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Carolinagirl1

Curriculum for a Burned Out Mom

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This is my 4th year homeschooling my 2 daughters (4th and 6th grade). We have just spent the last 2 months moving and are now splitting our time between our old town and our new town. Add that to holiday obligations, and I also do bookkeeping for my husband's business that I need to get caught up on. I'm just burned out, and completely unmotivated to start school in the mornings. we are currently using CLE for math, language arts, and reading, BJU distance learning DVDs for science, and Veritas Press self paced online for history. My girls have no problem getting up in the morning and doing their independent work, but admittedly, I am the problem, because I need to grade, correct, and go over their corrections with them which sometimes takes hours. I reallly don't want to send them back to ps, so I'm looking for something that requires very low involvement from me right now at least until I get everything settled. I'm looking at schools around my area that only meet 1 day a week and various online options. Any recommendations?

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This is my 4th year homeschooling my 2 daughters (4th and 6th grade). We have just spent the last 2 months moving and are now splitting our time between our old town and our new town. Add that to holiday obligations, and I also do bookkeeping for my husband's business that I need to get caught up on. I'm just burned out, and completely unmotivated to start school in the mornings. we are currently using CLE for math, language arts, and reading, BJU distance learning DVDs for science, and Veritas Press self paced online for history. My girls have no problem getting up in the morning and doing their independent work, but admittedly, I am the problem, because I need to grade, correct, and go over their corrections with them which sometimes takes hours. I reallly don't want to send them back to ps, so I'm looking for something that requires very low involvement from me right now at least until I get everything settled. I'm looking at schools around my area that only meet 1 day a week and various online options. Any recommendations?

 

I couldn't homeschool that way, coming along behind to correct their work and go over it after they've done it independently. I would be too bored and unmotivated.

 

I don't know how to homeschool with low parental involvement and don't really believe in that philosophy, but I do have a way to make it all less tedious (possibly), so I'm going to suggest it even though I'm not at all sure this would interest you:

 

Could you set aside about four hours of your day to teach them?

 

If you could be interactive with them while they're learning, it might be more interesting. Present the lessons, read together, discuss what they read, be present while they're writing lab reports or compositions, do Latin recitations aloud, do some math exercises and sentence diagramming on the board together...then you can check their work (and understanding) as they go, and it's a far more varied day for all of you. If you are setting the pace, you can probably keep it to four hours of interactive time, with just a little homework left over for you to grade.

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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I couldn't homeschool that way, coming along behind to correct their work and go over it after they've done it independently. I would be too bored and unmotivated.

 

I don't know how to homeschool with low parental involvement and don't really believe in that philosophy, but I do have a way to make it all less tedious (possibly), so I'm going to suggest it even though I'm not at all sure this would interest you:

 

Could you set aside about four hours of your day to teach them?

 

 

If you could be interactive with them while they're learning, it might be more interesting. Present the lessons, read together, discuss what they read, be present while they're writing lab reports or compositions, do Latin recitations aloud, do some math exercises and sentence diagramming on the board together...then you can check their work (and understanding) as they go, and it's a far more varied day for all of you. If you are setting the pace, you can probably keep it to four hours of interactive time, with just a little homework left over for you to grade.

That sounds great! I'd love to do it that way. What curriculum are you using? I can't picture doing it completely with them using our current curriculum, CLE. I could go over the new stuff with them, but then to sit with them while they work out problems and do their workbooks? I'm not sure how that would work. I'd love to know what curriculum you're using. It's killing me to have to grade and go over corrections.

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I would spend some time thinking about this and putting your thoughts togehter.   

 

Ask yourself these questions:

1)  Is this just a temporary problem of burnout?  Do you think you are going to feel differently in a few weeks?   If SO---maybe the best answer is to just take a vacation and relax!   Allow your family and yourself a few weeks to recharge, and then regroup back together to finish the school year.   You can make up this time in the summer or on the weekends.   Maybe you need to just concentrate on the move and the book keeping durring this eason.  You set your own schedule, and if you need it, take a rest.   IF you really don't feel like you can totally take the time off, unschool or light school for awhile.   Assign the kids some history documentaries to watch, and then have them discuss them with you or write a narration.   Have them listen to a biography or other book on audible, and then have them give a "speech" to the family explaining what they learned/discovered.   Give them hours to read.  (Limit screens, so they naturally do more productive things like build forts, produce art, etc..)   

 

2)  On the other hand, is this a long lasting problem?  Do you think you will ever enjoy working with your children and teaching them?   If SO--then perhaps homeschooling isn't the best option.   (Ducking for cover!)  Maybe I am the oddball, but I don't think homeschooling is always the best solution for every family.   For some people, public schooling can be a much better option.   It doesn't have to be a bad thing.   Maybe homeschooling doesn't suit your current lifestyle or your personality....and that is OK.   I will say that I don't think it is fair to expect kids that age to totally self-teach.   Kids (actually people in general) need interaction and feedback in order to grow and get better.   That doesn't have to come from you 100% of the time, but it needs to come from somewhere.   So if your reserves are empty, maybe it is time to look at outsourcing their education in some capacity.  (Whether it be through private tutors, public schooling options, co-ops, online classes, etc.)     

 

3)  Regarding self-discipline....

I totally (TOTALLY) get what you mean when you say that YOU are the problem with mornings and being diligent and consistent with checking.   I can so relate to that realization...because I had it too early on in homeschooling.   For me, the HARDEST part about homeschooling was developing self-discipline.  I thought I had it before....but homeschooling humbled me of that feeling very quickly.    My first few years, I totally floundered.    I had problems balancing everything, because it is REALLY hard.   

