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happysmileylady

This is the kind of week I was worried about...

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We got very little to no schooling done this week.

 

Monday, the holiday, I had planned for a light day.  I had specific things I wanted to get done around the house and DH was home and it can be hard to get anything done with DH home (I dunno why that is.)  The plan was for him to get the lawn mowed, while the kids and I got some much needed housework done, then for me to run to the store to get the supplies we had budgeted for, then I was going to do a little bit of school before we started the grill and pulled out the water toys.  Somehow, that's not what ended up happening.  Everything we did just seemed to take FOR-EVER.

 

Tuesday, DD5 had her first therapy appointment in the morning.  When we got back we got something to eat really quick, then DD7 had a batting practice at 11am.  Once that was done and we got back home, it was time for lunch so we did that.  We managed to squeeze in like 2 work book pages (plus, while DD7 was batting, I had the 2 little ones drawing letters on some scratch paper.  It was really just to keep them occupied, but it counts right?) after lunch, but that was about all I could handle before I made them finish up the chores we didn't get done before the therapy appointment (aka, all but one) and then shipped them outside.  When DH got home, he and I got into a bit of an argument and that was pretty much the end of that day.

 

Wednesday, we got one quick verbal discussion about weather in, prompted by our "today is" board, and then DS3 had a doc appointment.  it was just a check up, but it was still a 2 hr ordeal getting them all ready, loaded up, time at the doc, etc.  By the time we got back, it was like 1:30.  Got the kids lunch, then my mom called and I shipped them outside, and before I knew it, it was 4 and time to get our early dinner on the table for the softball game at 6.  But then we got to the field and it started pouring and we sat in our cars for like half an hour waiting for them to cancel all the games. 

 

Thursday, I was at yard sales in the morning  (at least with this, I was trying hard to do things like pointing out prices, asking questions etc.  I had planned to have the girls use their own money to buy stuff....but people kept GIVING them things.  Not to mention that mom would buy them things too...special grandma powers.) 

 

Today we did a little more yard sale-ing and then I had some errands I HAD to run.  A book to pick up at the library, a couple of bills to pay, etc.  We did get a little bit of work book pages in after lunch.  I had planned to get the telescope out tonight and take a look at Saturn with them-it's supposed to be at it's closest tonight.  But, now it's getting cloudy and it's supposed to start storming after midnight, so I don't think we are going to get a chance.

 

 

I am just discouraged.  I am going to do some more planning this weekend and next week should be less hectic anyway.  This is the type of thing I am trying to avoid, but I guess that sometimes, it just can't be, right?

 

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It's the end of the year and your kids are little.  i wouldn't worry about it.  But eventually you will have to think about when to take calls or to make appointments or to go to yard sales.  (This is not a criticism at all.  I'm just pointing out that with my older kids I couldn't take time off for those sorts of things all the time.)

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It happens sometimes.

 

I am someone who needs our days to be very routine in the mornings because any little hiccup throws me off and I have a hard time getting us all back on track. I really have to be diligent to set time aside for our school work during the appropriate hours or we follow every rabbit hole down every hole. I turn my phone off and don't answer emails during this time. I will admit that I sometimes peek at the WTM forums when I am sitting next to dd during math. Shhh...it is a bad habit. 

 

Is there any way you can schedule appointments and extra curricular stuff in the afternoon and keep school sacred in the mornings (or visa versa)? 

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I agree that you shouldn't worry since your kids are little; the week you described sounds a lot like many of my weeks when my kids were younger.  I tried to keep appointments and outings in the afternoon as much as possible, because if we were out, even for a short time in the morning, the day was shot.  We could never get back on track. But, it didn't always work out the way I wanted it to.

 

But never too early to start thinking about what you can streamline so as they get older and need more time at home, you can have some routines. Pick one day to go run errands, go to the library, and stop at a few yard sales.  Set up bill payer with your bank so you don't have to go around paying bills.  

 

And btw, in my house, no matter what the age of the kids, if Dad's home, all bets are off for getting schoolwork done.  It's like a holiday!

Edited by marbel
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Some weeks are like that and with only little ones you can get away with it.

