Help! I am overwhelmed!

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allgrace
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by allgrace » Fri Aug 04, 2017 5:06 pm

Hi ladies,
We have just started our school year this month. We are doing ECC and I have a 3rd grader, 1st grader, 4 year old, 22 month old and 7 week old. There are many interruptions so our day feels long. We need to continue school after lunch because of all the needs in the morning. It is also hard to get laundry done and just feed everyone three meals a day! Let alone clean the house. Any suggestions?
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds10: CTG
Dd7:MFW 1st
Dd5: VOD (slowly)
Ds 3: AAAT(slowly)
Ds. 1: nursing, diaper changes, sleeping in carrier😜

Julie - Staff
Moderator
Posts: 1013
Joined: Fri Nov 03, 2006 11:52 am

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by Julie - Staff » Sat Aug 05, 2017 11:28 am

Hi Grace :)
You are in a busy season of life, and starting a new school year which is always an adjustment. It makes total sense that you need to continue school after lunch, since 4 hours of school are unlikely to happen without interruption right now.

While you wait for busy families like yours to reply, I thought I'd share some links from past conversations, in case one or another of them might have the perfect idea for you:

* Large families: viewtopic.php?f=8&t=1011
* The preschool board has many threads on 1 year olds, an extra challenge :) viewforum.php?f=2
* Overwhelmed: viewtopic.php?f=13&t=2471

I have not been in your situation, but I have schooled while watching a toddler grandson, taking care of a sick husband, and working outside the home in the evenings. Things that helped at our house:

1. I believe strongly in school hours. I know some families do not, so take that into consideration. But for my family, it was helpful to model to my children how to set aside other tasks that seem urgent (housework for me, toys for them) and focus on education every day during school hours, showing them by example that learning is very important to our family. If there was a free minute for me, then I could correct math workbooks or mark the pages we would start reading the next morning, but I would try to stay focused on school during school hours.

Of course, the children understand when the baby needs attention or a mess needs to be cleaned up, but they are also watching when some tasks have to wait until after 2:30 or whenever. On difficult days, we also benefited from knowing that there was an end in site -- school would be over at a set time :)

2. During school hours, we alternated sitting with little exercises (from stretching our fingers to running around the house). I also learned to allow my wiggly son to listen to me read while balancing on a giant ball or doing other crazy things, because he narrated better that way (which he had to prove to me!), and it helped him last longer.

3. At times, it helped to separate out independent tasks. I know the Hazells (6 kids) used a marker board chart for independent tasks at one time (viewtopic.php?f=13&t=3684&p=46300#p46300 ). I used cardstock cards to put up when a random interruption happened: "Book Basket time" or "Math workbook" etc.

4. In the early years, we did a weekly menu plan together (grade 3+), so no time needed to be spent on deciding what to make for lunch, or to make a new plan because we didn't have the things we needed for our first meal idea.

5. Draw your younger kids in as much as possible, even if they are just "pretend" learning with some scribbles and a baby book. Remember that your 3rd grader will have time to cycle back to ECC again before high school. This year, focus on the fun activities that your younger kids will enjoy, too. And spend your one-on-one energy on language arts and math.

Blessings as you meet the needs of your little ones!
Julie

MelissaB
Posts: 372
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by MelissaB » Tue Aug 08, 2017 6:32 pm

Hi, Grace! ~

Forgive me for saying this, but I feel overwhelmed at times ... with just two! :~

I haven't homeschooled a large family. But I'm friends with a family who homeschools with six, another with eight, one with five, and they all recommended I read a book by Teri Maxwell, who homeschooled 8 children, called "Managers of Their Schools."

This is a {short!} practical book - - - not a "your world's gonna' be perfect! just do what I say" book. It has TONS of such great ideas for organizing your home while trying to juggle all of these classes and needs and squabbles and ... Oh, Sister - we're the janitor, the nurse, the chef, the coach, the teacher, at times the principal - - all in one! :)

The book has an entire chapter devoted to Preschoolers and another chapter devoted to homeschooling with babies.

I think you'll really enjoy it! Look for it at your used homeschool curriculum sale, or you can purchase it from the Maxwell's website.

The gifts & the calling of God are irrevocable. {Romans 11:29} God's clearly called us. And so, even though our house may not look perfect the moment company drops in ... it's o.k. GOD's looking at the big picture, and our children's futures.

