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The upcoming 2021/2022 school year will be my most intense yet, and likely ever. I’ve been homeschooling from the beginning and next year my four kids will be in 7th, 9th, 10th, and 12th grades. I’m excited about this on some levels but as the boxes of next year’s curriculum have started to show up at my front door, I’m starting to get a bit nervous. This is going to be a LOT of work!

Adding to the work are the facts that my oldest two hate school, my third has some learning challenges, and the youngest has some vision challenges. My oldest has to be poked and prodded and dragged through all of her work (I think she finished - hopefully, fingers crossed - week 20 of school this week. Her siblings are done with week 27.) The next one rushes through everything so it’s done poorly, or sometimes even skipped because she “forgot”. The 3rd is quite bright but reading is still a challenge. The 4th has one eye that isn’t really working right now, making reading and writing difficult. We’re working on it but he still requires a fair amount of help. In addition to these challenges all four kids will be working toward their black belts in karate which is quite a time commitment.

So, for those of you who have survived any similar kind of intense year, give me your best tips and tricks. How do I plan, how do I organize, what systems do I need? For school specifically or life/home in general? I’ll be taking notes. 
 

Edited by 2ndGenHomeschooler
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I only have 2 kids, but I do tutor 8 kids for 25 hours a week, so I might be able to speak to your situation. 

1) Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. You must sleep, eat well, and exercise. You *cannot* sacrifice your physical well being. You will get sick in body and sick in mind. I'm serious. You hear this a lot, but I've hit both burnout and exhaustion in my day, and it is close to impossible to come back from it (as in 18 months for me).

2) Don't multitask.  Just don't do it. I know that it seems the best option when you have so much on your plate, but it is a recipe for frustration as you will always feel like you do nothing well.  Instead, schedule your day so that you have one on one with each kid. You work 12 hour days, they work 6 hour days. Make sure that they are not to interrupt you while working with their sibling unless the house is on fire. 

3) Be prepared. Every night you prep for the next day. Schedule in at least an hour to make sure the supplies are prepared and that you have the content knowledge in your head so that you can answer questions easily. Make sure all computer programs/videos/resources are ready to go. You don't want to spend 20 minutes doing this while your kid is waiting, or you will lose them.

4) If you are working 12 hour days, and they are working 6 hour days, then they can do the housework.  Schedule it out. Get them on board.

5) Schedule one day off each day where you have no responsibilities. Leave the house. Sit out the library or a cafe. Do NOT be available for anyone. This is your time. This is required for both mental and spiritual health. 

6) Once an hour (or if you are desperate, once every 30 minutes) schedule in to check that each kid is doing what they are supposed to be doing.  They need accountability. You must keep on this to build proper habits. 

7) Be positive. You get a lot more with the carrot than the stick. Do not get in power struggles, not with teens, not ever.  

Ok, that's all I got. Good Luck. Embrace the journey.  🙂

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Can you outsource your least favorite or most stressful subjects for your high schoolers?  I don’t like teaching foreign language, so we always outsource it. My kids write better at that age for others, so I have either had another mom grade their writing, done a couple of quarters of Lantern English for writing, or done AP literature online. Having at least two high school classes off my plate helps a lot. ( we tend to add online classes per year.)

One of mine does better is I read  his science to him. It fills him up relationally and he understands better. This ends up saving time bc he’s less stressed  

I always either teach math daily, or grade their work myself if they use video teaching. This means I don’t get caught out by them being behind or lost. It saves stress and time in the long run  

Plan your year for the high schoolers over the summer. I wrote syllabi for my high schoolers. I also loosely plan for my sixth grader. Each Thursday I make a firm plan for her for the next week. This allows me a relaxed weekend. 

Have a daily check in with each child no matter how independent they are. They will feel less alone and will be less likely to fall behind. 

Smile. Relax. Enjoy. You’ve got this. 

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On 3/27/2021 at 7:11 PM, lewelma said:

I only have 2 kids, but I do tutor 8 kids for 25 hours a week, so I might be able to speak to your situation. 

1) Take care of yourself so you can take care of others. You must sleep, eat well, and exercise. You *cannot* sacrifice your physical well being. You will get sick in body and sick in mind. I'm serious. You hear this a lot, but I've hit both burnout and exhaustion in my day, and it is close to impossible to come back from it (as in 18 months for me).

