Help! Need advice before I jump ship! =)

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Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:34 pm

Help! Need advice before I jump ship! =)

Post by SarahBrant » Fri Dec 30, 2016 3:16 pm

Hi everyone,

This is our 4th year homeschooling with HOD. I currently have a 3rd grader in Bigger and a Kindergartner in Little Hands + Little Hearts math and FMS. We enjoy the curriculum very much. However I am finding myself extremely stressed out much of the time. Something has got to give. In addition to my two students, I also have a 2 yr old and a 1 yr old who are very busy and into everything. The 2 yr old throws epic fits. He screams at us a lot. I feel like he is frustrated with not being able to communicate with us as well as he would like to. I do discipline him consistently. I feel that his language is a little bit delayed. I have considered having him evaluated by Early Intervention, but have not done so because I don't know when I could make the time in my schedule for the regular therapy sessions. His speech is not so delayed that I feel there is a danger to his development. Nonetheless he is 2 and he throws fits. Then there is the one year old who basically acts like a 1 year old. My school age children do well academically but I am finding it difficult to get school done and to balance everyone's needs. My 9 yr old in Bigger goes to speech therapy two afternoons per week. In addition to this, he will soon begin attending occupational and physical therapy. Getting 4 kids to his appts, getting school done, dealing with the babies and house work and meals has me overwhelmed. I really need to finish school before noon but it never happens. Weekends are spent catching up on cleaning and grocery shopping and laundry. In addition, we are ministers and have responsibilities at church. My husband also works a secular job putting in 50 hrs a week on average. I love my life and I feel like all the things we are doing are things we need to continue. I realize that this year and the next will probably be the most difficult homeschool years for us. I need some strategies to make this curriculum work better for us. I feel like it requires so much hand holding from me that I have considered switching to something they can work at more independently with my supervision. I've looked at Easy Peasy, Christian Light Education, and others. I just can't seem to get peace about switching. HOD has been so good for my 9yo. I'm also concerned with how I will get it all done when I have all 4 in HOD. Any thoughts or advice are appreciated. Thank you so much!!

Posts: 750
Joined: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:07 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Help! Need advice before I jump ship! =)

Post by Gwenny » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:07 pm

Let me first say that this is a season. :) You've got quite a lot on your plate, and it's okay to take some of it off. I will just tell you what I would do in your situation if it were me.

I would not do the guide with the one in kindergarten. I don't know the age, but I would only work on learning to read if he/she is ready for that. If he is only 5, I would wait until life is a little slower. I wouldn't even worry about math. (I know some will gasp over that!) :) I would read lots of books to them. I would never give the 2 yo what he wants when he screams. (I know, easier said than done) He might be frustrated by not being able to communicate well, but, he might also know that you think that and it works so he uses it. I wouldn't let yourself think that is an excuse because then it's easy to give in because you feel bad for him. It's very hard, I know. :(

With the one in Bigger---I would go 1/2 speed. Or better yet, decide how much time you CAN do some schoolwork with him and then do what you can in that time and just keep moving to the next thing each day. Maybe you can only do 30 minutes or an hour. Then that's what you can do. The kids are all so young still. I know it doesn't seem like it from your point of view, but from mine--with my oldest being 29 and my youngest 5---yours are so young! All of those appts and all of the things of life, like meals, are important and what is taking priority right now and it's OKAY.

Hopefully something here will help you. Even after 6 months, things will look different than they do now, and you can reevaluate.

Dd29 married (w/2 sons 1/2/14, 5/24/16), ds27, dd25 married (w/dd born 8/9/16), dd25, dd22
Dd 19 HS in special ed
Dd14 RevtoRev
Ds12 RevtoRev
Ds 9 Preparing

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Joined: Tue Sep 20, 2016 1:34 pm

Re: Help! Need advice before I jump ship! =)

Post by SarahBrant » Fri Dec 30, 2016 4:22 pm

Thanks! =) I actually have been leaving a lot undone and getting to it the following day-- but because of doing that, I'm actually only 7 weeks into Bigger. :-/ And I feel like I'm failing my kids by not being half way through the guide. I don't want my sons to be considered "behind." Not sure how to get around this other than to not complete everything in the guide. If I go half speed, I feel like he will be behind for 4th grade. The whole "behind" thing really gets to me... =)

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Joined: Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:08 am

Re: Help! Need advice before I jump ship! =)

Post by bezona » Sat Dec 31, 2016 11:28 am

I wish I could remember what/who I was listening to, but the author was saying when your kids are this age, don't plan more than 3 months at a time because so much will change in those three months. I've never homeschooled with toddlers around, but I have heard several moms say they start the day with the littles. They do things like read, play, go outside, basically just 1:1 mom time then they are able to attend (for a short while) to the school aged kids.
I thought Gwenny made some very valid points. The two cents I would like to add is this: Behind who? Behind public school kids? Behind the guides average age range? There are several years left in their education. Secondly I use CLE for math and L/A for my 10 year old. I've not used Singapore math, but there are 4 pages for each CLE lesson. My son is fairly independent in math, but he still needs help with new concepts and if you follow the directions there are flash cards to review (with mom) and things the child has to read to mom as well. For us, the L/A is not very independent he can do some, but much of it requires me to be there to explain it to him. again there are generally 4 pages for each lesson. I really like CLE for these two subjects, but I cannot imagine using it if you need to reduce your daily time from what is in the HOD plan.

