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I called the public schools today...Help!


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I'm literally on the edge of putting my kids back in. I was actually excited about the thought and encouraged about it yesterday, today...not so much.

Partially because after talking to the superintendant here, I found out that our state has cut the budget so much that they had to lay off teachers. This in turn created a lot bigger class sizes, even bigger then the state usually allows.

In fact, our town has five elementary schools and they are ALL full, maxed out, on class space. The only one that had some space left was for 2nd grade, in the school that caused us to pull our kids out in the first place. The Principal is NOT good at his job and was creating a negative environment for our child, as well as a negative relationship with us. It was just so toxic. But even then, if we put our 2nd grader back in that school then our 4th grader would be put into an overload class...over the max allowed limit because they literally have no where else to put him.

 

I feel so wishy washy. I just don't know what to do. My husband isnt' much help - he's on the fence too. Basically, he says its up to me. When he found out that our only option is the school we didn't want them to go back to, he said no way. Then our 9 yr old talked him into it by promising to be good and just avoid the Principal. :(

 

I just feel so overwhelmed lately and school days are beyond stressful. Now my college classes have started (I'm taking a full load online through our local college). My house can't stay caught up on housework. My boys are fighting all the time. I'm expecting number six in February...

 

I don't want to send them back to school this way though. I dont' feel like the younger two (of the school aged kids) are ready yet, they haven't matured enough yet and it will be more of the same drama like when we pulled them out in the first place. And same Principal too.

 

As much as I don't like it, as much as it would easy my stress and make me happier....I just don't know how PS will work just yet.

I hate that our state puts so little importance on education that teachers had to be laid off and now all classes are to max full. How is that a good learning environment?

 

But then I keep coming back to all the things they are doing at school that I'm not doing with my boys. Its a struggle just to cover the bare minimals. They aren't getting a full week of math, english, science, etc like other children in PS are getting.

 

I'm not a creative parent. I don't have time for that. :( So I cant do all those fun field trips, unit studies, hands on projects, etc that I see other homeschool families do. LIke I said, just the bare minimals here. They get extra stuff like science, art, music, PE at their homeschool program but that is only 1.5 days a week.

 

What if we decide to keep them home still but put them back in next year, and by then my boys are even further behind and have to be held back a grade?

 

Argggh I just don't know what to do. I will keep praying, but I haven't gotten any answers.

 

I see all of my friends who have their kids in PS and they are doing great. They are all happy, parents are happy, kids are learning... If it works for them, why can't it work for us?

 

I just need some more insight, some advice...something to maybe help some. :(

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Oh, my goodness. :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: :grouphug: (one hug for each member of your family)

 

I have the remedy for tonight:

 

Go to bed.

 

I also have the remedy for tomorrow:

 

Do nothing. Not one single solitary thing other than making sure you and your children are safe, semi-relaxed, and fed regularly. Breathe deeply, hug your little ones, and come back to this thread as you take a long hard look at the realities of your life. We're here for you. You can't make any decisions with this panic hanging over you. You have time to sort it out, but the first thing is to regain some equilibrium just for yourself. Take tomorrow off.

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It can take a few years to find your groove. This year could be it, but with a new baby, probably not. The school is not doing what you think it is. Not everyone is as happy as you think...oh wait...this is about YOUR family.

 

Why are your kids behind?

Can you use some less intensive curriculum?

Do they enjoy the co-op? It looks like it covers most of what they need.

Do you need school?

What is your husband doing for their education?

 

How busy do you keep your boys? Mine fight if I don't keep their bodies and minds busy.

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Can you enroll the kids in a virtual public school? I know for many this is not a good option, but it may alleviate some of your stress. You know they will het the full English, science, history, math, etc. You won't have to plan, just help as needed and keep them on task. You may have some time to put together some crafts and fun experiments.

 

I am not creative in an arts and crafts kind of way. I get all my Ideas from other people. Janice Vancleave's books have some fun and easy looking experiments. You can get craft books too. Start with a Thanksgiving themed book; make turkeys and pilgrims, table decorations. That is what they would be doing in ps.

 

I agree with the pp, take a day off. Take a week off from academics. Have school time, but just read aloud and do some fun activies, go on nature walks, go to the zoo. I don't know where you are, but here - the weather is beautiful for outdoor activities. Go to the park, have a picnic....just have time with your kids and decompress.

 

Then, if you can't do a virtual school, get back to work. Instead of going with everything, pick two subjects- math and grammar perhaps. Do those, read aloud, and do a craft, board game, or walk everyday. The next week, if you feel up to it, pick up history or science. Slowly build your schedule.

 

Remember, you don't have to do every subject everyday. We do history MWF and science TTh. Spelling is 3 days a week. We only cover math, grammar, and reading daily. Handwriting is a part of any written work.

 

Simplify and relax. Encourage lots of free reading, they will grow so much from just.reading. Guide them to fiction and non-fiction, find what interests them. They will surprise you.

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Thanks all...I do think I need to go to bed for the night. lol Its hard when my mind keeps going and going. I did my homework for the night, now I should just rest...

 

To answer the questions:

 

Why are your kids behind? - I really don't know how far behind they are. I don't think they are really that far behind though. On reading I'm always concerned, but my 9 yr old showed me yesterday that even though he hates reading and rarely does any of the daily reading I give him...he read through a grade level book just fine. So I'm pretty sure he's at grade level with reading...which is a huge jump from even last year where he tested a tad behind. With math I feel like he's just rushing through the work (we're doing Teaching Textbooks this year to make it easier on him and me) and not absorbing much. He should know his times tables by 4th grade, but he doesn't. He HATES working on multiplication. :(

My 2nd grader really struggles with spelling and writing. I worried a lot about his reading, but he also read a grade level book to me yesterday with very little words he didn't know (and those were ones that were names, like Gotham -it was a Batman book lol). So I think he's okay there. With math he's a pretty quick learner and he's doing Horizons grade 2 just fine, so I don't think I should be concerned here?

 

Mostly I feel like they are behind because we don't do schoolwork every day. We do the homeschool co-op 1.5 days a week and even on the half day we get home and no one feels like sitting down to do schoolwork in the afternoon...they all want to go off and do their own thing. So we only do school work 3 days a week...at best. Fridays are SO hard to do school work on. Everyone wants to take an early weekend.

