Encouragement - When not fitting it all in

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
Posts: 87
Joined: Fri Apr 21, 2006 10:27 pm

Re: I need some thoughts on how and when to finish ECC.

Unread post by TammyB »

An update: :)

After spending time Sunday afternoon with the TM, I realized how much I really want to complete ECC in its entirety. There really is just nothing (besides Antarctica) that I want to condense. It's all good stuff that I want my kids to learn. So....We are just going to continue to move forward with it and finish it when we finish it. I plan to begin CtG no later than the first of October. It will be fine. :)

Thank you all for offering your insight and suggestions.

Thanks for verbalizing that, Crystal. (I know it's not really verbalizIng if it's written, but..... ) That really is true. One would think by now that I would have been able to let go of where I think we should be and instead happily embrace where we are. Trying to cram to forge ahead really just sucks the joy out of learning, doesn't it? I'm getting a little choked up just thinking about how far my son has come this year. God has been so good, and I am so thankful!

Sherrie, Thank you for reminding me of some things that I know but too easily tend to lose sight of. I have decided to continue ECC at a normal pace, break for a summer rest, and complete it in its entirety before beginning CtG (hopefully in October). I feel really good about having made a firm decision.

Thank you, Dena! I do feel good about having decided to finish ECC in the fall. I totally understand your friend's view of picking an ending date and just being done. School will end for us June 9, and we will take a summer break. I've decided to resume ECC in the fall because I really want to finish it. It's all good stuff, and I don't want to skip it. Since my oldest is a third grader, I've got some wiggle room, and I'm going to take it. I feel SO much better having made a decision.

Posts: 4
Joined: Wed Apr 22, 2009 12:38 pm

Re: I need some thoughts on how and when to finish ECC.

Unread post by mommywings2006 »

I will be new to MFW, but I've been a homeschool mom of 6 rs and a homeschool support group leader for a combined total of 3 years (took a year off from leadership in between). So, my reply is not as a MFW user (but I will be when my order arrives), but as all of the stuff stated above. Please don't think I'm preachin', but I wanted to share a little about my own experience with ya ;)

Private and public schools DO NOT finsih their books from cover to cover. One articule in a homeschool magazine showed that these schools may only finish 70% of the "textbook".

I tried to go to cover to cover for years and drove myself to unhappienss/burnout with the whole homeschool concept. I put on another yoke that the Lord did not intend for me to wear, I was doing a hardship to myself and my family with my response to homeschool and the thought of, "if I bought it, I must use it cover to cover or I'm not wise with my money, etc".

Jesus' yoke is light, and I know that He called me to homeschool our children. I confessed that I was doing this in my flesh and had to release the issue. I have to remind myself from time to time to take it easy with the pressures that I put on myself this time of year. We end in May, with books not done cover to cover. I literally make myself gather up my materials (yes, those that I didn't finish) and stick them in the box for our community used book sale and get it out the door--LOL!

In our support group, I've seen many sides to individual family's needs. Some really do go cover to cover. Some just finish when the end of May hits. Either way, God will see to it in the end that His mission is accomplished even if we do make mistakes. God's plan for your children will occur no matter what. We all have a vision/goal for our homeschool that is unique to each family. I hope this helps.

Blessings, Bev
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Joined: Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:07 pm

Re: I need some thoughts on how and when to finish ECC.

Unread post by meagabby »

Thank you, Dena! I do feel good about having decided to finish ECC in the fall. I totally understand your friend's view of picking an ending date and just being done. School will end for us June 9, and we will take a summer break. I've decided to resume ECC in the fall because I really want to finish it. It's all good stuff, and I don't want to skip it. Since my oldest is a third grader, I've got some wiggle room, and I'm going to take it.

Thats a great idea, I'd forgotten that we did that one year, finished up the end of one year at the beginning of the next school year. My friend's idea works for her, but, like you, I find that MFW has great information that I don't want to just drop the end. :)

I'm not able to complete every single project and paragraph every year and yet each year we do not finish when public schoolers do. Now I don't even set an end date. I like to pick a Start date and work from there.

And like others have done, starting in a different month isn't all that strange or behind, (remember you are already 'ahead'.) and what about year-round schoolers and public schools that tried that out a few years back? They accommodate for different breaks.

I'm glad you have a plan. many prayers for you,
Loving learning with MFW!
Kristi Covey
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:09 am

Re: I need some thoughts on how and when to finish ECC.

Unread post by Kristi Covey »

Hi there-
I'm in a similar situation with ecc, I think we're finishing India tomorrow, later than we "should be". Yes, I have a flexible "game-plan" to finish, but we'll see what happens.

I'm so thankful for the encouraging posts and I'm so glad about your decision to take a break. I remember feeling stressed about finishing last week and being "behind", but I counted up all the field trips and co-op days we've put in this year and realized how much my kids are learning and I'm not worrying about it anymore, well, I hope not anyway. (I live in Indiana where we're supposed to do 180 days of school; field trips for ps kids take the whole day!). We will be working on math facts over the summer and maybe a few other things, but I need a break and I know my kids do too.

One thing to remember that other moms have mentioned to me before....we don't have to do it all; Marie didn't write it for us to feel like we have to do everything in the TM, REALLY! You can call the office and ask!

Tammy, I know you will continue to find encouragement here and I hope you can continue to open up your heart as well! I know you'll be blessed as I have!
Wife to awesome husband, Tom; mother to three wonderful children-ds('99), dd('03), and dd(April '06)
"I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me" -Phil. 4:13
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Joined: Wed Mar 31, 2010 9:12 am

how are your preps coming along?

