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Anyone who homeschooled through it?

My DH just passed away after a five year battle with brain cancer. We have homeschooled through everything. My kids have schooled in so many waiting rooms and hospital rooms. The downturn came at the end of September (we went brain surgery/hospital - rehab - hospital - home w/care- hospital - home hospice - inpatient hospice - home hospice.) He passed in early December. My house has been a revolving door, both for us (home and away and home and away), but also caregivers, in laws, and friends, for the illness, then bringing meals, then holidays...Now that new years is over I feel like we finally have a little peace and can breathe. I'm just starting to dig the house out from months of neglect. 

We stayed strong with school through early November. We haven't done a single thing for 8 weeks. I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around being ready to start next week and I just don't know if I can. Not least of all because I can't breathe with the house the way it is. Once we get death certificates I'll have a zillion things to take care of. Once life insurance comes in I need to get the repairs we had planned on the house started (non- negotiable, there are holes in the fascia and the roof is leaking.) Once I've got things settled with social security, I need to look for part time work from home - I know many customer service call centers are outsourced to people in homes now so maybe that.

Keeping up with their school is important to me and I don't want to fall too terribly behind. I don't want to just let it slide for two more months. Just looking for advice if anyone has been there and survived.

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So sorry for your loss. I would not start formal school now. If your siggie is correct, I would let the 4th grader read and and do math and leave everything else.

in terms of part time work, someone recently posted about tutoring Chinese children in English via Skype. It might be worth looking into. I can't remember the name of the company, though.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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My deepest sympathies on your loss. I can't imagine. 

I don't have any experience with a spouse passing, but when I was taking care of my mother in her last months, I took offers of help seriously and asked for specific things.  

When I mentioned to a friend that my house was a disaster, sh offered to help me clean ... she came over and we spend 3 half days decluttering the household stuff and mail that had accumulated during her illness.  Then another couple of friends chipped in for a  house cleaner to come in.  That helped me so much.  

While my mom was ill, I had a couple of homeschool friends step in and helped homeschool my kids.  They did a light schedule ... just enough to keep their skills up.  I also had a homeschooled teen come over a couple of times a week to work with my youngest, which freed me up to do take care of some things for my mom.  

Others offered to pick up items for me when they were going to the grocery store.  I just kept a running list on my fridge and would text it to them when they let me know they were going.  

You and your family will be in my prayers.  

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10 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

So sorry for your loss. I would not start formal school now. If your siggie is correct, I would let the 4th grader read and and do math and leave everything else.

in terms of part time work, someone recently posted about tutoring Chinese children in English via Skype. It might be worth looking into. I can't remember the name of the company, though.

VIP Kids?

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(((Sk8ermaiden & family)))  SO sad for your loss.


WTM member Florida Lisa is the mom of 7 children and was unexpectedly widowed several years ago, and has continued to homeschool. If she does not see your thread, you might send her a private message, or contact her through her blog site.

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(((sk8ermaiden))) I am so sorry.  I have never gone through what you have.  I know I would not be able to start up again, either.  I agree to just have your 4th grader read and do math.  I wonder if you have a friend who could take her and homeschool her for you for a while.  If you don't, it will be okay.  You can also get some type of science videos from the library and maybe Liberty Kids. She could watch those and that will give you some mental space.  I wouldn't be surprised if she weren't in a place where she could really learn yet, either.  Please don't pressure either of you too much.  There might be some comfort in reestablishing the school rhythm, though, as long as you can keep it really light.

Try not to push yourself too hard, ok?

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So sorry for your loss. 

I agree with the others. This is the season to read good books with the kids and do math (I would use the computer a lot for this). You could watch some history and science videos together. But overall, cook together, walk together, love one another. There will be another season. 

VIPKIDS hires teachers and pays well. I am sure there is someone on here who knows more about it and could help with your interview. 

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Thank you for all your thoughts.

I just don't think it will go well to continue doing nothing. My son was just really starting to thrive with phonics and math and he has the sort of 5-year-old brain that seeks out trouble unless constantly exercised. (And sometimes even then.) DD and I have been reading. We finished book 7 of Harry Potter, read one of my childhood favorites, and she's just finishing the Cursed Child. I did just start read alouds with B and we did the My Father's Dragon books and a Mercy Watson...I just really need to get going again. I am already dreading what math is going to look like after an 8-9 week break. 😫

They would not do well to be outsourced to friends, although I am sure some would take them. It has been a season of upheaval and they need some normal. My daughter especially (normally very independent) is 100% over being other places. She doesn't even like to spend the night at my mom's anymore. 

