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Am I doing something wrong?

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    Am I doing something wrong?

    I am in need of some wisdom and maybe some encouragement. I want to first say thank you to you all! I love reading on here and all the videos and articles. It keeps me going. I’ve learned so much and have been so encouraged! I also love Memoria Press. I’ve used MP for 3 years and dabbled in it before that. To be honest I’ve flaked out more than once on it not because of anything wrong with MP but just in thinking there might be something simpler, but despite my love of all things Charlotte Mason and how wonderful it sounds, I just don’t do a very good job of implementing it because I need more structure and well, it’s just not simple, at least not to me. And in all my searching nothing else seems simple and anywhere near the rigor of MP. There are a lot of moving parts with MP but it’s structured and is simple to implement. And I’m seeing how growing independence with my kids with their work will help.

    All that to say though, it still seems to take a long time to get through school with my kids each day and then with cooking, household chores (which the kids help with) a family rest time for an hour (I’m a bit more introverted than my kids and this refuels me for the rest of the day and the kids seem to need some space from each other too), nurturing and parenting and intervening with the slew of neighborhood children that frequent our yard since virtual school in our county was implemented and maybe a bit of exercise, have some time with the Lord and the Bible (which I try to do early in the morning or it won’t get done), there’s not much time left in the day and not a lot of energy.

    Is this just normal and I need to come to terms with the reality of homeschooling as I add younger kids and the others get older? Or am I not using the curriculum right or taking too much time with things. I feel like I could do more than I’m doing as far as each component of the curriculum with each kid. I spend about an hour or more each with my three oldest and 30 minutes with the youngest. She’s a young 4 JKer so I’m going slow and may repeat or take 2 years to do MPK. The kids have independent work they do separate from me as part of the curriculum. I start before 9 and I’m trying to get it earlier. They have a chart of chores and school work and music/typing they have to do each day. My oldest is dyslexic and does some online things to help that and I do stuff for that one on one too. He also has ADHD unmedicated (though we tried several) which takes a lot of my energy! But overall they only spend 2-3 hours doing school but I’m spending more of course. I hear of and know other homeschool moms involved in all these other things or reading copious books or doing house projects or growing a big garden or writing blogs or have a business or staying up with all the crazy news these days, taking classes, taking meals, leading Bible study, etc. Or sometimes these other moms are doing all these things! How??? I used to have time for these things. I feel like I’m fairly organized though I’m sure I could do better but also, like I said before, I feel I could spend 2 hours with each with each kid. I’m not even doing all the curriculum - I fizzle out each year with recitation though I start strong with it, and my two oldest aren’t doing Latin because they just weren’t ready for it. (I’m trying to do it for myself though!) And I’m not doing All Things Fun And Fascinating with my 3rd grader either. Do your days look similar? I’m an older mom of young kids being almost 48 with a 4 year old. We got married later then struggled through years of infertility so maybe I’m just running out of steam?

    l’d love your insights, suggestions, wisdom, admonishment, etc! Sorry this is so long!
    Melanie T.

    DS 11 - big mix!
    DS 9 - 3M
    DD 7 - 1st
    DD 4 - JK

    I really should be doing something else right now (dinner prep!), but I wanted to offer a quick hug, especially as a fellow introvert who observes all those other super-moms out there and feels so different and so inefficient. Homeschooling 4 kids and taking care of a household is a ton of work - why, I only have 3 and "I'm doing something wrong" is my daily bread! Most of the homeschoolers I know have given up cleaning their house and hire help. Some cook huge batches of food and freeze it. I doubt anyone can do it all without help, even those super-moms, and even if "help" is in the form of freezing food. Of if help can't be had in any form, one accepts that things are far from picture-perfect in all areas. Of course, we could well be doing something wrong, and it's worth taking a nagging conscience seriously. I hope you get some good food for thought here - got to go now, but again, hugs from me, fellow struggler!
    DS (16)
    DD (15)
    DS (7)


      Welcome, Melanie! Big hugs to you as you get it all out for us.

      1. You are not alone.

      2. The time you're investing in direct instruction seems reasonable and appropriate.

      3. You have a lot of interruptions and distractions going on. Viewed all together, it can make the day feel long and exhausting.

      4. Parenting children with special needs (and especially ADD/ADHD) can further exhaust, frustrate, and deplete your energy by the end of the day. Come see us on the Simply Classical Forum so we can make sure we're addressing these needs more specifically.

