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Help me, please.

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm sure you regulars see posts like this from time to time, but I'm at my wit's end and need some encouragement/advice/whatever.

I started homeschooling DD last year when she was 5 for K. I was a full time student but did not work. We got behind the curriculum's time line and were going to catch up during the summer, but I felt that she really already knew the material and it was more a review so I just stopped where we were and had the summer free.

Then we started 1st grade in the fall. I was still a student last semester and graduated in Dec. Now I work full time (36+) hours a week. I've been on days during orientation, but I just switched to nights a few weeks ago.

We are behind the curriculum again (and have been since before Christmas). I cannot seem to find a consistent routine. For one thing, my schedule changes week to week. Another thing is that we frequently take trips to visit family over the weekends (they live 1 1/2 hours away). So many times if I'm off we're not at home.

I'm also having trouble actually teaching DD. I don't know what I expected. Well, I think I expected to be able to mostly hand her worksheets and her to just "get it". She's a bright child, and for a while this worked well. But now the math is getting a little more advanced (nothing major - it's just 1st grade), and she's not seeming to get it anymore. And now I'm wondering if I should have been doing more in depth stuff from the beginning in order to give her a more solid foundation.

She's reading really well and likes to write. Her spelling is going well. Her math is OK except she wants you to sit there and tell her how to do every problem. If you don't, she can make one worksheet drag on for 2 hours. Science and social studies are very basic right now so it's basically making time to go to the library to check out science books (there is a theme each week but no book) and go over her character building card. Religion is also pretty basic and not a problem. Actually, I think math is the main problem. Math and just finding time to do the work. Oh, and her handwriting is awful. It's bad even on the practice pages. I give her more practice pages and that looks bad, too. Not sure what to do about that as it seems like it's less of a teachable thing.

Anyway, I just feel like I'm failing her. I excelled in school (honors, AP, very high ranking) so it's not that I feel inadequate with the material. I just feel inadequate as a teacher. I don't feel like I'm reaching her (particularly in math) in a way where it clicks in her head. And I am apparently a terrible time manager.

One more thing - before DD got to school age DH and I agreed that we didn't want her in school. But ever since it's been time to actually HS her, he has not been very supportive. If he's home with them and I leave stuff out for her, he'll only do half (if any) of it with her. He makes comments sometimes that lead me to believe he's just been waiting for me to fail. And he no longer seems to be on board with HS anyway. (rant Actually he's p*ssing me off right now about other issues so that's probably tainting what I'm saying. I'm so tired of him acting like these children aren't partly his responsibility. /rant)

Yesterday I was convinced I'd somehow wrap up 1st grade and put her in school next year. Today I'm not as confident in that decision. Any words of wisdom? Or does it sound like I should put her in?
post #2 of 10

Too me, you sound very stressed.  Also, (but I am biased here) I would scrap the "curriculum" and "schedule" that goes with it.  A benefit of homeschooling is going at your own pace.  I hate boxed curriculums.  It sounds like you have only two real issues.  The first is your dh.  Perhaps, this just isn't what he expected either.  During the summer, I would brainstorm together.  Most homeschooler champions that I know don't think of "homeschooling" as a pile of worksheets.  That sounds like homework from "school".  So, maybe he only makes half an effort because it seems like busywork.  Perhaps he has some ideas.  Regarding math:  You need to tell us more.  I bet we can give you some good feedback.  How does your dd learn?  There are some GREAT math games for 1st grade stuff that will be much more fun than worksheets.  Also, some great manipulatives and fun activities to do.  (We love m&ms  bag.gif and there is so much you can teach with them!  The M&Ms are the reward when you are done!).

 

For what its worth, I don't think it sounds like it is time to give up and send her to ps in the fall.  I wouldn't hold it against you if you did though.  You have a lot on your plate.  However, I think you can make some changes, relax, and let learning (and teaching) become fun again.

