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The 10 year slump


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I am finding a lot of my friends who are getting close to the 10 year mark to be in a homeschooling slump of sorts.  Before, we were the type of people who ordered curriculum before the previous school year was out and had everything organized by June.  Now, it seems like a lot of us are looking at August and going, "Oh yes...homeschool...I guess I better start thinking about that".  This post (not mine) sums it up nicely:

 

http://www.twentyshekels.com/family-life/back-to-homeschool/

 

Anybody else?  I've also noticed that this is about the time the oldest starts high school.  Then it seems homeschoolers are dropping like flies and running to the public school.  Any hope for the future?  Does this get better?

 

Beth

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BTDT and I had one jump ship to go the Beach High/early community college entry route and another to go to public school.

 

I don't want to see that happen again, but I'm not surprised that it's common. It would have helped to read supportive articles like that or have honest discussions about it at the time.

 

Thank you for posting.

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I'd love to see a summary on how office workers feels after 10 years at the same job (if there are any) - a job that he or she truly loves and feels that it is making a real difference. It's tiring, and we don't always feel the same passion than we once did - not to mention the children are older and those really exciting "firsts" of reading, adding, subtracting, etc. are not there anymore. There is also the fact that we're now 10 years older, often have less energy, may be going through other life changes (e.g., menopause, care-giving elderly parents or ill spouses).

 

There are some similarities in homeschooling to training for and running a marathon, as the author writes, but still lots of differences. Training for a marathon, if you have some experience running, is about 4 months of training on your own, then 4 hours give or take of running the actual race. Hardly comparable to 10 years of homeschooling 2, 3, 4 + children, if you really look at it.

 

Another thing I didn't buy with the article is the assumption that one would never suggest that another mom homeschool her children if there are problems in the public school system. Why not? I've done it, but often there is an answer something like, "Can't afford NOT to work as we just bought a large home in an expensive area," or "I'd never have the patience with my children," or some other response. We all make choices over the course of our lives, and often one choice rules out doing something else.

 

Anyhow, yes, I'm tired and doing things differently after 10 years of homeschooling. I outsource more subjects for the dc, I organize and volunteer less teaching other children (I'm frankly too impatient at this time in my life to deal with other children for too long), I leave the children on their own with the oldest siblings as child-care providers for the youngers so that I can do things on my own, like shopping, exercising, that I was never able to do while they were very young. I gleefully take the summers off to relax and enjoy MYSELF. No, I haven't bought all my curriculum for the upcoming year (which is two weeks away), and I don't care. I'll get it soon, and then we'll begin. Who really cares if we start all the subjects on the "first day" of school? 

 

I am, however, still committed to giving my dc the very best education I can with the resources at hand, for as long as they want to homeschool.

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I am finding a lot of my friends who are getting close to the 10 year mark to be in a homeschooling slump of sorts.  Before, we were the type of people who ordered curriculum before the previous school year was out and had everything organized by June.  Now, it seems like a lot of us are looking at August and going, "Oh yes...homeschool...I guess I better start thinking about that".  This post (not mine) sums it up nicely:

 

http://www.twentyshekels.com/family-life/back-to-homeschool/

 

Anybody else?  I've also noticed that this is about the time the oldest starts high school.  Then it seems homeschoolers are dropping like flies and running to the public school.  Any hope for the future?  Does this get better?

 

Beth

 

 

There's always hope for the future!

 

I've had some rough times with homeschooling high school, but also some really incredible times. Kids change so much in these years. It is truly amazing.

 

Part of the slump may be...there's not that much that's new after 10 years! Sure, new things come out, but it's not such a new world any more. School takes longer as they grow, and in some ways, naturally, becomes more serious (with college and work force on the horizon you start to feel the weight of education in a way that I didn't so much when they were little). 

 

Some people have a slump around year 7. I had a rough 8th year of homeschooling. One of my curriculum choices was pretty much a bomb, my oldest was in junior high and the reality of high school and all that responsibility coming on my shoulders kinda freaked me out. I did lots of research and questioning. I changed some of the ways I schooled--both as reaction to the bad curriculum choice, and looking ahead. I continued that until I had a good high school plan in mind. Then some life things happened in our 11th year--a bunch of big things--and I could hardly bring myself to look at curriculum. I felt drained. 

 

But...I rebounded. And it's interesting again. It's not as "fun" as the elementary years. You can still focus on interests if you want, but it's harder to justify a trip to the apple orchard and the like as school the way you can when they are little. Curriculum can have more of a learning curve at times--some are laid out well and some are laid out for an expert in the field to teach it. It's fine to say, "I'll just learn alongside my kid," but it's a harder in high school. I started learning Japanese alongside my kid--but I also work from home because my husband is disabled, and that had to go! So, my son is the expert there and he's had to do a lot of his own correcting and finding answers. Math...I like math, can tutor math, we have a good system--but I have to understand it enough to help them know WHY something is wrong at times. It takes time. Science...I am so not the science mom. My son did a robotics engineering course that I thought would be the death of me! I stayed as uninvolved as I could, but sometimes he hit a hard spot, and I could find the answer, but it might take an hour or two! Some people fear biology--that was easy, I turned it all over to the kids. Go do your dissection. Clean up when you're done! Go learn some more vocabulary. Chemistry is harder. I have to know the terms myself AND the math to help my daughter know why her way of doing the equation isn't correct, if she's not getting it on her own from the book. Okay. We're smart women, we can learn this together! But again, that takes time.