 

  I will tell you what worked for me.  I don't know if this is the solution for all families, but this is where I ended up.     I had to sit down and have a LONG hard look at my life.   Was I willing to drastically change my lifestyle for the sake of homeschooling?   Was I willing to make that priority number one?   And more importantly, was I willing to step up and take ownership of the things I could control to make my life better?   There are going to be a million and one things that come at you that you can't control.  But you can (and should) be prepared to take ownership of the things you can control.

 

  For example, for me, I realized that if mornings were a problem, I needed to do what I could to fix that problem.  I set a bedtime for myself, limited my caffeine intake after noon, and drastically upped my caffeine intake in the morning by setting the coffee pot and an alarm. :)    I did what I could so that I could get enough rest and sleep at nights so that mornings wouldn't be a problem.   (Becuase it is possible for me to wake up earlier if that is what is needed.  It might not be easy, but it is possible.)    When it comes to checking, you have to be like NIKE...just do it.  Set up a routine or rhythm for your family.  Have an apt with yourself.  (Example:  Everday at 3PM, I am going to meet with each child and check their work for the day WITH them so they can see what they missed and get explanations.  That is just an example, come up with a way to make it work for your family.)    If you see yourself not having enough time to do this, then you have to ask youself what you can do to fix this.  Does that mean outsourcing the bookkeeping?   Does that mean outsourcing the school work you need to check?   Which would be easier and which would have a better long term effect on your family.   

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That sounds great! I'd love to do it that way. What curriculum are you using? I can't picture doing it completely with them using our current curriculum, CLE. I could go over the new stuff with them, but then to sit with them while they work out problems and do their workbooks? I'm not sure how that would work. I'd love to know what curriculum you're using. It's killing me to have to grade and go over corrections.

I have to go out, but I'll return to this later and share my favorites.

 

The way I described is the only way I can do it, and be happy at all, because "I" pay attention better if we're all actively working together. My kids come by their ADD honestly!

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I could go over the new stuff with them, but then to sit with them while they work out problems and do their workbooks? I'm not sure how that would work.

I don't use any of your curriculum so I can't say how it would work with yours, but with my elementary school kiddos this is generally what I do if it requires workbook type work. We go over the new material and I get them started on the workbook assignments. They work through the problems independently unless they're stuck and then we work through them together. If I don't correct as they go (this usually happens up until 3rd-ish grade), then it goes in the basket and I look over it periodically throughout the day or at the very latest at night after they've gone to bed. I'll circle the ones that are wrong and then the kids take a look at it again and make their own corrections. We might do this a couple of times and then that's usually my trigger to work through whatever it is with them. We're puzzle-y type people though so they enjoy this kind of thing and they learn a lot more through that type of processing rather than me just correcting it and telling them why it was wrong and what they should have done.

 

I usually just glance at things like handwriting, spelling, journal entries, etc. Grammar and Writing are subjects we do orally or work through together directly through fourth grade. Literature at that age is either via read aloud or independent depending on age and reading ability. Discussions for that are done orally. Summaries are either dictated to me by the child or written independently with me watching so I can be the grammar and spelling checker. History is the most teacher intensive subject in the Grammar stage and usually involves a lot of reading on my part, added discussion, maps, definitions, summaries, and projects. Since I'm with them there's no grading or correcting involved.

 

Logic stage things shift around. I do way more grading for my 6th grader than I do for my 1st and 3rd grader. Likewise, I do way more grading for my son now than I did when he was in 4th or 5th grade. Ds (6th) does a lot more independent work, but math functions very similarly for him as it does his younger sisters. I still only glance at handwriting, spelling, and journal entries. Once a week we do his dictation passage. Grammar I grade the same way I do math. If it's wrong I circle it and he goes back and looks at it again. With writing we work in tandem. I help him work through the lesson so I make sure he follows the directions. He'll turn it in when he's done and that one requires the most teacher effort in terms of grading and corrections.

 

History he does completely independently. He turns his binder in once a week and I flip through it to make sure he completed what he was supposed to. He very rarely needs to make corrections here and if he does it's more similar to what we do with writing than math or grammar.

 

There was a year when I was really burnt out from everything. I put my kids in public school. That gets more complicated once we're talking Middle School, but there's no shame in doing that if you need to.

 

For what it's worth, we've been enjoying our winter break since December 6th and won't start school again until January 9th. That means we take less time off in the summer, but it's really hot then anyway. Plus, there's just too much fun to be had in December to mess that up with school work.

Edited by mamaraby
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That sounds great! I'd love to do it that way. What curriculum are you using? I can't picture doing it completely with them using our current curriculum, CLE. I could go over the new stuff with them, but then to sit with them while they work out problems and do their workbooks? I'm not sure how that would work. I'd love to know what curriculum you're using. It's killing me to have to grade and go over corrections.

 

I agree with Tibbie.  I could not homeschool that way.  I would be bored to tears.  I have been homeschooling since 1994 and I would have given up ages ago b/c high engagement on everyone's part (mine included) is a must.

 

My approach is to not use textbooks except for math until high school (and then I add in science textbooks.)  We read and read and read.  Discuss.  Write.  Go down rabbit trails (following topics of interest that come up in what we are studying).  

 

FWIW, I could easily manage 4th and 6th grades in around 4hrs/day and it would be high interest/deep thought type discussions.  LOVE it.  (Another FWIW.....we often get up early and are totally engaged in schoolwork by 6.  I could be finished with my time with them by 10.) 

