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Am I doing too much?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

I'm feeling very discouraged and overwhelmed, and could use a reality check...

I have a 6 yr old and a 9 mo old. Both my husband and I are self employed- we own 3 businesses, and my husband coaches sports 5 days a week during the school year. I'm really struggling with finding the discipline within myself to consistently school my daughter every day. She's extremely stubborn, and will not listen to what I'm trying to tell her most of the time. We seriously butt heads. Even if she were the most obedient child in the world, it would still be hard to balance keeping up with housework, getting meals ready, taking care of the baby (who is still nursing non stop and just started crawling), dealing with the businesses, and trying to remain sane. I feel like I can't focus on any particular thing most days. On top of it all, I don't think my heart is really into homeschooling- it's something my husband is adamant about, but that I'm not really onboard with, at least for our daughter. I've tried talking to him about it, but he won't listen. Says I just need to get up earlier and be more disciplined. I sometimes wonder if I'd be more enthusiastic about this whole thing if I had a better curriculum. I've been trying to find one that is more structured, to see if that helps with my feelings of "scattered-ness", but when I brought up switching curriculums with my husband, he said that I made my choice, and I need to stick with it. We are using Oak Meadow's first grade curriculum right now, but am not that happy with it.  I like the idea of having each day planned out for us, with minimal prep work required from me, and Oak Meadow has been too open ended and impractical for where we live (they require lots of nature walks, etc, but we live in an isolated place that has snow on the ground 7 mo out of the year) I've been reading "A Well Trained Mind", by Susan Wise Bauer, and am now leaning towards Ambleside Online for at least the rest of this school year.

I just feel like giving up most days, and like I'm neglecting my daughter's needs, which just makes me feel even more stressed. It's a vicious cycle. I'd really appreciate any thoughts/advice you all might have- am I doing too much? What to do about an extremely stubborn child? What sort of curriculum is best for a super busy mom?

post #2 of 7

I also have a first grader and a baby who is nursing right now after crawling around tearing the house apart all afternoon. I work from home (sporadically) and my husband works fulltime an hour away and is  full time grad student.  So I can sympathize. My husband is usually pretty understanding of what a big comittment homeschooling is for me. Because I do pretty much all of it (DH provides guitar lessons), he leaves curriculum decisions up to me.

I have been totally overwhelmed as well, but after really examining the situation, I decided that had more to do with the baby and my transition from fulltime state employment to a more self directed life than with homeschool. We have used a very scripted language arts curriculum (sing spell read and write). Honestly, the fact that it is all laid out for me didn't make it much easier. I change a lot of it to fit our needs-something I'm sure I'd do with any other curriculum I might buy. I pretty much pulled together and planned all the other subjects myslef.

My two cents about making it better.

We've been way less stressed about homeschool this last month because I decided to really ease up. I did an inventory of DS's skills and realized he was already way ahead of end of first grade standards in most things. I made a short list of things I'd like him to learn by June. A short list, not like the huge 12 page document I created at the beginning of the year. I'm working those things into daily life at times when I think he will be receptive.

Otherwise, we do only the schooly things which he finds fun. I read aloud from literature and nonfiction (we use the ambleside reading list as well as tons of other books) while DD is nursing. He plays with construction toys and makes books. He plays outside in the mountains of snow and I say "P.E.". We play board games and I sometimes make up new rules to up the math learning value. I do make sure he reads aloud to me every day for at least 15 minutes, anything he chooses to read. We're not following our language arts curriculum anymore. We might start back up later.

Next year is totally up in the air for us. We may be moving. He may be going to public school. I may try buying a box curriculum (I've looked at OM 2nd grade). OR, I just might go with my gut and keep doing exactly what we're doing now. I'm pretty sure he's learned just as much or more during this "break"than he did during any other month. Good luck, and I look forward to reading about how you work this out.

post #3 of 7

I have a 6-year-old and 3-year-old and work from home as well.  We tried the online charter this year for first in part because I thought maybe she needed more structure-she too is very stubborn and it was a struggle to get her to "do school."  We hated it! We are going back to a looser approach for the remainder of first grade.  Turns out having that preplanned curriculum and boxes to check just made both of us even more stressed out and I felt like I was failing if I didn't force her to do it all, even though she hated it. 


