or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Another Where Do I Start Question. (K, 5 yr old)
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Another Where Do I Start Question. (K, 5 yr old)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi all,
I've been reading tons of threads here, doing searches, following links, etc. I'm in yahoogroups for my local area and yet, still, I'm at a loss where to begin.

I have a 5 yr old boy who is far more interested in screeching, running, jumping and going hog wild than doing school work. Except when he suddenly goes on "workbook benders." Then, for several days at a time, all he wants to do, all day, is do "schoolwork" as he calls it.

He knows his letters and letter sounds (but gets them mixed up when we do a few at a time), numbers to ten and sporadically past ten, he knows LOTS of science and nature things because we follow his lead and actively learn stuff as he asks about it. His vocabularly is enormous and conceptually, he asks advanced questions. He is very independent when he wants to be, very cautious, hates to be wrong, and incredibly social, wanting to share his every move with us. (Err, demanding to share his every move!) He adores being read to, but has no interest in learning to read at this point. Yet, I see how he is frustrated by not reading. I feel like if we could get past the mental block on learning it, he would breeze right through. But, like everything else he has learned, he says, "Not yet." Maybe he'll just say, "Now I read." like he did with potty learning one day, like walking, like riding his bike, etc.

DS has a very defiant nature (gee, I think he got that from me!) and yesterday, when I asked him to sound out a word (cat) from letters we made from clay, he rested his face so hard into his hands that his face was scrunched up, looked like it was the end of the world and when I asked, "I thought we were having fun!?" he said, drearily, "It's not fun for ME!" I didn't push the matter, but put up the modeling clay and said it was for our homeschool projects, so if he didn't want to do it, he didn't need the clay. Yeah, I know....way to go. I SO shouldn't have said that. I've read about ODD and SPD and such and he doesn't seem to fit those at all. Just a spirited kid with a defiant streak.

We are atheists and not interested in converting any religious curriculum to our needs. We travel a lot, often on no notice. We have an interest in unschooling but feel overwhelmed at the practicality of it. DS is both go with the flow AND likes a schedule. We live rurally, and aren't locals, so we don't know many people and his pool of friends is practically nonexistant. He is enrolled in gymnastics weekly and dance class during the school year. But, those are obviously structured times, not social play time. Houston is the nearest city and it's an hour+ to everything, though I'm willing to drive.

I have a liking of some things Waldorfy, but Houston doesn't exactly have seasons ANYTHING like the Waldorf model. We have HOT! and we have wet. That's it. No discernable seasons, so following that closely is impossible. I'm not a baker, but willing to try once in a while. Constant baking, though, is not for me. I also am unsure about not doing math, etc., as DS really likes math.

I just have no idea where to begin the path that's right for us. After DS's defiant explosion yesterday, DH and I seriously discussed enrolling him in K. But, our school is such a rural, religious, white-bread disaster, I shudder to think of it. On the other hand, he is such an intense child, 24/7, that I, selfishly, would relish the break from him. (If you've read Raising Your Spirited Child, he absolutely fits into their extrovert category.)

Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm feeling so lost right now.
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
I took the quiz for DS here, http://www.personalitypage.com/cgi-local/build_pqk.cgi

And, we ended up with EFJ. http://www.personalitypage.com/html/EFJ.html I want DH to take the quiz for him, too, to see if he sees the same results.
post #3 of 10
If you're attracted to Waldorf, OK. My limited understanding of Waldorf is that Steiner didn't intend to do much other than mimic home life before about age 7, given that the factory workers couldn't all keep their kids at home. That's because the soul of the young child, in his occultist Christianish viewpoint, was not ready for his incarnation exercises before then, or would incarnate best being allowed to stay in the dream-world of early childhood. Or something like that. I'm no anthroposophist.

So given your situation why don't you just unschool until age 7 and then evaluate? They can really change a lot in their tolerance for formal academics between 5 and 7. I would assume that is one reason that some very successful academic models don't start formal schooling until then, and we have extensive evidence that there's no long term benefit from early schooling, unless you count music and foreign language as early schooling. There you get kids more "native" if you introduce it when the brain is still doing a rapid sort-and-prune.
post #4 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by pigpokey View Post
in his occultist Christianish viewpoint,
It's been a rough day, and this just made me laugh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Past_VNE View Post
when I asked him to sound out a word (cat) from letters we made from clay, he rested his face so hard into his hands that his face was scrunched up, looked like it was the end of the world and when I asked, "I thought we were having fun!?" he said, drearily, "It's not fun for ME!"
I loved school but would've hated this approach. I just don't need/want the "feel the letters" kind of approach. I saw it a good bit when we considered Montessori schools, and my son, too, was turned off by the idea of sandpaper letters or dancing with scarves. I would take his enjoyment of clay (because I get that, too!) as just that. He likes hand-building, but he doesn't want it attached to learning the alphabet.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I've already apologized to him for the way I acted about it yesterday. I'm really embarrassed, too. Ugh.

