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  1. #1

    Default Burnt Out and Needing Advice

    I am so burnt out and don't know what to do! We have been trying to adopt for a few years now and in May we finally welcomed three children into our family (ages 4, 5, and 6). We were not really prepared for three. We were only planning to adopt 1 or 2. However, in a last effort to find the kids a home where they would not be split apart they asked if we would be willing to meet the kids and we of course fell in love. We already had two biological kids aged 7 and 8. My two biological kids have been homeschooled their whole life. After the summer (wih 5 kids and no breaks), I felt the need to put as many kids in school as possible. I put the four youngest in private school and the oldest continued to be homeschooled due to severe learning disabilities. Our plan is to 'catch him up' as much as possible and put him in public school next year or after Christmas break. My 7 year old, who is now 8, is doing very well in school but hates it. It is affecting our relationship and causing ALOT resentment to the new kids. Before school she loved having the kids around. Now, she blames them for her going to school and being stressed out. She cries daily and lashes out at everyone. She used to be very easy going and agreeable. I already barely find time to get everything done while the kids are at school because I have to homeschool one kid. I really don't want to homeschool her also. I'm in over my head (not in a bad way) as it is without adding too it. I thought of putting her in public school because it is academically easier, has more recess, and does not require uniforms. She has over an hour of homework every night (sometimes she has over two hours) and it stresses her out. I plan on outsourcing to get a house keeper or a regular sitter so I'm not so overwhelmed and can enjoy our family a bit more. Our new kids have many issues that needs to be worked out that is overwhelming in itself (like a 4 year old that's not potty trained, a 5 year old that's still working on using the potty, and a now 7 year old that has severe behavioral problems like compulsive lying and stealing). The most important thing is her happiness and having good relationships with her family members. Maybe, I should homeschool her until next school year and then put both of my homeschooled kids in public school next year. They are I the same grade so it may be an easier adjustment. I just want everyone to be happy. It feels much more complicated than it sounds! I feel like I'm going crazy! Any advice?

  2. T4L In Forum May
  3. #2
    Senior Member Evolved RTB's Avatar
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    You have so much going on! BIG Hug.

    What are your thoughts / feelings about homeschooling everyone with a focus on strengthening relationships and keeping academic expectations very low? Not academically low forever, but just while the dust of transition settles.
    Rebecca
    DS 11, DD 9
    Year 5

  4. #3

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    Wow, what a huge change for your family!
    It sounds like you are overwhelmed, and all the kids are suffering now.
    If youre done with homeschooling, you could put all the kids in school then go on with the rest of your life. Is having some kids in school helping, really?
    Or you could bring the kids back home, and work as you did over the summer, and find some time for you to get relief, and them to get over the trauma of being placed in a new family. Do unit studies, learn about Australia, the Ancient Greeks, The Nubian Empire, Bones of the Human Body, whatever sparks your interest. Do it with all the kids, as a family event. Read Roald Dahl books to all of them as your literature. Make the schooling part as easy as possible. Healing wounds is more important than naming the parts of a flower on a worksheet. Their college futures wont be jeopardized by not moving on to fractions in 3rd grade. Send them all to the park with the babysitter in the afternoons to get you some alone time. Eat frozen lasagne for dinner, Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches in the morning. Dress in front of the clothes dryer. Let things get a little dusty. Tell hubby that unless the house is on fire or hes taking one of the kids to the hospital, youre not to be disturbed for the two hours after dinner.
    You have to make the time for yourself, or you will drown.
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  5. #4

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    Hugs!

    How stressful to have all of these changes. I would agree with homeschooling to strengthen family bonds, work on emotional issues and maybe some learning. But I would play games for learning, read, do art and other fun activities. Emotional learning is just as important, if not more important, than other kinds of learning, IMO.

