking habits in an attempt to help the energy situation.

 

OK, I can do some of that too! More water, for sure. I love it but forget to drink it. lol And I need some healthy snacks around (hmm... what are those??) so I stop nibbling away at the Christmas cookies... and whose idea was it for my older ones to sell candy bars as a fundraiser??

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Can you get hubby to take over some kiddo time or some cleaning time? Do you need to take 2 weeks off and declutter? Get your olders to help.

 

Just some (possibly lame) ideas.

 

No, no! Not lame at all! Thank you! My situation is a probably a little different than most because my sweet hubby has significant health issues such that it takes just about everything he has to get up and get to work each day. By the time he gets home, he is pretty much spent. I usually try to run interference to get the little ones to give him some space and let him rest. I would never even consider leaving all 3 little ones with him. But it's a good idea, otherwise.

 

I actually had a college student friend come over for about 90 minutes a morning for a week recently when she was home, so I could work in the basement. But it was a slow start. I seriously have trouble thinking clearly and working -- I just kind of stand there and feel overwhelmed and don't know what to do. I finally started praying at the beginning of the work session, praying for discernment, working efficiently, making decisions quickly. It definitely helped, but there is just so much to do, and now of course she's gone. I have leaned on my oldest ones a LOT in the past few years, and I know they want to help, but they are really feeling overwhelmed now, too, and kind of burned out. They are so annoyed with the little ones bad behavior, I think they just don't know what to do.

 

OK, more info than anyone wanted! Sorry.... ;)

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Stacey, I am right there with you. I am not dealing well with all the changes in my homeschool...especially the olders aging out and leaving...but here I am with a 12, 8 & 6 y/o who need me to have all the enthusiasm I had for my first bunch...and let me tell you...This second crop ain't nuthin' like my first crop. I feel bad that I am just so over-toasty these days...and my poor little kids get the old worn-out mom.

 

It is late and I need to get off this computer, but I am going to come back and read the responses you have gotten in the morning. I could use a RAH-RAH...you can do it...myself.

 

Hang in there,

:grouphug:

Faithe

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You're so sweet. Thank you for the encouragement! I do try to remember that it passes quickly and when my kids are all gone I will have quiet, clean home and miss them terribly. Love the treading water analogy because that is SO me and I am definitely choking on it more often than I thought possible. I have reassessed so many times, but you're right, just keep at it.

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Signing on to say that I am another mom with two different "litters". My first group consists of a college sophomore and a high school senior half way out the door to college . . . and then I have a 3 yo little boy who can best be described as the Tasmanian Devil and a distractable 5 yo with whom I am trying to do kindergarten.

 

I feel your pain. There's lots of joy, too - I know we are all thankful for our littles - but the reality of doing this for the second time around is, um, not easy.

 

I am ashamed for all the times in the past 5 years or so that I underestimated the difficulty of doing kindergarten. "Oh, just read a bit and don't take anything seriously and they'll just learn it all by osmosis. Don't stress about a thing." Yeah, right. :001_huh: The reality is that it takes us about 2-3 hours of time and effort to get in the measly 60-70 minutes of actual kindergarten instructional and interactive time I want to give my daughter.

 

If we successfully make it through a kindergarten day, I am so secretly proud of myself that I feel as if I should be getting a medal or something. :lol: It is that hard and takes that much concentration and perserverence. It's not that I need to get advice on relaxing with my kindergartener. I'm not shoving calculus and advanced Vergil down her five year old throat - just basic phonics, math, and writing mostly - and it still feels like climbing Mt. Everest every day because of ALL the competing interests from the other kids - mostly my 3 year old delightful terror. And I fully realize that many other moms have more kids and more difficult circumstances than I do.

 

Grrr, shouldn't I have this better figured out by now? I really thought this would be a lot easier the second time around. And my house, which used to be semi-organized and semi-tidy, seems permanently out of control now. What's up with that? :glare:

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Wow, Lynn, it's like you're in my head and in my home! What you wrote is coming from my heart, too. Thank you for sharing that. It comforts me to hear from several of you with two "litters" as you say (love that!). There is joy and so much love, but it is so much harder than I thought it be.

