View Full Version : Ok, I seem to have hit a wall and need some advice :(

02-15-2011, 12:17 PM
So, I have been homeschooling my DS (5 yrs old) since January. We are doing Kindergarten. I was really enjoying myself and so was my son until about a week ago. Firstly, we all got sick with the flu and could not do schoolwork at all last week. Then, my son (who is VERY active and honestly has been very hard to raise, in general) had bad behaviour all weekend (I would assume it was because he had been cooped up all week in the house). So, this week should have been our week to get back into the swing of things, but we are STUCK in a funk :(. For the first time since we started homeschooling, I am wondering almost DAILY if it wouldn't just be easier and better for him to go to PS. My conviction against PS is still strong but the temptation is that there is a schedule of events throughout the day. Spelling , library, reading time, lunch, etc. I am a scatterbrain by my own admission and do not schedule things well (or I do, and then I lose it the next day and go back to old ways). I am working hard on this, but do not feel it is very natural for me to be very organized :rolleyes:. I have a hard time even planning meals, grocery store runs, weekend activities and even holidays/vacations. I guess I am just immature, but ANYHOO, my son deserves to have some regularity in scheduling and part of me thinks I will never be good at that.

I think I may just be emotional this week. I just moved to a new town and do not know a single soul. My husband is at work all day and the only place I get any time with other adults is at the gym and of course I don't really talk to strangers while running on the treadmill ;). My 2 boys (5 and 1.5) drive me nuts at least a few times a week and I think I just need some reassurance that this too will pass. Thanks for reading my loooooong story.

02-15-2011, 12:19 PM
I should add something here: I would be soooooo much better at keeping the schedule I want in if my toddler was not ALWAYS trying to interrupt and constantly climbing on things and not napping!! Does anyone share the frustration of having a toddler in the middle of everything? Thanks!

02-15-2011, 12:34 PM
It sounds like you are having a bad week. And a bad month. These things happen even if your kids are at school. My daughter, when in high school, had the flu for a week, went back to school unable to fully rest/recover, and had a relapse. Be gentle with yourselve. If it takes a week to get back in the swing of things, or two . . . make it up over the summer. no biggie.

02-15-2011, 12:50 PM
My younger one is 3 1/2 and she still regularly makes school almost impossible to get done. Today she is definitely in a mood and has spent about 1/2 the morning screaming.

We don't keep much of a schedule. I wish I could but I'm not really wired that way and I find with young kids the schedule gets thrown out the window too often. Then it makes me feel bad so I just don't do it.

You didn't mention if your son is a young 5 or an older 5 (not that it matters that much). My son is 5 1/2 and he's always been a bit of a handful as well. He went to Early Intervention from 3 to 4 (for speech) and they told me the school didn't want him back for kindergarten until he was 6 (he even drove them crazy). On those days (weeks, months) where things just aren't coming together for one reason or another, I give up on our regularly scheduled curriculum and we play games, read books, watch videos (all educational of course ;-) ) and just relax. Most states don't require kindergarten and all they do learn there is letters, letter sounds and to count to 10. Easy enough to cover with fun activities and games.

We do school year round just because I find any long break where we are completely unstructured makes it harder to get back into a routine.

02-15-2011, 01:40 PM
Oh mama, give yourself a break! We all know how overwhelming weeks/months/seasons like that can be, but they do pass. I promise! :)

You might ask yourself why you feel a schedule at this time is so important. As "big" as kindergarten might feel right now, it really isn't something that needs your daily attention; it should be mostly play anyway (unless your son craves more--mine did). I don't know many people who have managed to keep much of a schedule with young ones either, so maybe this isn't the season in your life to be worrying about it. Enjoy the baby, enjoy your young son: sing, dance, make messes together, read lots and lots, play with letters and numbers, take nature walks, and have fun! To meet people with kids his age, look into library story time and rec center classes; very often there are plenty of opportunities that are free or low cost. Maybe your local parks have programs, or a science center or museum if you have one. And of course, look into local homeschool groups.

Some kids really do need schedules--mine has been that way since birth--but most prefer a lot more flexibility. Take this time to explore your new surroundings together and not worry so much about "school work"--real life will teach him anything he would learn in a kindergarten classroom anyway.

Best of luck! :)

02-15-2011, 02:58 PM
My kids are a bit younger, but I can relate (I think). We started homeschooling last fall and I can't even remember what happened, but we hit a wall too after just a few weeks. I vaguely remember being pretty sick in October so maybe that was the wall. We even tried preschool for a couple of months after what I thought was a homeschool fail. I am disorganized and schedules make me twitchy. I was trying to do letter of the week and it just stressed me out.