Let me clarify about Waldorf. I think some of it is pretty much nuts. What do I like? The natural materials, the observation of nature and the way the world works and not being "pushy". There are probably other aspects I like, too, but, absolutely don't feel that Waldorf, as a whole, suits us. Okay....I guess it's not Waldorf I like. I just like a low-plastic, playful approach that acknowledges the outside world.

Where does that leave me? *sigh* I have no idea.
post #6 of 10
Hello!

I tried to click on your links and they aren't working for me.

I have never read any books about "spirited" children, or done any personality tests, but Eli certainly has the defiant streak you speak of! He is also a perfectionist when it comes to his worksheets. I try to gently tell him his "b" is a "d" or something like that, and try to show him how to correct it, and he slams his pencil down, runs to his room and says things like "See?! I can't do it right! I'm awful!" ...This is so frustrating for me, especially since it was his idea to do the worksheet in the first place, and I am not pushing him at all.

So far, we haven't done much "formal" schooling with him. He wants to do a lot of things because he sees his older brother doing them. He, in fact, has pushed me into teaching him things before I have really been ready for the task of homeschooling 2 kids.

Do you guys do DVDs or computer time with him at all? Eli has learned A LOT from watching the Leap Frog DVDs... "Letter Factory" teaches them all the letters and their sounds. My 3-year-old can even tell us a lot of the sounds, simply from watching this movie they enjoy so much. Another thing that has been a big hit has been the Reading Eggs website... I learned about it here on mothering, and it has been worth every penny.

So, he has learned a lot of these things on his own. He can read some books, and honestly very little of it has come from me doing "formal" teaching of any kind.

I understand your thoughts about putting him in K at the local school and seeing how it goes. Sometimes I have these thoughts for Eli, as well, but he is not even open to the idea now that big brother is homeschooling. He wants to be home. But I totally hear you on how the break would be nice. You know, if you all hated it, you could just take him out and go from there... Of course, that would highly complicate your ability to travel, though.

My thought has always been that it was easier for us to pick up homeschooling with our oldest because he had already been to ps for a few years and learned so much, and had gotten used to the structure. This starting-from-scratch like I am doing with Eli... well, it is a process for sure and it will be a long time getting it all figured out, I think.
post #7 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Past_VNE View Post
Hi all,
he knows LOTS of science and nature things because we follow his lead and actively learn stuff as he asks about it.
This is what stuck out with me he most from your post. He seems to know the most about nature/science stuff because you are following his lead and letting him "be in control" of what he is learning. Have you thought about starting a nature journal with him to take along on some nature walks? This way, he is exploring his natural surroundings, getting his nature/science fix, but also practicing handwriting? We also love to "paint with nature" where we go on a nature walk and collect things to paint on or with (like rocks, ferns, crabapples, etc.) I obviously don't know your child, but from reading your post, it sounds like he might be craving a little more control over what/how he learns? Take a step back and if he wants to do workbooks for 2 weeks straight and not touch them again for 3 months, just think of how much he has learned in those 2 weeks! I hope you can find a solution that works well for him, and that is the beauty of HSing...if it doesn't work for him, scrap it and go back to the drawing board!
post #8 of 10
It sounds like you are already very successful unschoolers and only some outside, cultural force is driving you off that path.

Stay the course and all will be fine.

I live in a largish city. It's been a struggle to find friends for my son. Every homeschooling boy we've met has moved away after the friendship got good. We do have homeschooling friends that are girls that have, mercifully, not moved. Right now I am babysitting a girl he plays with really well. I charge nothing for babysitting because I am grateful he has a friend over 4 days a week. I dread when she starts school. He has other friends that we see on school breaks. I have formed a Spanish playgroup in our house and that brings friends over. Finding friends can take work, even in a city of several hundred thousand. I'd say see if you can join a playgroup in Houston and get books on tape or whatever else will entertain your son for the long drive there and back.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by dubatatamama View Post
This is what stuck out with me he most from your post. He seems to know the most about nature/science stuff because you are following his lead and letting him "be in control" of what he is learning.
And he's awfully young for things like the sounding out of words being initiated by someone else. You can have a schedule and rhythm for your days without it having anything to do with numbers and letters - a time he can count on, in between mostly playing, to be read to, regular meal times, clean up times, nature walk times, baking or cooking times, game times, music time, etc. Paying attention to nature and doing science activities are a part of getting acquainted with the world, but the 3Rs can easily wait until there's more of a need for them. - Lillian
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Interestingly, DH just took the personality test for DS and got ESP. Jenelle, the site was down for most of the day, I think.

I want to respond to you all, but right now it's time to get the kids ready for bed. Thank you all so far, I really appreciate it. I will be back to respond in more detail.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Learning at Home and Beyond
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Childhood and Beyond › Education › Learning at Home and Beyond › Another Where Do I Start Question. (K, 5 yr old)