2) Don't multitask.  Just don't do it. I know that it seems the best option when you have so much on your plate, but it is a recipe for frustration as you will always feel like you do nothing well.  Instead, schedule your day so that you have one on one with each kid. You work 12 hour days, they work 6 hour days. Make sure that they are not to interrupt you while working with their sibling unless the house is on fire. 

3) Be prepared. Every night you prep for the next day. Schedule in at least an hour to make sure the supplies are prepared and that you have the content knowledge in your head so that you can answer questions easily. Make sure all computer programs/videos/resources are ready to go. You don't want to spend 20 minutes doing this while your kid is waiting, or you will lose them.

4) If you are working 12 hour days, and they are working 6 hour days, then they can do the housework.  Schedule it out. Get them on board.

5) Schedule one day off each day where you have no responsibilities. Leave the house. Sit out the library or a cafe. Do NOT be available for anyone. This is your time. This is required for both mental and spiritual health. 

6) Once an hour (or if you are desperate, once every 30 minutes) schedule in to check that each kid is doing what they are supposed to be doing.  They need accountability. You must keep on this to build proper habits. 

7) Be positive. You get a lot more with the carrot than the stick. Do not get in power struggles, not with teens, not ever.  

Ok, that's all I got. Good Luck. Embrace the journey.  🙂

Thank you for this! Some of these I “know” but the reminders are so helpful. Especially coming from a different source. I want to work on getting some things in place this summer and this list gives me some things to think about. This is my last year homeschooling all four and I want to do whatever I can to make it a great year. 
 
1) I know this is SO important but I often slip into putting other things first. I’ve had some personal “things” in my life the past couple of years and I know taking care of myself will be important. Things are better but go downhill quickly if I start to get too tired or run down. I need to be more purposeful about this. 
 

2) I’m usually trying to multitask. I have noticed though that I feel more relaxed when I don’t. I will need to work with my youngest in not interrupting when I’m working with his sisters but having a plan of some kind to work with each DC individually is a good idea. 
 

3) We do spend too much time looking for books, DVDs, papers, making copies, etc. Prep work the night before, or even once a week would save some frustration. 
 

4) Thank you for saying this. My kids do chores but due to things in my past, I’ve sometimes struggled with how much to require of them. This is a different way of framing it (my working 12 hours a day homeschooling) that may be helpful for me. I could probably let them handle more of the housework while I put more of my focus on their education. 
 

5)I like this one a lot. I need time to myself but often feel guilty taking that time. I think a day “off” each week, or even just an afternoon will be so helpful. I guess I shouldn’t feel guilty about that. Especially if it helps me be a better mom and teacher. 
 

6)I’m going to start this one tomorrow. Thanks. 
 

7)I need to work on this one. I’m all ears if you, or anyone else, has tips for avoiding power struggles. I have great kids but I don’t really know what to do when they start digging their heels in. I don’t want to do anything that damages our relationship but some things simply HAVE to be done. 
 

Thank you again! 

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On 3/27/2021 at 7:36 PM, freesia said:

Can you outsource your least favorite or most stressful subjects for your high schoolers?  I don’t like teaching foreign language, so we always outsource it. My kids write better at that age for others, so I have either had another mom grade their writing, done a couple of quarters of Lantern English for writing, or done AP literature online. Having at least two high school classes off my plate helps a lot. ( we tend to add online classes per year.)

One of mine does better is I read  his science to him. It fills him up relationally and he understands better. This ends up saving time bc he’s less stressed  

I always either teach math daily, or grade their work myself if they use video teaching. This means I don’t get caught out by them being behind or lost. It saves stress and time in the long run  

Plan your year for the high schoolers over the summer. I wrote syllabi for my high schoolers. I also loosely plan for my sixth grader. Each Thursday I make a firm plan for her for the next week. This allows me a relaxed weekend. 

Have a daily check in with each child no matter how independent they are. They will feel less alone and will be less likely to fall behind. 

Smile. Relax. Enjoy. You’ve got this. 

Thank you for the ideas! 
 

Our budget doesn’t really allow for much outsourcing, unfortunately. Two of DDs will be doing an outside ASL class. And we do use videos for some things. That helps. Maybe we can swap writing assignments with friends for editing and comments. They will be using the same writing curriculum next year so that could work and be helpful to my friend and I both. 
 