 

I agree with Jean that at some stage you will need to think about where your time needs to be spent. I also agree with Minerva that a routine is important, just add one thing at a time until that thing is done consistently (so, morning routine/chores, then morning routine/chores & math, then morning, math and LA etc)

*Hugs*, hope next week is better, I wouldn't have gotten anything done with all that out of the house stuff! You will find your groove and it will be fine!

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When kids are older, appointments aren't that big of an impact because (a) some of them can stay home, (b) they can do tasks while waiting for other kids to do stuff, © you will have more concrete learning goals and curricula to guide you, (d) kids can do chores slightly more independently, (e) you will get better at saying "no". :)

 

It is hard to wrangle little ones. You all can grow together.

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Well...yea...you will need to think about how to better manage some of your time...but...as your kidsf get older there will be less demand on you to educate them and more they can do on their own. We have weeks like that all the time and it's unnerving! But keep at it. :)

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I found out this year that when dad is home, nobody has any motivation to get anything done (including me). He has every Thursday off, so next year we are taking almost every Thursday off. It's all about adjusting for your life. If that's an unusual week for you, maybe you could take the week off next time you know it's going to be that way. You keep your sanity, and the kids get a break :)

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Weeks like that are when we keep the backpack by the door.  :)  I load it up with mostly independent practice things and maybe a playaway audio book from the library.  It works during our summer, too.  This week we had running all over the place for appointments and the teen's activities (including one that's 1.5h away).  You should have seen the look on people's faces when the 6yo pulled out the Versatiles in the waiting room and happily kept himself busy for 45 minutes. One lady came over and told me it was the greatest invention ever.  :lol:   And we got to listen to the Magician's Elephant again, almost the whole thing, during those long car rides.

 

This is why I plan my own curriculum.  I can set both topical and skill goals and do them however fits our week.

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Agreeing with others, try to keep appointments to the afternoon!  I guard my precious morning time as best I can, because we can usually get a full day's work in that time, or close to it.  We did some early morning dentist appointments when DD was going 1 hr in each direction.  I took along a bag of books & workbooks, so we could work in the waiting room & car.  It was only once a month, and my DC were younger, so it wasn't too big a deal.  DH is a pastor and often has hospital visits an hour away.  We sometimes join him and have a "field trip" or get some shopping done afterwards.  While we are waiting, we can get some reading in or just enjoy some family conversations.  

 

 

Yard work always takes us longer than it should.  Our "day off to put in the garden" is now going on day 3!   :(  Followed by a few days off from company (and cleaning the house for company) and I'm not too happy about it, but I can't really change it either.  This is why we school year round.  My DH works from home, so we always have that distraction!  Luckily, we can be on separate floors so the noise from the kids isn't too bad and he's not distracting them too much.

 

As far as phone calls from your mom, I only talk when we aren't doing school.  I often don't answer the phone at all during school hours (I do make an exception for DH, and his calls are always short and to the point anyway).  I'll call the others back at the end of the day or over lunch, or just ignore if they are telemarketers.  ;) 

Edited by Holly

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I have found that it helps to write out my school plan the night before and keep mornings completely free of outside commitments.  I set out the books, with sticky flags to mark our lessons, so that it is very easy to flip through and get to all of the lessons.  The 7- and 9-year-olds have little notebooks with their independent work written out (with boxes to check when complete), so they can get started on that while I work with the younger children.  I give 45 minutes to an hour to each of my three older kids for their math, language arts, and anything else they need to do one-on-one.  Around 10, we take a break to have a snack while I read from our current chapter book, and a rotating schedule of science/art/math/history picture books.  We might also do some Shakespeare or memory work.  Our core subjects, memory work, and read-alouds are complete before I need to fix lunch.  

 

Then, if there is something outside of the house that needs doing, I can do that after lunch while feeling confident that we got our most important work done.  If we are able to stay home for the afternoon, then we also do history and/or science, more read-alouds, music, maybe some letter writing (there are always thank you notes owed), or an art project.  Or sometimes, the kids just go outside to play.

 

My children are highly distractible, and are not able to re-focus after being out for the morning.  Maybe this will change as they grow, but I simply can't squeeze in academic subjects between phone calls, appointments, music lessons, and errands.  I have to be extremely focused and disciplined in the morning so that we can deal with life in the afternoon.

