Tired and Overwhelmed Young Homeschool Mom Asking for Help

Heart of Dakota Dear Carrie

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Dear Carrie,

I am a young overwhelmed homeschool mom who needs some tips to help us be more productive with homeschooling. My daughter is in 1st grade in Heart of Dakota now. Last year I overbooked us with too many extracurricular activities. Lesson learned! This year we bought a house, moved, had a baby, and just sold our first home on Friday. But, I feel like I am drowning and cannot accomplish much of anything. My children are 7, 3, and 3 months. I have made reading and math a priority, but I cannot seem to keep us disciplined to do Little Hearts full-speed on a daily basis. She might even be ready for Beyond…, but I’m afraid to introduce a guide that takes longer when we cannot even finish LHFHG.

I think the biggest problem area for us is that I do not start my day early enough. I am NOT a morning person, and the waking every 3 hours to nurse does not help. My shower in the morning is my coffee, but that puts an even later start to the morning. Meal planning and prepping is another big drain! It seems to take at least 1-1.5 hrs to get everyone fed and the dishes cleaned after every meal. And dinners take longer! My oldest loves Heart of Dakota when we get to it! I’d love to start my 3 yo with Little Hands… when she turns 4 yo soon. Thank you in advance from a very tired and overwhelmed mommy!

Sincerely,

“Please Help This Tired and Overwhelmed Mommy Make Time for Homeschooling”

 

Dear “Please Help This Tired and Overwhelmed Mommy Make Time for Homeschooling,”

Thank you for sharing here! My tips vary a bit due to your specific situation, but I want to encourage you! Small changes make big gains! Since you’ve just moved and have a new little one, you are in a transition phase in life. With this in mind, I would seek to do the following:

Not everyone is a morning person!
  1. Accept that you are not a morning person. I am not one either. With this in mind, set a time that you can realistically begin school each day, and then stick to it. I began school at 9:00 or 9:30 for many years (until my older sons, who are more morning-focused workers could get up on their own and begin without me)!
Focus on half-speed LHFHG for 45 minutes by setting aside distractions.
  1. Make sure that when you begin school you are focused on school. Set aside the distractions (i.e. mess, phone ringing, doorbell ringing, laundry, meals, texting, computer) as much as possible. For now, I would downsize to half-speed LHFHG. Do the left page one day and the right side the next. Do this until your house gets in order. It will only take 45 min. a day this way, and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel! You can still do reading every day but make sure that it takes 15 min. or less to do reading. You can alternate days of math, doing it every other day for now until your house gets into shape. Can you set aside everything except school and caring for your little ones for 45 min. a day? Definitely. At the end of the year, you can assess again and see if she is ready for Beyond. For now, use the materials that you already have and work on moving through LHFHG steadily until year end. Think of this as much about routine as it is about the skills.
You can start Little Hands… half-speed with your little one.
  1. When you get ready to start your little one on LHTH, do it half-speed too. This means 3-4 boxes one day and the other 3-4 the next day. This will add 15 min. to your day. Can you school for an hour a day total every day? Yes! Manageable goals done every day mean steady progress forward. This is better than random forward motion.
Plan how your kiddos will spend the rest of their day to buy yourself extra time for other tasks.
  1. Next, have some sort of plan every 30-45 min. or so for your kiddos throughout the rest of the day. This may sound exhausting, but in reality it will save your sanity. List all of the things each child does throughout the day, and make a loose schedule for each child to keep them rotating along through things during the day (changing every 30-45 min). Use your timer to time their activities and have them clean up when the timer rings. Doing this will buy you 30 min. here and there throughout the day that you wouldn’t get otherwise.
Routine breakfasts and lunches save the day!
  1. Make a routine easy breakfast menu that is the same every week for Mon-Fri. Do the same for lunch. Type it and post it on the fridge. Enlist your older child to help make breakfast and lunch. Keep the menu easy prep-wise and clean-up wise. Having the same menu each week for breakfast and lunch helps you know what to shop for and helps your kiddos know what to get out when it is time to eat. It will cut down significant time in preparation and clean up too. Make dinner your bigger meal and use your crock pot for that as much as possible to save you prep. before dinner. Assign each child a “set the table” and a “clean-up after meals” chore(s) to do. Keep the chores the same all the time, so your kiddos get good at them and always know what “their” chores are to do automatically.
This is a good time to set routines that help get your house and homeschooling in order!
  1. Think of this time as a time to get your house in order, grow your baby up a bit, set some routines in place, and figure out how to calm the chaos. Start schooling steadily at a similar (realistic) time every day and school in a similar order. If you do this for even a week or two, you’ll begin to see the benefits! Make sure you allow yourself to sleep when you can. Think of this as a plan you’re striving to work up to! You can do this!!!

 

Blessings,

Carrie

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4 thoughts on “Tired and Overwhelmed Young Homeschool Mom Asking for Help”

  1. This is me as well! Only, I have homeschooled 18 years, but pregnant or nursing for 15 of them – so tired! I get so much guilt about not being able to run our routines the same as others. But no one functions well without enough sleep. I agree with setting a realistic time to begin.

    One thing I have done is rotate the wake-up/work time according to personality. One of my oldest cannot get right to breakfast or school when he wakes so his job is to help the littles through their breakfast and morning routine while I assist the early bird with her start of school. Then big kids swap duties and I make sure he is on his way with school. After that I take a brain break and help littles. I do always have charge of the baby until they are older.

    Considering personalities in our homeschool routine really helped us for many years. The only one with an end to school time is actually me! I will rotate between everyone and their needs all morning long until 1 (lunch), but then I need to deal with lunch, naps, and other responsibilities so it is up to them to finish homework. I check off their work at end of afternoon (3-4).

    Maybe this will be helpful to someone else with a wide range of needs in their home as well.

    1. This is excellent advice, Meredith! Considering personalities of our children when making routines is such a help. We have a night owl who does 1 hour of homework for tomorrow’s HOD school at night before bed, a morning person who gets up at 6 AM and gets to work before the rest of the children are awake, and a middle-of-the-road son who doesn’t get up too early but doesn’t work at night either. HOD works for all of them, and you hit the nail right on the head about how important personalities are (especially when kiddos are in middle school and high school). Thank you so much for sharing here, as your wise advice will bless many readers! May the Lord continue to be near to you as you homeschool your family, Meredith!!!

      1. Thank you! I never know if it is wise, but it is what God has shown us for our family. Prayerfully helps others think outside the box of “normal.”

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