Unread post by club190 »

Amy C. wrote:Prep? I wished you hadn't mentioned the word. Not that it has not been constantly on my mind the last few weeks. I am trying to prep in more ways than one. We are expecting baby boy #4 due mid-Sept.. I am having to prep for new baby and school, and I am feeling pretty overwhelmed. I have bins and baby stuff all in my dining room, trying to figure out what we have and what we need and where we are going to put everything. I have had many a conversation with my hubby about coming up with a plan for organization, but not sure the best way to do it on a tight budget.

I have been back and forth of when to actually start school. This past Wed. the doctor told me that he doubted I would make it to Sept. So I am thinking that maybe I will wait until after the baby is born to start school. It's not like I don't have plenty to do between now and then. I am starting to really nest, but don't have a lot of energy/stamina to really get in there and get it all done. I am trying to take it one project at a time. Yesterday my boys cleaned out my youngest's toy box. This was a project that has been much needed for a long time. I have made a school supply list for CTG and 1st grade and am planning a trip to Wal Mart/Dollar Tree while school supplies are on sale. It is soooooooooo hot here in MS that I am not venturing out before at least late afternoon.

Anyway, sorry to vent. I guess I am just freaking out a little. I am going to have to remember to calm down and take a deep breath and just do what I can when I can and trust God with the rest. We do feel very blessed to be having this new little one. I am trying to not overdo it which then adds to the "there is so much to do but so little energy/physical strength to get it done" problem. Please just pray for us that the Lord will help us work all this out and that I won't have a nervous breakdown between now and then. :)

I hope I haven't depressed anyone with all my whining. I just needed a moment to get it out. I really appreciate this board where I can "talk" to people who can understand this homeschooling/raising a family journey we are all on. Any of your prayers are much appreciated. Thanks for letting me vent here!
Amy C.

The Baby IS the LESSON! Sorry to shout at you. If you need it, you have my permission to forget about doing academics until after your baby is at least one month old. Do "life" instead until that time. The kids can help get things prepped for the baby (Household or Occupational Skills). You can explain about what's happening inside, how the baby is growing (Anatomy and Physiology). You can all memorize Ps 139 and appreciate how wonderfully made each of you are (Bible). Branch off from that study and look up all the verses about how God makes each of us (Bible, English, Reading) and discuss that while you await your bundle. Prepare meals that you can freeze and use after the baby arrives (Home Ec). I could keep going if you want. This is a wonderful opportunity to link life with learning and worship our Father for His mighty goodness. Enjoy that. Regular school lessons can wait until later on, really!

Wife to Jim since '91
Mom to:
Matthew, 18, Ursinus College student
Andrew, 14, ECC 7/8 + a few extras to make it "official" for high school credit
Daniel, 5, wanting to "do school" but still not really ready
Amy C.
Posts: 200
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:12 am

Re: how are your preps coming along?

Unread post by Amy C. »

Thanks, Chris! I needed that. Good ideas. I guess I just have been so caught up in "starting school", you know, but I am going to have to settle down and get refocused. Your words are needed. Sometimes I need people to shout at me. Thanks for being that one!

This is a wonderful time in our lives and I don't want to miss the wonder of it just because I am so stressed over "other" things, and really some of these "other" things can wait. God knows what He is doing. Every good and perfect gift comes from the Father above. He knew then as well as now when this baby will come into this world and bless us with his face to face presence so I need to focus on the baby and and what is going on in our lives and worshiping the Father for it all as the lesson as you so well put it. Sometimes I let "life" get in the way of my relationship with my Father and with my family. Why do I do that? I get so crazy at times.

Okay, I am taking a deep breath now, literally and spiritually, and going to seek the Father in all of this, asking for His presence and His direction from day to day, and to help me stay focused on the most important things in all of this and trust Him with it all. This is our Father's world, after all, which includes us and the creation of life, including this life within my womb!

Thanks, again!
Amy C.

Re: how are your preps coming along?

Unread post by cbollin »

those pregnancy hormones can make planning and prepping overwhelming to get a wrap on. nesting instinct as some call it? and we won't talk about the heat wave down in this area. just how many days has the area been under excessive heat warning? I can imagine that makes it harder.

You're doing fine. (((hugs))

agreeing that baby can be the lesson.

For school? assign the boys to work on how they want to organize stuff for school and let them make a plan (even if it gets changed). They can learn a lot from helping you and it will be educational and practical. yes, curriculum is important too. that will be later in the year. Nothing wrong with a "relaxed unstructured" approach for a few weeks. i hear in some parts of the world, it is a normal part of the school day that children are assigned to help the teacher and cafeteria workers to clean and organize every day. If they can, we can too, right? A few audio books. educational videos. helping you to write thank you cards for gifts. rubbing mommy's feet. making supper/lunches (simple stuff). teach them to do the meal planning. They'll pick stuff they like. so?

call it school, call it social studies. call it service. call it home ec and life skills.
Posts: 45
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 4:16 pm

Re: how are your preps coming along?

Unread post by wisdomschool »

Just wanted to say to Amy that I'm right there with you! And even though it wasn't directed toward me I want to thank Chris for her good words(I would say that type of thing to others,but I think I now need someone to say that type of thing to me!!!)

I'm expecting baby number 6 somewhere between the middle of September and the middle of October. This will be our closest in age children and was a very big surprise! My baby is currently 13 mo. We are starting ECC with a 4th, 2nd and 1st grader and have a very active 4 y.o. boy and then another very busy boy(our 1 y.o.)

