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Mimicoto

Confidence shaken; not sure we can/should continue homeschool

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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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Beautifully said! Thank you!!!!

 

 

 

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...

Do your kids help with household duties? Dishes are well within the scope of a second grader. Folding or at least delivering folded laundry. Routine bathroom cleaning.

 

It might help to start teaching your kids to cook and assign them a night every couple of weeks.

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Many excellent responses.

 

I work part time. Homeschool 4 kids. Help with the farm work. I have to have a system or I spend too much time "putting out fires" (dealing with the urgent) and by the end of the day, I've not completed a blessed thing, the house is a wreck and I am a demoralized, exhausted mess.

 

So we have school hours.

 

I get up, check email and do a few work things. Then I go to the barn and do chores.

 

After that, breakfast and then school. School core hours are from 9-12. We often work outside those hours, but that time period is sacred. I don't need to answer the phone, check email, write an article, etc. During that time. I've found that if I focus, I can get so much more done than if I give the kids half my attention.  And really, most urgent tasks CAN wait until after 12 noon. A tiny space of three freaking hours is not unreasonable. when my dh calls, I say, Well, we are doing school. Is this an emergency that CANNOT wait until after 12? Seldom does he need me to drop everything and do his task. However, if you dh's work is a bit more time sensitive, I might build in 2 "school slots" to your day. Say, do school from 8:30 to 10:30 and take an hour to catch up on urgent work tasks. Then have an 11:30-12:30 slot where you do more school.

 

If you're going to take 2 days out of the house to do enrichment, i'd at least do basics (math, english, spelling) every Saturday morning.

 

Cleaning... 20 minutes at a time, 3 times a day with everyone pitching in. Laundry. A load completely finished every day. Use paper plates as much as possible. And cooking frozen meals? So what. That's the least of your problems.

 

School is going to have to move up the priority list.

 

When life gets chaotic, one thing that really helps me is to clean my bedroom top to bottom and keep it clean. That way there's one space in the house that's soothing to me where I can escape and relax for just a bit. I can stand the rest of the house being messy if my room and stays clean.

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I don't think we put enough value on the relational aspect of homeschooling. You mentioned your good relationships. Here, at the end of the journey with all four now graduated, relationships are everything. And for my children, that will continue on after my husband and I are gone. Priceless! 

 

 

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I tried working full time from home, homeschooling, taking care of the home and finances while dh worked out of town 5 days a week.  It didn't work for us.  I gave up the job and now work 2 days a week when he is home.  If this is you and it's just not working, call it.  If, however, you can do it and are just concerned about his not being accepted at this private school, don't worry about it.  All kids learn at their own pace.  You cannot put them in a little database and expect them all to advance at the same rate in all subjects.  It doesn't work that way. 

 

Example:  My dd9's best friend is in public school.  One day, I asked what she did at school.  She said that she wrote a play and got to have her class act it out.  I was all "Oh crap!  I'm lucky to get dd9 to write a paragraph without hand holding."  (internally of course)  It wasn't long after that that dd9 is playing school with her, and I overhear that her friend had no idea that the Great Wall or Terracotta Army even existed and had no idea what inertia meant.  Also, she did xtramath that day and scored in the 30% range on multiplication while my dd was in the 90%'s. 

 

I'm not saying that my child was more advanced then her, but they are learning in different environments with different methods and with different priorities.  If dd9 spent a day in her class, she probably would have a lot of things that she had issues with.  The only reason that would be of any concern to me is if I planned to put her in that class full time.  Then, as you have already stated is your plan, I would make changes to prepare her for that.  My ultimate goal is to have her ready for secondary education, whatever that might be, by the time she graduates high school.  I have 8+ years to accomplish that so she doesn't need to be writing plays right now if that is not of interest to her.

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My heart goes out to you big time!

I know it's so hard to see immediate issues and want to correct them before they become bigger. I commend you for recognizing what is happening and being willing to adjust as needed for everyone's best shot.

