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Large family moms - can I do this?


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I currently have 3 kids, ages 8 (grade 3), 10 (grade 5), and 12 (grade 7).

 

We have fostered for the past 6 years, adding one or two kids to the mix, always younger than mine, generally infants or toddlers.

 

Last year we took time "off" full time foster care and did respite and emerge.

 

There's a sibling set of 3, ages almost 2, newly 3, and 4 that we've been asked to take. We know these kids from providing respite for them over the past 14 months regularly (especially the older two) and have always loved having them, anywhere from 3 nights to a couple of weeks. Generally though it's a weekend and generally only the older two.

 

The oldest would be in full time school, middle in daycare 2 or 3 days a week, and youngest always at home.

 

I tend to use fairly teacher intensive curricula for my kids and am teaching from 9am - 2pm. I directly teach math, grammar, composition, spelling, foreign language and history to each of my kids separately. We do a morning meeting together (devotions, poetry, geography, fable, music/art appreciation). Then they have a variety of things they do with relative independence (bible, science, reading, handwriting, etc).

 

I love these kids. If they were to become free for adoption I would strongly consider adopting them. My kids love them and ask if we can adopt them all.the.time. They are "good kids", but they are young and needy.

 

The reality of 6 kids, homeschooling, toddlers, one in public school, extra curriculars....is very anxiety provoking.

 

Is it possible? Without having to change the way we homeschool? Is it possible that it could be at least somewhat smooth?

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I can't tell you the reality of it all, I really don't have the experience. I am not a preachy person, but I felt I should say this. I can see you are Christian, and I thought I would answer your question that if God put it in your heart to foster these three children the you CAN do it. Perhaps it will shake things up in your routine - my guess is it will. I've always come out far better off, blessed in ways I could never foresee, when I listen to what He is telling me. Best Wishes!

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I was just reading someone's blog, she homeschools 8 kids. Also know of a few families around here, 6-9 kids and they still homeschool. I only homeschool 3 (sounds so easy comparing to the larger family sizes), and have an oldest in college and a baby. With that being said, I agree with the post above...put it in God's hands and trust in His plan for your family. I like to believe He knows what is best for us, even if it's the harder way. I know, easier said than done. Good luck!!

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Can you do it? Yes. Will it make your school yr very different? Yes. Only you can know if that difference is something you can actually cope with while keeping school at the level you want for your children.

 

I have never kept foster children, but my grandkids moved in with us for months when my dil was put on bed rest. (They were with us the first half if Dec w/o mom, then 1/2 of Jan-April w/o their mom and then May with mom and their new baby brother.) They were 1 and 2 at the time. We were able to keep homeschooling, but bc they weren't my children and hadn't grown up in our homeschool routine, it was very different than homeschooling with my own toddlers. We had to adapt to them; it was most definitely not the other way around. ;) I would do it again in a heartbeat, but the reality is academically that yr was inferior. But, it happened wo warning and we were so busy, I didn't really have time to adequately prepare and shift gears mid yr. We had no idea when they went home before Christmas that they would end up back with us for months during spring semester.

 

Are you ok transforming your homeschool's approach? Time is a reality. Driving, shifting gears between someone leaving and arriving, nap time....all those shifts take mom time. My kids had to drop their activities bc school took us so much longer, etc.

 

I think it definitely doable, but you and your children need to sit down and map out the reality of the differences and make sure everyone is ok with what they mean. My kids didn't care a hoot that they had longer days and no activities bc they adore their niece and nephew. Only you and your children know how those sorts of differences matter to you.

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I have 9 kids with one out the house and the youngest just turned one. Yes it is possible. If you are directly teaching then on of the others will need to be playing with the 2 and 3 year old. But I've been homeschooling for 12 years and my kids learn better with active instruction and we've just made it work. Each year looks a little different but we have also learned what works best for us.

 

Possibly you could combine history to start with. Only do one read aloud for all to listen to. Could you combine for foreign language? If this is the right choice for your family then you will be able to make it work.

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I can't tell you the reality of it all, I really don't have the experience. I am not a preachy person, but I felt I should say this. I can see you are Christian, and I thought I would answer your question that if God put it in your heart to foster these three children the you CAN do it. Perhaps it will shake things up in your routine - my guess is it will. I've always come out far better off, blessed in ways I could never foresee, when I listen to what He is telling me. Best Wishes!

 

 

I was just reading someone's blog, she homeschools 8 kids. Also know of a few families around here, 6-9 kids and they still homeschool. I only homeschool 3 (sounds so easy comparing to the larger family sizes), and have an oldest in college and a baby. With that being said, I agree with the post above...put it in God's hands and trust in His plan for your family. I like to believe He knows what is best for us, even if it's the harder way. I know, easier said than done. Good luck!!

 

Thank you for saying that.  Seeing God in this is a big part of what's keeping me moving forward with it.

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Can you do it? Yes. Will it make your school yr very different? Yes. Only you can know if that difference is something you can actually cope with while keeping school at the level you want for your children.

 

I have never kept foster children, but my grandkids moved in with us for months when my dil was put on bed rest. (They were with us the first half if Dec w/o mom, then 1/2 of Jan-April w/o their mom and then May with mom and their new baby brother.) They were 1 and 2 at the time. We were able to keep homeschooling, but bc they weren't my children and hadn't grown up in our homeschool routine, it was very different than homeschooling with my own toddlers. We had to adapt to them; it was most definitely not the other way around. ;) I would do it again in a heartbeat, but the reality is academically that yr was inferior. But, it happened wo warning and we were so busy, I didn't really have time to adequately prepare and shift gears mid yr. We had no idea when they went home before Christmas that they would end up back with us for months during spring semester.

 

Are you ok transforming your homeschool's approach? Time is a reality. Driving, shifting gears between someone leaving and arriving, nap time....all those shifts take mom time. My kids had to drop their activities bc school took us so much longer, etc.

 

I think it definitely doable, but you and your children need to sit down and map out the reality of the differences and make sure everyone is ok with what they mean. My kids didn't care a hoot that they had longer days and no activities bc they adore their niece and nephew. Only you and your children know how those sorts of differences matter to you.

 

 

You know the answer to this.   :D  I think it will change your schooling dramatically . These children will need the focused attention.

 

 

You can do it. But you can't do it without it changing your homeschool. :). I also don't think it sounds like that is really the determining factor for you :). There are a lot of great, independently geared resources out there :).

 

 

I have homeschooled six kids in the past, though all my birth children and not foster kids.  However, one of my children has special needs that requires multiple weekly trips to therapy and doctor appointments.

