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Transition to homeschooling with a newborn and toddler in the house?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We had a meeting with DS1's teacher this morning... I'm so overwhelmed and disappointed. DS is the type of kid where everything is magnified 10x and it's hard for him to process all that's coming in. We've long believed he has a sensory processing disorder, but it seemed to be getting better every year.
He did well in montessori the past two years and we were SO excited for him to start 1st grade at the school he's in now. It's just not working though.
He's in a charter which shares a building with another school, and there are 500 kids ages k-8. Kids buzzing all over all the time. He also switches classrooms/classmates/teachers at least 3 times a day and the transitions are incredibly difficult for him. He is doing great socially, but he's not even working at the level he was last year because he's too distracted. He used to love learning, reading, writing, but this year it's a chore and he hates it. That's so sad to me.
He gets sent to the principals office (barf) for goofing off and distracting other kids. And we found out today that he sits at a desk by himself facing the wall (to keep him from getting distracted) in the other rooms he goes to for reading and math, and this kills me. Really makes me want to cry. His "homeroom" teacher is wonderful and going above and beyond to try to meet his needs and help him succeed, but I'm starting to wonder if there is really nothing she can do because what he needs might be a smaller, quieter, one on one environment which is impossible at a school like that. Right now he's in a room with 8 each 1st, 2nd, and 3rd graders. The benefits we saw to this arrangement are not panning out... I'm not thrilled by the industrial sense of the school either... it's really not the homey, comfy place we thought it would be. It was so highly recommended though, and it seemed like a perfect fit.
The montessori charter here is full and we can't afford to pay, or I'd be looking into that. Instead, I'm contemplating doing the K12 virtual program because I KNOW he would do awesome academically with one on one attention in the relative quiet of our home. I think we could get to a place where he loved learning again, and I would enjoy being the one to share things with him. As it is, I know very little about what he does or learns unless he's having problems. I know he'd miss hanging out with his friends all day but that's really not what school is about to me, it's about learning!
Thing is, ds2 just turned 3 and I'm due to have a baby in about a week. I don't know if we could all handle it, and I don't want to make things worse for him. Also, he thrives on routine and I don't do routine very well. And DH is not very on board with the homeschooling idea, he thinks it would just be too overwhelming. And dh works nights and it's very difficult to keep the boys quiet when they're here together, so dh can sleep.
I'm thinking of giving ds a couple months to see if the plan we made with his teacher and the school psychologist works, let him settle a little, and at least that would get us out of the tiny newborn period. In the meantime I was hoping to get some insights from people on here who have experience with a child like mine or trying to homeschool with a baby in the house?
post #2 of 11
You can do it

If he's regressing academically, then what's the benefit of school? It sounds miserable and sad from what you described

I'm sure it would be hard to start hs-ing with a newborn, but how great would it be for your DS to have that time with his new sib? The great thing about homeschooling is that you can take it really easy for a few months, do a little reading practice together, add in fifteen minutes of math wherever it fits, and tuck him into bed with a great read-aloud. That could be sufficient while you're adjusting to being a mom of three. After a few months, you'll settle into your groove and can decide whether to ramp up the academics or not.

I thought about homeschooling my DD pretty much all through her kindergarten year.....when I started having reservations/seeing red flags with her ps experience. I don't think that there was any benefit whatsoever to keeping her in for the full year, and the sooner we would've got her out, the sooner she could "come back" from her own academic regression. As it is, we've had to start from scratch in almost every subject, basically repeating kindergarten and un-doing a lot of the damage that happened last year.

Don't wait just for the sake of waiting it out! Follow your instincts, and you and your family will be just fine
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks for the vote of confidence!!
ds2 and I stayed for a while at school this morning just to observe and it made me sad. it was music time and I asked ds1 to go sit with the other kids (a gym full of 1-5th graders and he was not paying attention in the least. All he was doing was leaning over talking to all the kids around him, it's like he had no idea there were songs and stuff going on. So his teacher told him he could sit by me on the bleachers and he just sat hugging on me, maybe engaging in the songs for a flash here and there but mostly just fidgeting around and trying to talk to me. I can't stand trying to make him into a "sit still" robot, and he's obviously not getting anything out of his school. I saw some examples of his workbooks and it's obvious things aren't working for him... there's like a line of perfect writing and the next one is all huge and sloppy and the rest of the page is a huge drawing of a truck.
I'm going to talk to dh a little more, he is very sensitive to ds1 but he just doesn't think we could handle homeschooling right now. It's really about trying our best to help ds though, and I don't feel like we are by leaving him in that school.
post #4 of 11
If you were to pull your son out of school, here is what I would do:

Get your dh some good earplugs.

Then give yourself a break for a few weeks after the baby is born.