We currently live in a 1200 sq.ft. house(no basement/no garage/no dishwasher:) and we are finally trying to move (we've lived here for 7 years, we moved in with a 2 y.o. and an 8 mo. and we thought it was small then:)

This is our first year that we were going to start with new curriculum/books "on time"(August/September), and I just wonder if that will really happen.......I'm feeling overwhelmed for sure......how does one pack with 5 children(it takes all day just to maintain our house)we don't know what house we're buying or when we'll actual move yet.

Thank you for listening. I am a die hard homeschooler(was homeschooled my self 1st-12th), but I often think "can I really do this"/how will I be able to teach three children and take care of three littles all at the same time(and cook and clean and take children to outside activites) my husband works 6 days a week, and we won't all be able to ride to church together(7 passenger van, 8 people when the baby comes, 5 children still in car seats/booster seats).

I don't like complaining so I'm sorry if it sounds like complaining here. I know The Lord provides and cares and I do trust Him! I am human(and not super mom as so many think), and life is hard sometimes.......

Blessings to all of you and peace in what you are going through,
Momma & Teacher to my super seven:

Elijah-3 y.o.
Micah-2 y.o.
Eden-3 mo.
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

What are essential subjects when life gets difficult

Unread post by gratitude »

LSH in MS wrote:We are doing ECC this year. I have 2 students doing the 7th-8th grade supplement, 5th grader, 3rd grader and 4 year old. I am expecting baby #6 and am not feeling well. I don't have the stamina that I did last year.

I am wondering what are the essential subjects that are the most important to do if I can't get to everything. I don't want to leave out anything but am trying to be realistic.

My boys struggle with Language arts the most so I know that will be a top priority and of course Bible. My 3rd and 5th graders are way behind in spelling and the 3rd grader is not reading fluently so i am still doing phonics with him. My oldest 2 wil be able to do a lot on their own, but I am feeling overwhelmed. Any advice for me?
Hi Lori,
I am so sorry that you are feeling overwhelmed, and not feeling well.

Your kids are older than mine were when we had our difficult year, so the answer may be different if they had been older. You will be the best judge if my experience is helpful.

Six weeks into my oldest ds K year I ran into a difficult pregnancy, followed by serious medical problems for my dd first six months of life (I am assuming this does not apply to your situation). So K is much different than what you are dealing with. We ended up taking the year off.

However, I did do what I felt were the three essential subjects when I could:
Bible, read books aloud, math, and very occasional phonics.

I realize I had the luxury with it being K of putting school aside. I hope though it might help a little.

When I did resume school, a year later, he had just turned 6 and it was his K year (instead of first). We did Bible, handwriting, phonics, and read books aloud for 1 month and then added math for 4 months and then started MFW Grade 1 at age 6 1/2. We did what we could.

I guess I would say from my experience God will bring good out of your situation. He did for us, but it took 1 1/2 years to realize how much good He was really bringing out of the time when schedules, etc. just weren't possible. My kids learned a lot that year, it just wasn't from school curriculum. Instead they learned a lot about life when it is difficult, and the fact the Lord is always there for us.

Prayers & I hope you feel better soon!
Posts: 92
Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2007 1:52 pm

Re: What are essential subjects when life gets difficult

Unread post by 705emily »

Hi Lori--

I don't have any real advice for you--just know that I will keep you in my prayers! I do know that the homeschooling years will all tend to even out---the rockier ones and the smoother ones! Your kids will learn great things through real life experiences that will stay with them forever! Praying .....

Irmi Gaut
MFW K, MFW 1, Adventures, ECC this year!

'And my God shall supply ALL your needs according to his riches in Glory!'
Amy C.
Posts: 200
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 9:12 am

Re: What are essential subjects when life gets difficult

Unread post by Amy C. »

First of all (((HUGS))).

I don't know if anything I am about to post will be of help, but here it goes. I am pregnant with my 4th due mid-Sept. I have not felt as well this pregnancy, completely exhausted the first 3 months and then never really fully got that second wind during my 2nd trimester, I am now on bedrest after spending 24 hours in the hospital. We had to spread school out a little longer last year, not finishing until the end of June. Before this bedrest thing, I was back and forth about when to start school, before the baby came or after. Now I know it will be after. I do plan for my older boys to start back on math and maybe LA next week and will do something light (that can be done with me in the bed) with my youngest. Those are my plans, however, as I am learning my plans are not always the Lord's plans. There is a verse that has continually come up during the last year. I have it written in a couple of places as a reminder. It is Prov. 16:9 "A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directeth his steps."

I have a good friend who called last night. She had a benign brain tumor removed a couple of years ago but had a long recovery and still has a little left to go. Her mother died a few months ago with cancer. Before her mom's death, my friend was pretty much staying with her day and night for 2-3 months, not to mention the care prior to that. My friend homeschools her 2 dd. She shared with me how they made it through all of this and continued to homeschool. She said to me, "It will be alright. The Lord is faithful. We had to let some things go. We did not do everything we would have had life been normal, but we did what we had to do, and we let the other things go. My girls learned much more than academics through all of this."

I am learning that my boys are learning much more than academics. They are watching their daddy be a true servant to us all. They are seeing him sacrifice and learning what it means to be a family and work together as a family. They are seeing others minister to us and the importance of the body of Christ bearing one another's burdens and what that means fleshed out in everyday life and the importance of us serving others in due season when we are able. I have been reminded of this myself. We are all learning that we might plan our schedules but it does not always work out like we plan, but that God is always faithful. We are learning a lot!