 

So mostly I guess I would say its related to discipline issues -both mine and theirs...and routine.

 

Can you use some less intensive curriculum?

I did switch to Teaching Textbooks for my older two. That seems to be going very well. I also just got SOS Language Arts for my 9 yr old since he was getting overwhelmed with all the books we were using...FLL, WWE, Spectrum Reading, Spelling Workout...

But I think that's as least intensive as we can get?

 

Do they enjoy the co-op? It looks like it covers most of what they need. - Oh yes, its their favorite part of the week. They love homeschooling only for that reason.

 

 

Do you need school? - I don't really need to take college classes right now, since I'm a stay-at-home mom and intend to stay that way. However, I think it will help me and my children if I brush up on my own education and get at least my 2-year Associates degree. Also, honestly the financial aid helps pay the bills too.

 

What is your husband doing for their education? - Not much he can help with at this time. He has a pretty demanding job and when he gets home, its dinner time and he's pretty much wiped out. The kids don't want to do anything in the evenings anyway but just have fun (ie not schoolwork :( )

 

How busy do you keep your boys? Mine fight if I don't keep their bodies and minds busy. - I don't know how to keep them busy? lol I have too many of them and not enough of me. I think it would be exhausting trying to keep all of them busy every day. I can give orders all I want, suggestions of what they should do to keep busy, but they don't listen.

 

Our biggest problem here is them not wanting to listen to me or take me seriously. But they do well at their co-op and other places outside the home?!

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Can you enroll the kids in a virtual public school? I know for many this is not a good option, but it may alleviate some of your stress. You know they will het the full English, science, history, math, etc. You won't have to plan, just help as needed and keep them on task. You may have some time to put together some crafts and fun experiments.

 

I am not creative in an arts and crafts kind of way. I get all my Ideas from other people. Janice Vancleave's books have some fun and easy looking experiments. You can get craft books too. Start with a Thanksgiving themed book; make turkeys and pilgrims, table decorations. That is what they would be doing in ps.

 

I agree with the pp, take a day off. Take a week off from academics. Have school time, but just read aloud and do some fun activies, go on nature walks, go to the zoo. I don't know where you are, but here - the weather is beautiful for outdoor activities. Go to the park, have a picnic....just have time with your kids and decompress.

 

Then, if you can't do a virtual school, get back to work. Instead of going with everything, pick two subjects- math and grammar perhaps. Do those, read aloud, and do a craft, board game, or walk everyday. The next week, if you feel up to it, pick up history or science. Slowly build your schedule.

 

Remember, you don't have to do every subject everyday. We do history MWF and science TTh. Spelling is 3 days a week. We only cover math, grammar, and reading daily. Handwriting is a part of any written work.

 

Simplify and relax. Encourage lots of free reading, they will grow so much from just.reading. Guide them to fiction and non-fiction, find what interests them. They will surprise you.

 

Thanks for the suggestions! :)

 

Unfortunately, a virtual public school isn't an option for us. Their homeschool co-op is already an ALE program (funded by the school district) so I don't think they can dual enroll in another ALE program. ?

 

The only subjects we "have" to cover each week is math and language arts. I also do Story of the World for a little extra history. The rest of the subjects are covered at their homeschool program.

 

You'd think I could handle just math and language arts 3-4 days a week, but getting the boys to sit down and do work is impossible. They are all over the place, not paying attention, the little two non-school aged children are into everything...then I get the older children mad at me when I'm not paying attention to them and answering their questions. Its like a giant tug-o-war. My 12 yr old sees all this going on and goes off and hides downstairs, doing what he wants, because I'm too busy to make him get up here and do his work too.

 

I don't know where to start...its only the beginning of our 2nd year. We have a lot to learn still. But I'm already burnt out. I don't know how much more I can handle. I don't have it in me to keep going I feel like. Everytime I get a good idea and a good attitude about it, I wake up in the morning ready to start fresh and try new things...when 30 min later they've already destroyed my mood and ruined the day. lol I can't get them on the same page as me!

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Do you have an in real life homeschooling mom type in your life you could trust to advise you? Maybe someone who has older kids or who has finished up who could come in, spend time seeing what's going on, and help you establish the routines you need to do this successfully?

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Given your situation a full load of online classes would be far down on my list of things that have to get done. Tough decisions!

 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:

 

As far as the logistics of getting the school work done... I would assign each child a block of time (an hour?). Work one on one with that child on whatever subjects require you. If they are not agreeable to do their work, start taking away fun... no movie, no computer time, no wii time, or whatever they would miss the most. (No work, no play!) Are you making assignment sheets for the older three? They should at least know what they need to be working on, even if they aren't ready to do it totally independently yet. They should also know that if it's not "their time" with you yet, to go on to something else they can do while they wait. It takes time for everyone to get used to that!

 

There is no need to compare what you're doing to intricate unit studies, crafts, projects, field trips. Though I'm not pregnant or trying to go back to school, I do have five kids and we do go to a co-op one day a week. We can't squeeze the rest of our school into 4 days/week AND add field trips. There just isn't time for us to do field trips, imho, so we don't. (My oldest has basketball practice an additional morning each week (unfortunately), so he has some of his school assigned to the weekend to make up for it.) In your case, if they're getting most subjects at co-op, just keep math, grammar/writing, and reading going at home. SOTW is packed full of supplemental cultural stories - let them listen on CD. If you have the AG give them the coloring pages and maps, if not, even better - just let them draw their own picture while they listen. Then, whether it be at home or at co-op make sure the 12 yo and 9yo are building their writing skills (however you choose to do that). Done.

 

Putting them in an overcrowded classroom where you've already had struggles before likely won't be better than what you're doing right now. Don't compare yourself to "Born-organized, totally creative Mom and natural teacher with one or two children, no more pregnancies, no more toddlers, etc." I'm not creative; I'm not a "natural" teacher; I can't provide every elective and every extracurricular option to all my children. But I still consider what we're doing superior to any other option.

