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Well I am happy to say that school is going really well lately!! I don't know if you guys remember my lamenting months ago about how impossible homeschooling was for me, how I cried every day, etc. Well although I was SO ready to quit right then (and I must admit I fantasize about sending the kids to school), I feel much saner lately.
One thing that helps is that I got a big table for our school room. Our school room itself is pretty small, so the table takes up half the room, but it's super helpful nonetheless. I can sit at the end and the 2 older boys sit along the side so I can see what they're doing (or not doing) without standing around over their shoulders. If they have a question, I'm right there. When I explain things, I can just sit at the end of the table and nurse the baby while explaining. Something this simple makes my life a lot easier.
Another reason it helps is I can lay out their work for them every night before I go to bed. I put a pile of papers for them to correct, and a pile of new papers for them to complete. They get up every morning and know to eat, take a shower, and go in the school room and get started on their papers.
We usually complete all the "seat work" stuff by lunch time and then we can do the read-alouds (Science, history, etc.) any other time... taught from my recliner, of course.
It just occurred to me today that I haven't cried over school in weeks now. That seems silly, but it's a huge victory for me. I was pretty miserable for a while. I also keep the 2 yo & 4 yo in the other room for the most part, gated off. They hate it, but I don't know of another way to be able to concentrate on our work for the morning. And the more I just keep them out of the room altogether and let them whine in the living room, the quicker we can get done and they aren't lonely anymore. When we are able to get a TV in the liv. room I plan on letting them watch a leapfrog video to keep them occupied for part of the time, and hopefully learn something. But until then, it works. I just have to try to pay attention to them later in the day.
Anyway, just thought I would share!
Mom to Titus (12), Isaiah (10), Noelle (8), Joel (6), Hannah (4), Elijah (1), and baby due Nov 4!
Sounds like your in a good grove. Don't worry about the two "gated off" little ones. My girls spent a lot of time "gated off" in their playroom (and still sometimes are) while I did housework etc... They whined and cried from time to time, but I found that they soon realized that playing with their toys was a lot more fun (and they learned that Mommy would pop in with kisses and hugs periodically during this work time). Now that they are older I get comments all the time about how imaginative they are and how "unusual" they are for being able to entertain themselves. I attribute this to them being given time to just explore and play without me interrupting them.
Yes! Congrats on finding a groove, and I agree that kids need some time away from mom to learn how to use their imaginations (... as long as their imaginations aren't flushing valuable objects down the toilet, of course! )
I also put work out the night before. I also (usually) have Ben do all the written stuff first. It just makes the day run 100% more smoothly! You don't need a huge space. You just need organization ... organized things, organized workspace, and organized thoughts.