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    #61
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    Jennifer, Sarah, Mrs. Bee, I will take to heart your encouragement and just stay with and trust this process longer. Like I said, I already bought everything for next year back in February.....It has been so frustrating because I decided on MP from when my son started kindergarten and I followed along on here as much as possible and actually have been doing suggested reading. I’m not unaware of many of the arguments for classical education. I really wanted this path to work and I’ve stuck with it so far. And please don’t feel bad about anything you’ve said! I don’t want to ask questions that come off as discouraging of classical education either. It’s just that it feels like I cannot execute the plans properly and am making a mess of something you have all found to be so good. Knowing that I shouldn’t compare, I do want to be the best version of me, but I just don’t see it. I started homeschooling for the reasons you did, Mrs. Bee. And when it starts to seem like there would be better relationships if we weren’t around each other all day, then that is when I question whether I can do this well enough to not make them want to turn away from classical education as soon as possible. I really have no excuse for this not to work because I know many of you have had very difficult life circumstances while homeschooling and yet it is possible to stay with it. I feel rather ridiculous.
    Thanks again! There are few places around where I can ask these questions and get responses from people who are both well read and Christian. I’ll try to check in again here some time next school year.
    I don't know what to say to people who wonder whether homeschooling is really what they should be doing with their children - you are right that it's something to take to prayer and to conversations with one's husband. Just know this: homeschooling is not a choice made wrong by our fallen human nature. If we can do it, it's not because we're perfect, and not even because we're uniquely fit for it. The worst thing someone can tell me is, "Oh, you homeschool: you must be so patient! I am so impatient I could never do it!" Well... no. That's not how it works. I once heard a clever thing: God equips the called, He doesn't call the equipped. It was said about having many children, but it works in every context. If we're strongly pulled towards homeschooling, we need to seek the graces that will let us do it well, and we shouldn't be surprised that our own nature and character, left to themselves, will tend to make a mess of it. I find that homeschooling "works" when I let it work on myself first, when I am willing to accept the humiliations that come with it: the realization I'm far from perfect, that I lose my patience every day for small matters, that I am vain and proud... Any form of human relationship can teach us humbling lessons, but I think nothing is as powerful as what we learn about ourselves as parents. But that's not the end of the story, and every day is fresh with love, forgiveness, and good intentions! Never lose sight of that, dear Emily!

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      #62
      Originally posted by tanya View Post
      Emily,

      Homeschooling is hard - classically or not classically. It's the hardest thing I've done. But now that my children are grown, I would go back and do it again. And this is my advice: Relax and enjoy it as much as you can. That is the thing I would do differently. I was so caught up in getting all the boxes checked off and making sure I was getting enough done that I didn't take the time to really enjoy this precious time I had with my children. If I had it to do over, I would worry less, not stress over what I didn't get done, and spend more time talking to my children rather than checking off the boxes. In the end, they would still be better educated than most of the students they went to college with, and we would have had more fun.

      Tanya
      This is the balance I'd love to achieve!

      MBentley

      The kids are very young. Repeat. These kids are very young. This is not the fun part. It just isn't. Grammar? Who would call Grammar fun? Basic arithmetic? I will be so glad when I don't have to do this. I want to get to the cool stuff too - and it's just not at this level. Although....I did love the Greek myths in high school. I just finished lining out the schedule for the kids next year (and I'm still finishing this year) and I'm honest to God...overwhelmed. No white space on the calendar...anywhere. I am also "adding" to the program even though I swore I wouldn't. I'm kicking out the Intro to Comp and the ATF&F for the IEW Student Writing Intensive program. I am so excited about it too. Rather than sum up several pages of a novel in a few sentences, the program will start with summing up every sentence in 3 words, sentence by sentence, for a single paragraph - not several pages of text. And there's DVD instruction. WIN! Then...the package I received had an "extra" thing for Fix it! Grammar. That looked good too. I threw that in. Then while I was going through the main core curriculum schedule, I realized that there was no copybook for the Bible Verses being memorized. I found it, and for some reason they threw it into 4th grade only when half the book would have easily fit into the Christian Studies section every other day as it is practicing the exact same memory verse 3 times - covers the books of the Bible too. So...Somehow I've managed to sink my kiddo into 12-13 different "items" every day. And that's just 3rd. Between my oldest 2, there are no less than about 17 different things happening on most days. That doesn't even cover the K kiddo.

