Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Bending to the Wind

Tree branches, and even big tree trunks, tend to bend when faced with large gusts. The ones that are too old and rigid refuse to budge and end up breaking in half.

I am near a breaking point.

As I have mentioned a couple of times, my children go to a half-homeschool Christian school. They have classes two days a week, study at home two days a week and have electives one day a week. On the days home, work is planned by the teachers and we are there to carry out reviews, studies and projects.

I have always enjoyed it but this year has been a challenge.

The earlier years at the school, basics are pushed and pushed and pushed. I honestly think the school is slower than other schools because they just keep engraining the basics over and over and over again. Slowly, the studies pick up and this year Miley is in sixth grade doing the material most high school freshman are tackling.

She has a math book three courses above her grade level, a history and geography book I personally need to read twice just to understand, literature that includes King Arthur and Homer, Latin, and for bible, 'Pilgrim's Progress'.

It's not easy and she's not doing well, at all.

Yesterday, we worked for 10 solid hours, not including the work she did over the weekend. I'm still not sure we did a 'satisfactory' job. By 8 pm, I was about to just do the King Arthur questions for her but forgot why Sir Gareth was good and which examples from text to site.

Now if I just had Miley, I'd be OK. It would be very hectic, but we'd live.

But I have Sarah. Sarah is just starting to face to the tougher grades. She needs my help, desperately but I am trying to figure out just how oceanic and continental crust converge. Her grades are suffering too.

Then there's Dino. Dino is in the pre-k. Basics, basics, basics. Not too intense but he has some learning issues and getting him to put numbers in order from 1-10 is still a challenge. He really needs me.

Let's not forget Spanky. Spanky the busy, busy, happy, loud boy who wants to play and find anyway for us to drop what we are doing and laugh at his antics. My wild thing needs me too.

So what is a mom to do? We can't go on this path anymore. I have been talking with full-time home school moms asking for tips, and I have gotten a ton. The obvious tip is slow down but we can't do that because I don't make the schedule. Next tip, get up with Miley around 5:30 am so you can work with her in peace and then focus on the others during the day. Early morning is my God time and my exercising. Late night is when I spend time with my husband and relax. Work some after school and one weekends? I would do that if we weren't so booked with theater, ballet and music. Find ways to keep the younger ones busy with special games. Hmmmm...Spanky's favorite game when no one is around is 'empty the pantry, drawer or whatever happens to be open'.

I'm not sure what I am going to do. I know God is pushing us to make some sort of change. A more strict schedule the kids have to respect completely (even Spanky). A switch to complete homeschool so we can actually slow down (however I could lose my mind). Get up with Miley and find a new time to exercise or work with Miley at night and give up time with Mike. Dumping the extra activities so we would spend every waking minute on school (and driving the girls nuts). Spend a ton of money on crafts and new toys to keep little ones busy.

I don't know. I just pray for an answer soon!


Andy Donovan said...

The answer will come Lisa...patience does pay dividends. Unlike your patience with the "Browns" you'll be rewarded here. Hope that helps...and to ensure that it does I'll say a prayer for you. Ciao for now bella,


Lisa@verybusymomwith4 said...

Thank you Andy!!!

Burgh Baby said...

Good luck. It sounds like a tough situation, but I know you'll pull through it.

Texan Mama @ Who Put Me In Charge said...

Hmm, I'd say, can you get Miley or Sarah into a study group with their peers, working on a subject together but guided and supervised by one person's parent?

Is there ANY way you might feel comfortable lowering your expectations? Like, I will help you with this but you need to work on your own, and you need to face the consequences of your own knowledge. I know with my own kids, who are pretty bright, they often say, "Mom I don't get this. I dont' know what to do." when in reality they haven't tried anything. They haven't re-read, they haven't looked over their notes or previous homework questions, they haven't drawn a picture to help figure it out, etc. So I end up helping when they knew what to do all along. As a parent it is REALLY hard to step back and watch our kids flounder and struggle. But if they don't struggle they won't grow.

I don't even know if that last comment would apply to your kids because quite possibly it's not a lack of knowledge but simply too much work load. I just wonder if other parents face the same things as you. You might want to ask around at school.

JCK said...

I really do believe the answer will come, too.

Just off the top of my head, in reading all this, I would lean toward full-time homeschooling on your own. It sounds like a huge amount of pressure/work on the kids, who are after all, kids. There are so many wonderful homeschooling parents who have blogs. I'm sure they could offer sage advice.

Sending prayers & hugs.

just jamie said...

I'll join you in your prayers Lisa. Feeeeeeeling a change is a difficult place to be.

Patience that the answers will unfold, with prayer and hope and winding roads, is a challenge.

YOU are an incredible mother and woman. Thinking of you...

Susan said...

I'm praying for you Lisa. My kids are still young, so the workload is not that hard yet. I know when I was younger I would get so bored learning esp in elementary school... my mind would wander... I just wanted to be a kid! Finally, in 7th grade my grades improved from memorization.
I don't know if that helps, but through prayers I also think the answer will come.

Sabrina said...

Boy do I ever feel your pain!
It sounds like Coram Deo is pretty vigorous...being a FT homeschol mom might be easier than you think! Praying for you.

Wendy@RuensOnTheRun said...

Praying for you (and your family) Lisa. The answer will come.

Jacque said...

I'm sorry Lisa. It all sounds very stressful. I think a change is in order too. Is public school out of the question? Good luck with your decisions.

texasholly said...

Whew. I can see how this could spiral out of control really quickly. We have already gotten Reid into tutoring because he hasn't been catching on to the reading thing as quickly as Saxon Phonics would like. Is there any way that you could get a little help? I can't imagine trying to do it all by myself. My mom helps one day a week occupy the youngest and read Story of the World, Bible and whatever else they think up over there...

Hang in there girl!