I have 3 boys, 10, 8 and 6 and an almost 5 year old girl. We’ve always homeschooled and it’s been my plan to always homeschool. My husband and I are both homeschool graduates.
But I’m discouraged. My kids are loud and constantly “connect” with me. Most of their lives, we had very little community and they’ve just always had me. It’s ovewhelming now when my 8 year old constantly asks for approval for everything (Can I eat this apple? What if I’m not hungry? Can I wash it in this sink? — I think he just makes up questions to keep talking!) and my 10 year old works at always inserting himself in my conversations and decisions.
My husband horrified me by suggesting putting them in school to get them some discipline today. I’m trying. I think they are learning. I see improvement but it’s still overwhelming.
We don’t have family around to help. They don’t go to SS. We are in a co-op. And they behave very well there and are respectful. They sit in church with us and are mostly quiet.
But at home….it’s lots of loud, lots of rough housing and constantly interacting with me. And my husband can’t stand it. He has a stressful job and he can’t handle the constant “mommy-ing” when he is home.
But, he works a lot and I feel alone in this. He’s always been supportive of homeschooling and he helps the kids if he is the only one here and they need help. But, he thinks I’m too lax, and I’m sure I am, I just don’t know what to do to fix the problem.
We have a new neighbor who is a school teacher, but isn’t working right now. She’s super sweet and has offered to work with them an hour a day, 3 days a week. And I think that will help with some of the discipline issues, because she’s good with that stuff and sees how much they demand my attention when we are trying to talk.
But, what can I do???? I feel lost. I don’t know how to give them the discipline they would get in a school environment at home. This isn’t a school. It is a home. But they can’t just never learn to be quiet. I know they need more structure, but I really don’t know what to do.
There is an Ambleside International school close by and it is run by a close friend of mine. I keep eyeing it and thinking the older boys could really benefit from the discipline. But the cost is quite prohibitive and I’m afraid if I put them in school and then have to homeschool again, I’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of work it really is.
We’re about to get going on our day so I don’t have time to offer any thoughts here right now but I want you to know that I’ll be thinking about your situation and praying for you today.sarah2106Participant
I also am about to get started with my day but quickly wanted to mention. My friends who’s kids are in public (and private) school are discipline handfuls after school because all day long they have to “hold it in” and behave and by the time they get home they are “bursting” with energy and bad attitudes because they are exhausted and also full of energy from being “pent up” all day. Then in this mix of emotional ups and downs they have to do their homework, which is hard! She mentions that she feels like she gets the “worst” of them, because attitudes and exhaustion, instead of the “best” of them.
I know that is not every experience though and some kids truly thrive in public/private school and homeschooling is not for every family. I would just caution to think school will create better disciplined children, they often learn more from their peers than from their teachers.
What about online classes? To outsource some of the responsibility and they would have to be accountable to another teacher, but you would be the primary teacher.TristanParticipant
Make a list of specific things you want different, or specific things that are driving you crazy. Then choose 1 to work on with the kids. Good old habit training!
For example, you may really not enjoy the roughhousing, so make a specific rule for the family that says when it is and is not appropriate. At my house that rule is we only roughhouse when daddy is available to oversee it.
Another example, if loud talking/yelling all day long bothers you a lot then work as a family specifically on inside voices and outside voices. In the house we don’t yell for someone from another room or floor of the house. We let someone know if they are talking too loudly (because often people just don’t recognize it) and we recognize someone when they are using a good inside voice (reinforce the positive).
If you need a break during the day then maybe institute a quiet time each day for a specific 30 minutes. Each person gets an assigned place to be (their bed, a couch, etc) with quiet things to do (color, draw, listen to an audio book, read, play with a quiet toy alone, sleep). Set a timer and let that be the boss of when quiet time is up. And once they get used to it you can slowly increase quiet time until it is an hour.