 

And I have to laugh at your secret pride -- that is so me too! When I am daring enough to have the three littles painting at the table together, I feel like I am the best mom in the world! lol It's an activity that I can't stand because of the mess. The 6yo is great, but the 5yo inevitably scrubs "Mr. Brush's" head into the paper and splays out his bristles despite countless attempts to show her not to do that (and a big poster she loves hanging on the wall across from her showing how to be nice to brushes) and ends up with paint up the forearms and the hair. And the 2yo?! Well, we don't need to share the full-body experience that is! Still, they love to paint, and when I actually say "yes" to their requests, I feel like that young energetic mom I used to be in round one.

 

And -- selfish?? -- I really don't want the way I am now to be the memory my two oldest have of mom and family life before they leave home. I have 18 months before they go. I want them remember me like I used to be, lol. A mom who had it somewhat together, who understood that getting someplace "on time" means getting there 10 minutes early so we could enjoy the journey, a mom who had an orderly home (not neat as a pin, but you know what I mean) and a simplified life and a joyful heart.

Edited by StaceyZ
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I only had one round of children, but...life was a challenge...when I was raising them.

 

Looking back at the worst of the worst times, so much got accomplished in LONG morning devotions. Literature analysis and history of the Bible. Church history for modern history. Reading about and praying for modern day martyrs covered geography. Hymn singing covered music and poetry. We often talked about current events and even science as the the Bible reading brought things up.

 

The house was often a mess. Often times I wasn't even showered yet. We were so cold that sometimes I was wearing my winter jacket in the dining room. In the back of my head, I'd be so worried about what we were going to have for lunch. But, morning devotions grounded us, and so much got accomplished. I knew that when finished, if I could just get the boys through math, and throw a book and a documentary at them later on, And send them on a walk, it was going to be okay.

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Maybe this is partly "older mom with littles" stress too -- because I'm only on my 1st set... I'll be 42 in a few days, and you could describe me (my children are 11.5, almost 9, 7.5, 4.5, and almost 2).

 

I'm not "mostly CM" though, I just never had that much energy... and reading aloud makes me fall asleep. Audio books are my FRIENDS :D I'm very eclectic, and I need a schedule. I have learned to be more flexible over the years, though. I have actually added more CM as the littles got older... it seemed to be a lot more work when they were younger, for some reason (more mess to clean up? I don't know).

 

Your children are still little, you haven't lost them forever. Make sure you get sleep. I do oh so much better when I sleep.

 

The mess completely stresses me out... but at least I can see light at the end of that tunnel :D

:grouphug:

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I really feel for ya! I'm right there with you. When we first started homeschooling my my kids were 7, 6, 3, and newborn. I really wish I had heeded peoples advice from this board and relaxed. It was our first year and I thought I really needed to prove to myself, and others, that I could do it. So I really pushed and pushed, and got more and more overwhelmed and exhuasted and it made for a not so nice momma! Now my oldest are 11, and 9 I have finally learned that there are seasons to life, some are better for homeschooling than others. So for this season of our life we are taking an extended break. We haven't hit the books since June and I'm actually ok with that.

 

I lot of what I've read recently says that children do learn best when you wait until they are ready. Your kids can already read. Go to the library and let them pick out some books that interest them. Let them listen to audio books. I would really back off of trying to do anything formal right now. They are young, you have time. I would really focus on paying attention to them right now. I think that is what they are really needing and craving. Your two year old acting out, he is saying with his actions what he can't say with words...mom! pay attention to me! I would get some fun read alouds, board games, and just play with them, have fun and enjoy them while they are young. I think you'll find a lot of the behavioral problems will subside once the balance in your home is restored. That is what I would really focus on right now.

 

I also would recommend reading Free Range Learning: How Homeschooling Changes Everything (links in my siggy) and The Power of a Positive Mom

 

HTH! :grouphug:

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I feel pathetic posting this, and am rarely on the K-8 boards because I've spent more time in the high school forum, but.... I could really use some encouragement. If anyone has some time to spare to read my dilemma and give me a hug and tell me it will be ok... and maybe throw some practical suggestions my way(!), I would be so grateful. :crying:

 

Can anyone offer me some encouragement?!

:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: I am chiefly responding to send encouragement, but here are a few thoughts.