 

Yes, you can do it.  BUT you won't be able to do it without it affecting the way it looks in your home.  The foster children will require a lot of attention, and you will have to shift from teacher-intensive curricula to more independent work.  You will have to scale down on your outside commitments.  You will have to master your time and not let the urgent dictate your life.

 

Difficult?  Yes.  Impossible?  No.

 

I really don't want to drastically change the way we homeschool.  I love how we homeschool.  I don't want to switch them to super independent things.  I homeschool because I love teaching them and I want to give them more and better than what the local public school can offer.  If the homeschool suffers I won't be happy.  I can see how it fits in the evenings, on weekends, etc.  The big concern is homeschool.  Like I said, one is full time school, the other daycare likely 3 days a week.  So 3 days of having a 2 year old toddling around and 2 days of a 2 and 3 year old. 

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Yes you can. I have 7 and foster and one is public school. YOu can do it. You might have to be more flexible and change some things, but yes.

 

 

I have 9 kids with one out the house and the youngest just turned one. Yes it is possible. If you are directly teaching then on of the others will need to be playing with the 2 and 3 year old. But I've been homeschooling for 12 years and my kids learn better with active instruction and we've just made it work. Each year looks a little different but we have also learned what works best for us.

 

Possibly you could combine history to start with. Only do one read aloud for all to listen to. Could you combine for foreign language? If this is the right choice for your family then you will be able to make it work.

 

I can't combine history.  They are each on their own history rotation.  The gr 7 is largely independent with history.  Dh helps with individual read alouds at bedtime and then I do one read aloud all together.  I can get DIVE cds to teach oldest math.  The littles can join us on circle time and for snack. I can probably rotate each of my three playing with the littles for 30 min each. 

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I have 8 kids here and they are not all mine, between the ages of 2 and 10.  You could do it, but probably not without drastically changing your homeschooling methods.  Only you can decide if that's something you should do.  

 

I teach the following things to the kids as a group: Spanish, spelling, history, science, Bible, and Shakespeare.  I combine 2 of the kids for English because they're on the same level, also.  I have to tailor my methods to each kid -- some kids could do English independently in 3rd, and some couldn't.  One does math semi-independently and one is teacher intensive for math.  

 

And it is VERY stressful.  I have to have a lot of mental breaks during the day, where I take 5 minutes to myself, check FB, or this forum, or read a chapter of Scripture.  I have to put myself to bed early at night and wake up early to get a head start.

 

But I know the extra kids I have in my care need it, so it's worth it for me.  But I don't think you should feel guilty if you need to say no.  A "no" is always a "yes" to something else.  

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I have 8 kids here and they are not all mine, between the ages of 2 and 10.  You could do it, but probably not without drastically changing your homeschooling methods.  Only you can decide if that's something you should do.  

 

I teach the following things to the kids as a group: Spanish, spelling, history, science, Bible, and Shakespeare.  I combine 2 of the kids for English because they're on the same level, also.  I have to tailor my methods to each kid -- some kids could do English independently in 3rd, and some couldn't.  One does math semi-independently and one is teacher intensive for math.  

 

And it is VERY stressful.  I have to have a lot of mental breaks during the day, where I take 5 minutes to myself, check FB, or this forum, or read a chapter of Scripture.  I have to put myself to bed early at night and wake up early to get a head start.

 

But I know the extra kids I have in my care need it, so it's worth it for me.  But I don't think you should feel guilty if you need to say no.  A "no" is always a "yes" to something else.  

 

I don't like "drastically change".  I can make small accomodations but I can't drastically change what I'm doing.  It's a priority to me.  I want to incorporate the kids into this but not make them the highest priority and fit everything else in around them.

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I don't like "drastically change". I can make small accomodations but I can't drastically change what I'm doing. It's a priority to me. I want to incorporate the kids into this but not make them the highest priority and fit everything else in around them.

It's possible but what else will give? House cleaning? Cooking? Where can you get extra help? Pay a college student to drive to extracurriculars? Eat simple meals or order out? Weekly house cleaning? I actively teach about the same hours as you are saying and my littles just fit in around it.

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It really depends on how busy the 2 and 3 year old are. I babysat my nephew for 2 years. Homeschooling with someone else's toddler is really hard and harder than doing it with your own toddler. It's hard to explain, but it's just different. We ended up only getting directed school work done during naps, the days he was here.

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It really depends on how busy the 2 and 3 year old are. I babysat my nephew for 2 years. Homeschooling with someone else's toddler is really hard and harder than doing it with your own toddler. It's hard to explain, but it's just different. We ended up only getting directed school work done during naps, the days he was here.

Exactly. That is what I was trying to explain in my post. I have never had a problem with my own children, but it is very different with other people's children. I think the coming and going of school and preschool is also going to eat up time due to the need for little ones to adjust.

 

OP, I think that the fact you have stated several times that you don't want to alter your home school means that you really Need to reflect on the situation. You don't want to resent the decision.

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Agreeing with busymama7. You could continue your homeschool curriculum and focus, but you will have longer hours, say 8-4 instead of 9-2, and you will have a longer school year. You will need more help, from your husband, a baby-sitter, neighbor, family member, housekeeper, something. You will have to drop some things, maybe a ministry or volunteering or sports or lessons, depending on how full your plate is currently and transportation, etc.

 

Adding three small children at once will change your life, but it will be worth it.

 

We added two little ones to our family within 18 months and we are more now productive and time-efficient as a family than we were before they came. We also enjoy one another more. My kids were 5, 9, and 10 when we got our first new baby and 1, 7, 10, and 11 when we got our second. Last year was rough. It was hard. But now we are on the other side and I am so glad for the way our family was built, I am so grateful for each child, and I know the timing they were each put into our lives was perfect. Now the kids are 1, 3, 8, 11, and 13 and I am able to resume some volunteering and extras I had dropped. This upcoming school year will be our most rigorous yet and I'm looking forward to it!

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It's possible but what else will give? House cleaning? Cooking? Where can you get extra help? Pay a college student to drive to extracurriculars? Eat simple meals or order out? Weekly house cleaning? I actively teach about the same hours as you are saying and my littles just fit in around it.

I will hire a house cleaner every other week and have pizza once a week. My mom lives with us and will prepare snacks and maybe lunch from the schedule I have made and she does laundry, she can help drive to extra curriculars and friends on the team would pitch in to drop kids off too.

 

School is pretty well my highest priority.

 

My son in grade 3 is doing WWE and FLL but I could switch him to GWG and EIW this year. That's about all I'm willing to change.