As far as what academics to focus on. I would say math and LA and what areas you know your children are weak in as you have already mentioned. Then as you are able, you can add in some of the other stuff. I would think that your 2 older children could work a little more independently and maybe the olders could help the youngers some.

Do you have someone who can help even if it is on the weekends?

I certainly don't have all the answers, and I am not walking in your shoes, but I am going through some things and wanted to share some of the encouragements I have received through all of this. Maybe some of this can be of some help. I hope so!
I also have received some really good advice/encouragement on here. I don't know how to link but one thread in particular was called "How are your preps coming?". I posted on there and got some good responses. You might check that out if you have not already read it.

As in the words of my friend, it will be alright, the Lord is faithful!
Amy C.
Julie in MN
Posts: 2910
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: What are essential subjects when life gets difficult

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Hi Lori,
I'm afraid to answer on this thread because I might just write an encyclopedia :)

I do agree that language arts in 7-8th and of course Bible are good priorities. Try to remember those when you're picking & choosing what to let go of. Don't do nothing but don't do everything. Be flexible. Even typing a sentence about what was most memorable in Bible each day is practice in composition.

And after those two, teach your children that mental health, physical health, and spiritual health are all important throughout our lives. After that, fit in whatever academic muscles you can flex at the time.

Otherwise, I'm not really feeling led to describe anything in particular, but just to say "do the next thing." Don't be overwhelmed with it all at once, just do the next thing that you know. You won't be able to see the whole picture right now, but God will. The year we got behind the most was during RTR. I spent over a month sleeping in a hospital waiting room and barely saw my child. Eventually, my mother-in-law came and tried to homeschool a bit. I look back at that blessing with such fondness. How could I know that my youngest would lose his grandma within another year or so, and that time reading the RTR Bible assignments with her was precious? I remember her saying, "Julie, we read the exact verses you showed us (from the RTR guide), but I didn't know why we had to stop there. We just kept on reading. Is that okay?"

Do the next thing, and let God make bigger plans than you know.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs

Struggling to get it all done and we are just doing MFWK

Unread post by cbollin »

Mom2theteam wrote:I guess I'm looking for some reassurance that this is okay. Or, if it isn't, maybe some suggestions on how to handle it. I have 5 kids 5 and under. My oldest started MFWK this year. We have finished our 3rd week. He is doing so well. I'm so impressed considering we tried to start last winter and he really wasn't ready. 7 months has made a HUGE difference and I'm so glad I didn't push.

So, we are doing the full K program with him and my 3 year olds are tagging along. They sit with us the majority of the time. They listen to the info, do the activity and do lots of workbook pages. (They LOVE workbook pages and follow the instructions and then color the whole thing like a coloring page. ;)) Overall, everything is really going great.

Here is my problem: The program is supposed to take 60-90 minutes per day. We are getting in about 45 - 60 minutes a day. Most days we only get done the activity or the reading/math, not both. It isn't that my 5 year old can't handle the entire thing. It is that I have 5 kids and I just can't seem to be able to get enough free time to do both. The toddlers (17 months) play in our playroom while we get it done and most of the time, they do great. But, since I have to stop every couple minutes to help or correct or whatever one of my 3 year olds or refocus my 5 year old (he loves it, but still has a hard time focusing) everything is taking longer than it should. We just can't get it all done and definitely can't do any extra activities that I would like. So far, we have managed to be able to make up what we miss by doing it on Saturday or doing extra on a good day. But, it is stressing me out a little. I'm feeling like we should be getting it all done and I'm doing my oldest a disservice by not being able to complete it all. We are planning to homeschool year round, but I'm not feeling less stressed. Can some of you BTDT moms reassure me that it is okay to fall behind a bit and go a little slower? Or, if you don't think it is, give me some pointers to help us get this done?

Just a quick note: before anyone suggests we work during nap time, ;) We really can't. First, while I do often get at least an hour in the afternoon when all the younger kids are sleeping and the older is taking quiet time, I don't always. Second, I really need that time both for my sanity and to get things done like pay bills. I really don't want to give up that time unless I absolutely have to. :-) Thanks!!!
This is how it worked in my reality with my youngest. Granted, I don’t have 5 children. I have 3. I think you’re doing fine with everything you said.

In my house the formalities of MFW K math were done in about 3-5 minutes with my youngest. Like I said, I guess we work faster than others. The math in MFW K was part of her wake up routines with calendar, and count the sticks and write the numeral. Other math things were done during chores (pairing socks, or counting forks to put on the table, or counting cookie)

Now, I could spend 10-15 minutes on the phonics lessons right after breakfast with her. Her attention abilities weren't that great yet. She's better now and can work on seat work for about 45 minutes or so.

Activity time was done later in the day in the midst of chaos of teaching older children and having to juggle ballet, and special needs therapies. Sometimes? It was done as a quieter time in the evening. I remember the Penguin thing was in the evening. I remember that day... oh no... she didn't get it done.. eek!
seriously.. check the time stamp on how that post was. I wrote it immediately after we were done
http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php ... 03&#p46103

10-15 minutes for activities and that included clean up. Or, as goofy as it sounds… I’d do my best to keep the activities in my brain and do them while we were outside playing. I can remember while my youngest was hanging upside down in a tree that we’d repeat the lessons and themes from L L Leaf, and we’d take the moment to talk about the feel of the bark, or to look at the leaves…..