    For different reasons, I am spending more time on emotional issues at home with DS who is 8. I have lightened the academic load at home and we are making progress on the emotional front. He is still learning, but we are much happier this way.
    Choosing Our Own Adventure with DS 9
    Global Village School - Supporting our desire to teach social justice and global awareness
    http://chooseourownadventures.blogspot.com

  6. #5
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    Can you take all the kids out and put them in an afternoon program/daycare instead? Then have your husband pick them up from work on his way home. That will give you at least 3 hours a day alone.
    DS- 14 10 grade FLVS, 2 co-ops, volunteering

  7. #6

    Default

    This is so tough. Congratulations on your new kids. Hugs for getting through your adjustment.

    Overall, I think you're going to have to do whatever works for the majority and you. And you'll have to make compromises and you should forgive yourself for them and know that the overall effort and love you're giving the kids is what matters in the long run, even though there will be bumps in the road.

    But... just in terms of your 8 yo and her struggles... and feel free to disregard if you need to make other decisions...

    Hours of homework every night for an 8 yo is NOT developmentally appropriate. And it hasn't been shown to help kids academically either. I wouldn't be putting down a ton of money for a school that isn't serving her. More work =/= more learning/academically rigorous, ESPECIALLY in elementary school.

    Usually, I think if you're going to give it a try, you give it a real try, which means at least until Christmas. But I'd pull her based on that alone and put her in the public school. Or if there's a better private school option. Honestly, if they're in the same school, I might pull the younger kids too. Private schools are typically not good places for kids who have challenges unless they're schools that are specifically serving kids with challenges. But I don't know what the challenges are, so that could be wrong and I don't know what sort of school it is and why you chose it... I just am aware that many parents idealize private schools as "better" - and while they can be (I used to be a private school teacher and dean - I think private schools can do great things for kids) I'm also aware that many have deep failings, especially for certain sorts of kids.

    If you leave her there, I'd definitely stop making her do any homework. Again, studies show it doesn't have any affect on kids before high school. The only things that have a positive statistical effect on kids are things like independent reading time, not "homework."
    Disclaimer: Everything I'm saying is just my own opinion, based on my own experiences teaching and with my own kids and my own life. You should just ignore me if I'm annoying you. I don't mind.

    But if I don't annoy you, feel free to visit my blog:
    http://farrarwilliams.wordpress.com
    Children's Books, Homeschooling and Random Musings...

  8. #7

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    Congratulations on your adoption. My DH and I are foster parents with hopes to adopt.

    Your kids (bio and adopted) have undergone a huge transition and it's normal for them to struggle regardless of the homeschooling issue - however it sounds like that is just one more transition your bio daughter has had to endure as she has always been homeschooled before. That is not to say she cannot get through it and adjust, but needs to be acknowledged as adding to her stress level (not stress in terms of school, but stress in terms of her whole life changing.)

    We have only fostered infants (mostly newborns) up until now, but our last placement went home a few weeks ago, and we are seriously considering with our next placement taking a sibling group of a baby and preschool-ish age child. I've been seriously considering how I would handle school for the older child. My first instinct (like yours) was that the child should go to pre-school or Head Start. Like you I homeschool my DD because of learning issues which require pretty constant 1:1 work - she can't do much independently. However upon further reflection I started thinking that home-schooling would be better.... It would be better for the child in terms of attachment and bonding with me, not having to immediately deal with the addition of a new school, teacher, other kids, in addition to the change in home and family that has been so traumatizing already. Also having to deal with the logistics of public school (or Head Start) like drop-off, pick-up, sending this to school, volunteering for that, etc. on top of homeschooling, almost seems like the worst of both worlds.

    I agree with the above poster that said to consider homeschooling all the children, and spend the first six months, or even whole first year, really focusing on attachment, and building relationships with some gentle educational opportunities. Reading all together, games, songs, etc. They are all so young that no permanent damage will be done by a less productive year. For your 8 year old you may want to set aside a little more time for focused learning so as not to fall further behind. Combined with a sitter for regular breaks, it may actually reduce your stress. And with just the little bit of information you've shared, may make the transition easier for all the children. Of course, I know there may be more to the story....

