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When it is too much for Mumma...

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    When it is too much for Mumma...

    This post is about me, so I am not sure if this is the right place, but as my kids have their own problems, and you have been such great helps with them, I thought I would ask.

    Our school year starts in February. This is our first year of predominantly MP materials. We are finishing other materials that were outstanding in some subjects (mostly from Catholic Heritage Curricula).

    My DS14 is currently working through a collection of materials with a plan to move into a mix of MP8&9. He suffers anxiety and has mild dyslexia, some working memory problems and SPD. He still requires me at elbow some days and some subjects.

    DS12 is working through mostly SC5&6. He does some subjects with his sister in MP3 (also a bit modified). He has ADHD, which has been quite bad since Coronavirus caused the cancellation of lots of activities. He also has dyslexia, dysgraphia, CAPD, ODD and SPD. Oh, and of course asynchronous EF and WM skills (don't all our kids?)

    DD9 is doing a modified MP3. We have adjusted this more in line with her brother's work in SC5&6 as she was struggling in some areas. She has SPD, dyscalculia and is being assessed by an educational psychologist next week.

    Nearly all the work of my youngest two is at elbow.

    This has been a year of hard work academically, getting used to MP. It has also been a year of great progress. I have cried tears of joy at times, seeing my kids produce work I had given up dreaming was possible from them. However, our days are long, especially as everyone seems to need me. I also find I am putting a lot of energy into planning (not so much marking as I can check as we go when I am sitting with them.) I spend a lot of time working out what comes next and writing a work order for them each week.

    My big problem is that I am also chronically ill. This term partiuarly has taken its toll, perhaps being the end of winter. Right now I am struggling to keep school going and kids fed. There have been a lot of tears from all of us.

    I really want to stick with MP, but I am not sure whether it is sustainable for ME. I hope that next year as we follow the cores more closely there will be much less planning for me. However, I can imagine that there will still be some. (We follow a Catholic RE programme and include some enrichment studies in art, music and Australian studies. My kids are also proving to be highly non linear in their maths studies.) I am also hoping that as we become more familiar with how the MP materials work it will become easier. Or maybe I am just trying to convince myself.

    We get lots of good advice here on tweaking programmes for our kids. Is it possible to tweak it for me without doing them a disservice? I am sure I am not the only one here to experience overwhelm.

    Thank you, in hope,

    Natalie

    #2
    It sounds like we live very similar lives. My children have various combinations of anxiety, SPD, emotional regulation, executive function, and food-triggered ADHD. For many years we lived with ODD-type behaviors. I have OCD, my husband has moderate-severe ADD, I have a chronic, stress-induced health condition and my husband is showing warning signs of the same condition.

    I was also homeschooled by a chronically-ill mom for whom I was the primary caregiver (we didn't know about available services at the time and my dad had to work to keep us fed).

    This past year has been a lesson in trust and God has brought beautiful things out of it. Here's how we were doing things before summer break (which will be lasting until October due to family needs. Again, trust.)

    Morning time with my younger three became Bible story on Monday and sacrament prep/review the other days.
    Set aside SC-C for my 5yo as she's NT and would be fine waiting.
    Phonics only for my SC 8yo who was still struggling to read
    Latin, Math, and Literature for my 9yo
    Spelling, Math, and Literature for my SC 11yo (Latin is a priority here, but he can't spell at all so this needed to take precedence)
    Latin, Math, and Literature for my 13yo
    Dropped literature discussions with my high schoolers, having them work through the text/assignments completely. I then skimmed over it to see the work was done well and gave them the TM to read back through the discussion points for the work. Then they took the final. Their other classes were through MPOA and Homeschool Connections. For anyone following: we didn't have an issue, but I should have thought to remove the tests/test keys before handing over the TM!)

