Homeschooling only two days a week is really hard. Much harder than I thought. There is so much that I want to do with the kids but it's just not possible to accomplish it in the two days we have available. Thankfully, the curriculum I chose (CHC) includes lesson plans that are well thought out, detailed and allow for situations just like ours! They suggest concentrating only on the "core" subjects and keeping the enrichment activities to a minimum so as not to become overwhelmed. This is good advice, however, I find myself somewhat overwhelmed even with the core subjects. The bottom line: There is so much I want to do, but I can't and I'm extremely frustrated!
Financially, it's necessary for Dan and I to both work. Ever since the kids were born, we've worked part time. Initially, this was so that they wouldn't have to go to day care. We didn't want to do that for two reasons....#1, we didn't want somebody else to raise our kids and #2, day care is so expensive that we figured most of my salary would have gone to pay for it, thereby defeating the purpose of both of us working in the first place. A vicious circle.
Then, of course, there's the issue of health insurance. Both employers offer it, but the plan offered through the Diocese of St. Augustine (Dan's employer) is much, much more expensive than the plan offered by my employer. So, I guess it would be fair to say that I'm actually working for health benefits. Dan works Mondays, Tuesdays and Saturdays and I work Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. I homeschool the kids on Mondays & Tuesdays. I try to cram as much as I can into those 2 days, but sometimes, I think it's just too much for them. Amelia (1st Grade) and Olivia (PreK) seem to be doing fine, but Nathan (4th Grade) is staring to have trouble.
Dan has never been too keen on the whole idea of homeschooling. He just feels like he doesn't have the personality or, frankly, the desire to do this. I work really hard to get as much done as I can in those two days so that he doesn't have to deal with much. Some weeks we've been able to get everything done. Other times, I've had to leave him with all the materials and detailed instructions on what needs to get done. He isn't as structured as I am and there are times when, well, nothing gets done. Unfortunately, that means that we start a new week with assignments not done from the week before.
Nathan is really feeling the pressure and it shows in his attitude. I believe myself to be very flexible, but I don't mind admitting that I'm scared to death of getting behind. Somehow, I feel that if I don't follow the lesson plans to a "T" (and cross off each task accordingly), then he won't finish 4th grade at the same time his peers will and then....and then....and then, well, I don't know what would happen then. Perhaps I would be labeled as a failure! Perhaps the county school superintendent will have me arrested! Perhaps if it becomes necessary to re-enroll in school, he won't be ready for 5th grade and everyone will decide it's my fault! Perhaps all those who said that homeschooling was a bad idea (and there were a few) would say "I told you so", or, "I knew you couldn't do it"! Of course, it's all about ME!
The truth is, I wish I could homeschool full time! If I had 5 days, instead of 2, there wouldn't be so much pressure on me or the kids. I'm not sure how to rectify this situation. I've tried saving some of the lessons for the evenings or the weekends, but honestly, life gets in the way. There's soccer practice, soccer games, Bible study, CCD, art classes, etc. If Nathan has a lesson to do, but the girls don't, then this causes a ruckus because he's having to work and they don't! Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah!
I know that a lot of this is my control issues, but, I've only got 8 weeks of homeschooling under my belt so far! I'm not experienced enough to know what is OK to reduce or eliminate from our school day. My original intention was to make it to morning mass at least once a week but if I do that, then we don't get started until almost 10am and then we're still working while I'm making dinner and when Dan comes home from work.
OK, I'll stop complaining now. However, I would ask that if any of you seasoned homeschooling moms have any advice or words of wisdom, PLEASE SHARE IT! Otherwise, I would appreciate a prayer or two for the wisdom to do the right thing! Thanks!