View Full Version : OMG!!!! The first day was AWFUL!!!

08-22-2011, 10:25 AM
Help!! I am having a panic attack big time. This morning was a total nightmare. My 3 year old was just a terror even though I had all sorts of activities, my 6 year old said she was bored 15 minutes into it. They have been fighting and she even said she hates this home. She does not want to do any work and just kept saying "when it this going to be done so I can play" I was trying to read and my 3 year old would not stop singing and my oldest was just saying how bored she was. They have been completely and totally AWFUL today. Right now they are both in their rooms and I am just sobbing. I can't do this. :( I can't go through an entire year like this.

08-22-2011, 10:32 AM
Sending good vibes and virtual hugs your way. I don't have much advice, since I didn't start homeschooling my kids until middle school, but don't give up-like anything in life, there will be ups and downs. On HS'ing boards and blogs, you hear a lot of the good things about HS'ing, but everyone faces some tough times too-especially early on.

Maybe try starting with short periods and frequent breaks for your 6 year old?

08-22-2011, 10:44 AM
I have a six year old an 3 year old and from what everyone has told me, these are the HARD years. They are just so differnet in ability and interests. I really try to involve my 3 year old someway, somehow in what the 6 year old is doing. It does help to an extent. My 6 year old starts pushing back when he is confused, when he needs a snack or when he just has had enough. If you give an idea of the activities/set up you have I may be able to help.

Lots O' Boys
08-22-2011, 11:02 AM
Aww, sending you good vibes. EVERYONE has days like this. Don't give up, because tomorrow could be the complete opposite. Have you asked your oldest what she wants to focus on? Maybe take a day or two to just learn about things that she's really interested in and then you could start introducing some of the work back in. Or perhaps say that she can have 15 (or whatever) minutes of play time once she finishes a certain section of work? Just wanted to let you know that you are not alone. :)

08-22-2011, 11:19 AM
Take a deep breath and remember why you chose to homeschool. Next talk with your daughter and ask why she was bored, what she didn't like, this will give you an idea if its a different learning style that she may have. What if you asked her what she would like to learn about, or what subject she would like to start with... These are just some thoughts, also start into it slow, a little each day adding more and seeing how things go, She is only 6, so maybe even learning games mixed in with your plans would help. Good luck.

08-22-2011, 11:40 AM
If your open to the idea of your three old being on the computer, have you considered getting some of those Jumpstart games? My DD used to LOVE them(she started playing them at age 3) and they are highly educational. That would give the younger one something to do/keep them occupied while teaching the older one (?) Or possibly nap time? (My DD NEVER napped so possibly that is a no-go). Have you considered a computer-tutor for the 6 year old? Like say Time 4 Learning? I know some parents don't like to use the computer a lot to educate, but DD really learns well from it. Makes it into like a game. Have you scoped out Rebecca Rupp's book Home Learning Year by Year? Its very helpful, using a lot of books to learn about the different subjects. Take a breath......I know it seems awful today (I had quite a few days like that the first year) but it will get better. You just haven't found your groove yet..........

08-22-2011, 12:30 PM
Momofgrlz, sorry your first day was so rough. I think we've probably all been there...

My DS is younger than your DD so I don’t feel qualified to offer too much advice on how to keep her from being bored (though I think involving her in decision making process is a great idea). My DS is 3 (almost 4) so I can sympathize with the difficulty of working with that age. My best suggestion is to try different types of activities until you find what interests your 3 year old. Mine is all about short hands on activities. He also likes watching educational DVDs (Leap Frog Letter Factory, Bilingual Baby). If I give him headphones I can get 20 minutes of relative peace and quiet. You could also try books on tape. Some really like listening to music. If your DD is using a workbook program you could try getting your 3 year old his own preschool workbook so he feels like he is going school like a big kid. If your 3 year old still takes a nap (or you can reinstate “quiet time” in the crib with plenty of books/quiet toys), you could reschedule your 6 year old’s lessons to nap/quiet time.

One solution you may want to try to help with the “when are we done” problem is a workbox system. I use a variation (with folders instead of boxes because I don’t have space for boxes) and have heard quite a few hs parents say how much it has helped with this problem. I originally borrowed the idea from http://www.confessionsofahomeschooler.com/blog/2009/11/workbox-system.html (fyi, this blog as a whole is not secular). The blog has a link to the website for the official system and philosophy and there are a lot of variations out there on other blogs. In short you put all of your students work for the day into workboxes (or folders, or envelopes) with one subject/assignment per box. This way they know exactly what has to be accomplished for they day and when they will be done.

Keep trying until you find what works and good luck

08-22-2011, 12:39 PM
Aww, sorry to hear the day was not what you hoped for. Getting started is really, really hard. But like anything the more you do it the easier it becomes. You might need to adjust your expectations for a while until everyone becomes accustomed to the new schedule. Take it really slowly - don't feel like you have to do everything you've planned right at the beginning. Regroup and figure out what you can change for tomorrow and start all over again.

