Oh, and they don’t need your permission

Your insurance companies, your current creditors (banks, credit card companies, etc) can and do run periodic checks on customer credit scores. Credit reports are required to list who has run a report within the last 3 months whenever a report is issued, but no they don’t need permission.

If you follow the steps, you would use all your emergency fund except for a thousand dollars

Then cut your expenses to the bear bones. Raise deductibles, drop cable, walk/bike places instead of drive, cancel hobbies, cut cell phones, cut your own hair, slash the food budget, turn down the heat, shop thrift stores.
Get gazelle and find $1000 a month to throw at those student loans.
Get the kids involved. Get them to sacrifice things and make money too.
Find ways to make extra money too.
You can do it! Pay those loans off ASAP.
it’s not forever, just buckle down and get it down quick.
Then you can focus on getting your retirement percentage to 15%.
Your kids may have to get jobs, grants, and scholarships. Do what you can, but make your retirement savings the priority.