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Favorite curriculum that teaches you HOW to teach:

 

English

 

Rod and Staff, since you already like CLE. The teacher's manual shows you exactly how to:

1. conduct a short review at the beginning of class

2. present the lesson (not scripted word-for-word, but clearly instructs you, including common mistakes that children make on that concept, what to watch for)

3. an oral drill, to help the student thoroughly understand the concept, and practice it under your supervision

4. written exercises, review and practice, and challenge exercises to assign as homework if needed. (Sometimes the work at the board, together, during the oral drill is sufficient; many students will NOT need the entire set of written exercises. My boys usually do about half of the problems, and the review and challenge problems.)

 

You could use the fourth grade book for your younger daughter, and the fifth grade book (which is the introductory book for the logic stage, and what I use for the first year for any student working at grade 5 or above) for your 6th grader.

 

Teach your younger daughter first, and then while she is doing her homework, teach your elder daughter. Then while your elder dd is doing her homework, let your younger daughter get started on some reading in another subject.

 

Latin

 

Memoria Press's Prima Latina, Latina Christiana I, and First Form Series all provide recitations, lesson plans, workbook exercises, and more. It's all there! I use the DVDs at the start of the week, and then I use the teacher's manuals to work through the rest of the week. MP also has materials for games and review, and learning to sing in Latin.

 

Math

 

Again, since you like CLE, I recommend Rod and Staff, which deals the teacher back into the equation instead of directing the lesson to the student. The teacher's manual is excellent. Reviews and oral drills are included in each lesson, and practice problems to work together at the board. People on these forums used to put this program down all the time, but my National Merit Finalists with top scores in math give a different testimony. It is solid. Memoria Press also recommends Rod and Staff arithmetic, and uses it through 6th grades in Highlands Latin School. Somewhere between 6th and 8th, students are ready to make the transition to Algebra.

 

History, Geography, Literature

 

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer will tell you some very effective ways to teach these subjects using "whole books" instead of textbooks! In history, you can read together, teach your children to narrate effectively, learn study skills of outlining and rewriting, and create timelines. In geography, you can learn to label and draw maps. In literature, you can learn to discuss the works together. You can also learn from Charlotte Mason how to do copywork, narration, and dictation, using the best children's literature for language arts studies. I recommend her Original Series, which can be found at the AmblesideOnline website. Start with volume 6.

 

Artist and Composer Study

 

Here's an article from Simply Charlotte Mason about how to get started with picture study. This will lay a terrific foundation for art history study later on.

 

Here's an article from Simply Charlotte Mason about learning about composers.

 

I'm out of time again, but this is a start! If you work one-on-one with the children in the 3Rs and Latin, so they're each at their own level, it will not take you very long each day with only two children. Then combine them for history and geography and some literature, if you can, and definitely for subjects such as art and music study, nature walks, and science.

 

I hope something in this post is helpful to you. It's the same four hours per day, whether you're grading and correcting their independent work, or learning alongside them in an interactive way. :)

Edited by Tibbie Dunbar
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That sounds great! I'd love to do it that way. What curriculum are you using? I can't picture doing it completely with them using our current curriculum, CLE. I could go over the new stuff with them, but then to sit with them while they work out problems and do their workbooks? I'm not sure how that would work. I'd love to know what curriculum you're using. It's killing me to have to grade and go over corrections.

I use CLE math (and used to use the LA) and we do it just as Tibbie described.

 

I sit at the table with alittle whiteboard and go over all the new stuff. Then we go through all the excercises one at a time and I assign them the things I know they can use practice on and skip those they dont. Because I do this everyday I know what to skip or practice. I never make them do every problem..it takes too long and CLE has so much repeat there is no need to keep practicing what they know by heart. Takes us half an hour to do one lesson amd my kids enjoy the interaction so much they say they never want to be left to just get on doing the workbook on their own again.

 

I never have to grade their work anymore... they do the problem then we go over it using the whiteboard...if they got the problem right they get to skip the rest of the problems in that section..if they get it wrong I assign them another one. That way we mark as we go and I can see straight up what they are having problems with so I dont have to call them back to the lesson two days later to correct things because thats how long it took me to get to grading it.

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:grouphug:  So sorry for the rough year and burn out! Your children are still young enough you can make this a gentle semester of recovery and even if all you do is read, do a little writing, and keep up the math program, you'll be fine.

 

I like the 4 hour idea -- say, 2.5 to 3 hours in the morning before lunch that involves mom-intensive time and 1-on-1, and then an hour or 90 minutes after lunch where students can finish up with solo work -- solo reading, instrument practice, typing practice, a documentary / educational computer time / educational supplement, and then 30 minutes of a family read aloud in the evening about 3x/week?

 

Other ideas:

- rotate and drop out one subject each day of the week

- do more work orally (like spelling practice, math facts, quiz answers, etc. so less grading for you)

- go for easy history and science for a season -- just watch documentaries, and have DC read a few books and give a weekly oral report to teach everyone -- nothing needed from you but to listen to the reports

- at lunch, all 3 of you (both students and you) chop/prep dinner as much as possible so your afternoons are open for doing the bookkeeping

- rotate your 2 students into a daily chores routine so they are taking on a bit more of the housework and laundry, since you are stepping up and doing more of the bookkeeping -- keeping a family business going takes ALL of the family helping out more in various ways

 

Recovery from burn out requires reducing your stress load, but also restoration through doing things that recharge all of you and bring joy. So be sure to schedule daily rest/recovery time for yourself -- say, 1 hour after lunch each day where you do what restores YOU -- and also include a weekly time for the family to do something joyful together: a hike, canoeing, family game night, DVD movie and popcorn... whatever you all enjoy. :)

 

 

BEST of luck as you figure out what will work for you in this difficult season, and hope this is a gentle, restorative spring semester for you all! Warmest regards, Lori D.