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I really don't want to drastically change the way we homeschool.  I love how we homeschool.  I don't want to switch them to super independent things.  I homeschool because I love teaching them and I want to give them more and better than what the local public school can offer.  If the homeschool suffers I won't be happy.  I can see how it fits in the evenings, on weekends, etc.  The big concern is homeschool.  Like I said, one is full time school, the other daycare likely 3 days a week.  So 3 days of having a 2 year old toddling around and 2 days of a 2 and 3 year old. 

 

For me, the question would be how my energy level would be impacted by having three other people (of any age) to pour into on a daily basis. I'm certain that I, personally, could not add three more people to the mix and not have that increased output on my part affect the energy and mental focus that I need to have available for teaching. For me, teaching and running a home now take everything I've got, to be honest. But your energy level might be different.

 

That said, we will probably have to make serious changes to the way we school this year because my elderly parents will need me to step into more of a caregiver role for them. They have no one else to help them, and they need help with what they are facing (health issues).

 

Perhaps these children are in a similar situation? Perhaps they have no one else to help them? Although, you'd have to balance that thought out with the thought that your children have no one else to teach and mother them. If you say yes and take the three little ones, and the homeschooling does suffer, what will you do then?

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I will hire a house cleaner every other week and have pizza once a week. My mom lives with us and will prepare snacks and maybe lunch from the schedule I have made and she does laundry, she can help drive to extra curriculars and friends on the team would pitch in to drop kids off too.

 

School is pretty well my highest priority.

 

My son in grade 3 is doing WWE and FLL but I could switch him to GWG and EIW this year. That's about all I'm willing to change.

 

You keep saying this, that your homeschool is your highest priority. Even down to  the specific curriculum and plan for each child -- you are pretty inflexible on any changes and don't intend to let these new children have an effect on the program as if their needs are allowed to take priority over it.

 

But that's now how raising any child works. The children and their needs are the priority. The need for a good education comes first, and then the curriculum is the tool; the child's health is a priority, so lifestyle changes are the mechanism if they have allergies or need special appointments or something...

 

unless you can say, "All of the  children of this home, and their needs, will be the most important thing; everything else is in the details and we can work with it until everyone is taken care of,"

 

....do you see what I'm saying? Your words are indicating that you care about these children but they are secondary to your other plans. That knowledge should guide your actions -- whether those actions are to reevaluate your priorities or to safeguard those priorities by saying no to such a huge commitment to the children.

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It really depends on how busy the 2 and 3 year old are. I babysat my nephew for 2 years. Homeschooling with someone else's toddler is really hard and harder than doing it with your own toddler. It's hard to explain, but it's just different. We ended up only getting directed school work done during naps, the days he was here.

  

Exactly. That is what I was trying to explain in my post. I have never had a problem with my own children, but it is very different with other people's children. I think the coming and going of school and preschool is also going to eat up time due to the need for little ones to adjust.

OP, I think that the fact you have stated several times that you don't want to alter your home school means that you really Need to reflect on the situation. You don't want to resent the decision.

These kids are not busy. They have spent a significant amount of time in our home over the last year and we always comment on how easily they fit in and feel like part of the family. But they are toddlers - you know? The evenings and weekend will be busier but I'm not worried about that. It's just school.

 

I know it's helpful to have preschool and school but I know that the drop off and pick up really do eat into the day. Hopefully I can set my kids up with independent work during that time. Maybe I can teach them as well during naps and then have my kids in quiet time when the littles get up and have some time with them. I just can't see NOT doing the required school work to accommodate extra kids.

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Agreeing with busymama7. You could continue your homeschool curriculum and focus, but you will have longer hours, say 8-4 instead of 9-2, and you will have a longer school year. You will need more help, from your husband, a baby-sitter, neighbor, family member, housekeeper, something. You will have to drop some things, maybe a ministry or volunteering or sports or lessons, depending on how full your plate is currently and transportation, etc.

 

Adding three small children at once will change your life, but it will be worth it.

 

We added two little ones to our family within 18 months and we are more now productive and time-efficient as a family than we were before they came. We also enjoy one another more. My kids were 5, 9, and 10 when we got our first new baby and 1, 7, 10, and 11 when we got our second. Last year was rough. It was hard. But now we are on the other side and I am so glad for the way our family was built, I am so grateful for each child, and I know the timing they were each put into our lives was perfect. Now the kids are 1, 3, 8, 11, and 13 and I am able to resume some volunteering and extras I had dropped. This upcoming school year will be our most rigorous yet and I'm looking forward to it!

I do have support and can call in more support in terms of house work and eating out once a week. I do really, really enjoy these kids when we've had them and they bring a lot of joy. I just haven't had to do it for more than a week at a time.

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For me, the question would be how my energy level would be impacted by having three other people (of any age) to pour into on a daily basis. I'm certain that I, personally, could not add three more people to the mix and not have that increased output on my part affect the energy and mental focus that I need to have available for teaching. For me, teaching and running a home now take everything I've got, to be honest. But your energy level might be different.

 

That said, we will probably have to make serious changes to the way we school this year because my elderly parents will need me to step into more of a caregiver role for them. They have no one else to help them, and they need help with what they are facing (health issues).

 

Perhaps these children are in a similar situation? Perhaps they have no one else to help them? Although, you'd have to balance that thought out with the thought that your children have no one else to teach and mother them. If you say yes and take the three little ones, and the homeschooling does suffer, what will you do then?

Good question. I don't know what I would do. I know that once I commit to them being here there's no turning back! I just want to be able to do it all.....I really thought that all the big family moms would be chiming in and saying that it is possible. :p

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You keep saying this, that your homeschool is your highest priority. Even down to the specific curriculum and plan for each child -- you are pretty inflexible on any changes and don't intend to let these new children have an effect on the program as if their needs are allowed to take priority over it.

 

But that's now how raising any child works. The children and their needs are the priority. The need for a good education comes first, and then the curriculum is the tool; the child's health is a priority, so lifestyle changes are the mechanism if they have allergies or need special appointments or something...

 

unless you can say, "All of the children of this home, and their needs, will be the most important thing; everything else is in the details and we can work with it until everyone is taken care of,"

 

....do you see what I'm saying? Your words are indicating that you care about these children but they are secondary to your other plans. That knowledge should guide your actions -- whether those actions are to reevaluate your priorities or to safeguard those priorities by saying no to such a huge commitment to the children.

I guess I'm hoping that it's possible to maintain what we're doing and meet the needs of these little ones too. Knowing them and that they are "good" kids who feel like fit in here made me think it might be possible. There are other foster kids we've done relief for whom I wouldn't consider because they have more drastic needs. These kids are easy going and obedient/respectful. But I haven't had to do school with toddlers full time and wonder if even with "easy" kids my expectations are unrealistic.

