help with homeschool and encouragement desperately needed

Describe your average homeschool day and give new homeschoolers an idea of what to expect!

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busymama
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Location: ontario, canada

help with homeschool and encouragement desperately needed

Postby busymama » Sat Feb 20, 2010 1:07 pm

:cry: I haven't read any posts like mine but I'm just sitting here almost crying over another typical homeschooling day. I have 4 kids - 7, 5, 3, and 18 months. Which won't set any records but seem too much for me to handle. Most of the time I think they must all be suffering from ADHD, I'm not kidding. Except the baby who has down syndrome
I never seem to do anything near the amount I dream of doing at night. I usually force my oldest to sit down right after breakfast and do math, computer phonics, handwriting and a spelling book. I have to stay right there or she doesn't do anything and wherever I am, everybody is so it's usually pretty chaotic, which is probably a good description of my day unless I let them watch tv. I occasionally do some kindergarden math and phonics with my 5 year old, even rarer do I get around to doing anything with my 3 year old and you can imagine what I manage to do with the baby.
I'm starting to think they would really be better off in school than spending their days with me. I just seem to yell at them all the time while they roll around on the floor laughing hysterically - I wish I was joking.
My oldest has a fairly severe speech problem and has been taking speech therapy for years. She has a very hard time with reading, etc. but does alright with math. I suspect she is dyslexic. I don't really know how to go about getting her tested and I don't know if I really see the point in putting a label on her. She is how she is.
It may not sound like it but I do really love my kids and on their own they can be a real joy but together (and of course they're almost always together) they can be very trying.
I'm not sure what I'm asking for here, maybe I just needed to put my feelings down somewhere. If anybody has any advice I would love any suggestions.

fairfarmhand
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Location: Tennessee, USA

Bless your heart!

Postby fairfarmhand » Sat Feb 20, 2010 7:27 pm

Ok, lady, I know exactly how you feel. We have days (weeks, months???) exactly like that at my house too! I know you feel so much like a failure, that they might do better without you, etc. We had a very difficult period at my house last fall. Sometimes you just have to hang in there. You said you have a 7 year old, so that is going to be hard. They will struggle with independent learning at that age. My 8 yr. old just now began reading very much in the last couple month, so prior to that there had to be tons of "hand holding" to get her work done.

Here were some of my survival strategies. If I can get the kitchen cleaned up very well, one load of laundry in the washer and the kitchen table cleared off the night before, it makes my morning go much smoother. When I am not running around trying to pick up and straighten, I can pick the school books up right after breakfast and it mentally helps me. Your daughter is probably not wanting to sit down and do school when the littles are running around having fun, so that might be one reason she is so distracted. I would have the Kindergartener sit down and do a little book work when the oldest is working too. Even if it's just a coloring page your oldest will feel better if she is not the only one who has to work on school.

If your TV is far enough away to not be a distraction, I would use that to help with the littles. I put a Blue's clues in for my 2 yr old most mornings. It lasts about an hour, so we hit the books hard in that hour. You daughter may also need frequent breaks to keep from wearing out. If school is hard for her then her brain may get tired quicker. So work on math for 30 minutes, Reading for 10 minutes and so on and I'd tell her if she works really hard and does her best, she will get a break and a snack (apple, banana, something healthy) for about 30 minutes. Repeat this cycle a few times during the morning (ok, maybe not the snack, but the break) During the breaks, it might be a great time to read some story books to ALL the kids. They are all small enough that they can enjoy some of the same stories.

I had to begin to think of homeschooling as my part-time job. If I had an outside job, nobody would be surprised that the house was messy, so I had to look at it like that. If the house is messy and we still got school done, so what? We still had a good day.

Don't worry about your 3 yr old yet. I'd just concentrate on the older two. It will be a few years before formal learning is important anyway, just talk to him, tell him what shape things are and talk about colors and stuff. That's all he needs right now anyway.

The dyslexia? Well, I was really concerned about my #2 child, but she eventually learned to read. I think she was just a slow developer. Now that the "light bulb" has come on in her head, I really don't think that was the issue. But you may want to mention to your pediatrician your concerns and he may know what to do. I know you are concerned about the "labeling" thing, but there may be some strategies that you can use to help her learn things more easily. Many, many kids struggle with reading up through the third grade. That is completely normal.

I know you know this, but try not to yell at them. Keeping your cool is much more effective. The best book I read was "Have a New Kid by Friday" by Kevin Leman. It was so helpful in getting my kids to behave.