 

On the other hand...DD rocked those dissections! They DID learn biology, all on their own, with very little help from mom (I coached on how to study for tests.) My son is teaching himself Japanese and can explain things to me when I ask. (That's my main role in high school, I've decided. Also with science fair projects. Ask questions. They teach me. Or realize they don't know enough and go study.) For math--they often look at the solution in the answer key and find the reason for their own mistakes. They learn how to learn on their own. They grow. They get driver's licenses! They mature. One day they tick you off, and the next day they amaze you with kindness, thoughtfulness, intelligence. One day you're certain you're a failure of a homeschool mom and that your child will never hold down a steady job, and the next you see those qualities blossoming, and see the adult starting to come out in your child. And you think...maybe it's all going to be all right!

 

Maybe something in the slump is normal because...you are starting to let go. To become the coach and friend rather than strictly the parent. You see...this child is going to be on his or her own...and I need to become less. And that's okay. Because these kids are really great, and homeschooling...the good and the bad, the exciting times and the wow this is work times, the highs and the slumps...is worth it. 

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Maybe something in the slump is normal because...you are starting to let go. To become the coach and friend rather than strictly the parent. You see...this child is going to be on his or her own...and I need to become less. And that's okay. Because these kids are really great, and homeschooling...the good and the bad, the exciting times and the wow this is work times, the highs and the slumps...is worth it. 

 

Yes, if your dc are in their teens and the end is drawing near. But what about the moms who still have young children and know that there are 10 more years to go? You know that it is still a worthwhile task, but the mental strength to jump in with enthusiasm for another 10 years is tough. Taking it in small bits, year by year, sometimes even week by week, is easier.

 

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Yes, if your dc are in their teens and the end is drawing near. But what about the moms who still have young children and know that there are 10 more years to go? You know that it is still a worthwhile task, but the mental strength to jump in with enthusiasm for another 10 years is tough. Taking it in small bits, year by year, sometimes even week by week, is easier.

 

 

My oldest student is almost 14, but my youngest is 7.  I wondered sometimes if it was just adding her to the mix that has worn me out, but seeing other moms struggle with homeschooling at this stage in the game makes me realize maybe more is there.  My ds has two classes outsourced and is learning on his own for the most part.  I'm comfortable with that.  It's just having to get some enthusiasm for the other two that is sometimes hard.  My middle learner is the "ideal" homeschooler in that he's interested in a lot of things.  My youngest has learned to read and I can breathe a little more.  I guess part of it is that I want to be able to find out who "I" am again.  I've lost myself somewhere along this road and I need to refuel.

 

Beth

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I have never felt that "I would rather swing by my toenails than homeschool yet another year."  I have yrs when it is far more of job than other yrs,  but I have never really felt like it was torture.   My youngest still isn't school age and won't start K until next yr.  I started homeschooling my oldest in K in 1994.  I won't finish homeschooling until  2028.   How is that for long term perspective?   :)

 

Every age with every child has its seasons, just like parenting.   Sending them to school doesn't negate issues any more than age negates parenting.   Parenting my adult children is often 1000x more difficult than the toddler yrs b/c the issues are life-altering.   Sending them to school creates its own issues.  (I know b/c we sent our Aspie to school for a yr and we still live with the repercussions of that decision.  If I could change one decision I made in that young man's life, it would be that one.)

 

I keep myself inspired by working with my kids to create interesting courses.   High school literature, history, and philosophy courses are interesting and bring joy into my days.   I love exploring those subjects with my kids and listening to their opinions and their fascinating insights.

 

Yes, some subjects are drudgery.  Some subjects just need to be done and repeated.   But, through the eyes of the child experiencing the subject for the first time, it is all new and fresh. Focusing on the child's experience can bring new pleasure in returning to an old topic.   

 

FWIW, with my oldest, high school was hard for me.   I had a houseful of little ones, an Aspie who was violent and made life an emotional roller coaster, and dying parents for whom I was responsible.   I am at a new stage of life and I LOVE high school.   High school the past couple of yrs has been my absolute favorite part of homeschooling.    Life is a cycle.   One yr does not necessarily predict what will happen others.

 

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I have to say I have been at this for 13 years, and I have never, ever, not once heave-cried over homeschooling or thought I would rather hang by my toes. I may be angry at a bad day or frustrated with a naughty offspring, but the actual thought of homeschooling itself has never made me cry. And- I probably would suggest that this poor woman send her kids to school or outsource something somehow. :( (ETA- I certainly wouldn't be cheering her on to do something that makes her this miserable. This isn't anything like her cheering for her dh in a marathon, because she is working with her children. I am certain they feel how miserable she is, and this can't be good for their relationship.)

 

I love teaching little people how to read and beginning arithmetic. I love tutoring other children. I love books and curriculum. I love having high school age children. I love college planning. I love moving into that role of high school guidance counselor. I may heave-cry when my last little man graduates, but I am sure I will continue working with students.

 

And, yes, if I am so lucky as to have grandchildren that live close and have a dil who asks me to help homeschool them, I would be so excited I would jump up and down and maybe even be so happy I cried!

 

Mandy

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Taking it in small bits, year by year, sometimes even week by week, is easier.

 

 

Always!

 

Day by day ?