I'll share with you my story in an attempt to maybe give you some comfort for long term:

I started in the public school system. By 3rd grade my mother knew there was something more for our family. Much like you, she was a bit type A, all or nothing perfectionist. Half way through 4th grade everything came crashing down for our family. Financially we were barely hanging by a thread. Divorce seemed inevitable as fathers work had him home only every other weekend. My older brother was struggling socially (always an extrovert and now homeschool ed in a small town where there wasn't a Co op or other means of support) which was affecting his mental health.

Turned out homeschool wasn't necessarily the greener grass my mom had been hoping for for our family. The mounting pressure culminated in me and my brother finishing the year living with my aunt and attending public school with our cousins while mom spent a few months in the hospital trying to recover her mental health.

By 5th grade I was very "behind" in math, according to the school. I continued to do homeschool with a friend's family (we moved to a larger city that had a good homeschool community) and my brother went to private school.

It was a couple of years of upset that took some time to figure out what would be best for everyone in our family. Lots of one on one conversations with mom helped her see what our individual needs and desires were and we were able to create what was needed.

Fast forward many years and I have a bachelor's and am working on a masters degree in dietetics. My brother is a CFO by day and expert craftsman by night. If a 5th grader who is "behind" can eventually get a masters degree that heavily relies on chemistry, your 3rd grader can catch up over time, too.

A couple of years that were "less than ideal" were hard, but in the end, didn't ruin our lives.

You're doing your best which is the best thing for your kids. Take time to do what is right for you so you can do right for them too.

Big hugs to you and your family.

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I will probably be restating some of what others have said. I feel you have a reason to be overwhelmed because your schedule sounds crazy busy stressful. For me to successfully homeschool I need to have kid activities after 3 or 4 pm daily with only one early or coop day. We limit extracurriculars to what is necessary. A home cooked meal is for the weekend. Also I have to plan for the week about four hours during the weekend just to get caught up and ahead to school. Maybe hire a babysitter for a couple days to help you spend some time or with DH to plan school, business, etc.

 

Testing is so different in different schools. If you want to know where they are academically maybe consider standardized tests.

 

Would a driver for the kids to coop help you out? Or are you there too? And DD does horse riding? Driver for that too. If you're doing all these extras and not being productive during that time, that's a waste.

 

We school weekends and summers. We have to because of inconsistencies. Around here a simple dr appt means no school that day usually. We try to do work in the car during commutes. You could do spelling, math fluency, audiobooks. Consider curriculum that's DIY for kids. Consider work box techniques of organization so the day is set up for the kids to just open their folders and start on their work without you.

 

(Hugs)

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Apologies upfront for the massive multiquote post, but I couldn't figure out a better way to do this.  As you all have been helping me process this, my eyes have been opened to some of the ways we're just really not helping ourselves out much.  Yes, we have a lot going on and yes, I do pretty much single-parent a lot of the time.  And yes, I'm exhausted.....BUT, I think the fatigue and stress and just simply being worn out has blinded me to the ways I'm hampering our efforts, and weakened me to the point where I've just kind of given up putting things right.  It seems pretty clear that if our home and our homeschool are to work better than they are at present, I'm going to have to step up, draw some lines in the sand and (wo)man up :001_smile:

 

There are two parallel themes or issues I see coming through in experiences and comments shared by many of you:

 

1)  Schooling needs to be priority #1.  School time has to be blocked out, and that time respected by everyone - including me.  I am as guilty as anyone, if not more so.  This means early bed times (we're not so bad here), set getting-up times for the crew.  This means a plan in place, systems in place and the home running in a predictable manner.  This is something I crave and used to have down pat, but have just kind of given up with the wear and tear brought on by our lives.  Decision fatigue is just killing me.

