In need of encouragement

I am homeschooling my 8 yr old 3rd grader and potty training my 2 yr old. I have found that my 8 yr old is having meltdowns and distracted by most everything. I have tried many redirection techniques and feel like I’m getting more and more frustrated with him. It’s getting harder to stay positive. I’ve only been homeschooling for 2 months and see too much of a benefit to give up so quickly.
Is this normal so early on? How long till things start to smooth out?

Hang in there! You just need to find your groove.

This is my 3rd year homeschooling and I have 5th, 3rd and Kindergarten, plus a baby. One thing I have learned, especially with having a baby in the middle of the school year is that we need to be flexible and I have to let go of my idea of perfection. This perspective makes it a little easier when baby refuses to nap so now I have to wrangle a baby and try to teach 3 different kids.

We combine a number of subjects for the older 2 using My Father’s World, but I schedule out my own curriculum choices for language arts and math. Part of the reason we homeschool is because my oldest has some special needs that impact her attention, organization and ability to follow multiple step directions. Because of that, I had always given her each assignment one at a time, opening the book to the right page and reading the directions and I did the same for her sister and then did preschool activities one on one. Well when I had the baby, if I needed to change a diaper or put baby down for a nap or something, my older kids would maybe finish their task if I was lucky and then sit there getting bored. We would lose all momentum, productivity and any good attitude the oldest had for the day. It just wasn’t working. My oldest asked for more independence when we talked about what she didn’t like about school.

This year, I made a dry erase checklist for each student. Before the week begins, I write in the assignments each needs to complete in their individual subjects for each day. Some of those subjects require some assistance from me (like All About Spelling) and some rarely do (like A Reason For Handwriting and Easy Grammar). We do school 4 days a week on weeks we have Coop or a field trip, I told my kids that I expect them to be able to finish all the work on their checklist but they are responsible for getting it done, so if for some reason they can’t or decide not to finish all of the work by Friday they can finish their checklist Friday after Coop or the field trip or even over the weekend, but it had to be done by Monday. After 6 weeks of school I have yet to have anyone not complete their assignments by Friday. In fact, I have even sent the kids downstairs to start the school day without me if I needed to shower while the baby takes her morning nap. The Kindergartener also gets a checklist and she has some subjects that she can do by herself on some days too or big sisters can help her read directions, although her stuff doesn’t take her long and I usually give her my attention while the older girls are working independently (I don’t send them down to start alone every day just when I need to). It has been very freeing for all of us. I wish I would’ve done this sooner, I didn’t think my oldest could handle the responsibility, but she has actually done much better than I expected and I don’t have to nag or fight about each assignment, it is simply on the list and she doesn’t argue with the list. If she isn’t working diligently I can give a gentle reminder how everyone else will be relaxing Friday afternoon while she’s completing school work, but I’ve only had to do that maybe twice. In fact, because they get free time if they finish before we are ready for group subjects or I am ready to teach them one on one, they usually work very hard to finish as fast as they can (although they know they will have to fix mistakes which will take more time so they don’t rush too much). It is such a simple idea that so many wise homeschool moms use (some also do workboxes but I don’t have the space or budget for those), I just didn’t believe it would work well enough for my kids to be worth the extra time investment, but I am so glad I was wrong!

This specific strategy might not help you, you might already be doing something similar or even better, but the point is I listened to my kids perspective on how they thought we could make school better, thought about our family situation and what we needed to change to be more successful at school, sought out tried and true strategies from other homeschools and prayerfully found an adaptation that fit our family. I tweaked the specific checklist from a generic one I had found to simplify what I needed to write on there each time after a couple of weeks to make it more clear and easier to fill out. If things aren’t working for you, keep trying and tweaking until you find your groove and then go with that until it isn’t working and look for ways to make it work for your new situation. That is the joy and challenge of homeschool, you get to find what works for you but there are infinite possibilities.


I’ve got 3rd, kinder, preschool, and a baby. This is my 4th year homeschooling, and it definately can be frustrating when there is distractions and meltdowns. I agree w/ the above poster, talk w/ your child and find out what he would like to do. There have been times where I implement my style of teaching and expect a style of learning that I want to happen and when it doesn’t I can lose it quickly. I’ve had to conform to my kids learning styles and then figure out a way to alter my teaching style while still in my comfort zone. And with multiple kids in the mix I’ve definately learned how to be flexible, but I’ve also had to teach my kids along the way to be somewhat flexible too. We also started using a schedule w/ my 3rd grader this year and she really likes it. She has more independence and can pick and choose what she might want to start with. She still has to report to me for some subjects for us to do together and if I’m working w/ the others she knows to move on to a different subject.
Going from a classroom of many kids to just himself and a 2 year old can be overwhelming too if he’s used to a routine or doing things w/ kids his own age. Are you Trying to cram all the subjects into 1 day? Are you trying to create a 7 hour school day w/ constant interaction and learning? Is he enjoying the curriculum and its style? You may not be able to use the curriculum as its intended but alter it to fit his style. You may check into block scheduling if too many subjects are overwhelming both of you. If he desires other interaction w/ kids, see if there is a homeschool group or others in your area and set up some time to meet w/ them or join a group. This may help w/ getting some kid friend time.
Move school to the hallway by the bathroom or the potty into the school room. Adjusting to what life is doing may be the option right now to keep the house running smooth.
Don’t give up, if this is something you really want, stick with it and keep adjusting. Don’t make it a my way or the highway, flexibility is key. I’ve never had more than 3 months look the same for a routine. We are always adjusting to make things work.

I like the idea of working towards independent work and a schedule. One thing I haven’t done enough is write the daily schedule on the white board. I will do this and maybe my son can start working on the next item on list when I am called away.
Thank you

I’m doing math, handwriting, spelling , reading and bible each day. When my son is focused he is able to complete everything before noon (starting at 8ish) this includes 2 five min potty breaks. We do 4 day school wks but Friday is make up day and spelling test day. So the days my son takes forever to wake up and come downstairs and fights me on every subject he usually doesn’t finish until 3 or 4 in afternoon. I give him the option what order the subject’s are done so he has some control. Plus I’ve explained many times as soon as he finishes the rest of the day is his to play. So far he hasn’t fully grasped that (but one day he woke up at 5 and was done by 9 and had the rest of the day off)
Thank you for you suggestions

Sounds like you’re doing great and you’ll get things smoothed out in no time! The best potty training advice I ever got might just also be good homeschooling advice too, whatever you do, don’t give up! Quitting gives the message that if you cry or complain enough Mom will give up and you can get your way. Hang on Mama, you can do it!

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Thank you appreciate that!!!
I anticipated the tears and frustration I just didn’t realize some days it would be me doing the crying.
It’s a new week trying to start out positive :slight_smile: