So, we officially started our school year July 1, but I am having a hard time getting into a groove, a schedule. I mean I have a schedule all laid out & should be workable but just can't seem to get myself going with it. Now, when I set up the schedule I wasn't going to the gym but decided I had to join a gym to get childcare so I could exercise b/c I do not take good care of myself & have irritability issues that I'm hoping the endorphins from exercise will help lol. I go to the gym MWF from around 9:30-11:30 plus about 40 mins round trip drive time. I try to do scripture memory, poetry/hymn study & maybe one other thing like SCM hx/bible/geo or a little reading or something while we eat b'fast but have also started working on some habit training that involves morning chores. So, considering our day usually starts going around 7:30, 8 that doesn't leave a lot of time before we head to the gym around 9, 9:15 on MWF (this schedule may switch some as go with my friend & her kids will be doing a homeschool co-op this year on MW but not sure that the days make much difference in terms of the schedule). This is only part of the problem in getting going though...the other part is that I just start feeling overwhelmed with all my responsibilities as a single mom then get stressed about the house being a mess, junk sticking to my feet as I walk, having to shove messes out of the way to have a place to work, etc. & go on a rampage about cleaning lol (my house gets messy in the normal ways when you have little ones). I also admit I can just start checking out & get on here, on ph with a friend, etc. Have any of you gone through this type of thing? How have you gotten yourself, your homeschooling on track? Would you perhaps just cut down to the basics for a bit & allow this time to be largely about the habit training plus basic academics (only a 6yo schooling who already reads at about a high 2nd to beginning 3rd grade level, adds, subtracts, etc.)- reading, math (using RightStart), copywork for handwriting? Any different thoughts? Technically, we are doing 3 weeks on, 1 week off, but I intend to take 1 day mostly off each week just to regroup, clean, etc & will be doing educationally related stuff on the off week like field trips, continuing scripture memory, etc. so not like I can't count that time (GA requires 180 days & 4 1/2 hrs per day, but I feel I'm always teaching even if not academics). Sorry so long, probably rambling as I'm very tired lol.
Hard time getting going(18 posts) (14 voices)
I have struggled with being consistent with school at times as well...so a couple of thoughts for you:
- If the schedule you made isn't working out for you, there's no rule that says you can't change it. While there are certain features of our schedule that have remained fairly consistent, I tweak it every couple of months to fit the current ebb and flow of our lives. So, don't be afraid to change it and think outside of the box. Right now our lives are pretty crazy - I'm in school part time on top of homeschooling, so our schedule is pretty 'free form'. We do have a daily routine that stays the same, but we take days off here and there as needed rather than scheduled weeks off. I mark off days on a calendar to keep a running total of how many 'school days' we've had just to give myself the visual 'oomph' I need not to take too many days off just because I don't feel like it! But at the same time I have freedom to have a catch-up on housework day, go hang out at the park with friends day, or whatever as they come up.
- If there are things like a messy house that are causing distractions for you (I can't work in a mess either), I would suggest taking enough time off to first work on getting the house under control - do a big cleaning/decluttering - so you can get to a point that you can maintain a relatively neat house with just a little bit of attention each day. Once it's clean make a point to spend maybe 20 or 30 minutes each morning and evening to keep things that way - not that it has to be perfectly clean, but just to keep it at a level of neatness you can live with. Work on getting your kids in on the action so that keeping the house tidy is something you all tackle together. (My kids have to clean up their toys before lunch and again before dinner, so it never gets too out of control. They also don't have many toys so clean up doesn't take super long either.) I realize this can be daunting to keep up with everything on your own, but if it's distracting you to the point that other things (like school) can't get done, I would say perhaps that needs to get bumped up the priority ladder a bit until you get that area under a reasonable amount of control.
