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8yo homeschooler not "having fun"

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

My DD has attended a homeschool co/op thing since kindergarten. So all she's known is 2 days a week with a small class and a teacher, and then me (and now brother) at home doing math, language arts, history 3 days a week. It's a great combo and she seems to thrive. But she is complaining a lot that she is not having fun. She mostly gets upset when she is challenged. I've been getting more and more basic with the curriculum thinking if she just felt confident enough she could be breezing through this stuff and not dislike it so much. I'd like to follow her lead more so that she could feel invested and enjoy it more, but she seems lost if I suggest this. And she really resists everything until she is doing it, then she sails through it and when I point out how easy it was she says yes, but she still didn't like it.


She and I butt heads in general. I feel like she puts up a big fuss because she knows I will adjust and bend over backwards in order to make it fun and happy and so she now puts up the fuss on purpose to get me to downsize her workload and let her off easy. That sounds bad - I really do try to keep things fun and use games and projects and activities. I would just love to see her engaged with something. To care about what she's learning instead of just do it because we have worn each other down to the point where she has to do it to get on with her day. I want her to have fun with learning, not hate me and hate school time. We were in a great rhythm til Thanksgiving and then we somehow got way off course. And her younger brother is doing kindy and picking up on her same resistant attitude.


Should I just back off and wait til she's interested in something?

Focus more attention on the brother's interests and see if she will decide to join in?

Let her pick from some project choices?

She's already "behind" in reading and it bothers her so I hate to let hings slide for too long, but I hate the way it feels around here right now.


ugh -- advice or encouragement welcome

post #2 of 9

There are so many different parenting styles represented here.  What is yours?  You have to be true to your style.  I do think you either shouldn't battle her (be child led) in schooling or you should stop negotiating (be authoritative), but that is my choice not necessarily yours.  I tell my kids, I don't want to spend the next ten years of my life arguing with you.

post #3 of 9

Is she not having fun because she think you should be as fun and funny as TV?  


Having no fun could mean many things...one could be that you smile and nod your head.  It is just a whine, just like cleaning her room is no fun.  You smile and move on.


Another thing you can do, is give her the lesson.  Tell her if it is no fun then she needs to come up with a way to be fun and give you, the dog, et the lesson.  This serves 2 purposes.  It reinforces what you do and you get to see if she what she understand more.  I had a friend do this with her child and she found out one child was needing to be at a lower level and another needed to be at a higher level.  


Also, one thing I have noticed with my children....they go through cycles of needing to whine.


Another trick to I'm bored is time it, race it, et. Once you do this work then we can play.  This help establish a work ethic and time management.  My two older kids are now in school.  They have very little homework because they know get it done, so you can move on to more fun.  My son had issues in his Honors Chemistry class.  The other student was giving him trouble and then he showed the kid the time math :) How by sitting down, focusing, and just getting it done give him more time to do what he wants.  That kid now is a friend. Because he finally learned and saw on a teens level how he was causing his own problems.  That plus the kid realized my son is a good study partner because he is good at that Chemisty and Engineering.  

post #4 of 9

I like the idea of giving her a choice between a few different lessons. Some kids also like to see how fast they can master a subject. I would limit fun activites to maybe 2-3 times a week for special projects. Maybe have a game time where she can pick a board game.


I think in school(my kids are in M) they have maybe one or two fun events a month.The rest of the time it is just their daily work.Public school was the same. I will have to ask the kids,but I don't recall them ever coming home and saying they had a fun day unless there was a party at school,lol.


Definately don't give less work or way easy work.I would do choices.My ds seems happy when I give him a choice instead of telling him what to do.

post #5 of 9

 I tell my chid (8) not everything has to be fun. orngtongue.gif Mateer of fact sometime to get to the "fun" work must come first. Often things are fun once youve mastered skills... For example playing scrabble is not fun when you can't spell or have very limited words. Reading books is much more enjoyable when we can actually read and well enough to have choices.. Ect...

 We do look for other sastification we try other ways we take breaks we encourage but we do make it clear that sometimes "school" and learning includes sitting and trying again and again.



post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

Oh you wise Mama's -- thank you.

Yes, I do need to reiterate with her that life, school, responsibilities are not endlessly fun or as entertaining as television. Sometimes we just have to work.


I guess I had bought into a bit of the myth of homeschooling -- the self-motivated joyful learner myth. Maybe some kids are like that, maybe some of the time. But probably not all the time. Maybe my kids are just going to tolerate it and get it done quick enough to enjoy the rest of their day.


She's one of those kids whose cup is never quite full enough. No matter what I do she finds fault with it. And I've been trying to do more to appease her. But I've also been talking to her about how unrealistic her expectations are. I like your response pigpokey -- I try to walk a fine like of respectful authority -- listening to their needs/wants and letting them know the boundaries. But we've somehow ended up with them thinking they can negotiate anything through complaints and accusations of mean parenting.


This week turned out much better. They sailed through their schoolwork by lunch time and had play dates in the afternoons so it was very functional.

thanks for the pep talk

post #7 of 9

if we leave our routine, i have the same problems you do! i think keeping a routine is really important for kids. we get my dd's "boring"/ tougher subjects out of the way first, then move onto stuff she likes more. this has been working pretty well for us so far, and we usually leave school time each day on a happier note.

post #8 of 9

I think we have the same daughter...except mine is six. Sounds to me like she's manipulating you...which I totally understand, because mine does it too!


In fact...we had a convo a couple weeks ago because my daughter complains about EVERYTHING. And I mean, seriously, we totally do just the very basics right now. I asked what it is that she'd like to do for homeschool...blah blah...and I'm dead serious, this is her answer:


"I think you should just let me do whatever I want."


We're not child-led parenting. We're nothing radical. I nearly blew my top because the idea was to come up with something HOMESCHOOLISH.


I realize that she's always going to complain....no matter what. And her work ethic just isn't that good right now.


Now we have a SET schedule that I'm working very hard to follow. She has to do her school work. We've had a point chart in place for awhile....you start at 10 and go to 0. There's a couple places on the chart where you lose different things....say...no TV.


So...first....you have to have all your school work PLUS chores (which seriously, are not hard) to get TV. But if you do it with a sucky attitude....no TV.


So...if she whines repeatedly while doing handwriting...playing a Memory Game....cleaning.....you name it....she's going down points. And it is definitely curbing the whining. I wish she could curb the whining...but for now, I'm hoping this will help her realize that whining will not get her anywhere...plus it is detrimental to her day.


post #9 of 9

i like the point chart idea, but i think we would have to use it so that dd was working towards something, like baking cookies or playing a video game. this is what her speech therapist does with her social group (three kids with aspergers- it gets wild lol) and he has had lots of success. don't know why i didn't think of it before? hmm. lol.

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