Monday, November 7, 2011

Being the Parent Sucks!

I really hate making decisions that affect my kids' lives.  OK, let me rethink and rephrase that: I hate making decisions about the kids'  lives when there is no way of knowing what the long-term effects will be.

One might argue that there's no way for me to predict how any decision, no matter how small, could affect them 15 years down the road, but I don't think that's entirely true.  I'm quite sure that feeding the kids a wide variety of healthful foods (tonight we had a dish called boerenkool... it had been suggested by a friend, and it was delicious!) is the right choice, just like homeschooling M1 is the right decision.  As much as I fought against it, medicating his ADHD has been a good thing for him, too.  Sometimes the pros very obviously outweigh the cons.

But those... well, they weren't easy decisions, but hindsight is 20/20.

(Typing pause for earthquake... during a tornado watch... because Oklahoma is WINNING.  Thank you for your patience.)

Right... so back to it.  Pros, cons, and decision-making.  I've mentioned before that my schedule is somewhat out of control.  Some days aren't so bad, but at least two days per week I'm pushed to, if not beyond, my limit.  Errands are getting pushed off to evenings or weekends because I simply don't have time to do them during the days any more.  School days with M1 are taking longer the older he gets, plus we have swim, allergy shots, events to attend... and somehow I'm supposed to keep the house in livable shape, too!  I feel like I'm not able to give M2 her fair share of attention, either, because when she gets home I'm still trying to catch up from the day, then she has violin practice or lesson, homework, sometimes therapy, and then I'm off to fix supper.  After supper the kids take their showers and brush their teeth, clamber onto the couch so I can read them a chapter out of the latest book, and then it's time for melatonin and bed so we can get up bright and early the next morning to do it all over again!

It's exhausting just typing about it, and I'm tired.  M1 is holding up all right because he gets the odd downtime in the car or on the odd days where we don't have anywhere to go.  I think M2 is suffering, though... either that or she's headed back into a depressive state... or both.  It's kind of hard to tell.

I've been considering bringing M2 home next year (she's been asking for sooner, but there are lots of complications there and it's doubtful that early withdrawal is a viable option).  The problem is that I'm not entirely sure it's the best decision for her.  For me?  You betcha.  It would change the dynamics of the day, but at least I would be able to control scheduling so I didn't have to be two or three places at once.  More on this later.  Would it work for M1?  He claims not to care although I'm sure it would affect him in more ways than he has considered yet.  M2 is a Chatty Cathy worker; he prefers working in silence.

I've been trying to compile a list of pros and cons of bringing her home.  Here's what I've got so far, and I have hope that you guys will be able to help me add to either side of the list.

PROS:

  1. I would be in control of the schedule.  Though my schedule definitely wouldn't be any emptier, it would would mean later wake-up times and probably later bedtimes and I could leave enough time in between events to keep me from dashing across town at speeds that aren't exactly legal.
  2. I would save money on tuition.  It might not be a ton, because I'd probably let M2 enroll in yoga or swim and would have to purchase extra curriculum, but it'd be something.  Given the fact that we want to move (and like wouldn't move any closer to M2's current school than we are currently), this would allow for a little extra savings.
  3. No fundraising.  No PTA meetings.  No missing out on field trips due to scheduling conflicts.  We could participate in volunteering opportunities around town, too, which I feel gives back a lot more than raising money for an individual school.
  4. The kids would get more time together.  They miss each other during the school day, and I'm blessed to know quite a few homeschooling families that have kids close to their ages so they shouldn't get too lonely.
CONS:
  1. M2 would miss her friends.  She claims she wouldn't, but she would, and I'll be honest... I'm not very good at getting in touch with other parents and scheduling get-togethers.  Plus when she's depressed, I don't want her to think that hibernating at home is an acceptable solution.
  2. M2 enjoys competition.  If she's at home, she can't be the "top" of her class because the only person to compete with is M1, and she hates, hates, HATES feeling like she's second best.  
  3. She does well at school, and the teachers do their very best to try to push her when they see that she's working ahead.  They currently have her working a grade ahead in reading, and the teacher sent home extra math pages last week because M2 insisted that she wanted them.
  4. M2's learning style is quite different than M1's.  He is thriving on a fairly classical education.  He loves schedule and structure and likes doing (more or less) the same thing each day.  M2 would get bored.  There will be days where she will want to do nothing but math... and then not touch math again for a week.  Maybe not initially, but eventually, she'll fight me like M1 never has.  I'm not quite sure I'm up for that.  I'm a little too Type A.
Of course, there's Option #3, which is to transfer her to a decent public school.  It would have a different schedule, thus saving me tuition and swim day chaos, and I wouldn't have to worry about the religion issue that I didn't even touch on (her current private school is Catholic, which our family is not).  But I'm not sure that's the answer, either.  With so many schools being taken on and off the "Needs Improvement" list, who can even tell what schools are really worth the effort any more?  And I would miss our week off in October, which is when we would take our family vacations!