      Let's face it. I have clearly, unquestioningly, bitten off more than I can chew. Something is going to fall behind. Something is going to slip. I don't know which one it is yet. I may have to force the read-aloud to all be on Audible. I may have to do something with the American studies during the summer. I may not get all the Literature done. The real question is...so what? What actually gets done will be amazing. I have so much peace from that.

      The only way to learn to "love a challenge" is when you have overcome enough of them to know that it is within your abilities to do so. Overcoming challenges isn't "innate". It's learned. One thing I see with MP is that they provide very real challenges to the kids very early- memorize stuff that doesn't yet make sense, start learning a foreign language before you've mastered your own, try to learn a new way to write (cursive) even while you are still trying to learn the basic print, and read real novels before the end of 2nd grade. It looks impossible. Yet, the program goes one step at a time. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time, right?

      I sometimes have to demonstrate more confidence than I feel - but boys must need that. Just envision the Patton speech and go with it. Your post just sounds...down. I just want to give you a hug because it is this thread - your thread - that really helped me. I love the questions you have. They are wonderful, thought provoking and they make a person dig deep. I can't think of a better person to be a teacher for a kid - someone who still braves the questions. That's a lesson in and of itself. Ask impossible questions - the kind with more than one answer. I think it's brave to let a bit of fear show here. How do you know you are getting this right? How do you know if they are getting "enriched" or "enraged"? Is the resistance the signal of a bigger problem? Do you have to "enjoy" something to "love" it? Can you truly love something without recognizing the work that goes into it?

      Please know that your classroom is better than anything else out there - anywhere. Seriously. It couldn't have a more motivated teacher.

      Let's just crack our knuckles, pop our neck, and grin at the crazy schedule next year...One way or another...we've got this!

      Last year we did most of 3M, and the content is so much more enjoyable for me than K, 1, and 2! EGR was the only thing I did not really like (the memorization piece). If anyone's family loves this, spill your secrets! I like the exposure to the grammar rules and the practice work, but I found it hard to justify spending the time on memorization the rules. I love what you said: "what gets done will be amazing." From that perspective, I can see that even though we didn't finish 3M or grade 1 before summer, what got done was not wasted time and maybe even amazing You're very encouraging, Melissa! Thank you! It feels good to know that the thread has been helpful to you, too.

      howiecram

      I have told this story before (and maybe to you), but I feel like I need to shout it from the roof tops, because this past year, I finally saw what slowing down did for her. We did grade 3 arithmetic (R&S) and I had read enough 3rd grade math posts to know what people recommended. However, I went against the grain and did NOT have her write in the student book. This was not about saving the book for future kids, it was about giving her skills to help her in the future. At the start of the year, the math is easy, but the skill of carefully copying problems from the book to her paper, then solving the problem was new. She struggles with multi-step tasks in her every.day.life. This was just a small thing that I felt was necessary for her growth. Yes, there were tears. However, I sat with her for several weeks while she did it. Literally, I just sat there. It really only took about 2 weeks of this, before she could do this by herself. We also did ALLLL the work assigned. We did the fact forms, the workbook, the textbooks, speed drills, etc. However, I set a time limit on math. She only did math for 30 mins, no more. The first several weeks, it took her 3 days to do 1 math lesson. (again, this is ALL review, she knows how to do it!) It would take her 20 minutes to do ONE fact form. Then, finally, all the hard work paid off. She completed the fact form in the 5 minutes that is the goal of the form! The look on her face when the timer went off and she was done was worth every.single.tear before that. She was BEAMING! She actually said "wow, I never thought I would ever be able to do that in 5 minutes"! We now do 1 fact form every.single.day. She is doing every.single one in 5 minutes. Those monumental double addition problems she was literally crying about at the end of last school year, easy peasy! Once we got to the 7 facts, she had the other so well memorized that adding the few additional facts from 7x7-7x12 was a breeze and we could skip some lessons. In the end, it is July 19th and she is mostly done with the 3rd grade math book, but not totally. My point, if you want to be done with school at 1pm, be done! It might mean it takes you longer to complete a core, but no one says you have to complete a core from Sept-May/June. I finally accepted that we needed to move much slower than the curriculum guide (we are actually using Simply Classical..we tried 3x to move at the MP pace and it was a different kind of tear......it's hard to explain, but the mom gut said this was not right). Also keep in mind that even MP acknowledged that the pace set at Highlands Latin was not necessarily for the homeschool market and adapted the homeschool materials. I love the MP guides, but there has not been 1 subject I have been able to do exactly what it says on the exact days it says to do it. Occasionally we can combine lessons, occasionally, we have to take more than 1 day to complete everything listed in the days work. There are times we spend the whole lesson simply reviewing (and that was not even scheduled!) . I now use the curriculum manuals to order the lessons, but not do it verbatim.
      This is inspiring, Christine! I say to myself that we do not need to complete the core before summer break, but deep down I DO want to get it done and keep up the pace. Pride, perhaps? And also another reason I wanted to homeschool was so that my kids would not be labeled as "ahead" or "behind." I will try to just focus on helping them move forward. We will have to pick up in the fall with 3M and 1st, even though I wanted to be starting with 4th and 2nd.