 

Another thing that helped (which I learned from the WTM boards) is to realize that I am not a stay-at-home Mom.  Not really.  I am a teacher to my children, which is an almost full-time job requiring planning, training, and discipline.  This has helped manage my expectations so much -- to realize that I can't bake six dozen cupcakes for the library fundraiser, maintain an elaborate garden, keep an immaculate house, chase after Craigslist bargains, attend Zumba classes in the morning, or do all of the other tempting things I see the SAHMs doing.  I wondered how they could do it all, until I realized that I am not a stay-at-home Mom.  

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Thank you.

 

Thank you for not saying "it's summer, don't worry about it."  I need to make this work and a week like last week isn't going to work.

 

Appointments in the afternoon, I think that's what is going to have to happen.  DD5's therapy can't be changed, she was already on a waiting list.  Maybe I will make Tuesday our library and errand day, so that since we are already out, we just get it all done.

 

I will say, all the out of the house stuff last week, was a bit unusual.  The morning ball practice was very unusual, all the ball stuff happens in the evenings since that's when parents are off.  It just happened that the coach was off that day and said he would be at the fields for anyone who wanted to show up.  There won't be another morning practice.  And DS3's appointment was scheduled months ago, it was just a general check up so there aren't any sort of follow ups or anything.  And the yard sales were part of the US 40 sales.  In the past my mom, sister, and oldest daughter and I all do several days of hard core yard sale-ing up and down US 40.  This year, we decided to do the US127 sales instead, so we decided to just only do the 1 day for a few hours.  (and...I got a new crockpot I had been looking for...for a DOLLAR, plus a queen sized sheet set to replace the one that DD5 ripped last week...which was the only one we had.  So, I did get stuff we needed.)  Anyway, no more yard sales during the week until August.  Any yard sale-ing I do between now and then will be on Saturday mornings, when I am grocery shopping anyway. 

 

 

Anyway having said all that, yes, the person that mentioned if the morning is crazy the day is shot...that's totally how I am.  I am not a morning person, I absolutely recognize the power of the morning and morning person or nocturnal person.  But, if I don't seize the morning, I am unable to seize the day :-)  I will be making more of an effort to get the mornings nailed down.

 

I went grocery shopping this morning (in the rain btw) and then it cleared up enough to get one ball game in (DD7 got TWO good solid hits, first pitch on each at bat, and she is SO proud and the confidence she needs is growing) though not the other.  Tomorrow, DH is grilling and I will be planning planning planning.  I have my supplies, I am going to pull out my lesson planning template from years ago, and get really moving.

 

 

 

I am a teacher to my children, which is an almost full-time job requiring planning, training, and discipline.

This is the mode I am working to get back into. 

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I've said on here before that I treat homeschooling like it's my job (because it is). I fiercely guard our 3-hour uninterrupted work time each week day (scheduling any outings for late-afternoon), and don't take or make phone calls during school. Before I made this shift, it was too easy to fritter away our school week without accomplishing enough.

 

With that said, we get little done if DH is home. Luckily, that doesn't happen often enough to be a problem; his infrequent daytime appearances are then a treat!

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You sound normal to me!  No way we'd get much done, with that many obstacles! 

 

We don't do school well in the afternoon.  We just don't.  When we start early, by 9, we are done in 3 hours (and we are fairly rigorous).  When we start at 10, we are not done until 3.  If we start at noon, we will not be done until 5 or 6, and then we won't get it all done and I'll give up and go make dinner.  Why?  Who knows, it just is that way. 

 

We are working through 3rd grade and preschool. 

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Can I just say, that you sound like a conscientious mom, I'm sure you'll be fine. With a mom like you I wouldn't sweat a week like that now and then.

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Another thing that helped (which I learned from the WTM boards) is to realize that I am not a stay-at-home Mom.  Not really.  I am a teacher to my children, which is an almost full-time job requiring planning, training, and discipline.  This has helped manage my expectations so much -- to realize that I can't bake six dozen cupcakes for the library fundraiser, maintain an elaborate garden, keep an immaculate house, chase after Craigslist bargains, attend Zumba classes in the morning, or do all of the other tempting things I see the SAHMs doing.  I wondered how they could do it all, until I realized that I am not a stay-at-home Mom.  

