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Thread: How to encourage those who want to be "done"....

  1. #1
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    Default How to encourage those who want to be "done"....

    I'm not telling, I'm asking!!

    It's not me, truly I'm asking for a friend! Or several friends.

    I had one kid, one shot at this homeschooling thing. And I have loved it, though it has not gone perfectly. (I credit FIAR for much of that early lasting love!)

    As an older mom I struggle with two feelings: 1) "I wish I had five more kids to love and homeschool" (this is how I feel most often), and 2) "Yep, I'm tired... I could be done."

    But lately I am hearing mom friends, younger than myself, say "I am so done!" and they have at least two or more children to go!

    It breaks my heart, though I do understand.

    In some ways I have a different philosophy about home education than many people I encounter now, and can be rather 'old school' about it and definitely Charlotte Mason-ish, which I'm totally good with. I love learning and teaching and the 'goodness truth and beauty' aspect of enriching minds. We like being "home-centered" while we learn and practice how to be "others-centered", if you know what I mean. While I'm often tired (and getting tireder!), the old love is still burning!

    But I get blank stares if I go down that path with a tired mom.....

    So my question is...

    How do you encourage yourselves to keep going... or your friends to keep going?
    Livin' on the prairie with special husband and wonderful young lady! (7/00)

  2. #2
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    I think one of the big ways is to be in community with other hs moms. When I was the leader of a group, I noticed that moms who never interacted with other moms (NOT social media, but real life) tended to drop out of homeschooling. Maybe you could start a mom’s night out for your younger mom-friends? Or maybe point them to area support groups? It can be lonely sometimes and if you only see other hs’ers on FB with their best foot forward, it’s easy to feel like everyone else is doing more than you.

    Second, I think moms sometimes need to be encouraged not to feel like they need to sign their child up for. every. activity. That leads quickly to burnout if you live in the car.

    And last, I need school to be interesting for ME, too. So maybe moms need to understand that it’s good to add things that make it interesting to them. That’s why I’ve used FIAR, added read-aloud weeks, done lots of art appreciation, written my own curriculum. The creativity helps ME. (Not in a way to make myself feel overwhelmed, just in a way to make things less boring while teaching the same subjects multiple times.)
    Wife to David for almost 42 years, mom to 9, homeschooling Abby (16). Grammy to 6 granddaughters and 2 grandsons and 2 new babies due in the spring of 19! Homeschooling since 1986, Loving FIAR since 2000.

  3. #3
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    You know, I think the biggest problem is that many young Mamma's jumped in with both feet right up to their ears. They decided to do it all & do it hard a bit too early, & now when the journey is an uphill struggle that leaves us panting & tired, there's no energy left to give for it. I feel for them, & I'm not sure there's much you can do to "help" them, it may be, that even if it's just for a time, they'll need extra help: outside classes, co-ops, online classes, or full enrolment.

    On the other hand, I've been at this game for 12 years now, & can count the years left on one hand. I can relate to being done because I'm tired & worn. Having said that I have other things happening that are sucking a lot of life & energy from me including caring for an aged parent which is no walk in the park. At the same time it provides life lessons that my kids would never gain from books, & I have to admit that I'm impressed they can tell when Mamma is worn out & are willing & bold enough to step up to the plate to entertain & calm their 83 year old grandmother who is frantic from yet another fall or that she can't remember one thing or another. They don't have to be told to fill that gap, they have learned from watching how to simply step in & make a cup of tea, share a story, & offer words of reassurance.
    Kendra, wife of Lawrence, mother of three.

    I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.

  4. #4
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    Joy has great ideas.

    I also might ask what they're using. Sometimes if they're trying to recreate school at home or using school-in-a-box, it can lead to boredom and burnout. A few moms I've known have felt they weren't a good fit for FIAR, but most would find it very freeing, I think, for both themselves and their kids. Much easier, as well.
    "Ree-bee," Mom to former United States Marine ds and math teacher DIL * artist dd 20 * motion-loving ds 17 * piano-playing ds 12
    "For Miss Minnie loved children and she loved books, and she taught merely by introducing the one to the other." from "A Consent," by Wendell Berry

  5. #5
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    You all make some good points, ladies!

