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Confidence shaken; not sure we can/should continue homeschool


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I feel like I got the mother of all homeschool wake up calls this week.  My head is spinning and I'm really worried about whether we can or should continue homeschooling...I will do my best to be lucid and get to the point as quickly as I can, but I've not slept much as yesterday was pretty upsetting. 

 

This is our second year homeschooling - dd nearly 12, ds 8.5 y.o.  DS is a very social child and it had become apparent to DH and I that he might do better in a 'traditional' setting, even though we love having him at home.  We found a lovely, small private school locally and went through the process of touring, feeling it out and then finally having him assessed to see if he could join in the 3rd grade class mid year.

 

The assessment was a huge eye-opener, and not in a good way...

 

Reading was off the charts excellent (he's a voracious reader of everything and anything), but...he performed very, very poorly on math and writing.  Like a full grade behind poorly.  In fairness, he's never really done a test before and likely just skipped stuff that he didn't 'get' right away....and he performed poorly on tasks he usually does well at home....but still...I was told in no uncertain terms that he was much too far behind to join the class....and in some areas, behind the 2nd grade...despite the fact that he is a very bright, mature, inquisitive, polite, gentle boy....The principle wasn't even confident he'd be ready by next fall.

 

We knew he would be 'behind' (I understand the term is arbitrary and doesn't mean much when one is educating an individual child or measuring against one institutions particular yardstick) but didn't expect it to that degree.  Last year was very tough going - he was an extremely reluctant writer and resisted any kind of seat work as his school experience up until then had not been positive for him....so we took it slowly, and it has helped.  He has made progress across the board relative to his own skill level, but he is lagging....the assessment was a huge disappointment since we'd been so very proud of the progress he has made....

 

And the sad, sad truth is that I am responsible.

 

Much of the blame for his delay falls on my shoulders because I have been so completely overloaded by everything else going on in our lives that to be brutally honest, there is a major consistency problem and a structure problem  in our homeschool.  It is affecting both of our children - my DD to a lesser degree, but it is affecting her still....

 

I think I've been blind to it because things have just been sliding gradually, but persistently...and I've been too utterly overwhelmed to grasp to what degree things are just not getting done....

 

Now, my son is not able to get something he really, really needs - to belong to a group of his peers, and be in a structured environment - because I have failed him...I feel incredibly guilty.  It is breaking my heart.

 

I am exhausted and burned out, and likely depressed.  This state is related to lingering financial issues, DHs truly insane work and travel schedule, and the simple fact that I am left to look after pretty much everything - including all parenting, running our business, personal finances, homeschooling, house, home, cooking, shopping, pets....everything.  I posted here about it last year  http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/550581-rough-first-hs-year-suggestionshelp-for-year-2/#entry6334705 It hasn't gotten better since then - to be honest, it has gotten worse.  Currently, we're half way through the school year, but just 25% of the way through some of our key materials.  Not great on the heels of a fairly unproductive first year.

 

My own stress and 'mental health situation' for lack of a better term, has been brewing for quite a few years now....we've had major challenges, and homeschooling was maybe not the best idea in light of everything we had on our plate, but homeschool we did.  And now I'm seeing clear evidence of how my over-loaded-ness is affecting my kids academically, and I think I need to be honest about it and take action.  It may be time for a course correction.

 

Here is what I am thinking.  First, I will be making a call to get some professional help for myself.  I believe my current state is circumstantial, but I could sure use some support - and an advocate - to help me untangle things and guide me to a healthier place.  I have been at or in a state of burnout at least twice per year for the past 10 years due to huge stress and major life events...no joke.  I need some time to recover....I am at a low spot.

 

My gut is that for the next 6 months, we may need to make serious changes to our homeschool as I simply can't keep it going.  On the home front, the house has slowly become a disaster, I'm having a really hard time keeping home and business admin on the rails, we're reduced to the freezer section of Costco and Trader Joes for meals (I used to cook a lot, but can't seem to get on top of the planning, shopping, cooking cycle any more).  Basically I have too much on me, and am only getting about 10-15% of everything done.....as a high achieving Type A gal, this in itself is incredibly stressful.

 

Basically, I am no longer able to keep my kids moving forward academically... so  I am thinking about enrolling DD in an independent studies program offered locally that would have her reporting to a teacher once per week.  The teacher would assign and grade her work.  We would lose control over curriculum.  DD would also have some study support in ELA and Math 1-2 times per week.  Not at all my ideal, but it would keep me from holding her back any longer.  She needs to flexibility in her studies as she training and competing in show jumping.  She is a good independent worker so will be alright, although she will be really sad to not be working with mom.

 

DS, well I think it is time to bring in a tutor to work with him on Math and ELA....it would be pointless and harmful to put him into a public school situation at this point.  He is ready to advance, just needs consistency and structure that I'm not able to provide right now.

 

My goal would be for both of my children to be at 'Grade Level' by fall of 2016.  This would open up the possibility of a return to school for DS, if that's what is desired and 'best' for everyone, and prepare my daughter adequately for entry into Grade 7 studies and looming high school....I want to keep their options open in the event that Homeschool isn't possible, practical or healthy for our family long term.  They are both very bright children and I would be devastated if my failure to recognize my limitations prevents them from being ready for their own future.  Homeschooling could still be part of that - I believe in it, but one has to actually 'do' it for it to be the right path.

 

This approach would allow us to still do some of the 'fun' homeschool stuff together at a very relaxed pace - literature, CM Style language study, reading, history - but still get the kids working up to their potential in those core areas of Math and ELA....and would give me time to recover and time for DH and I to make some changes and decisions about how our home, business and lives need to be run in order for all of us to be well and healthy.  His work shows no signs of changing - if anything, 2016 will be even more demanding.

 

On a positive note (because there IS still much positive!), our time homeschooling has brought wonderful benefits as well.  My relationship with our children is miles ahead of where it used to be.  We've learned so much about them and they've .  Our DD has had the time and energy to discover and nurture a driving passion and talent.  Both children have had more access to their father, who would otherwise not see them much.  DS has overcome a complete aversion to writing anything down, has developed surprisingly impressive reading skills and new friendships with other children in a new town.  We have also seen his maturity and confidence grow considerably.  DH and I are on the same page and have an incredibly strong relationship, despite (or perhaps because of) the truly Herculean efforts our chosen paths have demanded.

 

I am grateful for any and all feedback from any of you kind and patient enough to read through....hopefully awaiting your good vibes and thoughts about my plans...

 

Edited by Mimicoto
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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Don't take what the school says to heart.  Please don't see it as a condemnation of what you have done.  Many times there will be areas where certain kids lag behind for a while, especially writing in younger children.  My son is not functioning at grade level in writing.  It happens.  Different strengths and weaknesses.  That being said, I think your plan to address what is going on in your life sounds very workable.  Just be sure to make it happen.  You have a plan, now implement it.  I think the changes you are talking about will almost certainly help significantly address the issues you are dealing with.  I applaud you for your proactive thoughts.

 

Huge hugs, Momma.  You care about your kids.  Don't beat yourself up because you were getting overwhelmed.  You've had a lot on your plate.

 

Best wishes.

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I totally relate; our homeschool efforts are so far from the grand vision I had when I commenced this journey!  We, too, have had one challenge after another, some unpredictable, others completely of our own choosing (like adopting a 6 year old boy from Ethiopia 2 years ago).  My son is also "behind" his peers in reading and writing, and would not do well in school as a result of this.  We did recently start our other son in school, both so he could get the help and peer interaction he needed, and also to lower my "load" at home so I can focus more on the two homeschoolers during the day.  As well, we have been seeking help for the various mental health issues that have cropped up among various members of the household, which is helpful, but also adds appointments that upset the homeschooling routine.

 

I think you are on the right track; work to reduce your load, while also renewing your focus on the truly important issues at hand.  I will be following this thread for advice. :)

Heather

 

P.S.  I wondered when reading your post if you were Canadian, and smiled to myself when I read that you are.  Something in your writing style gives it away. ;)

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:crying:   Thank you so much, OneStep.