I have the audio book for my DS’s science for next year. I’m also considering reading allowed history for my younger two and maybe some of the science for DD3. I’ll talk to them about what they want and work it into the plan.

I’ve been trying to check in daily with each of them and go over math daily. I’m not as consistent with the older two as I would like to be. Maybe I should schedule it. 
 

I have planned most of our school year during the summer for the past two years. Best thing I’ve ever done. The past couple of years I used some curriculum (like MFW) that came at least partially planned for me. This year I’ll be using different things and will need to do more of the planning myself. Having syllabi ready for my high schoolers is a good idea. Better for them to know the expectations up front. Maybe I’ll try to have all photo copies made and other supplies purchased for the year too. Or do a quarter at a time or something. 
 

Thanks! Great ideas! Having ideas and a plan helps me feel more relaxed and confident. I’m going to do as much prep as possible this summer. I want to have a great year and preparing ahead of time seems to be key to that. 

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What a great thread! OP, I'm looking a similar year next year and starting the planning early, too. Thankfully, both the kids AND this mama have learned a few tips along the way about their preferences + "team balance" choices. I love how you phrased the planning / prepping / gearing up part. 

Looking to treasure the year, not endure it. Great tips in this thread!

 

 

Editing to add any ideas that have worked well here that may trigger a helpful idea for you, too: 

- Freezer cooking day: Each kid picks a weekday standby recipe and makes 2-3 of them while Mom reads out loud (I've offered to trade the reading and do 1 of the recipes (or put on an audio book), but the kids prefer me to read; I also help with clean-up, and we all 5 stay in the kitchen until the whole thing is done. 4 kids x 3 meals = 12 in the freezer, and make 'em big enough for leftovers.)

- Every year, we need a stay-home-all-day day. At least 1.

- Our family home school mantra (which we've worked on for over a decade) is to prioritize joy. So when the decisions are hard / life interrupts / we feel like failures . . . prioritize joy. Every family is different, but - having a mantra that everyone recognizes and comes home to has really simplified things. 

- Sarah MacKenzie (Read-Aloud Revival) used a hiker's backpack analogy that hit me profoundly a few years back: Rookies pack everything they "might need," but the professionals take as few things on a long trip as possible. The goal is to arrive at the destination with as much joy as possible. And that (for me and mine, at least) means FEWER subjects, FEWER things, FEWER activities than we always imagine. 

Edited by Lucy the Valiant
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Posted (edited)
56 minutes ago, Lucy the Valiant said:

What a great thread! OP, I'm looking a similar year next year and starting the planning early, too. Thankfully, both the kids AND this mama have learned a few tips along the way about their preferences + "team balance" choices. I love how you phrased the planning / prepping / gearing up part. 

Looking to treasure the year, not endure it. Great tips in this thread!

Yes to planning early! My DH and I were going over some budget planning and prioritizing for the next few months and we were talking about where next year’s school books should fit. He said “Well, we don’t need to order those til July or August, right?”. Ummmm....NO! I need them ASAP! Before I can even start planning I’ll need to spend some time looking through everything and wrapping my head around what’s involved in each subject. Then, the daunting task of laying it all out can begin. Then supply lists, library lists, whatever other details pop up. It’s a long process! At least for me. The books are mostly all here now and I have piles of them everywhere. I’m trying not to let it overwhelm me but instead look forward to a great year ahead. Good luck to you too! 

Edited by 2ndGenHomeschooler
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59 minutes ago, Lucy the Valiant said:

What a great thread! OP, I'm looking a similar year next year and starting the planning early, too. Thankfully, both the kids AND this mama have learned a few tips along the way about their preferences + "team balance" choices. I love how you phrased the planning / prepping / gearing up part. 

Looking to treasure the year, not endure it. Great tips in this thread!

 

 

Editing to add any ideas that have worked well here that may trigger a helpful idea for you, too: 

- Freezer cooking day: Each kid picks a weekday standby recipe and makes 2-3 of them while Mom reads out loud (I've offered to trade the reading and do 1 of the recipes (or put on an audio book), but the kids prefer me to read; I also help with clean-up, and we all 5 stay in the kitchen until the whole thing is done. 4 kids x 3 meals = 12 in the freezer, and make 'em big enough for leftovers.)

- Every year, we need a stay-home-all-day day. At least 1.