      5. Ditch the grass is greener mentality. It is unhealthy...and unbiblical. We know that, but it never hurts to be reminded of it. There will come a time when you do get to teach a class, lead a Bible study, get out into the garden, and take meals to a family in need. Ask the Lord to order your priorities so that His will is done and your heart is full and content. It is an incredible feat to bless your children with the gift of an individualized home education. My kids and I tend to do our volunteer work in an impromptu manner these days. On a week when we're in full swing, I will watch a friend's kids so she can attend a doctor appt alone. I will sign up for the ladies sewing weekend at church and bring the whole family. If the church nursery needs helpers, I will step up. Managing the equally large task of planning for a Bible study or Sunday School class is not going to happen right now. I did that when my kids were nursery aged, and I will do it again when they're older. It's okay and good to say no so that you do fewer things well.

      6. Age is real. Do all you can to boost energy naturally by eating a nourishing diet packed with veggies, getting exercise (walk AND do a few push-ups, squats, sit-ups and lunges each day), getting out in the sunshine for Vitamin D (nature walk for the littles), and taking a multivitamin to plug gaps. If you continue with any great fatigue that is not explainable by sickness, ask your doctor about your thyroid and other potential causes.
      Mama of 2, teacher of 3

      SY 21/22
      5A w/ SFL & CC Narrative class

      Completed MPK, MP1 Math & Enrichment, MP2, 3A, 4A
      SC B, SC C, SC1 (Phonics/Math), SC2's Writing Book 1


        I hear of and know other homeschool moms involved in all these other things or reading copious books or doing house projects or growing a big garden or writing blogs or have a business or staying up with all the crazy news these days, taking classes, taking meals, leading Bible study, etc. Or sometimes these other moms are doing all these things! How???
        Behind the scenes: I have a growing blog and video channel, but I have three teenagers who take turns cooking dinner every night, they heat up leftovers for lunch, and my husband does all the video editing for me

        I homeschool 7 kids, but...
        • my two high schoolers are using online classes, recorded courses, and streaming videos for everything
        • my 8th grader is taking two online classes, using an online math program, and working on two home classes mostly independently
        • we focus on essentials for the younger kids (Latin, math, literature, and spelling) and then have Wednesday "fun day" when we do content subjects; we're just now getting ready to add classical studies back in
        • the younger kids are just now finishing the levels they started in the fall of 2019
        We have a garden, but my husband takes the lead with it

        I have multiple children with mild special needs, but my husband works from home and can step in if things get really bad. And there have been many days when school didn't happen because we were handling a meltdown for three or more hours.

        We started a massive house project, and had to stop part way through because we didn't have the energy to keep up with it while running a family business, homeschooling children, and navigating a chronic illness and the kids' challenges.

        I have a chronic illness, and end up in bed at least three days of every month from overdoing it — while most moms would wonder what I do all day since I'm not running kids here/there, cooking, etc.

        You have to look at YOUR life, YOUR season, and what YOUR brain and body are capable of handling. I grew up with one of those supermoms and guess what? She ended up permanently disabled with a stress-induced illness. Other moms (seem to) never flinch.

        Something that has been helpful on the chore side of things: I try to do two loads of laundry a day (start in the morning, switch at lunch) and I try to spend 15 minutes doing a weekly chore. So today, I grabbed the duster and dusted for 10-15 minutes. Next Tuesday, I’ll pick up where I left off. (I use Clean Mama’s daily rotation).

        I’m also trying to keep a solid flow to things. I do my 15 minute clean right after school since I’m still in “going mode”. Then, I have some rest time (prayer, hobby, etc). Then it’s time to work on the blog, and handle household things (phone calls, orders,etc). No set times, just a flow.

        Look at what GOD is calling you to focus on and trust Him to handle the rest.
        Blog: [url][/url]

        DS18: Graduated and living his dream in the automotive trades
        DS17: MP, MPOA, headed to his favorite liberal arts college this fall
        DS15: MP, MPOA
        DS13: Mix of SC 5/6 & SC 7/8
        DD11: Mix of 5M and SC7/8
        DD10: SC3
        DD7: MPK


          You are not alone. I struggle with all of this, too, and I have also sought "simpler pastures" but those just ended up creating more work for me in the end. I give up on chores before I start them because I know I won't have time to do them perfectly. I think God called me to homeschooling because he knew it would be so hard for me!
          Emily…a hunter who prefers coffee to chocolate and dreams of the mountains

          Beech Tree Boarding School, 2021-2022
          DD (age 10): MP 5
          DD (age 8): MP 2
          DS (age 5): MP K
          "Maybe stalking the woods is as vital to the human condition as making music or putting words to paper. Maybe hunting has as much of a claim on our civilized selves as anything else.” Steven Rinella


            Right there with you! So much of your post hit home (special needs, loving CM philosophy but struggling to implement, and feeling the rumblings of moving into the late 40s with youngish kids) -- I don't have a magic formula ("Calgon, take me away!" ); one thing that I try is focus on hitting the non-negotiable tasks (math, composition, Latin) and writing down "wins" that I see every day with my kids.