Welcome.

 

And I have been where you are at, for very similar reasons.  I get it.   This is hard, not knowing which way to leap.  The stakes seem so high and it is an awful feeling to think you are ruining your kids when all you want is what is best for them.  Hang in there.  

 

What might help right now, besides working on implementing your plan, is to sit and write down a list of any and all positives.  In fact, ask your kids and your DH to brainstorm some positives in your lives right now.  Not just with homeschooling.  Everything.  Focus on what IS working.  The other can sap your strength, drag you down until it is hard to do anything at all.  Don't let that happen, if you can help it.  Make that list.  Read it a few times.  Look at that half full glass not the space that never got filled, IYKWIM.  

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

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:grouphug:

Please do take care of yourself and try to get some rest.

 

Remember that the school's version of "grade level" does not necessarily make sense for your particular kid at this particular time. I know it doesn't work for mine. When we are feeling overwhelmed and stretched thin, we tend to look at problems as bigger and more insurmountable than is realistic.

 

You can work on building up your structure and keeping on *your* schedule--is there someone who could help you can that, maybe an accountability partner? And maybe you'd like to switch from planning (e.g., do pages 40-99 in this and 68-101 in that by March 1) to recording (Feb. 1: We completed chapter 5 in language arts, did oral narration for chapter 22 in history, did 20 multiplication problems on the whiteboard.). Then you have a record of accomplishments, not shortcomings.

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I think you've done brilliantly, given your circumstances, particularly.

 

I homeschooled during a very tough period in our lives, and often felt I couldn't do all I should or wanted to.

 

The eldest graduated from college and is employed in a worth-while, self-supporting job.

 

The youngest is a straight-A student in high school, who now picks up classics to read and is also headed to college in the future.

 

You have a good, workable plan, and are taking steps to improve your situation while honoring your children and their needs.

 

Nothing to see here, Bad Thoughts. Move along.

 

:grouphug:

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You cannot judge a homeschool by how an 8yo tests at a school. Schools process children, lockstep. Homeschools don't. In school, he would likely not be light years ahead in reading because he wouldn't have the time to practice. He's be too busy shedding tears over the developmentally inappropriate writing activities. Take the math struggle as a wake up call and refocus your efforts there. That's important, but your homeschool isn't doomed over a 3rd grade entrance test. There are many paths leading to the same goal. Find yours, but please don't do it out of fear and guilt.

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I really think you shouldn't beat yourself up...

 

But just by way of advice, signing your dd up for outside weekly accountability is NOT a good idea.  The independent study programs (which provide curriculum and plans) in my neck of the woods are very intensive for the kids, requiring vast amounts of seatwork, filling out daily checklists and forms, patience, and constantly taking state and federal mandated tests which only get it the way of their schooling.

 

To be honest, I think the answer here is either putting both kids in school OR taking some other huge loads off your plate so that you can focus on homeschooling them.

 

As far as meals- as long as they are really Trader Joe's and not full of preservatives, and you have the money and the kids don't have food allergies, so what.  If you have the money and it works for you stock the freezer full of TJ's meals and buy plenty of fresh fruits and have plenty of salads a few times a week.  Who cares if you don't cook!  Just dont give them too much sugar! or preservatives! You can't do it all!

 

Who cares about the house either. I mean obviously, don't live in squalor...but... Have some friends over.  Clean out all the junk.  Call 1800Got Junk or some other service and throw the sh** in there and move on.  Then, buy those Costco Cleaning Wipes and put a pack in every room of the house. Buy swiffer for the floors.  I gave up having the perfect house and i use those cleaning wipes on every surface except the tub and toilet (comet for those) and guess what! My house smells great and is very clean.  It costs a little extra $ but if you have it, use it.

 

It sounds to me like you need to kick out some other commitments.  You did not share what they are.  Call this week and take some off your plate.  
 

And yes, get a therapist.  once a month if that's all you can afford.  Talk about it, get it off your chest, cry and make plans for change.

 

Honestly, you can do life.  Hang in there.  You just have to work it so that your life works for you and your children.  

 

 

Oh and find another darn private schoo, girl.  My friends kids were 3 years behind and she had to put them in private school due to her child having cancer, and needing ot live at hte hospital...and the school took them under their wings, loved them and is working with them to catch them up one certain percentage each quarter, slowly.  They do have extra homework above what the other kids have, but that is to be expected.  If this school saw a bright inquisitive boy who is a voracious reader and just doens't write full page essays...they don't want him ...move on.  Look for another school. But, if you take a lot of stuff off your plate, and decide to have an imperfect house and accept that TJ's meals are OK, then I think that maybe you could homeschool a little longer and see how it goes. 

 

Kudos to you for realizing you need change.

 

 

Edited by Calming Tea
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Thank you every single one of you for your thoughtful, compassionate and well-considered responses....and for wading through that huge post!  Yikes!!! :mellow:    Very comforting and helpful....I have more good options to consider now...

 

I totally relate; our homeschool efforts are so far from the grand vision I had when I commenced this journey!  We, too, have had one challenge after another, some unpredictable, others completely of our own choosing (like adopting a 6 year old boy from Ethiopia 2 years ago).  My son is also "behind" his peers in reading and writing, and would not do well in school as a result of this.  We did recently start our other son in school, both so he could get the help and peer interaction he needed, and also to lower my "load" at home so I can focus more on the two homeschoolers during the day.  As well, we have been seeking help for the various mental health issues that have cropped up among various members of the household, which is helpful, but also adds appointments that upset the homeschooling routine.

 

I think you are on the right track; work to reduce your load, while also renewing your focus on the truly important issues at hand.  I will be following this thread for advice. :)

Heather

 

P.S.  I wondered when reading your post if you were Canadian, and smiled to myself when I read that you are.  Something in your writing style gives it away. ;)

 

 

:grouphug:   Life is big for your family too....hope you find the posts here helpful also.  What revealed my Canadian roots?  Verbosity?  Superlatives?  I'm really curious!  :laugh:

 

 

 

Welcome.

 

And I have been where you are at, for very similar reasons.  I get it.   This is hard, not knowing which way to leap.  The stakes seem so high and it is an awful feeling to think you are ruining your kids when all you want is what is best for them.  Hang in there.  

 

What might help right now, besides working on implementing your plan, is to sit and write down a list of any and all positives.  In fact, ask your kids and your DH to brainstorm some positives in your lives right now.  Not just with homeschooling.  Everything.  Focus on what IS working.  The other can sap your strength, drag you down until it is hard to do anything at all.  Don't let that happen, if you can help it.  Make that list.  Read it a few times.  Look at that half full glass not the space that never got filled, IYKWIM.  

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

This is really helpful - you've given me a good idea....  To a person, everyone wants to continue homeschooling....we all believe it's right for our family in many respects  BECAUSE we are aware of what is working and positive.  So maybe we can all brainstorm together about HOW we can continue to homeschool through this intense season of our lives?

 

 

 


You can work on building up your structure and keeping on *your* schedule--is there someone who could help you can that, maybe an accountability partner? And maybe you'd like to switch from planning (e.g., do pages 40-99 in this and 68-101 in that by March 1) to recording (Feb. 1: We completed chapter 5 in language arts, did oral narration for chapter 22 in history, did 20 multiplication problems on the whiteboard.). Then you have a record of accomplishments, not shortcomings.

 

This is a good strategy....much less pressure that way....

 

 

That's really hard to deal with.  Is it possible that you are trying to do to much as far as home education is concerned?  I would only try to do English, maths and PE.  Everything else is completely optional at those ages.