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If you're happy with CLE for LA and Math, I would probably keep those.  You can still spend a few minutes doing the teaching part with each dd.  If you drop CLE reading, that would be one less thing for you to grade later and let you make grading the LA and the Math your priority.  In place of CLE reading, just assign books or set up a reading shelf/basket and require certain amount of reading each day.  You can decide how much you want to have them do as far as notebook pages, or summaries, or just discussions with you on the books they read.  I would also consider dropping the BJU science if that's a burden for you too, and add science books to their reading shelf.  VPSP history, I would keep if they like doing it.  IIRC it doesn't require anything from you and most kids like it - so that's a win-win.  I agree with pp that it's important for you to be engaged, but if you're feeling burnt out, I wouldn't change too much at once and I wouldn't go to teacher intensive resources all at once - you already have a lot of responsibilities on you.  One way I like to stay engaged is by doing read alouds with everyone together.  To me it's a win-win because it gives us something to share and discuss together, but if "life" happens and we don't get to it for a day or so it doesn't delay their independent work or any core skills.  So, yes, look for ways to lighten your grading load and be more engaged with their school work, but don't throw out the baby with the bath water.  Take baby steps towards what you want the school day to look like.  

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Favorite curriculum that teaches you HOW to teach:

 

English

 

Rod and Staff, since you already like CLE. The teacher's manual shows you exactly how to:

1. conduct a short review at the beginning of class

2. present the lesson (not scripted word-for-word, but clearly instructs you, including common mistakes that children make on that concept, what to watch for)

3. an oral drill, to help the student thoroughly understand the concept, and practice it under your supervision

4. written exercises, review and practice, and challenge exercises to assign as homework if needed. (Sometimes the work at the board, together, during the oral drill is sufficient; many students will NOT need the entire set of written exercises. My boys usually do about half of the problems, and the review and challenge problems.)

 

You could use the fourth grade book for your younger daughter, and the fifth grade book (which is the introductory book for the logic stage, and what I use for the first year for any student working at grade 5 or above) for your 6th grader.

 

Teach your younger daughter first, and then while she is doing her homework, teach your elder daughter. Then while your elder dd is doing her homework, let your younger daughter get started on some reading in another subject.

 

Latin

 

Memoria Press's Prima Latina, Latina Christiana I, and First Form Series all provide recitations, lesson plans, workbook exercises, and more. It's all there! I use the DVDs at the start of the week, and then I use the teacher's manuals to work through the rest of the week. MP also has materials for games and review, and learning to sing in Latin.

 

Math

 

Again, since you like CLE, I recommend Rod and Staff, which deals the teacher back into the equation instead of directing the lesson to the student. The teacher's manual is excellent. Reviews and oral drills are included in each lesson, and practice problems to work together at the board. People on these forums used to put this program down all the time, but my National Merit Finalists with top scores in math give a different testimony. It is solid. Memoria Press also recommends Rod and Staff arithmetic, and uses it through 6th grades in Highlands Latin School. Somewhere between 6th and 8th, students are ready to make the transition to Algebra.

 

History, Geography, Literature

 

The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer will tell you some very effective ways to teach these subjects using "whole books" instead of textbooks! In history, you can read together, teach your children to narrate effectively, learn study skills of outlining and rewriting, and create timelines. In geography, you can learn to label and draw maps. In literature, you can learn to discuss the works together. You can also learn from Charlotte Mason how to do copywork, narration, and dictation, using the best children's literature for language arts studies. I recommend her Original Series, which can be found at the AmblesideOnline website. Start with volume 6.

 

Artist and Composer Study

 

Here's an article from Simply Charlotte Mason about how to get started with picture study. This will lay a terrific foundation for art history study later on.

 

Here's an article from Simply Charlotte Mason about learning about composers.

 

I'm out of time again, but this is a start! If you work one-on-one with the children in the 3Rs and Latin, so they're each at their own level, it will not take you very long each day with only two children. Then combine them for history and geography and some literature, if you can, and definitely for subjects such as art and music study, nature walks, and science.

 

I hope something in this post is helpful to you. It's the same four hours per day, whether you're grading and correcting their independent work, or learning alongside them in an interactive way. :)

This was such an excellent post.
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If you're happy with CLE for LA and Math, I would probably keep those.  You can still spend a few minutes doing the teaching part with each dd.  If you drop CLE reading, that would be one less thing for you to grade later and let you make grading the LA and the Math your priority.  In place of CLE reading, just assign books or set up a reading shelf/basket and require certain amount of reading each day.  You can decide how much you want to have them do as far as notebook pages, or summaries, or just discussions with you on the books they read.  I would also consider dropping the BJU science if that's a burden for you too, and add science books to their reading shelf.  VPSP history, I would keep if they like doing it.  IIRC it doesn't require anything from you and most kids like it - so that's a win-win.  I agree with pp that it's important for you to be engaged, but if you're feeling burnt out, I wouldn't change too much at once and I wouldn't go to teacher intensive resources all at once - you already have a lot of responsibilities on you.  One way I like to stay engaged is by doing read alouds with everyone together.  To me it's a win-win because it gives us something to share and discuss together, but if "life" happens and we don't get to it for a day or so it doesn't delay their independent work or any core skills.  So, yes, look for ways to lighten your grading load and be more engaged with their school work, but don't throw out the baby with the bath water.  Take baby steps towards what you want the school day to look like.  

 

I'm with Lynn.  This is what I would do as well.  Get the 3 R's done efficiently and thoroughly, and then make time for reading aloud together.  There is no prep involved, and it is relaxing for me.  Have them read independently from a book basket and do oral or written narrations. 

