Saturday, February 15, 2014
S is for Survival
I feel like I am struggling in survival mode right now. Anyone that lives with daily ailments understands that there are good times and bad times. Some days you are feeling great and able to accomplish more than you could ever imagine, while others you can barely move. Unfortunately we experience this all in the same day sometimes. Ups and downs.
Well I call these times Survival Modes. I basically move like a robot all day. It's really a struggle to push through the mental fog, the pain, and of course the exhaustion. I can almost survive the pain, it's the brain fog and physical exhaustion that takes me out most days. But don't get me wrong, the pain is a real hurdle also.
So how do we still homeschool through all this. It's not easy at all. I know we have a lot of commitments, but nothing we can't handle. Next year though I am thinking of cutting some activities that the kids no longer enjoy.
I try to keep my schedule straight using Cozi. I have the phone app, and I leave the window open on my computer all the time. I don't pay for the Gold Version. I did try it, but didn't really see the need for all the extras. By having the app on my phone, I can know my schedule at almost all times. Such as today, when I was asked to do a radio interview for a new Special Olympic program in our county, I was able to quickly check what day I can meet the coordinator to help him out.
I don't lay out our entire year of study anymore. I tried doing that and it bombed....horribly. I was so frustrated I didn't know what do to. This frustrated the kids then. It didn't last long for us. I write up a loose plan, in pencil, of what I would like to cover with each child. But this changes depending on maybe a project for zoo class or a change in interest of science topics. (That's why it's in pencil....lol)
Instead I spend a couple hours once a week typing up a schedule for each child. Five days worth of study plans that they must finish each week. I don't care if the boys do work on Sunday, and sometimes we spend Sunday afternoons doing schoolwork so that we can take a day off during the week. As long as they finish each week, and I ask the boys constantly during the week where they are at on their list. On their lists, I mark what activities I will do with them and what activities that they need to do independently. The girls have a list also, but I still work with the completely one-on-one. Although I have been able to let Lydia work on some math and reading assignments independently.
I usually start the boys around 9 am on their work. I ask them to get started on their choice from their daily assignment list. If they have a work with mom project, somedays I start with them on this. By 9:30 I start with the girls, bouncing between them. I usually only bounce between the two if they are in short attention span mode. Otherwise, I'll work with Lydia first and Caty next. We start lunch about 11 am, depending on what we have planned that day. I gauge the girls attention span for extra cooking projects to bribe them with. We might make cookies or some treat in the afternoon if they finish their work.
Usually my kids are done with their work by lunchtime. But it depends on their attitudes that day. Sometimes it is after lunch when they are finishing up their reading assignments. Or we might save a group project for then. But afternoon is usually Minecraft and board game time.
I am not against using Netflix and PBS cartoons when I need to. We watch History channel, Science channel and there are a ton of documentaries on Amazon Prime also. We watch a lot on Youtube also. I might let Caty watch PBS and do some Hot Dot cards or play with some puzzles while working with Lydia. But then I look at her daily list and adjust a critical thinking activity on her list to show that she did something that day.
I will be the first to admit that homeschooling in survival mode sort of takes some of the fun out of the day. I constantly feel stressed and like I am not doing enough. So I really try to keep a pleasant voice and work with the kids so they don't see my stress. But in the back of my mind I know they can hear me and know that I am hurting. Depending on their moods is whether or not they take advantage of the situation and how I am feeling. But I will also admit, that I let them slide on some work because I am not feeling well. Those are really the days where we might throw our Science books back on the shelf and watch an episode of Mythbusters and talk about all the science theory and methods they use. Or even watch some travel videos for World Geography and talk about food differences and if we see cultural similarities between the US and that country.
Sometimes Survival Mode helps kick me back out of Public school mode. Especially when I start getting curriculum crazy. So these are the days where Survival mode is really beneficial for me and the kids too.
I hate using the word Chronic Illness to describe the hodgepodge of ailments I have, but they are chronic illnesses. They are not going away. I will always have them.
Do you have a Survival Mode plan? What are somethings that you do when in survival mode....that make it so you just survive?
Linking up with other homeschool moms at Ben and Me.