 

If you are over 40, or even getting close, the crankiness is very likely a normal response to changing hormones. My OB-Gyn says that one women are over 40 our hormones flucuate, and after 50 they simply go down (allowing for exceptions, of course--this is based on the average onset of menopause). Our energy does go down, too. It's okay if you can't do everything now what you did all those years ago. I only have one set of dc, but I had them older (I could have dc twice as old as the ones I have and have had them all when I was 20 and older) and it does make a huge difference.

 

Do your teens spend any quality time with your littles? Not that I think you should force the issue necessarily, not knowing your older dc who are probably quite busy, but perhaps at times they could entertain your 2 yo or they could watch some of your dc so you could get other things done. My sister and I used to babysit our younger siblings, and one is nearly 13 years younger than I am, so my mother was in the same boat minus the homeshooling. She was able to afford a housecleaner, but if you're like us, that's not financially feasible. If you can afford it, I'd hire someone.

 

And yes, preschool could be a great help a couple of mornings a week if you can find one you can afford.

 

I am

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Interesting about the hormones -- I hadn't thought of that.

 

My teens are pretty helpful, but one more than the other. They also are a cause of contention and raised voices, I know. Of course, I am a source of that too. :glare: But I think as I reassess I will try to come up with a plan (with the older ones). The one who loves playing with them (and would rather play with them than do her work, lol) is my strength but I have to watch that I don't take advantage of her willingness. ;) But even the other one who just doesn't like little ones as much was commenting last night after reading a book with the 2yo that she was surprised at how many words he could say or sign now, and she thought that was really neat.

 

They actually suggested that I don't stress about the academics, but utilize the summers more with the littles -- when the older ones are less busy with school and could help out more or even "do school" with their little sibs. OK, I'm rambling. But I will get their input and come up with a plan.

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I'm definitely not a seasoned homeschooler but when I read your post it reminded me of issues I've been having this year. My oldest two are only 14 months apart and the third didn't come along until 4 years later. When the olders were little I did tons of stuff with them. Nature walks, crafts, baking\cooking, outings, games, I even used to pretend play with them. I don't do nearly as much with my littles now and it makes me feel very guilty. I always hear that its just a season and it will pass, but that doesn't make me feel better because once this season passes my littles will be olders and I will never get that time back. I feel remorse for the lost experiences.

 

However, there are just so many hours in the day and so much energy. I'm 40 and can definitely feel the effects of hormonal changes already. Some days when I actually have the time to spend with just the littles I'm just too tired. The majority of my days are spent teaching my oldest 3 (and trying to do a little with the 4 yr. old) and with two of them in middle school there just isn't a lot of time left over. I do have the oldest 3 each take a one hour turn with the 2 and 4yo so that I have time to work one on one with the others in rotation but it isn't the same as time with mommy. I've tried to do school with the 2yo scurrying about but its similar to what you describe. Complete disruption. If someone's attention isn't directly on her she does whatever she can to get that attention. I'm constantly torn between knowing the littles need mommy time and knowing my olders need teacher time. This is the price of having lots of kiddos I guess...mommy gets stretched thin.

 

All of this to say I wish I had some great advice for you but I don't. I think for me it is going to come down to super efficiency of my time and a realization that my second set of littles just aren't going to have the same mommy experiences that my first set had. I've started getting more sleep and taking an iron supplement and that has really helped with my mood and energy. I have been working on our schedule for Jan. and I have carved out some time for the littles to have my attention during our school days and I'm committed to making a bigger effort to do more with them on the weekends but it isn't going to be like the spontaneous all day fun that my olders had. When I think about it though, it isn't as if they know what they are missing. They are perfectly happy with their lives...it's just me that knows the difference. If I can just let go of the guilt we would probably all be better off.;)

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If you are over 40, or even getting close, the crankiness is very likely a normal response to changing hormones. My OB-Gyn says that one women are over 40 our hormones flucuate, and after 50 they simply go down (allowing for exceptions, of course--this is based on the average onset of menopause). Our energy does go down, too. It's okay if you can't do everything now what you did all those years ago.

 

 

 

 

I am so blaming this! I am nearly 40. My 2 yo doesn't sleep when he's sick. One night of bad sleep and I am wiped out the next day! As in, can't function. My 2 yo has been sick most of December and we've gotten nothing done.

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Interesting about the hormones -- I hadn't thought of that.

 

My teens are pretty helpful, but one more than the other.