 

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Wait why does it take hours to grade their cle workbooks? Do you have the TM or answer keys?

 

I have mine tell me when he's unsure about something in cle and we work on it together on the spot. Then I just glance over everything when he's done to see that he really did not need help with everything else.

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Agree with all the excellent posts above.  If you think this is a temporary thing, then just back off, take it easy for now.  Work through what you can the rest of this school year and regroup, reassess for the fall.

 

You have to do the bookkeeping, right?  You don't have much choice on that?  O.k. focus on that.  Make that the priority.  Why not put off school stuff for a couple of weeks while you work on the bookkeeping.  Set a certain amount of time where you work only on that while your kiddos play or watch documentaries or read.  Take a break, hang out with them, brainstorm fun things you can do together, then return to working on the bookkeeping.  Do that for the next two weeks.  Also include some daily exercise, even if it is just 15 minutes.  Then start up with school stuff again but keep it lighter.

 

For math:  I would keep CLE Math but set a specific time every morning that you meet to do the new material together on a white board, review a few of the review problems in areas that might be weak spots, and only have them do some of the other problems.  Skip some of the repetition if they don't seem to need it either circle the ones you want them to do or draw a pencil line through the ones you want them to skip).  Do you have the TM?  I found grading much faster with the TM than the answer key.  Can you be working on your own stuff at the table while they finish their math?  I found it helped a lot for me to be nearby if they ran into something they needed to question.  I checked work as soon as they were done, returned it and had them work on corrections if there were any.  We checked corrections and math was done for the day.   It was a relief to know that this was something to mark off the checklist completely, not something hanging over our heads.

 

You might consider skipping quizzes and only doing CLE math M-Th.  Maybe have the girls do Prodigy math or Khan Academy or CTC Math or even IXL Math on Fridays.  That gives you a day each week where there is no need to grade any math but they are still getting math exposure.

 

https://www.prodigygame.com/

https://www.khanacademy.org/

https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/ctc-math/?c=1

https://www.homeschoolbuyersco-op.org/ixl-math/?c=1

 

For reading:  I would drop CLE reading for now.  You have a lot of mostly independent workbook stuff going on and that can burn anyone out.  With all that you have going on, unless your children are really struggling with reading, I would definitely drop a structured reading program until things improve. As others have mentioned, maybe do some read alouds together at bedtime but mainly just have books for them to read, include some discussion, and maybe go interest led for now.  Have them pursue topics they want to learn more about or story series they are interested in.  Maybe include audio books.  Do they have a means of listening with headsets?  Sometimes DS liked to listen to his book while I worked nearby with his sister.  He didn't want to be alone but he didn't want to distract anyone.  After I was done with his sister he was happy to share with me what he was listening to and discuss any ideas or concepts he found fascinating.

 

For Language Arts:  CLE Language Arts.  Hmmm.  Could you cut out some of the review?  Just do select portions each day M-Th and again skip the Friday lessons, like with CLE Math?  Let them brainstorm with you on something fun to do on Fridays in place of CLE, something you don't have to grade, that you can all do together but doesn't take up much time.

 

For History: Vertias Press Self-Paced History should be fine, unless your kids are struggling with it and need your help.  Are you including the books?  That actually adds a lot to the program.  Perhaps the kids could listen to the audio books with you over breakfast or while they help you prepare lunch?  That gives you time to interact with them while also getting something else useful accomplished.

 

For Science: If BJU is working, great, but if you are having a hard time getting to it, ditch it.  Plant some seeds in pots and watch them grow.  Watch documentaries.  Do some sort of fun exploration thing twice a week and call it good for now.  Do what works for your family right now.  Science is all around your kids.  Let them read books, explore and not worry about structured science lessons for the moment if it is too much right now.  Your kids are young.  There is plenty of time for structured science.

 

On the weekends, commit to an hour every Saturday at a specific time (set an alarm) to review what you want to accomplish the following week.  Write it down and confirm you have everything you need, you know where it all is, it is all in a place you can easily get to, and make sure it is organized.  Review that list again Sunday night to keep it fresh in your head.

 

And seriously look at your schedule.  Lay it all out really clearly.  Where is your time going?  Is a lot of it being eaten up by going back and forth between the old and the new place?  If so, can you do audio books during that time?  Are you staying up super late trying to play catch up so getting up in the morning seems unappealing and exhausting?  Really look at where you are putting your time.  Give a time estimate for everything and make sure it is realistic.  How accurately do you assess the passage of time?  Could it be that you are not getting enough sleep because of a lack of structure and organization and a focus on YOU?  Do you need some help establishing outside structure to keep you on task?  Are you depressed?  

 

My son once told me "Mom, it is hard to get through the stuff I have to do if I don't have anything to look forward to."  He was right.  Sometimes we get so focused on what we think we have to do that we fail to fill ourselves with the things that keep us whole and happy and fulfilled.  Just trudging through the stuff we feel obligated to do with nothing else to look forward to frequently means we aren't actually getting through those things in a timely fashion.  Why bother when there is nothing else to look forward to afterwards?  Look around.  What is it that fulfills you?  What fulfills your children?  Those things are just as important as getting through that next math lesson.  Sometimes we are at a place in our lives where that actually needs to take precedent over checking boxes.  Maybe you need to focus on health and things that fulfill all of you more than checking those boxes right now.  Give yourself time to recover from the stress of moving.