So, don’t feel restricted to thinking that the activities time has to be done only at school table… try to keep the lessons in your mind and ask God to open the door for the outside 2 minute lesson.

What’s a nap again? I want one. When I did the “school during nap”thing, it was while I was on the couch trying to stay awake… usually counting sheep, or reciting a familiar book (not reading it.)

Don’t feel like you have to make MFW K last for 60-90 minutes each day. Ok.. let the flames come on from the staff who probably would prefer I not say that out loud on the internet. Oh well. But usually I have this picture in my mind that people who spend that much time are the ones who don't have as much on their plates as you or I, that or they like to have perfect crafts. I can't imagine having to get all of that done except if I have to tell someone that 60-90 minutes of one on one tutoring is... LOL LOL LOL. oh plu-lease. I've seen what just 30 minutes can do. anyway....
I like to have process over product and have fun with it.. I remember our kangaroo unit... did I measure 40 feet? no. I estimated that one end of the house to the other was close enough to get the concept across that those critters can hop! So, my daughter hopped, I lifted my daughter in mid hop and carried her across the yard and set her down. We went back inside. and get this...... We unloaded the clothes from the dryer, and as we took the laundry basket back to the part of the house with the dryer, I put her (my little joey kangaroo) in her basket (my pouch) and I pushed her back to the dryer area in the basket, all the while saying the theme "I am safe in God". Then, she got out of the basket. and we played kangaroo hop again but inside from one side of the hall to the other.

yes, it was enough. No I don't have pictures. No I don't have a clean house. No I don't usually wear jewels at the kitchen table and have picture perfect hair for a photo shoot..... that ain't homeschooling in the real world. Sorry, but I'm "old school MFW" where slow but steady and year round was just fine.

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Joined: Thu May 20, 2010 4:03 pm

Re: Struggling to get it all done and we are just doing MFWK

Unread post by tangomoon »

Heather, I see that you've got two sets of twins. What a life-filled house you have! One thing I'm discovering is that there are days (weeks) where we can get everything in, and others where we do (maybe) the bare minimum. Every so often we even have a day where life lines up for some sort of extra. :) I'm learning to not beat myself up for the days that are crazy, especially if they're a result from something beyond my control, and to keep going. There were units where we didn't do all the activities, but mostly read picture books on that topic or even watched a video on them. For a list checker like me, that was hard to accept. But it was best for us then to just keep moving forward.

Pray! Pray for ideas that will help you find ways to link the themes and truths into things that are going on in your life already, and for ways that you could be creative with working the activities in to the time that you have, and finding times that you didn't know you had. I have to keep reminding myself when I get overwhelmed that we have an enemy who really doesn't want us teaching our children God's truth, which helps me remember why I teach at home. He also wants us to feel that each of us is the only one struggling, that no one else would understand, and shame us into thinking we're not up to this task. Are there days that I should manage my time better? Absolutely. There are times I need to think outside of the box and reset my own perspective. But there are also days where I've done all I can, and I need to focus on the positives from the day instead of dwelling on what didn't get done.

With little ones, maybe try to take advantage of small 5 minute chunks here and there. Those really will add up! Like Crystal said, calendar and sticks can go quickly and could be done in conjunction with a standard routine, maybe even go over those during a time the 3s & 5s are eating or something like that? Use the calendar to talk about birthdays, weekly routines (tonight is pizza night, daddy comes home early, church night, etc.). It's easy to skip this one since it does go quickly, but those few minutes a day really help build math skills.

A lot of the reading activities could be turned into games. My daughter liked to pretend the foam letters were kids, and we'd pick a couple "friends" to go up and down the blend ladder. They'd take turns, sometimes going up, sometimes down. I had a 3 yo who joined in for some of K, but for a lot of it he was happiest playing in the same room with me splitting my attention (challenging at times with just a couple, so I can only imagine how much more so for multiples). For writing practice, things like sidewalk chalk where the youngers could doodle while your K student practices his letters, or we loved the one of putting a little bit of pudding on a plate and writing the letters there. If your 5yo has some computer skills, sites like http://www.starfall.com are great for practicing letter sounds.

I will be praying for you, Heather! Remember to turn to God when it feels overwhelming. My good friend who has 8 stair step children often comments that there's no way she can get through the days on her own ~ it's only by tapping into God's strength that she does it. :)
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Re: Struggling to get it all done and we are just doing MFWK

Unread post by kimber79 »

Hi there!

We are starting MFW-K this year also with my oldest, my 5yo son! My plan was to start this week after Labor Day and it's still possible but my son has been sick this past week and is just now recovering. We may need an extra week! But much much grace to you!! You have your hands full of good things of course! :) What a great job you're doing teaching at home and I will be praying for you!

One tip that has helped me to relax when it comes to lesson plans is what a veteran homeschool mom told me - to look at the curriculum as a menu! You wouldn't order everything on the menu, only certain things. So, for example, with my son, our daily priorities will always be Bible, reading, phonics, handwriting and numbers/math. If we're able to do other activities throughout the day, great, but if not, then I will rest easy knowing that I covered what are our priorities and we can try to move things around another day to include more books, games, etc. But my son is already reading so there are some activities that he'll be able to skip whereas he really needs the handwriting practice.

I have a 2yo so I know there's only a certain amount of work we can do in the morning before she is into everything :) but most of the times she'll sit and color which is helpful. I'm setting up a special school box for my 2yo that she'll be able to go through when my son has his designated school time. There was another link on here called Preschool Box Ideas - not sure if that would help with your 3yo's!