            This doesn't have to be only curricula-based, but it can be educational, like when the youngest child asks to listen to D'Aulaire's Greek Myths audiobook or someone recognizes a Latin derivative in a book or movie. So does two siblings working out a conflict with (relative) peace and logic, or someone folding the laundry without a reminder.

            Joting down those "wins" helps me to see what make our homeschool thrive in its own unique little ways and keeps the comparison voices in my head a little more at bay. It sounds like you are doing your very best, so take heart. You are most certainly not alone.
            Laura H.

            DD: 15, special-needs: language processing issues (modified 7/8M Core), aspiring illustrator, our "Meg"
            DD: 13 (8M with SFL & NBO Fall 2021), aspiring pediatric nurse, our "Jo"
            DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Beth"
            DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Amy"


              Ladies! I just want to quickly reply thank you so, so much. It was all so helpful. There are some follow up things I want to ask that I’ll try to get to tomorrow. We had last minute guests tonight and I didn’t get to sit down to write until now. Blessings to you all for your encouragements!
              Melanie T.

              DS 11 - big mix!
              DS 9 - 3M
              DD 7 - 1st
              DD 4 - JK



                I relate to so much of what you have shared!! I have three kids: 3rd grade, 1st grade, and a 3 year old. For the past two years, we have used only MP materials, except for math. I used MFW for the first two years of school with my oldest. Our school days can run long, even though I only have two in school. If it is any consolation, it sounds like you are doing more with your 3rd grader than I have chosen to this year. I agree that it is not helpful to play the comparison game, but I am only telling you this so that maybe it will help you feel 3rd grade son is doing cursive, math (Math-U-See), spelling, literature, language arts, grammar, some of the american studies books, and Latin. He is also doing Greek Myths with my husband, but they are going through it very, very slowly. I think he is on lesson 5 or 6 at this point. We go to a co-op with other MP families once a week and that is where my 3rd and 1st graders do MP Enrichment (it is a combined class doing 2nd grade Enrichment.) So parts of the core that my 3rd grader is NOT doing are mammals, the IEW writing course, Christian studies (we do our own scripture memorization and separate packets from church), and states and capitals. God will have to make up the difference. I just simply couldn't fit those subjects into our school days this year. My first grader is doing cursive, math, spelling and the phonics/literature part of the curriculum.

                All that to say, it sounds like you have a lot on your plate and you are doing a great job! Maybe some of this advice will be helpful?

                You mentioned that it is taking a long time to get through your school days, and that it is hard to fit everything you would like to do into your day. Maybe you could implement a hard stop time for school each day? For example, regardless of what time you start or what you get accomplished, you stop school at 3 p.m. I have been implementing this some of the time.

                In regards to exercising and spending time in the word....when my youngest was 1-2 years old, these were my biggest struggles. I know from experience how hard it is to serve your family well when you have not filled your own cup first. Now that my daughter is 3, she is sleeping a bit later in the morning and it gives me some time to workout and listen to my Bible. I would definitely try to do these first thing in the morning, if you are not already. I know if I don't do them right when I wake up, it is SO HARD to find the time later in the day.

                I also see other homeschool moms who seem to be accomplishing so much (working outside the home, lots of hobbies, etc.) Again, maybe this will make you feel better.....I am not one of those moms. I feel that homeschooling and keeping up with my home is a full-time job. Outside of that, I do serve at our church and have a LIfegroup that my husband and I are committed to. But, like you, I do not feel that I can add much more than homeschooling to my plate. I like what Jennifer said about looking at YOUR season and YOUR life. I need to remember that as well. I have pretty much given up on trying to create the perfect homeschool. I just do the best I can each day and know that God will accomplish what he wants to in the life of my kids and their education. Someone commented that they believe that God called them to homeschool because it would be hard. To that I say, YES!! I think the same thing!! In another thread recently, someone also said that a poorly implemented MP education is still superior to most public school educations. I find that comforting!! I hope you get some more encouragement. You are definitely not alone. I love this forum because it is always full of help and good advice!!