I have a perpetually teething almost 2 year old and a 3.5 year old. I'm not even going to try anything official or a curriculum. We're just playing, going outside, doing arts and crafts and such. They both know colors, shapes, letters, etc. They'll be fine ;) I think it takes a while after they are sick to get back to normal. My oldest picked up a nasty bug from preschool in January and he was a turd for weeks!

02-15-2011, 03:36 PM
Sounds like regular ol' life with young kids ;-) We have subjects we work on and a loose guideline (i.e math 4x a week, grammar 2x a week), but an actual schedule would be impossible around here right now...the little ones just need too much one on one time with me still. I'm assuming that will be easier when everyone's older, but right now, the 3 year old swings between wanting to sit down and work too and being noisy, interrupting and generally wreaking havoc. Some days we get a lot done and some days I throw up my hands and tell everyone to just go play. We started last summer and we are starting to find our groove though, so give it some time ;-)

02-15-2011, 11:07 PM
Sounds like normal to me. It is usually pretty hectic here, although it is getting better now. This last year I just focused on handwriting and learning to read. If that was all that got done, I have no guilt. If we got to more fantastic. My daughter is almost 3 and matured massively over the year. She now demands her own "handwriting" papers that she can scribble on and color. I have planned to do almost every thing with her next year that her brother is doing, at her level though.

Year before last when she was 2, I only worked with my son when she was asleep. The only way she took a nap was for all of us to crawl into bed, and wait for her to fall asleep. Then Quince and I would sneak out. ;-)

When she was one, I would pin her in the high chair, and give her toys.

It really does get better !

02-16-2011, 08:35 AM
When DS was born, DD was 3.5, so I had them both home for two years. Scheduling was impossible. I just got in some play/educational things with DD when I could, which wasn't very often. I was also very stressed...about leaving my job, about finding 'me' time, etc.

Looking back, I wish I hadn't allowed myself to get so stressed. I wish I just enjoyed it more.

Good luck, and don't stress! :)

02-16-2011, 08:56 AM
My son is 2 and my daughter is 6. We've been unschooling since the end of December because we just moved into a new house in a new city that I'm not familiar with. I completely understand your frustrations and feelings. Try to take it all in stride though. You've been homeschooling since January, so don't be hard on yourself. It took my family over a year to get a decent schedule going. We've been at it for 3 years now and there are still days where my daughter doesn't want to do lessons, my son draws on the walls with crayons and I drink 5-6 cups of coffee just to stay awake. LOL. You are NOT alone!

02-16-2011, 09:18 AM
Three cheers for the crazy boys! Mine is definitely one of those (some days he's like three of those!). When we took 11 days off school work at Christmastime, the first few days back in January were really hard. We did really short lessons and built back up to our normal amount of work.

We don't have a schedule. We squeeze in short periods of school in between long periods of play throughout the day. I have a mental list of what needs to get done each day and a written list for the week, but nothing scheduled for a specific time. Works for us.

02-16-2011, 12:01 PM
Bumps in the road happen. Frequently. We've been at it for about a year and a half now and while the ride is smoother, there's the occasional pothole of a week or even month, especially during the winter when schedules can get messed up by the weather depending on where you live. And when we add a kindergartner next school year (he's in PS pre-K right now), I'm sure the bumps will occur again for a while. But there's no homeschool police that will swoop in and judge you a horrible teacher and order your kids back to school. Take it in stride and realize it gets better, just like everything else does. You can do it.

02-16-2011, 12:11 PM
When mine were little like yours, school was very hit or miss. Since mandatory school age is not until they are 6 in Texas, I just went with the assumption that anything before age six was bonus material. LOL
I say it is time for a field trip! Go to the zoo or a museum or something fun and then come home and do an activity related to it.

02-16-2011, 07:24 PM
Don't forget you just started and your child is still very young! It takes time to get into a good routine that works for everyone.
Try to find something fun to do, go explore your neighborhood or something like that, even if it's just for an hour or so. Or if you are not feeling up to going out yet, then have something fun at home, like pretend you're having a picnic in your living room (with a big blanket and picnic food!), or make a tent inside, get some low rubbermaid type containers and fill them with rice/beans, add scoops, cups, etc..something different and fun!

For the part about scheduling, try with something small at first. Maybe just schedule a 15 minute "lesson time" with your older son every morning, whenever it seems to fit..after breakfast, or when everyone is washed/dressed..you'll know when it could work. You could choose to do something together like tracing letters, colouring a page, reading a book to him, whatever..it's more about getting used to a scheduled event. Write it on a calendar and try to stick with that for the next month. Starting small might be the best way. Baby steps ;)

02-16-2011, 08:13 PM
Here's a little something to make you giggle. I can certainly relate:

I have so been where you are. Homeschooling with babies & toddlers should win you a trophy. My suggestions would be to scale back on your expectations of what needs to get done and only attempt school work when the littlest is napping.