      I hope you are still reading...even though you said you were going to disappear for a while. I agree as the others have said - you have shared a part of yourself here that is vulnerable, and makes us all want to smother you in support and love because we all know how hard this daily grind is. I love Tanya's advice to relax and enjoy what you have. I know, perhaps in a way different from most, that every single minute of your time with your children is precious. Every. Single. Minute. It is hard to spend any single one of them in anger, frustration, desperation, or feeling helpless.

      You started out this thread with the question of motivating your children to do their work - which is an excellent question. But here is one that I will return and pose to you - we have talked a lot about work, routines, discipline and structure. But what part of your days/weeks/months is fun to you? How do you make time to just "be" with your kids? Do you do that every day? What are the parts of the life that you pass along to your kids that are really "you"? What provides "levity"?

      Perhaps that is a direction we could take this thread and add in some helpful suggestions.
      Sarah, I'm still reading I just meant that I would try to check in on this thread later and let people know how things are going.
      It is hard to spend time in negativity when the days seem to fly by so quickly. I want to remember these days with as few regrets as possible, as I'm sure everyone does....My favorite things to do with my kids are reading aloud to them or with them and going for walks or bike rides. No, these do not happen every day. I used to find it so easy to read lots of picture books to the kids, and now I have to plan time for it. Even bedtime does not work great for that anymore because the baby (who is not even so little anymore) can get quite loud at that time. And that is probably why I enjoy walking with the kids. Everyone is generally together, although this, too, is starting to shift as my oldest ones can be more independent while my 3-year old remains quite unpredictable and full of energy. What do you all enjoy doing with your kids??


      I don't know what to say to people who wonder whether homeschooling is really what they should be doing with their children - you are right that it's something to take to prayer and to conversations with one's husband. Just know this: homeschooling is not a choice made wrong by our fallen human nature. If we can do it, it's not because we're perfect, and not even because we're uniquely fit for it. The worst thing someone can tell me is, "Oh, you homeschool: you must be so patient! I am so impatient I could never do it!" Well... no. That's not how it works. I once heard a clever thing: God equips the called, He doesn't call the equipped. It was said about having many children, but it works in every context. If we're strongly pulled towards homeschooling, we need to seek the graces that will let us do it well, and we shouldn't be surprised that our own nature and character, left to themselves, will tend to make a mess of it. I find that homeschooling "works" when I let it work on myself first, when I am willing to accept the humiliations that come with it: the realization I'm far from perfect, that I lose my patience every day for small matters, that I am vain and proud... Any form of human relationship can teach us humbling lessons, but I think nothing is as powerful as what we learn about ourselves as parents. But that's not the end of the story, and every day is fresh with love, forgiveness, and good intentions! Never lose sight of that, dear Emily!
      This is so good to keep in mind! Thank you for your kindness!

      I felt much better after reading through everyone's comments Friday evening. I am now looking forward to starting a new school year with the kids!
      2018-19
      DS--9, MP3M
      DD--7, MPK/1
      DD--5
      DS--3
      DS--Almost 1

      Comment


        #63
        Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post

        Last year we did most of 3M, and the content is so much more enjoyable for me than K, 1, and 2! EGR was the only thing I did not really like (the memorization piece). If anyone's family loves this, spill your secrets! I like the exposure to the grammar rules and the practice work, but I found it hard to justify spending the time on memorization the rules. I love what you said: "what gets done will be amazing." From that perspective, I can see that even though we didn't finish 3M or grade 1 before summer, what got done was not wasted time and maybe even amazing You're very encouraging, Melissa! Thank you! It feels good to know that the thread has been helpful to you, too.