    I think our local moms get their fellowship from a once-a-week co-op, and therefore rarely show up for a mom's night out (or at least that's what we assume goes on, as we have about 5 moms attend MNO, from a 150-family support group. I'm not in charge; I just attend when I can, and have passed the baton to other ladies.)

    JOY: I totally agree with not signing up for everything! Fun as that may seem at the beginning, it's a sure route to burnout eventually or at least seems so to me.

    And I love the idea of finding what makes school interesting for the MOM! Sounds selfish at first glance, but I think it is a key to enjoying this journey together!

    KENDRA: Love your points, and yes, you do have more on your plate these days. I'm glad your boys step up and do things! Great job teaching them to come alongside and help!

    It's true -- and I'm so grateful for FIAR -- when moms jump in with both feet, as you say, doing it all and doing it early ... it's a recipe for feeling "done" before our time perhaps?

    REBE: I agree with your points too. I sometimes feel badly that the "big box" curricula did not work long-term for us.... I'm a piecemeal eclectic gal (learned that from these boards, I believe!) and though it causes some stress some years... feeling uncertain and un-focused, overall it has lent us a sense of peace. We still create days according to OUR agenda, and that is very freeing indeed!
    Livin' on the prairie with special husband and wonderful young lady! (7/00)

  6. #6
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    You know, I mentioned a bit about me in another thread somewhere awhile back .... First of all my girls did so much together when they were little, and then Cale joined in. Ben is "separate" from them -- he's 4 grade years "behind" Cale, and things are different. I'm divided more, and sometimes I question myself and question what I'm doing with him. I've never had the thoughts, "I'm done" or "I'm over this," because that's not true of me. But life is different when you have multiple children. I so often feel that the bigger kids got the "best" of me, and now I'm 48 and AM tired in so many ways, but life is different. Ben doesn't just have ME, he has all of them, too So, he doesn't get nearly as many crafts as the girls got, but he gets games and advanced games and stuff that the girls didn't get. He doesn't get the "group" read-alouds that I read to all 3 of the big kids, but he still sits in my lap for me to read to him One year we didn't do FIAR really well, but we read through ALL of the Magic Tree House books and did some studies with all of them -- he was interested in that at the time and devoured all of that learning.
    Sometimes I think changing things up for different children keep things interesting. I will often try to match curricula to different kids and will try different things. Sometimes it's based on what *I* am, but often it's based on THEM. With K., I created a "monster" ancient/medieval curriculum (with loads of reading), but that's HER. With M., I ordered a Winter Promise bundle.
    Next year, I'm doing something entirely different and am using a elementary veritas history "streaming" series with the boys (Cale's a little old, but he's going to love it -- he may do something else, too). I've never done stand-alone history with any of the kids as young as Ben will be (4th next year), but he's going to do it with Cale, and I think it'll be a good thing for both of them

    I think all of that is also kind of what Joy was trying to stay. You can stick with good things (like FIAR ), but you can continually change things up a bit in order to keep things varied and interesting, also. And definitely do not try to do TOO MUCH!!! I really think that's a huge reason why so many get so burned out.
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

  7. #7
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    Sometimes you have to understand that when a mom says, "I'm done," she's just venting and blowing off some steam. It's okay to have these feelings. Homeschooling can be hard. In the homeschooling community, there is often the pressure to do things "perfectly," and it can be very frustrating when your children aren't perfect.

    It's also okay to commit to homeschooling for just one year at a time. There's nothing wrong with re-evaluating your educational progress at the end of each school year. There's also nothing wrong with taking a break from homeschooling or homeschooling one child but sending another to school. If a mom is going to be successful at homeschooling, then her mental stamina is equally important. Someone who feels overwhelmed might not be taking care of herself very well, and that may be the real problem.

    Shelly, at the co-op that we attend, one of the veteran moms teaches a Bible study for moms during 1st period. There's no homework, and littles are always welcome. I've never been able to attend, but I know that many moms really treasure this time each week. Many of the women get together outside of co-op because of the friendships formed in this study. It's just an idea to consider.
    Mom to Grace (15), Sarah (13), and Hannah (11)
    Using my college degree in ways I never imagined....

