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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ds1 is 7.5yo, and I feel like I am failing him academically. He is so ready to be learning more, and I am just way too disorganized. We are essentially unschooling just because I can't pull it together to do anything else. We just moved a month ago, still don't have a kitchen, are living out of boxes, and generally going through a lot of stress. But honestly, nothing much was happening before this either, so I don't feel like I can really say that it will all get better once we get through this transition.<br><br>
We joined an independent study charter school to see if maybe that would help me get some structure, but already I can't pull it off. I'm supposed to submit to them a list of items for them to buy for me - my choice, any curriculum, books, etc. - and I can't even do it. I'm supposed to put together just a basic plan of what we will be using for each subject, and I can't seem to do it. I can make one up, but I know that it won't be happening.<br><br>
We are supposed to fill out a form on which I list one thing each day that we did - 3 of the 5 days need to be something from an "academic" subject. Other than "read books together" or "played monopoly" I have nothing. I get that he's always learning, but I'm worried. I'm scared he is going to really fall behind and we will never catch up.<br><br>
He asks me questions all the time that I can't answer. Stuff like "when was money invented?" or "when were clothes invented?" or "how did Halloween start?" or "What makes it windy?" And it's not like he asks me this when we're sitting at the computer. He asks me this as we're loading out of the car past their bedtime and trying to get to bed. I know I can write them down and look them up later, but it doesn't happen. We are always on the go. I feel like I don't capitalize on any of the wonderful questions he asks, and that I am failing him.<br><br>
I apologize for the scattered post. I just am feeling really nervous about how things are going with homeschooling, and feeling very negative about my ability to turn it around.
 

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Hmmm, OK. I'm just sort of thinking as I post here (well first and foremost <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">), but I'm wondering if being too much on the go is part of it. If you're hardly home, those boxes aren't going to get unpacked and the stress continues. I don't know why you don't have a kitchen (are you getting one installed or do you need to buy appliances?) but I know for me that getting a kitchen would be priority number one.<br><br>
As for your DS' questions, again if you are always on the go it's going to be hard to answer those. What I do when I can't look up the answer right away is look it up later by myself, usually while DS is doing something else. Then later I will mention that I looked up what he was asking about and share what I found out (he would be bored sitting by my side while I look stuff up and sift through information to find what he wants to know so I find it much more effective to do the research and then share).<br><br>
I would work on reducing the stress in your lives first. I think it's overwhelming for you to even think about what materials the charter school should buy because of all the other stress. I would be a mess if I was always on the go. We go places, we do things, but time at home is important for everyone. I know if I had very limited time at home I would want to use any minute I could to just have downtime, not doing science experiments or whatever.<br><br>
Reading books together might seem like only one academic subject, but different books count as different subjects, so I would definitely record them that way. Science readers, biographies, math start, etc.<br>
We read Story of the World (not everyday but regularly, sometimes for 5 mins, sometimes for 30 or more) and it is a history curriculum, so even though it's fun reading for us, it can be recorded as history. And because we have plenty of time, we can discuss anything that comes up, he can go get a pencil and paper to make the Chinese pictograms if the urge strikes him, etc.<br><br>
I think it's OK to unschool because it's more suited to your personality. I don't like a lot of structure and schedules don't work well for me. I don't think of it as "I can't pull it together to do anything else", it's that this works for me!<br><br>
I'm pretty sure I read that you said you have hypothyroidism. I do too and I think it's important to be kind to ourselves. We need relaxing baths, breaks while doing strenuous work (like unpacking a house full of stuff!), regular moderate exercise, good food, etc.<br><br>
Maybe at some point you'll decide something other than unschooling, I don't know. But I do know that trying to decide any of this when you are overwhelmed is not a good idea. It's time to downsize the stress in your life. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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Ideas in no particular order:<br><br>
1) A set of encyclopedias....doesn't have to all that current, so look at thrifts for a cheap set.<br><br>
2) Kits: science, craft, math...<br><br>
3) The cheap workbooks<br><br>
4) One of those organization things (our spins) with abundant pencils, crayons, scissors, tape, glue sticks....<br><br>
5) Subscribe to the free emails and currclick. Get the freebie lapbooks at HOAC each quarter. Dover, Highlights have free sample emails. Printing these out and hoarding the free stuff means I've often got something at my finger tips.<br><br>
6) Get on the educator emails for the local museums/planetarium. Often great ideas get emailed. Our local children's museum started one free day a week. The planetarium has lego days and family science days.<br><br>
7) Sign up for the local craft store free emails....classes and ideas...<br><br>
8) Get up before the kids if you can. Helps me have a minute to think about what my kids might need set up today.<br><br>
gg
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> I count my blessings that ds thinks of car rides as a special time to ask <i>daddy</i> questions on the occasions we drive him to work. For some reason, dh is a font of tidbits of information.<br><br>
ITA with the advice to be kind to yourself. I have chronic fatigue syndrome and somedays it's just good everybody gets fed.<br><br>
I bet your ds would love a voice recorder of some kind. He could record questions so he doesn't forget them and you could get back to them when you have the chance.<br><br>
And put another spin on his questions. You don't have to be able to answer or look up everything he asks. Sure it's great if you can but it is also great that he is thinking and asking questions in the first place. When he comes across the info later, reading a book or watching a dvd, he'll think to himself, "oh yeah, I was wondering about that." Being able to spit out the answers doesn't guarantee he is absorbing those answers. I suspect wondering about things for a while and not getting an immediate answer might really be great for his inquisitiveness and imagination. Then when he comes across the info, he'll really pay attention to it in a way he might not if it were spoon fed to him.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>chfriend</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12375212"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Ideas in no particular order:<br><br>
1) A set of encyclopedias....doesn't have to all that current, so look at thrifts for a cheap set.<br></div>
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Also maybe an idea would be a one-volume encyclopedia (like Penguin Encyclopedia) to keep in the trunk of the car? I bet having it would help answer a lot of his questions.<br><br>
eta: and I really like 4evermom's voice recorder suggestion too.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12374619"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">He asks me questions all the time that I can't answer. Stuff like "when was money invented?" or "when were clothes invented?" or "how did Halloween start?" or "What makes it windy?" And it's not like he asks me this when we're sitting at the computer. He asks me this as we're loading out of the car past their bedtime and trying to get to bed. I know I can write them down and look them up later, but it doesn't happen. We are always on the go. I feel like I don't capitalize on any of the wonderful questions he asks, and that I am failing him.</div>
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I had exactly this problem when I started hs'ing. I bought a special notebook for my ds and it was HIS responsibility to write his questions down, one per page. So if he came up with a question while we were doing something else, I'd remind him to write it in his question book. Then, we'd look it up later on the internet, or next visit to the library. I was also a good way to get dad involved in the evenings.
 