 

Definitely. Many years that's about all I had. Looking too far ahead can be draining! 

 

Sometimes it's dinner by dinner.  :mellow:   Planning what is going to be for dinner just exhausts me these days.

 

LOL! Dinner planning always seems to exhaust me too!

 

 I started homeschooling my oldest in K in 1994.  I won't finish homeschooling until  2028.   How is that for long term perspective?   :)

 

You da woman!

 

 

  One yr does not necessarily predict what will happen others.

 

 

Yes :-)

 

And, yes, if I am so lucky as to have grandchildren that live close and have a dil who asks me to help homeschool them, I would be so excited I would jump up and down and maybe even be so happy I cried!

 

I've hoped for this too! 

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And, yes, if I am so lucky as to have grandchildren that live close and have a dil who asks me to help homeschool them, I would be so excited I would jump up and down and maybe even be so happy I cried!

 

Mandy

 

At this point, this looks like it will be my reality.  My ds and his family used to live over 9 hrs away.  THey recently moved within 10 mins.   Our oldest granddaughter will be one yr behind our youngest in school.  Our dil does not feel confident in her ability to homeschool, but they have asked if we could try to figure out a way for homeschooling to work.  I'm not sure what it will look like yet, but there will probably be some blend of their family with ours off and on during the school days.

 

At this point, I am not up to fully homeschooling my grandkids.   I still have my own kids to think about, and my granddaughter will start K when my current 10th grader is a sr.   Sr yr takes a lot of energy.   I am totally prepared to teach my dil how tos for homeschooling and showing her how to implement various methods.  As my grandkids get older, I can definitely see morphing some classes together with my youngest and them.

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Yes, 13 years now, and it does change.  A lot of our local friends bailed in middle school/high school, but that was never an option.  I'm a community college professor, and I remain so disappointed with the results I see from the local public schools.  We're doing multiple AP's and dual enrollment, and there is no comparison to be made between the online classes and community college classes and what they're doing at the high school.  I know many high school teachers and they're solid educators.  But the system doesn't allow them to go the depth that I want.  And frankly I want to be the primary adult in their lives.

 

Is it hard?  Yes, it is. Because of family needs, I work from home during the school year, both as a professor and as a self-employed independent contractor.  Working 7 days a week with summer off is tiring.  It would be easier for me to have an away 9-5 job and have them get on the bus each morning.  But because of that we've been able to keep homeschooling, and we've kept the house in shape and the bills paid.

 

I have a senior, and will be homeschooling only one in 2015-2016.  So this is really a transition period.  They're mostly working out things themselves, and I'm working more.  When it's over, I'll probably keep working, but it will feel strange indeed to hit the fall of 2017 and have that part of life over.  It isn't that far away!

 

 

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I think it's high school that scares people. I got scared and tried to put my 2E kid into school, but they wouldn't take him. All they would do is retest him for a current score, and send him to either a special needs or gifted school, in the city an hour away. My kid refused the commute.

 

So, now that PS was not an option, and I had permission to do MY best as there were no other possibilities I was discarding, I jumped back in with more enthusiasm. It was fear not a slump.

 

The default very narrow and unbalanced definition of highschool is very different than the early years. There is not a lot of permission and options to continue the path started. People slump because they are yanked off a path that is working, because they are told they must.

 

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I think it's high school that scares people. 

 

The default very narrow and unbalanced definition of highschool is very different than the early years. There is not a lot of permission and options to continue the path started. People slump because they are yanked off a path that is working, because they are told they must.

 

That is not the reality of the homeschoolers I have known over the yrs.   It is that they believe they lack the content knowledge to successfully teach high school subjects.   It isn't a simple need to change paths.   It is the path they have been taking leads toward a specific intention for high school, college prep subjects, and they believe that school teachers are better equipped to teach those subjects than they are.

 

For some families it is true.   Not all children are best served through homeschooling.   But, it is also a misconception to believe that you have to be an "expert" in a subject for your child to have success in mastering the material.  Some people simply are not willing to forge forward and take that chance.

 

I think it is incorrect to somehow construe that all of a sudden people change paths because they are told they must.   Who is insisting they change paths?   Are they reading books and listening to talks about college admissions?   Do they want their children accepted into 4 yr universities?  If so, I am not sure why that advice would be considered " yanked off a path that is working, because they are told they must."  As homeschoolers we do have to function within the parameters of future objectives.   Certain objectives do require certain requirements.   However, not all students have the same long term goals and not all long term goals require the same path. 

 

When I talk to homeschoolers about high school, I address 5 general paths post high school graduation: 

1-vo-tech/certificate 

2-AA degree/Allied health programs

3-2 yr CC transfer to 4 yr college

4-4 yr university

5-competitive/top tier admissions 4 yr university

 

Every single one of those options is a valid choice.  The requirements for each are different.   #2 and #3 are the most similar and do overlap more than not.   #3 and #4 have some similarities, but still have differences.

 

But to suggest that homeschooling high school is abandoned simply b/c parents can't teach the way they want and are told they have to comply with "very narrow and unbalanced definition of highschool" may or may not be accurate.   Some long term goals have a very specific path to forge forward.   That does not make that path unbalanced, but it very well might make the path narrower than other options.