  8. #8
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    Laura, what an amazing idea!!!
    Wife to Jim and Mama to Katie (1/01), Mattie (9/02), Cale (4/05), and Ben (8/08)

  9. #9

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    I love this thread! I'm only in my 3rd year (have done Prek, K, 1st) entering 2nd grade with my oldest this year. So I don't feel that way yet. However, from experience I get burnt out and have to step back with homeschooling takes over everything. I LOVE homeschooling so I am constantly looking at curricula, studying education, altering my plans. While I think it's great that I love HS so much as it gets my kids excited it can also wear me out if I don't put boundaries in place. That is something I have to do and have learned. For example, I do a general overview plan to make sure we will hit our days etc and the I do plan ahead for 6 weeks at a time so I get one big planning session (I love these) about once per month. Then on the weekends I look through and reserve from library for future books if needed if needed and look over stuff. Due to this, I no longer allow myself to plan nightly (yep, I did this....just wanted to continue perfecting it...just for life to get in the way!!!). I also do not allow myself to plan during the day...that is for my family. I now do that weekly overview and large planning times after the kids go to bed (they are young so it is not too late). Setting boundaries and making myself have other hobbies and points of interest, for me, is what I feel will help me do this for the long run, which is our goal.

    I also definitely agree with fellowship with other hs moms....they just 'get' stuff non-hsers don't. Plus you can just vent when you need to without people questioning why you don't just quit.

  10. #10
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    Over this past year, I led a book study for homeschool moms- three times for one month at a time. We studied, Teaching from Rest, The Lifegiving Home, and Better Together. I stuck with titles that are popular in the homeschool world now and the second two were picked by the ladies doing the study with me.

    In this group of young-ish homeschooling moms, most of the time, I was the only mom without my kids in a hybrid day school program. Beyond the one day of full school, these kids are doing a million things. Not all of it is organized, structured activity, but it's activity over here and meet ups there with other families, etc. All great things.

    One theme that kept coming up over and over- and became especially clear as we discussed innovative homeschooling ideas, is that they don't have enough extended time at home for homeschooling. Some of the kids have special learning needs, etc and it was explained many times that they could not to xyz really awesome thing because all their time is spent on acquisition of basic skills.

    Here the thing: you can't get to all the amazing things that deep learning can offer if you aren't home long enough to get past basic skills. Please don't take this to mean that everything is perfect because you stay home. Don't take it to mean that just because you stay home long enough that when you get to the cool stuff, it will go off without a hitch. That's simply not true. However, being home long enough to get past basic skills allow you to go next level- doesn't really matter what that looks like for any family. It's still next level.

    And then here's the corollary.

    When a mom sees all the other moms doing hybrid schooling and all the amazing activities outside of home, the message she receives is that she can't homeschool because can't afford to do all the things. I see this all the time. The message from veteran moms that this doesn't matter, that it doesn't make a lovely homeschool experience doesn't resonate.

    The other consequence

    of keeping this schedule is that it is a fast track to being done.

    And, if I were to say anything to the contrary of the trend, then I'm asking moms "to do it all" and it's not fair, "I shouldn't have to do that", etc.

    To me, the insecurity of the homeschool mom looms large in her life. If she doesn't have good support locally or from her family or especially her spouse, this leads down a rough road.

    So, I think knowing why you have chosen to homeschool is important. I'm not saying any of this from a lofty point of view. If you all here, my blog readers, whoever could see the chronic issues in my kids that I deal with daily, hourly, and by the moment, you might be astonished.

    To be cliche...this isn't a sprint. It's a marathon. Pace yourselves!

    AND, know your kids and yourself and be confident enough to make the choices that are necessary to do the work you want to accomplish. Your kids will be absolutely FINE if you don't have them in all the things. In fact, they will be more than fine. They will thrive with well chosen, well placed activities in their lives. And so will families!
    Heather wife to Dan and embracing the independent nature of homeschooling with our fantastic four (20 ds, 18 dd, 16 ds, 13 ds).

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