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If you do this, it will change you, your kids, your family, your homeschooling, etc.  I think you should let it, but it is easy for me to say that.  With your mother helping, I think this is probably a workable situation, but yes, you will need to change some things.  

 

I worked for years in the foster/adoption field, and I've not ever heard quite such a perfect set up for foster to adopt such as this one.  Most of the time when people post and ask these types of questions, I am shaking my head and thinking, "Oh, this is a bad idea", but when I read your OP, my heart leapt, and I thought, "Oh yes, you should do this.  Most definitely."  :)

 

Yes, you will need to change.

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I guess I'm hoping that it's possible to maintain what we're doing and meet the needs of these little ones too. Knowing them and that they are "good" kids who feel like fit in here made me think it might be possible. There are other foster kids we've done relief for whom I wouldn't consider because they have more drastic needs. These kids are easy going and obedient/respectful. But I haven't had to do school with toddlers full time and wonder if even with "easy" kids my expectations are unrealistic.

 

My grandkids are wonderful children.  They are sweet.  They know me.  ;) They know our rules.  My 4 yr old granddaughter is my 5 yr old dd's best friend.  When they lived with us before, my ds's family actually lived 10 hrs away.  They have moved here and are now 10 mins away.  They are here a lot.  BUT, you asked and I am just being a 100% honest.  Parenting and educating my own children is radically different when we have my grandkids thrown into the mix.  

 

My kids were born into homeschooling.  Everything about their daily lives from the time they arrived in this world has been living in this routine. (well, with the exception of my oldest 3, but they were 5,3, and 1 when we started.)   My grandkids have a completely different routine. 

 

Maybe if I thought that I would be permanently bringing them into our fold and that I had the authority to parent them according to my ways of doing things, it would be different.  But, they are not my children and they have their own little ways of doing things that I respect.  

 

I agree with the other moms that it can definitely work.  But, I do think it is completely unrealistic to think you can double your family size with little ones and not expect radical upheaval and change.

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Good question. I don't know what I would do. I know that once I commit to them being here there's no turning back! I just want to be able to do it all.....I really thought that all the big family moms would be chiming in and saying that it is possible. :p

You can do it all, if you have a good support system, realistic expectations, a sense of humor, and give grace; it will take longer to do it all, and you may find that your idea of what "it all" is changes after adding the little kids.

 

I would advise you go on a long weekend before the placement to enjoy your easy big-kid family. Before our first placement, we had recently PCSd to Okinawa and spent a lot of time exploring the island. I was grateful for those easy memories when things were harder and my getting out of the house meant therapy and specialist appointments, and adoption errands and appointments. I was surprised to find I grieved a little bit of our old family of five, and thought of our lives in terms of before and after the new babies, but now, with the passage of time, it feels like it was seamless. And I absolutely do not regret or resent our choices and children.

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If you do this, it will change you, your kids, your family, your homeschooling, etc.  I think you should let it, but it is easy for me to say that.  With your mother helping, I think this is probably a workable situation, but yes, you will need to change some things.  

 

I worked for years in the foster/adoption field, and I've not ever heard quite such a perfect set up for foster to adopt such as this one.  Most of the time when people post and ask these types of questions, I am shaking my head and thinking, "Oh, this is a bad idea", but when I read your OP, my heart leapt, and I thought, "Oh yes, you should do this.  Most definitely."   :)

 

Yes, you will need to change.

 

It's not that I don't want anything to change.  I just don't want to have to reinvent our homeschool.  I don't want to feel like my kids' education is on the altar because I'm not able to teach them.  I don't want to switch them to independent curriculum or video streaming or send them to school!  I want to still be able to accomplish the goals I have for their education and I truly delight in teaching and don't want to lose that either.  It brings me joy and I am so glad that we are a homeschooling family.  The benefits are numerous.  I can make small allowances like getting the DIVE cd for dd's math, teaching with a toddler on my lap or a little one at the table doing play doh, I think I can work in a 30 min break for each of the olders to go play with the littles.  Is that enough?

 

Could you share what made you think this is a perfect set up?  I do want to be clear that there is kin interested but not approved so this could be quite temporary should they get approved.  Should they not get approved the girls will be free for adoption and it is definitely something I think we'd consider, although if we're finding that it is NOT a fit, we're free to say so and have the agency find a more appropriate adoptive family at that point.  This is not technically a foster to adopt situation, it's a foster care situation.  Anything is possible at this point.  I do think the workers are looking at it like this could be a viable permanency option but they and we have been clear that this is not strictly about permanency at this time.

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My grandkids are wonderful children.  They are sweet.  They know me.   ;) They know our rules.  My 4 yr old granddaughter is my 5 yr old dd's best friend.  When they lived with us before, my ds's family actually lived 10 hrs away.  They have moved here and are now 10 mins away.  They are here a lot.  BUT, you asked and I am just being a 100% honest.  Parenting and educating my own children is radically different when we have my grandkids thrown into the mix.  

 

My kids were born into homeschooling.  Everything about their daily lives from the time they arrived in this world has been living in this routine. (well, with the exception of my oldest 3, but they were 5,3, and 1 when we started.)   My grandkids have a completely different routine. 

 

Maybe if I thought that I would be permanently bringing them into our fold and that I had the authority to parent them according to my ways of doing things, it would be different.  But, they are not my children and they have their own little ways of doing things that I respect.  

 

I agree with the other moms that it can definitely work.  But, I do think it is completely unrealistic to think you can double your family size with little ones and not expect radical upheaval and change.

 

Yes, it would be possible to set our own routines and have the authority to parent them.  I don't think they will put up a huge fight.  BUT I know that I'm many years removed from toddler hood and just want a reality check.  It is reasonable to expect the two year old to hang around, go play, join in every morning in a way that's not terribly disruptive?  To establish boundaries, set up a toy rotation, include her in circle time and snack?  And then add the 3 year old into that mix two mornings a week?  To continue to be available to my kids even if it's with a toddler on my lap and preschooler in the chair beside me?  Or will every day feel like a gong show and be unproductive.  It's a terribly difficult thing to not know what to expect.  There's nothing gradual about it - it's just - BOOM - three more  kids.  I'm starting to think I'm being naive because I don't expect "radical" upheaval and change.  But....in all the times I've had them here it hasn't felt like radical upheaval and change.  That's the comment we make every time they are here - that they just fit and life goes on and it seems natural.  I also recognize though that is just for a weekend or a week, not months on end.

