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feeling inadequate and ready to give up - Page 2

post #21 of 35
I value autonomy in my children, too, just so we're clear. And they definitely don't suffer from an excess of compliance.eyesroll.gif

But I still think there's a problem here, if not of parenting per se, than of household routine. When mom says,"time for lessons!" - what happens? Is the answer "no?" It's not gentle or AP or empowering for a homeschooled 1st grader to have it in their head that the foundations of literacy and numeracy are optional. It's dysfunctional and stressful for all involved, and the OP seems to have a very good sense of that. My son has a whole world of choices to make all day long, he learns a TON in a completely unstructured way and has fun doing it, and I can support him in that wholeheartely because of the hour we put into the 3Rs in the morning. That freedom from pressure is really something that's worth striving for.

On that note, more suggestions for changing the dynamic:

1. Streamline subjects. Don't have six worksheets in six subjects to get through every day. Have three worksheets that reinforce two skills at once - historical copy work, science drawing, etc. Save all written work, but don't stress about samples for the charter. Sort through it later and pick the stuff to send in.

2. Prepare all materials beforehand - no pauses while you set up or search for stuff.

3. Let the student pick the order of subjects.

4. Do a lot of reading aloud - easy to include the younger sibling, free for anybody with a library card, and great for kids who need to move around between spates of seat work.

5. Even though you've sunk money into curriculum, you can't be afraid to abandon materials that just aren't working. There are tons of free resources on the Internet that you can customize to your own particular kid.
post #22 of 35

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

It's not gentle or AP or empowering for a homeschooled 1st grader to have it in their head that the foundations of literacy and numeracy are optional. It's dysfunctional and stressful for all involved


I've never met anyone (at least anyone beyond the age of 8 or 9) who didn't dearly want good foundations in literacy and numeracy. I've met kids who are terrified that they're not capable, or who have been pressured too much to do what hasn't come easily to them orto learn what they're not emotionally or cognitively ready for, such that they resist teaching and practicing. But they all end up wanting it. I see it just a question of not putting up obstacles -- power struggles, inappropriate expectations, intimidation, faulty teaching strategies -- so that the desire can be fed and nurtured and propel the self-motivated child forward.

 

I don't see this as an issue of lack of authority. Authority is one path, but it's not the only one. My first graders always had the option to decline lessons and it was never dysfunctional or stressful ... and they learned just fine.

 

Miranda

post #23 of 35

Heh, the more children I have, the more I am aware of the TREMENDOUS impact innate differences have   We think "we" run the show.  We think, if I do A, then my child will do B, as though there is a formula we can follow.  Nope!   It is like nursing . . .my 3rd and 4th girls were so very, very easy to nurse.  They got it from the first moment, just like a textbook.  My first was moderately hard, but my 2nd experience was pretty bad.  LLL said she'd probably never learn, but we finally made it after 6 weeks.  Had I only had the easy experiences I would never have known what others go through.  Parenting has forced me to eat a lot of humble pie.

 

Anyway, my 1st DD was like your son in that she completely resisted activities that I directed.  In part, this is why I pulled her out of school.  I saw her mentally checking out in those situations, even when she was in preschool.  She told me at age 6, "I learn better when I teach myself."  And she does . . .she is extremely self-motivated.  Things that I wanted to force her to do at age 6 (and promptly gave up on), I notice that now she does them willingly, on her own.  One example is writing.  I thought she should write daily in some fashion.  After a few failed attempts, I gave up, and she didn't write for a year.  Then, she suddenly started asking to type magazines, ads, submissions to the New Yorker cartoon contest, stories, etc. on her own.  Because she instead (her choice) spent so much time reading, she has practically mastered nuances of punctuation, grammar, etc.  Lately DD has been asking for more challenge (she is almost 9) so I am trying to find ways to meet that need.

 

My 2nd DD goes to Kindergarten this year (her choice) but will most likely be hs'd next year (again, her choice).  She has a very different learning style.  She much prefers to be directed.  Here is an easy comparison-- my 1st DD hates to follow recipes,and insists on making up her own.  2nd DD loves cooking and enjoys following recipes.  I think there is a balance.  I am easing 1st DD into following recipes so that she can get knowledge to then expand upon.  With my 2nd DD, I will eventually encourage her to experiment and explore more.

 

Anyway, don't give up.  I have had many moments where I just want to send them ALL to school and let someone else deal with the issues.  It is a way of lessening responsibility to a certain extent.  Having had both DDs in school, I think it has its own problems for sure.  Nothing is easy (esp. when you have other little ones at home!) so look at the situation with an open mind versus trying to recreate school at home.  You will come up with a unique solution that works for your particular family and children.

