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#1 of 13 Old 12-14-2011, 07:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have 4 at home all day ages 2, 4, 10, & 12. I feel like I am spending 90% of my day working with the older kids and almost no time with the little kids. By 3pm I am exhausted and in a bad mood from working my butt off doing so much with the older kids. I feel like I am doing their school work too! At this point I have no idea how I could possibly hs my 4 yr old who will be in K in August! I cant even do pre k with him anymore!

And to top it off, math is my worst subject. So I am having an extremely difficult time trying to help them with math - especially my oldest. He has a very hard time with math as well. We just started Math Mammoth and the teachers book doesnt explain how to do problems, just gives answers. So there are a bunch of problems I dont understand and cant help him do. And I am quickly getting burnt out trying to do so much work every day. And right now we are only doing grammar, writing and math! Help!

I feel like I dont even know what hs is anymore - Like I am just doing ps at home. I feel so lost about they "should" be doing and what they "need" tp learn. I know they need to do reading, writing, math. But how far do they need to really go in every subject every year? I know they go over the same things every year in grammar and writing and the same thing every 4 years in history so it all repeats itself. but it seems like they dont remember anything from previous years. maybe its because in ps they never got it and they are learning for the first time. i dont know. all i know is im stressed and worked to the bone and i dont even know what my kids are getting out of it!

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#2 of 13 Old 12-14-2011, 08:58 PM
 
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You might want to consider unschooling, or even a more eclectic blend of unschooling and some more structured stuff. Also I'd recommend you do some reading about unschooling and the theory behind it (read lots of John Holt). You will realize how much they learn in so many different ways, and that a curriculum (with you "doing" the education to them, like in school) isn't really necessary unless you and your kids find it helpful.

 

It sounds like you need a bit of a break, and who could blame you, with several kids to homeschool.

 

Maybe even visit the Unschooling forum here, and ask them for some advice. It's worth considering.

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#3 of 13 Old 12-14-2011, 09:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks. i have done some reading on unschooling and i am very interested in it, but i dont know how to find a place between structure and unstructured. i will go check out the unchooling forum though, thanks : )

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#4 of 13 Old 12-14-2011, 09:45 PM
 
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I'd say it's time to sit down and take a serious look at everyone's goals and ideas about homeschooling. I would ditch "schoolwork" until the New Year and spend the next couple of weeks decompressing and re-evaluating what you all want out of homeschooling and how your day-to-day approach might better serve those goals. 

 

If you have some family holiday time with your partner around to help with the other kids, take your older two kids (at least!) out individually for a homeschooling chat. Share a bit of how you're feeling -- without blame! Say "I'm feeling really worn down, and our homeschooling doesn't seem like it's nearly as awesome as it could be. I wonder if you have any ideas to make it better. The great thing about homeschooling is that you're always free to change things if they're not working well. Let's brainstorm about changes we could make." Talk about what they want from homeschooling, what their ideal learning approach or system would look like, what they'd like to take responsibility for, what support they want from you. What do they want to change? What parts do they like? Talk about their dreams for the future, their affinities and interests, what would make homeschooling better, what they think they should be doing even if they don't necessarily always feel like doing it. 

 

This is our unschooling path. It's not necessarily unstructured, but it springs from the kids' desires and motivations. That means that they're very invested in making whatever structure they adopt work, and I don't have to spend a lot of time and energy prodding, reminding, nagging, dreading. It also means it's always a work in process. But that's okay. If the adjustments are made collaboratively, consensually, they're not painful or punitive, just a natural evolution as we keep moving towards all our goals.

 

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#5 of 13 Old 12-14-2011, 09:50 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I'd say it's time to sit down and take a serious look at everyone's goals and ideas about homeschooling. I would ditch "schoolwork" until the New Year and spend the next couple of weeks decompressing and re-evaluating what you all want out of homeschooling and how your day-to-day approach might better serve those goals. 

 

If you have some family holiday time with your partner around to help with the other kids, take your older two kids (at least!) out individually for a homeschooling chat. Share a bit of how you're feeling -- without blame! Say "I'm feeling really worn down, and our homeschooling doesn't seem like it's nearly as awesome as it could be. I wonder if you have any ideas to make it better. The great thing about homeschooling is that you're always free to change things if they're not working well. Let's brainstorm about changes we could make." Talk about what they want from homeschooling, what their ideal learning approach or system would look like, what they'd like to take responsibility for, what support they want from you. What do they want to change? What parts do they like? Talk about their dreams for the future, their affinities and interests, what would make homeschooling better, what they think they should be doing even if they don't necessarily always feel like doing it. 