Tristan, those are great ideas. Here, the biggest problem is constant interrupting and demanding my attention. That’s what’s driving my husband crazy. Everyone talks at me at one time. During school, they all need help at the same time, so it’s, “Mommy, how do you spell?” “Mommy, how do I do this?” “Mommy, what is next?” all while I’m doing phonics with the little one.
This morning, in circle time (we do catechism, family reading, hymns singing, etc) I made a point of stopping interruptions and letting them know how I expected them to behave.
During table time, I tried to let them know when I was indisposed with one child and the others were to be quiet. I know it’s just that I’m in it all.the.time and feel overwhelmed.
And, I have one child that is just super needy. He constantly wants me to check his work and see if he’s doing it right. If he’s supposed to read something independently, he kind of melts down that he won’t know if he’s reading it correctly. But he’s really doing great with reading….it’s just where he is emotionally or something.
My husband comes home at odd hours of the day (his office is on our property) so I can’t exactly have the kids prepared for when Daddy is coming home and have them quietly doing something. But that’s what we need! His job is stressful right now and he wants to be able to come home to a restful environment.
It is a good reminder that kids going to school can come home pretty stressed. I’m sure some of mine would have a lot of pent up energy (except for maybe at the CM school.)
Habit training is really what we need. Maybe I need Laying Down the Rails for me. 🙂CrystalNParticipant
My 8 year old is very needy also. He also tends to have a bit of anxiety I think. Always concerned if he washed his hands well enough, and asking me if its ok to eat something he dropped or the dogs tail came close to or other things. I started asking him to think it through on his own. If he askes me “did I wash my hands well enough”, I respond with “I dont know, did you.” His response is usually “I am not sure what do you think”, to which I reply “what if you did nto wash them well enough, what do you think will happen”, he replies “nothing”. Gradually he stops asking me and just goes over it in his head. I have had to tell him I would no longer respond to certain questions because he knows the answer. He also wants lots of help with work, and I am happy to help him, but I require independent effort first. And each kid has their mom time so they all must wait their turn. It sounds to me like your kids are just used to your undivided attention and just need to learn that daddy comes first and they can wait and handle some things on their own. I think habit training is a good idea. And quiet time. But be patient, it is a slow process. Maybe your husband could text you with a 10-15 minute warning before walking in, it might help you get everyone involved in something quiet and independent. Then when he walks in the door he can have a moment or two of your uninterrupted attention. I think our husbands need to feel like they are a priority sometimes, which is so hard with little ones who have needs.
Your son sounds exactly like mine. He has been washing his hands until they were raw to make sue they were clean enough!
I’ve been thinking about your situation and a few things have come to mind. Yesterday I took 4 of our 6 kids to the zoo. These 4 are close to the ages of yours—11, 8, 6 and 4. The 16 and 13yo stayed home. I was thinking about how these kids are still little! They are full of life, wonder and action just as they are also full of whining, fighting and neediness at times.
A book that helped me a lot a number of years ago was John Rosemond’s Parenting by the Book. I’m not saying that I am 100% with him on everything but he has got some great ideas regarding the current state of moms today. This isn’t the exact quote but he discusses how mothers are “beaten by the whip of ‘involvement’” because we are made to think that we are supposed to be hovering, looking over their shoulders all the time. As Crystal indicated, husbands need to come first. The marriage is the most important relationship in the house—more than that of the relationship from parent to child. A book I read recently which has been really, really helpful is The Excellent Wife by Martha Peace. As a Christian, I am not offended by her exhortation for us to love, respect and submit to our husbands.
I believe that a lot of mommies have lost the art of “ignoring” their children…by that, I mean, making sure that SHE is an interesting person with her own life, enjoyments and focus—not so wrapped up in them that she forgets herself or her husband. We need to tell them to go off and play amongst themselves more. Of course I don’t mean to neglect them all day long. We homeschool, for Pete’s sake. Many hours are taken up with reading aloud and doing things together. But there has to be a sense of “Ok, I’ve been serving you here and now it’s time for you to go on with your bad self and find something to do.”