 

post #24 of 35

Have you looked into unschooling?  Might be more down his alley.

post #25 of 35

Just replying to the OPs first post, I also am HSing my DS in the first grade (although we don't do grades, he is 6), and he is my third, so I have done this a few times now.

 

Does he get a lot of physical activity?  My DS is my most wild, strong-willed child and I try and make sure he gets a lot of time to run off all his steam outside.

 

Have you looked at Sonlight?  If he doesn't like what he is doing now, maybe he would like something like that, where he just listens to fun stories.  But I guess that might not be okay with a charter..?

 

You could also try (if you don't already) doing most things, math, etc, orally.  It goes SO much faster, and they are still doing it.

 

Unschooling could be good too.  I am really not a big fan of school at all, and have said that I would let them run wild in our woods all day before I sent them there.  And sometimes that's what happened.  =P  Then I think of all they are learning just by playing, building forts, etc.

 

You could also just 'quit' for a while and see what happens.  Sometimes we are going thru a fustrating time and I just back off and see if they don't choose to do something educational on their own.  Many times they will end up looking at a book or something that opens the door to a different topic.

 

Just recently, on her own, my DD decided she had to know how to read better and understand fractions so she could make cookies like one of her little friends does.  This was really important to her and she did great.  Is there a way you could follow his interests?

 

As for TV and screen time, I'll be honest, I don't know how to deal with that.  We don't have a TV, and the computer is 99% only for adults, and we have no video games, etc.  I can see DC wanting to that over what they should be doing (as well as DH and I) and I don't want to deal with that, personally.

 

One more thing- are you sure he is understanding?  With my own, sometimes I have realized it's not that they really don't really want to do it, but there is something they aren't getting so they put it off, yk?
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by maciascl View Post

DS1 is in 1st grade and has no real intrest in doing anything but playing and watching tv. When I try to get him to "do school" it is a huge fight and he can't focus for more than 5 min at a time. I don't feel like I push much. We only really do actual work maybe an average of an hour or 2 a day depending on how long he fights me. We are going through a charter school so I push somethings that are not a big deal to me to make the school happy, but not being in the charter is not an option for us for several reasons.

 

He is not interested in doing anything the resembles school. He has told me he wants to be adopted by a family that won't make him do any school. DH says he was like this in school too and was held back in 4th grade and put in alot of 'special' classes because of it. I am very tempted to give up and put DS in public school but I am afraid that he would totally be overlooked with the way that schools are now or he would be labeled and never challenged. He is not dumb, but he is lazy and unmotived, just like DH says he was.

 

I just don't know what to do. I feel so inadequate to teach him, deal with the 4 year old and 5 month old. Next year it is just going to be worse with a 2nd grader, Kindy, and a 1 yr old to chase. I feel like giving up but am scared to put him in public school. Plus I'd still have to fight him on homework.

post #26 of 35

I definitely swing the opposite direction of most of the posters in this thread, and say give him more freedom, less direction. :)

 

If I tried to Homeschool with me deciding what we were going to do when, I would absolutely be on here, writing about how HS wasn't working for us, how dd was miserable, how i was miserable, how we spent all day fighting and how dd wouldn't do her work, and how exasperated ans stressed I was over the whole deal.  I would absolutely feel like HSing was a giant failure. 

But since we unschool, and i don't try to be the "boss", and dd gets to do stuff she wants to do, we're all pretty happy and Dd is actually well above "grade level" in a number of areas.  I usesd to be really really skeptical, and it's still hard for me to just step back and STOP trying to control stuff...but it works. :)

post #27 of 35

"My first graders always had the option to decline lessons and it was never dysfunctional or stressful ... and they learned just fine."

 

I absolutely believe you. But if the OP perceived that her son was "learning just fine," she wouldn't have started this thread. I think that unschooling is a workable method of education in the context of a family that wants to unschool. This family is not even OK with independent homeschooling at this point. Given the situation, curriculum and routine tweaks seem like the sensible place to start. Maybe that's just the first step on the path to a radical unschooling lifestyle - or maybe the problem doesn't run so deep, and can be resolved without moving away from structured lessons and the charter school requirements. If the OP were to come back in a month and say that curriculum and routine tweaks hadn't worked at all, she'd be getting different advice from me.

 

 

post #28 of 35

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

"

 But if the OP perceived that her son was "learning just fine," she wouldn't have started this thread. I think that unschooling is a workable method of education in the context of a family that wants to unschool. This family is not even OK with independent homeschooling at this point.

 

 


Well, maybe, maybe not.  The thing is, many people (including teachers, administrators, and policy makers) are not aware of the value and need of play.  They do not understand how essential it is for development across the domains.  I have heard parents bemoan that their children "just plays" without seeing the benefit of this.  When my DD was 4, I pushed for there to be only play in her preschool.  I was told it used to be that way, but parents demanded more "academics" to help children be prepared for Kindergarten. 