 

Keep your eyes on what you're really dealing with, not what you wish it could be. It sounds like you have made some good choices for your family - a co-op they love, streamlined curricula choices that do some of the teaching for you. You're in a good position to make it work (especially if you drop your online classes).

 

Praying for clarity and peace as you think through your options.

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Ok, time to go back to basics, the REAL basics, not this idealized version I suspect you have.

 

I can't imagine the local public school is ACTUALLY teaching a full week of science, social studies, etc. My son's elementary school had social studies scheduled for 20 minutes twice a week IF there was time. My friend, at a different school in a different district, admitted that they almost never do social studies because they have to focus on the material on the standardized testss. She would actually get in trouble if her principal found out she was teaching social studies! And around here they don't do art at all. And music is 40 minutes once a week. So be realistic about what your kids need to be doing.

 

Secondly, honestly, science and social studies are not a huge deal at this age. They won't be "behind" even if you don't do any of it, because they will cover it all over again in a few years. So if things are chaos right now drop social studies except for listening to SOTW audio book in the car or at naptime. Around the holidays pick up some related books at the library. Heck, if that is hard for you put DH in charge of going to the library once a month and picking up some nonfiction picture books on various topics. There, done. Science can be done at their homeschool program, plus add some science books at that library trip, or watch some movies. My library actually has the old Mr. Wizard videos!! Watch those together in the evening, or let the kids watch them at nap time. Pull up some cool documentaries on netflix every now and then. There, science is done.

 

Then focus on reading, writing, and math. We can help with those. I'd say FLL, combining ages if you want, and WWE, and since you have so much going on maybe something easy like CLE math for everyone.

 

Have DH help with the housework if you can, or teach the kids to do it. A few hours a day is for schoolwork, and the rest of the time can be teaching them to help you around the house. Call it "home ec" or whatever they call it now.

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Ok, co-op IS school, those 1 1/2 days, so you need to count that in your school time. Sounds like the kids are doing fine in the rest of it. Yes, your son may be rushing through it, but he probably would do that at school to. So that isn't really a deal breaker.

 

It does sound like your real issue is discipline. I think it is time to have a family meeting, put up a chart with expected behavior and consequences, etc. Deal with that issue and the rest will fall into place.

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I just feel so overwhelmed lately and school days are beyond stressful. Now my college classes have started (I'm taking a full load online through our local college). My house can't stay caught up on housework. My boys are fighting all the time. I'm expecting number six in February...

 

 

. :(

 

Wow, you've got a overflowing plate! :grouphug:

 

Is it absolutely necessary for you to take so many classes?

 

Homeschooling 3 schoolage kids & two littles is a full time job in and of itself. Running a house with 7 people...another fulltime job. Add in pregnancy...I could imagine Superwoman wouldn't be able to handle it all.

 

If it were me, I'd drop the college classes. My priority would have to be educating my kids and taking care of my body and unborn baby.

 

Best of luck.

Edited by unsinkable
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Thanks for the suggestions! :)

 

Unfortunately, a virtual public school isn't an option for us. Their homeschool co-op is already an ALE program (funded by the school district) so I don't think they can dual enroll in another ALE program. ?

 

The only subjects we "have" to cover each week is math and language arts. I also do Story of the World for a little extra history. The rest of the subjects are covered at their homeschool program.

 

You'd think I could handle just math and language arts 3-4 days a week, but getting the boys to sit down and do work is impossible. They are all over the place, not paying attention, the little two non-school aged children are into everything...then I get the older children mad at me when I'm not paying attention to them and answering their questions. Its like a giant tug-o-war. My 12 yr old sees all this going on and goes off and hides downstairs, doing what he wants, because I'm too busy to make him get up here and do his work too.

 

I don't know where to start...its only the beginning of our 2nd year. We have a lot to learn still. But I'm already burnt out. I don't know how much more I can handle. I don't have it in me to keep going I feel like. Everytime I get a good idea and a good attitude about it, I wake up in the morning ready to start fresh and try new things...when 30 min later they've already destroyed my mood and ruined the day. lol I can't get them on the same page as me!

 

Your 12 year old needs to help with the younger kids. You need a schedule (not with times, but with the routine in place) on a poster on the wall. Everyone has to follow it. So you do work with two kids while the 12 year old watches the littles, then they two middle kids play with the littles while you work with the 12 year old, then everyone does chores (including one of the kids making lunch - little kids can make sandwhiches) while you play with the littles. Then it is nap/quiet time for EVERYONE.

 

Would something like that work? Also, can your dh use some of his vacation days or sick days to stay home for a few days to help make sure the kids listen to you as you start this new schedule?

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Wow, you've got a overflowing plate! :grouphug:

 

Is it absolutely necessary for you to take so many classes?

 

Homeschooling 5 schoolage kids is a full time job in and of itself. Running a house with 7 people...another fulltime job. Add in pregnancy...I could imagine Superwoman wouldn't be able to handle it all.

 

If it were me, I'd drop the college classes. My priority would have to be educating my kids and taking care of my body and unborn baby.

 

Best of luck.

 

Or at least drop to part time!!! You can still get financial aid if you are part time. But I'd drop the classes until after the baby is a bit older. And besides, you shouldn't be using financial aid money to live on. Bad Bad idea. We have no debt other than student loans and they are eating us alive.

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Have you considered BJU Distance Online Learning? You can pick whichever subjects your children need the most, and BJU pretty much teaches everything. It's pretty engaging, and BJU lays everything out for you. I know if you go with the grade kit they allow you to make monthly payments instead of paying for it all up front.

 

Ditto on the physical activity. Have your boys run laps around the back yard (or pushups, situps, jumping jacks) between lessons. Make it like a 'mini Olympics' and track it on the wall. At the end of the week award "medals".

 

You can also download "My Reward Board" to help motivate/reward chores and behavior issues. It's worth a look. :)

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I have to agree with some of the other posters. It sounds like disipline is a big problem (I am working on this right now w/ m dc). I have 5 school age kids and a 1yo running around this year. I t seemed like I couldn't get anything done! When ever we would sit down to "do school," my 1yo would be start running around and being loud, then my 4yo would get caught up in it and the chaos would begin. So after much prayer & planning & many disscussions with my kids (these still happen from time to time when everyone starts forgetting what they are supposed to be doing) our days are going smoother (notice I said smoother, not smoothly. We still have bumps, but its getting better). We get up, have breakfast & tidy up the house (it doesn't have to be perfect, but I cant teach if it's a mess). Then I have ds11 & dd8 play with ds1 while I do kindergarten work w/ dd4 (dd15 & dd14 work independently, and usually dd8 & ds11 will take turns watching ds1 so they each have time to do their independant work). We like to go to the YMCA before lunch, but I'm still trying to work that in somewhere (maybe next week). We then break for lunch, and the older kids clean up while I put the younger 2 down for a nap (this is a very important part of our day! It took some work, but it's becoming normal now for me to lay down w/ ds1 and read him a couple books...2-3 and he's usually out like a light! Then I go read a book to dd4 and she goes to sleep on her own after looking at the book herself). Anyway, during naptime, my older girls work independently, and I use that time to teach my middle 2 everything that I can while we have quiet time (usually history, bible, LA & science...sometimes math if it doesn't get done earlier). When the little ones get up from their nap, they play with ds11 & dd8 while I check my older girls work and/or help thim with any work they need to get done. We have been doing this for the last couple weeks and so far it is working out better that the chaos we had before. I hope you find something that will work for you, I know how stressful and overwhelming it can seem. I, too have thought of putting my kids in ps (especially on tough days), but where we live, that is just not an option for us. So with much prayer, we are still going! Sorry this got so long, I tend to ramble sometimes.

 

Another thought I had...do you have a hs'ing friend that might be willing to help teach your kids for awhile? Maybe that would free you up enough to get everything else under control before you took on the world again?

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: to you!

 

1st things 1st, surely know know you've got to destress. Easier said than done, I know. I'm digging myself out of my own pit right now, and I can tell you that IME the first thing that has to be built is the framework which everything else will be built on. Otherwise, you're spending time throwing bricks and drywall around and feeling frustrated that they land in smithereens.

 

The framework is structure in your day. To have any structure, you must have consistency (I'm really talking to myself here, too). If you're like me, you've already run this through your head a million times... but something I realized is that I was trying to *begin* too much simultaneously - I was trying to make it all perfect suddenly in 1 day. First build consistency. Start with normal sleep schedules, if that's an issue. Then add a general morning/breakfast routine. Then add doing a couple (or start with one) subject afterward. Once a framework is up, you can build more onto it. I know time-based schedules don't work for all, but you could generalize with an order that things are done in instead of precise times.

 

Anyhow, not like any of this is new thinking, but putting it into practice when life has gone on w/o it for so long (w/o it at the level it needs to be, anyhow) *is* hard. I get that. I feel the struggle, too. :grouphug:

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Your two older kids are old enough to do quite a lot on their own. As to the others, have you considered structured unschooling (that is what I call what I do with the young ones). I do a about an hour or math and reading with them then let them explore the rest of the day. I try to make books and educational game and videos available plus of lots of time outside to wander.

 

 

I am not against school AT ALL but that sounds like an awful situation.

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I'm not sure if this is the response you were expecting from this group, but I agree with the others are your two main problems, discipline for yourself and your children, and your plate being WAY too full.

 

Stress can cause physical issues in addition to mental ones. You are taking on too much and setting your expectations too high. IMHO.

 

Is there any way your finances can handle just the one income without the need for financial aid? It is bad to be forced to take classes to have extra income. That is robbing Peter to pay Paul. That money is not income, it's a loan. It's no different than going to the bank and getting a loan. You will have to pay it back at some point. You don't need a college education to homeschool your children, even through high school. There are many helpful resources. I love taking college classes too but I know I will never use my degree, so school for me is a low priority. I'm out this semester because of a mess with my degree program, but I've decided to not return next semester either. My youngest two are in high school. While they used to be able to get their work done in a relatively short amount of time, they are both experiencing some difficult classes and need much more of my time. College would be adding a huge stress to my responsibilities.

 

I believe your boys are not listening because they know there are no consequences. You said you weren't disciplined either, which is why I'm making that assumption. It's time for a family meeting to lay down new ground rules and then comes the hardest part for you. You have to be CONSISTENT. You just have to be, no matter how hard it might seem. Eventually things will settle into some kind of routine. And the ladies on this board are always very helpful with suggestions for specific issues.

 

You need your DH on the same page. It sounds like he is willing to stand up to the boys and lay down some ground rules. I think this may be your best bet.

 

:grouphug:

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I don't know your friends and their kids, but please don't think that they are all happy and learning and content. On the outside they may look like things are great, but they may wish for a different path too. :grouphug::grouphug:

 

You sound overwhelmed - please take time for yourself. :)

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"He should know his times tables by 4th grade, but he doesn't. He HATES working on

multipcation"

 

Drop the curriculum for a couple of weeks, play yatzee, play monopoly, play Timez Attack, make a memory game out of index cards. I am aganist the kill and drill method for math facts so I had to come up with other ways for ds to learn them. He doesn't have them completely memorized but he is close. I keep a multiplication table on the wall were he can't see it from his desk. He can look at it at any time but he can't stand in front of it to do his work. This way all the wayback to hus desk he has to repeat the fact to himself. I am going to move it futher away soon.

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:grouphug::grouphug::grouphug: I agree with cutting down to the basics and especially with the blocking time--littles, middles, older, with the others watching/playing with the littles when you aren't working with them. I also think you could start the day with exercise. I mean, get the entire family UP and dressed early and head outside before you start anything. That has made a huge difference in our school days. You could also use the after-co-op time to do either a craft if you want to (I have no-craft guilt too :tongue_smilie:) or have them do apps/games that don't feel like school, but have educational benefit--math bingo, word bingo, Yahtzee, apps if you have an app... thing :lol:, science videos online, Bill Nye, whatever.

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You need to drop out of school. Your children's education is more important than yours. If you need extra income....get a part time job at night or on the weekend.

 

This is definitely a discipline issue. I think that once you get that resolved, the homeschooling will fall into place.

 

Remember...your children and their education are the most important thing in your life. Everything else is second.