I don't know.  I thought typing it out might help, but it hasn't clarified anything for me.  Thoughts?  Anyone?

8 comments:

Beth said...

Good luck! That's a very hard decision for you and your family and I'm sure which ever you decide will work out splendidly :) You'll make any of those options work.

farmwifetwo said...

Is there a local homeschooling co-op? Something that would offer classes and an outing for M2? You'd also have to research online curriculum's since it sounds like she'd rather go at her own pace and topics and such a program would probably be better and with less fighting.

I am bringing home my severely autistic one at gr 7. He's in gr 5. He is in the best class there is and it's an LD one, not ASD. His ability to learn compared to his autism and apraxia are taken into account and his Teacher is on side with him being in the augmentative communication service. She goes above and beyond, there is nothing else after this class is done.

My eldest is now in gr 7. I like to call non-verbal learning disorder (NLD) autism's version of ADHD since so many of the symptoms overlap. He passes for normal. I cannot work with him at home. The wars would be phenomenal. My bigger issue with him is that his bro's program is not, nor will ever be, "normal" and this he does not understand. "Why do I have to??" Luckily, he's far enough ahead (reading and math) - after many wars - that he should manage school even doing minimal work.

Only suggestion I have is shop around. Go to the different boards. Check out the different curriculums. Go visit any local homeschool groups.

We've cut back a lot of our "extra's". It got to be too much, not for them, but for me.

Sarah said...

Farmwifetwo, there are local co-ops, but I tend toward the secular and the local ones are all - as far as I know - faith-based. I have looked into K12 but think it would be too time-consuming; Time4Learning may be something I would consider, though. I'm not sure how well M1 would respond to his sister getting to learn via computer when he isn't, though, so... then there's that.

Good luck bringing your son home in a couple of years. That sounds like it should be a unique challenge.

I did cut out several extras over the last year. M1 only has swim now and M2 only has violin, but they both still seem to eat time like nothing else.

I appreciate the suggestions! I may have to rethink some things before all is said and done, but one way or the other, life's lemons will turn into something... even if it's just an accessory to tequila!

Wendy L. Callahan said...

You know that I can relate about those types of decisions. ;)

Whatever you decide, I hope it works out for the best for you and the kids! Sending positive vibes. I know you'll sort it out.

T.L. Ryder said...

We do the best we can, and that's all we can do. Good luck in your decision making and hang in there. Most things, as my aunt used to say, come out in the wash. :)

Suburban Correspondent said...

Keep in mind that no decisions are final. Makes it seem less daunting when you have to choose...

Also, I assign my kids 4 math lessons and 4 grammar lessons a week. It really does not matter if a child chooses to do all 4 math lessons in one day! So long as they aren't skipping weeks, they don't forget what they have learned.

I think you would find it much less stressful to have more control over your schedule. And if you can find a once-a-week coop or some such activity for M2 (age?) to look forward to, you might find a little social time goes a long way. It does help to have homeschooling friends - you can carpool to activities, support one another, etc. If you don't have some sort of support group, you might want to consider it.

Just my 2 cents...feel free to email me with questions...

Brilliant Creations said...

Pro- M2 would have a teacher that completely "got" her, had only her best interests in mind, and loves her beyond comprehension.

Another thought...you do not have to do school with each child at one time. M1 does not have to give up his quiet time.

Why don't you try a "mock" schedule over a couple weeks of the summer? Also, keep in mind it takes trial and error to come to what works for all of you...and this could take a LONG time. Fortunately, your job is being a SAHHM...so, you've got that covered. :)

As far as friends go...we can arrange a girly playdate once a week with all our girls in the club. Especially the 5 ones who live within minutes of you!!!!!

Been there and done the co-op. It's better to go it on your own. There is no one to answer to, none of those dynamics to deal with, or schedule to content with. You could always ask Ace's mom about online school. She's currently working with that, and having great success.

Last but not least...you have all the support you could ever want and more!!!

farmwifetwo said...

Sarah - finally got back to checking - ours are all religious based here. So it'll be "go it alone" but I'm with whoever mentioned below me about not having to answer to others and deal with the "group" issues that come up. I have little patience anymore for games of any kind - especially those by adults.

We do have special olympics activities and we have a very good Community Living we are part of, so "disability" is taken care of. There's just no place for him to go to school unless we want to start at a minimum of a 40min bus ride and that's not acceptable.

I also liked the "summer schedule" idea as well. We do summer school here - about 30min/day - but even that amount/child one and then the other gives you an idea if it'll work.