This was my response to a homeschooling mom feeling overwhelmed homeschooling her 5 children ages 9 to 1 yr old:
Homeschooling is hard, it is a lot of work, it takes a lot of perseverance. But that is actually just parenting, you have to look at your situation and circumstance and decide what will be best for you overall and then go with it. Both PS and homeschool have advantages and disadvantages, you just have to weigh them for you and your kids and then make it work, make it happen– if you choose to send them to public school, then you get to know the teachers and volunteer and go on field trips and help with homework, and talk to your kids, support them when they need you– if you decide to homeschool, then you figure out how to make that happen– find more support if you need it, better curriculum, experiment. You can make either one work– the most important thing is that your kids know you love them and you’re trying. Apologize to them when you are wrong too, they are very forgiving!!
Now if you want to continue homeschooling, here are some suggestions that may help:
Read John Taylor Gatto’s Dumbing us Down — Depending on what your public school is like– you may be doing your kids a huge service just not having them adopt a regular school schedule and the stuff that goes along with it. Your kids are young– some of the best advice I got was from Susan Wise Bauer at a homeschool conference– the kids could not leave their rooms before 8 am and they had to go to bed at 8 pm and they had quiet time in their rooms each afternoon after lunch for 2 hrs. They could read and play in their rooms– but you have to have some time to yourself. And it is good for them to have time to think and play alone.
I was not that strict with my schedule, but when I need time to rest or take a break, we all take a break and the kids know that I will be out soon. I will give them options of things they can do like color or draw or listen to a book on tape or some music or read. I assign a bigger kid to play with the toddler aged kids. I would also play hymns and classical music in the mornings while we ate breakfast. I used to run our schedule around the baby’s nursing and nap time– If I was tired and needed a nap, then nap/quiet time was for everyone when the baby went down so that I could take a nap– when the kids would get whiney I would stop cleaning or cooking or whatever I was doing and go read them a book or two– it seems that that attention was all they needed and they would leave me alone for awhile. When I needed to make sure that I had individual time with each of the older kids, I rotated a 30 min. block with each one and the older ones I was not helping were responsible to do “preschool” with the little ones so they wouldn’t interrupt me helping whoever needed help. They all loved that, cause really they just played games or colored, but they knew they were helping and had some responsibility.
Once they didn’t need so much individual help and we were moving along better on their own– with me just available to answer questions about their work, I would print off a weekly list for each child of what they needed to do — we did a 4 day work week so we could have one day to go on a field trip or clean or if a day just didn’t work out, I didn’t have to feel bad about not doing school that day. As long as their work was done– they had to do at least a day’s worth each of the 4 days, but they could do extra and then not have to do as much the next day. I also included stuff they only needed to do once or twice a week, and I included chores.
That helped them understand their goals and what was most important to do each day. They would get to watch a show when they were done or play on the computer or whatever fun thing they wanted. They couldn’t do the fun thing until they were done for the day. Some days I read a lot with them, other days we were lucky to just get the basics done.
Good luck– that is a tough stage– I had 4 in 5 years and eventually 4 more including twins– it is a lot of work, but so worth it to see your kids thrive and learn and find their place in the world. Hugs!!
And go on Field Trips- do interesting things, go to the park and on nature walks– those are some of the best parts of homeschooling!! It is not all work, :)!!