 

I think  unschooling doesn't work for every family is for two reasons: (1) lack of trust in the process and (2) lack of information.  Now, either of these reasons is a good reason NOT to unschool (if you just can't bring yourself to trust, then it's fine!).  As long as your choices are working, that's what counts.  However, when I hear of a child being called lazy and unmotivated, then I see this as a perception issue and a lack of understanding of children's needs.  Children are simply not lazy.  Children LOVE TO LEARN.  This is a given.  They may not learn what an adult wants them to learn at a given time, but this doesn't mean that the child is wrong.   As with everything when it comes to children, the root is a realistic understanding of appropriate expectations.  It is up to us, the adults, to educate ourselves as the OP is doing now.  She may not have a frame of reference other than the idealized image of busy schoolchildren with their little noses to the grindstone. 

 

post #29 of 35

 

"When my DD was 4, I pushed for there to be only play in her preschool.  I was told it used to be that way, but parents demanded more "academics" to help children be prepared for Kindergarten."

 

I had the same experience. greensad.gif Public school kindy students in my district are expected to be able to "sign in" on a sheet on THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS. First and last name. Insanity. I'm so glad my 5 y.o. DS wasn't put in the position of being pressured to perform a task that his fine-motor skills weren't up to while a crowd of impatient children waited behind him. 

 

...but there's a lot grey are between THAT and a 7 y.o. doing an hour or so of formal learning in a non-dramatic, non-combative manner. That's not "noses to the grindstone." That's a normal schoolday for most homeschooling first graders in ANY homeschooling method.

 

So I very much hesitate to tell the OP that her son isn't capable of what so many other kids accomplish with relative ease and happiness. My son is a VERY challenging child to parent in a lot of ways, starting with the 7 weeks he spent chomping on my nipples while he was learning to nurse winky.gif. I'm glad that I went into that learning-to-nurse situation with a strong objective notion of what constituted success (a well-nourished breastfed infant), and I'm glad I went into homeschooling with a strong objective notion of what constitutes success (a classically educated child). Maybe the OP needs to figure out how she defines "success" in her homeschool. I happen to agree with you that her child is very unlikely to be fundamentally unmotivated to learn. But they may both be working in a situation where there aren't clear goals and milestones, and all successful homeschoolers, including radical unschoolers, have a long-term vision of educational outcomes and a home environment that is designed to support those outcomes. 

 

 

post #30 of 35

 Hi! I haven't read the thread so I apologize if I'm repeating what's already been said. Your concerns struck a chord with me because I was in a similar position many years ago with my 1st child so I wanted to comment.

 

My 1st is now 19 yrs old. Back in the day, she fought me tooth & nail when I tried to get her to do her schooling. I ended up giving in because I hated "to fight" with her, & I let her unschool. This pattern went on throughout her entire childhood & teen years. That will always be one of my life's largest regrets. I did her a terrible disservice allowing her to learn that it's her way or the highway, I am not the authority, and education is not important. To this day she has to fight the patterns I allowed her to lay- she's not motivated, has zero follow through, and finished her high school years with little academic knowlege.

 

My poor guinea pig child. stillheart.gif  :) I now do things very differently! With my subsequent kids, I lay down the rules. It's schooling first thing every morning. Period. If there is a fight put up- including whining or sighing, the child is disciplined (which at our house usually means privileges taken away). My 12 yo knows without question that his school work comes first, then his chores. THEN he can think about his own playtime. We actually never, ever have on a glowing screen (besides the computer page I have open) or playtime before schoolwork. Since I've raised him with this consistency, and he knows exactly what to expect, he doesn't put up any sort of fight. Unlike my first child who I was very inconsistent with, and allowed all sorts of whining & eye rolling that I would never stand for now!! LOL Ah the things we learn with age.... :p .

 

You are the authority, lay down the law! Spell out what you expect from your child, and be consistent with discipline.

 

Anyway, I don't want to sound like I have all the answers or anything! I just wanted to quickly type out my own experience, in case it's helpful in the least. If not, do ignore. :p

 

Good luck!

post #31 of 35

If you are with the charter only for the money, then this situation isn't going to work.  Nothing you do will improve this.  You ability to be creative and teach your child the way he learns is trumped by a set curiculum.   I don't know how much ability you have to change the curriculum and methods of teaching.  You may want to ask.  Find out if watching a magic school bus video and then doing a couple activities with the same theme, counts for science or if going to the park and learning to swing on the monkey bars and skipping one, counts for math, etc.  The only thing I would do sitting at a table, would be handwriting. . . in shaving cream or sand or tracing sand paper letters, etc. 