 

2)  My DSs situation is hardly unique and can be remedied - likely without much difficulty....just some targeted, consistent effort on everyone's part and we'll get him there.   See #1 above :001_rolleyes:   I will be posting on the K-8 Curriculum thread for specific advice. 

 

....and as quick updates, we have enrolled DD in the Independent Studies program I mentioned way upthread, with the view that we keep her there for the balance of the school year.  This will take the planning, scheduling, grading off of my plate for a few short months so I have just a bit of breathing room and to reduce the overwhelm.  We are also meeting with a Math tutor for DS tomorrow.  Same deal - some additional support for me, some recommendations targeted to his needs and a plan and roadmap to help him move forward.

 

On my end, time to return to FlyLady....many years ago when the kids were still baby and toddler and DH had just started traveling (and I was still working!!), FlyLady saved my sanity.....I could use a bit of that right now...

 

 

 

 

 

Do your kids help with household duties? Dishes are well within the scope of a second grader. Folding or at least delivering folded laundry. Routine bathroom cleaning.

 

Yes - the kids do help with chores.  They've been taking on a bit more of late, and I'm thankful for their help...

 

 

Many excellent responses.

 

I work part time. Homeschool 4 kids. Help with the farm work. I have to have a system or I spend too much time "putting out fires" (dealing with the urgent) and by the end of the day, I've not completed a blessed thing, the house is a wreck and I am a demoralized, exhausted mess.

 

So we have school hours.

 

I get up, check email and do a few work things. Then I go to the barn and do chores.

 

After that, breakfast and then school. School core hours are from 9-12. We often work outside those hours, but that time period is sacred. I don't need to answer the phone, check email, write an article, etc. During that time. I've found that if I focus, I can get so much more done than if I give the kids half my attention.  And really, most urgent tasks CAN wait until after 12 noon. A tiny space of three freaking hours is not unreasonable. when my dh calls, I say, Well, we are doing school. Is this an emergency that CANNOT wait until after 12? Seldom does he need me to drop everything and do his task. However, if you dh's work is a bit more time sensitive, I might build in 2 "school slots" to your day. Say, do school from 8:30 to 10:30 and take an hour to catch up on urgent work tasks. Then have an 11:30-12:30 slot where you do more school.

 

If you're going to take 2 days out of the house to do enrichment, i'd at least do basics (math, english, spelling) every Saturday morning.

 

Cleaning... 20 minutes at a time, 3 times a day with everyone pitching in. Laundry. A load completely finished every day. Use paper plates as much as possible. And cooking frozen meals? So what. That's the least of your problems.

 

School is going to have to move up the priority list.

 

When life gets chaotic, one thing that really helps me is to clean my bedroom top to bottom and keep it clean. That way there's one space in the house that's soothing to me where I can escape and relax for just a bit. I can stand the rest of the house being messy if my room and stays clean.

 

This.  Absolutely.  One small challenge on our end is that DH works from home...and sometimes stuff IS urgent (we also deal with multiple time zones, and that causes some special pressures.  So I LOVE the notion of 2 school slots....That is doable....I could also easily have the kids do their literature or history reading or other independent task during that time.  I realized during the week that Saturday school will be necessary if DS does 2 days of enrichment. 

 

 

 

I don't think we put enough value on the relational aspect of homeschooling. You mentioned your good relationships. Here, at the end of the journey with all four now graduated, relationships are everything. And for my children, that will continue on after my husband and I are gone. Priceless! 

:iagree: :iagree: :iagree:   This part has been huge for us - the kids were in private school before, and time where all of us were together was rare.  We have loved truly getting to know one another....it has been absolutely transformational.

 

My heart goes out to you big time!
I know it's so hard to see immediate issues and want to correct them before they become bigger. I commend you for recognizing what is happening and being willing to adjust as needed for everyone's best shot.
I'll share with you my story in an attempt to maybe give you some comfort for long term:

 

......

