Losing my Footing in Life and in Homeschooling

Take a BreakI can officially say that this school year has been a complete and utter wash, and we will be redoing the entire year over starting Monday. We hope to be able to complete all of first grade by the end of August 2013. And, I’m OK with that, I guess.

We started the year off strongly, on the heels of my husband’s thyroid surgery back in May 2012. We had good news (no cancer) and our days were filled with learning experiences. We were accomplishing so much. We planned to move in with my mother-in-law, a decision that came with a lot of stress but many benefits such as a back yard, more space, and endless possibilities. But then, out of the blue, she died. The woman who survived losing her husband three years earlier and breast cancer, and was gearing up for a kidney transplant, was healthier than we had seen her in a long time. She was driving again, helping us pick out tile and what not for the renovations to the house, and was so excited to be taking such an active role in her youngest granddaughter’s life. And then, in the blink of an eye, she was gone.

Needless to say, we took a break as we struggled to find a new, new, new normal. Not only did we lose an amazing family member, our plans to move were halted (for the 3rd time in 2 years). And while we lived in limbo for almost 5 months, my husband’s company was gearing up for yet another round of layoffs- 55 people to be exact. Fearful about what would happen, we discussed what to do if they offered a buyout: take it and hightail it out of NY. It was the perfect opportunity to relocate to Arizona, a dream that we hared for over a decade. It became a reality, and we decided to move by the end of 2012. This meant packing, getting rid of what we were not bringing, cleaning out the in-laws house, and finding a place and employment in a state that we did not visit. Thank goodness for great friends.

Our lives were filled with nothing but move-related activities from October until well into the New Year, which meant that homeschooling was just not going to happen in the regular way that we were hoping. We were using a lot of supplemental work, but the time between doing and reviewing was just too great to be effective. And the lack of a formal schedule has led to some serious issues from the little one.

The Tornado does so much better with a schedule. In fact, one of the reasons that we began using the Workbox System was to help add more structure and accountability to our days. A cross-country move will shatter any plan to tiny bits. She is acting out- not listening, arguing about everything, unwilling to focus on any “lesson,” and did I mention that she is acting like a 16 year old trapped in the body of a 6 year old.

There are so many reasons for this too: eating poorly, not enough sleep, no schedule, coping with loss and change, sensing her parents’ anxiety because were are both out of work…. The list goes on. Rather than fight every day, I backed off a bit and I let structured school days fall by the way side. But I realized that unschooling does not work for us. I should say that I re-realized it. In this house, we all need the comfort of explicit boundaries, rules, and expectations.

The plan is to get us back on track starting Monday. I hope I can find the energy to do so, though. Not having a job has left us to living a life a leisure and that’s a hard habit to break.

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