Balancing HOD while caring for aging parents

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Balancing HOD while caring for aging parents

Post by mommybelle » Thu Jul 11, 2019 4:32 pm

I very much want HOD and homeschooling to work for my family, but I am struggling with managing everything that life has thrown at me lately. Last year alone, I drove and attended 70+ doctor’s and therapy appointments for my parents. My Dad was diagnosed with cancer in April, and for the past five weeks, between chemo and radiation, I have taken him daily to his appointments. They can no longer drive themselves. It has required at least 20 hours per week of my time. It isn’t really feasible to take the kids along with me to homeschool on the road. I have little help from family and friends. This first cycle of treatment will end in one week, but I am physically and emotionally drained, and though I had hoped to continue with school during the summer because we are ALWAYS behind because of all of the doctor’s appointments and hospitalizations over the last three years, school has not happened over the past five weeks.

So, I’d love some thoughts or advice on making this work as I know I am not completely alone. We actually were having a somewhat good year from August 2018-March 2018 despite the number of doctor’s appointments, but now I am feeling completely burned out. My house is complete chaos, and it is hard for me to stay motivated living in a constant mess.

My 12 yo with an October birthday (7th grader in the Fall) is currently placed in Preparing, Unit 12. She has 30 more lessons in Rod & Staff English 4. We spent a lot of time last year focusing on math and trying to complete lessons six days per week. We were actually able to complete Singapore 3B, 4A and 4B between August 2018 - June 2018. So my goal is to finish Singapore 5A, 5B, 6A and 6B over the coming school year with lessons six days per week. She is extremely independent with Preparing. We have not ever really used DITHOR, although she is constantly reading on her own.

My 9 yo with an April birthday (4th grader in the Fall) is currently placed in Beyond, Unit 13. We just started the Rod & Staff English 2. It is actually very easy for her. She could probably handle Bigger except it is daunting to me to try and work that guide in right now. She reads very well, and though we haven’t started DITHOR, she could certainly handle the reading level for 2/3. She is also behind in math and is currently halfway finished with Singapore 2A.

My 5 yo with a November birthday will start Kindergarten in the Fall. I just recently started the Singapore Kindergarten Math with him, and he LOVES it! I don’t know that he is ready to start formal reading quite yet though. He probably needs a good year to practice his letter sounds. I have missed out on a “fun” Kindergarten year with my girls because we were either moving or I had a baby, so my mommy heart really wishes I could enjoy this special time with just him.

Does anyone have any thoughts to make this work? I just cannot continue to hope this season is going to end because it seems to be one health problem after another, and I realize this season may last (and will likely only get worse as my parents age) until my kids are grown. Most doctor’s appointments for my parents are in the afternoons between 2:00-3:30 pm, so I am usually gone in the afternoons for an average of three hours per visit. Fridays have been 8 hour days for the past 5 weeks because of the chemo and radiation both in one day. But I am tired by the time I get home, and I am lucky if I even get a somewhat healthy dinner on the table! It doesn’t help that I am NOT a morning person, so I get started later than I need to, so I also welcome any thoughts or ideas on the best time to start school to accomplish everything by 1:00-2:00 pm because I cannot seem to accomplish even two guides in one day before then, much less three guides! I really do not have anyone who can help school when I am gone either, except my oldest has jumped in to teach her younger brother when asked. But she is also feeling drained as well because she has taken much of the burden as the oldest child.

Thank you for your thoughts and words of wisdom!
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Re: Balancing HOD while caring for aging parents

Post by Carrie » Mon Jul 15, 2019 11:33 am


I am so sorry that you are going through such a difficult time! The life of the hospital and doctor's visits is very draining, isn't it! We have been in a difficult time as well this past year, as our son has been in the hospital over 160 days off and on this past year, not counting doctor's visits outside of that! We too thought this would pass, but we can see this "season" of our lives may be the new normal for awhile. So, we adjust and do what we can.