    On the other hand - the school year is still young. If you really feel that school is the best place for your children, I would stick it out at least for the year. Give all of them a chance to adjust. I don't see how another transition to another new school will help your DD. However, a frank conversation with your DD teacher about the changes in your family, and the things your DD is dealing with is likely in order. Part of that conversation should definitely include the fact that except for 15-20 minutes of reading time, you will have to limit homework to no more than 15 minutes per evening (that is more than enough for a second grader IMO). What's going to happen if she doesn't have all the homework?

    Good luck with all of your kids. Even though it's not easy and will sometimes even seem unbearably hard, you have brought a wonderful blessing (meant in the most secular way) of love, permanency and family to these children, and they in turn will bless you, your bio children and your DH. However you decide to proceed, just take it one day at a time.

  9. #8

    Default

    I will sing with the choir and recommend HOMEschooling rather than homeSCHOOLing.

    Learning to be a family is more important than learning the multiplication tables or the alphabet. Try not to feel guilty about outsourcing housecleaning and food preparation to save your time and energy for your kids. Considering the ages of your littles, it might be well worth getting a storage unit for anything valuable, breakable, family heirlooms or other sentimental items, for awhile.

    My youngest is 8 and I've been amazed at what he can suddenly almost magically do after a long, long summer break with no academics, just a bit of patience for maturity with fine motor co-ordination and for him to become a more fluent reader from wanting to know things that interested HIM, like the storylines of comic books and how to install mods in Minetest.

    Over two hours of homework after a full school day may be "normal" by 2016 standards, but it doesn't sound developmentally appropriate, is not something that was expected of me in 1973 or something I expected of my older kids in the '90s, and doesn't sound like much of an improvement over reading books and making up stories for younger siblings (Language Arts), folding and putting away laundry, setting the table, and helping with meal prep (Math) and other ways she could and would learn basic skills in the course of day to day life as a new big sister.

    My bigs went to high school, but during the course of homeschooling they were frequently ahead or behind of what was being taught in the schools and it wasn't any big deal.

    What you have done is amazing and unusual. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for keeping those siblings together and please do whatever it takes to take care of yourself so that you can continue take care of them.
    I am not a robot.

    Neither are any of my kids.

    homeschooling ds9
    homeschooled dd28 (Grad student, UC Berkeley, Philosophy) and ds25 (Spc. in US Army, deployed, Operation Spartan Shield)

  10. #9

    Default

    I'm going to have to agree with the rest as well. If you are already doing the work of homeschooling 1, while the others may add some work on, with getting everyone up, ready, dealing with homework, additional stress of school, I'd have to say pull them. First, your daughter has given up her place as the youngest in the family, is sharing her family and her home with more siblings, and then had to give up her school (and her time with mom) for additional stress. I don't really blame her for acting out.

    Is it possible you could take the money that is going towards private school, and hire a nanny a few hours a week? Homeschool the kids, but have a nanny a few hours a week to give you time to do errands without the kids, do some housework, or just have some "me" time? (Our zoo has a nanny membership option, so you could always purchase something similar and have a zoo day or something once a week)

    Honestly, I'd focus less on school work and more on learning and adjusting. Field trips to the zoo, children's museums, local farms, library trips, etc. Watch some educational videos, play some games, learn to cook, read books, and just chill some.

  11. #10

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    Congrats on the new additions to your family! Sounds like you have everyone's best interest at heart! Just from what I've read, I would seriously consider homeschooling your daughter again. That would give her and your son some time with just you as they adjust to their new family. In a time of transition, any familiar surroundings and traditions (such as they were both homeschooled before the adoption) should help make for a harmonious family unit. Maybe you could have some domestic help as well with a babysitter and/or housekeeper. I think you're doing great by trying really hard to help everyone

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Burnt Out and Needing Advice