View Full Version : We've Lost Our Mojo

12-14-2011, 12:39 PM
Until a couple weeks ago, our first year of homeschooling was going quite well. Everyone was excited and committed to making it work. The curriculum and routine was doing an excellent job of meeting our needs. Yes, we had the scheduling struggles and push back that are expected from children but we pushed through and landed on our feet. Then my boyfriends son (22 yrs. old) moved in with us. He's currently camping in our living room and is lacking serious motivation (as in just climbed off the couch at 11 am). It is causing some friction between BF and I, not to mention, screwing up Julia and Sarah's normal morning routine. Messing with Julia's routine is never a good thing! One week after him moving in, someone broke into our house via Julia's bedroom window. She refused to sleep in her room for a week afterwards. She's sleeping there now but is still terrified someone's going to break in again and hurt her. Christmas is nearly here and I have yet to put up our Christmas tree, haven't wrapped a single gift, or baked a single cookie. To top it all off, we all have colds. School is non-existent right now. Yes, I've handed them a couple of math papers and a sight word packet. Yes, they are still playing educational games on the computer but that's it. We haven't cracked open our grammar book or any other book for that matter in a couple of weeks. We are so messed up right now. Today, I finally through my hands in the air and told them school was done until after New Year's Day. I'm hoping that a nice long break will allow us the time we need to get things figured out and get back on track. I'm not overly concerned about them getting behind or anything. They do plenty of learning without me. My concern is meeting the 180 days required by the state. As of now we'll have to go up to the last day to get them all in. I know someone here is going through a rough patch. Care to share?? Hearing I'm not the only one would be so reassuring right now.

12-14-2011, 12:48 PM
We've been having a rough patch, too. My kids are not as far through their material as I would like them to be, but I'm sure we'll catch up before the end of the year.

As far as the 180 day thing-does your state have specific requirements as to what is taught each day? If not, perhaps you could count time spent on educational games, have them watch some educational videos and TV during this break period, so you don't lose all those days?

Hang in there. There are ups and downs in home education, as in everything else. Changes in routine can be tough, but eventually a new balance generally starts to settle in.

12-14-2011, 01:16 PM
PA requirements state they must have instruction in the 3 R's, music, art, phys ed, PA History/History, and Science. I know we'll be alright and pull through this. We've been through much worse than this. It's the timing of the whole mess that sucks!!

12-14-2011, 01:36 PM
wow that's alot going on! and I don't blame your dd for not wanting to sleep in her room! I wouldn't either. Could you put an extra safety device on her window to make her feel safer? I was oddly terrified of someone breaking in through a window when I was a kid, and I had no real reason to be. I could see that really hanging on to bother a kid. I think it's a good idea to just take a break till the new year. I'm ready to do that as well, and I haven't had any major things going on here!

Can you be creative with your records for the 180 days? Kids in school have movie days and game days, etc, so tehre's no reason our kids shouldn't. I just write it creatively in my log ;) Kinda like writing a resume, LOL. Anything can be written to sound more schooly than it really was, yet still not be lying! :)

12-14-2011, 02:18 PM
I'm sorry you are having a rough time of it right now. You definitely have a full plate. We are going through a rough patch right now, too. I have been doubting my curriculum choice for this year. It just isn't working. But I don't have the energy, motivation nor the finances to re-invent the wheel at this point. I just want to kick back and do relaxed homeschooling- like reading and narrations, and letting the kids choose topics to explore more in-depth. But I'm too afraid of short-changing their education. Idk, it's a constant battle in my head right now. As a result, I feel like our studies are so disjointed and unorganized. Arghhhh...

Like you, we are ready to take a break for the holidays. Maybe the time away will bring more clarity for us both. :)

12-14-2011, 03:14 PM
If your daughter is afraid to sleep in her room and you have a houseguest in the living room - could you switch things around? Move your daughter's bed into her sister's room? Give your boyfriend's son an air mattress on the floor of the bedroom. Getting him out of the living room might go a long way in reducing stress.

12-14-2011, 04:13 PM
I purchased a window alarm for her and it did help but she has to have the light on and the door needs to stay open at all times. I can live with that. We are constructing an extra room in the basement for BF's son but it's a slow process because he's not helping during the day and BF works full-time day shift. He's tired by the time he gets home but we've been plugging away at it slowly. The frame is done finally. Now, comes the electrical and insulation, followed by drywall and it's done. I've been bitching that I want it done before Christmas morning. He will not be sleeping on the couch come Christmas morning. I don't care where he is, so long as it's not on the couch while my girls are enjoying Christmas morning!! I've decided to take another look at our curriculum as well. What we are using now is working but it's very labor intensive for me. I've been logging all kinds of hours just prepping this stuff. Grab and go sounds so good right now. I'm thinking of doing some Intellego Units, if for no other reason than curiosity.

12-14-2011, 04:50 PM
I'm sorry things are so hard right now. I hope your extra room gets done SOON. I know the change to our life/schedule would get my dd rattled something fierce. At the moment we're off course, too, for various reasons. The time intensive stuff has been shunted off to the side. We're doing Daily Grams, piano practice, and listening to audio books. Oh, and science videos from the library - bring it, Bill Nye!! And that's it.

As for the 180 day bit... I second the creative record keeping. Think about all you do in a day/week/month as a homeschooler - I'm sure you've gone above and beyond any ps requirements. Do what you need to do.