They actually suggested that I don't stress about the academics, but utilize the summers more with the littles -- when the older ones are less busy with school and could help out more or even "do school" with their little sibs. OK, I'm rambling. But I will get their input and come up with a plan.

That sounds like a good plan.

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I'm not relating to "round 2" but I can relate to homeschooling 2 and having a "very curious" toddler running around too!

 

In the beginning it was just the girls and it was so peaceful and calm and so structured and organized and so pleasant to enjoy our circle time, story time, show and tell and all our fun crafts. Now that we have an almost 2yr old running around...EVERYTHING is done over tantrums, interupted 100 times because he's getting into something....and on and on..so when he naps the kids and I sit and back to back do the lessons they need to get done and we're done. Crafts are when he's asleep too and if he doesn't nap long enough the kids miss out on the crafts because he'll trash the crafting projects...or I'll be yelling and get SOOOO crabby by the time it's over the kids are all in tears....I know how it is! The joy IS there...but it's DEF. covered in STRESS of a toddler! When my ds was a baby doing school was so easy too..he'd sleep or occupy himself in the baby swing or sleep peacefully in my Moby wrap..now he's running our day. He even has his own "workbox" with activities and I sit with him and do crafts and lessons for his age and he LOVES it but the MINUTE I focus on the girls school he's a never ending terror. When dh is home he controls ds's behavior 100% because he see's what it's like with him and trying to do school.

 

I like you did in the beginning all the fun things and kept school so exciting but as my youngest has gotten more into the toddler stage I've been researching my heart on how to handle the situation because if I don't get a wrap on it NOW it'll get worse!!! My plan is to start HIS activities in the morning while the girls are enjoying their breakfast. Then try to do school with him playing with pom poms on his side of the table and struggle through it. When he begins to become loud or destructive or getting into things he KNOWS he's not allowed I will put him on a pot in the hallway to sit on for his age in minutes. This is NOT something I'm looking forward to because I know that the first WEEK is going to be committed to him and training him..but I wish I would've done this from the beginning!

 

He's not a burden, he's a toddler that needs direction. And when moms like us are so busy trying to get the other kids school done on top of our typical house duties...finding the HOURS in the day to chase a toddler and clean up and pick up takes all our extra resources and it gets narly around here with my attitude by the end of the week. My dh asked me just the other day why I'm so cranky these past months...and my answer is...because I'm dealing with a very spirited toddler trying to be the boss...and I need a aswift kick in the bum to take the handles on it...but I'm so mentally DRAINED that sometimes it's easy to ly on the floor and be walked on then chase a curious toddler around....ya know?:glare:

 

I love homeschooling. I love doing school with my older kids but somedays I DREAD doing school because I know we're going to be SET back on our tasks at hand due to ds.

 

Hang in there. Before you get back into the "fun" things for school...work on the little toddler first. Then start up the "fun" things...that's my plan!

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I am amazed by how many people who are posting on this thread sound so much like me, in one way or another!! I love your attitude and can so relate to how so much of life comes back to habits. (That's actually one thing I love about Charlotte Mason's educational philosophy that so many people brush over.) I appreciate the specifics you shared about your new "plan" to deal with your toddler and try to work with him on his habits, etc. Really, I guess I should be focusing on scriptures and habits with my little ones. And yes, it is so tiring, but obviously it's an investment that needs to be made.

 

A little digression -- I am reminded of something Charlotte Mason said regarding habits. She said that if we have a sick child we will stay up at night and do everything we can to nurse that child back to health, then she likened that to the attention we need to give to "righting" bad habits, if that makes sense. She said it so beautifully, of course, but hopefully the gist survived there -- just that we need to treat habits with the same seriousness.

 

Every day I do things I know I shouldn't (from a habit-training perspective), just because I so tired or overwhelmed -- I just kind of zone out. Here's to getting back in the trenches with all the energy and full purpose of heart I can muster! :thumbup:

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i feel the same way about my 6, 4 and 2 year old...and this is just my first time through.

 

my only thoughts are that expecting it to be the same as with your first ones might make things feel worse. even if there are things you could be doing better , these kiddos are supposed to have a different experience, less one on one with mom but the blessing of older siblings.

 

i hope you find some peace and comfort in the midst of this.