- Our family home school mantra (which we've worked on for over a decade) is to prioritize joy. So when the decisions are hard / life interrupts / we feel like failures . . . prioritize joy. Every family is different, but - having a mantra that everyone recognizes and comes home to has really simplified things. 

- Sarah MacKenzie (Read-Aloud Revival) used a hiker's backpack analogy that hit me profoundly a few years back: Rookies pack everything they "might need," but the professionals take as few things on a long trip as possible. The goal is to arrive at the destination with as much joy as possible. And that (for me and mine, at least) means FEWER subjects, FEWER things, FEWER activities than we always imagine. 

I see you added to your post. These are good ideas. Thanks! 
 
The kids making freezer meals is a great idea. I’ve thought of doing this myself but can’t ever seem to find the time. We’re looking at getting a freezer soon so we’d have the space. I’ll have think more about this one. 
 

Right now I am out of the house at some point every day of the week. Unless my husband has an evening off and can handle a kid activity for me. The kids often have whole days at home but my husband’s work schedule means I typically do all the taxiing and errands. I should look at some options for freeing up a day. It’s actually not a lot of different activities, only a couple, but one is 4-5 days a week. Maybe I can combine somewhere and free up a day to just be home. 
 

I like the family mantra idea. Sounds like a great way to stay focused. And thinking about FEWER is good too. Although fewer x 4 kids is still a lot. All the more reason to look for areas to scale back I guess. 
 

Thanks! 

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My kids were not supposed to close their books and stack them on the shelf. They were supposed to leave them open to the assignment so that I could see exactly what they had done or not done. I know other moms who had the kid set out the checking book right next to the open assignment so mom could quickly and easily check work.

If my kids are skipping things, I want to know it before we're behind, so looking over work has to be done the same day that the work is assigned. 

Also, I only have 1 that I am teaching now, but if I had to go back to teaching multiples, I'd buy SWB/WTM's english set. The kids of all grades are using all the same book, and you can pretty much teach the same lesson. There are 4 different books that cover the same material in the same order so it's simpler to manage. You should check out their blog post on it.

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My kids were not supposed to close their books and stack them on the shelf. They were supposed to leave them open to the assignment so that I could see exactly what they had done or not done. I know other moms who had the kid set out the checking book right next to the open assignment so mom could quickly and easily check work.

If my kids are skipping things, I want to know it before we're behind, so looking over work has to be done the same day that the work is assigned. 

Also, I only have 1 that I am teaching now, but if I had to go back to teaching multiples, I'd buy SWB/WTM's english set. The kids of all grades are using all the same book, and you can pretty much teach the same lesson. There are 4 different books that cover the same material in the same order so it's simpler to manage. You should check out their blog post on it.

Also...don't leave things like photocopying, tracking down a library book or whatever to the week of the lesson. Do that in the summer. I found that when life was really hard it was better to buy the book on thriftbooks for $4 than to leave it to chance and my brain to remember it from the library. 

 

Re; kid with multiple day commitments--my son has tae kwon do 4 days a week. TKD is MY TIME. Sometimes, I pick up groceries, but most of the time I sit in the car and write. I don't socialize with the other parents (if that would refuel you, ask a friend to meet you for coffee and sit in the car and visit with them,) Sometimes, I will walk around the area where the studio is for exercise. But that half hour 4 times a week belongs to me and I guard it. We actually live close enough that I could go home and come back to pick him up, but I would clean or fold laundry or something, and taking that time for me is more important that laundry. (see what I did there? Yes, mom's time alone is MORE IMPORTANT THAN LAUNDRY!)

Now, depending on how long those time slots are, you may be able to grade papers and pay bills and all, but definitely use one or two days of that time to rest your brain and relax if you can.

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19 minutes ago, fairfarmhand said:

My kids were not supposed to close their books and stack them on the shelf. They were supposed to leave them open to the assignment so that I could see exactly what they had done or not done. I know other moms who had the kid set out the checking book right next to the open assignment so mom could quickly and easily check work.

If my kids are skipping things, I want to know it before we're behind, so looking over work has to be done the same day that the work is assigned. 

Also, I only have 1 that I am teaching now, but if I had to go back to teaching multiples, I'd buy SWB/WTM's english set. The kids of all grades are using all the same book, and you can pretty much teach the same lesson. There are 4 different books that cover the same material in the same order so it's simpler to manage. You should check out their blog post on it.