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i don't have any advice really. i spin into my own vortex of stress too often worrying about if i'm doing okay. it sounds like you have A LOT on your plate. i don't know if this will help ya (warning i like lists a lot) but write down 2 or 3 things ..heck even 1 thing, that you want to get done each day. then do it! unpack just one box a day....and before too long, you'll be done. the cyber school sounds great to me. i'd love that. our cyber schools are only k12 and connections academy, but they scare the jeepers out of me. i think a set of encyclopedias sounds wonderful...i want the childcraft set badly! give it some time to come together. i think things feel even more bleak right now because of the current situation ...living out of boxes and having no kitchen would make anyone feel overwhelmed. hugs.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>elizawill</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12375338"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">living out of boxes and having no kitchen would make anyone feel overwhelmed. hugs.</div>
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I agree! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod">:<br>
I've BTDT and when we have moved in the past other things would be put on hold until we could get unpacked and arranged.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">He asks me questions all the time that I can't answer. Stuff like "when was money invented?" or "when were clothes invented?" or "how did Halloween start?" or "What makes it windy?" And it's not like he asks me this when we're sitting at the computer.</td>
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When my kids ask questions that I can't answer (which they do constantly) then I tell them I don't know and I will let them know once I can find the answer. We either search for it online, usually together, or get a book at the library. I also rent educational DVDs online that come in through the mail and we can research topics that way.<br><br>
p.s. teachers don't know it all either. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/wink1.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="wink1"> I guarantee if your child asked a teacher some of the questions he asks you that she wouldn't know a lot of the answers either. We're all human.
 