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I understand the article. I haven't heave-cried, but there are a lot of mornings I lay in bed and don't want to do the drill all.over.again. I don't want to get up and face math with a 9yo and a 5yo needing something productive to do and the toddler wandering around. And then flip the students with 5yo doing math. I don't want to narrate another spelling list. I'm overwhelmed by the burden and responsibility of education the three bright, intellectually curious and social kids that I have (I know I am blessed!).

 

My MIL homeschooled 9 kids for 31 years. We did a family camping trip last weekend with DH's family. He had a nice plaque made up for her celebrating her retirement as her last graduated this spring, and "students" were supposed to say something. Not everyone was able to make it and the presentation didn't go of as planned (sadly kind of lackluster--considering it was homeschooling for 31 years!!). She kind of teared up though as FIL read the Bible and presented the plaque to her, as did firstborn DH (and I did too ;-), and I realized, "She really enjoyed this. She's not bitter about all the time/energy she's put in with no thanks and no real reward. Nobody went to Ivies, DH was the only NMS, but she truly loved having all the kids and doing all the schooling! And I don't think it killed her."

 

It was a real realization for me. Whether she did all this because she loved it (I suspect) or because she was under the Gothard-guilt trip to have a lot of kids and home educate them otherwise they'll go to the devil, I don't know. I'll never really be able to talk to her about it and ask, "Did you really love this? Because, come on, I mean reeeealllly!" :svengo: She'd never be that real with me if she did hate it, and I'd probably just get a: "I just did the next thing. We didn't really have any other options." (I've asked for homeschooling advice before and gotten blown off--"You'll do fine. I'm sure you're doing great." It was when first was in K, which I realize isn't important to anyone else, but it is my first K and my kid as well as her grandkid, so it is important, ya know?! So, I don't ask advice anymore. Besides, I have WTM. ;-))

 

So now I'm at home, taking church off this Sunday morning while toddler gets a morning nap. The house is quiet, I can cook, clean, water the flowers outside, even do some business work, all in peace and quiet with the older two gone. I don't have to think about profitably occupying the olders, or conversing with them, or listening to them talk at me or break up bickering. If I sent them to school, I'd have at least 3 hours a day like this. My house would be cleaner, we'd eat healthier food, and little man and I could run errands together in relative peace (I might even have a cute wardrobe!). So, yeah, I'm jealous of the school moms. I know I'd spend more time in the car and there'd be homework at night, but oldest always wants a piece of me at bedtime anyway. It's hard. It's a lot. I love getting my kids an excellent education. I love seeing them learn, but I'm exhausted and we haven't even started school (we did summer math). I think I'd be a happier mom to be with if we didn't homeschool. Hard to tell, but I think it's a possibility. I could just be a mom and not an educator, too. Hopefully I can learn something from you other moms who have found the balance. I'm loving this thread. :001_smile:

 

 

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This is my 21st year of homeschooling, and I can honestly say I have never been blasé about it, or felt burned out or overwhelmed. I love homeschooling my kids, and it's been one of the most fulfilling, rewarding, energizing things I've ever done.

 

So, explain this for me, if you would. What does that look like? How do you do 'that'? What is fulfilling and rewarding and energizing about it?

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So, explain this for me, if you would. What does that look like? How do you do 'that'? What is fulfilling and rewarding and energizing about it?

I worked while my big boys were in early elementary school, and nearly daily I felt a surge of anger that someone else was spending the day with my child. It was worst the last year they were in school when absolutely daily I knew that they were not having their emotional needs met, and I could was absolutely certain that I could do also provide an education that was designed to meet their specific needs. There were days I was furious with he entire situation.

 

It is fulfilling knowing that my child's specific needs have been met, it is rewarding knowing that I have been a part of that, the relationships I have had with my sons, especially trough their teen years, are stronger, more honest, and more loving, and education and, gee, books in general are energizing. For me, I just love being in an educational environment with my kids or others. I find that energizing. In addition to tutoring and having extra students in me home, I have worked with the early learners at a Kumon for over five years. My time working at Kumon is my me-time. Teaching little people the alphabet and counting and beginning reading and arithmetic is rewarding, brings me joy/ fulfillment, leaves me excited to come back and do it again.

 

HTH-

Mandy

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I  I've also noticed that this is about the time the oldest starts high school.  Then it seems homeschoolers are dropping like flies and running to the public school.  Any hope for the future?  Does this get better?

 

I did notice that, as high school approaches,  even the most vocal unschoolers in my local circle suddenly flock to canned programs that deliver workbooks in a box and are the most boring way I could imagine educating kids. The same people who valued creativity and control over education highly in the earlier years seem to completely delegate education to very structured programs that leave no room for curriculum choices, creative detours etc.

In our local group, I am the only parent who custom designs their kids' high school education and hand picks all materials, and who does not use an online school or a correspondence program that takes over this job.

 

There seem to be different reasons for this. From IRL conversations I have found deep seated insecurities about high school educational content on one hand, and the college admission process on the other. Some families feel that their own educational background leaves them unprepared to facilitate a high school education on their own. Other families whose educational background should leave no doubt that they can successfully homeschool high school by themselves are concerned about the effect of home made transcripts and feel more comfortable with an accredited program because they want to make sure that homeschooling is no obstacle to college admissions.

 

And I think once you switch to a canned program or complete online school, homeschooling is simply boring and uninspiring for the parent - I don't blame them for not being terribly excited about it. You only have the negatives left, and none of the positives (mainly control over curriculum, flexibility, and freedom to get creative) are left.