12-14-2011, 06:23 PM
cant you continue the 180 days in july, tho? its 180 days some time during hte calendar year, not just from sept to june, right?

12-14-2011, 08:28 PM
I completely understand your struggle. We have the 180 days thing as well.

I had a weird conversation with a ps'er recently. He told me the school says 175 for them, and he's 60 days in or something. Sounded like it came directly from the teachers. It was sort of a weird WHAT?? moment for me.. why an extra 5 days for homeschoolers?

I'm not sure this will help you but here's where I'm at: any day my kids read and do some math I count it. My state reqs say they have to have the basic subjects, yet when I pulled them out my ds's knowledge of sci stopped after solids and liquids in first grade. There was no 'health' there that I ever saw. Music appears to have been about teaching them a few songs and calling it good. Math was all over the place (teaching multi concepts without teaching add/sub ones). Whatever you PS! And our review teacher told me that if we went to church, it counts.

Well.. we don't go to church LOL. But we do far more 'learning' in any given day than a church trip. So any day they read something, do some math in some capacity, learn something sciencey, and talk to me about anything (ss) counts for the 180days. I don't consider those days the actual learning we do for homeschooling, just what we need for that requirement. Per our reviewing teacher, we don't have to say what learning took place (so no 'creativity'needed), just have a list of dates and checkmarks.

Otherwise, I have my own agenda for the year. I know where I want the kids to be when our year ends in May/June. THAT'S where the learning takes place. That doesn't mean I'll quit teaching if we finish it up, but I'm not going to feel guilty anymore for days like today.. when my specific list didn't get done, but lots of learning still took place.

I struggle a bit.. those *&$%$ 180 days! But I agree with everyone else.. kids in ps have days where they learn absolutely nothing. Unschoolers count days that don't include a phonics page or sit-down math work. ps counts substitute teacher days, and sick days (think about it.. your child would have makeup work but would NOT go to school an extra day for every day they were sick), movie days. I'm much stricter with my kids' learning than our ps ever was, so if I want to count an 'easy' day as part of the 180, so be it. Quality of education is not determined by a magic number of sit-at-the-table days.

12-14-2011, 10:16 PM
As it's PA, I assume she can't carry over into the summer because PA sucks.

Can't you just fake it though? It does seem like what's right here would be to muddle through, fill out and fudge what you can for the regulations and not let it be an additional stress. Then add more days later in the year and catch up later on. That's really a lot of change and craziness to come into your home.


12-14-2011, 11:09 PM
I agree with the creative counting of days. It's amazing the amount of non-curriculum stuff they do in public schools.

If you discuss, read books or do crafts for any holidays - that's social studies.
If you play music, sing carols - that's music.
If you do any crafts, paint, color, etc. - that's art.
If you/they read a book at bedtime - reading.
If they play games on the computer or watch shows on tv - it could be math, reading, science or whatever depending on what they play/watch.
Go to the playground, take a hike or walk around the neighborhood - it's PE and could be science if its a nature walk.

12-14-2011, 11:30 PM
or, um, creatively report on days that you will make up in the summer . . .

12-15-2011, 07:55 AM
I agree, be creative when "counting" school days! I volunteered in ps last year and was astonished at the wasted time. If the kids got 15 minutes of instruction in an hour, that would be a miracle! So much chaos, disruption, set-up, clean-up and NOISE. Our state requires 180 days of 4.5 hours of " instruction". There is no way that much instruction occurs in ps.

Houseguests are always disrupting - hope that situation gets resolved.

12-15-2011, 08:34 AM
Yes, I hope the house guest issue gets resolved soon as well. It wouldn't be such a horrible thing if he was even slightly motivated to improve his situation. But, his dad (my BF) is on a major guilt trip over things that happened years ago and the boy is milking it for all its worth. It's tough to watch and I see our bank account dwindling fast. Not to mention, the extra work for me(laundry, etc). Blah, it's a terribly frustrating situation. I intend to pull out papers and start our portfolio process today. Maybe a look back at what we've accomplished will make me feel better and help me find a way to get creative to cover the last couple of weeks. I told the kids that if nothing else gets accomplished today, I want to review spelling (AAS),finish up our math lesson (MUS), and I want them to read to me for a little while. Then we'll do some baking and put up our tree.

I told BF last night, if he wants to venture into the land of guilt with his son, then so be it but they'll have to get the hell out of my way. Enough is enough!! On the upside, the police called last night and it turns out the 15 yr old girl we had suspected of breaking into our home confessed. She refuses to tell anyone where our stuff went but at least we know who it was and can rest a little easier knowing she won't be doing it again. It's sad really. The girl lives 2 houses down from us! We'll be installing security cameras next month to ward of any future intruders.

As far as the 180 days go, I'll get creative. I've gotten pretty good at pulling things from thin air. The girls were playing yesterday and were planning a trip to New Mexico. I had them show me where it was on our map. Then, I asked which city they intended to visit and we found it on the map. I asked a bunch of questions and left them to play. Geography lesson in less than 5 minutes! Have I mentioned how much I absolutely love home schooling!!! Farrar, you're so right, PA regulations suck! Conformity was never one of my strengths. Thinking outside the box is just what I do! I'll figure something out.