Edited by DianeW88
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For the littles, tot trays or busy bags, sensory bins, homemade playdough. It keeps my little one busy and she thinks she is doing school too.

 

The older kids should have daily chores. If the house is like it is now, I will scub school for the day and have everyone help clean the house. Including the 2 yr old.

 

We do a lot of unit studies and field trips. We sacrafice math and language arts for them because to me they are important. I have decided this year to follow our rabbit holes. If we don't finish a text book, it is ok. Most info will be repeated next year and PS hardly ever completes their text books. I am too busy to create these unit studies myself, so I buy ones already made. Right now we are doing Amanda Bennetts new passport series. It covers ebery subject except grammer and math. I guess what I am saying is, even math and language arts don't have to be done daily.

 

You have to find the right balance for you based on what you feel is important.

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Unless you are Wonder Woman I don't see how you can homeschool all those kids, go to school full time and have a newborn.

 

 

You can do it all - you just can't do it all well without one or all areas suffering?

 

The ages of your children tell me that you are in the busiest, most stressful and tiring years of parenting.

 

What is God really calling you to do?

What does your husband see as your primary role?

What is the most important thing to you?

 

These are the questions I ask myself. These answers will tell you what you need to know to make decisions.

 

Lisa J, mom to 5

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You need to drop out of school. Your children's education is more important than yours. If you need extra income....get a part time job at night or on the weekend.

 

This is definitely a discipline issue. I think that once you get that resolved, the homeschooling will fall into place.

 

Remember...your children and their education is the most important thing in your life. Everything else is second.

 

:iagree::iagree::iagree:

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I'm asking as gently as possible: When do you expect your kids to start to listen to you? What do you expect will happen when they are 15 and they blow you off?

 

Sending them to school isn't going to solve this. Eventually they will come home and still not listen to you.

 

Personally I think you need to drop school for a bit and work on family structure. Find out who is really in charge. You and your dh need to get on the same page and make it known to your boys that the nonsense stops now. Just because he works all day and doesn't come home until dinner and is tired doesn't mean your dh gets a free pass with child rearing. It is time for him to step up.

 

I don't agree that you should drop all your classes. We all need something for ourselves. But really I think you should reevaluate how you intend to receive a full time education and give your children a full time education. If you are on the computer for hours a day listening to CCTV classes who is changing the baby's diaper? Preparing lunch for your kids? Supervising reading? Supervising the children? How can you not be overwhelmed.

 

There are seasons to this life. Right now you need to focus on your family. From what you said, it sounds as if your children don't respect either you or their dad. I'm not one for demanding respect when it isn't earned, but you do need to have a measure of respect just because you and dh are the parents and the one's providing housing, clothing, food.

 

Make some rules. Come up with appropriate consequences for your family and follow through time and again. Otherwise the kids will just continue to ignore you.

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As far as the logistics of getting the school work done... I would assign each child a block of time (an hour?). Work one on one with that child on whatever subjects require you. If they are not agreeable to do their work, start taking away fun... no movie, no computer time, no wii time, or whatever they would miss the most. (No work, no play!) Are you making assignment sheets for the older three? They should at least know what they need to be working on, even if they aren't ready to do it totally independently yet. They should also know that if it's not "their time" with you yet, to go on to something else they can do while they wait. It takes time for everyone to get used to that!

 

:iagree: Have they also been tested for learning issues? That might explain some of it. I would try going to the bare minimum-lots of read alouds, assigned reading, math. Don't worry about the creative stuff. Give them lots of craft stuff available to them and let them deal with it themselves. Right now more than anything, they need love, structure, and security whether or not they go to public school! I would work on creating a rhythm and loving safe environment before you stress about academics at this very moment. Because you will still have to figure these things out if they are in the school system.

 

I will say in the nicest way, you are pregnant. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and make sudden decisions. I almost put my kids in school every time I got pg. :lol: But your hormones might shift and you change your mind in a month. Maybe not for you, I'm just going by my experience. The school situation does not sound good. It sounds just like ours here, which is one of the reasons I would not let my ds talk me into letting him go to school here last year. He's glad now. We finally have a groove.

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I'm asking as gently as possible: When do you expect your kids to start to listen to you? What do you expect will happen when they are 15 and they blow you off?

 

Sending them to school isn't going to solve this. Eventually they will come home and still not listen to you.

 

Personally I think you need to drop school for a bit and work on family structure. Find out who is really in charge. You and your dh need to get on the same page and make it known to your boys that the nonsense stops now. Just because he works all day and doesn't come home until dinner and is tired doesn't mean your dh gets a free pass with child rearing. It is time for him to step up.

 

I don't agree that you should drop all your classes. We all need something for ourselves. But really I think you should reevaluate how you intend to receive a full time education and give your children a full time education. If you are on the computer for hours a day listening to CCTV classes who is changing the baby's diaper? Preparing lunch for your kids? Supervising reading? Supervising the children? How can you not be overwhelmed.

 

There are seasons to this life. Right now you need to focus on your family. From what you said, it sounds as if your children don't respect either you or their dad. I'm not one for demanding respect when it isn't earned, but you do need to have a measure of respect just because you and dh are the parents and the one's providing housing, clothing, food.

 

Make some rules. Come up with appropriate consequences for your family and follow through time and again. Otherwise the kids will just continue to ignore you.

 

Chucki said what I've been thinking. There are things about homes that have to be right, no matter how the children are being educated. Relationships come first. Do you have any mentors IRL to help you get a handle on the discipline issues?

 

And Mama, on some level you probably know you can't go to school right now. Regardless of personal benefit, regardless of financial gain, you just don't have time. When you chose to have a big family, you chose to be responsible for the care, feeding, discipline, nurturing, and education of each precious child. That takes time. It just does.

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If you want to homseschool, I've observed it is best not to be wishy-washy, not to use "I will send you to school" as a discipline tool, and to drop "school" as an option. If you want to be a homeschooling family, find *homeschooling* solutions.

 

I have held full time jobs, homeschooled, and been a full time student. *However* my youngest was double digits when I started school. I can't decide for other people what they can handle, but with your family demographic, I would not be able to professionally handle homemaking, being a student, and the educational needs of your children.

