Homeschooling Recap

So, it's nearly the end of March, and I thought I'd do a little re-cap of what's been going on so far this year. I feel like I'm always just saying the same general thing over and over: days are long, I'm really tired, and I have to find a schedule that works 'cause I feel like we are floundering. Maybe floundering really is going to be the basic state of my life, and I need to accept this. But I am an idealist dreamer, and striving (or even intending-to-strive) keeps me mentally healthy.

On the homeschool front: (my kids are 6 - 12)

In January, I started language arts Lightunits workbooks (from Christian Light Education) with the boys. I copied the spelling words from their lessons onto worksheets that I made using the Handwriting Without Tears worksheet maker. I would also use words that I had seen them misspelling in other writing online. Then, they would work on their multiplication tables and other math.

This went on pretty well for several weeks, although it was extremely mentally exhausting for me, because it required 100% of my attention to get through their work. Bouncing back and forth like a ping-pong ball between "Mom, come here, I need your help!" and "Mom, I don't understand what I'm supposed to doooooo!" And I would want to customize things, and reinvent the wheel every single day, because I know my kids' weak areas, and I am too much of a rebel to just hand my kids a worksheet.

I discovered how challenging one of my kids found the writing, and decided I would back off. The practice was helping some, but we were regressing too. I was getting dangerously close to him losing any desire to write whatsoever, even though he was compliantly willing to complete the work I gave him.

 My fatigue has been pretty hardcore this year, and I was finally diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. (Which I know some people see this as a non-diagnosis and/or symptoms of a larger problem, but I was just glad to have the more serious degenerative things ruled out.) I was prescribed an anti-depressant which I have not decided to take yet.

I am not your regular mom who wakes up and is grouchy until she gets her coffee, and then can go about her day relatively easily. I wake up in the morning, completely unrefreshed from the night's sleep; aching, crackling, and stiff. By 11:30am, I am ready for a nap. It's so hard to get anything done in the mornings. I'm experimenting a lot with finding the best time of day to do our structured activities.

My current way of homeschooling was not going to be sustainable for me. I'm not abandoning the Lightunits completely; they have their place. I need to find a home rhythm again that could keep us progressing, because the whole Minecraft from dawn 'til dusk that set in since spring break (and a week and a half of sickness running course) isn't working for me. I know structure is the answer, it just takes some fiddling to find something that works with my energy level. I think life with kids at home is constantly in flux and needs flexibility.

We have been following a classical-lite history sequence over the last four years, and we are up to 1800s - Present. Veritas Press did their annual discount on the self-paced programs, so I decided to go ahead and sign up for it again. I tried to be frugal, and just use the Story of the World Volume 4 audio, but our house is really never quiet enough to get the most of it or retain anything. This takes about 20 minutes a day per lesson. 

I also let the kids pick out some Dover coloring books according to their interests. That keeps their hands busy with concentration, and is good for motor skills. I'm working on putting together a medicinal plants unit study that will consist of growing some in pots, making some herbal homemade products, identifying and coloring the herbs in Dover coloring books. The kiddo who has trouble writing is going to start doing a typing program. 

This plan, combined with the 4H projects that they are currently taking outside of the home, leaves me feeling like we are making progress and doing something. Then I don't mind letting them play Minecraft, Star Wars and Netflixing the rest of the time while I lay down and rest.

I know my kids are going to forget most of what they learned through curricula. All this fretting about books and projects and things will seem small and inconsequential at some point. But we still have to find a way to navigate these long days, use our time wisely, and create balance. I'm getting pretty close to the tipping point where most of my kids should be old enough to manage their own itinerary (with minimal nagging on my part), and do their thing. But we have some work to do on self-discipline first.


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