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

 

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This is my 4th year homeschooling my 2 daughters (4th and 6th grade). We have just spent the last 2 months moving and are now splitting our time between our old town and our new town. Add that to holiday obligations, and I also do bookkeeping for my husband's business that I need to get caught up on. I'm just burned out, and completely unmotivated to start school in the mornings. we are currently using CLE for math, language arts, and reading, BJU distance learning DVDs for science, and Veritas Press self paced online for history. My girls have no problem getting up in the morning and doing their independent work, but admittedly, I am the problem, because I need to grade, correct, and go over their corrections with them which sometimes takes hours. I reallly don't want to send them back to ps, so I'm looking for something that requires very low involvement from me right now at least until I get everything settled. I'm looking at schools around my area that only meet 1 day a week and various online options. Any recommendations?

 

If you've paid for BJUP and Veritas Press, keep those going. Drop the rest. If you haven't paid for them, drop them, as well. Don't worry about starting school in the morning. Sleep in, get up when you're finished and rested, everyone have breakfast together, do some chores. Do some field trips. Go to the library. Read aloud from good books. Watch some good classic movies. In a month or so you'll be ready to start again, and then...start again.

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... Add that to holiday obligations, ...

 

Everyone else has given you good advice regarding teaching and curricula.  I'm going to add something that I think is key to avoiding burnout - don't try to do school during the holidays.  Here's my approach, learned over years of homeschooling:

--Start in late August with math.  Just do a lesson after breakfast.  Math is typically the one subject where you want to fit most of the lessons into your year; getting a head start will give you some margin later.

 

--Ease in your other subjects and hit them hard through September, October, and mid-November.  This is quality, high-enthusiasm time.

 

--Just before Thanksgiving, dial it back.  Do your basics (math, perhaps a language arts thing), and add in some seasonal fun.  Fill any extra time with free reading of library books.  This is a good time to do things out in the community, with friends and family.  Art projects, music concerts, service projects.  This is real content, but it's not "seat work".  Have your children participate in your holiday tasks as much as possible.

 

--Between Christmas and New Year's, do no schoolwork at all,  Just enjoy each other as a family.

 

--Now that you've rested and bonded, when January hits, you're ready to go back to formal schoolwork.  It's cold outside, there are fewer distractions, and you'll be ready for your regular routine.  Hit the books hard from early January, through February, until mid-March.

 

--Enjoy an Easter/Spring break.  Then it's time to evaluate where you are and what needs to be done to finish your year.  Once the spring weather hits in April, you'll want to be outside more, and life gets busy in May with all kinds of end-of-year events.  Focus on what you need or want to finish (math), and weed out things that feel "done".  Evaluate what worked, what didn't, and do a rough plan for what you want to cover in the following year.

 

--After your break, put your focus on finishing up.  Gradually taper off, dropping various subjects as you feel finished with them and as other activities take over the time.  End up with math by the end of April (the very young), mid-May (older elementary), or the end of May (middle schoolers).  

 

--Spend your summer following areas of interest, doing community things (summer camps, free concerts, beach days, museum visits, historical reenactments, swim team, spending time with family and friends, reading for pleasure).  Many of these things can be considered part of the student's education, even if you do no formal seatwork all summer.  

 

--In mid-August, introduce math, and begin the yearly cycle again.

 

For me, this plan has helped us combine serious formal academics and family bonding time, each in its season.  As the kids get older, of course, there will be more work to fit in, but they will be more independent as well, and more capable of helping with family tasks.  

 

(And moving - yikes!  School + moving is rough - take it easy on yourself!)

Edited by justasque
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Homeschooling takes hard work and dedication and if you are not willing to do what it takes then they are best off in ps. You would do them a disservice if you keep them home knowing you really do not feel like doing it everyday. The motivation comes from the parent. Homeschooling is hard and its not for everyone.

 

 

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Homeschooling takes hard work and dedication and if you are not willing to do what it takes then they are best off in ps. You would do them a disservice if you keep them home knowing you really do not feel like doing it everyday. The motivation comes from the parent. Homeschooling is hard and its not for everyone.

 

 

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☹
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Homeschooling takes hard work and dedication and if you are not willing to do what it takes then they are best off in ps. You would do them a disservice if you keep them home knowing you really do not feel like doing it everyday. The motivation comes from the parent. Homeschooling is hard and its not for everyone.

 

 

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Seriously?

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Go over their work with them before their lesson the next day. You call out answers and they mark their papers. Go over anything they feel they need help with.

 

You have good curriculum;just change the way you use it. :)

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Homeschooling takes hard work and dedication and if you are not willing to do what it takes then they are best off in ps. You would do them a disservice if you keep them home knowing you really do not feel like doing it everyday. The motivation comes from the parent. Homeschooling is hard and its not for everyone.

 

 

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Ah, the shooting butterflies with rifles approach. You interpreted a mild request for encouragement from an experienced homeschooling parent who has too much on her plate right now, who is just a little tired, as some sort of admission of failure. That's not how I took it, nor anybody else...

 

I've suggested public school to people in dire straights who are too preoccupied with survival to have as much energy for homeschooling as they'd like, because I want to support them as much as I want to support their children. I've not said it often, either, because mostly I believe parents, especially mothers, can do anything they are determined to do regarding their child's well-being. But when I do say it, I also say, always, "But if you want to keep going, I'll help you."

 

You forgot that last part.

 

Also, if you've been homeschooling for longer than ten minutes, you'll know that nobody, nobody, nobody feels like doing it every day. The question is not whether you feel like it every day but whether you get up and do it.

 

Anyone who says different is selling something or perhaps just mean.