This is maybe the BEST piece of advice I've ever read, and it really puts it into perspective.  I say that I have three full-time jobs: caring for the house/meals/making doctor appointments/paying bills/all the stuff that my husband needs a stay-at-home wife to do so that HE can go to his job, caring for my little boys (my toddler is a busy busy busy little guy), and homeschooling my older ones.  And I'm still just one person with the same 24 hours as everyone else.  It does help to know that I'm not going to be able to do it all, ever, and sometimes I simply have to make sacrifices in my ideal.  

 

OP, some weeks are like that.  I understand the frustration.  I do try to limit appointments to afternoons, and I also try to keep errands to the one day of the week when we're already out, but sometimes it's just not possible.

 

Depending on what your state requires for reporting, you might start earlier in the summer and not take a big summer break.  Yes, homeschooling is very flexible, but still, most programs are designed to take about 180 days to finish.  That's almost half of the days in a year, and so you have to pick and choose which ones you take off.  If your kids were in public school, if they had a dental appointment, they would have to make up the work they missed; they wouldn't get to take the day off.  Your kids are still young, so I wouldn't worry about it too much, but as they get older, you may want to shrink summer break a bit in order to start earlier.  Personally, we start early in July, when it's nasty hot outside, and then we have flexibility to take off a full week at Thanksgiving, a nice spring break, a long Christmas break, all birthdays, etc., and we're done around May.  It also allows for days when Life Happens, because it will.  There will be illnesses, there will be times when everyone's just not able to focus, and there will be times when the mom/wife/housekeeper side has to take precedence over the teacher side.  If you can leave yourself some flexibility in your schedule, that'll help you feel less stressed.  I started schooling in July when we were expecting summer newborns, and it's been the best decision, as it "pads" our year a bit.  Nothing like watching the schoolbus come by in September and realizing that you've already logged 20-30 days of work!

 

Fwiw, if DH is home for a holiday, it's a day off from school in our house.  Time with Dad is too important, and everyone needs breaks.  Now, DH does work at home sometimes, especially in the winter when the roads can be bad, and on those days (assuming I'm here -- when he WAH so I could get allergy testing done and so I could go to a homeschool conference, those days were not school days), he works upstairs in the office, and we have a full school day.  But his holidays, no.

 

If you find that you're out of the house often, I would plan work that can be done on the road, whatever you can.  When we did speech therapy for two of our children once a week, it was two hours in a waiting room.  The school age children would do work while they waited, and I'd plan work accordingly.  My older kids each take an hour-long class one evening a week, one right after the other.  I use that time to go grocery shopping (because I leave the little ones home with DH or take just one of them, and so it's faster), so my older two each bring work that they can do independently in the waiting room.  It took some training to teach them to work in the speech therapy waiting room, because it's distracting, but they got it.

 

But really, mostly you just have my sympathy and understanding.  Some weeks are like that.  Even in Australia, to quote Alexander. ;)

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Today has gone better.  We got started by 8:30...well, I got started at 8:30.  The older girls were still doing morning chores, so I started working with DS3 in his preschool book.  He REALLY enjoys it and although I only bought a cheapo book to help him feel included, I can tell that it actually is helping.  As soon as the girls finished we did our "today is" board, then did some reading.  First I did some reading, then sent DS3 and DD5 off to play while I worked with DD7 on her reading.  That took longer than planned, but wasn't too bad.  The kids are "on recess" right now, and then we are going to do some writing.  Then Math, then lunch.  After lunch we are going to do some gardening and talking about the corn coming up, I am planning a kind of "field journal" about our corn in particular since it's a somewhat "dramatic" type of plant.  Then, we are done for the day.  We need early dinner every day this week because we have a softball game every day this week, alternating one girl then the other. 

 

Anyway, all of this is IN SPITE of the fact that the landlord has a crew here replacing the siding on the house.  There's hammering and banging all over my house!  Plus, I woke up with a bit of a headache this morning.  Hammering...not helping. 

 

Ok, back to work!

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When appointments are unavoidable (it seems like we have a gazillion orthodontist appointments), I always pack workbook/independent reading for my kids to bring with them.  This year, my 2nd grader was able to do copywork, cursive, independent reading, a math worksheet, etc while waiting for her dentist appointment.  Each of my kids has a backpack.  