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So, explain this for me, if you would. What does that look like? How do you do 'that'? What is fulfilling and rewarding and energizing about it?

 

Not the person you are asking, and not at all in a position to speak on 10 year slumps.  Maybe 2 year slumps ;)

 

But I am part of a HUGE homeschooling community; city-wide, within my church, and within my family.  I've seen families marathon through 20+ years of homeschooling and I've seen families decide on new educational paths after 2, 5, 10 years.  It seems to me the question is never about, "What does that look like?" or "How do you do that?"  It isn't related, as far as I can tell, to method.  

 

It's more like the difference between introverts and extroverts.  Some people (extroverts) are energized by big crowds and meeting new people and small talk.  They get a job as an events coordinator and they can barely get off the high of their workday.  Other people (introverts) are exhausted by it.  It doesn't mean they CANT be an events coordinator, it doesn't even mean they aren't great at it, or shouldn't do it.  But at the end of the day they are going to be drained.  They will need plans in place to re-energize before they go back to work the next day.

 

Similarly some people (like myself) are energized by homeschooling.  It's our passion.  We LOVE to research curricula, we often taught before we started homeschooling or go on to teach after we are "done".  Sometimes we teach classes or lead reading groups outside of our own children, just for the fun of it.  Others are drained by homeschooling.  They still homeschool because its the best decision for their kids, or because they feel called to by a higher power, or any number of other reasons.  But if they don't have the proper plans in place to get re-energized elsewhere...yeah they are going to burn out.   

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So now I'm at home, taking church off this Sunday morning while toddler gets a morning nap. The house is quiet, I can cook, clean, water the flowers outside, even do some business work, all in peace and quiet with the older two gone. I don't have to think about profitably occupying the olders, or conversing with them, or listening to them talk at me or break up bickering. If I sent them to school, I'd have at least 3 hours a day like this. My house would be cleaner, we'd eat healthier food, and little man and I could run errands together in relative peace (I might even have a cute wardrobe!). So, yeah, I'm jealous of the school moms. I know I'd spend more time in the car and there'd be homework at night, but oldest always wants a piece of me at bedtime anyway. It's hard. It's a lot. I love getting my kids an excellent education. I love seeing them learn, but I'm exhausted and we haven't even started school (we did summer math). I think I'd be a happier mom to be with if we didn't homeschool. Hard to tell, but I think it's a possibility. I could just be a mom and not an educator, too. Hopefully I can learn something from you other moms who have found the balance. I'm loving this thread. :001_smile:

 

I think part of it for me is just the day to day stress of my other "jobs".  Having my oldest with severe special needs and my youngest just being an emotional challenge at times is one layer.  My husband looking for a job while doing online night classes is another layer.  Him being underemployed and us having to try to cut back is another (going now for over 2 years).  Homeschooling becomes another stressor in my life.  I don't have outside interests and don't have the money or time to afford any outside interests if I did have them. My life seems likes it's in this fine balance of everything needing to work just right in order to work at all.  One thing upsets the balance and it just is a much bigger deal in my life because of all my other layers going on. I think if I could get rid of one of my layers, I could handle things better. 

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This is our 11th year and I'm not burned out, I'm just tired - like lay in a prone position for about a month tired. My life changed and the full time attention I was devoting to homeschooling vanished. I'm now doing all the adult things, schooling myself and ds. The syllabus for one of my classes was posted today and I had a moment of panic thinking of quizzes, tests, and papers (oh my!). 

 

Aside from the attention, ds's interest take him in a very different academic direction than mine or what I had originally planned for high school. I think we are more flexible at the high school level. Just this week, he opted to change a class. Thankfully, another board member helped me out (thank you!) and planning will be minimal. Yet, I should be putting that subject into our schedule right now. I have the document open to do it. My brain is toast with everything else I've had to do. 

 

He's never worked totally independently, that's never been our objective. This week he worked on his own one day as practice for when I'm not here and I was exhausted from mowing in 90 degree heat (he can't mow as he breaks out in hives in the heat). I hated that day. I like discussing subjects with him, yet I don't have time to read everything now. I suppose some of this is the natural separation happening, yet I don't feel like I'm able to facilitate as well as I had hoped because my life demands different priorities. 

 

I also know at this stage, as another poster said, nothing is really new. We have our path and I'm not looking at shiny new products or a new philosophy. We're set and it's the hard work now. 

 

I've been watching Long Way Round and last night I watched the episode when they were in Mongolia. The roads were basically non-existent, they were moving at a snail's pace and their support vehicle overturned in addition to that. They were considering cutting that section of the trip out and go back to Russia. Then Ewan McGregor started considering what they'd miss, that this had been part of his vision to visit Mongolia and it would in essence be giving up a once in a lifetime opportunitiy to see the country. I teared up because I feel like getting through the next few years is my Mongolia. They opted to press on and had some good experiences after that. I wish I could find a clip because it was a really cool reflection. 

 

 

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Not the person you are asking, and not at all in a position to speak on 10 year slumps.  Maybe 2 year slumps ;)

 

But I am part of a HUGE homeschooling community; city-wide, within my church, and within my family.  I've seen families marathon through 20+ years of homeschooling and I've seen families decide on new educational paths after 2, 5, 10 years.  It seems to me the question is never about, "What does that look like?" or "How do you do that?"  It isn't related, as far as I can tell, to method.  

