Is there any way you could enlist outside help to help maintain your routine while you need extra "me time" to deal with stuff? Like a mother's helper?
While we do some Waldorf inspired stuff still, and totally believe in its ideals for younger kids especially, it's not a particularly good learning style for my kids. So, for us, what works is having a schedule posted on the wall, and the kids know what they're going to do when.
They do Saxon Math in the morning, which is pretty hands-off. They take a slow pace and I don't have to do a lot of explaining.
They have writing journals. I printed off a bunch of journal prompts and cut them into little strips and put them in a jar. Every morning they draw one topic and then they write about that.
We do some spelling practice every day. I printed a list of spelling words for their grade, divided them up into 10-15 words, and on Mondays I give them a pre-test. 5, 10 mins. The words they get wrong they practice every day until Friday, when they have a quiz on the same words.
We visit the library once a week, or once every two weeks, and they choose books to read. Every day they read a bit. I also get some other stuff for them to read - like this week, we're doing Japan. I just grab some stuff from the non fiction shelves.
Finally, I take 5-10 mins here and there to print off some worksheets for the kids - or else if I have the cash I'll buy some Spectrum workbooks for them that they can complete at their own pace. If they're getting unruly I'll set them down with some of them and they'll focus.
Otherwise, they can do various games/manipulatives - play doh, art stuff (we do Kiwi Crate, they send a box a month to your mailbox with everything in it including instructions), puzzles, pattern blocks... A lot of Waldorf is free play, and while the toys change as the kids get older, mine still get a lot of free time. If the weather was nicer they could go outside too, but that's not realistic in two feet of snow.
We also have some times in the week they do lessons, homeschool group stuff, etc. The only thing I really have to do is drive them there, then I can chill in the car while they do their thing.
Basically when we're on a good swing, we do more "main lessons" together, go on field trips, whatever. When things are busier and/or I have less energy, we keep the bare bones stuff (math, reading) but let the other stuff slide until we're all more motivated.
My question is, are your needs being met? It's NOT selfish to focus on yourself. I just wanted to throw that out there too.
I have depression and anxiety disorder so I struggle with mental health as well. I do ok with treatment but have good and bad days as well. Add a new baby into the mix and some PPD on top of my regular issues and you get a pretty rough winter. That said, homeschooling is still doable! We are not totally Waldorf but we have enjoyed Oak Meadow. It is a very laid back Waldorf inspired curriculum and it is easy to just use what you like and leave the rest. It is not really scripted but I find that is easier for me. Lots of nature and artistic expression which my DD loves. I agree with the above suggestion that when you are having a rough period, focus on the reading and math and leave the rest. There is a lot my DDs learn on their own for the other subjuects.. Although I dislike screentime I have accepted that it is just plain necessary at times. It is not ruining them or their education and i just need the break. On good days we get out, explore the world and try to do some educational stuff like nature walks, museums, ect. It is not a perfect Waldorf life (which I would have loved!) but it works for our family. They are still getting a much more well rounded education and and I think learning more important things than they would at the public school. I also agree in enlisting outside help when you can. It is only in recent generations that mothers had so little help from community/family in raising children! Even at our healthiest we were not meant to do it alone.
I also ask are YOUR needs being met? Are you able to get fresh air and exercise when you need it? Enough sleep? Good nutrition? Are you able to pursue your own interests and desires? Don't forget to take care of yourself. Your needs are just as important as everyone else's. Don't ever feel guilty about taking time for you!
I think it's easy to pick a curriculum or lifestyle approach or even a parenting style that seems like a great idea for us. One we can wrap our minds around and say "Yes! That is what I want for my kids/family/myself." It can all sound really good on paper.
But sometimes, in practice, it turns out that these great ideas just aren't realistic based on who we are, who our kids are, our family's lifestyle and values, etc. And it can be hard to come to terms with that.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, worrying about having take time away from homeschooling because of your health issues, then maybe trying a structured approach isn't such a good idea. Or maybe it is a good idea, but then you need to allow yourself to take "time off". It's not a race - your kids can handle a month of video games and TV (if that's what they really do, though I suspect they might surprise you) when you need to care for yourself and they will not suffer for it.
Homeschooling should not be hard and stressful. If it is, then maybe you aren't doing it right (for your family, I mean; what is "right" looks different for all of us). Your kids need a happy, health, unstressed mum first and foremost. So try to give yourself permission to do that <hugs>.
Homeschooling, Homesteading Mama to DD ('02) and DS ('04)
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