Fast forward many years and I have a bachelor's and am working on a masters degree in dietetics. My brother is a CFO by day and expert craftsman by night. If a 5th grader who is "behind" can eventually get a masters degree that heavily relies on chemistry, your 3rd grader can catch up over time, too.
A couple of years that were "less than ideal" were hard, but in the end, didn't ruin our lives.
You're doing your best which is the best thing for your kids. Take time to do what is right for you so you can do right for them too.
Big hugs to you and your family.

 

MillyDilly, thank you....your words from the other end of the equation meant a great deal to me.  Perspective is important, and the critical thing is that I 'think' our family has woken up to the need to take action at the right time.  :grouphug:

 

 

I will probably be restating some of what others have said. I feel you have a reason to be overwhelmed because your schedule sounds crazy busy stressful. For me to successfully homeschool I need to have kid activities after 3 or 4 pm daily with only one early or coop day.

 

DS's enrichment days are hugely important to him....and they do work on core stuff such as writing, along with PE, Art and content subjects such as History and Science.  DDs riding makes our days a bit more complicated....she studies in the morning (and she's pretty good about it, actually), then spends from about 1:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the barn, up to 3 weekdays and on Saturdays.  She is riding competitively.  So when DH is either too busy or not around...I spend a lot of time in the car...

 

We limit extracurriculars to what is necessary. A home cooked meal is for the weekend. Also I have to plan for the week about four hours during the weekend just to get caught up and ahead to school. Maybe hire a babysitter for a couple days to help you spend some time or with DH to plan school, business, etc.

 

This is a great idea, but something we've not done much as finances are an issue.  The planning should be easier for the balance of the year with DD in a 'fixed' program until the fall.

Testing is so different in different schools. If you want to know where they are academically maybe consider standardized tests.

Would a driver for the kids to coop help you out? Or are you there too? And DD does horse riding? Driver for that too. If you're doing all these extras and not being productive during that time, that's a waste.

 

:iagree:  Completely.  Mostly someone to drive DD to riding would help....pending finances that is something we may be able to do from time to time.  It's about a 45 minute round trip, so thats 6 hours each week. 

We school weekends and summers. We have to because of inconsistencies. We are planning to as well....

 

Around here a simple dr appt means no school that day usually. We try to do work in the car during commutes. You could do spelling, math fluency, audiobooks. Consider curriculum that's DIY for kidsSuggestions?

 

Consider work box techniques of organization so the day is set up for the kids to just open their folders and start on their work without you.  Yes I would love to do this - I have not been able to get out in front of it though. 
 
(Hugs)

 

 

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DIY curriculum may need to be a separate post as our situation requires one on one for almost everything and I don't have many personal recs. I've heard of programs that are kid driven on these boards, including math mammoth or teaching textbooks, all-in-one time4learning, phonetic zoo for spelling. There are great computer phonics programs for learning to read if your youngest needs support. The best ones are marketed and made for dyslexics but NT kids could probably use them to learn to read by themselves. I loved dreambox as a math supplement but it can be used as main math for probably some kids or situations. I loved using computer programs when I was busy and couldn't do a long lesson. It was instructive, fun, and better than nothing. Download little game apps for subjects needing review you never seem to get around to (spelling, math subjects, whatever). They could at least do that. Consider online curriculum too where it's all computer based.

 

Work boxes are great if you have kid driven curriculum from my understanding. The best I can do is have what I need for the week in a binder. Ours has Daily handwriting papers, daily math fluency sheets, extra concept practice (we usually practice hard math concepts daily until mastered -for example coins were hard to ID for DS, so we did a kumon supplemental sheet most days just for coins for weeks), extra topics like logic/analogy sheets, geography, and fine motor activities and vision activities for therapy. Our regular schoolwork is 5% independent because of our specific needs, but I think a lot of kids could have much more in an independent work folder (regular math sheets, reading and writing, grammar assignments). I like some of the Evan moor daily workbooks. Short but good daily practice.