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Didn't you guys just move? I'd cut myself some slack and give yoruself time to settle in and get in the routine of the new place.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12374619"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;"><b>We just moved a month ago, still don't have a kitchen, are living out of boxes, and generally going through a lot of stress.</b></div>
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Cut yourself some slack!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">We are supposed to fill out a form on which I list one thing each day that we did - 3 of the 5 days need to be something from an "academic" subject. Other than "read books together" or "played monopoly" I have nothing. I get that he's always learning, but I'm worried. I'm scared he is going to really fall behind and we will never catch up.</td>
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Is this form something you MUST do as required by your state, or is it something extra you signed up for? If you can let go of the outside paperwork, then do so. You can always sign up for it again next year. If it's required by your state, then find some way to turn your daily activities into "educationalese" and don't let yourself stress about it.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">He asks me questions all the time that I can't answer. Stuff like "when was money invented?" or "when were clothes invented?" or "how did Halloween start?" or "What makes it windy?" And it's not like he asks me this when we're sitting at the computer. He asks me this as we're loading out of the car past their bedtime and trying to get to bed. I know I can write them down and look them up later, but it doesn't happen. We are always on the go. I feel like I don't capitalize on any of the wonderful questions he asks, and that I am failing him.</td>
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Could HE keep the notebook of questions? He could write down ideas while you're busy driving or doing something else. He gets practice writing, learns to take initiative in his own education, and you catch a bit of a break.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all the support and suggestions. Yes, we are kind of overwhelmed with all the house stuff right now. I guess I could cut myself some slack, but even before all this I was getting worried that we weren't really doing enough academically.<br><br>
The paperwork is for the new charter school. They are really cool about it, and our assigned "teacher" helps me convert it into "educationalese." But when I go to try to pick out one "core" educational thing we did that day, I can't help feeling like I've completely neglected his education.<br><br>
I really like the suggestion of having him write down questions, but that would next to impossible for him. He really struggles to write, uses only uppercase, and won't phonetically guess at any spelling - he always asks me how to spell things, despite my encouragement to have him try it on his own. In fact, his handwriting is one of the things that worries me.<br><br>
His reading is coming along, although I worry that he doesn't know a lot of "blends" like "gh", "sh", etc. His math is sporadic - he can count by 10s, talks about how two 50s make 100, etc., but has no concept of what a times table is or how to navigate through a math workbook.
 

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If I could offer some advice I would say choose one thing and work on it until it becomes a routine. (kind of like the flylady approach) So for example you can pick handwriting and be honest with yourself about when it is most likely to get done (after breakfast, before dinner etc) and then start. Have him copy out a line of poetry, write a line a day of a letter to his grandmother, write a question on a recipe card for Dad.<br><br>
Use tools that work for you. The voice recorder is a great idea.<br>
I send weird random questions to my husband via email and he will look up an answer and bring home printouts or explanations to discuss at dinner.<br><br>
I put books on hold at the library via computer at night - based on what the questions have been or on the topic of an upcoming field trip. It takes about 15 minutes at most and I get my husband to pick them up on his way home from work the next day.<br><br>
Put out something to explore on the table at night for the kids to discover in the morning - a math manipulative, a new game or puzzle from the thrift shop, a drawing you have started for them to finish, a new library book, the watercolours, the magnifying glass and seeds from your walk, montessori control cards you can print out for free. Talk about it over breakfast. Make up a list of 20 things that you could put out and that will give you a months worth.<br><br>
Use educational dvds for family movie nights to explore topics of interest. Use time in the car or after stories but before bed to listen to educational cds, books on tape, foreign language kids cds, world or classical music cds (Ann Rachlin's are great), Boomerang or science podcasts for kids.<br><br>
We're a field trip family so when we were just getting starting I would plan one field trip a week for just our family. I'd rotate through 3 favourites and one new one. When my kids were young we would visit our local museum, conservation areas we had passes to, library story time and I would try to find one new place or tag into another field trip happening through our larger group. Use the weekend to do something interesting as a family - hikes, galleries, festivals, concerts. Like a PP I sign up for lots of community resource newsletters and put stuff on the calendar so we have options.<br><br>
Over a little while you will find a rhythm emerging and you will be able to look at your days and find interesting things your kids are learning.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12381938"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">His reading is coming along, although I worry that he doesn't know a lot of "blends" like "gh", "sh", etc. His math is sporadic - he can count by 10s, talks about how two 50s make 100, etc., but has no concept of what a times table is or how to navigate through a math workbook.</div>
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He sounds like an average 7 yr old to me. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> My 6.5 yr old doesn't know some stuff yet either. She does not like to write, has issues in math, sometimes does good and other times acts like she has no idea what to do <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> and times tables? I wouldn't worry about that until he is a couple years older or not until he has grasped the concept of adding/subtracting first.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>oceanbaby</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12381938"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I really like the suggestion of having him write down questions, but that would next to impossible for him. He really struggles to write, uses only uppercase, and won't phonetically guess at any spelling - he always asks me how to spell things, despite my encouragement to have him try it on his own. In fact, his handwriting is one of the things that worries me.</div>
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Heh, that's why I suggested a voice recorder. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
My ds isn't really writing yet, either. He's at a similar point, will write things if I dictate the spelling but his patience for that only lasts a couple of words. Sure we're unschooling but I don't think it is out of the range of normal for a 7 yo boy, regardless.
 