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You've had advice that goes in both directions - get more involved, and take a break. At different times, I've done each. Sometimes I've gone 'bare bones' for a few days - just check math and grammar, and then we watch videos or read. Other times, I've found that if I try to 'revel in it', in whatever way that happens (maybe a field trip, or 'cooking a new cuisine to match a geography lesson' project) I get more enthused. Sometimes I take a break, and then do a project. :-)

 

But, to keep from getting this way, we really try to get up and get it done early in the day. Other times may be better for you, but I try to mentally set aside a part of the day as 'my job' of teaching. For us, I grade as they go, so even if they are using something where they can work independently, I'm grading the subject that they just finished and we can go over corrections while it's still fresh in their mind. I'm available to explain confusing things, call out spelling words, and otherwise help and teach, and in between I do other prep or, if I'm caught up, read a book for fun (which gives me incentive to get the work done!). And, we all finish at the same time.

 

Hang in there - sometimes life makes you weary and the joy goes out of schooling for a while. Good luck!

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Ah, the shooting butterflies with rifles approach. You interpreted a mild request for encouragement from an experienced homeschooling parent who has too much on her plate right now, who is just a little tired, as some sort of admission of failure. That's not how I took it, nor anybody else...

 

I've suggested public school to people in dire straights who are too preoccupied with survival to have as much energy for homeschooling as they'd like, because I want to support them as much as I want to support their children. I've not said it often, either, because mostly I believe parents, especially mothers, can do anything they are determined to do regarding their child's well-being. But when I do say it, I also say, always, "But if you want to keep going, I'll help you."

 

You forgot that last part.

 

Also, if you've been homeschooling for longer than ten minutes, you'll know that nobody, nobody, nobody feels like doing it every day. The question is not whether you feel like it every day but whether you get up and do it.

 

Anyone who says different is selling something or perhaps just mean.

Well, as noted in another post, she has an advanced 3 year old - so loads of experience  :closedeyes: .

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I'll ask this - what about doing all BJU distance learning for a while? I get that it's probably not the norm for folks here, but there are plenty of folks who do it, and love it. It doesn't have to be forever, but for a while, it would give you a much needed break of just monitoring and grading, the kids would get their education, and then maybe next year or the year after, you could get back into a more personal homeschool routine.

For me, public school is just not an option. I would imagine for most of us on this board, we would find ourselves like Jessie Wise in the introduction to WTM - our kids are educated enough that they would be misfits in public school, so if I found myself in a situation like you described, BJU distance learning or A Beka Academy would be my temporary solution.

 

 

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We moved a few months ago, so I feel your pain.  It can be challenging to get back into the swing of things. 

I trust my 10 year old to grade her own work if it is something that is easily graded, like math or science worksheets.  She is pretty trustworthy and will let me know what she got incorrect and if she understood why it was wrong.  In more subjective subjects, like writing, I don’t formally go over all of their work every single day.  All of my kids will read their writing assignments aloud to me and their siblings as soon as they have completed it and we’ll give feedback, but I only actually look over it and make corrections about once a week.  Then we’ll go over issues together. 

Some weeks I’m better at this than others and sometimes we throw all written work out the window (except for math) and just read aloud and discuss topics together.  When I really need a break and the kids are still motivated, I’ll give them a project to work on together.  My oldest will help the others research a topic relevant to what we are learning, and they’ll make a poster or a short presentation.

Like other posters, I also go over new content with the kids and then they do the worksheets or quizzes or whatever independently.  I’m not familiar with CLE, but I think there are some ways where you can still give your kids a great education while also lightening your load.  Like some others have mentioned, I don’t have a formal reading curriculum for my 8 or 10 year olds; they choose a book with my approval and then spend at least 30 minutes a day reading on their own (they usually read more though).  My oldest will write a book report for each book, and my 8 year old just writes a paragraph or two about interesting parts of the story.  My husband reads aloud to the kids most evenings from good books and then we discuss, so that is our literature curriculum for now.  It takes some work off of my plate and gives him something academic to share with the kids. 

And lastly, if you need to take break for a few weeks to relax and get caught up on bookkeeping, take a break.  Last year I didn’t plan to take time off for spring break, but suddenly I was so burnt out that I needed a few days off.  So we took a week off and went hiking, read books, watched good movies, slept in and just had fun.  Once we started school again I was reenergized and we hit the ground running.

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I am just getting caught up reading all of your replies, and I am so amazed at the outpouring of such great advice. Now that we are getting settled into our new home and the Christmas tree is down, I have more time to focus on rearranging my schedule. It's hard when you're in the middle of the mess to look at the situation objectively and realize that you just need a break, some sleep, some good advice, and some encouragement to pick up and go again. I do love homeschooling my girls and have no intention of sending them back to school. I love all of the tips on scheduling, lightening the load, working one on one with them as they complete their work, and dropping the formal reading curriculum in lieu of reading good books together. It was taking me so long to do corrections because I was getting up in the morning, going over answers in 6 workbooks (math, language arts, and reading for 2 girls), and then sitting one on one with each girl, going over each and every problem, explaining why it was wrong, reteaching it, and waiting for them to redo it. Then they have to do the new lessons. I'm going to try doing the new work with them to see if it eliminates wrong answers, and also either drop the reading curriculum or let them do it and grade it themselves.

 

Please keep the advice coming if there are more ideas!!

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The year I was ready to enrol my kids in school I did something I never thought I'd do, I went with boxed curriculum. There was no more scrambling to plan while caring for an ageing parent, moving house, & all the other craziness we were enduring at that time. Lessons were open & go, grab a couple of books, read them with the kids, set them up with math.. We still look back on that year as our best homeschooling year. Funny thing is, we never went back, we loved our year so much we've stayed with "boxed curriculum".