08-22-2011, 01:00 PM
My first year, my youngest was in 1st grade . . .he WANTED to be homeschooled, but still fought me a lot. It took a combination of him getting used to our schedule and used to the fact that this is not optional, and of me learning what he did like, both in subjects and styles. I didnt have a younger one of course. I would probably also try electronic media of some sort for the youngest when you REALLY need time with the older one. I'm curious what you were reading, that neither kid would pay attention? and what do the two of them do for fun?

08-22-2011, 01:04 PM
I'm so sorry you are having a rough start! I'd give advice, but I'm just a newbie myself. Sending you positive vibes and good wishes!

08-22-2011, 04:47 PM
So sorry that your day did not go well and *hugs*. Everybody here has some great advice, and I would have to agree with what they've already said. Here's hoping tomorrow will be better.

08-22-2011, 07:23 PM
Oh no! What an awful start. But, it can only get better from here--and it will.

I hope you have some brownie mix in the house tonight! You deserve it for sure. Here's to a better tomorrow.

08-22-2011, 07:24 PM
Thanks everyone. The day got better as it went on. We got out of the house and went to the library then rode bikes with the neighborhood kids. I think you all are right, we need to get into a grove then we should be much better. I will certanly take all these suggestions! Tomorrow she has "school" it's a university style schol for homeschool kids. She takes Spanish, math and art so hopefully that will help break up the day. I am just going to try and be patient.....and drink a LOT of wine. :)

08-22-2011, 08:43 PM
I'm right there with you! Today was our first day, and while I only have my son (5) to handle, he too was saying how bored he was almost as soon as we started. Talk about sapping my confidence! But we newbies can do this! One day at a time!

08-22-2011, 08:51 PM
I'm so sorry the day wasn't what you hoped. We haven't "officially" started yet, but we've been reading some books and doing related activities--I have a 6yo and 3 (almost 4) yo. One day a few weeks ago I had a day in which I planned to read the story and then do some great activities including making a cloud viewer and cutting out and labeling the different cloud types. It was horrible--the kids starting fighting about color of paper or something and then Lou (6yo) said she didn't want to do it and grudgingly pasted the clouds on her paper and said she was done. Then they started squabbling again and I sent them both to their rooms. It was a real bummer. BUT we've had many days that are really wonderful. Starting our first day, I'm going to have a schedule for the day laid out with fun activities (science experiment, snack, free time, playground, whatever) included so they know just what to expect and what to look forward to and I HOPE this will work. Good luck on Day 2!!

And yes, lots of wine!

08-22-2011, 09:16 PM
I think its their job to make everything difficult for us mommies (or daddies). It's the whole 'unconditional love' thing. They know we love them so they feel free and safe to push the limits as much as possible.

With that said...my 8 yo spent 2 hours sitting in his desk chair because for the first hour he was too stubborn to put pencil to paper. The next hour I made him wait for me while I worked with his sister. I wanted to scream. I wanted to shoot daggers with my eyes. Believe it or not he ended up saying "Mom, when is it going to be my turn again?" Kids. Sheesh.

08-22-2011, 09:52 PM
hugs from me too. the 3yr old makes things really really tough. I have one too ;) I use the computer for her. She loves starfall.com and "Boowa and Kwala" (I think the website is uptoten.com ). That'll easily keep her happy for 30min so I can sit and help my 7yr old.

I second the idea of the workboxes that someone suggested. I do this too. I use file folders too, not actual boxes on shelves. Each kid (even the 3yr old) has one. The 7.5yr old gets 3-4 subjects in it, the 5.5yr old just 2 subjects/day. The 3yr old gets some new activity worksheets, or playdoh mats or dry-erase-mats, etc. or cut/paste that keeps her pretty happy for a while. With the workboxes they really can see just how much they have to do before they can call it a day :)

08-22-2011, 09:54 PM
I think its their job to make everything difficult for us mommies (or daddies). It's the whole 'unconditional love' thing. They know we love them so they feel free and safe to push the limits as much as possible.

Yes yes yes. My kids are angels with others. With us...not always...

It'll get better, we promise. Sounds like it already did. Hang in there!

08-22-2011, 10:51 PM
Aww, sorry to hear the day was not what you hoped for. Getting started is really, really hard. But like anything the more you do it the easier it becomes. You might need to adjust your expectations for a while until everyone becomes accustomed to the new schedule. Take it really slowly - don't feel like you have to do everything you've planned right at the beginning. Regroup and figure out what you can change for tomorrow and start all over again.