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Stacy,

 

It does get hard to meet everyone's needs. You can see the ages of my dc in my siggy. I am way more tired than I was when my olders were 3 and 5, and we did way more museum, park, history trips. Homeschooling kids in high school has required us to become much more structured. Mornings are chocked full and then afternoons filled with sports, work and church activities.

 

First things first. I would spend this time away from the books to work on changing any sleep/food/vitamin habits to help you be as energetic as possible. I've found I just cannot stay up late anymore. Everyone pays the next day with my attitude. I've had to discipline myself in this area.

 

Next, spend some time dreaming on paper how your school time would ideally look. I like to get away (usually my favorite salad bar spot with a table waaaay in the back where it's quiet) and dream and plan on paper. It helps me to focus and to sharpen my vision and I cannot tell you how motivating it is! Periodically (every few months) I'll get away again and review my goals. It's so nice to see on paper what is working and what we're accomplishing and to be reminded of other things I need to fold in. Things get crossed off or penciled in as God leads and provides that year.

 

Much encouragement coming your way to have a morning Bible time together as a family. It will be such an awesome opportunity to learn the Scripture alongside your dc, as you've mentioned. And, yes, it will be a training time for your 2-yo. Just know going into it that you are going to be spending time the first few weeks (and time thereafter reminding and instructing) helping your 2-yo learn to sit still and quietly during Bible time. You can blanket train or keep him in your lap with a quiet toy. Don't get frustrated as the training that you are doing during Bible time may be the most important lesson you teach that day! :grouphug:

 

Note here: I've found it doesn't work for my youngest to sit with anyone else but me during Bible time. She wiggles or talks, but in my lap, I can quietly but firmly instruct or give a little pinch if necessary. She now likes to have her own little Bible, but when younger I'd let her have a quiet toy.

 

At the same time, I would gear yourself up for investing some time and energy into making sure everyone's attitude is pleasant. This is hard and it's continual in my house, especially with teen boys. :tongue_smilie: (Another side note: I'm re-reading all of Rafe Esquith's book and they are so motivating! He has lots to say about modeling and teaching kind behavior among his school kids.)

 

As for doing fun things with my littles, I have so struggled with that! Last year I was able to loosen up a bit after dropping a huge commitment (speech and debate) allowed us more time. I'm still working on this though. Here are some suggestions:

 

*school at the library: let the olders bring their books while you attend a read-aloud time with the littles. Even if your 6- and 5-yo are too old, you can sit and read books with your youngers.

 

*every now and again, school at Chick-Fil-A: Don't know if they have these in your town, but we choose a Burger King or CFA with an indoor playplace. They can be amazingly quiet between the early morning rush and lunch. I can school my olders, or they can read independently or work online, while my littles play happily.

 

*PLAN ON YOUR CALENDAR to take a morning field trip montly with the littles. If it's not on the calendar, my days continue to cycle and before I know it, it's May.

 

*Pick up lunch at the drive-through and head to the park. You rest, they play. Better yet, your big kids push the swings.

 

Finally (sorry this is getting so long; wish we could just talk over some coffee while our littles played. :001_smile:), last year I had each of my olders spend 20-30 minutes with the youngers. I would consider having each of your older dc take 20 minutes with the 5- and 6-yo and then 20 minutes with the 2-yo. You work with one of your dc during that time. Set up something productive for olders to teach: one could do math games while the other reads aloud (or helps with phonics workbooks or memory work). Every day, your 5- and 6-yo could look forward to *math games* or *read aloud* with their sibling. They could then cycle to play with the 2-yo. I find this really works with my kids! You can play with the time and activity, but it accomplishes several things: your youngers get an academic activity (check), your 2-yo gets some supervised playtime and you get one-on-one teaching time with another child.

 

Hope some of this helps. I would also highly suggest that you pray about this. God has really given me insight as I've come to Him completely broken and helpless to do the task before me. It's a huge task. Ask God for the help, insight and provision you need to teach and train your children. God delights in accomplishing what is impossible for us!

 

Many, many blessings, :grouphug:

Lisa

Edited by FloridaLisa
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Sympathy and hugs! I've not been there (I'm on round one of littles, and have no plans to do it again!), but from the outside looking in, I'd say just pick what's bothering you the most and focus on that first. It sounds like it that habits. So pick one habit that you'd like your littles to get and hand on and do that until it's consistant. Then pick another.