    With those priorities in line, I set a specific amount of time to work with each child each day. I only had 2-3 hours before my system began reacting to the mental strain (chronic illness must sound ridiculous to those who haven't been through it!), and I had to fit four children within that time frame plus Bible/Catechism. I had to accept that what we got done was what we got done and the next day we would simply pick up where we left off.

    The one-on-one time looked different depending on the child's level of independence:

    8yo was completely at elbow
    9yo was lessons and then I would highlight the related work in her Curriculum Manual and she would do that independently
    11yo was a mix of at elbow (spelling and literature) and lessons followed by independent work (spelling workbook and math workbook)
    13yo was much like the 9yo but would often shut down during our work time; after three years of this, it began to improve this past spring

    Even with this plan, there was at least one week a month where we weren't able to do much schooling. Some days we only got to the Bible story or Catechism read-aloud.

    Last year's courses will continue into this coming school year.

    You mentioned that you're using CHC for many things. It's been a long time since we used CHC, so their materials may have changed, but I would really encourage you to just do the next page in each book instead of writing out a plan each week. If a particular book doesn't lend itself to this, it might help to buy CHC's lesson plans. Even if budget is a concern, try to look at this as an investment in your health. And your health is critical to the health of your family; not in the sense that it has to be perfect, but in the sense that the reasonable things we do to manage symptoms are part of the way we are being called to serve our families. I say this both as a chronically ill mom and as the daughter of a chronically ill mom.

    Sarah MacKenzie, author of Teaching from Rest, says it's our job to bring our basket of loaves and fishes so that God can multiply them. Some of us have less in our basket, but we can still bring it to the table as a beautiful offering.

    Here's what God did with my meager basket:

    My 9 and 11yo readers took the SC3 American History books off the shelf and read them all on their own. They're currently re-reading them.
    Unbeknownst to me, my 8yo took our summer break to practice sounding out words. After four years of learning to read, she's now reading at a 1st grade level.
    An online yet traditional math program I never heard of was dropped in our lap and allowed math to keep going whether I'm strong enough for a lesson that day or not.
    My 13yo decided he's tired of dragging his feet and wants to take stronger charge of his progress this coming year.

    Our dear priest always says that God expects us to do what we reasonably/morally can to alleviate our suffering. What's left over is what we're actually being called to carry. Pulling back to essentials is often necessary in situations like ours, but this allows God to work. As St. Paul said,

    "“My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong."
    2 Corinthians 12:9-10


    God may work in your home academically, or He may choose to work in behaviors and habits. Or, He may work on bettering your health. Or, He may do something else. But He will work.

    Stay strong in hope and add trust. Hugs to you, Mama.












    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
    DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
    DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
    DS11: SC 4
    DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
    DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
    DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

    Comment


      #3
      Thank you, Jennifer.

      Sometimes I feel we have spent so much time on the meat and potatoes in recent years and the kids need a bit of dessert, too, to get them through. But maybe I can change the focus subjects from time to time so they get to enjoy more history/science/geography/etc that way.

      I do feel that trusting in God more is the lesson I am studying at this time of my life.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Naxi View Post
        Thank you, Jennifer.

        Sometimes I feel we have spent so much time on the meat and potatoes in recent years and the kids need a bit of dessert, too, to get them through. But maybe I can change the focus subjects from time to time so they get to enjoy more history/science/geography/etc that way.

        I do feel that trusting in God more is the lesson I am studying at this time of my life.
        They definitely do!! For us, that's been our Bible and Catechism time. The kids enjoy listening to the Bible stories and the sacrament prep included short, daily DVD segments which they loved. I would like to expand what we're able to do during morning time, but I know I can't devote more than 30 minutes or so each day. When we start up again, I'm thinking of spending half that time on Bible/catechism and then looping through our content/enrichment subjects for the remainder of the time, one subject each day. It will mean a single lesson takes a week or two but they'll be getting the good things that go with those "meat and potatoes".
        Last edited by jen1134; 08-31-2020, 06:02 PM.
        Jennifer
        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

        DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
        DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
        DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
        DS11: SC 4
        DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
        DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
        DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Naxi View Post
          I have cried tears of joy at times, seeing my kids produce work I had given up dreaming was possible from them. However, our days are long, especially as everyone seems to need me. I also find I am putting a lot of energy into planning (not so much marking as I can check as we go when I am sitting with them.) I spend a lot of time working out what comes next and writing a work order for them each week. My big problem is that I am also chronically ill.
          This seems to summarize the dilemma. Because you have seen the fruit of a stronger education than you thought possible, you would like to continue the extra planning, teach every child very closely, and educate everyone for long hours every day; however, this is not possible, so you will need to create a new vision for your homeschool. I like Jen's idea of giving them combined Bible & Catechism at the start of each day. We did this. If only 20-30 minutes, you set the tone, you teach them what is of greatest importance to you, and you prepare them for the day. Consider teaching from Enrichment during part of that time, as Jen suggested, or on Fridays and possibly Saturdays to shorten your week days.

          This may also be a good time to have your children rise to the occasion in greater independence. Can you use some of your planning time this week to envision areas in which they can be more independent, perhaps in areas that do not require grading? If only 15 minutes at a time, this will free your mind and body in small breaks throughout the day.

          Have them all take over more chores. If your governing region supports "home ec" as an elective, you may be able to count credits for learning to cook, clean, sew/mend, iron, do laundry, and the like. Teach your oldest 2-3 simple meals he can cook over and over each week to help out. This gives him a break from his studies, while not allowing him to languish as you work yourself too hard.

          Another tip: Can you settle on a single core for your younger two? If you teach both from SC 5&6, then SC 7&8, possibly then 9&10, 11&12, this will greatly reduce your planning over the next four years when your oldest needs you to finish his high school coursework. If you teach your oldest from either MP Eighth or Ninth right now, rather than blending them, you can use the open-and-go Curriculum Manual. Teach differently only in an area (math?) in which he must learn from a different level. If his abilities like in MP Eighth, he is doing well! Perhaps he can add another year of high school at the end. If not, perhaps you could teach from MP Ninth but modify expectations here or there as he learns.

          In any of these adjustments, you're not relaxing standards as you might if you "jumped ship." Rather, you're making the day realistic and successful for yourself and for your children. This is important for the tenor of the homeschool. All of your children need to watch you manage your own day-to-day life without guilt. They learn from this.

          After you adjust your plans in your own mind, you might hold a meeting to explain your new vision and any changes that will accompany them. Be confident that you're doing them a favor by giving them what they need while giving yourself reduced planning and adequate rest. This is more than "self-care;" this is modeling what they will all need to do themselves as adults.

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by jen1134 View Post

            They definitely do!! For us, that's been our Bible and Catechism time. The kids enjoy listening to the Bible stories and the sacrament prep included short, daily DVD segments which they loved. I would like to expand what we're able to do during morning time, but I know I can't devote more than 30 minutes or so each day. When we start up again, I'm thinking of spending half that time on Bible/catechism and then looping through our content/enrichment subjects for the remainder of the time, one subject each day. It will mean a single lesson takes a week or two but they'll be getting the good things that go with those "meat and potatoes".
            We are doing this as well. Our spine curriculum doesn’t change. But our electives change every day, weekly. And I ordered several Holy Heroes Glory Stories to listen to on CD during handwriting or art time. My #1 goal this year is to not be such a hard-case. I’m injecting fun wherever I can.

            Many prayers for both of you. ❤️
            Boy Wonder: 12, Seton and MP Electives (Special Needs)
            Joy Bubble: 10, Seton and MP Electives (Special Needs)
            Snuggly Cowboy: 8, Seton and MP Electives
            The Comedian: 4, Seton/MP Pre-K, though she’ll probably zoom through that in a week.

            “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
            ~Pope St John Paul II

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