The extra bonus was that we had yet another crazy year where said aged parent was dealing with surgeries, broken bones, & therapy afterwards. We bought a house & had to move 7 days before Christmas.. oh our life was crazy. I was able to grab the books in audio format & we enjoyed listening to them together while driving to & from the hospital, therapy, or while packing boxes like crazy. We were able to keep our pace in that area. :) 

For us, it was a matter of taking the stress off myself for finding all the right things & accepting that while it wasn't my first choice that there was nothing horrible about "boxed curriculum", & in the end it was so well loved that when I offer, each year, to move away from it they aren't really interested. :)

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Homeschooling takes hard work and dedication and if you are not willing to do what it takes then they are best off in ps. You would do them a disservice if you keep them home knowing you really do not feel like doing it everyday. The motivation comes from the parent. Homeschooling is hard and its not for everyone.

 

 

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Please reread the OP's original post carefully.  You will see that she has been homeschooling for quite a while.  She is just at a temporary point in their homeschooling journey where moving and other issues are causing some burnout.  Apparently you currently have one advanced 3 year old?  If so, your perspective is limited.  Please keep in mind that burnout can be something long term or it can be temporary but it is not abnormal in ANY career/job and does not immediately warrant dumping the career/job.  In this case, OP appears to have some temporary burnout due to very specific TEMPORARY circumstances.  She needs helpful, supportive suggestions for how to get through this period of time and has already stated she would prefer not to put her children in ps.  There actually is no need to put them in ps under these circumstances unless OP and her kiddos wanted to.  At their ages there is no reason she cannot readjust curriculum and expectations for the time being to get them through this situation then regroup further down the line and re-asses curriculum/scheduling choices once the move is complete and bookkeeping is caught up.

 

Homeschooling is a marathon, not a sprint.

 

Best wishes to all.

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The year I was ready to enrol my kids in school I did something I never thought I'd do, I went with boxed curriculum. There was no more scrambling to plan while caring for an ageing parent, moving house, & all the other craziness we were enduring at that time. Lessons were open & go, grab a couple of books, read them with the kids, set them up with math.. We still look back on that year as our best homeschooling year. Funny thing is, we never went back, we loved our year so much we've stayed with "boxed curriculum".

 

The extra bonus was that we had yet another crazy year where said aged parent was dealing with surgeries, broken bones, & therapy afterwards. We bought a house & had to move 7 days before Christmas.. oh our life was crazy. I was able to grab the books in audio format & we enjoyed listening to them together while driving to & from the hospital, therapy, or while packing boxes like crazy. We were able to keep our pace in that area. :) 

 

For us, it was a matter of taking the stress off myself for finding all the right things & accepting that while it wasn't my first choice that there was nothing horrible about "boxed curriculum", & in the end it was so well loved that when I offer, each year, to move away from it they aren't really interested. :)

 

What boxed curriculum do you use?

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You've received some great answers. I'll just add that whenever I feel burnout coming on I do the following: 

 

*at minimum, have a day of masterly activity. That means I work on whatever I need to (and playing catchup with my work really helps relieve much of the overwhelm and stress driving the burnout) while the kids do the school they're able to on their own and then spend the balance of time in learning-centered activities. 

 

*take a week of masterly activity days with routine as needed -- get up on time, keep up with chores, Bible time in the morning or a morning meeting, hour reading time/quiet time after lunch. Sticking to the routine at large helps the transition back to our school schedule. 

 

*take a week off altogether. Play. Explore. Go on field trips. Take long days for errands or to organize the kitchen or to lay around reading or whatever will help to fill you up and restore your energy. 

 

*take a personal retreat day. I think I did this every February for y e a r s because I sorely needed to think my own thoughts, eat slowly, breathe deeply and re-cast my vision. I usually looked at what was working; what wasn't; what needed to be added or adjusted or ordered in; and put down on paper my vision and goals and dreams for each of my children and our family. This day alone has always been a soul-filler for me and helps me renew the reason why I'm home educating. 

 

xoxo to you as you adjust and realign where needed ~

Lisa

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I tried CLE once, lured by the claims it was "independent." I also found it took MORE time to go over everything after the fact and explain to my student where they went wrong. So you're not the only one who finds it tedious and time-consuming. We went back to Rod & Staff, doing most of it orally with some diagramming on a whiteboard. 

 

As I moved away from the grammar-heavy approach, I spent a few years with Understanding Writing. This is a nice option if you want open-and-go with daily teacher involvement that is short and sweet. It is for all grades and is focused on composition, with occasional grammar woven in the lessons. It is an oldie-but-goodie that must be bought used, and I think it's an underrated curriculum.

 

Our favorite science for that age is Ellen McHenry's offerings. It's also hard to beat interest-led science with trips to the library.

 

Good luck on finding what works!

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Resurrecting this old post to see what the OP found that helped. There was some great encouragement on here!

 

I have been dealing with some health stuff that has left me quite exhausted...combined with my growing daughters developing independence. I am having a hard time finding the right balance. This is our 11th year homeschooling and I feel like I need a revival in my homeschool.

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5 hours ago, melissamomof5 said:

Resurrecting this old post to see what the OP found that helped. There was some great encouragement on here!

 

I have been dealing with some health stuff that has left me quite exhausted...combined with my growing daughters developing independence. I am having a hard time finding the right balance. This is our 11th year homeschooling and I feel like I need a revival in my homeschool.

 

This is only going to be my 7th year, but I'm burned out and dealing with health stuff myself. I'll be following this, thank you for bumping!

(I've tentatively decided on BYL, but I'm not 100% sold yet.)

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