Also...don't leave things like photocopying, tracking down a library book or whatever to the week of the lesson. Do that in the summer. I found that when life was really hard it was better to buy the book on thriftbooks for $4 than to leave it to chance and my brain to remember it from the library. 

 

Re; kid with multiple day commitments--my son has tae kwon do 4 days a week. TKD is MY TIME. Sometimes, I pick up groceries, but most of the time I sit in the car and write. I don't socialize with the other parents (if that would refuel you, ask a friend to meet you for coffee and sit in the car and visit with them,) Sometimes, I will walk around the area where the studio is for exercise. But that half hour 4 times a week belongs to me and I guard it. We actually live close enough that I could go home and come back to pick him up, but I would clean or fold laundry or something, and taking that time for me is more important that laundry. (see what I did there? Yes, mom's time alone is MORE IMPORTANT THAN LAUNDRY!)

Now, depending on how long those time slots are, you may be able to grade papers and pay bills and all, but definitely use one or two days of that time to rest your brain and relax if you can.

Thanks for the idea about checking work. I’ve been trying to come up with a system. I do try to check work daily or at least every other day. But I need a place for them to pile things up when they’ve finished. 
 

I’ve started figuring this out about the library too. I would love to save the money on books but it seems that if we NEED a book it would be better just to have it on hand. I can use the library for optional/add-on stuff. 
 

Our multi-day activity is Tang Soo Do. All four kids participate and are getting close to Black Belt. Two hopefully by the end of this year, and two by the end of next. That means quite a few classes as students and also time teaching in Children’s Class. We’re out of the house anywhere from 2-5 hours at a stretch for classes, depending on the day. That would be great for some “me time” if not for the fact that I’m also a Black Belt and teach and participate in all the classes my kids do, plus some. I go by myself once or twice a week and that gives me some time to myself that I have no plans to give up. I enjoy the outlet karate gives me, as well as the quiet during the 50 mile round trip drive. 

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This year has been quite a ride around here. I'm homeschooling 4th, 7th, 11th, 12th, and have an extra distance learning 12th home too. Thanks to COVID we've done it almost entirely without the community we're used to having. (Dropping them all off at a class wasn't just for them!) Next year will only have the little two and three courses with the current 11th (she'll dual enroll the rest). I keep practicing my Little Engine That Could as often as needed. 😂

There are already some great posts above. I'll add, make this summer YOUR schooling. Dig into the books, teacher's guides, student books, print and organize all the worksheets, make schedules if needed, read the literature, and just pour yourself into getting to know everything they're going to use. When the fall hits you'll be a more efficient and confident teacher ready to hit the ground running. 

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Also, those kids are old enough to help cook. Mine get assigned one night a week that's their responsibility to get dinner on the table. Of course I'm right there to help as needed and they can ask siblings. They tell me what they want to cook before I go grocery shopping so all the ingredients are there. They can all fix their own breakfast and lunch as needed as well. (My ten year old does most days.) 

And household chores are clearly assigned and finished before anyone gets free time after school. 👍

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12 hours ago, SilverMoon said:

This year has been quite a ride around here. I'm homeschooling 4th, 7th, 11th, 12th, and have an extra distance learning 12th home too. Thanks to COVID we've done it almost entirely without the community we're used to having. (Dropping them all off at a class wasn't just for them!) Next year will only have the little two and three courses with the current 11th (she'll dual enroll the rest). I keep practicing my Little Engine That Could as often as needed. 😂

There are already some great posts above. I'll add, make this summer YOUR schooling. Dig into the books, teacher's guides, student books, print and organize all the worksheets, make schedules if needed, read the literature, and just pour yourself into getting to know everything they're going to use. When the fall hits you'll be a more efficient and confident teacher ready to hit the ground running. 

Thanks! I ordered my curriculum early this year so that I would have the time to really go through everything and be prepared. I’ve started slowly looking at some of it, but mostly I stare at the piles and feel overwhelmed. I need to just pick a student and a subject and get started. I combine my kids where ever I can do it could be worse. I’ll only have two things going for Bible, social studies, and high school electives, and only three for math and English, so that helps. 
 

I recently revamped our chore system as well, giving more responsibility to the kids. This includes helping with meal prep. They can all handle breakfast and lunch on their own but none are independent with dinner yet. I need to be more consistent with making sure chores are done before free time though. 

