Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: with all the madmen
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There are wonderful things about school. Even if you have to supplement or compromise, if your children enjoy it and are learning it is not, as you said, all evil.
I am homeschooling one child, my husband freelances so is around a lot, we have no elderly or ill relatives to care for, thank god, and I am still overwhelmed, wonder if I should send her back to school when we move, and miss those quiet mornings while she was away. Of course there's a lot of good things too, but my point is I don't know how you *could* manage all that without being overwhelmed and strung out.
I suggest you evaluate your needs and see if they can reasonably be met within a homeschooling framework. You need time off from responsibilities to parents, spouse, children and home. Can this be done while homeschooling? Is there time in the day for you to take a class, have a part-time job, or whatever else you personally may need to feel nurtured and fed? You *must* exercise. It will give you more energy and help relieve anxiety and depression. One of the advantages to homeschooling that I think is often missed: children need to learn to wait while Mom is doing something for Mom. From the time I was very small my mother did TM twice a day - I knew not to bother her that twenty minutes and to be super quiet.
Can the children be enrolled in classes? Check with museums and community centers - even weekend classes, that aren't just for homeschoolers, can help take the edge off, and I may be unpopular for saying this, but I highly recommend a non-academic preschool or kindergarten even if the children will be homeschooled later. There is so much social work for small children to do, and so many delightful benefits. Just three mornings a week could give everyone the break they need, if you don't want to send them full-time. And if you plan to homeschool them later, you can easily justify the tuition (always ask for financial aid info!). Preschool or kindergarten are easy to enter mid-year, too. Waldorf schools' prek and kindy are entirely non-academic, and your local churches may also offer a nice program.
My daughter is much easier to be around when we have had our homeschool group park days or classes. I think the children can sometimes be overwhelmed by too much Mom or Dad even when things seem to be going well to the parent.
It also sounds as though you need some community,which having your little ones in preschool would help provide even if you choose to leave after a semester. I am still friendly with the parents of children my daughter went to preschool with years ago, even if our children don't see each other often.
I hope this comes across with the gentleness you asked for, because that is my intention. I suggest you enroll the younger children in a kindergarten you can live with (ask around, I never would have found our wonderful co-op except through the grapevine), even if it's just the mornings, and use some of that time for academic attention for your oldest (so he won't need to compete for that attention later) and some for YOU (meditation, gardening, half hour of yoga or exercise). When your husband gets home, no matter what time, go out for a walk, even if it's only a quarter mile down the street. Literally, get some air. Above all, don't feel guilty if you conclude you need to enroll them all in full-time school. No one should doubt that a parent makes their choices based on what they feel is best for their children.