YES!! gotta watch the expectations. My two daughters were much closer together in age so it made sense to do a lot of the same stuff. (when my oldest was 3, the youngest was 2). So it was mostly playing and hanging out. Doing some art, and playdough, etc. I used to have the idea that 1) homeschooling had to be done in the morning and 2) we had to do all that I had planned with only short breaks. Then I realized that didn't have to be true. Sometimes, in fact, if I am just sitting at my desk the girls will come in and ask to do school. I do use a curriculum, but it is supplemented with workbooks like phonics or handwriting that I can have one do while I am discussing with the other.

The other fun thing I found were word games, or any kind of games. I found them at teacher store. BUT, the great thing is that the little one could "do" the same thing as the older one but with basically you helping.

Ignore the boring comments, (as in don't give into the temptation to freak-out) because lets face it, school is boring. Unless, you make it fun. We decided to have a teacher, her name is MisS Pell. And my daughter talks to her like a teacher, as in tells her stuff she did at home!! Even asks me to go call her because she was ready for school. Miss Pell has a special hat, so we can tell when she's around. But when I broke the work into sections, and told them we were just going to do school for 30 minutes several times a day, they agreed to do that and we usually spend 60-90 minutes. Once they get into it they are okay. Sometimes though we end up only doing 15. I don't promise rewards, it was something we agreed upon in advance. We school at all sorts of different times, sometimes early, sometimes after lunch, sometimes at night but probably less so.

The problem I had with using video for one, was the distraction of the one not using computer or video. It actually sort of made it worse. They both wanted to watch. Best to include in the same thing.

Good luck. It seems like there are many days like this one. Remember to breathe!!!!!

08-23-2011, 12:12 AM
It is hard, especially with a pre-schooler. I used lots and lots of toys that were only for school time. Sets of blocks, pattern matching games, flannel boards, magnet boards, a leapster, etc........ I also tried to include him in discussion as often as possible. Getting into the routine will help you all. I'm glad the rest of your day was happy!

08-23-2011, 12:45 AM
I have a 5-year-old and 3-year-old so this year we will hardly be doing any curriculum type things (We are using this time as a pilot year for unschooling but don't tell my MIL). I'm thinking that when the going gets tough on the structured things we are going to do we will institute a lot of DEAGTTP (Drop Everything and Go to the Park).

08-23-2011, 08:08 PM
Ack, you remind me of myself one year ago. Starting out was so hard--I was exhausted and emotionally worn out every day for three or four months at least. It seems like you have lots of great suggestions already, so I will just say, hang in there! It will get much easier, I promise. Don't be afraid to drop what isn't working and try something new. And don't be afraid to take a break or put your three year old on the computer with Starfall, Time4Learning or some such or have some really cool toys you only get out when hsing. My younger son could be amazingly disruptive, it was really bad. I also tried to work with them together whenever I could. Oh, well, I guess I just gave you suggestions anyway, lol.

08-23-2011, 08:55 PM
I spent the first two months trying all kinds of different things: longer sessions, shorter sessions, longer days with more breaks, four days, five days... until I figured out what works best for us. The more time goes by, the more relaxed I am getting (only been homeschooling for four months). My son is eight, but I work with young children and have found that it generally goes more smoothly when I alternate frequently between very physical activity and sit-down activity. Try just going with the flow of what they want to do, and occasionally throwing in some structure when the moment is right.

Something that helped me a lot was an article I read by a mathematician. He did a study on how many hours are actually dedicated to learning (not just practicing) math during K-12. He figured that most people could learn all of it in an 8-week intensive course. Since math is what scares me the most, it was really comforting to read that. (wish I had the link to share)

With your 6yo you might want to try preparing work folders by subject, decorate them together (lots of stickers and glitter) and fill them proudly with completed worksheets as you go.

And remember not to take it personally when they don't like what you prepared, just use it as a cue to try something else and keep the creativity flowing.

Hope you had better day today!

08-24-2011, 01:50 AM
Ours are 2.5 years apart. ITA, at 3 and 6, these are the HARD years !

At this age I admit with no shame whatsoever that DS1 did school pretty much when DS2 was planted in front of a movie in another room, or not up yet or napping. I used the movies a lot. And some days we didn't start school until 2:30 when DS2 finally fell asleep, and kids would jump off the bus and knock on the front door to play at 3:10, so we had very little school time. I just snuck it in whenever I could manage it around the distractions that DS2 created and celebrated whatever progress we made each day.

08-24-2011, 03:12 PM
We are on day three and I think our day was the same. My son is 6.5 and very unfocused. Yesterday he told me I was a terrible parent and today he told me he was having a hard life. He cried off and on, complained, told me he wasn't doing his work, you get the picture. My daughter, 8, told me I was making homeschooling all about him because I didn't work with her as much. I inappropriately raised my voice on several occassions.

I have concluded that it will only get better as time goes on and they realize that this it it and this is what we ae going to do most everyday. I do ask what they like and don't like and I think we are going to make it a point to show Daddy every night what we did during the day. Momofgrls, give yourself a break and trust that it will get better. And then somedays it won't be so good. Just like child rearing in general. Hang in there!