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You can do it all, if you have a good support system, realistic expectations, a sense of humor, and give grace; it will take longer to do it all, and you may find that your idea of what "it all" is changes after adding the little kids.

 

I would advise you go on a long weekend before the placement to enjoy your easy big-kid family. Before our first placement, we had recently PCSd to Okinawa and spent a lot of time exploring the island. I was grateful for those easy memories when things were harder and my getting out of the house meant therapy and specialist appointments, and adoption errands and appointments. I was surprised to find I grieved a little bit of our old family of five, and thought of our lives in terms of before and after the new babies, but now, with the passage of time, it feels like it was seamless. And I absolutely do not regret or resent our choices and children.

 

I am kind of using this thread to check my expectations.  I'm not sure if they are realistic.  I expect to be a much busier mom.  I expect to have to work harder every day.  I expect to not be able to go watch my kids at all of their activities.  I expect to have "bad days".  But I also expect to get our school work done, to be productive, to accomplish our educational goals, to find joy in the day to day.  I can give up parts of doing "it all" - like volunteering with the sports teams or leisurely afternoons with lots of free time.  Honestly this past year I have been bored.  My kids are big enough that I suddenly find myself with "nothing to do".  They are off playing together or out at a friend's or their extracurriculars.  If we don't take this placement we will take a placement.  The difference being that a placement would be one infant or one preschooler/kindergartner.  If it was just the 3 and 4 year old I wouldn't even hesitate.  I wouldn't have even started this thread.  It's the 6th kid, the not quite 2 year old, that is making me question the reality of it all.

 

For what it's worth, the people in my life (family and friends) are saying go for it.  They know these kids and have seen them with our family and how much our own children love them and think this is a perfect opportunity.  I have moments where I feel very excited and moments where I just feel overwhelmed and scared that I won't be able to manage.  ETA - Dh is completely on board.  Excited and willing to step up in order to support this change in our family.  We haven't talked to the kids but I already know they'll be thrilled.  We've been involved with these kids for the past year and they really love them and talk about them all the time.  They always say they don't want them to leave and that they want to adopt them.  This is not always the case with every child we have through foster care ;)  At this point I would say I'm the only one on the fence.

 

I relate to the feelings of grieving your family of five. I always feel a bit of that whenever we have a placement.  Thankfully we have had the last year without a placement and this summer was the first in many years that we have been just us 5 and knowing that we were open to taking a placement in the fall we were mindful of taking lots of opportunities to live it up this summer.  Dh is also on holidays this week and we intend to treat it as a final hurrah ;)

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Can you take the 2 year old too sometime just for a respite to see how the 2 year old does?  If you did take the kids and it really didn't work out, could you let them go to another family?  Could you take them, knowing that the first year will probably be the hardest but the two year old will get older and could go to preschool at age 3 etc.?  Are you aware that kids that work really well in a temporary respite situation sometimes act out when it is more permanent because then they start to feel safe enough to act out some of the trauma they have felt in their life?   

 

No solutions there but some things to think through and perhaps the answers you tell yourself might give you some guidance.  

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Yes, it would be possible to set our own routines and have the authority to parent them. I don't think they will put up a huge fight. BUT I know that I'm many years removed from toddler hood and just want a reality check. It is reasonable to expect the two year old to hang around, go play, join in every morning in a way that's not terribly disruptive? To establish boundaries, set up a toy rotation, include her in circle time and snack? And then add the 3 year old into that mix two mornings a week? To continue to be available to my kids even if it's with a toddler on my lap and preschooler in the chair beside me? Or will every day feel like a gong show and be unproductive. It's a terribly difficult thing to not know what to expect. There's nothing gradual about it - it's just - BOOM - three more kids. I'm starting to think I'm being naive because I don't expect "radical" upheaval and change. But....in all the times I've had them here it hasn't felt like radical upheaval and change. That's the comment we make every time they are here - that they just fit and life goes on and it seems natural. I also recognize though that is just for a weekend or a week, not months on end.

I think you can expect days where that ideal image will exist, but you can equally expect a lot of days when it won't. Tired, cranky, sick pre-schoolers are, especially when attending pre-school, equally likely scenarios. That is life. With a lot of children in the house, it only takes 1 to turn it into 6..... Illnesses can drag on for a long time. It can happen even with your 3, but my little ones have always tended to be our germ magnets.

 

I think if you take that ideal image you have and expect it maybe 60% the time, you will have something closer to reality. Incorporating my grandkids into our lives during the summer and on the weekends is a radically different sort of interaction than during our school yr. I have been homeschooling for over 20 yrs and have had 6 kids school age at one time plus a baby and my ill (dying) parents under my care......and guess what, adding in my 5 yr old dd in K this yr has required a lot of change in our days. I haven't had a Ker for a few yrs. She is a smart little cookie and has lived in our household her entire life. BUT....it is just more about juggling time and balancing all the hats. It isn't that I can't do it. It isn't that I haven't managed more. It is just that we need a different routine and a new plan in order to make everything work. We just finished our 2nd full week of school and I still haven't worked all of the kinks out.

 

It really boils down to have much you are willing to embrace joyfully the days that don't match Norman Rockwell's Satuday Evening Post image.

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Can you take the 2 year old too sometime just for a respite to see how the 2 year old does?  If you did take the kids and it really didn't work out, could you let them go to another family?  Could you take them, knowing that the first year will probably be the hardest but the two year old will get older and could go to preschool at age 3 etc.?  Are you aware that kids that work really well in a temporary respite situation sometimes act out when it is more permanent because then they start to feel safe enough to act out some of the trauma they have felt in their life?   

 

No solutions there but some things to think through and perhaps the answers you tell yourself might give you some guidance.  

 

I have had the 20 month old as well, just not as often.  We also visit with her on our own time and when we have her sisters here on respite.  Theoretically I could let them go if it doesn't work out but considering the disruption and trauma to them I wouldn't do that.  Short of something extremely drastic.  I would let our homeschool suffer before I would have them moved.  That is why I'm trying to consider every.little.thing.  I agree that the first year will be hardest.  I also know that kids who do well in respite can act out when it's more permanent but the families the girls currently reside with don't report any behaviours and their experience of the kids matches our own.  They have been in foster care a bit longer than a year.

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I think you can expect days where that ideal image will exist, but you can equally expect a lot of days when it won't. Tired, cranky, sick pre-schoolers are, especially when attending pre-school, equally likely scenarios. That is life. With a lot of children in the house, it only takes 1 to turn it into 6..... Illnesses can drag on for a long time. It can happen even with your 3, but my little ones have always tended to be our germ magnets.