I think that what I am looking for, rather than permission to slack, is encouragement that I can get it going again. I think the advice to start with math and reading is probably wise. Then maybe I can fit in other things on good days. We read a lot and she reads a lot. Maybe I can just do math for a few weeks until I've taken care of some of the big tasks. I just don't want to have to school all summer and if we hit the ground running now, I can probably avoid that. 😕

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Other than writing and possibly spelling, there is absolutely nothing that your 4th grader needs in addition to reading and math. You won't need to spend the summer doing school.  I know you say you want to do school with your 5 yr old, but don't feel pressure to do anything specific or like it is required. I have had kids start 1stgrade without even knowing their letters. It will be fine.

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I need to get her subscribed to Nessy spelling. She really liked that and it was maybe actually helping. I just wish it worked on her tablet! 

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First--I am so, so sorry for your loss. 

4th grader:

Minimum: Reading, math, spelling. 

Next level up: From time to time, have her write something--probably stick with creative writing.  Give her a prompt to work with and let her be creative.

Maximum: Whenever you have time, watch Liberty Kids for history, and Bill Nye the Science Guy for science.  (Both are free on youtube.)  Liberty Kids have to be watched in order, but the Bill Nye episodes can be watched out of order.  These wouldn't need to be done daily.  They would just be for fun and from time to time.

5 yo:

Start up again with the phonics and math.  It's ok do expect to do a ton of review after the 8-week break.  Don't worry about picking up where you left off, instead realize that you'll be going backwards for a little bit to catch back up.  It's ok.  The Liberty Kids and Bill Nye might be boring for him or he might enjoy watching them, too.  It depends on the child.  If he likes them, that would be cool!  But if not, that's ok. 

Keep up with reading aloud to him.

 

I think you can totally start up homeschooling again, but perhaps expect to only get in 3-4 days worth of work for every 5 days at the beginning.  You actually do have time to make things up later if you get behind this year.  My oldest is in 11th and my youngest is in 8th, and I don't have time to slow down anymore (not without panicking anyway).  But back when they were in K/1st and 4th?  A light year wouldn't have been a problem at all.  You have time to have a very light year this year and then pick up next year and start fresh next year and they won't be behind in the slightest.  And if they are, you still have plenty of time to fill in any gaps from this year.  Plenty, plenty, plenty of time.  In the meanwhile, just get them back into a learning groove and be ok with taking days off to do other things.  Be ok with the minimum.  I am a rigorous homeschooler and I still think that a light year this year will not harm them academically at all.  

 

ETA:  And set a timer.  Don't let school take forever.  Set a timer for how long you'll do whatever subject, and when that time is up, stop and move on. Maybe other people are different, but if I don't set a timer, we can take too long.  You don't have the luxury of letting time get away from you, so set the timer and do what you have to do, and then stop for the day.

 

 

 

Edited by Garga
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After our daughter died (also brain cancer), we all found it very comforting to return immediately to the familiar daily rhythm of homeschooling. I think everyone thought we weren’t grieving the “right” way by returning to that rhythm so soon, but I very much needed normalcy and to re-establish control over my house.

The other thing I did immediately was to clean out my kitchen. After so many months of having people in and out of my house I wanted everything there back in its place.

Do what you need to do—-finding familiar rhythms again absolutely makes sense to me.

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Sk8ermaiden, I am so sorry for your loss.  

Since you mentioned your discomfort with not doing anything, I just encourage you that you know yourself and your kids, and you know what helps you function well.  I know that I feel better when there is some routine in my life, and doing school is one thing that provides that routine for me.

That being said, I would definitely focus on keeping realistic expectations with all you have going on.  Maybe decide on the basics or minimum that you want to do every day (perhaps math, reading, read-aloud), and then decide on the extras that you can add in on days when you have more time and energy for it.  Doing that can give you routine and accomplishment without adding constant overwhelm.  

 

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1 minute ago, prairiewindmomma said:

After our daughter died (also brain cancer), we all found it very comforting to return immediately to the familiar daily rhythm of homeschooling. I think everyone thought we weren’t grieving the “right” way by returning to that rhythm so soon, but I very much needed normalcy and to re-establish control over my house.

The other thing I did immediately was to clean out my kitchen. After so many months of having people in and out of my house I wanted everything there back in its place.

Do what you need to do—-finding familiar rhythms again absolutely makes sense to me.