 

Your kids are reading, and while they aren't where you'd like them to be academically, remember they still have plenty of years ahead of them to learn. They might not be getting as great of a start in that aspect as your older ones, and that's unfortunate, but you're not superwoman for goodness sakes! Go easy on yourself. I'd say focus on the basics and let the rest go until your 2 yr old is at an easier age. My 2 yr old tried to flush himself along with most of his bathtub toys down the toilet yesterday. It's amazing how quickly they can cause trouble!

 

Take care of yourself. If you can afford a bit of childcare, I'd say go for it. Along with a cook, chauffeur, maid and gardener :)

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Hi Stacey,

 

I only read your responses, so someone else may have already have suggested this, but structure is the key to my sanity. I also expect my older kids to pull their share of household duties.

 

Simple things that are necessary for our house to function:

 

First thing I do when I climb out of bed is throw a load of laundry in.

 

The older kids and I get up EARLY. (5 am) We try to get a lot of one on one done prior to 5yo and baby waking up.

 

I feed my younger kids (not the baby) around 8-830 (not baby.....I feed her as soon as she wakes up which is usually 630ish.) After the younger kids have eaten, I stick baby in a high chair (if she were 2 I would still do this!) While she is in her high chair, I make sure she has something to amuse her (for a toddler, food would be a good choice. Playdough, blocks, etc anything that they can do while confined. While she is happy in the high chair, I seize the time to do school with my 3rd grader. (If I were doing K this yr, I would do K instead. However, my 5 yr old has proved that she is not mentally ready to be a ker)

 

Mid-morning, I pull out the crock-pot. Love my crock-pot! Healthy meals made cheaply.

 

I fold laundry while listening to my 3rd grader read aloud, while calling out spelling, while doing grammar with my older kids, while reading the internet......laundry is never just folded w/o multi-tasking!!

 

Naptime is for my older kids. I teach math, do lit discussions, history, etc.

 

FWIW.....I mourn the difference in my younger kids lives b/c of homeschooling the older kids. It IS a loss. That is something I can't change b/c there just aren't enough hrs in the day to do everything.

 

Oh.....I never drank coffee before this baby was born. I now need 2 cups a day to function. One early in the morning and one mid-morning.

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I just wanted to thank everyone who took the time to share, to encourage and uplift, to offer practical suggestions, and so on. I regret that I cannot thank you each individually, but I have pored over every post. What most surprised me is how many people have felt (or do feel) the same way! lol Obviously there are no quick and easy answers for me at this point, but I do feel very encouraged and will no doubt be referring back to all of your posts for continued support!

 

Thank you again, so very much, for sharing of yourselves. :grouphug:

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I am so thankful to have stumbled on this thread at this time of the night/morning (1am?). As I sit here and type this, a pile of homework papers lay in front of me waiting to be corrected, a load of laundry is in the dryer,

everyone else is asleep, I am debating whether to have another bite of banana bread (and enjoy a quiet house) or just go to bed. The thought that the papers will still be there in the morning waiting makes me want to throw up. LOL. We are only on week 4 of 10th grade and I'm already wishing summer would come soon (if ever we could afford to take it off, that is). I've been so wrapped up in preparing high school coursework and whatnot that I've neglected doing school work with my younger ones. We used to "row" quite consistently and now it's just whatever. DH is starting to bug me about my adamant decision to home school and although he's only been dropping subtle hints, I can feel the whip cracking. :)

 

I am glad I am not alone in this. I am so happy to hear that others are also going through similar situations AND survived. Thank you much for sharing.

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Though my oldest is only almost 13, we have been at this a while, and when I was gearing up to start my 5th dd in school this fall, the thought of sitting and listening to another child learn to read made me physically ill. I sat and talked to Jessie Wise at our convention at length with my issues of burnout on my phonics curriculum and whether or not I should change to something else.

 

I have very precocious older kids who really drain me because their drive is so intense. So my youngers often get ignored, though they are just as precocious and demand that I do school with them as well. It sounds like God has blessed you with two littles who are easy in the reading department. At least you are not dealing with struggling readers.

