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I used to post here several years ago under a different name (My_Serenity... not sure of anyone I know is still around). But life got super hectic and I had to step back away from the internet. But anyways... here's my story and why I could use some encouragement. Or in other words... please tell me I'm not ruining my kids education.
I have three older boys that are my main focus. Xander who's 8, Lucas who's 6 and Aiden who's 4. Up until two years ago I was doing fine with school for the oldest. He was even two 'grade' levels ahead of where most kids his age should be. But the last year and a half things have been slowly going down hill. It started about half way through the 2009, school year for us. My Grandfather died at the end of December that year. And for about a month and a half I was heart broken... he was like a father to me. I just couldn't bring myself to concentrate on school during that time. Not to mention we were also out of town to help with funeral arrangements for half of that time. Then we started to get back on track... but we were behind... I thought I could pick up by doing school through the summer. But then in July.... an unexpected pregnancy happened. And to make matters worse... it was a difficult pregnancy that was full of complications (but everything turned out fine and now I have a beautiful baby girl who was born on the first of April). I literally could not do school with any of the kids. And when I did... it was school light, only the basics. So for almost the last year now... school in our life has been almost non-existent.
Now here is where I feel like I'm failing. Lucas... he cannot read yet. I try not to compare him to other kids.... but Xander was reading at 3... and Lucas is six and still not reading. I'm kind of freaking out about it. With Xander we still haven't gotten through his math book from the 2009 year. And I haven't done any spelling work with him in months. We haven't done any of the additional subjects like science or history in forever... and I feel like I'm failing because it seems like my nephew is getting the better education (he's in public schools) because he knows more of that stuff and is in the same 'grade' as Xander. I try to comfort myself with things like... 'at least Xander has a higher reading level' or 'while at least Xander has a more in depth understanding of the things he's learned in history and science.' But I feel like they are excuses. I feel like I'm ruining my kids! I've even kept my self up at night thinking they would be better off in school because I cannot do this any longer. I've seriously had crying spells with my husband. And he does try to comfort me. And he says I'm doing great. And he's very supportive. I just feel like I'm kind of hanging by a thread and sooner or later someone is going to figure out that I'm not doing all that well at the schooling thing and insist I send them to one. And that kind of scares me too.
Okay now I'm just rambling I'll stop.. Thanks if you guys read that. I'm getting all emotional now.... (post pregnancy hormones can really be a problem sometimes.)
Here's the thing. You're normal! In our super-mom society, everyone feels like they have to keep up with everyone else. It drives everyone batty, but we do it anyway. Back when homeschooling was normal and public schooling was weird, every mom experienced what you're going through right now. As long as your kids learn the basics and learn how to think for themselves, they'll be able to learn and grow with only a little guidance from you. Kids who are spoon-fed everything they learn in school graduate as zombies and don't know how to function in the real world.
There are some people who use a "better late than early" approach, and some who simply choose not to teach their kids anything until around 7-9 years old. There are some who do radical unschooling and never really "teach" their kids anything. Statistically, they all end up doing alright later in life.
Try not to compare your children against each other. Take a break, and start fresh in the Fall. When you have multiple children, you can get the older one(s) started first thing in the morning so that they can do independent work, and then concentrate your time on the little one(s). Give yourself a guideline of what needs to be accomplished, but don't set it in stone. Move as fast or as slow as necessary. When you see that something has been mastered, move on. Don't assign every exercise the curriculum suggests if you see that they're not necessary. That's one way to jump ahead very quickly.
Your kids are learning from you. You probably have PPD, and of course depression makes you not feel like doing anything. Give yourself time to work through it. (Another reason to quit until Fall.) Let the kids see that taking care of yourself and your family are more important than a few math problems. If you have to stop to take care of the baby, so what? That's how it goes sometimes, and the kids will adjust.
I remember you too. My suggestion is to keep a journal of the things you and the kids do during that day so you realize you are doing things. Possibly think about doing combined unit studies. If your able to afford it you may want to try time4learning and have each of your kids play for 30 min on it. This is all so you can physically see that they are learning they are progressing maybe not at the same things their cousins.
I agree with everyone else - you will be fine! You can't compare what your kids know vs. kids in other schools - things are taught different things at different times depending on what curriculum is being used. Give yourself time to adjust to the changes that happened for your family in the last year and just focus on being together. Trips to the library, or to the zoo can teach so much
We use a unit study curriculum and I do love that it's easy to incorporate a lot of different subjects all in a few days. As for the reading - it is so true that they are all different. I have had two children who were reading chapter books at five and one who didn't start reading until almost 7. They were all read to the same amount and taught reading in a similar way but it just clicked earlier for some than others.