 

It's more like the difference between introverts and extroverts.  Some people (extroverts) are energized by big crowds and meeting new people and small talk.  They get a job as an events coordinator and they can barely get off the high of their workday.  Other people (introverts) are exhausted by it.  It doesn't mean they CANT be an events coordinator, it doesn't even mean they aren't great at it, or shouldn't do it.  But at the end of the day they are going to be drained.  They will need plans in place to re-energize before they go back to work the next day.

 

Similarly some people (like myself) are energized by homeschooling.  It's our passion.  We LOVE to research curricula, we often taught before we started homeschooling or go on to teach after we are "done".  Sometimes we teach classes or lead reading groups outside of our own children, just for the fun of it.  Others are drained by homeschooling.  They still homeschool because its the best decision for their kids, or because they feel called to by a higher power, or any number of other reasons.  But if they don't have the proper plans in place to get re-energized elsewhere...yeah they are going to burn out.   

 

I know for myself personally that there is a lot of truth in your post.   I love teaching.   I love teaching my kids.  

 

Unlike some of the other posters, I have had yrs that I have not enjoyed and I just kept plugging through the day.  Some days I just want to curl up and escape from all of my responsibilities.  But those days of burn-out and struggling pass and new days come and I love homeschooling with new eyes.

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So, explain this for me, if you would. What does that look like? How do you do 'that'? What is fulfilling and rewarding and energizing about it?

 

I love learning, I guess.  I love learning with my kids.  I do unit studies, and those have always brought fun into our homeschool.  We figure things out together.  I don't mind making big, giant messes in the name of learning.  We built an entire medieval castle out of appliance boxes one semester.  We have big celebrations with food and fun activities to wrap up each unit.  Those sort of activities energize me, because I love to plan them and see the results.

 

Researching and buying curriculum are fun for me.  Lesson planning makes me giddy.  I stop just short of spreading out all the new curriculum on my living room floor and rolling around in it (most of the time :D ).  It makes me happy.

 

My kids have never attended a brick and mortar school, or done any online classes.  When each one of them began homeschooling, we got the discipline issues under control right off the bat, and I've never really had any major issues with any of them.  Occasionally one of them had a bad day, but nothing that became a huge issue, or continued day after day.  I can honestly say that they've been a joy to teach.

 

My two oldest are now in college (both on scholarships...just putting it in there to encourage moms that it can and does work), and are on their respective dean's lists.  They both have told me how grateful they are that they were homeschooled, and that they plan to do the same with their own children some day.

 

I also have an incredibly supportive husband, who helps me in any way that he can, and who has no problem helping me around the house.

 

I think because I love teaching, and because I love what we do in our homeschool, it's always been a source of joy for me.  I look forward to each day.  I'm excited about our subjects, and about the opportunity to work with my kids.  My 21st school year begins on September 2, and I can't wait!  I'm having so much fun with only one child at the moment.  I'm really getting to know him, and we're building a wonderful relationship as he begins his teen years.  When I was educating three at once, it was also fun...but in a different way.  Each season of my homeschooling adventure has been a gift, and I'm so grateful that I've had this opportunity in my life.

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I understand the article. I haven't heave-cried, but there are a lot of mornings I lay in bed and don't want to do the drill all.over.again. I don't want to get up and face math with a 9yo and a 5yo needing something productive to do and the toddler wandering around. And then flip the students with 5yo doing math. I don't want to narrate another spelling list. I'm overwhelmed by the burden and responsibility of education the three bright, intellectually curious and social kids that I have (I know I am blessed!).

 

My MIL homeschooled 9 kids for 31 years. We did a family camping trip last weekend with DH's family. He had a nice plaque made up for her celebrating her retirement as her last graduated this spring, and "students" were supposed to say something. Not everyone was able to make it and the presentation didn't go of as planned (sadly kind of lackluster--considering it was homeschooling for 31 years!!). She kind of teared up though as FIL read the Bible and presented the plaque to her, as did firstborn DH (and I did too ;-), and I realized, "She really enjoyed this. She's not bitter about all the time/energy she's put in with no thanks and no real reward. Nobody went to Ivies, DH was the only NMS, but she truly loved having all the kids and doing all the schooling! And I don't think it killed her."

 

It was a real realization for me. Whether she did all this because she loved it (I suspect) or because she was under the Gothard-guilt trip to have a lot of kids and home educate them otherwise they'll go to the devil, I don't know. I'll never really be able to talk to her about it and ask, "Did you really love this? Because, come on, I mean reeeealllly!" :svengo: She'd never be that real with me if she did hate it, and I'd probably just get a: "I just did the next thing. We didn't really have any other options." (I've asked for homeschooling advice before and gotten blown off--"You'll do fine. I'm sure you're doing great." It was when first was in K, which I realize isn't important to anyone else, but it is my first K and my kid as well as her grandkid, so it is important, ya know?! So, I don't ask advice anymore. Besides, I have WTM. ;-))

 

So now I'm at home, taking church off this Sunday morning while toddler gets a morning nap. The house is quiet, I can cook, clean, water the flowers outside, even do some business work, all in peace and quiet with the older two gone. I don't have to think about profitably occupying the olders, or conversing with them, or listening to them talk at me or break up bickering. If I sent them to school, I'd have at least 3 hours a day like this. My house would be cleaner, we'd eat healthier food, and little man and I could run errands together in relative peace (I might even have a cute wardrobe!). So, yeah, I'm jealous of the school moms. I know I'd spend more time in the car and there'd be homework at night, but oldest always wants a piece of me at bedtime anyway. It's hard. It's a lot. I love getting my kids an excellent education. I love seeing them learn, but I'm exhausted and we haven't even started school (we did summer math). I think I'd be a happier mom to be with if we didn't homeschool. Hard to tell, but I think it's a possibility. I could just be a mom and not an educator, too. Hopefully I can learn something from you other moms who have found the balance. I'm loving this thread. :001_smile:

 

I appreciate your honesty! :thumbup1:

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I understand the 'hanging by your toenails' thing. This will be my 7th year of homeschooling.