I hope that encourages you! Is there a homeschool Mom out there who doesn't at times feel overwhelmed? (If so, I'd like to meet you...!)

May the Lord richly bless you with Joy & Peace and Grace as you Love on these little ones! {no pun intended.} Many blessings! ~
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4

cherryfruit
Posts: 4
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2012 9:24 pm

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by cherryfruit » Wed Aug 09, 2017 3:35 pm

Hello! I just wanted to give you a little encouragement as someone who has been in your shoes. I am now on my second time through ECC with a large family. We've added some more, so now we have eight, but at that time, I had six children aged seven and under and the baby had special needs and needed special feedings. And, my husband was on travel all week, almost every week.

I think around that time I wrote almost the exact same post as you! Let me encourage you that full days are still good days, that things do get easier, that MFW is probably the best curriculum for your situation, that your children will still learn so much even if you have distractions and other duties. One of my best memories of that time was of a moment of desperation. I was stressed out, and decided to let my children make a grassland mural from old magazines and packaging paper. They loved it and still remember it.

So, yes your days will be busy, but try to enjoy this time and don't be afraid to do things differently than others. The other posters had great tips that I hope can help you. I hope things get better for you! Leave it to the Lord and rest in Him.

allgrace
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by allgrace » Fri Aug 11, 2017 11:54 am

Thank you so much for your advice. Cherryfruit, thanks for talking with me. It helped immensely! I am going to use August to train my kids in a few more chores, making a simple lunch, and just solidify our routines more. Then we will start again in September. I have peace about our year and will be ok with what we are able to get done academically. I love ECC because I know it will aid our desire to share God's heart for the world and missions. I am praying God will keep me in this peace for all our homeschooling years.
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds10: CTG
Dd7:MFW 1st
Dd5: VOD (slowly)
Ds 3: AAAT(slowly)
Ds. 1: nursing, diaper changes, sleeping in carrier😜

bethinga
Posts: 105
Joined: Sun Jun 24, 2012 3:13 pm

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by bethinga » Sun Aug 13, 2017 6:03 pm

Hello! While I only have two, I just wanted to encourage you to do things differently to fit your family, even if it seems unconventional. There was a season of life for us when beginning school at lunch worked best. It gave them a chance to play freely (their imaginations were active first thing in the morning, but not necessarily their attention spans). And it gave me time for housework, enjoying their play, toddler/PreK care, and getting myself going. We read a book at lunch to get us going and let the rest of the school day unfold from there. Some items that would be fun with dad were saved for evenings on the patio after supper. I hope that helps some!
Beth in GA
Mom to a boy and a girl
Using MFW since 2012

Guatejen
Posts: 6
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2012 10:44 am

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by Guatejen » Tue Aug 15, 2017 1:01 pm

Hello. :) My children are 8, 6, 4, 2, 1, and I'm due with #6 in January. We also are doing ECC.

First, I'll remind you what you said: Your baby is 7 weeks old. That means that you're still recovering, adjusting, and trying to get a handle on things with 5 kids!!

I suggest that you take things one step at a time.

1. Stop everything (that includes school) and plan some simple meals (sandwiches, salad, frozen meals that can be thrown into the oven, etc.)
2. Focus on rest. Get onto a good habit of getting enough sleep between night and nap time. You cannot effectively teach your children if you are worn out. Plus, exhaustion will only have negative effects on your health, your energy, and your milk supply if you are nursing. During your awake time, try to eat veggies, limit sugar, drink up your water, and get a bit of exercise (going for a 15 minute walk counts!). Eating well, resting well, and exercise will boost your energy.
3. Once you're starting to feel more rested (even if it takes 3 weeks), THEN you can look at your house. Taking care not to stress, tackle the mess in your house one room at a time. Usually I start with the kitchen. Spend a day cleaning, and then commit to getting it cleaned after every meal. My kids have chores, which has made things much easier for me. My 4 and 6 year old unload the dishwasher (they put things they can't reach on the counter for me to put away), and my 8 year old loads it and helps wash dishes. They also have turns with wiping the table and chairs and sweeping. After the kitchen is clean, I like to move into the bathrooms. And then the living room, and then the bedrooms, etc.
4. Once you're feeling more rested and energetic, and your house is relatively (but not perfectly) clean, focus on your kids. Not school just yet, just things like: Are they being fairly quiet indoors? Are they obeying quickly, with a happy attitude? Are they picking up their toys when it's time too? Are you making sure the screens aren't on too often? Are they spending time outside and exercising?
5. Once you're rested, the house is neater, and the kids have had a turn in "obedience school," THEN you can start your school year!