First of all, let's do some brainstorming about some things that may help you in this season. :D Of course these are just ideas, and you will ultimately know best what may or may not work. In looking at the ages of your kiddos, I am thinking we need to focus first on your upcoming 7th grader. I encourage you to take a peek at the placement chart with fresh eyes. If she were new to HOD, where would you place her? Considering her age and what you've shared thus far about her skill level, I would probably look at moving her toward CTC. As long as your oldest is a pretty good reader and is fairly independent, she will most likely thrive there. While you may be thinking that there would be no time for CTC, because you are struggling to get to Preparing... it is good to remember that Preparing is really not meant to be very independent while CTC is! This means your daughter will be able to do more on her own in CTC, since it is written that way. Even if she only gets to 1/2 days or 3/4 days each day, that will be more than she has been getting with Preparing. And, she will be moving forward in a guide that suits her well. :D

You could just have her school to a certain time each day (like 1:00) or for a set amount of time each day (like 3 hours) and get as much done as she can in that time. Or, you could have her do a certain amount of boxes (like 5) each day. Then, stop. The next day pick up where you left off. Just be sure to check all the boxes on a single day of plans before beginning the next day of plans.

English 4 is scheduled half-speed in CTC, so you will be well-placed with English 4. I would just continue doing a lesson in English 4 each time it comes up in the CTC guide, starting wherever you are in English 4 now and going forward from there. Once you finish English 4, just head into English 5 doing a lesson each time it comes up in the CTC guide. :D For DITHR, I would just have your oldest read a chapter in the DITHR book set you have each time DITHR comes up. Don't worry about doing the DITHR lessons right now. Just have her systematically read her DITHR book you have assigned her when it comes up in the plans.

Next, I would look at the math plan. Singapore math is great, and you did a wonderful job of working super hard on moving through the levels with your oldest. Currently though, the math plan is faltering simply because it is too much. I want to assure you that if your daughter gets through Singapore 5A/5B this coming year for grade 7 and does either 6A/6B or Principles of Mathematics Book 2 her 8th grade year, she will be ready to begin Algebra I as a freshman. This is what my boys did, and they have done very well with math. So, my advice would be to downshift to doing math only on regular school days. This would mean doing math 4-5 days a week. :D

Next, in looking at your 9 year old take a look at the placement chart with fresh eyes. Is her best placement still Beyond? If it is, she should remain there. If not, she should move up to Bigger. If you do move to Bigger, do it half-speed. Be encouraged that half-speed Bigger is not really any longer than full-speed Beyond. Plus, you will feel less like your child is behind if she is placed in a guide that fits her. Guilt about being behind is huge! So, we want to get rid of the guilt by getting your kiddos well-placed. :D English 2 is scheduled in Bigger so that would work well if you moved her up. Singapore 2A/2B is scheduled in Bigger also. If she hasn't completed the Emerging Reader's Set, be sure to go through those books first for reading. Then, move to the 2/3 book set next having her read a chapter a day each time you do school. You can wait on formal DITHR lessons. The reading is the important part right now.

Next, for your 5 year old, I would probably work on math and phonics and handwriting with him right now. I don't know if you have ever considered the possibility of having a babysitter/mother's helper type person come to work with your 5 year old, but you could consider doing that for a season a few mornings a week. If you did have a person who could do that for a couple hours a couple of mornings a week that person could do Little Hearts with your 5 year old then. If no one like that is available, you could instead do phonics, math, handwriting, and fine motor skills workbooks from LHFHG with him until you get to a calmer place in life. That would actually work to do all year! I would for sure have him do Singapore K (like you are doing), phonics (possibly with The Reading Lesson because it is easy open-and-go), A Reason for Handwriting K, and Rod and Staff workbooks Do It Carefully and Finding the Answers. Try to do math (15 min.) and phonics (15 min.) and either handwriting or a page of a Rod and Staff workbook (15-20 min.) each time you meet with your son to do school. Then, the following year you could move into Little Hearts with the first grade options for language arts and math instead of the K options. :D

If your 5 year old is a good listener, you could read aloud at lunch or at morning recess break with your 5 and 9 year old, using the story time scheduled in either Beyond or Bigger Hearts too to work on listening skills!

For summer, you might either want a break right now or will want to do half days. Remember that when you do start school again, slow steady progress is still progress. So, even if you do half days you are still progressing!

Anyway, these are just a few ideas!


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