Once you're ready, start school with one subject, then once that is going well, add another, and another, and another, until you have a full curriculum going. You will figure out as you go along what order works best, what time of day works best, what types of things your children respond to best, etc.

We started by going to the library, then doing a daily storytime at home. Then I started doing phonics, then handwriting, then math. We followed with history, science, poetry and all the rest. My ds is 6 and we spend two hours a day doing school, and that includes all the enrichment stuff like history and science and music and art.

Note that my son is 6, I have a 3 year old ds, and an infant.

post #5 of 11
Furfeet, your child sounds similar to mine in some ways. She would have responded very similarly in a room full of that many kids. It's so great that you were there for him in that moment!

I've been thinking about your situation, and I hope that it works out perfectly for your family very soon. Good luck!
post #6 of 11
Since I have a nearly-4 yr old & 11 yr old homeschoolers, plus a 22 month old and a newborn, I don't have time to post anything helpful. But I just wanted to jump in here & say that you absolutely can do it! I've taken 2-4 weeks off from homeschooling after every baby with no ill effects. I'd recommend something like that for your family. It would be so fun for your ds to get to be home when the new baby comes, & adjust with you all at home together. Then perhaps ease into homeschooling, you don't want to overwhelm him.
You can do it!
post #7 of 11
post #8 of 11
Two years ago I started homeschooling - and needing to report to the State - with a toddler (2 1/2 yo) and a new baby. It can be done. What really surprised me was that homeschooling a first grader doesn't take up that much time and doesn't even need to be done every day. Our outings to the zoo, art institute and other sundry museums along with discussion about the trips were all enriching educational experiences. I also liked the fact that learning was positive and spontaneous and that once the concept was down, we didn't have to keep doing busy work. If it took 10 minutes to do something, we were done in 10 minutes. Areas of challenge can be addressed with the compensations that will work for your child as well. I also liked that we could learn about stuff that wasn't on the school curriculum. We love astronomy and spend alot of time on space. We also love cooking and do alot of that. That incorporates several subjects.
In December I'll be homeschooling 2 kids with a toddler and a newborn. It's ok to take time off, to regroup and just let the kids adjust with you. They don't really fall behind. There's plenty of time in the summer to add fun outings in to supplement what's been put aside in the winter.
post #9 of 11
I think you can do it too. I am using K12 and after 5 weeks I feel like we're really moving along now. I've listened to him and figured out what works and we have fewer problems every week. We deal with a busy busy toddler monster too and even with a baby coming, I think you could work it. We have SO much time in a day to get to get it done, and you don't have to run older kids around like I do! You can toss a quick lesson or three into weekends and holidays too, as long as you only submit attendance on approved days.

Also, I am NOT GOOD at schedules and routines and we've been doing VERY well anyway. I know you can do this
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
thanks all for the thoughts to mull over... I was getting pretty pumped up until dh and I had another conversation about it. He pretty much came right out and said he doesn't think I'm a good enough mom to deal with ds all day, let alone teach him and help him grow into a well adjusted person. (he doesn't think he's a "good enough" parent to take it on either) His perspective is that if we keep him there it will force him to learn to deal with being in the situation. Personally, I feel that giving him a break from it and trying again in the future with a school better suited to his needs would be much more helpful to him than continuing this horrible progression in the name of what's "normal". Oh, and to save him from my apparently horrible parenting. (fwiw, I do yell at the kids when I get frustrated. I don't beat them or berate them but I raise my voice and do the "I've told you a thousand times" type stuff. I do the best I can- I don't really beat myself up about it, but I guess dh really has a problem with it. For the most part I feel like dh and I are pretty good parents.) If you didn't guess, I'm pretty upset with dh right now.

I did get a call from the principal today, ds was removed from class for being disruptive and had to sit in the office half the day and do his work in there. We talked with ds about it and he said he hates school, the work is too hard, and he's bored. After asking more what that means to him, it appears that it's too hard for him to concentrate on the work so he's bored. What a surprise! Sigh.
post #11 of 11
Before you leave the school, I would ask them to test him and have him evaluated for learning differences (disabilities). Our school district tested two of my kids, and the results were surprising to me on some levels at first---but later helped me to better help my kids.

To me, your description of your son sounds like a child with learning differences. This doesn't mean he will have to turn into a "robot" or take medication--it just means you will be armed with more information about your boy, and that will help you to better meet his needs today and many years into the future. The testing is not something to be dreaded or avoided--most kids actually love it! The specialists who do the testing are great at making fun for the kids, and getting the information they need to evaluate your child.

I have two kids with learning differences. The first is a boy who testing into the gifted program at school, and the next one is my daughter who is learning disabled with Auditory Processing Disorder and a few other things mixed in. She has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) that is modified to her ability.

Good luck,
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