- I also deal with the temptation to escape into the computer and can spend too much time blog reading, checking facebook, pinterest, etc as well. I am finding that for me, I need to make rules for myself to prevent that getting in the way of the more important things that need to get done. I literally have to put the computer away during the day to keep from getting too distracted by these things. (We have a second laptop set up with things that we use for school loaded on it, but that's it.) I 'reward' myself with time for these things to enjoy (reading, checking in on FB and blogs, calling someone, etc) after I've accomplished something else on my list for the day. (After school is done, I go check in on FB while the kids eat their snack, I read when they are taking their quiet time, or whatever.) If I have time for these 'me' things built into my schedule, I'm more likely to stick to my guns and get things done even when I don't feel like it because I know there is some 'me' time coming later.
- But...when it all boils down to it, at some point you just have to decide that school is important, it is priority, and you are going to buckle down and do what it takes to get it done, even on those days when you don't feel like it. Over time you will start to see the fruit of it (I've already seen such progress in my dd 6.5 - in reading, in math, in narration, in making connections, in the sweet time we enjoy together...) that that keeps me going when I am tempted to distractions.
-God doesn't call us to do a task and then leave us to our own strength and resources to accomplish it! I like to look at life's challenging seasons as a way to learn to rely more deeply on His strength rather than my own.
Now with that said, I need to take my own advice and get off the computer, beg for God's strength to 'do the next thing' and go 'get 'er done'. =) Hugs to you!
Obviously you need to find the schedule that works for you, so my advice might not work at all for you, however two of the things you listed would be an absolute schedule-killer for me. The first would be the morning gym time. If we need to be away all morning I find it almost impossible to get into a good schedule when we get back. Could you schedule your gym time in the afternoon, or (what would work better for me) buy a treadmill or elliptical machine that you could do at home? When my children were little, and I couldn't get outside to run I had a treadmill. It wasn't my preference, but it was an adjustment that I needed to make at that season in my life. I could run for 30 minutes every day while still directing the activities at home.
I also could not deal with a messy house, and it sounds as if it bothers you too. It just drains my energy to be looking at a mess. Could you just set aside a week or so to get things organized and then set aside an afternoon a week to keep them that way?
I second what jeaninpa said. If we leave in the morning, there is no regular school routine after, it just doesn't happen. I try not to leave during those hours except for our co-op day, but that is our school for that day. Home exercise works better for me too bc of this. Just a thought.
Ditto on the never leaving the house in the morning. I don't know what it is, but school just doesn't happen around here unless it happens first thing.
And I LOVE< all the advice that Jen gave you - I second her ideas wholeheartedly! With my internet issues, it's best if I just don't even turn on the computer until later in the day, the later in the day I turn it on, the less time I spend on it and the less I desire it. Obviously failed in that area today, as it's only 7:42 am here.
It's true, if we leave the house, the school day is pretty much DONE! Now when your kids get older, they can take a few readings with them. But even then, this should not be often.
I've had to learn that home exercise is my best bet. I start it early after my morning coffee, and JUST DO IT! I have found that if I put things that I dread in the very start of my day (such as excercise, starting house chores, and even teaching math), I will follow through.
Following a schedule isn't really hard if we look at our day realistically. Developing the habits of consistency is the hard part. I think this is the toughest area of being a homeschool mom! Hang in there and tweak your schedule until it feels right. :) You can do it!!
I agree with everyone else. That is too much disruption in the middle of the day for us. I get up at 5:30 (eek!) and run. It was hard to do at first, but I, too, needed the endorphins to help keep me sane. The lack of sleep I get is more than made up for by the exercise...I am more tired the days I sleep in and DON'T run. And it is early enough, I can actually get in my car and go somewhere to run...it's nice to have that change of scenery first thing in the am.
We go to the YMCA twice a week at 10:00 in the morning. It works well for us. I have some things anchored around breakfast like scripture memory, hymn, memory work, poetry reading. Then they finish up chores and we start our "sit down" school no later than 9:00. That gives us time for copywork, narration from a short passage (such as an Aesop Fable), her reading aloud to me, spelling, and a sweet little circle time to end our time together with things that involve the younger ones. Then they take a snack to go in the car at 10, I workout for an hour, we are home for lunch and a short free time while I tuck the youngest in for nap. Then we tackle the rest of school like history/Bilbe/Geography, math, read aloud while little one is napping. Sometimes I still have a little bit of quiet time to myself before he wakes from his nap.