 

Also, I disagree with the advice of having the olders "help" with the youngers and do more on their own. I think, in fact, your oldest is still of an age to need a generous amount of teacher time and interaction.

 

Increased chores, responsibility, and follow up? Yes.

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I'm asking as gently as possible: When do you expect your kids to start to listen to you? What do you expect will happen when they are 15 and they blow you off?

 

Sending them to school isn't going to solve this. Eventually they will come home and still not listen to you.

 

Personally I think you need to drop school for a bit and work on family structure. Find out who is really in charge. You and your dh need to get on the same page and make it known to your boys that the nonsense stops now. Just because he works all day and doesn't come home until dinner and is tired doesn't mean your dh gets a free pass with child rearing. It is time for him to step up.

 

I don't agree that you should drop all your classes. We all need something for ourselves. But really I think you should reevaluate how you intend to receive a full time education and give your children a full time education. If you are on the computer for hours a day listening to CCTV classes who is changing the baby's diaper? Preparing lunch for your kids? Supervising reading? Supervising the children? How can you not be overwhelmed.

 

There are seasons to this life. Right now you need to focus on your family. From what you said, it sounds as if your children don't respect either you or their dad. I'm not one for demanding respect when it isn't earned, but you do need to have a measure of respect just because you and dh are the parents and the one's providing housing, clothing, food.

 

Make some rules. Come up with appropriate consequences for your family and follow through time and again. Otherwise the kids will just continue to ignore you.

 

Very good point. :grouphug::grouphug::grouphug:

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Do you have an in real life homeschooling mom type in your life you could trust to advise you? Maybe someone who has older kids or who has finished up who could come in, spend time seeing what's going on, and help you establish the routines you need to do this successfully?

 

:iagree:This is the best advice here. Someone you know IRL will have a better perspective on who you are, who your kids are, what your situation is, and what could be done. Can you find someone you admire who has homeschooled boys for more than a few years? (Don't enlist someone who only has girls. They won't get it.)

 

I'll also say that there is no way on earth I could manage and homeschool a house full of boys while taking a full load of online college classes, and especially not with a pregnancy in the mix. No way whatsoever.

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snipsnsnailsx5: our state has cut the budget so much that they had to lay off teachers. This in turn created a lot bigger class sizes, even bigger then the state usually allows.

 

 

In fact, our town has five elementary schools and they are ALL full, maxed out, on class space. The only one that had some space left was for 2nd grade, in the school that caused us to pull our kids out in the first place.

 

 

The Principal is NOT good at his job and was creating a negative environment for our child, as well as a negative relationship with us. It was just so toxic.

 

But even then, if we put our 2nd grader back in that school then our 4th grader would be put into an overload class...over the max allowed limit because they literally have no where else to put him.

 

 

 

I just feel so overwhelmed lately and school days are beyond stressful. Now my college classes have started (I'm taking a full load online through our local college). My house can't stay caught up on housework. My boys are fighting all the time. I'm expecting number six in February...

 

 

 

I am completely flummoxed by this post. You have FIVE kids, are pregnant right now, trying to homeschool AND take a full college load?

 

You can do it all; you simply can't do it all AT THE SAME TIME.

 

You are considering putting your young children back into a toxic school from which you pulled them out?

 

Doesn't it make more sense to drop the college classes than put your kids into a toxic school because you need more time? You can go to college later, but they are only going to be in elementary school right now.

 

 

I don't want to send them back to school this way though. I dont' feel like the younger two (of the school aged kids) are ready yet, they haven't matured enough yet and it will be more of the same drama like when we pulled them out in the first place. And same Principal too.

 

 

You are answering your own questions here.

 

I hate that our state puts so little importance on education that teachers had to be laid off and now all classes are to max full. How is that a good learning environment?

 

 

It isn't.

 

But then I keep coming back to all the things they are doing at school that I'm not doing with my boys. Its a struggle just to cover the bare minimals. They aren't getting a full week of math, english, science, etc like other children in PS are getting.

 

 

I actually laughed out loud at this (not at you). My oldest wanted to go to a classical school to study Latin. She is in AP Latin as a sophomore, the only sophomore they ever let in. She IS learning in THAT CLASS and a bit in AP United States History. The rest of the day is a waste of time and she learned far more on her own by just reading books and teaching herself than she has learned in this school in a year.

 

We are considering options for next year.

 

Your kids are LITTLE. They don't have to be doing heavy academics all day long every day in order to be competitive later and it is quite a stretch to believe that they are doing so in school. I have a younger who is averaging a 99 in all co-op classes in his heavily academic middle school co-op and I was VERY relaxed with him because he just wasn't ready. We did 2 days a week of school OFTEN in those days.

 

I'm not a creative parent. I don't have time for that.
:(

 

Neither am I!

 

So I cant do all those fun field trips, unit studies, hands on projects, etc that I see other homeschool families do. LIke I said, just the bare minimals here. They get extra stuff like science, art, music, PE at their homeschool program but that is only 1.5 days a week.

 

 

That is MORE than enough if you do a basic amount at home in the early years. But you have to do it, and not spend that time on your schoolwork instead. I'm sorry, I don't mean to sound harsh, but you can wait a few short years. They can't.

 

What if we decide to keep them home still but put them back in next year, and by then my boys are even further behind and have to be held back a grade?

 

 

I'd be very surprised if that happened even if you did put them in. But then I have seen what is going on in the public schools around here.

 

Why don't you give them a couple of years of your best efforts and then go back to school yourself.

 

Argggh I just don't know what to do. I will keep praying, but I haven't gotten any answers.

 

 

When in doubt, don't. That is what my Mom always said.

 

I see all of my friends who have their kids in PS and they are doing great. They are all happy, parents are happy, kids are learning... If it works for them, why can't it work for us?

 

 

I doubt they are all happy and all learning. Some are, some aren't.

 

 

Just my two cents worth, as an older Mom.

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Do you need school? - I don't really need to take college classes right now, since I'm a stay-at-home mom and intend to stay that way. However, I think it will help me and my children if I brush up on my own education and get at least my 2-year Associates degree. Also, honestly the financial aid helps pay the bills too. ....