 

When I was schooling 1 child, I would get really excited about it. By the time I was schooling 3, I felt like I was pretty much hanging in there.

And then God brought us our surprise baby #4. I had a miserable pregnancy and barely functioned. Now she's been here for 8 months, and as lovely and wonderful as she is (and I do love her dearly), she is a lot of work!

 

I'm exhausted and I am absolutely not enthusiastic about starting another school year. But, I still believe that it's probably the best thing for our family, so I'm going to do it.

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I didn't give up on my kids or on homeschooling, but there were reasons why they gave up on me.

 

Thank you for your honesty, everyone.

 

I wouldn't wish the grief I (still) feel about not making it to the finish line on anybody.

 

 

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When I start doing the year math I begin freaking out. Thirty years of homeschooling sounds impossible, just another week is totally doable. Small bites for me.

 

This has been such a great thread, I love all the accumulated wisdom and encouragement :)

Yeah, I kind of freak out when people start doing the math.  My youngest is in first grade this year so I have a while to go yet.   Small bites and small goals work best for me.  

 

I had a crisis or slump of sorts last year.  I think it had more to do with me finding my new normal with my youngest starting kindergarten last year, and my moving on to another stage in my life than it had to do with homeschooling.  :lol:

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This has been a really weird year for us. My "partner in crime" -- i.e. a friend with whom I have been on the track for the past 6 years and have co-opted with has put her older daughter in a university model private school, and my other co-op partner is going with an online school. I, too, for personal reasons felt that it was time to move on from the group and think about my son's particular needs for high school. This is my 9th year of home schooling, and I feel very blasé about it...

 

this is the first year that I haven't really felt ready for school to start. I actually feel ready for a vacation. I don't know what to think about it except to put one foot in front of the other and plod on. I have no desire to put the kids in school...i'm sure that is not the right choice for our family. I think we are just supposed to keep going, even if the going gets tough.

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I think her article is too simplistic.  Some moms need to put children in school, many high school age children want to go to school, but none of this means we are giving up and are quitters.  Homeschooling is not always best, and mothers who determine this don't need to feel like failures.  

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Based on this thread, I feel very lucky in that all of my big boys' buddies from the first year we homeschooled when they were in third and fifth grade continued to homeschool through high school. There is definitely a large population of homeschooled high schoolers in my area. There are also a ton of opportunities for interaction with peers and separation from parents for learning activities and service projects. There are a ton of high school tutorials that meet one or two days each week with highly qualified instructors. A lot of homeschoolers participate in dual enrollment especially in grades 11 and 12 when in TN they qualify for dual enrollment scholarship funds. There is a very active Boy Scout troop in my area that has a large percentage of homeschoolers. There is a large very active homeschool 4-H group. I don't know if it still happens, but there was a church that had regular swing dances that my middle ds attended some. Locally, we have both a prom and a senior banquet. There are volunteer positions for teens everywhere from the zoo to the food bank that recruit homeshool teens. Last year, a mom started a FB teen group for social activities. This year, we have a mom who is starting a Navigators group. We have moms who stay active in the community after their children graduate when they have time to pull off amazing things for other people's children.

 

I must admit that I am homebody, and, although we don't participate in much, even I know that a ton of stuff is out there. If you don't see it in your area, it may just mean that no one has stepped up to make it happen. Talk to your local 2 or 4 year institution. Ours have dedicated dual enrollment staff. That contact person can probably give you a clue as to the number of homeschooled teens who are dual enrolled. They may be out there, but so busy you just don't see them. :)

HTH-

Mandy

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We live in a small town. There are 3 other boys that my son's age who will most likely homeschool high school. Two are involved in a popularly known co-op 45 minutes away. there just aren't a lot of opportunities for us unless I want to drive 30 minutes or more each way twice a week (more often than not through ice and snow) just for classes for only my oldest which would compromise my youngers schooling. We compromise with online classes. It's not the best, but it's "better". Be thankful if you live near a lot of homeschoolers with multiple opportunities. I'm guessing that's how people stick with it more often in the long haul.

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Near is a very relative term. ;) I attend a park day that is 30 miles from my home. My library is close- nearly 15 miles away. However, it is located through a commercial area and on the other side of a major interstate. If I get caught at the library and try to drive home during rush hour, it takes me an hour to get home. If I drive from the park during rush hour, it is just sad, sad, sad. For four years of high school, my oldest attended a tutorial that was 20 miles away through the backwoods on narrow hilly roads with no emergency lanes. Nothing is close in middle TN like it is in say Memphis, TN. When I am in Memphis, I feel like everything is around the corner. However, like I said, close is relative. In middle TN, close is a 50-60 mile radius from my home. Middle TN is where I live, and this is just how far we must drive to participate. <shrug> It is what it is.