 

I know my mom had a conniption that DD basically didn't miss any gymnastics all through everything. But every child life person and social worker I talked to said that what kids are looking for most is to make sure there will be stability and their world will keep spinning. Especially being homeschooled, her gym team and her girl scouts are her people and her support system. It was up to her and she wanted to go. 🤷‍♂️

I just started on the kitchen. I finally found my nesting glass mixing bowls. They had been missing for a while! I'm still missing the two lids to my corningware dishes...But yes. Everyone said people would stop being around/offering to do everything after a couple weeks, and that was true, but it was presented as if it were a sad or bad thing. I love our friends and the support they gave, but oh my! I just wanted days with no one on the doorstep! Our house slid further and further into hovel territory because I didn't ever have the time and space to truly clean anything - someone else was at the door. I just had to shove it somewhere out of sight. At the end I gave up even that.

It's fraught though. Yesterday as I organized an always-overstuffed cabinet, I realized we don't need a shelf for coffee and tea anymore, because only DH drank them. And then I had to go lie down and cry for a while. I am hoping that having a purpose to my days again will help hold me together a bit. I do better when I am going or doing. 

I do think there is also a different way of grieving when someone has been very ill. Many have seen people cope with sudden tragedies and it's equally awful, but very different. With a prolonged illness you do a lot of grieving along the way. 

I'm sorry about your daughter. Brain cancer is the absolute worst.

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Thank you Garga for your post. I do think perhaps with both kids, especially math, maybe we should just take a quick spin through our books from the beginning - do a rapid review. Probably the same with B's Get ready for the code. 

She took the BEST Outschool literature class last semester and was signed up for another with that teacher when it all hit the fan. The teacher let me defer it to this semester and I just confirmed it will go ahead even with only two signed up. That will get us going in reading and writing for the next 6 weeks. And someone else is the brain, I just have to tell her to sit down and do it. 

Math at least 4 days a week both kids, Phonics 4 days a week for B. If we can do that and the lit class I will feel OK for the next couple months. 

I designed her history curriculum to be open and go for her. I made a detailed syllabus with clickable links and had all printouts in her binder already. I may leave that to her - whether or not she feels like doing it in a given week. If she does get going, it may motivate me to get going and plan out the second semester of it the same way. It's her favorite subject, especially this year. 

I will probably sign her up for Nessy Spelling too and let her self-direct that. 

We have a mini co op - really more just learning with our best friends -  that was cooking, bravewriter, and Mystery Science. We kept that going until November too and I had also planned out the whole first semester in detail. Maybe once our wheels are turning we can finish out at least the planned semester. 
 

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I don't have any advice, I just want to say I am so sorry for your loss. My dh has been very sick for a few years now, and so much of what you've said in these posts rings true. 

Sending you virtual hugs, it sounds like you are doing amazingly well. Staying busy when you need to, greiving when you need to, and being really in tune with your kids. 

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I am so very, very sorry.  My heart goes out to you.  I didn't lose my dh, but I lost part of him.  He suffered a terrible stroke and 1/4 of his brain was gone, just like that.  I still had three children at home, although they were older than your kids (they were all in high school).  We spent the first 16 months after his stroke away from our home, because he was in an in-hospital rehab for three months (not in our town), and then a day rehab for many months after that, in another state.  We homeschooled in the strangest places!  It actually helped us to homeschool during that time, which I imagine might be the same for you, because it helps you all focus on something that feels normal and routine in the midst of something that is not normal at all.  We needed that, and honestly, focusing on teaching my children helped me keep my sanity.  But, I think you can do as little or as much as you want.  My kids were in high school so it was necessary that we keep up, but I did it as easily as possible.  For example, we watched movies with historical settings plus documentaries, kept journals about them, and that was history!  They wrote about anything they wanted, and that was writing!  I did get them science books to work through and they watched labs on line.  To me, math and writing were the biggest things to keep up with, and the writing part could be done with anything.

For your kids, I'd probably work in math, and then figure out a routine that feels like school but can be as little or as much as YOU want.  I do think a routine that the children can trust every day is a good thing... but you can decide what to fill it with.  Your children are very young.  If they keep up with math, they can easily catch up with everything else.  (And heck, they could even catch up with math!)

You take care.  I will be thinking about you.

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Oh J-Rap, 😓 My husband had a stroke during his first brain surgery. B was 6 weeks old and we were living in a rehab. In so many ways it was the worst part because it took him from us before he was really gone. It stole his last 5 years from me and those were years I wanted so desperately. It is so isolating when you are married to someone but they're no longer who you married - not really. Especially if they appear close enough to those outside your family. You grieve them but it's not really socially acceptable to grieve them when they're still here. 