 

Our biggest problem here is them not wanting to listen to me or take me seriously. But they do well at their co-op and other places outside the home?!

 

I get this part - if you quit the classes, then you either have to pay the financial aid back or else not have the extra $$$ for the bills? That's a bad trap to be in.

 

When DS15 was homeschooling, the only way we got thru schoolwork was to have it be the first activity of the morning. He hated to sit at the table and do it, but it was required. His routine was to get up, dress, eat breakfast, and then do his schoolwork. If I let him "escape" after breakfast, it was virtually impossible to get him back.

 

Maybe that would work with your older ones? Just keep them at the table after breakfast. Your littles can still be eating (which keeps them busy). No schoolwork, no free time. Since you are schooling 3 days a week, that would cover the middle two. Then, I would pull the 12yo back in late at night for another hour of schoolwork after the others have gone to bed. That would give him the 1-1 time he needs without interruptions.

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Thanks all for the advice. I really thought about it, slept on it, and I feel really good about the decision to NOT put them back in.

 

Honestly I wasn't making a full effort at homeschooling to begin with. I still took my time in the mornings, as did they, and I'd let them jump on comptuers, video games, etc before doing schoolwork. It wasn't a good working system and they didn't take me seriously.

 

So a lot of things are changing Monday morning - in my attitude about it and letting the kids know I'm serious. I know it won't happen overnight but eventually they'll get that I'm serious!

 

As for the other questions - honestly my college classes take very little of my time...at least my time during the day. My time during the day are all totally spent on the kids, house, and their homeschooling. I don't do any of my homework until evening, when my husband is home and when the kids are in bed. I did this all last year and got all A's, so it worked. :) So school doesn't interfere with the kids' school...its just hard to not have the evenings to prepare for any homeschooling stuff or take time for myself. However I'm not doing my homework EVERY night of the week, I at least have two nights that are free.

As for the financial aid, its not supporting us so that we HAVE to have it...but rather its helping us to get caught up on other bills. And finances DO equal stress...so its actually helping alleviate some of that stress of bills hanging over our heads. That's what financial aid IS for...its so the student can go to school and have some extra money to live on while they are taking classes. As for the student loans - its not a lot to start with but also we are in a unique situation to where we don't have any rent or mortgage payments. So the student loan takes the place of that. Its low interest and low payments and makes me going to school easier on the family. Really after all is said and done, it will only total to something like buying a car...its not much (IE we're not talking about hundreds of thousands...lol).

 

Also, I wish I had a mentor to help me in real life...but I don't. My sister-in-law has homeschooled her four kids for a few years now, but they are all girls. lol She has helped some, but really our kids are like night and day. hehe And I have NO one else I know that homeschools several kids. Uggh :(

 

But I have you guys! :) And I've used you a lot. So thanks!

 

I think I can get through this...I just need to get my attitude back on track, and I feel a lot better by staying HS then sending them back to PS. So I know its the right decision.

 

Thanks all!

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When DS15 was homeschooling, the only way we got thru schoolwork was to have it be the first activity of the morning. He hated to sit at the table and do it, but it was required. His routine was to get up, dress, eat breakfast, and then do his schoolwork. If I let him "escape" after breakfast, it was virtually impossible to get him back.

 

Yes, exactly. If I let the kids "escape" its SO hard to reel them back in. I like the idea of having a designated breakfast time (and not just a feed yourself when you wake up lol) at the table, WHILE starting work.

And no free time until schoolwork is done.

 

It sounds simple, and realistically I KNOW this is how it must be done to actually work. But its SO easy to fall into bad habits and bad routines... I've just got to work on getting them back into a GOOD routine.

 

Someone told me last weekend (unrelated to homeschooling though but it fits lol) that it takes something like 30 days to establish a routine, but only 3 days to break it. Consistency is the key!

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EDITED: I just saw the OP's update about her decision to not put them back into school but I'm going to leave this because it took me a long time to compose it!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's all so simple for us to see the obvious decisions that need to be made in your home.

 

1. You chose to pull your dc out of ps to educate them. If you are intent on continuing along that path then that is your first priority above all else. The college classes need to go. Do what you can to pay back the financial aid money. (I have to say that I'm wondering...if you need the financial aid money to make ends meet, how were you going to make ends meet once you were finsihed taking classes?)

 

2. You can't educate your dc effectively until you get control over their behavior and establish respect. If you are wishy washy about doing schoolwork everyday becasue you feel overwhelmed, they are never going to repect your authority as their teacher. Lay down the law to them, get tough and be consistent.

 

3. Whereas your household is going to take a backseat to your homeschooling, and probably isn't going to make the cover of a magazine, it can still remain clean and uncluttered. You may have to lower your standards of what you consider acceptable. Choose those chores that you can't compromise on and make them yours, the rest divvy up between the dc. Everyone 4 and above can put their own clothes away. They may not be folded to your expectations but they will be put away. Daily tidy times will cut down on clutter. Keep meals during the week simple and do extra cooking on the weekend.

 

Now, actually doing these things is a whole different story than telling someone else that they need to be done. Parenting a lot of dc is challenging, homeschooling with a lot of dc can, at times, seem downright impossible. The challenges your facing are not going to be easy overnight fixes. You are feeling overwhelmed right now but you need to take some time to ask yourself some difficult questions. Are you able, at this point in time, to provide your dc with as good of an education as the ps can offer them? If the answer is no then you need to put them back into school, use the time they are home to establish better discipline and instill a sense of respect for you, get your house in order by establishing chore schedules and routines, prepare for your new baby, and determine whether or not the classes are a wise choice just because you need the financial aid. You also need to determine if homeschooling all of your dc is something you feel compelled to try again at a later time.

 

You've been at it for two years and it sounds like it has been an overwhelming experience from the get go. There is no shame in saying, "Hey, I tried it because I thought it was best, but circumstances have changed and I don't feel I can do it anymore." Honestly, your first responsibility to your dc is to be their mother and provide them with a loving, safe, nurturing home. If homeschooling right now is causing you to be so stressed that you can't fulfill your first responsibility then you need to admit that to yourself. I know you said the ps system is not ideal but I'd rather my dc have a mediocre ps experience rather than a mediocre mother and home life.