I hope this was helpful to you. These are the hardest years, when you are just getting started and have a houseful of toddlers. If you can survive this, you can survive anything. You are not alone. I have been in tears over homeschooling more than I can count. Hang in there. Each year you will feel a little more confident and capable . Some years are going to be hard and some are easier.
Been doing this for 7 years. 4 kids; 12yrs, 8yrs, 4yrs, and 2yrs

busymama
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Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 12:46 pm
Location: ontario, canada

Thank you

Postby busymama » Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:55 pm

Thank you fairfarmhand for your helpful reply. You gave me quite a few sensible suggestions that I'm eager to try. I had a look at the book too and I think I will pick it up. More than that though I appreciate the empathy. I was feeling like I must be the only one going through this. I feel so much more optimistic now - thanks again!

fairfarmhand
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Joined: Sat Feb 20, 2010 6:58 pm
Location: Tennessee, USA

Postby fairfarmhand » Tue Feb 23, 2010 12:17 pm

Nope. Many homeschoolers think that their day's should be sweet, with the children happily sitting around the table working their workbooks and the little children playing playdoh (quietly of course) nearby. The kitchen is spotless as is the rest of the house. Then people feel like failures when we can't manage that well. But this is an unrealistic mental image. REAL LIFE IS SO MESSY!
Been doing this for 7 years. 4 kids; 12yrs, 8yrs, 4yrs, and 2yrs

Njmom
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Location: NJ

Postby Njmom » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:26 am

fairfarmhand wrote:REAL LIFE IS SO MESSY!


Very true, fairfarmhand!

Busymama, we all have ups and downs. It's forums like this though, that really helps you get through days like that. Here's to hoping your day has gone a bit better. :D
Thank you & Have a nice day!
Njmom

narrow4life
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Raising ADHD children

Postby narrow4life » Tue Aug 31, 2010 10:14 am

I certainly understand your frustration. It is very difficult taking care of 4 little ones, and add on trying to teach them and it seems nearly impossible. I get that, and I sympathize with the situation. My advice though may not sound sympathetic, but it is meant to help.

First, if you do not believe your kids are better at home than at public school, it will only get harder. Do whatever praying, fasting, reading, discussing with others you need to so that you can have a conviction that your kids should be in homeschool education.

Next, although it is better to homeschool in general, there are situations that make it better to do public school. The problem is when we just opt for that instead of changing the situation. YOUR SITUATION NEEDS TO CHANGE.

Having to sit with a seven year old or no work gets done is not something you should have to do. It is something you are needing to do, but that should not be. There are discipline and character issues that need to be addressed before you can properly and effectively homeschool. Even if you get that taken care of, it will not always be perfect or easy, but it will be manageable, unlike your current situation. Sounds like things are out of control, and that is very tough. It's time to analyze your parenting and come to the Father seeking His counsel, as well as finding some in the Faith who are willing to honestly help you as a parent.

In general, TV/Videos & Video games should be completely eliminated. These help in the short term for occupying a child, but are not good for the mind growth and attention spans.

With your oldest being 7, you still have time! I'd recommend stopping school completely for a few days and then start again with only some basic, simple, and short lessons. The days off, have fun with your kids and talk to the 7 and 5 year old about how you have not properly disciplined them and how you are sorry for yelling at them and that it is going to start to change. Discuss some expectations/rules. All this talk should be rather short and concise. If they don't understand, it's ok. You are just trying to give them a chance at some basic understanding, but they will soon learn if you implement and stay consistent. Focus hard on these days at calmly correcting them the first time and then calmly disciplining each time thereafter. Make sure your expectations are reasonable, but do not sway too much to the side of "they are only kids". Make the discipline appropriate for the situation. Sometimes it is spanking, sometimes it is loss of a meal, sometimes it is loss of being able to sit in a chair (only standing), sometimes it is loss of toys...whatever needs to happen.

Then, when you ease back into school, keep with the character and discipline training as the primary focus. Who cares if they can read, if they cannot obey!

Make sure the Bible and prayer is priority for your family. This is the foundation of character and discipline, not Dr. Phil.

Again, I don't want to sound like it's easy or there is a formula. It's not that way. But, your house is crumbling because of a poor foundation. I'm not criticizing you. This is common. It's even been that way at different seasons in our family life. You already know something needs to change. I don't believe time and just pressing on will get it to change in the proper way. There needs to be action and a difference in the way things have gone.

You can't do it! God through you, can!! Rest in, rely on, trust in HIM!
We use My Father's World Homeschool Curriculum for our 2 kid's homeschool education.


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