 

I don't think it's a question of too much - but one additional challenge is that each child is part of a homeschool charter.  My son's has really been a blessing and we joined simply because of the social aspect they provide for him.  They are easy to work with and accept him where he's at, he attends classes there twice a week that he loves (and needs as he is an extrovert in a family of introverts).  It has also allowed him to participate in the school's theatrical production, which has been very meaningful to him.  My daughter's Charter is a royal pain, and my first order of business this week is to withdraw.  We joined there as she needed some outside classes that stretched our budget too far.  We gave up the outside classes as her interests developed elsewhere....but in the interim we've had to meet requirements that don't align with our interests or time...and the admin is significant.  That would allow us to just concentrate on essentials...

 

 

 

 

I think you've done brilliantly, given your circumstances, particularly.

 

I homeschooled during a very tough period in our lives, and often felt I couldn't do all I should or wanted to.

 

The eldest graduated from college and is employed in a worth-while, self-supporting job.

 

The youngest is a straight-A student in high school, who now picks up classics to read and is also headed to college in the future.

 

You have a good, workable plan, and are taking steps to improve your situation while honoring your children and their needs.

 

Nothing to see here, Bad Thoughts. Move along.

 

:grouphug:

Thank you for the encouragement!!!

 

 

 

You cannot judge a homeschool by how an 8yo tests at a school. Schools process children, lockstep. Homeschools don't. In school, he would likely not be light years ahead in reading because he wouldn't have the time to practice. He's be too busy shedding tears over the developmentally inappropriate writing activities. Take the math struggle as a wake up call and refocus your efforts there. That's important, but your homeschool isn't doomed over a 3rd grade entrance test. There are many paths leading to the same goal. Find yours, but please don't do it out of fear and guilt.

 

I love this post, and you are absolutely right....the writing issues and concerns about their developmental appropriateness for our son were big drivers when we left school initially....and you're bang on about the math.  With some structure and discipline and a bit of outside help, we can get on top of that.

 

 

I really think you shouldn't beat yourself up...

 

But just by way of advice, signing your dd up for outside weekly accountability is NOT a good idea.  The independent study programs (which provide curriculum and plans) in my neck of the woods are very intensive for the kids, requiring vast amounts of seatwork, filling out daily checklists and forms, patience, and constantly taking state and federal mandated tests which only get it the way of their schooling.

 

We're already finding the HS Charter to be way too overbearing and a time-waster.  DD does not do her best work either when she feels 'overseen', so you may be right about this.  We're in CA, but it's still a state run thing obviously...anyone here doing an ISP in CA?

 

To be honest, I think the answer here is either putting both kids in school OR taking some other huge loads off your plate so that you can focus on homeschooling them.

 

School would be totally demoralizing for DS right now and would remove DDs training and competing time....so school won't work today.  The other huge loads will need to be discussed when DH is back from his travels next week.  He and I are on the same page - just finding solutions will be challenging to say the least.  We don't have family to help.  We run our own business (he is in the arts and entertainment field....fairly successful by industry terms, but not making enough to support a family AND have staff to help as we fill in the hole that a decade of investing in his career has left....we both do the jobs of about 5 people each, no kidding).

 

As far as meals- as long as they are really Trader Joe's and not full of preservatives, and you have the money and the kids don't have food allergies, so what.  If you have the money and it works for you stock the freezer full of TJ's meals and buy plenty of fresh fruits and have plenty of salads a few times a week.  Who cares if you don't cook!  Just dont give them too much sugar! or preservatives! You can't do it all!

 

You are right!  Made me smile :-)))

 

Who cares about the house either. I mean obviously, don't live in squalor...but... Have some friends over.  Clean out all the junk.  Call 1800Got Junk or some other service and throw the sh** in there and move on.  Then, buy those Costco Cleaning Wipes and put a pack in every room of the house. Buy swiffer for the floors.  I gave up having the perfect house and i use those cleaning wipes on every surface except the tub and toilet (comet for those) and guess what! My house smells great and is very clean.  It costs a little extra $ but if you have it, use it.

 

:iagree:

 

It sounds to me like you need to kick out some other commitments.  You did not share what they are.  Call this week and take some off your plate.  

 

This is the hard bit - see above.  I work with DH as his business partner and creative / strategic collaborator and personal assistant.  I also run the admin side of the business (all the accounting, legal, translations, taxes etc some of which I was finally able to outsource this year but I still oversee).  He is doing everything on the creative and business development side on his own, and does much of the technical stuff his single and childless peers hire other people to do so he can keep as much $$ in his pocket as he can.  And THEN I handle pretty much all the parenting when he's busy or traveling - which is often - plus house, kids, homeschooling, ferrying the kids etc.  We have been in this situation for a long time - desperately needing help but not in a position to get any, and all of the balls in the air just too important to drop.
 

And yes, get a therapist.  once a month if that's all you can afford.  Talk about it, get it off your chest, cry and make plans for change.

 

Honestly, you can do life.  Hang in there.  You just have to work it so that your life works for you and your children.  

 

Oh and find another darn private schoo, girl.  My friends kids were 3 years behind and she had to put them in private school due to her child having cancer, and needing ot live at hte hospital...and the school took them under their wings, loved them and is working with them to catch them up one certain percentage each quarter, slowly.  They do have extra homework above what the other kids have, but that is to be expected.  If this school saw a bright inquisitive boy who is a voracious reader and just doens't write full page essays...they don't want him ...move on.  Look for another school. But, if you take a lot of stuff off your plate, and decide to have an imperfect house and accept that TJ's meals are OK, then I think that maybe you could homeschool a little longer and see how it goes. 

 

I too found it odd that they couldn't see their way clear to propose a solution that would work for my child....especially since it's a somewhat religious school that has as a core value kindness and helping people.  Weird when I look at it through that lens...

 

Kudos to you for realizing you need change.

 

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I don't think you should be so hard on yourself, what always makes me feel better is to look at where we started, and where we are today.  You took your son out of school b/c he wasn't writing and you've been able to increase his ability and willingness to do so!  That is great progress!  Do you think it would have been better if you had left him there or put him in private school at that time?  My guess is not.  He's probably just score bad in that department.  Accept him for who he is, and where he is, and just try to move forward from there :)  Make a list of skills you want him to realistically reach by the next school year, and try to focus only on those.  I cannot make my math-resistant child love math, and I honestly believe that here at home she scores and does better than she would in any other learning environment.  Maybe that is 'behind' where others are teaching, but in reality what does that mean?  We still have plenty of time and I'm making sure my child is actually getting it, and ready to move on!  At any school the class moves on regardless of if the child is ready or not.  We did that, it wasn't working!  I"d rather my child be behind a grade or so, but actually mastering the material than floundering and feeling stupid b/c the math was over their head.  I don't know what was on the test, but in math it's also very possible that the test they gave used different words than the text he's using at home. 

 

As for managing so much, I think this is where your issues lie, and I also work from home, have lots of kids and take care of all the house, ect.  It's a LOT of work.  My house is usually messy, but I make my kids clean up daily!  We all have to get up and clean for 30 minutes or an hour per day, everyone helping out.  Your daughter is definitely old enough to start working on 'Home Ec' by meal planning and prepping.  My older kids are 10+ and can make easy dinners by themselves without freezer meals ;)  This week one made breaded chicken (I supervised and put in the oven), they can peel potatoes (with a peeler, not a knife), they can make about any dessert.  THey can also completely clean the kitchen (okay, they CAN, but they only do a half-way job most of the time and I follow along and finish up).  Both of your kdis are old enough to do all the laundry in the house while you do paperwork.  You do not have to do it all!  Moms are not maids, and our primary job it to teach our children how to do things, so teach them and let them do it.  It's a win-win! 

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:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Don't take what the school says to heart.  Please don't see it as a condemnation of what you have done.  Many times there will be areas where certain kids lag behind for a while, especially writing in younger children.  My son is not functioning at grade level in writing.  It happens.  Different strengths and weaknesses.  That being said, I think your plan to address what is going on in your life sounds very workable.  Just be sure to make it happen.  You have a plan, now implement it.  I think the changes you are talking about will almost certainly help significantly address the issues you are dealing with.  I applaud you for your proactive thoughts.