 

I think if you take that ideal image you have and expect it maybe 60% the time, you will have something closer to reality. Incorporating my grandkids into our lives during the summer and on the weekends is a radically different sort of interaction than during our school yr. I have been homeschooling for over 20 yrs and have had 6 kids school age at one time plus a baby and my ill (dying) parents under my care......and guess what, adding in my 5 yr old dd in K this yr has required a lot of change in our days. I haven't had a Ker for a few yrs. She is a smart little cookie and has lived in our household her entire life. BUT....it is just more about juggling time and balancing all the hats. It isn't that I can't do it. It isn't that I haven't managed more. It is just that we needed a different routine and a new plan in order to make everything work. We just finished our 2nd full week of school and I still haven't worked all of the kinks out.

 

It really boils down to have much you are willing to embrace joyfully the days that don't match Norman Rockwell's Satuday Evening Post image.

 

I guess I'm okay with different but not with less....does that make sense?  I don't want having them to mean that my kids have a crappy school year and fall behind.

 

For example, with your 8 kids you've obviously found ways to make sure your school age kids are getting their educational needs met while still tending to other younger siblings.  How did you do that? By intentionally choosing to keep school to the basics?  By choosing very independent curriculum?  By being flexible and accepting interruptions while you teach?  I am willing to find ways to balance time and juggle the hats, I just don't want to have to change the hats themselves....

 

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be stubborn.  I really am trying to work through it.  Does having them mean I have to change curriculum, remove myself from active teaching, etc.

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It's not that I don't want anything to change.  I just don't want to have to reinvent our homeschool.  I don't want to feel like my kids' education is on the altar because I'm not able to teach them.  I don't want to switch them to independent curriculum or video streaming or send them to school!  I want to still be able to accomplish the goals I have for their education and I truly delight in teaching and don't want to lose that either.  It brings me joy and I am so glad that we are a homeschooling family.  The benefits are numerous.  I can make small allowances like getting the DIVE cd for dd's math, teaching with a toddler on my lap or a little one at the table doing play doh, I think I can work in a 30 min break for each of the olders to go play with the littles.  Is that enough?

 

Could you share what made you think this is a perfect set up?  I do want to be clear that there is kin interested but not approved so this could be quite temporary should they get approved.  Should they not get approved the girls will be free for adoption and it is definitely something I think we'd consider, although if we're finding that it is NOT a fit, we're free to say so and have the agency find a more appropriate adoptive family at that point.  This is not technically a foster to adopt situation, it's a foster care situation.  Anything is possible at this point.  I do think the workers are looking at it like this could be a viable permanency option but they and we have been clear that this is not strictly about permanency at this time.

To your first paragraph - it's probably enough.  Also, you may want to take the first year as the hardest and plan to spend some time in the summer catching up with anything that falls behind.  You seem like a high energy person since you report being bored, and that makes such a huge difference in a situation like this because a lot of energy is required to keep up with toddlers and to do the basic care of that many people in a family  It sounds like your mom is a huge help, though, which could make all the difference.

 

It is the perfect set up because you have quite a lot of experience with these particular kids in your home and you describe them as a good fit for your other kids and your family.  Bringing them into your home will not disrupt the birth order of your bio kids.  Your kids are on board.  You sound realistic in your expectations of the foster or adopt situation and not overly invested in this as only an adoption because there are interested kin, which is a situation that I have seen go either way.  I hear some love and attachment from you and your family for these kids.

 

Some of what feels "right" to me is in my gut and not something that I can explain.  It just comes from years of listening and watching successes and failures in the adoption and foster care arena, and this feels like a match to me.  My gut is not 100%, and I don't have a crystal ball, but I don't see huge red flags.  I appreciate that you are approaching it thoughtfully like this.  I've watched many an enthusiastic adoptive family rush headlong into the abyss and come out the worse for wear.  This does not seem like the situation here.

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I guess I'm okay with different but not with less....does that make sense? I don't want having them to mean that my kids have a crappy school year and fall behind.

 

For example, with your 8 kids you've obviously found ways to make sure your school age kids are getting their educational needs met while still tending to other younger siblings. How did you do that? By intentionally choosing to keep school to the basics? By choosing very independent curriculum? By being flexible and accepting interruptions while you teach? I am willing to find ways to balance time and juggle the hats, I just don't want to have to change the hats themselves....

 

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be stubborn. I really am trying to work through it. Does having them mean I have to change curriculum, remove myself from active teaching, etc.

No to all of your questions. I don't keep to the basics for my older kids. I actively teach for hours everyday. (This yr it is taking me close to 5 or more solid hours.) But all of that is really my point. My own children were raised to understand school time means self-entertainment playing quietly around us, waiting to ask for help, etc. It is how they were raised. My grandkids are not used to that. They aren't used to waiting until I say it is ok to ask for things. They are used to constantly changing activities. They will play with something for 10 mins and then want to do something else. It is what they are used to. Those sorts of behaviors are not easily changed. It takes a lot of directed parenting to train kids to self-entertain and not be disruptive but to be patient for their turn.

 

When our grandkids moved in, there was no way I was going to be able to replicate homeschooling with my own toddlers. They were used to doing things their mommy's way. On top of that, they were confused bc they were not with mommy or daddy and were surrounded by big kids all day long. I could alter our homeschool or I could try to change their behaviors, but I definitely did not have time to do both. Our adapting around them was the only realistic option. Their behaviors were perfectly fine in terms of how they behaved. They just weren't fine for our homeschool the way we normally do things. I had a 12th grader, a 9th grader, a 6th grader, and a dyslexic 2nd grader. School had to be done. It just had to become something different bc time limitations are real. You can change a lot of things, but you are still left with a finite day and your own physical and mental limitations in the mix.

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Why not utilize Head Start all three should qualify as foster children (as far as I know it's been a long time since I was a Head Start teacher) the 2-year-old could go to early head start and if you get them into the AM class they would get both breakfast and lunch, brush their teeth, and play hard giving you a solid three hours to do school uninterrupted. As long as you prioritize this time it could minimize how much your homeschool has to change. and the two and three-year-old might even take a nap when they get home :)

 

I think you can totally do this, however, only you can figure out if you should do this.

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To your first paragraph - it's probably enough.  Also, you may want to take the first year as the hardest and plan to spend some time in the summer catching up with anything that falls behind.  You seem like a high energy person since you report being bored, and that makes such a huge difference in a situation like this because a lot of energy is required to keep up with toddlers and to do the basic care of that many people in a family  It sounds like your mom is a huge help, though, which could make all the difference.