02-17-2011, 09:10 AM
Oh yeah, don't stress on Kindy. Trust me, I went crazy our first year because our state req. a certain amount of hours & to do that we have to hit at least 4 hours, 5 days a week year 'round. Take out sick days, vacation, etc... & it is closer to 5 hours.

After about 2 months of 5 hour days we both went nuts. I was stressed running back & forth between my Kindy child & my toddler who was POd that I couldn't drop everything the second he wanted me. We took a break, lots of field trips, started checking out more audio books & videos and relaxed. The audio books allowed me to work on other things while they were listening & quietly playing. They loved to play with Legos while listening to books & I could throw in some laundry or make dinner & not feel guilty for "Not Doing School".

We're in our second year & it is so much easier. One, because my son is a year older & used to the routine of schooling. Plus, he actually wants to be a bit more involved (some days, lol) so he does hands on projects with us &, of course, participates in reading time. Next school year I'm going to do "circle time" to start the day & let my then 3rd grader lead my preschooler through the calendar, weather, etc... while I watch on & drink my coffee (while it is still hot!!). This way it doesn't feel too babyish for her, it involves them both and they are both learning new skills. She will have to learn how to lead a (small) group, he will learn about the calendar, weather & how to listen quietly (ha!).

Take a breath. Take it slow. Enjoy it!

02-17-2011, 11:10 AM
Here's a little something to make you giggle. I can certainly relate:

I have so been where you are. Homeschooling with babies & toddlers should win you a trophy. My suggestions would be to scale back on your expectations of what needs to get done and only attempt school work when the littlest is napping.

Thank you Melissa for the uplifting and hilarious article! I love it and will be passing it on.

02-17-2011, 11:15 AM
I love all these posts of advice!! Thank you to every one of you. Now if I could only find some friends here to talk and meet up with :( I belong to a homeschool co-op that meets Fridays, so I am going to give serious effort to making some new friends! Thank you!!

02-17-2011, 11:28 AM
Great idea on having the older one lead the younger. I'd dropped calendar time but might have to pick it up again this way. Thanks!

02-17-2011, 01:26 PM
I only have 1 kiddo - but he is a very active, high needs 5yo. We don't have much of a schedule here either. ANd that is without any other kiddos factored into the mix!

We are doing K too, have been since the fall. I have found AM to be the best time for both of us - so we spend a half hour (at the most) learning over our breakfast. After 11, he is needing to expend energy and just can't sit still. Afternoons he is too cranky. I schedule all our activities for late morning and afternoon :) I will sneak in more "school" during the day thru our choices of games, TV/movies, or computer time. Fluff TV or computer time is RARE in this house (for many reasons). In the fall we really struggled cuz I wanted to spend more time learning stuff - he didn't want to sit at the table. I have read in many places since that 15-20 minutes per activity is a good expectation for this age. If he can get thru a math worksheet, we take a break and do an art project or build with blocks or play a specific educational computer game. For my guy, I focus on alternating math and phonics as daily "must haves" with everything else being "extra." Doing math AND phonics every day was too much for him to handle though.

We fall into the unschooly category a lot. It just works better for both of us to be perfectly honest. We both need the flexibility.
I have curricula that I loosely use for inspiration and activities, but otherwise I have given up on it being used as intended at this point. I focus on learning games - it gets his attention and cooperation and he LEARNS. Like today we play a card game for math and played with making words with letter tiles. DONE. He will play some educational computer games later and help me cook. We read ALL THE TIME.

He does really really well like this. Just absorbs so much thru reading and thru play. Blows my mind how much he is learning without any formal sitdown instruction/workbooks/etc

K is so basic, they can learn so much just thru play - I take advantage of that! :)

Also - does your little one nap at all during the day? That could be great time to get some school time in there - whether it be at the table, playing games, or just reading one-on-one. Hang in there - you are definitely not alone!

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
02-24-2011, 01:52 PM
We have a 6 year old and a 4 year old. We started really young 'teaching' them. At 1 year we put crayons in their hands and let them draw. this came in very handy when I am trying to teach my older one something and she really needs my full attention. She has been more self directed and on line learning these days. However we still do some things that require planning and actually doing. You know they still need to learn how to write. So during these times my youngest has gotten used to being able to do her own writing. Everything that you are trying to teach your oldest you can adept to meet your youngest ability. Even if it is having them draw or write letters while your oldest is writing in his/her journal.