Thank you for your post. I'm sorry you have experienced that too.

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((((Sk8ermaiden))))

I believe Teresa in MO (I’m not sure how she spells her name) lost her husband a year or two ago. 

I can’t give you advice specific to being widowed but I have schooled through grief this past year. I allowed myself some time off completely to grieve. Then I set minimum goals for school. My youngest just had reading. My older kids had a couple subjects. We could generally get through those plus some read alouds. The read alouds from that time period were really special to me. I looked at anything else covered as bonus.

On days when the grief was crushing, we would go hiking or on a field trip. We would just drop everything and go, for me being outside really helped. Over time the grief ebbs and flows, I can be ok for weeks and then suddenly have an awful day.

It has been helpful for my kids to have activities. They force me to get up, be dressed, and be present. I don’t need them everyday but some days it was so important.

I am sure you have been offered grief counseling somewhere but just in case you haven’t, check with your local hospice. I found it extremely helpful. 

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I am so sorry for your loss. I understand what you mean when you say that he's no longer the man you married. 

I do want to tell you about HSLDA's Widow's Fund: https://www.homeschoolfoundation.org/index.php?id=44  in case you hadn't heard of it. Our state (CO) has a fund specifically for widows in CO. Perhaps your state does too. 

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(((Hugs))) I'm so sorry for your loss. I have not homeschooled through that, but have homeschooled through my dh's chronic illness and disability, and also being a child who lost a father--my dad died when I was 8.

You've gotten great advice above--if you can start with read-alouds, that can provide some nice snuggle time on the couch and something to look forward to and bond over each day. I used to do stories before bed, but choose a time of day that works well for you. For some people, it's better to start the day that way. See what works, and don't be afraid to experiment a bit. Something that you can make a routine can be helpful with healing though.

I wanted to share a writing idea for your 4th grader though--and even something you could do with your little one if you scribe and let your little one draw or paint a picture to go with. From time to time, have them share about some of their memories of dad--meals together, trips, times in the hospital, special things they shared, things he liked--anything that might come up. You could even collect these and bind them into a special keepsake notebook for them. Writing and talking and having someone to share with--and knowing it's okay (and healthy and good!) to share about their dad will really help with healing.

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I think it makes sense to do what makes you feel the most able to conquer all that you have on your plate. I have no direct experience with grief, just with a big to-do list. I suggest maybe tapering your start to school--add a thing or two at a time as you get a handle on the first items (and it sounds like you have a plan for those). It might help you to not be going full tilt when all of those tasks come in when the death certificates arrive, but at least something is back on a routine.

I am so sorry for your loss. I have not experienced the death of a spouse, but I have seen grief like this from afar, and there is no "right way" to do things. I hope you feel free to do what works for your family. I think you've done a tremendous job of making things stable for your kids.

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Thanks guys. We did get started that Monday. I was impressed how much my kids had actually retained. I'm hitting phonics and math 3 days a week with B and the day he has speech I just count that as school for him. Yesterday I didn't feel like doing real school with him so we just snuggled in and used Starfall to review what we'd been doing.

I just did a count of exercises and if we stay on our normal pace, E will finish math at the end of May, which is good. Usually a month from the end, when she realizes how close to the finish line she is, she starts doing extra work, so it could be earlier. Our Outschool lit class got postponed until March, so that's a bummer. I brought Language back in (just Evan Moor's daily language) and she usually does two a day. We did history one day. She's been reading a ton on her own and she's very analytical and introspective, so when she reads (or even listens to song lyrics) she is a fountain of questions and discussion. We're a lit-loving family and her ability to grasp even the deeper, more mature threads and themes in books far outstrips her years, so I'm trying not to be concerned that we don't have any reading or literature going on. 

It's easy enough to get this done. Math and phonics, which morphed into math and language eventually, have always been the MUST dos, no matter what else is going on. It's automatic for everyone. But I feel like we're adrift with no rhythm to our days. I need to get writing in especially. I can tell adding in the extra subjects is going to be hard because I am so unmotivated. I can't even bring myself to care that we're not doing science or spelling and I really should care...

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Fwiw, I don't think you should care about science or spelling right now.  I think you're doing great.  I would keep going as you are as far as school goes.  Put any additional motivation or energy towards things that will help you - like having friends over, or meeting a girlfriend for coffee, or whatever helps you feel supported and connected to others.  