 

It is the perfect set up because you have quite a lot of experience with these particular kids in your home and you describe them as a good fit for your other kids and your family.  Bringing them into your home will not disrupt the birth order of your bio kids.  Your kids are on board.  You sound realistic in your expectations of the foster or adopt situation and not overly invested in this as only an adoption because there are interested kin, which is a situation that I have seen go either way.  I hear some love and attachment from you and your family for these kids.

 

Some of what feels "right" to me is in my gut and not something that I can explain.  It just comes from years of listening and watching successes and failures in the adoption and foster care arena, and this feels like a match to me.  My gut is not 100%, and I don't have a crystal ball, but I don't see huge red flags.  I appreciate that you are approaching it thoughtfully like this.  I've watched many an enthusiastic adoptive family rush headlong into the abyss and come out the worse for wear.  This does not seem like the situation here.

 

Haha - I don't think I'm high energy but I really enjoy having kids around.  If there aren't kids with immediate needs I'll sit on the couch feeling bored but not disciplined enough to get up and mop the floor :p  I just find kids very rewarding and entertaining and energizing.  To some extent.  These particular kids fit with my energy level. A few rowdy toddler boys maybe not so much.  My mom is definitely a helpful factor.  She doesn't have as big a role in our family right now but she is willing to take on some extra responsibility that jives with her strengths - getting snack ready vs. babysitting.

 

I do have a lot of experience with these kids and 6 years of fostering experience to know when something is definitely not a fit.  This one mostly makes me nervous because we've never taken THREE at a time.  We started out doing one placement (when mine were 2, 4 and 6 years old) and were taking 2 by the time they were 5, 7, and 9.  I wouldn't even hesitate if it was just two of these kids.  Three is causing the hesitation of holy crap, that's a lot of kids! ;)  Birth order is super important to me and we've always respected that in any placements we've taken.  We've also learned to leave a larger margin than we originally thought necessary between our youngest and the next child - at this point we're finding a 4 year minimum age gap is "right" for us.  I definitely have seen so many kids returned to family that I recognize the kin as a very legitimate possibility, but completely unpredictable.

 

Thank you for your input.  I appreciate your assessment with the background you have in the field.  Rushing in headlong is definitely not me haha - If anything I overanalyze everything and find problems that may never ever come to be.  Everyone around me is saying "YES! This is perfect!"

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No to all of your questions. I don't keep to the basics for my older kids. I actively teach for hours everyday. (This yr it is taking me close to 5 or more solid hours.) But all of that is really my point. My own children were raised to understand school time means self-entertainment playing quietly around us, waiting to ask for help, etc. It is how they were raised. My grandkids are not used to that. They aren't used to waiting until I say it is ok to ask for things. They are used to constantly changing activities. They will play with something for 10 mins and then want to do something else. It is what they are used to. Those sorts of behaviors are not easily changed. It takes a lot of directed parenting to train kids to self-entertain and not be disruptive but to be patient for their turn.

 

When our grandkids moved in, there was no way I was going to be able to replicate homeschooling with my own toddlers. They were used to doing things their mommy's way. On top of that, they were confused bc they were not with mommy or daddy and were surrounded by big kids all day long. I could alter our homeschool or I could try to change their behaviors, but I definitely did not have time to do both. Our adapting around them was the only realistic option. Their behaviors were perfectly fine in terms of how they behaved. They just weren't fine for our homeschool the way we normally do things. I had a 12th grader, a 9th grader, a 6th grader, and a dyslexic 2nd grader. School had to be done. It just had to become something different bc time limitations are real. You can change a lot of things, but you are still left with a finite day and your own physical and mental limitations in the mix.

 

The older two are definitely able to self entertain and wait to ask for things.  That is how it is around here whenever they're here and they do just fine.  They are quiet, easy kids.  The home they are currently in functions a lot like ours.  They don't homeschool but they run a business from home and at times the girls have to play independently while they work.  It's not a brand new idea to them.  The younger is fairly independent because she is in a home with no other kids and a single lady.  We had her here in the spring for a 3 week stretch and managed.  She is young and still needs some training in that department but I'm hoping she's young enough for me to be able to accomplish that, especially as it will be just her 3 days of the week (she's 20 months).

 

I appreciate your answer.  I want to know that I can still teach my kids.  That it's not unrealistic to teach.  That I can expect the kids to fit into our day to some extent.  I can shift things around I just don't want to start dropping things.

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Why not utilize Head Start all three should qualify as foster children (as far as I know it's been a long time since I was a Head Start teacher) the 2-year-old could go to early head start and if you get them into the AM class they would get both breakfast and lunch, brush their teeth, and play hard giving you a solid three hours to do school uninterrupted. As long as you prioritize this time it could minimize how much your homeschool has to change. and the two and three-year-old might even take a nap when they get home :)

 

I think you can totally do this, however, only you can figure out if you should do this.

 

No Head Start here!  The best I can do is the oldest in school and the 3 year old in daycare 3 days.  The almost 2 year old will be home with us every day.

 

Oh, and naps will be happening!!  My own kids do quiet time every day.  When the 4 year old is here she doesn't nap but she takes some dolls and books up on the couch in the family room all by herself and plays and reads on the couch for an hour and a half.  The two littler ones still sleep during the day but even if the 3 year old stops sleeping she will do quiet time.

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I do not have a large family, but wanted to chime in.

 

I just finished reading about Gladys Aylward who led over a hundred hungry children out of the danger of Japanese invasion into a safer place. This was in wartime China, and they travelled miles through the wilderness.

 

So, with that, I would err on the side of optimism that, YES, you can do this! Of course, you will be dependent on the grace of God each and every moment. You may or may not need to compromise in switching to a few less teacher intensive methods for a few subjects for a season.

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I guess I'm okay with different but not with less....does that make sense?  I don't want having them to mean that my kids have a crappy school year and fall behind.

 

For example, with your 8 kids you've obviously found ways to make sure your school age kids are getting their educational needs met while still tending to other younger siblings.  How did you do that? By intentionally choosing to keep school to the basics?  By choosing very independent curriculum?  By being flexible and accepting interruptions while you teach?  I am willing to find ways to balance time and juggle the hats, I just don't want to have to change the hats themselves....

 

I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be stubborn.  I really am trying to work through it.  Does having them mean I have to change curriculum, remove myself from active teaching, etc.

 

Chiming in a little late, but with DH and I (eldest of 8 and eldest of 5 respectively) I hope my opinion is welcome.