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Re: Help! Need advice before I jump ship! =)

Post by sarah_smile81 » Sun Jan 01, 2017 4:33 pm

Hi Sarah,

It sounds like this is definitely a season for your family! Hang in there!! <3

I agree with the one mama who suggested focusing on your Bigger child right now. Maybe sit down one night when the kids are in bed, and take a peek at the guide again. Think about the strong points that your child has, that you might be able to encourage some independence on. Maybe there are two or three subjects? If you can, block those easy things together into a little chunk of "independent time" that you can count on your oldest child working on alone each day. In our home, in Bigger, my daughter has worked up to independently completing her cursive, poetry copywork, DITHOR, and various rotating box assignments. I know that I can explain them to her and then leave her to work on her own, with me checking in when I can, around helping my other kiddos. :-)

Another suggestion would be to take a peek at your daily schedule. Is there an hour of time in the morning before everyone else gets up that you can spend some one-on-one with your oldest? Or an hour in the evening once your hubby is home that you can sneak off together for Storytime or history reading? I usually wake my two oldest kiddos up a couple of hours before my littlest one, and we get about half of our day done before there's a toddler running around having fun. It's hard some days... if I'm tired or not feeling like a morning person... but it's so worth the feeling of getting ahead before the littlest one wakes up!

With your Little Hands child, have you thought about breaking the assignments up within the day, when you can grab five minutes here and there? You could do your Bible Story during breakfast, the Letter Activity while the littlest two are having snack time, that kind of thing. :D In our house, Music time is a crazy time - loud and crazy! The kids run around and somersault and dance. Even my oldest son, when he was in the Res to Ref guide, liked to call Bible Quiet Time his "Bible Loud Time." I have everyone do their music at the same time so that I'm switching CDs and getting it all done, and by the end, everyone is panting and ready to sit down. It's the perfect time to give the little ones something fun to play with (or pop in a short cartoon for them to watch), and then get a couple of quick hands-on focus-required assignments done with the older ones.

When planning out our day, I will usually use an Excel worksheet, and write side-by-side what I "would like" everyone to be doing at the same time, to see if it is reasonable... when real life kicks in though, that doesn't always mean we stick to the actual schedule - but we try! :lol:

I hope that some of our ideas help you to find what is right for your schedule and your little ones! If anything, the flexibility to open and close the HOD guides as needed, and shuffle our days around to fit our crazy, busy lives, is what makes the program beautiful. In the end, the books and the guides lead us back to what is most important - God and our families. <3

Hang in there, because you are doing a great job!!!
~ Sarah :D

Mama of three:
*12 yr old son - Rev to Rev & DITHOR 6/7/8 (completed Res to Ref & DITHOR 4/5)
*8 yr old daughter - Bigger & DITHOR 2/3 (completed Beyond)
*2.5 yr old daughter - Little Hands ages 2/3 options

Posts: 263
Joined: Tue Apr 19, 2011 6:34 pm
Location: Alaska

Re: Help! Need advice before I jump ship! =)

Post by bethelmommy » Mon Jan 02, 2017 4:12 am

I think the other posters have given you some excellent advice! This really is a season. You are in the thick of it. I agree with their recommendation of focusing on your Bigger child. Bigger and Preparing generally take the most parent time, but it is also the time when your child starts learning to do some of their work independently. Focusing on just the 3 R's with your Kindergarten child is also fine for now. It is OK to give LHTH a break. Honestly, I have never made it all the way through LHTH and I have tried with 3 different kids! Life would just get too busy and they have all moved on to the other guides without a problem.

If communication is an issue with your 2 yo, have you tried sign language? My oldest has CP and Autism and attends weekly OT/PT/ and Speech Therapy. When he was little we learned sign language together with Signing Time videos. It really helped us to communicate. I subsequently taught all of my children sign language as babies, though my younger three quickly dropped it once they became verbal.

I also found routine and picture schedules very helpful for my oldest when he was nonverbal. Taking the time to establish a routine with your 2 yo (especially if your 1 yo still takes a morning nap) so you can have a little focused school time with your oldest two will really help you in the long run. Activities I have taken time to teach include: blanket or crib time (with toys, books, or music/audio story), tot trays with simple activities, snack time, etc... I would make a picture schedule and start introducing these activities and gradually stretch out the time. A visual timer can be really helpful as well so the child learns how long they are expected to remain at a place/activity. Carrie and/or Julie once posted about toddler friendly activities and the importance of training your youngers so you can work with your olders. I adapted a lot of their ideas to fit our space/needs for different ages and stages.

Hang in there brave Momma. It really will get easier and it is ok to take a short break with your olders (just focus on the 3 R's) while you get your youngers into a workable routine. Even now, I sometimes have my 9 yo help entertain the 4 and 6 yo once she is finished with school so I can focus on my 10 yo and give him the extra time with me that he needs. That is what works for us for now. Just take one step at a time as you try to figure out what works for you and your kids. Don't worry about the long term picture. Things will likely look different 3-6 months from now as your kids grow and mature, and then change again a few months after that. Blessings!
Grace and peace,
DS 13 RTR, DITHOR 6/7/8
DS 8 Beyond, DITHOR 2/3
DD 6 LHFHG, Emerging Readers
(Previously completed LHFHG, Beyond, Bigger, Preparing, CTC, and DITHOR 2/3, 4/5)

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