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I agree with 4evermom - you do not have to answer every question he has. I think it's actually better to just let some things remain unknown. I mean, I don't know when money was invented either, and I can't explain what makes it windy. Those are fun things to think about, though.<br><br>
Answering every question implies that every question HAS an answer, and that's just not the case. I grew up thinking that grown-ups already knew everything and there was nothing new to discover. There's no sense of wonder in that, no urge to break new ground.<br><br>
I think you're putting too much pressure on yourself AND on him. He is not even 8 - he does not need to know what a times table is, or be able to read fluently. It sounds like he has an inquisitive mind, and that will get him much farther than memorizing 6x7, yk?<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile">
 

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First - I have so been where you are. I am just on an upswing right now. : )<br><br>
I have a cheap spiral notebook that each day I put the date on, and then jot down what we do that day. It has kind of inspired me to go back and actually see what he IS learning. Then I gain more momentum and we do more.<br><br>
So for example yesterday's notes were:<br><br>
Read a story about the life of a seed.<br>
Talked about roots, seeds, nuts.<br>
Drew pictures of a plant and root system in Nature Notebook.<br>
Read stories "Little i" and "Little v"<br>
Played Mancala<br>
Went to gym class<br>
Worked on his clubhouse out back!<br><br><br>
Just writing it down HELPS so much. I just keep the notebook open and in the kitchen and jot things down thru the day as we do it. I feel much more organized when I do that - mostly considering I didn't really have a plan in mind for yesterday either. Oh, and his "Nature Notebook" is just beginning - that plant picture is the first thing in there. If I hadn't written it all down, I would have felt like all he did was build his clubhouse all day long, since that was the bulk of his day!<br><br>
I guess one other thing I do is keep to a schedule as far as when/where we go out. We all know what days we go where and that helps us fall into a comfortable routine.
 

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The charter school that you belong to, you said they will buy curriculum for you?<br><br>
I would make choosing a curriculum a priority. Spend a week research one or two options a day and at the end of the week pick one. It sounds like you will be happier doing something rather than nothing. It sounds like you are fairly overwhelmed so maybe something that is easy for you to pick up & run with would be good, Sonlight, Calvert, Living books, Oak Meadow.<br><br>
Then when it arrives start small, for a week just do one subject a day, then for a week do two, and slowly build 'till you are doing the full schedule.<br><br>
I bet that after you get into a rhythm you will be much more able to tailor the education your son need to him.<br><br>
I understand being overwhelmed to a state of inaction, it happens to me when I let my world spin out of control. The important thing to do is pick a point and start there.<br><br>
How do you eat an elephant?? One bite at a time!<br><br>
Jesi<br><br><a href="http://www.theswirlingJ.blogspot.com" target="_blank">www.theswirlingJ.blogspot.com</a>
 

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I pretty much could've written your post oceanbaby<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"><br><br>
We moved 3 months ago and we moved into dh's grandma's house on top of a ton of stuff. I am also hypo. So for me I have learned not ot feel too guilty and to take it one day at a time. i cannot move in every single day. I cannot craft every day. I cannot do school/craft/learning type things with the kids everyday.(at least not directed by me) I think you should definitely let yourself move in, and stop stressing too much. I also tend to feel like I have to be a part of everything and get my hands dirtied in all sorts of stuff at once but that can't be healthy all the time.<br><br>
Today we had a day where I cooked a lot, and cleaned and did house things. Moving in more... The kids played imaginative games all day, helped me bake, and are playing Jumpstart. I definitely think this is ok because that is where we are at right now. The kids love computer games and I needed a day to work at home. So I won't feel guilty for not getting done everything that I had on my list. It's ok.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>nancy926</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12383090"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think you're putting too much pressure on yourself AND on him. He is not even 8 - he does not need to know what a times table is, or be able to read fluently. It sounds like he has an inquisitive mind, and that will get him much farther than memorizing 6x7, yk?<br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"></div>
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ITA. I also think some people tend to see more what is not there than what is. I think that's fine if you are aware of it. For example, Oceanbaby, when you looked through Rebecca Rupp's Year-by-Year book and posted about the few things he didn't know but didn't post all the things listed in the book that he did know about.<br><br>
Now, I'm not saying, oh you are such a negative person or anything! My DH is like this and he's not a negative person. For my DH, because DS is not reading, it overshadows all the other things DS does do and knows about. It's not negativity it's just that what is not there seems so much more important than what is there, simply because it's not there. If my DS was reading but couldn't add without using fingers, my DH would probably be focusing on that. This seems especially true when he has other stress in his life.<br><br>
Oh and your DS doesn't sound behind academically by any standards I know of. Is anyone making you feel that he's behind? Are you getting pressure from anyone? (if you feel like answering otherwise ignore my questions <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> )
 

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what about an online/computer based curriculum? i think there's one called time4learning?<br><br>
but, first, i think i'd sit down and decide whether you WANT to homeschool. is it really what you want? if so, then you can do it. you can find a way, a balance that will make you all happy.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 
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