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4 Moms of 35+ Kids Discuss Schedules and Homeschooling Done Poorly

The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are discussing our daily schedules today.

Large families need, and I would even say crave, structure when it comes to daily chore and school schedules.

You can see the details of how I came up with this master schedule for multiple homeschooled children, which provides time slots for each individual child.

Every day we try to stick to the schedule, but I can’t remember having a single day yet when everything gets done. For large homeschooling families, a schedule is a target to shoot for, more of a goal than a set in stone dictator of days.

The 4 Moms are also addressing the question of what we feel the value is of homeschooling when it is done poorly.

My first thought about this is, “Who am I to judge the servant of another?” I do the very best I can with homeschooling my children, and I assume every other mother does the same.

There are days, or even years, when my best isn’t the same as, say, the year before.

I would say that if a mother is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, is living with an abusive spouse, or is a single mother who must work to pay bills, then there may not be much value in her homeschooling.

Otherwise, I think almost any other parent in almost any other situation can be an effective homeschooler if

  1. the child is taught to read
  2. a variety of books are available
  3. discussion about books and ideas flow freely in the home

I’m sure there are many homeschoolers (including me) who could be doing a more perfect job of teaching their children, just as there are many parents who could feed their children healthier foods, more strictly limit their viewing of television and video games, and encourage more physical fitness and deeper spirituality.

I really don’t feel like it is my place to judge the effectiveness or imperfections of another’s homeschooling abilities, and I would hope others don’t feel free to judge mine.

What are your thoughts on this?

See what the rest of my 4 Moms team says about it:

 

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Comments

  1. Seasons of life change our schedules all over the place. We currently have a busy one year old so there aren’t a lot of hands-on projects being accomplished at this time! I am thankful our curriculum is pretty self-directed once the kiddo is a strong reader. And I’m super thankful for the internet being a place they can go to for extra information and we can research things together!

  2. I love your approach to this subject and agree with your thoughts. However, I wanted to say that criteria of “the child is taught to read” might feel like criticism if the parent has a child with any learning disability. I have 8 children and most have central auditory processing disorder. As such reading has been hard for a couple of them. Our oldest has it severely and didn’t read at all until 9 and then only very basic reading. She is now twenty, still struggles to read and cannot spell beyond a 3rd grade level consistently. She did all of high school audio and verbal reports, and is smart as can be. Another parent might face the same scenario and feel as I once did that you MUST read. But why? Why can we not just educate? No matter if she learned it orally or read it herself, she learned. I am confident you meant that a parent attempts to teach a child to read and that you have loving understanding of challenges but 15 years ago I would have read that small sentence as “I am failing.” Thanks for all you do.

  3. The older I get (okay, I’m 32, but 3 kids pretty much put me in the “I’m not a kid anymore” category), the more I crave order and regularity. Of course, those same 3 kids seem determined to undermine it–as well as a husband who is under a lot of stress, and keeping to a schedule seems to make him more stressed (of course, I know it would help his stress, but I can’t convince him of that). Anyhow, I recently read a blog post about how to get it all done. The one-sentence summary was to change your definition of “all”! The idea was to set 5 priorities in life, and not add anything else you don’t have time for if you can’t get those 5 things done.

    Also, when it comes to teaching reading, there’s no rush, in my mind. My daughter is 6 and begging me to teach her to read, so I started My Father’s World Kindergarten. But her brother is 4 and is much less interested in academic pursuits than his sister was at his age. She was already learning the alphabet and copying letters all on her own. He has no interest yet. But I’m not worried. He’ll learn when he’s ready.

    Also, I understand that the idea of teaching reading is that a child can learn on their own. However, in the case of a child who has a disorder of some kind that makes reading difficult, if they learn well by listening, there’s no reason to force them to read. English is my husband’s second language, and he reads English well (which is good, because he’s getting a Master’s right now), but he’s very slow, probably under 100 wpm. He reads his Bible and whatever school books he has to, and he reads for his work, but he rarely reads anything else. He bought a book he really wanted to read, and it sat around for several months, so he finally bought the audiobook. He listened to it over a weekend. Got another audiobook he wanted to read and listened to it in the car while driving to work (he has a long commute). He came home raving about the second book, and now I’m listening to it a little here and there while I clean or cook. I personally learn better by reading, but I figure I have the audiobook and I don’t have much time to read, so I can listen to it twice if I want to. I figure however one can learn, if they are learning in whatever their capacity, then let them learn!

  4. I agree with you. There may be times when homeschooling isn’t the best idea, but free people get to decide that for themselves. I have seen it done poorly, both times by women whose grown children now say their mothers were too depressed to do a “good job”. I note that in spite of these children’s criticism, both are well-adjusted, literate, smart, fun to be around, and doing GREAT in their grownup lives. What looks like “not good enough” to us might be just a rough patch. Even grown children seem not to be able to judge their own parents’ jobs very accurately.

  5. Oops. “I have seen it done poorly,” should have been “I have seen it said to have been done poorly”.

  6. The first link brings up something very odd. Looks like the right blog with a nonsense word post.

  7. Thanks, Connie. I needed to read this today. Last night I was being my own worst critic…again. You’ve encouraged me.

  8. Not much value in her homeschooling if she has serious personal struggles?
    Wow.

    • I had to read back over to see what you are referring to. I think you may possibly have misunderstood her intention? I think the point was that most people can homeschooling with the right tools and the willingness to do so, but there are some cases where it simply isn’t possible. The cases she listed were a sampling of cases where the mother’s problems are great enough that there isn’t enough left-over to give to a valuable education. But obviously, the point of the post was that none of us are in the position to judge another person’s abilities in homeschooling. I think that point came across clearly enough to overlook the possible unfortunate wording of that one sentence (which I don’t think she meant the way you took it, anyway).

    • Dana, I don’t know you or your history and I can’t speak for anyone but myself, I can say from my own life perspective, that some serious personal struggles are down right dangerous for children in any educational situation, and even more so in a home school environment. Those listed by Connie are on that list. I hope that men and women who find themselves awful situation get help and get healthy and protect there children in that process.

  9. Ah, judgy people are always gonna judge. It’s the way it works. I say, let ‘em! It’s the folks who leave judgement behind and would rather absorb the support and choose to learn from your blog posts who will benefit .

    Even though my organization looks nothing like your organization, our end-product(s) end up looking quiet similar! :-) And that’s the point! (Cute kids who are somewhat goofy, fun-loving, mostly helpful, contributing family members.)

    Love your stuff. It’s just good fun seeing how you do things. I know it’s very helpful for me.

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