DS is almost 8; DD almost 1. We pulled DS from school in late February and I have been quite overhwhelmed with the day to day life of a baby and an older, active child at home. The baby's pace of two naps, frequent nursings, and up 7 times a night doesn't mesh too well with an inquisitive, on-the-go older child who is a sponge for fun, information and activity. And I can barely keep my eyes open and patience in tow. Plus I work part-time.
I've been unstructured with our life thus far..... trying to follow DS's interests and lead. But I feel like my head (and body) are pulled in two completely opposite directions. And it's just not working for me. I am an on-the-go person and recalibrating life with baby and exhaustion has been a slow, steep learning curve. I find myself dreaming of the structure a curriculum would provide or *gasp* imagining how much easier my day would be if DS was still in school -- that way I could sleep whenever DD naps, take in a baby class (I loved music classes with DS when he was a baby). I have moments of panic when I think DS can no longer write, has lost interest in reading, and is content to memorize all the lyrics from the Backyardigans.
Any advice on how to navigate this new reality? On good days, I just say let me get through the next year, and things will come together. But on a bad day, I think I have no structure, I'm bored at home, DS is bored and bummed (although he still says he's glad he's not at school), and the nights crawl along at a snail's pace. A seven year spread between my children has had some benefits -- but the transition from school has been a big one for me.
I was in a similar spot and we started using My Father's World. It is structured but in a laid back, gentle way. It really saved out homeschool. I think at his age he would start with Adventures in My Father's World. We are doing the geography year and are having so much fun, plus my girls are learning a lot. I really hear you about the boredom! My kids do best with structure. Make sure you are getting enough sleep-- waking up 7 times a night is a lot, you should be napping during the day.
Oh I just noticed this is in unschooling! However MFW can be adapted to an unschooling-ish mindset, especially if you mainly focus on the projects.
What my ds would have loved at that age was someone like a college student to come over and do science experiments or just run around with him outside. He loved having an older "guy" around. Maybe you could hire an older kid to come over after school for a couple hours? I wished there was the equivalent of preschool for 8 yos, just a few hours out of the house that focused more on fun than academics... Maybe there are classes for homeschoolers your ds could take? Sometimes museums or nature centers have them. Swim and gym at the Y or at a rec center?
I never worried about learning as much as ds being happy and engaged with something. I feel like everything else falls into place when ds is truly feeling happy and satisfied with his activities and interactions. He gets cranky when he's bored or when he is doing something because he has nothing better to do so this has always been a good barometer for him.
I am subbing because we are in a somewhat similar situation, in that I have a baby and an 8 year old, although ds has been unschooled most of his life other than a a year at a coop preschool. I don't have a lot of answers other than to suggest that you find other kids your older child's age for him to hang out with and maybe do childcare swapping with. And take it slowly.
Jen 47 DS C 2/03 04/29/08/ DD S 10/28/09 DH Bill '97.
mighty-mama and her sister Kundalini-Mama
I would love to find other kids for my older son to hang out with but his interests are so different from all of our neighborhood children and friends' children and he just doesn't seem to fit in with them! The boys are really in to sports and guns and the girls are in to tea parties and nail painting and "girly" stuff (according to DS). He just doesn't seem to be able to find a groove with either group. He'd much rather be with family than with other kids... he's always been like that. I remember taking him to a play group at a gym when he was a baby (crawling age) -- he clearly took me to the door to get out of there!
I am committed to letting him be him and not forcing a peer group, sports and "boy" activities on him, but it's definitely a challenge when we are together so much ... and it's 100 degrees outside ;) There is an older boy in the neighborhood (starting HS) that DS really likes .... maybe 4evermom's idea about having an older boy around????