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The thing that I would be most worried about and most focused on, if I were you, is the executive function skills for the 10th and 12th graders, with a HUGE focus on the 12th grader. There has GOT to be a way to get your 12th grader to have buy-in about what classes are planned, what resources are used, and exactly how this relates to the future for this child. If the child is planning college but needs a ton of hand-holding and isn't doing work independently, this is a recipe for a very expensive year failing freshman classes. If the child doesn't like the thought of college at all, then your plans for shakespeare or physics would be really missing the point. CHC is Catholic, but they have a book called "High school of your dreams" that emphasizes crafting classes for the child you really have with as much practical experience as possible. So maybe a biology class while volunteering with a vet's office, or a botany class while volunteering at a garden center, etc. Or a finance class with the many online investment simulators, or they can use a small amount of real money of their own. Etc. But at this point, so close to the end of your time together, you should not be spending large amounts of time "top-down" crafting syllabi to try to force your 12th grader to accomplish. This is the time to work on getting high schoolers some buy in with the classes, preferably looking at what they want their next plans in life to look like and crafting classes and resources *themselves* that will accomplish that goal. There's just so little time left now for you to let those reins go little by little, that you might need to let them go completely and let them fail even. It would be better to have a child fail and completely mess up their own senior year and have to work on 13th grade year or a GED or something, than to continue to hold their hands as long as possible and have them fail when they've spent $15k for the privilege. They have to get ownership some time..

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I do get tired of meal planning when life is hectic so I end up relying too much on frozen pizza and soup. 

So when that happens I use general meal planning categories for each day.

Mexican 

Casserole

Slow Cooker

Soup

Pasta

Pizza 

Grilled

I don't like having the same meals in rotation too frequently, but having the general categories gives me at least a place to start and it keeps me from "souping" my family to death, because soup is SOOOO easy.

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8 hours ago, fairfarmhand said:

I do get tired of meal planning when life is hectic so I end up relying too much on frozen pizza and soup. 

So when that happens I use general meal planning categories for each day.

Mexican 

Casserole

Slow Cooker

Soup

Pasta

Pizza 

Grilled

I don't like having the same meals in rotation too frequently, but having the general categories gives me at least a place to start and it keeps me from "souping" my family to death, because soup is SOOOO easy.

This is a great idea, thanks. We already have Mexican on Tuesdays. That’s the easiest day to plan. I don’t know why I never thought to carry that through the rest of the week. My DH works evenings on a rotating schedule so that effects our meals but I’m sure I could figure out something like this that would simplify meal planning.  

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8 hours ago, Emily ZL said:

The thing that I would be most worried about and most focused on, if I were you, is the executive function skills for the 10th and 12th graders, with a HUGE focus on the 12th grader. There has GOT to be a way to get your 12th grader to have buy-in about what classes are planned, what resources are used, and exactly how this relates to the future for this child. If the child is planning college but needs a ton of hand-holding and isn't doing work independently, this is a recipe for a very expensive year failing freshman classes. If the child doesn't like the thought of college at all, then your plans for shakespeare or physics would be really missing the point. CHC is Catholic, but they have a book called "High school of your dreams" that emphasizes crafting classes for the child you really have with as much practical experience as possible. So maybe a biology class while volunteering with a vet's office, or a botany class while volunteering at a garden center, etc. Or a finance class with the many online investment simulators, or they can use a small amount of real money of their own. Etc. But at this point, so close to the end of your time together, you should not be spending large amounts of time "top-down" crafting syllabi to try to force your 12th grader to accomplish. This is the time to work on getting high schoolers some buy in with the classes, preferably looking at what they want their next plans in life to look like and crafting classes and resources *themselves* that will accomplish that goal. There's just so little time left now for you to let those reins go little by little, that you might need to let them go completely and let them fail even. It would be better to have a child fail and completely mess up their own senior year and have to work on 13th grade year or a GED or something, than to continue to hold their hands as long as possible and have them fail when they've spent $15k for the privilege. They have to get ownership some time..