I would pray specifically about what you and your son consider the priorities for your school time/day and then focus on those within whatever time you can and then make another list for add-ons "as time allows" and choose maybe just one or two activities that you know your son would enjoy. I know that so many of the MFW-K activities are great but several may not work out in my designated time frame so we'll move things around as needed. I'm planning to do the best I can knowing that my son is getting so much more at home than he would elsewhere and I believe the same for your son as well! Do what you can and pray each day for what the Lord wants you and your kids to do and when it's the end of the day leave it all there and know you've done what God had you do! Learning takes place all day long at home and maybe your son could even save an activity for your husband to do with him as their special time together. Just some ideas! Praying for you!
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Re: Struggling to get it all done and we are just doing MFWK

Unread post by gorillamama »

tangomoon wrote:I have to keep reminding myself when I get overwhelmed that we have an enemy who really doesn't want us teaching our children God's truth, which helps me remember why I teach at home. He also wants us to feel that each of us is the only one struggling, that no one else would understand, and shame us into thinking we're not up to this task
Mom2theteam, you really got some great advice and encouragement on this thread- good for me, too ;) I just wanted to add a little more encouragement as we can never have enough...you are so not alone and as a BTDT mom with 5 kiddos too, it is so OK to fall behind and so ok to go slower too. We perpetually "fall behind" and I know that overwhelmed anxious feeling that comes with the "WE'RE BEHIND...AARRRGGGHHH!" mentality, but the quote at the start of this post, really puts it all into perspective! Praying for you and those 5 blessings, for peace in your journey...

Crystal (gorillamama)
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Re: Struggling to get it all done and we are just doing MFWK

Unread post by asheslawson »

You really have your hands full and yet it sounds like you are doing great - and what's really nice is they are enjoying it! We did K along with ECC and just couldn't get everything done either, partially because I babysat & had a senior in high school and 3 older one's in college - so there seems to alway be disruptions from them..calls, or last minute visits with mega to do lists while they are home...or 'emergencies' such as they are sick and need me to baby them over the phone a bit. I love that they still call me when they don't feel well and want to know what I think would be a good remedy for them to feel better - what a wonderful gift! But sometimes it means my 2 little ones who are being homeschooled get 'bumped' again!

My answer - I get creative. Sometimes we do 'math' when they don't know we are doing it - though of course math is important to do the bookwork too - for my older one - but when my 6 yr old was a kindy - I completely was happy with improvising. And it worked well - she is doing math far beyond my expectations. Here are a few things we did / do:

She asks for another cookie / carrot / glass of milk...whatever - I always ask her something like how many did she already have so how many would one more make? Or how many would 2 more make? Sometimes I even asked her if she at 4 carrot sticks for 3 days in a row - how many did she eat altogther - or something along that lines that is a little more complex...she thinks them through and solves them very easily now. I also turn this around...how many crackers were there before she at 2 and how many are left...stuff like that.

When we are on an errand I'll ask questions like how many red cars and how many blue cars are parked in an area...how many altogether...we live in a small town - so our grocery store usually only has 5 - 20 cars in the whole lot, but if I drive to walmart and it's a full lot - I'll pick a section and ask questions. I also turn this around - if the silver and the blue car drive away - how many will be left.

We do lots of math in the kitchen...I need 2 more potatoes - how many will that give me if I add them to these? I need 2 tablespoons of baking powder and 1 tablespoon of salt, how many tablespoons.

I use measuring cups and cutting pizza into slices to help my older one be familiar and comfortable with fractions.

The more you look around - there are opportunities to teach all the time - math and reading abound - and you can use the time you are doing something else to teach. I babysit two toddlers - so I've even done math with how many diapers are left in the bag or how many total diapers did I change today if I changed one child 4 times and the other child 5 times...maybe that sounds a little gross - but my 6 yr old LOVES math - so I think it is paying off!

And - I'm with you - if you've got 5 young children - you need naptime for you or housework or whatever - I really have to have my down time. I use the toddler naptime to work with my kids a little more now - but I get to send them home in the evenings - so I have quiet time early in the morning before they arrive. When my older ones were younger though - I needed that naptime - sometimes I needed a nap myself!! Your children are learning probably much more than you even realize! Have a great day - obviously - I need to get to sleep - it is just one of those nights when I can't - don't have those often - but when I do I know tomorrow will be tough! Yawn!
"So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him" Colossians 2:6
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Reassure me that the extras are really extras

Unread post by DaniWestRN »

Mom2theteam wrote:Most of you already know, we are doing 1st and struggling with time. For those who don't know, I have 5 children, my 6 year old, doing 1st, 4 year old twins and not quite 2.5 year old twins. Plus, I'm 33wks pregnant with my 6th. We do have a routine. I do have things for the 4 year olds to do during school time. I do have a gated playroom for my 2 year olds and things for them to do. Still, every day is hectic and a struggle, especially when it comes to getting school done. My 2 year olds have hit some crazy terrible two stage and it's....well....crazy. I can't even trust them in the "safe" gated playroom alone anymore.

In total, my 6 year old and I worked for about 2 hrs so far today. All we did was calendar, Bible, and finish the last few lines of the phonics lesson from yesterday. :~ It was partly because of the distractions and partly because my 6 year old really struggles to stay focused and really takes a VERY long time to do of his school work. This afternoon, while the toddlers nap, we will do today's phonics lesson and math....maybe. We are really struggling just to finish the phonics and math. It is literally our entire focus for the day, sometimes even into the evening when Dad is home...no time for anything else.