 

This is our unschooling path. It's not necessarily unstructured, but it springs from the kids' desires and motivations. That means that they're very invested in making whatever structure they adopt work, and I don't have to spend a lot of time and energy prodding, reminding, nagging, dreading. It also means it's always a work in process. But that's okay. If the adjustments are made collaboratively, consensually, they're not painful or punitive, just a natural evolution as we keep moving towards all our goals.

 

Miranda

 

 


I have tried a talk like that before, and while it goes ok with my 10 yr old, my ods just doesnt want anything to do with anything. he is very negative about school - even hs. its about getting it done so he can do what he wants. he says he hates learning and i can get anything out of him as far as goals for the future or anything like that. he is very frustrating. i do think i need to completely reevaluate the way we do hs though. but it seems like when i try to make changes which i think are positive we end up back in the same place again. i am so frustrated...i agree it should be happier and with no nagging and the kids enjoying themselves. sigh

 

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#6 of 13 Old 12-14-2011, 10:37 PM
 
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I have tried a talk like that before, and while it goes ok with my 10 yr old, my ods just doesnt want anything to do with anything. he is very negative about school - even hs. its about getting it done so he can do what he wants. he says he hates learning and i can get anything out of him as far as goals for the future or anything like that. he is very frustrating. i do think i need to completely reevaluate the way we do hs though. but it seems like when i try to make changes which i think are positive we end up back in the same place again. i am so frustrated...i agree it should be happier and with no nagging and the kids enjoying themselves. sigh


It sounds like he (or you, or both of you) has a very narrow view of what homeschooling is. It's "school." At home. He thinks you're asking "how can we use grade levels and curriculum and written work like we've been doing all along in a way that makes you happy?" No wonder he has no answer.

 

But that's not the kind of question that needs to be asked now. If the existing view of homeschooling (with subjects and daily bookwork) is not working, you'd probably benefit from blowing things wide open. Ask him to imagine that ANYTHING is possible! You say he wants to get "it" [school] done so that he can do what he wants. So what is it that he wants to do once his schoolwork is finished? What would the best daily life scenario look like for him? Would he be at a marine park helping train dolphins? Would he be learning to do snowboard tricks? Would he be beta-testing leading edge XBox role-playing games? Writing Dr. Who screenplays? Running his own bakery / restaurant? Studying martial arts in Korea? If you get some sort of answer, you can start then looking at "what makes that so appealing? and how can we get you even a little bit closer to that, here and now?" Maybe you can find ways to start moving towards those dreams. Maybe you can find something related that he can start doing out in the real world so that he's involved in meaningful work -- meaningful to him and to others. Twelve has always been a transitional time for my kids -- they are beginning to want to see roles for themselves that are larger than just family roles. Yet they need help finding opportunities to exercise new roles, or at least to move towards them.

 

Think way, way outside the box and work from there.

 

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#7 of 13 Old 12-15-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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I'm curious how much independent learning your 2 older kids do?  Can they work on something that interests them for half an hour at a time, coming to you with questions occasionally? If they could do that 2 or 3 times a day, you might have enough time for your 4 year old. 

And for math: can you find a tutor to help them once or twice a week?  Maybe a local high school aged child, homeschooled or public schooled?  Or if you have a college in your area, then a college student?

 

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#8 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 08:38 AM
 
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My kids are in a montessori school. I like to joke and say I pay thousands for them to homeschool in a public setting,but it is somewhat true. They spend the majority of the day at school doing independent work. They pull their cards in certain subjects and do the work. There is few if any actual lessons from the teacher.Sometimes they have to sign up for lessons,and sometimes the teacher tells them they should know it by now and doesn't give a lesson.

 

If you want to do a set curriculum you could buy one or try out a online public school. I think there is so much free curriculum material online and at libraries that you could probably put something together. I don't think sitting next to a kid and having to do everything WITH them is good. I did that for a while with my dd with her homework,but now I expect her to do it all on her on and just ask for help on confusing things.

 

I hope you find a way to make it work. I miss hsing so much even with all the hard times.

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#9 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 09:28 PM
 
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Have you thought about switching to curriculum that's less teacher intensive if you want to keep walking the structured school path?

 

Teaching Textbooks or Life of Fred for math?

 

A literature approach to history?

 

What are you using for the other subjects besides math?

 

I agree about giving it a break for a month, stepping back and finding a new approach for the New Year.

