Friday, October 21, 2011

am I doing a good job?

Last night, due to the remnants of a cold and a heightened state of anxiety I worried about my children's academic accomplishments. We are seriously contemplating sending Will to a local Catholic school in January and I have signed Mary up to take several classes each week at our town's public elementary school. She doesn't have any opportunity to meet other little girls and since she has strong work ethic she finishes all her schoolwork everyday by 11am. But the question of if any of the children could easily transition into a school environment worries me.

To put it in perspective I made a short list of each child's strengths and weaknesses and realized that with a little more time and effort most of these deficiencies could be overcome. Maggie and Mary need to work on the times tables, Mary needs to study her spelling more, Charlie's reading skills would likely improve if I go back to the first grade readers and have him read them aloud again, and with everyone's assistance Timmy will soon gain letter recognition. 

One of the hardest things I have found about homeschooling is that my time is so fractured by trying to teach 5 children, keep the toddler fed and entertained, keep the house tidy, cook the meals, keep up with the dishes and laundry, run the errands, be a good wife, and still have some time for myself. Apparently I'm not doing a very good job. My children are not always obedient, constantly fighting, not helpful around the house, and most days I'm not a good example of a Catholic mother. Would sending them all out to school fix some of these issues? Would it make them worse?

Well, I can't sit and dwell on my challenges and deficiencies. Mary needs to practice the piano, Maggie needs to work on catechism questions, Charlie needs to do a book report, Will needs to start his math and I'm the one who has to prod them all to get cracking.         


Michelle said...

Same boat. This Monday I put a big frowny face on the calendar for that day and told the kids, if homeschooling yields more frowny faces than smiley faces, it's not working. This week: 2 frowns, 2 smiles (we went on a field trip on Tues and on Friday everybody finished their assigned work) and one neutral (I didn't scream at anybody, but we didn't get all the work done before dinner). On Wednesday I announced zero TV or computer time Monday - Friday, and only on the weekends for those who finish their work. I promised more punishment if morale didn't improve. :) I've said repeatedly, this may be our last year. I don't want to stop homeschooling...I love the curriculum, the flexibility, the limiting of outside influences...BUT, if I am yelling all the time, nobody is doing their work, and all it seems is happening is 6 little people walk around leaving messes for Mommy to clean up and have a sense of entitlement that that's the way it should be, then something is terribly wrong.

dstb said...

I can't even imagine trying to juggle 5 plus the toddler.

My oldest went back to public school this year (his choice) and is a freshman. My younger one, grade 7, is still home with me. What a difference just having one at home has made! Even though my older one was fairly conscientious about his work, I still felt pulled in multiple directions.

We started homeschooling when they were entering 5th and 3rd grade. I am glad we missed some of the middle school drama.

I know you mentioned sending Will and Mary to school, but have you considered flip-flopping that. Keep them home during the middle school years and send the younger ones to school?

It seems like you can set Mary up to do her work and she gets it done, which would give you some solid time with Will. (My younger son used to take HOURS to do his math if I wasn't right on top of him. This year, thankfully, he is buckling down and getting it done in not much more than 1/2 hour. Wish I knew what switch got flipped!)

Anyway, the younger kids could get some of the basics under their belts, and then when middle school rolls around, they can come home, too.

I don't know. You know your kids best. Just an idea.

And by the way, we all have our doubts about how our kids are doing (especially when we are tired). I look at my kids and think of all the areas we need to work on and become overwhelmed. But then someone usually reminds me that they are good kids. That they each have a good head on their shoulders and that they will be just fine. And you know what? They will be. And yours will be, too.


Renee said...

I'm guessing that transition will be relatively easy (it was for mine when they went to school for a year) but they will also probably be bothered by the wasted time, the meaningless assignments and the inordinate amounts of homework

Carol J. Alexander said...

I'm visiting from the Carnival so I'm not too familiar with your personal circumstances, but this statement jumped off the screen at me: "Apparently I'm not doing a very good job. My children are not always obedient, constantly fighting, not helpful around the house, and most days I'm not a good example of a Catholic mother." No child is always obedient. Most siblings are constantly fighting and complain about doing chores. I would encourage you to bathe the matter in prayer. Find the book The Power of the Praying Parent and seek God for His will and guidance in your schooling. Sometimes all we need is a shift in our focus. I will remember you in prayer in this matter.

jugglingpaynes said...

I'm think Carol is on to something. You sound like you are burnt out a bit. It is the hardest thing to try to teach any amount of children when you have a baby or toddler. I've been there and I have only ever taught two while caring for a toddler. What saved me is recognizing the need to shift my homeschooling style to accommodate our life. And you know what? Even though I switched from classic, to eclectic, and eventually to unschooling my youngest, they still learned. What was important was to find what lit a fire in each and then I just threw books and websites at them. I don't know if that helps you, but it's something to consider. :o)

It does sound like you need a break, and I hope you are able to find one. Take care of yourself!