Hope you can find something that works for you. I do belive taking care of ourselves is important!
Everyone has some wonderful ideas and I understand how you feel completely; I"m sorry you're feeling this way. When I'm like this (and I have been since the beginning of this year, really kicking-in in April), I decided to downsize our schedule to just basics. Then for summer I went down further to schedule a hand-ful of things Sun-Thurs. and then longer schedules on M, W, TH.
With this schedule, I've been able to slowly get my motivation back, recharge and start concentrating on my eating habits and getting up earlier, as I had begun to get down and started sleeping in late.
I, too don't get school accomplished if I don't do it in the morning as I just keep putting it off for other things that also need doing.
I thought about going out to a gym, but couldn't justify the expense (I could buy TTAPP just for the cost of signing up!). Outside is beautiful, so I'll be walking and riding abike. SO now I'm trying to concentrate on waking early, getting dressed earlier, following a simplified schedule; next is begin an exercise routine. But I had to make a list first and get my thoughts down on paper.
Does it help you to write your thoughts out and make plans/goals on paper?
I hope you can reorganize your schedule to suit this time in your life as it is now. It won't always be like this and you'll develop better habits and then there'll a new season and you'll adjust then, too. Show yourself some grace, simplify your life, organize your way and persevere and you'll start feeling better!
I have to get up at 5:30 too or my day just seems to encounter more problems and I feel like I'm starting out behind schedule. I wish I could run (or walk) then, but my DH is out the door at 5:30. I just can't get up any earlier. Wish I could, but what I do at that time is my quiet time (when I don't get it done, boy is the day less peaceful all the way around!), but anyway, little DD is ususally up by 6 or 6:30, and what a difference even that half hour of QUIET before everyone is up makes.
As for the mess, I try to get a few things going early. Like I'll throw in laundry first thing (it is the getting back to it where I struggle). But anyway, I always make sure the kitchen is clean before I go to bed; nothing worse than coming into a mess. It just depresses me! And sometimes irritates me too.
I also have a new thought on the "junk" that collects (like little pieces of paper or "art"--you know the kind that they had fun doing but is not something you will keep forever?). Well, if I find it on the floor or a table untouched for days--round file. With 6 kids, the "junk" can just pile up fast.
Chores like cleanng toilets, sweeping floor, feeding pets, wiping counters, etc. we all do right after breakfast for 30 minutes. It really does lead to a lot getting done. Then at 3:45 we have another round of chores for 15-30 minutes, ideally picking up and following up on earlier chores (e.g. that laundry waiting on me!) from the morning before Daddy comes home.
As for leaving in the AM, we can come back and do school but it is HARD. I think you can do it but it has to become routine if that makes sense.
Well, I only skimmed through the other responses, but one thing that first jumped out at me from your post was the 40 minutes drive time. This can easily be 40 mintutes of school time by using audiobooks. You can do a short 15 to 20 minute reading each way and briefly talk about the story as a way to start getting the 6 YO into. some beginning narration. Just have a brief conversation about the story you just heard. You can do lots of history, Bible and literature, and there are some science audio as well as classical music stories. You can check out many of them from the library, join audible.com or get them free at LibriVox.
I also suggest doing the basics of the 3 R's and Bible to start off (plus the audiobooks?), and ease into other subjects over time. I have finally gotten into a regular routine for the day, but it used to be hard for me to keep up after 1 1/2 hours into our paper schedule. I suggest this link about adding in more topics one at a time until it becomes a habit:
Another option is to buy some inexpensive, used piece of exercise equipment. There are always many listed on craigslist. Your kids can watch an educational video while you exercise or just play with their toys or blocks during this time. If you don't want the equipment, there are many exercise videos to do. I understand the need for exercise and that it must be a priority and that if it does not get done early in the day, it rarely ever gets done because I am too tired at night to even think about exercising! Yay you for taking care of your health and body.