 

Huge hugs, Momma.  You care about your kids.  Don't beat yourself up because you were getting overwhelmed.  You've had a lot on your plate.

 

Best wishes.

 

Yes, MANY 8 y.o. test poorly. They're distractible and testing often throws them. How they test at 8 usually means very little in the long run unless there's an undiagnosed learning challenge that needs to be addressed. 

 

My oldest was barely reading at that age, so he was the opposite, very high in math and around the 30th percentile in language arts. He's on merit aid in college and has a 4.0 GPA and was homeschooled the whole way.

 

However, yes, you have to keep it going, one way or another. Our homeschool has had a lot of ups and downs, and is perpetually messy IMHO. Nothing like the blogs portray, trust me. At times I only did the 3 R's with mine, and we did a lot of schooling over the summer. No regrets.

Edited by G5052
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Yes, MANY 8 y.o. test poorly. They're distractible and testing often throws them. How they test at 8 usually means very little in the long run unless there's an undiagnosed learning challenge that needs to be addressed.

 

My oldest was barely reading at that age, so he was the opposite, very high in math and around the 30th percentile in language arts. He's on merit aid in college and has a 4.0 GPA and was homeschooled the whole way.

 

However, yes, you have to keep it going, one way or another. Our homeschool has had a lot of ups and downs, and is perpetually messy IMHO. Nothing like the blogs portray, trust me. At times I only did the 3 R's with mine, and we did a lot of schooling over the summer. No regrets.

Yes, those of us with current academic successes know that it wasn't a smooth ride to get there. My oldest was a NM Scholar and had a 4.0 average in her early college classes (which she started at 14). She went all the way through Calc III before graduating high school. But she was a terrible, rambling, unpracticed writer at 9. She told me she wanted to be responsible for teaching herself when she was 11 and after a few months I realized she wasn't doing anything but reading novels.

 

I don't expect every homeschooled kid will will become an academic superstar, but she helped me learn to take the long view. Setbacks don't mean failure. We ALL have rough months or even a whole year. Or we realize we've been focusing on the wrong things. Or we think linear, incremental progress is the only type of progress. It's not. Remember how your little ones would go for weeks trying to learn to stand and then one day they'd get it and before the end of the week they were walking? Or how they wouldn't have any new words for a while but then take a developmental leap and suddenly learn 50 of them? Natural learning takes place in rests and leaps, but we forget to trust the process as they hit school age. Just keep moving forward. Keep feeding their brains. Take the long view. Trust yourself.

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You mentioned in one of your posts if anyone does independent study.

 

We do independent study through a charter school here in CA. My son is behind in a few areas, being writing, spelling, and math. My TF or ES as they are sometimes called, is so sweet. I can use whatever curriculum I want. She encourages me to have the freedom as a mom and teacher to do what I think is best. It's awesome. I am still my children's only teacher. She just meets with them once a month to collect some samples and tell them how great they are doing. It doesn't bother me a bit they are "in the system" as it is me, and only me, who gets to spend each day loving them and teaching them. I couldn't do all the things I wanted to without the funding the charter gives. To me, that's worth it. :)

 

Honestly, I would not worry one bit what one private school says about your child. They don't really know him by a few tests, and no, you have not failed him. I used to teach in a B&M school, and boys are notoriously slower at writing and such in th earlier years. Your son sounds very normal to me. Just try to focus on the basics, get easy to implement curriculum, and be okay with the house being a little messy, or freezer meals.

 

Cherish your kids. They grow up so fast. Who cares what some stupid evaluators say. I'm sure he is awesome.

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Also, keep in mind that math mammoth may phrase things differently, or address topics in a different order. So he may be really good at some math they didn't test, you know?

 

That said, some kids, mine included, didn't do well with the mastery nature of math mammoth. When we switched to Teaching Textbooks it went much better, as there was more review every day of old concepts. Also, your DS could do it on his own, with you just checking up on him. That might take a load off your plate and make sure math gets done every day. 

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I am reading through this thread and thinking about where to go right now, and I am still left with the question....how to adapt, scale back, enlist the kids...and 'keep it going' through the foggy, muddled thinking and fatigue that is my general state.

 

Yes, I agree completely about the irrelevance of the testing, the uneven progress, the 'rightness' of homeschooling...ultimately, I love homeschooling as much as my children do, and I want to keep going, but I'm not sure how I personally am to weather this current storm.  I look around myself and don't know where to start.  I am left feeling swamped from the get go and the strategy of every day is just to somehow get to the end of that day in one piece.  Often this means that schooling is minimal, and the kids know when I'm unfocused and an 'easy target'....they don't do all that they should do without guidance and some help, and when I'm wiped out and stressed it doesn't take much resistance on their part or inattention or distraction on my part for me to just let things slide.  Do that too many days in a row and you have the situation we're in.  ;-))

 

That's where the notion of getting help with the children comes in....I need to 1) catch my breath, and 2) re-engineer our home and our homeschool systems so there is not so much on my shoulders.

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when I'm wiped out and stressed it doesn't take much resistance on their part or inattention or distraction on my part for me to just let things slide. Do that too many days in a row and you have the situation we're in. ;-))

 

That's where the notion of getting help with the children comes in....I need to 1) catch my breath, and 2) re-engineer our home and our homeschool systems so there is not so much on my shoulders.

It sounds like you've stopped wondering if you should homeschool and started to work toward how to make it work. That's awesome :) What if you toss out a follow up post that lays out your top concerns and gather some advice on dealing with each of your challenges?

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You mentioned in one of your posts if anyone does independent study.

 

We do independent study through a charter school here in CA. My son is behind in a few areas, being writing, spelling, and math. My TF or ES as they are sometimes called, is so sweet. I can use whatever curriculum I want. She encourages me to have the freedom as a mom and teacher to do what I think is best. It's awesome. I am still my children's only teacher. She just meets with them once a month to collect some samples and tell them how great they are doing. It doesn't bother me a bit they are "in the system" as it is me, and only me, who gets to spend each day loving them and teaching them. I couldn't do all the things I wanted to without the funding the charter gives. To me, that's worth it. :)

 

Honestly, I would not worry one bit what one private school says about your child. They don't really know him by a few tests, and no, you have not failed him. I used to teach in a B&M school, and boys are notoriously slower at writing and such in th earlier years. Your son sounds very normal to me. Just try to focus on the basics, get easy to implement curriculum, and be okay with the house being a little messy, or freezer meals.

 

Cherish your kids. They grow up so fast. Who cares what some stupid evaluators say. I'm sure he is awesome.

 

Well said - the encouragement is so welcome!  Your EF sounds like my son's EF...on one hand I'm rather happy to be staying in the situation (it is the same as the one you describe) as she is such an amazing resource to work with.  She is our #1 cheerleader.  Both kids are currently in this type of program, but DD is with a well-known virtual charter that is a lot more bureaucratic - although we still choose our own resources.  The Independent Studies program I'm considering switching my daughter to for the next few months is a bit different in that she would work with a teacher and meet with them weekly.  I would not assign or mark her work - although I could still help her.  I would see it as a short term way of sharing the responsibility for her studies with someone else.

 

 

 

Also, keep in mind that math mammoth may phrase things differently, or address topics in a different order. So he may be really good at some math they didn't test, you know?

 

That said, some kids, mine included, didn't do well with the mastery nature of math mammoth. When we switched to Teaching Textbooks it went much better, as there was more review every day of old concepts. Also, your DS could do it on his own, with you just checking up on him. That might take a load off your plate and make sure math gets done every day. 

 

I had the same thought about topics being presented differently....I 'know' for a fact that my son is not doing math at an 'early grade 2 level' which is what the evaluator told me.  I work with him daily and know what he is capable of - and where we are working in our books.  I also know that he is really quick at mental math and cannot understand why he should have to show his work on a word problem, or 'make a number sentence'.  He's a real guy.....'you asked me a question, I gave you the answer....where is the problem here?'  ;-))  We tried TT last year, and it was really a bust for both of my kids.  They had big retention problem and were unable to apply the concepts covered in TT to other situations.  We've devoted a lot of time to solidifying math facts etc this year, but again, lack of consistency is our enemy....he needs to be drilling math and doing a math lesson every single day, and that's not happening.  When we ARE consistent he makes great progress...so that's where it is falling down IMO...