 

I might be totally mis-reading your situation (which is entirely possible given the nature of online communication) so just ignore me if I'm off, but I get the sense that your situation right now is beyond the, "What is best for my dc's education" right now. I think the better question for you is, "What is best for my family's well being." :grouphug:

Edited by 5LittleMonkeys
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Bethany, I just read your update and I'm so glad that I was reading more into your original post than what was actually there. I'm also glad to hear that you weren't relying on that financial aid money as part of your income, AND that your classes can all be done in the evening. I was picturing you having to devote 4 or 5 hours of time a day to classes and I was kind of in a panic for you. It's great that your feeling better and have a new plan for making your homeschooling run more smoothly! I hope your new found resolve and enthusiasm will inspire your sons to jump on board too! :D

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You are not alone! I only have 3 (one with physical disabilities though so that's like an extra kid sometimes) and I have many of the same struggles as you! I have a VERY strong willed 5 yo, and 2 tweeners with attitude.

 

I too struggle with getting going in the morning, staying on task and getting it all done before they 'escape'. The rule is supposed to be no electronics until after 3pm but I have not held to this and it really hurt us this last week.

 

Last year we had so many places we were running to and from each day with the littlest in preschool and the older two doing art/music at the local school. DS also had PT and OT appts. as well as 3 mos of Psychologist appts. Then we volunteered once a week at our thrift store. We were often behind and I was often overwhelmed!!

 

This year I thought it would be so much easier with littlest at home doing K and the older two only doing after school activities. No PT/OT or otherwise..... Well, I have discovered it is still as tough because of ME! I am not the most disciplined person in the world, I spend too much time 'gearing up for the day' and too much time on the computer. I am really struggling with myself now that I realized how much of our day depends on my attitude and my consistency with discipline!

 

All three constantly test me, only take me serious 1/2 the time and I often don't get results / obedience until groundings or consequences are threatened.

 

Sigh!

 

I say all of this just to let you know you are not alone AND to thank all of you who answered her post. I gleaned from them as well.

 

We are leaving to go out of town for a week and I am praying upon our return I can work harder on my own discipline. I loved the idea of PE first thing each day. I have a good month til it gets too cold around here but I will try!

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Take a look at the accountable kids program. Its a system that gets your kids tp do chores and earn priviledges such as computer, video, and movie time. It has changed our home. The kids keep the house clean, they earn their priviledges and at the same time those priveledges are limited to 1.5 hours a day. I don't have to yell or threaten anymore.

 

Love & logic is a great book too.

 

There is nothing wrong with just doing the basics. History and science can be easily caught up later, even independently. And crafts are over rated. I don't do the cool crafty stuff either.

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Given your situation a full load of online classes would be far down on my list of things that have to get done. Tough decisions!

 

 

:iagree:You mentioned you're taking a full load of college courses and then you said it wasn't really necessary right now. If it's at all possible for you to withdrawal from a couple of those courses without being penalized financially, etc, I would highly encourage you to do so! Otherwise, learn from it and don't do that again. :tongue_smilie:

 

I totally understand feeling overwhelmed. Perhaps you can use incentives like a trip to the Dollar Store (or zoo or something) at the end of the week to be done ONLY if they get their schoolwork done for the week.

 

You don't need a degree to successfully teach your children. That's what a boxed curriculum is for. ;)

 

:grouphug:

 

I agree with previous posters, though. Take some time OFF. Or just do casual learning - walks in the park (let the boys run, you walk :D ), read alouds (don't expect them to sit still but they'll hear you), etc. Allow yourself to relax a little. :chillpill: From what you've described public school is not the answer for you!

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This might sound too simplistic but I found totally reorganizing our homeschool area along with my kids' help reinvigorated their learning 'want to'. I gave them their own shelves, new pencil containers, baskets, folders, etc... It sounds kind of silly but it really helped.

 

Also, maybe you could let them choose some unit studies on their own. This would give them a hand in the process and would allow them to study something that truly interests them. Who cares if it's about baseball or something we consider trivial because it would add some enjoyment to their studies and possibly motivate them in other areas of homeschooling.

 

My friend really likes the products from this site. I've never used them, though.

 

http://www.unitstudy.com/

Edited by Trresh
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I don't know your friends and their kids, but please don't think that they are all happy and learning and content. On the outside they may look like things are great, but they may wish for a different path too. :grouphug::grouphug:

 

You sound overwhelmed - please take time for yourself. :)

:iagree: Don't ever assume.

I know this year my daughter's friends are all over at the high school. After my daughter went to her first and last year at a private school. The school decided to do away with 7th and 8th grade because of lack of enrollment. So the kids who graduated from 6th grade have to go over to the public middle/high school now.

I've asked how the kids are doing and the kids would say ' Great'. But even just tonight a mom posted on facebook her daughter is having some issues at the high school. So that " Susie's doing great and everyone is happy" isn't always true. I know one of my daughter's friends I asked yesterday how he was doing. He said he was doing fine but everything is so easy , and he's a 7th grader doing 9th grade math! So he's bored out of his mind. Sad, huh?

Sadly in our area we have one high school and its the public school, which is a super joke.

So don't assume that all is well. You maybe surprised that what you see on the outside isn't what's going on , on the inside. So don't assume that public school is going to solve all your problems.

 

I know all about the bickering, arguing and fighting. I'm a mom to four girls! LOL It is annoying but just as everything in life goes , this to will pass. My girls are older and are starting to come into their own a bit. They have their moments and that's when punishment is implemented. Don't think because you send them to school that the arguing will stop. Actually it can get worse. I know my middle two are in school at the moment and their arguing has gotten worse this year then its ever been. They maybe gone but we get them when they come home!

 

Of course we can't make that decision for you. Only you can decide what is best for your family. But I've been on both sides of the fence and really no matter what you do. Unless you deal with the problem head on its not going to disappear sending them to school. I deal head on with arguing as soon as my 2nd daughter starts to cackle. LOL

I agree though that is sounds like you have an awful lot on your plate. You can still show your children that you are always learning just by learning along side them.

I also agree that dad needs to be involved with some discipline. Even if he is tired after work.

Edited by TracyR
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