As far as the housecleaning, there is a lot to do with habit training, but I'm not sure exactly what you are facing. There was another post about that and might help you:
I checked into flylady and printed her 31 beginner baby steps. I'm working on it. A friend of mine recently told me about a site she likes to use:
Thanks for all the input! I know some of you may know/remember & others not...I'm a single mom so that complicates things a bit as far as being able to get out of the house without the kids. I had to do the gym b/c exercising at home just wasn't happening. If I tried to do anything that involved getting on the floor, my LO was climbing on me, they both would get up under my feet or try to exercise with me which meant I was having to avoid crashing into them, dropping a weight on them, etc. My friend & I tried walking at one time but just doesn't accomplish anything with kids involved. I'd love to say I'd get up early to do things but two things complicate that #1- I would motivate myself every so often but fact is it just wouldn't happen b/c I'm not a morning person & have already been quite sleep deprived (starting to improve now that I've managed to get one of the girls out of my bed & #2- the LO winds up in my bed every night despite my best efforts & would wind up getting up with me at 5:30 thus defeating the purpose & leaving me with a cranky child lol. So, while I know that works great for people, at this point, that will not be a solution for me. I could potentially try going to the gym in the afternoons just haven't decided if that will work either b/c the childcare doesn't open until 4pm for the afternoons so could create a rough time for the evenings but could be ok & possibly work better. I do usually have them watching a Spanish video or give some copywork/handwriting to do during the car ride but the post about narrations gets me thinking so going to see about maybe recording some readings on tape (yeah, my vehicle isn't so up to date & not sure I even know how to burn something I read onto a CD) for listening & narration. On that note, does anyone know of a website that has audio of the Bible that I could use for doing the Module 1 Hx/Bible/Geo like this in the car? We are definitely getting things done...I guess I just feel like it should be smoother, more organized or something. I did hire the babysitter to come up today so got the schoolroom largely pulled back together--Yay!! Just the reminder to that school is priority helps...I have to intentionally shut things down that aren't about educating during the time that is for school. That's hard but things definitely flow more smoothly when I set aside ph calls, internet, etc., which ultimately makes my life more pleasant & easy. I do think I'm going to basically cut back to the 3 Rs for a bit & slowly build up into more...I tend to set up the "perfect" plan then not carry it out b/c it may be perfect but not realistic (at least yet ). I do appreciate everyone's feedback as it helps me process & come up with what may work for me even if the specific things others do will not necessarily work in my life. And y'all are always so kind & gentle in anything you say. Thanks!
How old is your little one? I am not a single mom, but with 7 children under 12, four under age 5, and hubby gone most days and evenings I've had to come up with some tricks for working out. Honestly, depending on the age of your little one I would either put them in a sling/baby carrier or train them to stay on the couch/on a blanket/out from underfoot while you exercise at home. In the sling the LO gives you extra resistance. In a safe spot they'll at motivate you to exercise hard for as long as you can manage before they reach their limit for staying put. ;) At least that's what motivates me. I know I'll only get a certain amount of time if my 6 month old or 19 month old wake up when I'm exercising. If the 3, 4, 6, 7, or 11 year old wake up I know they are old enough to wait while I exercise. Another idea is to put the little one in a high chair/booster seat with a seat belt and a snack or finger food breakfast.
Leaving the house in the AM tends to derail school here too, though we can get back on track if we must. We often have medical appointments or therapists coming into the home for my baby and so we're slowly adapting to doing more school in the afternoons as needed. Ugh. It used to be all done by lunch. But that's just not possible some days with Mason.
((HUGS)) You're right, you'll have to find what works for you. Just don't toss suggestions out the window until you've thought of creative adaptations to make it fit your life!
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