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It sounds like you've stopped wondering if you should homeschool and started to work toward how to make it work. That's awesome :) What if you toss out a follow up post that lays out your top concerns and gather some advice on dealing with each of your challenges?

 

:001_smile: Barb, you've made me feel like I'm making progress.  I needed that! :001_smile:  I will give it some thought this evening and try to articulate it.  It is a process I need to go through regardless so DH and I can look for concrete ways to readjust our current set-up....and I'll need / want to have a clear set of issues and objectives in hand when I eventually meet with a therapist.  I'm not so much looking to work out personal issues (BTDT!!) as I am looking for support in implementing longer term change.

 

My top concern right now is how to kind of put HSing on a sustainable kind of autopilot for a month (??) to give me/us enough breathing space to make calm, well-considered choices and implement same.  My first shot would be:

 

1)  Lay out a basic, non-negotiable, bare-bones study plan for both kids for the next month....3 Rs  (I've already done this - it's just not getting done.....help??)

 

2)  Lay out a fixed weekly schedule that blocks out their school obligations and outside commitments (also done in draft, just not implemented or driven down to the troops ;-))

 

3)  Withdraw from DDs current charter and HS independently for XX period of time OR enroll in the ISP program mentioned above for the balance of the school year (seriously open to your opinions here...she has an older friend on her riding team who is a student there....both student and parents love the program, but they are NOT HSers).

 

4)  Find a math tutor for DS....not to give him extra help as such, but to put a structure into place and make HIM accountable to somebody other than me.

 

I welcome thoughts on all fronts... especially #3...HSing has transformed my relationship with DD, and not sure that changing things right now is worth the potential price of temporary convenience....but I may be over thinking...

 

 

:bigear:

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I think something to keep in mind is that *some* (not all, but some) educator at private schools or public schools have a strong bias against homeschooling, and have a need to point out deficiencies that would be less significant to them, or more understandable, or more workable, if they were present in a child coming from another traditional school. 

 

Not saying that's at work here; just suggesting it as a possibility.

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I have a suggestion for #1. Some years, depending on the kids I have and where they are, we can just drift from thing to thing until we're done. I'm not saying that can't work. But other years we need more structure. So here is what I do:

 

Make a checklist for each child who needs it (right now it's just my 10yo). The checklist has everything on it the child needs to do for the day. Hygiene. Chores. Personal care. Each subject. There is a grid to check each task.

 

Set phone alarms for hour blocks. Keep to those blocks. My first block is for 9-10. That's for math or for grammar-vocabulary. The second block is the reverse of the first block. The third block is actually 90 minutes because it's literature. Next block is for lunch/chores/break. 1:30-2:30 is for History and or science and 2:30-3:30 is for Latin or the reverse. At the end of each block I have a school bell style alarm set to move is to the next thing. We may not do everything well, but we hit everything every day. If someone is fooling around and doesn't get something done that I feel he had plenty of time to accomplish, the task moves to "homework" at the end of the day. Just like his school friends. Once he's done everything on the list, he brings it to me to initial and then he's free to play screens or do anything he wants to do.

 

I've not had to schedule all of my kids so strictly, but some of them really need it before they can transition into budgeting their own time. Oh! And we used to have the problem of lost lists until I started to hole punch it and put it in the seat-work binder at the beginning of the week.

 

ETA: Attached is his list. Notice that he didn't always get to everything. Those were days we got busy doing other things and he didn't think to ask me for my initials. He's only allowed screens if I've seen his list. If he's on the Fire or the laptop without my initials then he loses the screens until the weekend, regardless of the day of the week.dbb645331bee00d1d109bb83785d98b6.jpg

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Don't forget all the good you've seen in your kids since beginning homeschooling!

 

I'd recommend a review of family finances. You don't have time to run the business and homeschool. You need employees. A big picture look at your entire financial situation will help you see which employees to hire. Do you really need tutors or do you need an admin?

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Ok, looking at your workload...even with Trader Joe's meals, Costco cleaning wipes, and a tutor, I just don't think this is a healthy long term plan.  I think being your husband's admin assistant and creative director is a full time job.  Being a mom is a full time job, and homeschooling is a full time job.  Especially at the ages your kids are at.  If you add to that the fact that your dh is away so much, ....I have seen moms literally have breakdowns from this type of situation.

 

You need to hire more employees.  Or you need to joyfully accept the life of a working mom and put the kids in a good private school.  Only you and your dh can decide which option is right for your family.....but .....This is too much. 

 

 

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This exchange is so helpful - I literally cannot thank you enough for the time and head-space you've given me today....

 

Make a checklist for each child who needs it (right now it's just my 10yo). The checklist has everything on it the child needs to do for the day. Hygiene. Chores. Personal care. Each subject. There is a grid to check each task.

Set phone alarms for hour blocks. Keep to those blocks. My first block is for 9-10. That's for math or for grammar-vocabulary. The second block is the reverse of the first block. The third block is actually 90 minutes because it's literature. Next block is for lunch/chores/break. 1:30-2:30 is for History and or science and 2:30-3:30 is for Latin or the reverse. At the end of each block I have a school bell style alarm set to move is to the next thing. We may not do everything well, but we hit everything every day. If someone is fooling around and doesn't get something done that I feel he had plenty of time to accomplish, the task moves to "homework" at the end of the day. Just like his school friends. Once he's done everything on the list, he brings it to me to initial and then he's free to play screens or do anything he wants to do.
 

Barb - this is great.  Concrete helps.  Having timers to move us through the day would help, as would blocking of 'sacred' times that are dedicated to study.  Right now it is way too easy for me to get pulled onto something else - usually some sort of work emergency.  DH will need to be trained.  I have tried to put 'set' time blocks for 'work', but our work flow is non-traditional and we're usually working across multiple time zones, which can make scheduling complicated.  It helps me to see that physical list.....a lot less complicated than what my brain imagined it would be! 

 

Don't forget all the good you've seen in your kids since beginning homeschooling!  :iagree:

I'd recommend a review of family finances. You don't have time to run the business and homeschool. You need employees. A big picture look at your entire financial situation will help you see which employees to hire. Do you really need tutors or do you need an admin?

 

We know .....and it has been a serious struggle for us :-(((....we are making good progress, but cash flow is sporadic and we very often don't know how long we'll need to make the money last.  There is enough to support our family, but very little left over.....paying other employees is not in the cards yet.  We've managed to keep our heads above water, but just barely.....This past year I was finally able to outsource our bookkeeping and tax prep, and that was a huge milestone.  We've been close to broke more times than I care to remember, but it is getting better.  DH hires people on a project basis, but that's not day to day and has zero impact on my workload....except adds to it as I look after their contracts, payments etc..  When he comes back next week (and after he works through the jet lag and exhaustion) we are taking a good hard look at all of this.  We 'should' be looking at a very good 2016, but in this field nothing is certain until the cash hits your bank account.  We have had so many projects evaporate in front of our eyes, and things get cancelled literally a week before they were set to begin....after having spent literally years fostering our involvement in it.  Not an easy position to manage in.  'Doing something else' is not an option right now either.....at least what we are doing is keeping things afloat....it does generate healthy numbers, but we are filling in for a decade of investment....

 

The tutor would be a short term solution to free some time and energy to effectively find solutions to the other pieces of the puzzle while at the same time getting the kids to a point where they have options if we need to exercise them.

 

Ok, looking at your workload...even with Trader Joe's meals, Costco cleaning wipes, and a tutor, I just don't think this is a healthy long term plan.  I think being your husband's admin assistant and creative director is a full time job.  Being a mom is a full time job, and homeschooling is a full time job.  Especially at the ages your kids are at.  If you add to that the fact that your dh is away so much, ....I have seen moms literally have breakdowns from this type of situation.