We do find time to get the science in sometime during the week, but have yet to do more than one (maybe 2) of the science experiments. He is learning the science concepts through books and oral review and pretty much nothing else. The hands on math is slim at this point. It's much faster and easier to get out a workbook, but we do use manipulatives and do some hands on. We don't get in a lot of reading practice, but some. We struggle to get the Bible activities done. I don't know when we are going to find time to put up the timeline even though it's scheduled tomorrow. We haven't started the Bible reader yet and I'm worried about getting that in even though I know I'll find a way because of the importance of it. We haven't done art in weeks and we never even started the music. We have done a few of the "Come Look With Me" pages and he enjoys that.

I'm not really looking for ideas, although I'm open. I've really heard most of the ideas to keep toddlers occupied. Maybe it's different because I have 2 toddlers and 2 preschoolers, but sitting quietly playing near us with whatever or coloring does not work AT ALL and neither do most of the other ideas. There are 2 of them at the exact age and stage (x's 2) and that really throws a wrench in it because they play off of each other.

I'm really looking for reassurance that 1st doesn't need to be a lot and that the reading (phonics), math and basic science is really enough. (And Bible!) I'm looking for reassurance that even though the art and music and costume making (which we did :-) ) is wonderful and fun, it really isn't necessary for a good education in 1st grade. I really don't feel we have any other option than to continue just doing the best we can. I feel God very strongly constantly reassuring me that HS'ing is definitely what He wants for our family. I'm really not even the slightest bit tempted to bail out. But, on the other hand, I'm worried I'm doing my child a huge disservice by not being able to do all these "extras" and that his education is severely suffering for my inability to get this done. I know for this school year, it's only going to get harder because of the new baby coming soon. Eventually, I do realize this will get easier as my babies get older. (This is our last.) I know I will be able to do more in the next few years. But, is this enough for now?? Thanks!
Personally, I think if he is reading by the end of the year ANYTHING else is gravy. He doesn't NEED art or music or science or history at this point. All you "have" to do is teach him phonics, math, and writing. I put the "have" in quotes because even there you could go slow. He's only 6 and in many states he could still be in K and no one would blink. I suggest you focus only on the 3 "R's" and since MFW uses Bible to get the reading and writing in, you won't loose Bible. Otherwise, just play good music, have art around, let them all play with craft stuff, let him watch science videos and read, read, read to them all. And most important.... don't sweat it. Just my opinion. :-)
Danielle, Mommy to DD#1- 3rd/ECC, DS#1 -2nd/ECC, DD#2- K, DS#2- pre-K, and DD#3- learning to toddle
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Re: Reassure me that the extras are really extras

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

DaniWestRN wrote:Personally, I think if he is reading by the end of the year ANYTHING else is gravy. He doesn't NEED art or music or science or history at this point. All you "have" to do is teach him phonics, math, and writing. I put the "have" in quotes because even there you could go slow. He's only 6 and in many states he could still be in K and no one would blink. I suggest you focus only on the 3 "R's" and since MFW uses Bible to get the reading and writing in, you won't loose Bible. Otherwise, just play good music, have art around, let them all play with craft stuff, let him watch science videos and read, read, read to them all. And most important.... don't sweat it. Just my opinion. :-)
Thank you! This really is exactly what I need to hear. *insert sigh of relief* I actually keep saying this exact thing to my husband and my mom...that he doesn't even really need science and definitely not history. I guess even though I say it, I'm just doubting myself and wanting the reassurance from other HS'ing moms who are farther down the road than I am. He is solidly in 1st and turns 7 in Oct. So, he is on the older side for his "grade" level. Which sometimes makes me feel he is behind, but I'm working on me too. ;)

He actually gets a lot of science just because he loves animals so much. He watches lots of documentaries and checks out books upon books about animals at the library. Through that, he is learning geography because he wants to know where they live and lots of other areas of science spill into it too. I do try to get the science pages in for the week, but we are taking a very relaxed approach to science. I'm glad to be reassured that he doesn't actually need it.

And, the Bible, reading and history is so integrated in MFW 1st, I have no doubt he will get history and Bible along with his reading. We are memorizing the verses too. Math is not a problem at all because he loves it. We were able to finish the rest of his phonics and do math already this afternoon. He did an extra 2 workbook pages of math because he enjoys it. (School went so well this afternoon. I love it!) We should read his science for the week, but I'm so tired. LOL.

Anyway, thank you very much for your reassurance that I'm not messing up his education.
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Samantha & Blake, twins, 7, CtG
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Re: Reassure me that the extras are really extras

Unread post by momxnine »

Wow! You definitely got lots of double blessings! I would go so far to say that your 6 year old doesn't even *have* to be reading for another year or two. Boys are often a little further behind than girls in that department, and you've got lots of boys. :) Three out of my four boys were slower at learning to read than my girls, but they did learn and once they learned, they were right where they needed to be. My grandson will be 8 in October and he's still not reading. He's great at math and science, but not so much with reading. I've found that with my boys too. The ones that took the longest to read are the "math kids" and my one boy that read the soonest is a "book kid" and can't stand the math. They're all different. :) So hang in there, have lots of reading aloud time, music, artsy stuff when you have time and enjoy them being little. They grow up way too fast.
Vicki in SW MO.