 

Do I have sheets on logic replacing math? No. But on crazy days when I can't think straight I can hand over a packet of extras for DS to do while I'm making a dr appt on the phone for 30 min. I can say do an audiobook on X subject if I'm busy. But, I need to have the independent papers ready on the weekends for it to work for us. I have to have a specific library request time weekly to make DVD and book requests, plus I need a dedicated weekly library day, if only for drop off and pick up.

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Instead of hiring a driver maybe carpooling is possible. Consider outsourcing things around the house as needed for sanity. Our yard work takes a service almost no time to do because they use riding mowers and 2-3 people. And it's not super expensive. DH would spend 4-6 hours per week to accomplish what they do, meanwhile nothing else gets done! That's an extreme example but maybe something similar is going on in your life. Or consider the opposite: are there expenses that are costing the family more than they're worth with everyone needing to work extra hours to pay for something you can do without (like an expensive car or whatever)?

 

Contradictory advice and of course none of my business, just something to mull over. :)

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Another thought if your DD is old enough, maybe public transport to the barn if it's an option. Since she's competitive I can only imagine how expensive it is. Can she volunteer there to reduce costs for the family and maybe give more room in the budget? Just thinking outside the box. All her hours there already probably means no.

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@Displace, you are so generous - thank you!!!!

 

While I think of it, I just read on your siggie that you are OG trained....is that the phonogram thingie (sorry, I'm so tired!).  I just posted in the curriculum thread - maybe you have some light to shed on this for me?  http://forums.welltrainedmind.com/topic/586477-help-me-design-a-targeted-language-arts-program-for-8-year-old/?do=findComment&comment=6821956

 

My DD works well independently, and we will be set up with a binder system next week.  DS is very much hands on....but I am gently working on having him do more independently.  Advance planning will be crucial for this.

 

Unfortunately carpooling and public transportation aren't options....we live in a small(ish) center and the barn is rural, so it's not practical....I don't even know if they have public transport out that way...

 

As for DD, she already works for most of her lessons.  We are extremely fortunate as she is very gifted and has been taken under the head trainer's wing....  We probably pay for about 1/3 of the horse time she gets....in exchange, she assists with building jumps and works the more challenging horses for the riding school.  It is not something we could afford otherwise, but she is talented enough that she is being followed closely by key folks internationally...it is her passion, she works extremely hard and it could be her future....so we are choosing to bite some serious bullets to ride out some lean times..

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Yes, Ortin gillingham to teach reading and spelling for my dyslexic DS. I'll check out the other thread.

 

And awesome for your DD! It sounds like a great opportunity for her.

 

Eta - my OG training was primarily in mechanics of phonics, fluency, comprehension, phonemic awareness, not grammar.

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Popping in quickly to update....

 

We are slowly righting the ship here....I moved quickly to enroll DD in the independent studies program - she had her first teacher meeting Monday and has been chugging away on her assignments since then.  It is not ideal from a content standpoint, but it is a style of working that suits her and it will ensure that she's moving forward, unimpeded by my inability to plan everything for her right now.

 

Met with a tutor for DS....wonderful woman with a ton of experience, both as a homeschooler and a teacher....only to discover that  DS is working within his grade level on math.  Made some curriculum changes to both Math and Language Arts to simplify our program.  It's a good start.

 

Still work to be done in establishing a more sustainable work flow at home, but we are on our way....

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Popping in quickly to update....

 

We are slowly righting the ship here....I moved quickly to enroll DD in the independent studies program - she had her first teacher meeting Monday and has been chugging away on her assignments since then. It is not ideal from a content standpoint, but it is a style of working that suits her and it will ensure that she's moving forward, unimpeded by my inability to plan everything for her right now.

 

Met with a tutor for DS....wonderful woman with a ton of experience, both as a homeschooler and a teacher....only to discover that DS is working within his grade level on math. Made some curriculum changes to both Math and Language Arts to simplify our program. It's a good start.