Mandy

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Near is a very relative term. ;) I attend a park day that is 30 miles from my home. My library is close- nearly 15 miles away. However, it is located through a commercial area and on the other side of a major interstate. If I get caught at the library and try to drive home during rush hour, it takes me an hour to get home. If I drive from the park during rush hour, it is just sad, sad, sad. For four years of high school, my oldest attended a tutorial that was 20 miles away through the backwoods on narrow hilly roads with no emergency lanes. Nothing is close in middle TN like it is in say Memphis, TN. When I am in Memphis, I feel like everything is around the corner. However, like I said, close is relative. In middle TN, close is a 50-60 mile radius from my home. Middle TN is where I live, and this is just how far we must drive to participate. <shrug> It is what it is.

Mandy

That was my thought. I spend 2 hrs in the car daily just driving my Aspie to and from work. (He works 30 mins away.). The university where my ds dual enrolled is 35 mins away. We drive over 30 mins one way all the time.

 

We have also lived in locations where my kids did not have homeschooled friends. That, however, does not mean that they didn't have friends. It can take a lot of effort, but finding community-oriented activities can be a way to meet other teens.

 

My current 10th grader feels like she has grown in a different direction than most of her close friends. She is turning her energies to forging new associations (and they are community-oriented)

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I just reread this and it reads like Yoda wrote it or something, sigh, no time for the massive editing this needs but I'll leave it here fwiw.

 

I'm just starting year 6, so I really don't want to hear about a 10 year slump! Fwiw I was very much feeling in a slump this summer, I just didn't want to think about schooling after 2 years of drained energy I was really just wanting to get caught up with life and that wasn't happening. However, I was more burned out with motherhood in general than schooling although as a sah hs'ing mother it is sometimes hard to separate one from the other. I was contemplating whether or not I would be able to continue on long term, not that I was ready to send them to school but thinking perhaps in a few years it would be nice to have them out of the home and have a job or such to myself.

 

Anyway, we started back to school with a little trepidation but it has been so much easier, the baby is older, as is everyone else. We've finished 4 weeks now and I'm feeling more energized again. So jumping back in has made it all the more enjoyable to me whereas this summer on our big break I was dying to get everything done and didn't want to start back but yet it made our time at home less enjoyable and less fulfilling for me for us not to be schooling.

 

So now I've been contemplating the whys of feeling down and how to prevent it, thinking about what I need. I think as mentioned above I do find the schooling itself energizing, I cannot imagine going on with this using some school in a box, especially as the days get longer. I do not think I could soldier through that. I do see that I have to have time to myself, which I've been working on in various ways and I have to work on organization and such because having an enjoyable home environment greatly helps me. Also, as mentioned briefly the freedom to really delve into various things and keep it ineresting, which is more work but is also all the more enjoyable.  Lastly part of it is just valuing this role and surrounding myself with others that do because as much as I shouldn't need outside valuation it is hard to ignore at times, must work on this one.

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I'm on year 9, and it was year 8 that just about did me in. That was the year that I got my ds up to the point where he could compete in mathematics on a national level.  The only way I knew to do it was to also do the work myself, as in 3 hours a day of math on top of everything else I was doing.  In hindsight I'm sure there was another way, but at the time it seemed the only choice and I did not realise *at all* that it would send me down into a very deep slump. After that horrid experience, I have learned to follow Sadie's advice -- always have some activity in your life that is *not* homeschooling.  So this year I have picked up tutoring, and it is really great.  You would think that doing *more* work would be the opposite of what I needed, but actually it feels so good to help other kids besides my own, and I really like talking to the parents about their kids.  I just get a lot more external validation than I do with homeschooling.

 

Ruth in NZ

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We live in a small town. There are 3 other boys that my son's age who will most likely homeschool high school. Two are involved in a popularly known co-op 45 minutes away. there just aren't a lot of opportunities for us unless I want to drive 30 minutes or more each way twice a week (more often than not through ice and snow) just for classes for only my oldest which would compromise my youngers schooling. We compromise with online classes. It's not the best, but it's "better". Be thankful if you live near a lot of homeschoolers with multiple opportunities. I'm guessing that's how people stick with it more often in the long haul.

 

 

Near is a very relative term. ;) I attend a park day that is 30 miles from my home. My library is close- nearly 15 miles away. However, it is located through a commercial area and on the other side of a major interstate. If I get caught at the library and try to drive home during rush hour, it takes me an hour to get home. If I drive from the park during rush hour, it is just sad, sad, sad. For four years of high school, my oldest attended a tutorial that was 20 miles away through the backwoods on narrow hilly roads with no emergency lanes. Nothing is close in middle TN like it is in say Memphis, TN. When I am in Memphis, I feel like everything is around the corner. However, like I said, close is relative. In middle TN, close is a 50-60 mile radius from my home. Middle TN is where I live, and this is just how far we must drive to participate. <shrug> It is what it is.

Mandy

 

Yep, I drive 30 minutes to go to a local "homeschool PE day" every week, and often an hour away for field trips and play days.  I am not the one that travels furthest in either case.  There are several families involved that drive 1.5 to 2 hours.  

 

 I have a decent library only 10 minutes from my house though, so very lucky in that.    

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