Figuring out my oldest has been my “project” for several years. I’ve tried everything, and asked on these boards several times for ideas. She loves to read, unless it’s something assigned for school. It doesn’t matter if the book was something she may have chosen on her own. She doesn’t want books assigned or a deadline to finish them. She also loves all kinds of art and crafting. Again, unless it’s assigned for school. Same with music. She has no interest in college. Up until a year or so ago she also had no interest in getting a job. Fortunately, that seems to have changed as she’s gotten a little older and realized that the money might be nice. She would happily spend her days reading, painting, drawing, playing the piano, or watching videos about all of the above if she had the option. She simply doesn’t like to have a plan. She’s very much like DH actually. I just have to remind myself that he will do whatever he has to do to care for his family and she will too when the time comes. They’re not irresponsible or lazy or incapable, just....unbelievably laid back, I guess. 

I’ve tried to include her in the process of planning and choosing materials for several years with little interest. Even taking her to a convention with me so that she could see what options were available. Only once has she had an opinion, regardless of how much we talk about it. So I do the best I can choosing what I think will suit her. If I manage to pick something she’s ok with, I pay attention to why it seems to work to help guide my future choices. I try to keep things as basic and practical as possible for her while also covering all the bases. I don’t want to push her to be the kind of student she isn’t, but I also don’t want to limit her options too severely in case she suddenly figures out what she wants to do at 19 and decides she needs a college education. Overall, she seems “ok” with most things she’s doing this year for school. The internal motivation to get it done just hasn’t been there.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been putting more of my time into helping her stay on task by getting her up a little earlier, reminders, checking in throughout the day, encouraging just a little more work in the evenings and on weekends, and simply having a lot of conversations about why education is important and why she may regret getting behind, staying behind, or not giving her best effort. I’m seeing small improvements. I hope that as she continues to mature she also becomes more motivated to work independently. Or maybe she’ll be one of those kids who just does what she has to do to graduate (with a lot of outside help) and that’s it. Not a personality I really understand but I’m trying to be ok with her being her. 
 

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15 hours ago, 2ndGenHomeschooler said:

Figuring out my oldest has been my “project” for several years. I’ve tried everything, and asked on these boards several times for ideas. She loves to read, unless it’s something assigned for school. It doesn’t matter if the book was something she may have chosen on her own. She doesn’t want books assigned or a deadline to finish them. She also loves all kinds of art and crafting. Again, unless it’s assigned for school. Same with music. She has no interest in college. Up until a year or so ago she also had no interest in getting a job. Fortunately, that seems to have changed as she’s gotten a little older and realized that the money might be nice. She would happily spend her days reading, painting, drawing, playing the piano, or watching videos about all of the above if she had the option. She simply doesn’t like to have a plan. She’s very much like DH actually. I just have to remind myself that he will do whatever he has to do to care for his family and she will too when the time comes. They’re not irresponsible or lazy or incapable, just....unbelievably laid back, I guess. 

I’ve tried to include her in the process of planning and choosing materials for several years with little interest. Even taking her to a convention with me so that she could see what options were available. Only once has she had an opinion, regardless of how much we talk about it. So I do the best I can choosing what I think will suit her. If I manage to pick something she’s ok with, I pay attention to why it seems to work to help guide my future choices. I try to keep things as basic and practical as possible for her while also covering all the bases. I don’t want to push her to be the kind of student she isn’t, but I also don’t want to limit her options too severely in case she suddenly figures out what she wants to do at 19 and decides she needs a college education. Overall, she seems “ok” with most things she’s doing this year for school. The internal motivation to get it done just hasn’t been there.

The past couple of weeks I’ve been putting more of my time into helping her stay on task by getting her up a little earlier, reminders, checking in throughout the day, encouraging just a little more work in the evenings and on weekends, and simply having a lot of conversations about why education is important and why she may regret getting behind, staying behind, or not giving her best effort. I’m seeing small improvements. I hope that as she continues to mature she also becomes more motivated to work independently. Or maybe she’ll be one of those kids who just does what she has to do to graduate (with a lot of outside help) and that’s it. Not a personality I really understand but I’m trying to be ok with her being her. 
 