        *hushed whisper* We don't use EGR at all. We were using MP before EGR was written, so we were using the Rod and Staff English program that MP recommended and sold. I tried in more than one year and with more than one child to switch over to EGR because I really wanted to do MP the way I was "supposed to" - even though I always tell people to make adjustments to suit their families. I finally took my own advice and decided we were going to stick with R&S and I wasn't going to worry about it anymore. And no one took away my MP membership card. It's really, truly ok to adjust. Now, that doesn't mean to chuck EGR just yet. It's okay to have things in the curriculum that you don't necessarily like. No one in my house really likes doing English grammar at all, period. I chose the path of least resistance - my kids like R&S better, so it meant fewer battles for me to stick with that instead of trying to force them into EGR. But we're still doing the thing we don't like - which is to use a solid program to thoroughly learn English grammar. It's like having a green backpack instead of a red one; as long as they offer similar functionality, which one you choose is not that big of a deal, you know? It's still going to get the job done. With that mindset, you can make lots of adjustments to the curriculum to suit your family.

        This is inspiring, Christine! I say to myself that we do not need to complete the core before summer break, but deep down I DO want to get it done and keep up the pace. Pride, perhaps? And also another reason I wanted to homeschool was so that my kids would not be labeled as "ahead" or "behind." I will try to just focus on helping them move forward. We will have to pick up in the fall with 3M and 1st, even though I wanted to be starting with 4th and 2nd.

        You know what? We have to do this too. My two primary kids were going at a slower pace this spring out of a sense of necessity that had nothing to do with them. My plan was to continue over the summer and roll right into next year. But guess what - that didn't happen. My June was spent driving. Literally. My son was in driver's ed at the high school, which mean two hours of class plus one hour of behind the wheel every day. He also had OT twice a week, and other people had doctor's appointments. Then there were two different work schedules to contend with. Plus he had to have practice driving time. It was INSANE. And it got me out of any routine at home at all. No school for the two littles. And now I cannot believe how it is this far into July already. So, I threw in the towel. We will start a bit earlier, pick up where we left off, and yes, try to just move forward from where we are. It still frustrates my sense of "but that's not what I wanted!" which makes me sound just like my five year old. But the adult in me does win and I do choose to follow what I know to be true - it doesn't matter. I CAN actually use my judgment to say, "You know what, you are solid on this. You don't need to finish." OR "Yes, we are going to go to the very end." I have two older kids who both had subjects they worked on all summer because they are much like Bean's daughter - they need to have something every day. Plus, it's offering them valuable review, too.

        Sarah, I'm still reading I just meant that I would try to check in on this thread later and let people know how things are going.
        It is hard to spend time in negativity when the days seem to fly by so quickly. I want to remember these days with as few regrets as possible, as I'm sure everyone does....My favorite things to do with my kids are reading aloud to them or with them and going for walks or bike rides. No, these do not happen every day. I used to find it so easy to read lots of picture books to the kids, and now I have to plan time for it. Even bedtime does not work great for that anymore because the baby (who is not even so little anymore) can get quite loud at that time. And that is probably why I enjoy walking with the kids. Everyone is generally together, although this, too, is starting to shift as my oldest ones can be more independent while my 3-year old remains quite unpredictable and full of energy. What do you all enjoy doing with your kids??

        Emily, this is what I meant by my vision of homeschooling changing as the years went by and as more children joined our family, or as circumstances have changed. You are right that you have to become so much more purposeful about how you spend your days. I look back at the relaxed pace of our days of only have two or three kids with fondness, even though at the time I felt restless to "get to the good stuff" that I thought lay ahead.

        This is why it becomes necessary to resist the urge to compare. As your children age, and your family grows, you could compare to how things used to be when it was not so busy. You could compare your family to others who have fewer children, or who have children in school, or who do all sorts of activities. Or to some ideal vision you created for yourself. All these comparisons achieve exactly one thing: they leave you dissatisfied with the present. For this, I want to share a resource that I personally love:
        www.fatherhudgins.com

        This is a website where a dear priest friend of ours from Virginia posts his homilies from both his Sunday and daily Mass. He is a gifted preacher. His homily from this past Sunday was on Mary and Martha...and as I listened to it during my walk today, I thought often of how much it applied to what you have shared with us. You can even listen to him by subscribing to his Apple Podcast.