 

I am just learning that I must take time for myself and not feel guilt. I am working out, trying to eat well, and getting rest for the first time in a long time. Even though I still feel like worn out mom, I feel it effects my olders worse than my youngers. Anyway, this is something that as mothers of many have to work through. No, we are not as young and as energetic as we used to be, but we also might be a bit wiser and know to major on the majors and minor on the minors with our youngers. I also realize that it doesn't take much to fill the littles' love tanks. Sometimes it is just a matter of a smile and a hug after you get the 4 yo ready to play in the snow for the third time that day rather than a frown and a sigh of frustration. We are works in progress.

 

Enjoy your holiday and use the time to get refreshed for the new semester with a small plan for the littles. A small plan will go a long way.

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I can completely hear and feel you. I have struggled with that a good bit this year. I did SO MUCH MORE with my Elders at these ages and they were far better behaved. Honestly, I find refuge knowing that when the Elders are gone, I'll have more time with the Little League, it will just be on the other end of the spectrum.

 

I'm also just plain old tired of training children some days and wish everybody would just make their beds.

 

In the end, I try to keep at the feet of Jesus. It's only there I can truly find rest, so try and make getting into the word (alone) a priority. It truly, really, every time, makes a difference.

 

Secondly, can you make a play area for the toddler? I have instituted this. After getting past the guilt, it has worked wonders. It has kept his messes to a limit and allowed for some quieter working time with the older kids.

 

At 5 or 6, I'd say YEAH! THey're reading and call it a day! Play RS twice a week and be pleased.

 

All things in time, my friend. We can get through this. Make sure you're getting evening hubby time, too. That makes all the difference for me.

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Do your teens spend any quality time with your littles? Not that I think you should force the issue necessarily, not knowing your older dc who are probably quite busy, but perhaps at times they could entertain your 2 yo or they could watch some of your dc so you could get other things done. My sister and I used to babysit our younger siblings, and one is nearly 13 years younger than I am, so my mother was in the same boat minus the homeshooling. She was able to afford a housecleaner, but if you're like us, that's not financially feasible. If you can afford it, I'd hire someone.

 

I was actually going to suggest that:

 

1. You have teenagers! Give them some chores! Have them clean up, wash dishes, cook, babysit, or whatever it is that is dragging you down. If they are driving, have them shop for you.

 

2. Have your younger children listen to books on tape (as was suggested above) in the car while you are doing "driving lessons" with your teens. Some arts and crafts projects can also work in the car.

 

3. Getting back to your having teenagers, have them do some of the homeschooling for the younger children. It can be an "internship" of sorts. Have them read aloud the longer books you want your younger children to hear; it will be a good review for them, teach them teaching skills (call it lifeskills if you want). They can also do the nature walks too.

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I have not read the other replies, but here's an idea a group of ladies and I came up with just recently.

 

We have 3 families (moms and children) that get together once a week from 9-12. My church lets us use their building so we meet there. We use three classrooms and the nursery. One mom watches all the littles in the nursery while the other two moms teach their own older kids their own curriculum in their own rooms. While mom is keeping the nursery, the older ones either play with them in the nursery or do independent work. This gives each mom 2 hours of focused time with the "older" kids and 1 hour playing with the "younger" kids from all the families. We have 0-3 years as "younger" and everyone else is considered "older." So, for us it looks like this:

 

9:00-10:00, Mom A keeps nursery, Moms B & C teaching

10:00-11:00, Mom B Keeps nursery, Moms A & C teaching

11:00-12:00, Mom C keeps nursery, Moms A & B teaching

12:00 we all bring a sack lunch and eat together/play on the playground if it's nice weather, then head home for naps!

 

If we find one more family we will break it up in 45 min segments and have a little more teaching time and a little less nursery time. We have found it helpful for our families because we were all feeling frustrated about not getting uninterrupted time with our 4-6 year old kids. We're thought about meeting 2 days a week, but haven't committed to that yet, LOL!

 

I only have younger kids, but maybe you could take this idea and tweak it a little and make it work for you??? If you can find other families in your are in the same boat, maybe they would want to start a group similar to this one? Just a thought!

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Have you ever read the Raising Olives blog? It is the best I've found for helping me think through how to manage the house and love the kids and homeschool. Her tips on laundry have been superbly helpful, just for one example. I think you'd glean a lot from it. She has ten kids and some great ideas. And they aren't slackards -- the kids are learning Greek, Hebrew, and the catechism, they did Sonlight until recently... so somehow they are managing. HTH!

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