 

I know....and DH knows....  I just don't know the way out... :wacko:  This has been one of those brain teasers we have been unable to solve...

 

You need to hire more employees.  Or you need to joyfully accept the life of a working mom and put the kids in a good private school.  Only you and your dh can decide which option is right for your family.....but .....This is too much. 

 

This is the place I have been in for the past 8-10 years....we added homeschool to the mix 2 years ago.  I have been near breakdown too many times - we know it is too much, but can't find a way out just yet.

 

While I didn't articulate it well (if at all), part of my freak-out was realizing that even 'if' we were to put the kids in school, they (especially DS) would likely be floundering.  I was counting on him having school as an option so I could get some breathing space and put myself (and all of us) in a healthier place.  So my goal for both of them (as an underlying theme of the course correction our lives need) is to get them up to or very near 'Grade Level' by the beginning of the next school year.  I think that 8 months is a reasonable amount of time to work with and gives a realistic window in which to put them on a more solid footing.

 

Preparing the kids academically will give us all more options...and put them in a place where admission to Private School (or even public school - schools here are excellent) is not too much of a stretch for them.  Right now, again for DS, it really would be....at least that's the way I see it.

 

 

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That makes sense ((hugs))) you are an amazing mom. Take one day, one hour at a time and let everything go that you can let go, while you figure out where to head next year.

 

i do think you should check out more schools that may be more willing to work with where your ds is at. Around here all the schools are pretty academic but some are known for pushing kids. The "challenger" schools actually has it as their goal for all kids to be 1-2 years ahead, no exceptions. There is a Christian school that is Much more flex. And I even found a random Lutheran school that my friend out her add and synchronously gifted daughter into that was so kind and loving and teaches all children exactly where they are at. If you keep looking you may find a school who is not in it for the academic accolades and pressure.

 

Good luck.

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Thanks Calming Tea....I'm just realizing as well that their refusal to accept a child that needs more attention at the moment might have a lot to do with the fact that one of the 'big' local private schools with multiple campuses in a 20 minute radius announced that it is closing at the end of this year.  ALL of the schools have had a massive influx of applicants, and if the school we applied to is 'fine' for enrollment this year, they likely don't want to load their Grade 4 class with a child the will take more resources than an 'already trained' newcomer next year.  Sad but true...

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Here many private schools start from preschool. The norm is to do Saxon Math and sometimes LA a grade earlier. That helps boost the standardised tests scores like for ISEE, SSAT, Stanford, Catholic High School Entrance Exams.

 

So your son may not even be behind.

 

A former neighbor sends her daughter to a once a week christian school. They do what they like on the other days and she attends classes at the school once a week. Homework was minimal. Not sure if your once a week choice runs similarly.

 

Do you have any family that could help just keep your son on task? That way you can get some work done without worrying about him being distracted.

 

My hubby was self employed and made no profits for a few years. It was before kids though and my job at that time was paying me well.

 

:grouphug:

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Thanks for that perspective, Acadia.  That may be the case in these tests as well...different yardstick....

 

My DS attends twice weekly enrichment classes - which includes History, Spanish, PE, Drama, Writing....so it is a good program.  We do our own studies on the other days ( 2 x a week cuts into basics a bit, to be honest).

 

I wish we had family nearby - we don't.  We are recent arrivals to the US, having been here for 5 years now....DH is from France;  I am Canadian....our families are too far away to be of any practical assistance....

 

Yes - self employment is much easier without a family...but we are blessed to have our children...we met late, married late and needed to get started on a family right away....so on top of everything else, I'm in my 50s!  Kinda funny really...

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When I was completely overwhelmed, I hired a house cleaner who was willing to cook dinner. So I had a clean house and dinner done when she came. It was like a miracle for me. Then I enlisted my moms help with math for dd, it was such a huge relief to have help. Sounds like you are going to need some help to keep going this year ((hugs)).

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I'm too tired to say anything coherent regarding the academic stuff. BUT I just want to encourage and support you. I have been homeschooling for 7? Years and I've been in some low places when I felt like everything was going to pot. It will be OK. You will find a solution, whatever that may be.

 

Lots of hugs.

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Hugs and keep things in perspective I thought I was delusional a bad homeschool mom cause my DD was in a 5th grade math book but barely scored 3rd grade the first time she took an assement test less than 2 months later she scored at 6th grade level it really was that hard to test for her the 1st time.

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Homeschooling is a lifestyle that goes beyond academics. Don't get me wrong, I do know that math, English etc is important. But for us, relationships matter most. The fact that my kids get to spend time together instead of separated all day long, that I get to see them more, etc. The benefits are too many to count. You mentioned the blessings that homeschooling has brought to your family, and I think that outweighs any silly test. Please don't beat yourself up, it sounds like you are doing the best you can given the circumstances. Will pray for you and your family!

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Hugs and it sounds like you have a good plan. I also struggle with burn out from time to time between the kids and work, so I do take breaks when needed. The biggest thing for us is that school gets done before anything else. Housework, dishes, whatever. I really focus on one or two priorities for the year and ignore or unschool content, especially for younger kids. Where your kids love to read, that becomes quite easy. My older 2 are at the point that they read and we discuss content when I'm doing other stuff. And don't worry about the testing. Sounds like you found an explanation.

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I am reading through this thread and thinking about where to go right now, and I am still left with the question....how to adapt, scale back, enlist the kids...

 

Wrt enlisting the kids, if the youngest *wants* to go to that school next year, then that should be a big help in getting him on board with some intensive math and writing for the next half year (also, make sure that he's aware that once he's caught up, it wouldn't be as intensive).

 

That said, I would find a standardized test you could give the kids yourself (especially the 8.5yo at this point) to see how that compares to what that private school gave him. I need to start looking into those things myself, since in NY we're required to do a standardized test or a written evaluation, and giving a test seems possibly easier to do (I need to let the district know what I'm going to do in my 3rd quarterly report), but I'm sure someone with actual experience can tell you what a decent, relatively comprehensive test would be.

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I like the plan you've thought out.

 

What many people don't realize is homeschooling is a job.  It is a valid, 8-5, dedicated job.  And it doesn't always work to treat it like a side hobby.  You have to set yourself up for success - plan, organize, execute - no matter what philosophy of education you believe in.  You may have to get up earlier to attend to other things, or stay up late.  You may have to turn your phone off during work hours.  It is a real job.  The more we treat it like it is, and not something we can shuffle to the side when "life happens", the better off our kids will be in the long run.

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I like the plan you've thought out.

 

What many people don't realize is homeschooling is a job.  It is a valid, 8-5, dedicated job.  And it doesn't always work to treat it like a side hobby.  You have to set yourself up for success - plan, organize, execute - no matter what philosophy of education you believe in.  You may have to get up earlier to attend to other things, or stay up late.  You may have to turn your phone off during work hours.  It is a real job.  The more we treat it like it is, and not something we can shuffle to the side when "life happens", the better off our kids will be in the long run.

 

:iagree:   It also takes up the time and energy of a full-time job. I know that there are people who somehow manage to both homeschool AND work full-time (either in the home or not). but I couldn't see myself having the energy to do that. Plus the household cleaning, cooking, washing, and shopping are also things that need to get done. All these things seem to be on your shoulders. I don't think it's going to be feasible to shift things onto the children, to be honest. Their job is to be doing their school and some children chores.

 

I really think you and your dh need to re-think the personnel resources that have been over-extended  - namely YOU. You've been overworked, I think. It's not fair to you, or the children or your marriage. You've survived 2 years, but you can see that's it's just not a productive long-term plan.

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My DS attends twice weekly enrichment classes - which includes History, Spanish, PE, Drama, Writing....so it is a good program.  We do our own studies on the other days ( 2 x a week cuts into basics a bit, to be honest).