 

Also, has he been evaluated for a learning disability or giftedness or anything?  A big bell went off when you mentioned your DH having the same issues.  Sometimes it is hard to tell if a child is "just" being difficult or is trying to hide a problem.  My kids with troouble writing will go to any lengths to avoid writing.  They know it doesn't look write, but they can't make it better and are embarassed. more later

post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smithie View Post

 

"When my DD was 4, I pushed for there to be only play in her preschool.  I was told it used to be that way, but parents demanded more "academics" to help children be prepared for Kindergarten."

 

I had the same experience. greensad.gif Public school kindy students in my district are expected to be able to "sign in" on a sheet on THE FIRST DAY OF CLASS. First and last name. Insanity. I'm so glad my 5 y.o. DS wasn't put in the position of being pressured to perform a task that his fine-motor skills weren't up to while a crowd of impatient children waited behind him. 

 

...but there's a lot grey are between THAT and a 7 y.o. doing an hour or so of formal learning in a non-dramatic, non-combative manner. That's not "noses to the grindstone." That's a normal schoolday for most homeschooling first graders in ANY homeschooling method.

 


My issue wasn't with school being too demanding-- on the contrary.  They were teaching children letter names and my DD was reading fluently by that point.  She learned to read herself, without any formal instruction.  DD has always been pretty in tune with what she needs to learn-- frankly, I think all children are.  One of my favorite quotes: Childhood isn't preparation for life, childhood is life. 

 

I would say that we can't really define what is a normal school day is in any homeschooling method, but that's just me.

post #33 of 35
I think that public school as a whole is pathetically undemanding, but my kids' preschool teaching writing to 4-year-olds because they were expected to demonstrate the skill on the first day of public school - to me, that's an age-inappropriate demand, even though some four-year-olds are able to read and write. I'm on my second four-year-old now, and she writes beautifully, but I still wish that her preschool could focus solely on play.
post #34 of 35

i have a bold suggestion.  keep an open mind, and while it's opened, do some reading on unschooling.  many people greatly mistake it for unparenting.  i was in EXACTLY the same position you described above, only i have 5 children.  homeschooling was becoming a nightmare.  someone suggested unschooling to me and i laughed it right out of the conversation.  until i decided i wanted to enjoy life, and i wanted my children to enjoy life.  i read a book by Sandra Dodd(she can be easily found online-and everything on her website is pretty much the same exact stuff in her book).  whle i didn't agree with every little thing, it really made me aware of some serious changes that needed to be made.  take a look at this link here, and then maybe check out Sandra Dodd...what do you have to lose?  this is just some FAQ.

http://zombieprincess.blogspot.com/2008/05/thursday-13_15.html

post #35 of 35
Thread Starter 

I am familiar with unschooling and ok with it. Honestly I am more comfortable with it for most subjects (thanks for the links and extra resources)  and TRY to let it work that way with a few exceptions, math, English, and Spanish. These are non negotiable for us, but I do try to cater to what works for him. I am still searching and evolving like most homeschoolers.

 

1. Math: I LOVE the program we have Math U See. It has a DVD of the instructions so I am not the one teaching, just facilitating. Followed by 1 to 2 worksheets with manipulatives per day (6 pages per lesson so we don't even do math some days) I think math is something that builds, so if the basics are not learned properly it never makes sense. I LOVE the way this program teaches and builds. I am amzed at what he has learned. Honestly he does great when he chooses not to fight. We did 2 pages yesterday in about 20 minutes no arguments.

 

2. English: He is struggling here but I am not pushing. Reading is not really clicking for him yet but we got some new fun, non intimidating workbooks for writing that are helping reading to start sinking in. He only does a couple pages about 3 days a week. We have several resources for this, online reading program, writing workbook, writing journal, etc...

 

3. Spanish: We are about to get a Rosetta Stone, yes I know he is young but our school liason actually recommended getting it and doing what he can and skipping the rest for now. Other than that we have been teaching the words we know and asking other family memebers to help. DH's  grandma that does not speak English. DH was not really taught Spanish and can't communicate well with his grandma. This make him very sad and has made us both determined that our kids will learn Spanish. Plus we are less than 2 hours from the Mexican border. I think everyone in this area should know atleast basic Spanish.

 

Anyway my point is that I am not a "nose to the grindstone" sort of homeschooler. This is exactly why I don't want my kids in a public classroom. I don't think I am expecting too much or pushing too hard in these basics. My whole struggle is the strong willed child that digs in and doesn't want to do ANYTHING and instead chooses to scream and cry and throw fits for hours holding up everything else that needs to get done that day (think back to your 2 year olds) when they are asked to do school work that they CAN do but don't want to do. We have some leeway but because of the charter we do have a 'check in' every 4 weeks so we have a loose schedule we do need to follow.

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