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#10 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 09:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Our curric is a work in progess for sure. I have ideas of what I want out of hs but its figuring out how to make that happen that is the problem. I just discovered living math and i love the idea. this is what i want hs to look like. I am looking into math on the level and it seems amazing. i would love to incorporate lots of literature into our learning. i would like a more natural way of learning than books and workbooks all day. i just dont know how to make it happen. we are using Voyages in English for grammar and writing, Spelling Workout for Spelling, waiting on the Story of Science for Science and History Odyssey. I would love to find a way to do living LA if that was possible, lol

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#11 of 13 Old 12-20-2011, 11:26 PM
 
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For LA my son just reads.  Really, he is well known at the library  LOL.  But he just reads.  I don't think I've ever done a formal grammar lesson with him.  We are getting ready to start French after the holidays and he is so excited.  (rosetta stone).  I have a NookColor so my DS (11) has access to tons of material that way if we can't get to the library RIGHT.THIS.MINUTE.  But he set a goal of 1000 pages a week about a year, maybe 2 years ago and he has met that goal almost every week.

FWIW my kiddo is practically best friends with the kids librarian and she can help him find anything- even on the 'adult' side of the building.

 

 

I just went back and read you last post.  I see you have each subject broken out: spelling, grammar, LA, writing.  In my house all that is considered LA and covered with just lots of reading.


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#12 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 10:33 AM
 
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For LA my son just reads. 


I agree! We don't think of grammar, spelling, composition, handwriting, literature and all that as different subjects. They're all just "language arts" and they come up in daily life. And we don't think of "language arts" as a subject. It's just a skill-set that develops naturally.

 

Not that we "just read." Nor does zebra15's son, I suspect. Language arts skills are part of life in many ways. The ability to compose a good persuasive essay can be built through experience discussing issues around the family dinner table or in the minivan during long drives, stating opinions and backing them up with organized, cogent arguments. Writing skills are also honed through blogging, contributions to discussion forums, personal journalling (when the urge strikes), letters to grandparents, composing letters to the editor of the community newsletter on local issues. Spelling skills are enhanced through copious reading of books, magazines, newspaper and copious electronic media, and any time the computer is used for written responses, when the insidious red underscore shows up denoting and unrecognized word. None of this needs to be built into separate subject blocks or artificially engineered in any special way. 

 

My two middle kids started high school this fall after nothing more than this sort of informal learning through life. They got a 1-minute tutorial (seriously! one minute!) from their history teacher on "what makes a 5-paragraph essay" and have been earning straight A's for their written work. (The one caveat: my ds is dysgraphic and does his work on the computer, not having the handwriting skills. Dd is fine with handwriting.)

 

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#13 of 13 Old 12-21-2011, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree! We don't think of grammar, spelling, composition, handwriting, literature and all that as different subjects. They're all just "language arts" and they come up in daily life. And we don't think of "language arts" as a subject. It's just a skill-set that develops naturally.

 

Not that we "just read." Nor does zebra15's son, I suspect. Language arts skills are part of life in many ways. The ability to compose a good persuasive essay can be built through experience discussing issues around the family dinner table or in the minivan during long drives, stating opinions and backing them up with organized, cogent arguments. Writing skills are also honed through blogging, contributions to discussion forums, personal journalling (when the urge strikes), letters to grandparents, composing letters to the editor of the community newsletter on local issues. Spelling skills are enhanced through copious reading of books, magazines, newspaper and copious electronic media, and any time the computer is used for written responses, when the insidious red underscore shows up denoting and unrecognized word. None of this needs to be built into separate subject blocks or artificially engineered in any special way. 

 

My two middle kids started high school this fall after nothing more than this sort of informal learning through life. They got a 1-minute tutorial (seriously! one minute!) from their history teacher on "what makes a 5-paragraph essay" and have been earning straight A's for their written work. (The one caveat: my ds is dysgraphic and does his work on the computer, not having the handwriting skills. Dd is fine with handwriting.)

 

Miranda



thanks for this. these are great ideas. i feel like i am a slave to the curric and i am tired of doing ps at home. i honestly think every day we are going through the motions and i cant say they are even learning all the stuff we work on every day. yet i feel they need to do something. i have found some other resources for info on how to make my own curric and living curric which sounds alot like what you are doing. i just always feel so worried about them learning enough and im tired of all the stress! right now i also feel like im a slave to the charter we are with. that i have to use the charter to get our curric because we cant afford it on our own. so i have to jump through their hoops, such as the star test. i dont want my kids to take the star test - its a waste of our time. i would love to cut our ties to the charter and feel comfortable about it.

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