 

I think you can definitely do different without less. In our families growing up, Gr7 would be working independently with a morning meeting, end of day meeting, and parent available for questions, Gr5 would be working semi-independently with check ins at the transition between each subject and for mum to check the student understood any new content, and Gr3 would be able to start each subject with 5-15mins with mum teaching, and then the rest of the lesson independently. For us, this was what made it work. It required certain curriculum, not 'simpler' curriculum but different structure, things which did not have teacher guides, things which were aimed directly to the student. It required teaching the children to work independently even from Gr1 level (once child could form letters correctly and understand basic sum format, practice worksheets were done independently for example). It required adjusting time expectations, rather than setting 'school time' the eldest child might come to mum with questions before bed, and the youngest one might finish their math lesson on the counter while mum cooked dinner. It means less mum-involved things like mum-led projects, or curricula with lots of read alouds. It meant sometimes the eldest listened to the youngest read, and sometimes the older children did their science experiment together independently of mum. It meant that fun things like art projects or history-based hands on activities waited until the weekend when dad was home. 

 

I don't think any of this took away from our educations, and in some ways it helped us, we learned vital study skills and self motivation and all sorts of little benefits. But it's not a teaching style that suits everyone, it's much more 'manager' and much less 'participant' if you know what I mean. But I don't think it's less than, or worse. 

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The older two are definitely able to self entertain and wait to ask for things. That is how it is around here whenever they're here and they do just fine. They are quiet, easy kids. The home they are currently in functions a lot like ours. They don't homeschool but they run a business from home and at times the girls have to play independently while they work. It's not a brand new idea to them. The younger is fairly independent because she is in a home with no other kids and a single lady. We had her here in the spring for a 3 week stretch and managed. She is young and still needs some training in that department but I'm hoping she's young enough for me to be able to accomplish that, especially as it will be just her 3 days of the week (she's 20 months).

 

I appreciate your answer. I want to know that I can still teach my kids. That it's not unrealistic to teach. That I can expect the kids to fit into our day to some extent. I can shift things around I just don't want to start dropping things.

Having kids who are used to self-regulation is definitely a huge blessing. That will definitely make adjusting easier.

 

Best wishes on making your decision!

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I think you could but I doubt you can keep the same school routine down as you have. I get you love teaching the way you do but I think you'll have significantly cut back how many hours a day you can teach one on one. My guess? 2-4 hours a day tops, if you can get them to all take a good nap after lunch and do most of your teacher intensive work them and then maybe you can by a bit of time when they are up, especially if you assign a child to play with the littles. Maybe have homework time in the evening when littles are asleep or dad is home and can watch littles or do homework. Think about what subjects you can do with baby awake.

 

If it were me I would combine them all for there core or have the 3 & 5 grader combined and the 7th on a independent program. Then I would focus on giving the 3rd & 5th grader some one on one time in areas they need it.

 

Brainstorming but I could see ---

45 min one on one with 3/5

30 min check in with 7th

2 hr core for all

3/5 do an hour to two hours independent work

Each child spends some time watching littles while you do one on one time

 

I might think of doing a box curriculum to take the planning off your hands while you get your bearings.

 

We've enjoyed using mfw. Each history cycle is geared to kids in grades 2-8 so they should all be able to do a core. The Hazels had 6 children so it's designed for larger families and multiple ages. They have talks available on cd and youtube about how they fit school in with littles under foot.

 

My family composition is different but I can tell you what we do with one toddler on a typical day.

 

It's a lose flow, not a schedule. Schedules with a baby don't work so much for me.

 

My kids are 18 mo, 6, and 8.

 

AM goal- between 8 and 12

Bible together (10 min)---while baby is up (sometimes before bed when baby is down for night already)

One on one with 6 year old for math, Lang, character / Bible, Read Alouds (1 hr)---oldest plays with baby

8 year olds independent work (1 hr)----while baby is up and mom / k'er play with her

One on one math & Lang instruction (or whatever she needs help with) for 8 year old (1h)----while baby takes an hour nap / quiet time

Spanish (20 min)---while baby is up (together)

 

PM- between 1-4

Chapter book- (15-30 min)---right after lunch (baby might be up) (or sometimes before bed when baby's already down for night)

Core- history, art, music, science, etc. (90 min)---during babies pm nap

Another 1/2 hr of independent work for 3rd grader (30 min)---while I do chores (sometimes I need an hour of my own quiet time and she does all her independent work in one shot in her room while I nap)

1 hr. quiet / nap for all after chapter reading

 

My total teaching time is 4 1/2 hrs. We only do small spurts of "couch time" school when baby is up totaling max an hour. Then basically I break it down two hours active teaching in the morning and 2 in the afternoon

 

I don't enjoy teaching over an unhappy toddler.

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I absolutely think you can be an involved teacher and parent smaller children. It sounds like these kids are  good fit for your family based on what you're saying and I personally would go for it. I'm also coming from a place where we took a break from fostering over the summer and spent the time doing a bunch of fun things that weren't appropriate to do with a baby or a small toddler in the house. I'd do it if I were in your shoes and expect to tweak school a bit but definitely would NOT give up on teaching the older kids yourself.

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I do not have a large family, but wanted to chime in.

 

I just finished reading about Gladys Aylward who led over a hundred hungry children out of the danger of Japanese invasion into a safer place. This was in wartime China, and they travelled miles through the wilderness.

 

So, with that, I would err on the side of optimism that, YES, you can do this! Of course, you will be dependent on the grace of God each and every moment. You may or may not need to compromise in switching to a few less teacher intensive methods for a few subjects for a season.

 

Stories like that are very inspirational!  I definitely don't want to limit God's grace in action through our family and simply say no to something because it sounds hard or scary.  Yes, it would be easier without any extra kids around, but I don't want to get to the end of my life feeling like I didn't LIVE it!  ETA: Part of the "discernment" here is that there are some very unique circumstances to how this has all come together making it feel like God is leading us in this direction.  Yet we are trying to be wise and test the way we are interpreting things.

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Definitely don't give up being able to teach older kids. It might mean changing the way you do things, cutting back on commitments, and shifting somethings into independent work, but lots of large families make it work. And a lot of what your anxious about works itself out. That's what I have seen with a baby added to our schooling and now with being pregnant with a toddler.

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I have 5 at home. 2 bio, 2 adopted, and 1 foster to adopt. We have RAD, ODD, ADHD thrown in the mix as well as one who we has to be involved in virtual school this year. It isn't easy, in fact I have one screaming in the background right now😥, but it's worth it and if you are called to do this then you will find a way! I think a mother's day out for the toddler would be very helpful as well just to give you one or two days you can focus on the big kids.

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