        And it is one of the things that keeps me able to make our days purposeful because I include it as part of my daily routine. I try to get up early before the kids so that I have quiet time to pray. I have to take walks so I listen to Fr. Hudgins while I walk. And it keeps my commitment directed where it should be - on serving God through our days. When I do this, suddenly it's not so hard to say, "ok, we'll save that for tomorrow" or to accept the slow pace of some of our work or the million and one interruptions. Another indispensable part of our day is our evening prayer time together. We shoot for a rosary, but sometimes shift to "short prayer" if the evening has gotten away from us. Other than that, since we don't have a lot of outside activities, we do have time to play games (card and board), read stories, watch movies, go to the park, etc. We sit around a lot and "shoot the breeze" with our older kids while the younger ones are playing. It was really, really hard to accept such a slow pace when our family was at your stage. It was not what I grew up with, and not what I was used to. But it has been so, so great for our family. We also like to going bowling because we can have separate lanes for different age groups. And we LOVE football season.

        This last one is something I will highlight for a minute because it hits on is something specific I want to share. One thing I have learned over the years is to be comfortable in my own skin - and to try to help all our children gain that as well. I don't try to sugarcoat myself or gloss over my imperfections with them. Just like Mrs. Bee described in her beautiful post above. And all this comes out when we watch a football game together. They see all my reactions - highs and lows - to what is happening in the game. Yelling, grumbling, cheering, arguing - it's all there. And guess what? They have learned to join in! We usually do not have a very rowdy house. But that all changes when football season starts. We watch all the teams, we keep track of changes and players. We compare from what we remember from year to year. We argue about who's great and who's a drag. We are not passively staring at the tube, but engaged in a family activity. And it's one of our favorite things to do. Everyone gets to loosen up and have fun. And having that spark does eventually cross over into their ability to debate each other on other things too.

        But this family activity evolved out of the fact that we were constantly on the move and had nothing to do on Sundays. In the beginning, we would go walk the mall just to get out of the house together. I can remember Sunday being my least favorite day of the week for YEARS because they always seemed like such a drag. So much time to fill up, and so much of a reminder of how lonely we were. So, we started watching football because that was something both dh and I enjoyed. Over time, something that we did "because there was nothing better to do" became something that we treasure as a family activity. Isn't that strange?

        From what you have shared, it seems as though you guys are hitting a very natural transition. You have had a very young family, and have had a lifestyle appropriate to it. But your family is growing up, and it is a time of change for everyone. As my children have grown, I have felt the need to "grow up" too. I am a very different mom from the one I was back then. But it's good - more seasoned, more patient, more confident. It always feels uncomfortable to change and grow. But it's all for the best, you know?


        I felt much better after reading through everyone's comments Friday evening. I am now looking forward to starting a new school year with the kids!

        Yay! I am so happy to hear that!
        Prayers and hugs to you, Emily!
        AMDG,
        ​​​​​​​Sarah
        2019-2020 - 9th Year with MP
        DD, 18, Homeschool grad; Art major/philosophy minor
        DS, 16
        DD, 14
        DD, 12
        DD, 10
        DD, 7.5
        DD, 5.5
        +DS+
        DS, 18 months

        Comment


          #64
          Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
          From what you have shared, it seems as though you guys are hitting a very natural transition. You have had a very young family, and have had a lifestyle appropriate to it. But your family is growing up, and it is a time of change for everyone. As my children have grown, I have felt the need to "grow up" too. I am a very different mom from the one I was back then. But it's good - more seasoned, more patient, more confident. It always feels uncomfortable to change and grow. But it's all for the best, you know?
          THIS!! When I read Emily's latest post, I thought it sounded like her family is experiencing "growing pains" I find times of transitions very difficult to navigate too. I just told my best friend I feel like I'm always behind, compared to where my kids are - I'm stuck in the previous phase, and haven't realized they've moved on and need something different from me! It can get quite complicated when there are kids of very different ages in the family. It seems silly, but I had no idea I would have to "evolve" in my motherhood, and that it would take quite some thinking on my part, and even some sacrifice: as a super introverted person, I find the needs of my young teens quite stressful!

          And... we don't particularly like EGR either: I thought that series, combined with Latin, would teach my kids English grammar in a systematic way, and it hasn't happened. They know some grammar, but they don't have in their minds the solid edifice I'd like them to have: I'm afraid it's more of a collection of notions. I'm not sure how to fix this, but I know we're done with EGR. I'm hoping Henle will be helpful: we slowed down during Third Form because I thought there should be a lot more said about prepositions, for instance, but maybe Henle will fix that. It's coming in the mail, and after I take a look, I'll decide what to do.

          I have to say, it's been a minor shock to discover many homeschoolers haven't finished everything by the time June arrives: I thought I was an awful slacker, and everyone else OF COURSE did everything better! Emily, maybe you suffer from my same delusions!!

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