 

Mine are also into sports, so they bring backpacks when they go to the gym for classes.  Our gym has a homework table (ballet has one, too) and my kids know to sit at that table and work on schoolwork or do independent reading if they're not taking a class.  My teen daughter did half of her algebra at that table this past year.

 

Another thing that might help - audio books in the car when you're traveling to sports, appointments, etc.  We used to do that all the time and I need to get back into that again.

 

I guard our schedule very carefully - as far as activities.  I keep them mostly in the evening.  Because we homeschool, people will try to get to us to do all kinds of stuff during the day and we usually turn them down.  One sports coach actually made an announcement to the group that "if you need someone to fill in for you, ask *our* family first, because we have so much more free time, since we homeschool."  Ummm....  NO?!   :confused:   

 

We know a couple of families who are able to do a ton of activities during the day, but - honestly - they even admit to only working on schoolwork sporadically.  I just can't afford to do that right now with my kids' ages and their goals.

Edited by Evanthe
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I've said on here before that I treat homeschooling like it's my job (because it is). I fiercely guard our 3-hour uninterrupted work time each week day (scheduling any outings for late-afternoon), and don't take or make phone calls during school. Before I made this shift, it was too easy to fritter away our school week without accomplishing enough.

 

With that said, we get little done if DH is home. Luckily, that doesn't happen often enough to be a problem; his infrequent daytime appearances are then a treat!

I agree. We do a lot of therapy appointments, but they are either first thing in the morning (that coveted 8am slot) or in the afternoon. Dentist and doctor appointments, same deal. I school from about 9:30-12:30. I don't make phone calls, shop, or hang out with friends in that time slot (ok, sometimes we meet up for an activity around noon, which cuts things short, but we can do some work in the car as we are traveling - listen to an audiobook, work in a simple workbook, drill math etc).

 

It's taken me a while to figure this out, but this is what worked this year. Prior to this year, we were a lot more flexible with commitments which greatly impacted schooling, but he was younger and I had nap time for the youngers to catch up. With nap gone, and DS2 asking for K work, I had to reevaluate. And, no, we don't get anything done when Daddy is home, except for Daddy reading aloud to them. If DH is off, it's a holiday here. We do, however, school when grandparents visit because grandparent visits last anywhere from a week to a month at a time.

 

You'll figure it out! Summer are harder for routine. We school in the summer, but I don't stress much about it because m, for example, going to swimming lessons at 10:30 in the summer is more important (to me) than bookwork.

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We figured out once we had homeschooled for a few years that our school year had seasons and some were much more productive than others. If we started strong right at the very beginning of August and worked diligently through September, we'd be ok when November and December got crazy. Same thing in the spring - work hard through January and February, then we'd be ok to glide to a finish of our school year in April and May.

 

As my kids have gotten older, it's become much easier to distribute work evenly across the school year, they've become more independent, and they are learning how to handle busier seasons of life.

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Yesterday finished off well.  After I posted, I grabbed DD7 to do a couple of work book pages before the other kids wanted in on it, but once one starts, the rest need to do their thing.  So, DD5 did a couple of pages writing letters and DD7 did a couple of Language Arts pages.  I think DD5 only did one letter, but a full page of upper and a full page of lower case.  DD7 did a couple of phonics pages then asked to write a letter to grandma.  So she wrote her letter to grandma, telling her about when hit the ball at her ball game.  DD5 also wrote a letter...though really I just wrote out Dear Grandma, I love you, Love DD5, and then, had her copy it.  We mailed them yesterday.

 

Then DD7 played Math Magicians on my computer, DD5 watched and was calling out some of the answers.  By the time I had a second contractor here and I was helping them all get where they needed to.  It was just too much, which was fine.  I got done the things I deemed most important so that's good.

 

Today I am a bit stressed.  Therapy got cancelled, the library trip I planned didn't go as planned, the hammering and banging from the contractors working on the siding are all driving me nuts.  The kids are also going a bit crazy because they want to be able to go outside, but there's too much crap out there.  We did get some extra reading in since we didnt' go to therapy so that's good.  We are finishing up lunch, then we are going to go shopping for DH's birthday gifts

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