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I agree that you are doing great! If it makes you feel better, I haven't started back with spelling yet after the holiday break, and I have no excuse whatsoever. Your girl sounds like she enjoys reading and can learn so much by just reading. Your little one still has so much time ahead of him to learn what he needs to learn. Take care of yourself. 

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It sounds like you are off to a good start, thank you for the update. I wouldn’t worry about spelling or writing at this point.  Maybe your focus just needs to be on getting a routine going.

Grief is weird how it ebbs and flows, it sounds like you are doing well considering. I hope you have some local support. Please feel free to reach out if there is some way I can support you. 

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My condolences and heartfelt sympathy.

If you eventually get the motivation to do writing with your 4th grader, 8FillTheHeart has a program called Treasured Conversations that would be gentle & not time consuming. (Check her sig for the link to the website.)

I printed the student sheets as we needed them & had the Teacher pages bound, but you could have them on a Tablet or something in front of you. There are three "units" and you can use the way she teaches them to figure out your own assignments if your kid needs more practice with a unit before moving on.

But, that said, I think you are doing fine & don't need to add anything at this stage.

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On 1/2/2019 at 9:19 PM, Sk8ermaiden said:

Thank you Garga for your post. I do think perhaps with both kids, especially math, maybe we should just take a quick spin through our books from the beginning - do a rapid review. Probably the same with B's Get ready for the code. 

She took the BEST Outschool literature class last semester and was signed up for another with that teacher when it all hit the fan. The teacher let me defer it to this semester and I just confirmed it will go ahead even with only two signed up. That will get us going in reading and writing for the next 6 weeks. And someone else is the brain, I just have to tell her to sit down and do it. 

Math at least 4 days a week both kids, Phonics 4 days a week for B. If we can do that and the lit class I will feel OK for the next couple months. 

I designed her history curriculum to be open and go for her. I made a detailed syllabus with clickable links and had all printouts in her binder already. I may leave that to her - whether or not she feels like doing it in a given week. If she does get going, it may motivate me to get going and plan out the second semester of it the same way. It's her favorite subject, especially this year. 

I will probably sign her up for Nessy Spelling too and let her self-direct that. 

We have a mini co op - really more just learning with our best friends -  that was cooking, bravewriter, and Mystery Science. We kept that going until November too and I had also planned out the whole first semester in detail. Maybe once our wheels are turning we can finish out at least the planned semester. 
 

What is the name of the teacher who taught this Outschool class your child loved? Please let me know.  Thanks 🙂

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Hi. I’m so sorry for your loss. I didn’t see this when you first posted in January, but I just wanted to let you know that I was widowed in July 2014, and I’ve homeschooled since. It can be done. It was hard work, and I had to be really organised, but we were able to keep going with schoolwork through dh’s illness in 2013 and 2014, except for youngest who was put into a small private school for about 7 months (January-July 2014). We did have a bit of break immediately after his death since it was summer break, but during that time I had to pack up our entire lives, make an international move, and get kids registered for homeschool classes and sports to begin in early September. It was an absolutely crazy time, and I honestly don’t know how I managed it looking back, but somehow it all worked out. I had given the kids (10, 12, and 16 years at the time - the oldest had finished school) the option of taking the year off of formal schooling, but they wanted to keep doing schoolwork and stay busy, so that’s what we did. I also had heard the same thing that another poster mentioned that it’s really important for kids to feel stability. Anyway, there’s of course far more to the story than what I’m sharing here, but I just wanted to let you know that you can continue homeschooling after the death of a spouse. Feel free to pm me if you want. xo

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On 1/2/2019 at 5:36 PM, Sk8ermaiden said:


I think that what I am looking for, rather than permission to slack, is encouragement that I can get it going again. I think the advice to start with math and reading is probably wise. Then maybe I can fit in other things on good days. We read a lot and she reads a lot. Maybe I can just do math for a few weeks until I've taken care of some of the big tasks. I just don't want to have to school all summer and if we hit the ground running now, I can probably avoid that. 😕

 

I have never been anywhere near your situation, but I understand needing encouragement to get going, not permission to slack.  So, I would say that when summer comes though, I would take a short but early summer in stead of trying to push on if you aren't done (ie, start summer when you normally would, but just end summer early).   I've found that much more do-able in periods where we were really emotionally ready for a break. 

 

Edited by goldenecho

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On 4/4/2019 at 8:22 AM, flor said:

What is the name of the teacher who taught this Outschool class your child loved? Please let me know.  Thanks 🙂

 Johanna England Chavez. We love her novel studies!

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