 

 

I think this might be a part of your problem. We would not consistently get school done if we were out of the house 2x a week. For homeschooling to work for us, we have to stay home. And the basics are the priority. If that is all we get done, that is enough.

 

Susan in TX

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It sounds like your homeschool accomplished a lot as you met the children you have where they were.  Given your son's age and the fact that he is more of a reader, he isn't really *that* far behind in math.  I think it's an excellent idea to use a tutor to help shore up his weak areas.

 

From what you are saying, it sounds like your son will probably be ready for 4th in the fall.  However, consider the fact that young 9 is not an unusual age for beginning 3rd grade nowadays.  If grade placement is a flexible decision at this point (which depends largely on social considerations), it wouldn't be a bad thing to have him enter as a 3rd grader in the fall.

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Goodness!  The support, understanding and great, practical ideas keep coming!!  Thank you!!

 

Arcadia - those test are a great resource   :thumbup1:

 

I read and re-read this thread last night and again this morning, and have a new resolve to homeschool.  Your encouragement has been invaluable - you've helped me remember the 'why' behind homeschooling for us.  I WANT to homeschool our kids....it is still the right choice for us as a family.  I am mapping out a firm schedule to put into place, have been exchanging with a local tutor who looks very promising and am preparing the paperwork to withdraw my DD from the Charter that gives us more hoops and paperwork than the funding is worth.  I've left messages with the IS program...will investigate further and see if it could work for her, even just for the balance of the school year as a means to help us catch our breath.  I think all of this might be doable. 

 

We expect to have more $$ to work with from March onward (God willing!!), so I've also been thinking objectively about some of the business tasks that are on my plate, and considering how I might be able to bring someone on - even just one day a week - to look after that stuff.  It's a conversation DH and I started before he left, so hopefully this 'mission impossible' stage of our life is coming to a close.  If the funds don't come as planned, that's another thing entirely....but I realized that we were willing to find a way to pay Private School tuition, so we can find a way to pay for other things that will make our lives run more smoothly and put us all in a healthier place.

 

Either way, the kids will be in the right place academically come fall, and if if if school is needed and/or desired, they'll be ready. Cross that bridge when we get to it....

 

 

I like the plan you've thought out.

 

What many people don't realize is homeschooling is a job.  It is a valid, 8-5, dedicated job.  And it doesn't always work to treat it like a side hobby.  You have to set yourself up for success - plan, organize, execute - no matter what philosophy of education you believe in.  You may have to get up earlier to attend to other things, or stay up late.  You may have to turn your phone off during work hours.  It is a real job.  The more we treat it like it is, and not something we can shuffle to the side when "life happens", the better off our kids will be in the long run.

 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:   I wouldn't say that we've ever considered it to be a hobby, BUT I will say that I have failed to apply what I learned in my professional career to our homeschool.  I would also say that nothing prepares one for how huge an undertaking this is...especially if one doesn't homeschool from the beginning.  I was CLUELESS going in!  :lol:  Treating school as the number one priority is going to demand a culture shift in our house - especially with DH....he will need to learn to respect the limits set on my time....and I will need to learn to be firm about those times.  And I will need to learn to put school first and leave the house and all else until after that's looked after as KSinNS pointed out.  And we will all need to learn that just because we can be flexible doesn't mean that we will or should be flexible all of the time.

 

 

:iagree:   It also takes up the time and energy of a full-time job. I know that there are people who somehow manage to both homeschool AND work full-time (either in the home or not). but I couldn't see myself having the energy to do that. Plus the household cleaning, cooking, washing, and shopping are also things that need to get done. All these things seem to be on your shoulders. I don't think it's going to be feasible to shift things onto the children, to be honest. Their job is to be doing their school and some children chores.

 

I really think you and your dh need to re-think the personnel resources that have been over-extended  - namely YOU. You've been overworked, I think. It's not fair to you, or the children or your marriage. You've survived 2 years, but you can see that's it's just not a productive long-term plan.

 

Oh do I hear you on that!!!  In fairness to DH, we've BOTH been overworked.  It has been really rough on all of us, but we have stayed focused and hopeful and done the best we could to keep it together.  It sure wasn't an intentional thing, but it is absolutely not sustainable or healthy for anybody in the long run.

 

 

 

I think this might be a part of your problem. We would not consistently get school done if we were out of the house 2x a week. For homeschooling to work for us, we have to stay home. And the basics are the priority. If that is all we get done, that is enough.

 

Susan in TX

 

 

I agree with you and have definitely found the 2 days out to really pose a challenge to making steady progress on DSs studies.  However, the group activities are sooooo important to him, and the classes are really good.  It's his extroversion and need to be around others that motivated us to look at FT school in the first place.  But, I think there's a solution to be found...he usually goes from 9-2:30, but classes don't start until 10:00.  He can easily spend an hour on his studies at home before leaving for enrichment day, and add a short study session on Saturdays if need be.  And there's still summer to work with.  Letting those classes go would be counterproductive...he really would be miserable...Honestly I think intensifying his studies will help a lot - he's at loose ends to often.

 

Edited by Mimicoto
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I just wanted to echo what some others have said about looking for a different school, if you would like to pursue that option again. Two years ago, one of my children was not admitted to a private school after the initial testing, and it was a stunning blow. But it did lead to me taking some other steps toward getting help. And then we found a different private school that was willing to work with my kids. There may be another option out there for your son that you have not explored yet.

 

If you decide to continue homeschooling, you might consider whether switching to a different math curriculum might help. If you had a program that he could do largely independently, but do consistently and daily, he would be able to work on his math whether you are available to teach him that day or not.

 

 

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I'll apologize ahead of time for not reading the responses, only your OP, so if this is a repeat feel free to ignore.

 

The schools system does not hold the gold standard for appropriate academic progression. Simply look at 12th grade outcomes for the avg American student. I deliberately do not pay attention to ps academic sequences bc I am looking toward bigger picture of how I want my children to develop their skills. BUT....I do have a consistent plan and I do not plan on putting my children in ps. If my kids were enrolled in ps in elementary school, they would most likely be labeled "behind." Why? Bc we approach skills from a different direction. By the time they are in high school, they are significantly advanced beyond their peers, often by multiple yrs.

 

So, why yes, you are juggling many balls and life is chaotic, your long term goals have to be kept in focus. If enrolling him in school is an objective, you have to be prepared to meet their objectives. If it isn't a goal, do you have clearly defined skills that are that academic yr's goals? Opening up textbooks and moving through them without knowing your end goal is not a good approach. Your life as a homeschooler will be LESS stressful and more successful if YOU, not a TM or textbook, define your objectives.

 

Being told he is behind 2nd grade standards is not a crisis. Focusing on math and writing skills over the next few months of 2nd grade should enable to pull him up to 3rd grade standards. Make those 2 subjects a daily priority. With consistent focus on just those 2 subjects, unless there is an underlying disability, you should see significant skill development. (But you should define the exact skills you want him developing. I suspect if you create specific goals you want accomplished and see those skills mastered, your stress level will decrease bc you know progress is being made.)

 

And please, know that know child's academic life is not ruined in 2nd grade! I have a college sophomore who is extremely dyslexic. He didn't read on grade level until late fourth grade. Bc his reading skills were so far behind, so we're his writing skills. By 8th grade he was functioning at an advanced level across the board. He graduated from high school with college credit for 300 level classes and now has a 4.0 GPA. So, don't feel defeated. You aren't, by any stretch. Regroup and reorganize and forge a new path forward with specific academic goals for each child as your highest daily priority.

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I'll apologize ahead of time for not reading the responses, only your OP, so if this is a repeat feel free to ignore.

 

The schools system does not hold the gold standard for appropriate academic progression. Simply look at 12th grade outcomes for the avg American student. I deliberately do not pay attention to ps academic sequences bc I am looking toward bigger picture of how I want my children to develop their skills. BUT....I do have a consistent plan and I do not plan on putting my children in ps. If my kids were enrolled in ps in elementary school, they would most likely be labeled "behind." Why? Bc we approach skills from a different direction. By the time they are in high school, they are significantly advanced beyond their peers, often by multiple yrs.