 

Still work to be done in establishing a more sustainable work flow at home, but we are on our way....

Glad to hear your Ds is further along than you thought. I think one test is not enough to decide he's over a year behind on maths.

 

Hope things go well for you. After a laid back time with dh's work things have gone crazy here again and I'm reminded of just how much the load is when it's all on one set of shoulders.

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Huge, huge hugs.

 

Tests have a huge standard deviation for groups, and huge margin of error for individuals.

 

If this was his first test, that will make a huge difference as well. One year is three skills. If he's used to skipping challenging materials, that will put him one or two grade levels behind simply because he doesn't know how to take a test.

 

Finally, they tell us all: one day is one day. It does not mean anything. The trends mean something. One day is a snapshot and it might not be pretty.

 

My kids are in public school. They have had good tests and bad tests. If I had to judge their performance based on ONE DAY I'd have spent thousands on private school by now. But the fact is, they're thriving. They have good days, bad days, and "What has happened here?" days.

 

It sounds like you are a thoughtful, conscientious parent and you are working on getting your kids the education they need. In my opinion that is all you need. Hugs to you .

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Thanks everyone for the encouragement :001_smile:   I am making good on my commitments to better self-care as well and started a course of acupuncture this week.  It is something that has worked very well for me in the past, and should help me get on the rails again.  Bigger picture changes are also afoot with regard to workload and generally the way we organize home, school, work and life.  The whole family is 'done' with the current set up and motivated to change....gently, yes, but change absolutely

 

 

One day at a time!! Hang in there and do keep working on a better plan for next year. Simplify wherever you can for now. ((Hugs))

 

Oh boy!  You know it!!!! 

 

 

Glad to hear your Ds is further along than you thought. I think one test is not enough to decide he's over a year behind on maths.

Hope things go well for you. After a laid back time with dh's work things have gone crazy here again and I'm reminded of just how much the load is when it's all on one set of shoulders.

 

Hang in there Ausmumof3.....  :grouphug:

 

 

Huge, huge hugs.

 

Tests have a huge standard deviation for groups, and huge margin of error for individuals.

 

If this was his first test, that will make a huge difference as well. One year is three skills. If he's used to skipping challenging materials, that will put him one or two grade levels behind simply because he doesn't know how to take a test.

 

Finally, they tell us all: one day is one day. It does not mean anything. The trends mean something. One day is a snapshot and it might not be pretty.

 

My kids are in public school. They have had good tests and bad tests. If I had to judge their performance based on ONE DAY I'd have spent thousands on private school by now. But the fact is, they're thriving. They have good days, bad days, and "What has happened here?" days.

 

It sounds like you are a thoughtful, conscientious parent and you are working on getting your kids the education they need. In my opinion that is all you need. Hugs to you .

 

:iagree:   So well said....it has definitely been a huge learning experience for all of us and for that we are truly grateful.

 

 

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Good update!

 

I have a couple of suggestions in addition to all the good advice you've received here.

 

One idea is a 6 (or 4) week on/1 week off schedule. Knowing that a week off is coming allows you to move things to that week and not get sidetracked. Not everything can wait until then, but catching up on cleaning or decluttering the house or yard, pre-making and freezing food, shopping for non-food items, appointments, etc. can be done during that week. And during that week, you can feel okay about not doing school because you did focus during the school weeks.

 

Another idea is to rotate room cleaning through the house. We all get together for 15 minutes each day and clean one room, which if we work as hard as we can, adds up to 1 person-hour, more or less. We do as much as we can, and then we stop. Part of the deal is stopping as soon as the timer goes off. We prep the mop and get the vacuum, cleaners, and dusting cloths ready ahead of time. We usually have a few things left, but oh well. I try to start with those next time. We rotate through the rooms in order generally, but do our living room every 4th day as it gets a lot of use and is also the first thing people see if they come in.

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