Also, it might be nice to invite another homeschooling family over from church to spend a few hours with sometime. Kids tend to cancel each other out and go off more when they are together and then the moms can sit and drink coffee. 🙂
These are just my rambling ideas because you have been on my mind. I don’t know you at all beyond what you’ve shared and I may be totally off so take me with a grain of salt. It has just been my experience that allowing for clinginess does not fly very well for our home and when the husband comes home to chaos and the house is not basically orderly it affects his state of mind, too.
Learning along with you, Sister! Be encouraged!Wings2flyParticipant
I hope you find some help and encouragement here. I will be praying for you and your family. I have some thoughts to share based on this post, but I might be off. You know your family best. Are you spending enough time outdoors? They need to be active, and running around outdoors really helps with that. Also, nature calms the emotions. Plus the sound goes up and they can be loud outside. This does not always have to be free play. You could have them do yard work, crafts, gardening, etc. I also agree that even if you send them away to school, you will still have the same discipline issues to deal with at home. Would training in respect/honor help? Train them to silently raise their hand and wait to be called on when they have a school question. Train them to silently put their hand on your arm and wait for your attention when you are engaged in other conversation (even on the phone) and they need you. Can your husband call or text you when he knows he will be home so you can be prepared? Can you start your children with a game or play and then excuse yourself once they are all involved together? For the student that doesn’t like to read independently, can you play an audio book for them to read along with? I agree that habit training and quiet time should help, along with plenty of outdoor time.bethannaParticipant
Interrupting is a bad habit here too. Not so much once dad is home, but during the school day. So I am following on that….
I second the ideaof getting your husband to let you know before he comes home. My dh calls after he leaves work and it takes him approximately 45 minutes to drive home. That has been ample time tidy up and let the children know he is on his way because they love to greet him at the door. That makes him feel great too.CrystalNParticipant
I know this sounds a bit silly, but it is surprising how it gets the kids attention. My husband and I often refer to each other as my wife or my husband when the kids are not treating us with proper respect. For example, if one of the kids interrupts our conversation we might say “just a minute, I am talking to my husband right now”. Usually we refer to each other as daddy and mommy, which is really identifying ourselves as belonging to the children in a way. But when we occasionally, not always, but once in a while refer to each other as my wife, my husband, they stop and think about that and hopefully realize we belonged to each other before we belonged to them. It really does sorta stop them in their tracks. We do the same thing with them occasionally, “please don’t call my daughter names”, “don’t treat my son that way”. By the way for what it is worth, the fact that your kids are son confident in your love and devotion to them speaks volumes of your commitment to being a good momma. You have given them the confidence they need to spread their wings a bit and you don’t have to feel guilty about letting them work some things out on their own, as painful as that may seem to them when it happens. It will help them grow. And bring peace to the home. God bless you momma!
These are really great ideas!!! I like John Rosemond and recently remembered his book. I should get it and read it.
Right now, they are not getting nearly enough outside time because of the weather. They get outside every day for their chores, but it has been raining a LOT and our back yard has no grass. I’m going crazy with mud (and they are pretty good about taking their shoes off…..it’s just so much mud/red clay that it still ends up in the house.) But that definitely makes a difference.
Since I wrote the OP, I’ve been working on telling letting them know when I’m busy with someone and they have to just work quietly until I can get to them. I’m seeing some improvement.
My 10 year old is the worst about clinginess, at least for his age. If we are around people, like in church, his attempts at staying “with me” are hard to deal with. He’ll sit beside me in church and lay his head on my shoulder. I’m trying to sit beside my husband (versus he and I being road blocks and either end of the pew) and put the littlest ones beside me so he can learn to be a little more independent.
I don’t know how to get my husband to warn me that he is coming. His office is just feet from our backdoor. He comes in throughout the day. I try to tell him if he needs quiet to just not come in the middle of the day 🙂 but, obviously, it is his house and he can come home whenever he wants.
I’ll have to think about it and see what we can work out on that point.
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