 

So, why yes, you are juggling many balls and life is chaotic, your long term goals have to be kept in focus. If enrolling him in school is an objective, you have to be prepared to meet their objectives. If it isn't a goal, do you have clearly defined skills that are that academic yr's goals? Opening up textbooks and moving through them without knowing your end goal is not a good approach. Your life as a homeschooler will be LESS stressful and more successful if YOU, not a TM or textbook, define your objectives.

 

Being told he is behind 2nd grade standards is not a crisis. Focusing on math and writing skills over the next few months of 2nd grade should enable to pull him up to 3rd grade standards. Make those 2 subjects a daily priority. With consistent focus on just those 2 subjects, unless there is an underlying disability, you should see significant skill development. (But you should define the exact skills you want him developing. I suspect if you create specific goals you want accomplished and see those skills mastered, your stress level will decrease bc you know progress is being made.)

 

And please, know that know child's academic life is not ruined in 2nd grade! I have a college sophomore who is extremely dyslexic. He didn't read on grade level until late fourth grade. Bc his reading skills were so far behind, so we're his writing skills. By 8th grade he was functioning at an advanced level across the board. He graduated from high school with college credit for 300 level classes and now has a 4.0 GPA. So, don't feel defeated. You aren't, by any stretch. Regroup and reorganize and forge a new path forward with specific academic goals for each child as your highest daily priority.

 

Thank you for the reality check, reminder and encouragement!!! 

 

The bolded portions are critical....and I have realized over the past few days of reflection that I HAVE lost sight of our goals to an unhealthy degree.  Some is life-related, some is the creeping influence of the Charter ISPs in which we enrolled both children this year....and some is the disappointment that there wouldn't be a 'quick fix' to the imbalances that are currently running our household.  The assessment was an eye-opener, to more than just my DSs academic status....we (or rather, I) have become myopic about my kids studies and their learning.  I've fallen into the traps of "needing something for turn in", and meeting the school's content requirements...wasting valuable time, adding more stress and seeing my kids' resistance to 'learning' go back up....

 

That's not what we wanted when we started homeschooling....I'm beginning to think that what I originally saw as a major crisis is quite possibly the wake-up call our family needed to make much-needed changes in many departments, and get back to the roots of 'why' we homeschool and what we really hope and pray that our children will gain from family-based education.

 

Funny how that works, isn't it??  :001_cool:

 

 

 

Edited by Mimicoto
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I'm short on time and have zoomed through the replies. 

 

I just wanted to give you some more hugs.

 

I'm another one with a son is rather asynchronous, it happens even if you are consistent, some kids just have a greater disparity between their strengths and weaknesses.

 

My own son started off WAY behind in reading, writing and spelling and ahead in math. He is still a behind in writing and spelling but we are making progress to close that gap and his reading comprehension and math are stellar. I had to meet him where he was. I focused on his strengths because those are the things that let him know that he isn't dumb. I actually wish I would have backed up at times on his writing. Yes, we had to keep at it but partially he has just needed some time for maturity. These days we are marching forward inching along but also looking ahead towards the long term goals- he doesn't have to have essay writing down now, it is ok. His spelling may never be great but it is getting there and his handwriting is at least legible now. I can think of the times dh would sometimes absentmindly remark about this or that but I would always counter with- you are not here in the day in and day out- I've seen where he started and where is at. His light would have been long since extinguished in the PS for not fitting their mold.

 

Anyway- keep heart- remember you are working with *your* kid. Take stock of where he is, make some plans and goals but keep them attainable for both of you- let go of some of the extra- house, school, etc whatever you can- if you want to keep schooling you've got to make some room in your mind and schedule for it to happen. Focus on the trouble spots but let him shine where he shines. This is hard work, don't forget that.

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Can your daughter help you with bookkeeping? It is a useful life skill.

 

Most of my extended family from grandparents down to nephews and nieces are small business owners. Bookkeeping, filing of invoices and taking stock was something we learn early on the job. Since it is family business, no labor laws were broken regarding child labor.

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I'm short on time and have zoomed through the replies. 

 

I just wanted to give you some more hugs.

 

I'm another one with a son is rather asynchronous, it happens even if you are consistent, some kids just have a greater disparity between their strengths and weaknesses.

 

So good to be reminded of this....my elder DD was 'even steven' all the way across the board, so it's been a weird experience to navigate this with my son.

 

My own son started off WAY behind in reading, writing and spelling and ahead in math. He is still a behind in writing and spelling but we are making progress to close that gap and his reading comprehension and math are stellar. I had to meet him where he was. I focused on his strengths because those are the things that let him know that he isn't dumb. I actually wish I would have backed up at times on his writing. Yes, we had to keep at it but partially he has just needed some time for maturity. These days we are marching forward inching along but also looking ahead towards the long term goals- he doesn't have to have essay writing down now, it is ok. His spelling may never be great but it is getting there and his handwriting is at least legible now. I can think of the times dh would sometimes absentmindly remark about this or that but I would always counter with- you are not here in the day in and day out- I've seen where he started and where is at. His light would have been long since extinguished in the PS for not fitting their mold.

 

Anyway- keep heart- remember you are working with *your* kid. Take stock of where he is, make some plans and goals but keep them attainable for both of you- let go of some of the extra- house, school, etc whatever you can- if you want to keep schooling you've got to make some room in your mind and schedule for it to happen. Focus on the trouble spots but let him shine where he shines. This is hard work, don't forget that.

 

:grouphug:  Thank you!!!!

 

Beautifully said!  Thank you!!!!

 

 

Can your daughter help you with bookkeeping? It is a useful life skill.

 

Most of my extended family from grandparents down to nephews and nieces are small business owners. Bookkeeping, filing of invoices and taking stock was something we learn early on the job. Since it is family business, no labor laws were broken regarding child labor.

 

She's not up to the bookkeeping just yet as we are generally working with several countries and currencies....plus I've been able to automate that pretty well....but we have started getting her (and her brother!!) to help with more aspects of the business and home.  DH had her help him put his key documents together before this current trip.  I'm also having her work up a budget for her extracurriculars to help inform her choices.  Ours isn't a business that has inventory, but the kids do know a lot about technology and that comes in really handy.  DS likes to help with equipment set-up....and he is also our VP of Shredding :lol:    Of late, I've been keeping my eyes open for things they can take on...they are generally pretty happy to help out, especially with papers, filing etc.  Channelling that more effectively would be a boon to everyone...

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Oh my goodness, no wonder you are having trouble getting school on track. This year has been tough for me as well and I've been trying my best to get us back on track lately so I sympathize. When we got to the mid way point of the school year we had done less than half of the school days.

 

My first thought is, why are you in charge of the business? Does it require being physically present? Sounds like you are just as busy as your dh so I don't know that either of you should bear that weight solo. Are there any other options? Selling, outsourcing, etc.?

 

My ds is currently in second and I would guess that if he went into a brick and mortar setting he'd be behind in writing. I just haven't pushed it as much as I think schools do. We discuss proper sentence structure and he does penmanship/copywork stuff but not an extensive amount of writing. I plan to expand on it more, but this is where we are. I do not think what you are describing is so strange.

 

I like Barb's chart. We have been bad about not filling ours out, but ds has one as well. We have one on the fridge for daily tasks/hygeine and another one that is specific to school subjects. Our goals used to be X number of hours of school/day. But now are goals are just tackle a number of subjects per day and finish certain curricula. We're behind in MM (should be on B and we're finishing A). So now we're doing more pages per day where possible.

 

I haven't read the whole thread yet. Is there a specific struggle with math (math facts, etc)? Maybe we could suggest some supplemental materials. I've found some good suggestions on this board and we actually just found one for next year for multiplication tables. Good luck!

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