Hugs. This sounds really difficult. I don't know what I would do. Probably you are doing the best anyone can! I don't know what I would do with a girl. With a boy, it would feel easier to me. I have seen boys in this position, who seem to be making a very rational choice to live with parents indefinitely and let them take care of everything while they play video games, and in that situation it is easier to see why tough love is important -- cutting off video games and requiring rent or something to try to force the sense that their life is really theirs. But with a girl who just enjoys life, reading and crafting? I have a girl like that and it would be hurtful to "tough love" her. OTOH my sister in law was a lot like that and she leaned on my MIL for many years and she never really launched. She was so crafty and good with her hands, we tried to convince her to be a welder. Specialized welders are in such demand that they can make 200k, and after a short program even younger ones can start at 80k, and they are really desperate for women so they can almost write their own ticket. But that didn't appeal to her, since she was always kind of living with friends or relatives... I'm not saying that will happen to yours!!! Hopefully not. I'm just saying that is definitely the #1 most ridiculously important thing for the year. Finding some way to get her to understand that she won't be able to use you for support forever. One mom I knew said she was happy to have older kids living at home for free as long as they had a job and a plan - a real plan of what they were saving money for and what they would do, even if it was just saving for a backpacking trip in Belize. That's totally a good goal, the point is they can't just be lounging. That's awesome, but the time for that is over by 17, ya know? Man, that's tough. Good luck! You will find some ideas. 

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OP, here's what we've done to help our kids make plans for the future.

My dh and I motivate kids to get jobs by refusing to pay for car insurance, fuel, and cars for our kids. If they want to drive to do fun things, they have to help pay for the privilege. They also have to pay for their own cell phone. And any fun extras, like craft supplies, extra clothing beyond the basics that we provide, outings with friends....etc.

So my kids get jobs.

What I've seen of unmotivated kids is that they learn how much one has to work at minimum wage work to afford the basics. They also find that these jobs are pretty crappy. You deal with rude customers, you're on your feet a lot, and your body physically hurts and is tired at the end of the day.

Kids generally get a plan at that point. Most kids don't want to look at their future and think "every day for the rest of my life, this is what it's going to be like."

 

OP, for your dd, she may never go to college. But she may end up working in management at a store or a bank or sell insurance or something like that. She just needs to get a plan in place. 

My dd19 worked in a restaurant at age 15. She worked about 10 hours a week. School was VERY hard for her, so some times, when it was really hard, she only worked one day a week for 5 hours.

Now that she's in college, she only works summers because school is hard enough for her that she's working between 35 and 40 hours a week at college work. But she will be working as many hours as she can in the summer. 

This plan allowed her to buy her first car. (She had some money saved up, we paid the difference, and she paid us back) She's paid for her insurance gas all along. She started college with 4K in savings. She's had to dip into that for expenses, so she really wants to get back to work over the summer.

My older dd has done similar, but school comes very easily for her, and she's been able to work tons of hours all along. She's not the typical student, so it's not a fair comparison.

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Oh and for dd2, I had to handhold into applying to her first job. We walked past a tea shop and I said, that's a cute place. They're hiring. What do you think?

She said Maybe.

When we got home, I looked up their website, found the contact us link, opened the email, and handed it over to my dd. I helped her craft the email, respond when the manager contacted her, and helped her fill out the application. I coached her in interview stuff. 

The first 3 weeks were miserable for her. I was encouraging to her, and told her to stick it out for 4-6 weeks until she made a firm decision on whether it was for her or should she find another workplace. (It wasn't toxic, just very frustrating, and a quick pace that took her awhile to adapt to.) After the third week, things started to get better slowly. 

 

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There is definitely a plan for nudging DD1 “out of the nest”. All four DC really. We are a single, public service income family so there is very little money in the budget for “extras”. (And we’ve been blessed to have access through friends and family to free and extremely reduced price EC activities.) If/when our kids want a driver’s license, car, cell phone, computer, anything really beyond the basics of food, shelter, and clothing, they will need to pay for those things themselves. As DD1’s 17th birthday approaches, she is realizing that she’ll need money for these things and that means a job. She actually has worked the past two summers at a local farm. It’s hard, dirty work but she doesn’t seem to mind it. She’s planning to do the same this summer. She’s also done odd jobs for people in town doing babysitting or yard work. So she’s not completely opposed to working. More the idea of a regular job or career. I was hoping that she’d want to work a few hours a week during the school year but she’s feeling busy enough with school. But she knows that once she is 18 and has graduated from high school that she will need to be working and/or attending school and covering the majority of her own expenses. We haven’t decided on rent yet but that will probably depend on circumstances. 

DD really isn’t a difficult kid, just difficult to homeschool. And I don’t completely understand her because when I was a teenager I had a million dreams of things I wanted to do when I was done with high school. I have to work really hard not to project myself into her and sometimes that leads to not quite pushing hard enough. 

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