Usually it takes me about 3 months to recover after a baby is born. Last time it was closer to 6 months. Be patient!! Being pregnant and giving birth is a lot of work! And so is a newborn whether or not you're nursing! Not to mention the challenge of raising a passel of kids, much less homeschooling!

Slow down for a season, recuperate, and don't let the culture dictate how you parent your children. God sets aside periods for rest for us (see Sabbath and postpartum rest periods in Scripture). And you will be able to serve your family so much better if you teach from a place of rest... In fact, look into the book Teaching from Rest. It's not EXACTLY the same as what I've been talking about, but more about the state of the heart. Please get it; I cried through most of the 81 pages of it. :)

Blessings!

allgrace
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by allgrace » Tue Aug 15, 2017 2:21 pm

Wow! Your response is exactly what God has led me to do! I am working on doing all of those things. Thanks encouraging me to accept this period of rest. We stopped school so that I could do all of those things you mentioned. I have read teaching from rest. It was helpful. I just need to not listen to the culture and feel pressure to do school in.a certain way. I love ECC but I know we can't do everything during this season. I feel like I do need more recovery time this time around.
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds10: CTG
Dd7:MFW 1st
Dd5: VOD (slowly)
Ds 3: AAAT(slowly)
Ds. 1: nursing, diaper changes, sleeping in carrier😜

TXGRL
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:33 am

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by TXGRL » Wed Nov 01, 2017 5:43 am

I am obviously late to the party, lol, but I want to encourage you, you are not the only one on a modified school calendar, and many more will be modified before current levels are completed. Life happens, homeschool gives us the freedom to roll with it, and my husband's favorite part: crowd free vacation if we take a break during the "school year" and go into summer a bit. Prayers that your family is doing well and that you are now rested, confident, and comfortable with your schooling plan.
Married in 2008
Ds in 2011
Seeking God's plan for more dc
MFW 1st 2017-2018
Abeka K 2017 (nontraditional calendar)

allgrace
Posts: 91
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:41 pm

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by allgrace » Fri Nov 03, 2017 9:13 pm

Thank you. It is going better. I realize though that I am always thinking that I am doing something wrong. That I need to change my routine or something. But then I realize that homeschooling multiple little ones is just hard and my reasoning for second guessing myself is that I think there is a way to make it feel smooth and easy. I do want to share that since I have started doing some of the preschool activites with two of my kids so that everyone gets some one on one time with me, my days have been going so much smoother! Hopefully that continues.
"Sanctify them by the Truth, your word is Truth" John 17:17
Ds10: CTG
Dd7:MFW 1st
Dd5: VOD (slowly)
Ds 3: AAAT(slowly)
Ds. 1: nursing, diaper changes, sleeping in carrier😜

TXGRL
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:33 am

Re: Help! I am overwhelmed!

Unread post by TXGRL » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:36 am

So glad that you have improved what you can and accepted that motherhood is 90% chaos. A friend who's children have homeschooled through high school recently told me a funny story about joining a co-op in the early days of her homeschooling: the group she joined turned out to be more of a play group than a schooling group and while the kids played, the mom's got together to brag about their lessons (I added a lapbook to this lesson and it is adorable, well I wrote my own lesson for that unit, well I wrote my own curriculum, etc). She said she had to leave when they got to science and discussion of disection led one mom to claim that her dc used a video microscope to disect the wings off of a mosquito (same mom had admitted to my friend that they had not started their curriculum yet because her house was a mess and life was too crazy. So even if someone seems to be (or says they are) effortlessly schooling 10 kids, remember each family, situation, and even year is different. A mom once told me that she teaches all 6 kids (2 - 14 yrs) in 2 hours a day, my response was "great, some days it takes me 8 hrs to do Kindergarten with 1 dc." Congratulations on your brood and on being courageous enough to take on schooling them yourself.
Married in 2008
Ds in 2011
Seeking God's plan for more dc
MFW 1st 2017-2018
Abeka K 2017 (nontraditional calendar)

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