Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homeschooling Blues

Last year was our best year yet for meeting our goals in homeschooling. I foolishly thought this meant I was on the uphill climb and each year would get a little better. Boy was I wrong on that one (and you can stop laughing now).

It isn't that we aren't getting some things done, just not everything I had planned and hoped. (Again - stop laughing!) Not even some of the things we were able to accomplish last year and I'm having the darndest time trying to figure out why. I know that part of the reason is that Math takes so long now, all because of one child. The two oldest are taught Math by their father, so that leaves the three youngest for me. The two youngest can be done rather quickly, but for Nathan it takes much. much. much. more. time.

His head is so full of stories and thoughts and questions that to get him to focus and copy the problem onto his paper correctly takes a long. long. long. time. So I've taken to sitting with him and doing most all of it orally, only making him work on paper by himself a few each day. I know he can do the math, the trouble is the focus. I figure that's a skill he needs so I might as well work on it this way. But there are always tangents in his mind, that lead us off track, which are helpful, learning discussions, but don't make Math time any shorter.

Since this takes more of my time, I'm finding less time to get other stuff done. My 7 year old still isn't reading, but I can see signs that he is starting to understand words on a page. He always wants to point (or have me point) to the words while we sing our hymns during evening devotions,to the words during morning Matins, or during the Sunday morning liturgy. And today he was the first one to point out Mycenae on our Ancient Greece map in history when I asked where it was in relation to Crete. I know he is getting there, but I feel quite guilty not working with him as dutifully as I did some of his older siblings.

And I haven't taught Nathan and Abby nearly as well with spelling and grammar and simply reading aloud like I did with the older two. And I could go on and on. This adjusting to having to expect a lot out of the older ones while still trying to expect much/teach well the basics to the younger set is HARD! I can't mentally get my mind wrapped around it. Maybe I never will, and maybe it never can be done. And I even have David who does a lot of the teaching with the oldest two! Oh well, like Dori, I'll "just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming."


Ewe said...

I know we talked a little about this on the phone. Just a reminder that they are doing so much more than they would do in school even if it's not as much as you would like them to do. And from what you wrote about Nathan, the way you are teaching him is what he needs. Just from talking to you and reading your blog, I know you are doing a great job homeschooling. It has to be difficult when you have 5 different levels, even if you try to divide it into 2 or 3 levels.

Karin said...

Uh.........I've been exploring this subject myself. See the blog for maybe some encouragement or commiseration....

Susan said...

I think we set ourselves up for disappointment. We have high goals for our children's education. We do fairly well when there's only 1 to officially Teach, and then we do okay with 2. But then there are 3, and then 4, and then more. And the littler ones need so much teaching. The older ones can take responsibility for their education ... to some extent. But we wish so much to give the older ones a stellar school experience. And we can't. Not unless we ignore the younger ones.

It hurts so much to realize that we cannot give to our children the good gifts we desire to give them. It hurts so much to see how much more they "could" do if only their mom had more energy and more time. But the limitations of our bodies and the limitation of hours in a day are, well, [dang it] LIMITS.

I do not cope well with "I cannot." I keep telling myself "if only I could try harder" and "if only I could be more efficient" and "if only I were more selfless." But I cannot.

Karen said...

Once again Susan said my thoughts much more eloquently than I could. One thing I try to do is NOT compare each child's education with another. They all have different experiences. Some of the differences are due to their place in the school line-up and other differences are due to the child's personality. Regardless of what you don't do, they are still getting a superior educational experience than they would in a classroom.

Glenda said...

Thanks everyone. This is all stuff I know, but I don't.

Karen - I, too, try really hard not to compare the children's education. I've been working on instead thinking "where are they and where do they need to learn more/improve?" However there is always that, "but so and so....." which leads to what Susan was talking about.

Btw, the last two days Math with Nathan has gone much better. My consistency in daily math leads to his improvement, I just can't always give that to him.

And I still don't know how to give myself more time, although I"m thinking that my two oldest I need to train better and enlist in more household duties which would free my time more. In the long run it would help, but alas I'm too much like my mother in that the whole patience during teaching them gets to be too much and I just do it myself because it is easier.

Anyway, thanks again ladies, I do appreciate the words of encouragement and commiseration.

Elephantschild said...

Your 7 yr old is "ahead" of where mine is. She's not even showing interest- gets mad if I point to the words!

And the olders vs youngers is universal. The family is just different, in a whole host of ways, by the time the youngers are around. It's not unique to homeschooling, because my own mom talks about the same thing in regard to raising the four of us.