My advice is, if you really feel like you need to stick with Oak Meadow, just take what you like out of it and ignore the rest :) If you can't do a nature walk, nobody is going to come and scold you for it! What does your dd enjoy the most?  My dd loooooves art, so I have been giving her free rein during the day to do art all day if she wants to and, lo and behold, she is proudly showing me her drawings complete with handwritten captions, messages, and the beginnings of stories, whereas before I had to beg and bribe to get her to write anything.  The more I relax about getting her to do schoolwork, the more willing she is to do it, especially if she doesn't realize she is doing school work :)  


Of course, if you think a more structured curriculum would help, then give it a try! Or even try setting a clear schedule for your dd-I made a chart in the beginning of the year showing that after breakfast we were going to do phonics and math, etc. etc.  Didn't fit for dd, but maybe it would help you guys to have clearer expectations? Good luck!

post #4 of 7

I don't understand why YOU are the parent who has to homeschool but your husband gets to decide how you do that. I would say to him "Hey, I'm not crazy about this idea, but I will do it because you want to, but I'm going to do it MY way."


Second, have you looked into unschooling, like REALLY looked into it, not just reading about it in popular media? Your child does not need a curriculum. Sure, some kids do great with them but it seems like you are butting heads with your child and that tells me your daughter is not happy with learning this way and that is going to add mucho stress to your life! 


Why not try something like Project-Based Homeschooling and see how that fits for you? It's sort of unschooling but with some structure to it. You can check it out here: http://project-based-homeschooling.com/camp-creek-blog


The book is an easy read and inexpensive as an ebook, or maybe your library has a copy. 


You need to find something that not only will work for YOU but will also not be a cause of friction between you and your daughter because you don't need that on top of everything else!

post #5 of 7

I agree with Piglet. Either your husband can takeover the heavy lifting of homeschooling himself, OR he can butt out of how you do it (and FYI, changing curriculum this early on is really normal) OR your daughter can go to school. 


Right now he's treating you like he's the boss and you're his employee, and that's for the birds. It's possible that he doesn't realize what he's doing-- some people are naturally bossy and need help seeing they've gone too far, but he's gone too far. 


My oldest and I butt heads too. The unschooling lifestyle was great for us for the early years. There are so many fun educational things to do with a 6 year old, no need to sit around pushing her through curriculum neither of you like. Now I realize that we aren't really unschoolers, but proponents of delayed academics. There's a lot of solid research on the benefits of holding off on formal academic work until a child is 7-9 years old (depending on when they start reading well). 

post #6 of 7

Normally I don't try to parrot what other posters are saying, since it's already been said.  BUT, this is not right!  At.  All.  Your husband is adamant about homeschooling, but YOU have to do it.  It YOUR fault that homeschooling is not going well for you.  YOU need to get up earlier.  YOU need to be more disciplined.  The curriculum isn't working?  You need to stick with it because you chose it.


Why why why is he so adamant about homeschooling?  A huge part of the benefits of homeschooling is to change up what isn't working!


In my opinion, the parent doing the bulk of the homeschooling gets the say, the other can support and offer ideas and opinions.  If your dh is adamant about homeschooling, the he needs to give you your freedom in how to do it.  If you find that homeschooling isn't working for *you*, then he needs to do the work or the kids need to go to school.  I think it would be helpful if your husband took it over for 3 months so he can get a feel for what the hell he's trying to have you do.


I'm sorry for being so blunt, but this is so backwards and I find it annoying.  The trouble I usually hear about is "my husband doesn't support my desire to homeschool".  


Otherwise, excellent, constructive suggestions here.  Good luck.

post #7 of 7

Tell us more about your businesses and your work schedule?

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