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Re: Reassure me that the extras are really extras

Unread post by Ohmomjacquie »

I have a four and a two year old.i can only imagine what double that must be like! My right year old had a hats time focusing. The two little ones can be extremely loud in our little townhouse! Like others said focus on reading and math and the rest can wait. His and prayers. Our first grade year was rough too but it was also our first year homeschooling. Hang in there. This to shall pass.
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Re: Reassure me that the extras are really extras

Unread post by jasntas »

I just wanted to add that it's my understanding that MFW 1st phonics is the equivalent of 2 years of phonics from other programs so if you want or need to you could stretch it out over 2 years.
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Re: Reassure me that the extras are really extras

Unread post by Mom2theteam »

Thanks everyone! I really appreciate your kind encouraging words. And, to the poster who deleted her response, I appreciated what you had to say also. Always good insight. ;)

The reassurance that we are doing enough is really what I needed. I'm not actually worried about him reading by the end of this year. He has been slow to pick up the reading and he is almost 7. So, I would prefer if he is at least able to read even if he is still pretty slow about it since he'll be almost 8 by the end of the year. If he isn't, it's okay. I know he will eventually and we will slow down the program if we need to. BUT, he is doing just fine in the phonics and picking it up. He's slow and still needs a fair amount of help, but it's definitely coming along. He can read so much more than he could when we started. I find myself being impressed by him all the time. It seems SO fast and I struggle remember all the "rules" we learned, but he seems to be remembering just fine. It's that kid sponge brain! LOL!! Even though we struggle to get it done and he has a tough time focusing, I feel his progress has been great. Today, we start the Bible reader and I'm totally excited. He is on the fence. He likes the idea, but he doesn't like reading. We'll see how it goes. :-)

Anyway, thanks again wonderful MFW users!!
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Need help fitting it all in

Unread post by ark2003 »

cherryfruit wrote:I have 7 children ages 9 on down, including a 4-month old baby. I've been trying to teach both Creation to the Greeks and MFW 1st grade at the same time. Let me just say, we rarely get it all done, the house is a mess, the little ones are crying out for my attention, I have little time to read to them anymore, etc. Right now, we're not doing any English, music or foreign language. We only get to spelling a few days a week. This is not the homeschool experience I wanted at all! I love the curriculum in MFW and don't want to abandon it. The only possibilities I can think of are stretching the one-week to a two-week study, eliminating subjects (what we've inadvertently chosen), dropping 1st grade, or even taking a break and working on discipline and order and trying again later. I'd really not like to do the last option, at least not for a long period of time.

Has anyone dealt with this and found a fix that works?
<big hugs!!!!>

I can relate, kind of. I have six kids, but my oldest is 16 (WHL). I also have 3 month old baby, a 2 year old wild thing, a 5 year old in MFWK, and 9 year old twins in CTG.

I will just share with you what works for us. First, once I got fed up with disciplinary issues, I decided to come down hard on the crew. I'm typing one handed on my phone now so I can't go into all the details. It took a bit of time and a lot of effort on my part, but now my children obey respectfully without being asked twice or they receive appropriate disciplinary action. Once we established order in the home, everything runs smoother and everyone is happier.

We school all year. We take off one full week every month, two weeks at Christmas. This allows everyone to have a nice break from school and provides time for field trips, errands and projects (cleaning out the fridge!!!).

My 16 year old works almost entirely on her own. She looks after the 2 year old while I do school with the twins. The twins take turns in the morning looking after the 2 year old while I take 30 minutes to do K with the 5 year old. The twins have morning responsibilities (chores) and independent school work (Awana, math, logic, Spanish, spelling corrections).

The big girls and I have one or two daily chores in addition to everyday things like making beds and doing lots of laundry. I cannot stand a dirty cluttered house, but I am learning to be more relaxed about it. Sometimes I can't get to my chore until after the kids get to bed and sometimes not at all. It grates on my nerves, but I know that this is just a season of life. One day the house will be clean!!! I hold the baby and the two year old as much as I possibly can because they are growing so fast and I'm not getting any younger!!! I try to stay in the presence I Christ so that I don't lose my patience and instead keep things in perspective. I do this by praying and sometimes just saying "Christ, Christ, Christ" over and over in my mind. Calling on his name. :)

Also, we often combine the light Fridays with Thursdays or Mondays if we need to "catch up".

Depending on your 1st grader, you maybe able to put the curicculum aside for a while and focus on the three Rs and have him/her casually join in on CTG??

I'm sorry for rattling on and on without any order!! Just want to reach out and encourage you. We have a tough job, but what a blessing it is!!!!!

P.S. Just thought of a couple more things:

Husband does science with kids on weekends. He also helps with high sch math. We read aloud as a family at night. Sometimes I read, sometimes my husband or my 16 year old daughter.

We limit activities outside the home during the week. We do a co-op that meets the first and third weeks of the month. We have Awana on Wednesday nights. My teen does other stuff, but that doesn't require an outing for the whole family. I keep lists and try to get projects and other-than-grocery-shopping done on our off weeks.
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And one tough baby boy 7/13
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Re: Need help fitting it all in

Unread post by cherryfruit »


Thanks for the ideas and encouragment. I had not even considered taking a full week off every month! After thinking about it, I do think discipline is huge. It's just really hard to be consistent when you're trying to teach! Those are all good tips for handling this situation and I'm going to consider them. I really appreciate you typing that all out for me! And if you ever do happen to have time to type out your method for handling the discipline issue, I'd love to hear that too!

Calling on His name is a good reminder!
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