Hang in there, I am pretty confident that a few months from now, and certainly by fall you'll have a much better routine and handle on things. I know for me, the first three months after having a baby are survival mode, after that things become easier.
Alison - Mom to: Augustus (1) Maximus (3) Eleanor (4) Reid (6) Evelyn (7) Lucas (12) Christopher (14)
I remember you guys too It's good to know I wasn't forgotten. Anyways ladies... thank you for giving me some insight. Sometimes it's nice just to hear some ideas from other people aren't right in the thick of things. I think I am going take time off of school until Emily is sleeping through the night. School might go better on a full nights sleep. I never thought that PPD might be part of the problem. But I bet you're right. I have been feeling pretty emotional after this pregnancy. More so then when I was with the boys and there have been so many life changes lately. So yeah... taking a longer break to take care of me and my family is definitely a good idea.
I might try to start a journal too... just to remind myself that the kids are learning... ALL the time. And we have museum and zoo passes... and those are fun ways of learning things. Thank you so much for the support
Just wanted to say that I feel your pain. I was literally about ready to quit and put my kids in public school recently since I, too, felt my life was out of control and I was failing at homeschooling. And I have a baby born on April 7, too. I'm sure the tiredness and hormones don't help anything.
I feel like I'm doing better now and what I did to help me get through (not that it's easy right now, but it's better) is I have the philosophy "keep moving forward" (like on the Robinson's I suppose. LOL). But, seriously, sometimes I get caught up in what we've done, what we have to do, the schedule, the calendar, what other kids are doing, that I end up getting a whole lot of nothing done with my kids. So I decided that instead of looking at the calendar, my schedule, or thinking about switching curriclum again (lol), I just get SOMETHING out and do it. If I can't bear to get out of the recliner but I'm awake enough to read, I have one of the boys bring me the chapter book (e.g. Mr. Popper's Penguins) and I read to them a few chapters. Or I make them a list of things to do and have them check them off as they finish them (1 math page, 1 spelling page, etc.). Even have them LOOK at a science book (if they can't read it) and ask questions. Then you don't have to get up when you're tired. lol
Also, I have been doing like BensMom suggested and skipping a lot of the stuff I know the kids don't need to do. In Math U See the boys are doing well and if they clearly understand a lesson by the 2nd page, I skip to a review page and if they still do well, I have them take the test and we move on. Sometimes if they clearly get it, I don't even bother having them take the test (why waste the 20 mins when I KNOW they understand it), and I just count the last worksheet as the test. This helps us keep moving along. I don't have enough energy to waste time on stuff we don't need to do... I think this is a good method as long as you're careful to not skip so much that you overwhelm your kids with material that's too hard, too fast.
Anyway, it will get better. Give yourself a chance to recover from this pregnancy and feel human again. One plus of your 6 yo not knowing how to read is that at this age he will probably be able to pick up on it a lot quicker than when he was 3 or 4 so once he starts decoding, he will progress quickly.
One other idea: Use leapfrog videos, Word World, etc. to help your 6 yo pick up on reading. If he doesn't learn anything, you're not any worse off, so why not see if he likes it and will learn a thing or two?
Mom to Titus (10), Isaiah (8), Noelle (6), Joel (4), Hannah (2), and baby due Sept 10!
(((HUGS))) I think we have all felt that way at some point. We have really been slacking these last couple of weeks as well, I know you were having issues for a lot longer though. Life happens, but it is not like they are not learning at all. I worry about my DD4(will be 5 in Aug.) who has struggled to learn her ABC's, let alone writing her name or really any letter on her own other than tracing. Just keep trying when you can, don't try to force things. When you get the chance sit and read together and before you no it, it will click with him and he will be reading in no time! Chrystal has a lot of good suggestions as well. I am glad to see you back!!
I remember you! Congratulations on the new little one!
Don't worry, don't compare. Just get back into it and all will be well. Seriously. It's okay
~Heather, wife to Jamie (15 years; June 5, 1998) and mom to
Ani - 13 (February 15, 2000), Cameron - 12 (October 3, 2001),
Fritz - 7 (July 11, 2006), and Adrian - 5 (June 19, 2008) Smaller on the Outside
If you are comfortable with it, starting a blog to journal what the kids are doing could be a good idea. That way you have the journaling to keep track of what they are actually doing and you get a flow of encouragement from people commenting on the posts.
It's so easy to fall into the mommy guilt (PPD or not) of thinking you aren't doing enough or doing it right... I have gotten that way frequently this year (my first year homeschooling). There have been many times I've wanted to give up and put him back in public school. I just keep reminding myself how wrong that is for Little Man and take a day off school so I can decompress. Just keep breathing. It'll all work out in the end.