 

Amy

post #3 of 10

I feel your pain!  I HS DD (1st grade also) and I work 24 hours a week (two 12 hour shifts) AND I am taking 19 credits this semester working toward my Bachelors in Nursing so I can get my midwife/MSN.  I have found that I just have to do school.  It needs it's own time, set aside just for that (OK, I do a load of laundry or 2 while she is working)  I can't let it slide or I would let it continue to slide and I don't want her in public school or behind.  We have a routine in the mornings (4 days a week mostly)  We get up usually 8-8:30, eat breakfast and I drink a cup of coffee and then we start school.  I do all the lessons, writing on white board what I teach and then DD does her worksheets.  You can't just give her worksheets and expect her to learn them.  It might just be 1st grade math, and 1st grade math is easy...to us!  It may not be easy for her.  We have to remember that we know it...they don't.  Your DH might see that you aren't really doing much with school and that is why he may have a bad attitude toward it.  (I am not bashing you...I feel where you are, really!!!)   My DH doesn't do anything with school...ever....and I don't expect him to.  DD does get work when she goes to her dad's house (the 2 days a week I work) and he does a half a$$ job at helping her too.  I always go over the 2 days of stuff the night before she goes and sometimes I send actual curriculum pages from Abeka, sometimes I just print worksheets covering what we already have covered.

I think you just need to find time to do school.  I think you could easily get away with 3 really good days at 3 hours a day of school a week.  Also, do stuff in the car when you are traveling.  Do the contractions out loud...could not=couldn't, do math problems out loud.  If it is 1 1/2 hours away that you are driving, that is 3 hours that you are missing out on teaching her.  I would not worry about your DH doing school with her if it is just going frustrate you that he isn't doing it right.  Work with her a little after you get off work. 

Good luck!

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the responses so far.
Quote:
Originally Posted by AAK View Post

Too me, you sound very stressed.


Yes.
Quote:
 Also, (but I am biased here) I would scrap the "curriculum" and "schedule" that goes with it.  A benefit of homeschooling is going at your own pace.  I hate boxed curriculums.  It sounds like you have only two real issues.  The first is your dh.  Perhaps, this just isn't what he expected either.  During the summer, I would brainstorm together.  Most homeschooler champions that I know don't think of "homeschooling" as a pile of worksheets.  That sounds like homework from "school".  So, maybe he only makes half an effort because it seems like busywork.  Perhaps he has some ideas.

You're right, it does sound like busywork. Which is one of the things I hate about the thought of school. But I'm not real sure how to check her learning otherwise. Do you use any worksheets at all?

I'm afraid not to use a curriculum. I have no idea what concepts are covered in which grades, and I'm afraid that I'll forget to cover some concepts altogether. Or cover them in the wrong order and not have a good foundation before I build up to a harder concept.
Quote:
 Regarding math:  You need to tell us more.  I bet we can give you some good feedback.  How does your dd learn?  There are some GREAT math games for 1st grade stuff that will be much more fun than worksheets.  Also, some great manipulatives and fun activities to do.  (We love m&ms  bag.gif and there is so much you can teach with them!  The M&Ms are the reward when you are done!).

 

For what its worth, I don't think it sounds like it is time to give up and send her to ps in the fall.  I wouldn't hold it against you if you did though.  You have a lot on your plate.  However, I think you can make some changes, relax, and let learning (and teaching) become fun again.

 

Amy


The m&ms sound like a good idea. In other subjects I've tried to incorporate different learning styles (like letter tiles with spelling) to get more of her brain involved. Haven't really done it with math. We've mostly just done the daily worksheets. They introduce a new concept (or expand on the current one) each day, and she's basically just learned it like that. I try to give her tips sometimes - like the 9 trick (up a tens place, down a ones place), but I think my tips are maybe over her head. Well, she did learn her +1s with my trick of "it's just one number up". And that was before we even started HS at all. Anyway, I did start addition drills yesterday. I remember doing these in school and I think maybe memorization is important with the basic math concepts. So I'm going to try to use these more consistently and see what happens. She likes computer math games, too, but so far we've used those more for review than for learning. What she's currently hung up on is subtracting from 12, 13, and 14. Last night we talked about what numbers add together to make 12. Then she was able to do the 12 subtraction a little easier. But then I almost feel like I gave her the answers, IYKWIM.
Quote:
Originally Posted by misidawnrn View Post

I feel your pain!  I HS DD (1st grade also) and I work 24 hours a week (two 12 hour shifts) AND I am taking 19 credits this semester working toward my Bachelors in Nursing so I can get my midwife/MSN. 


I'm a postpartum RN. smile.gif Aspiring to become an L&D nurse so I can go to CNM school myself.
Quote:
I have found that I just have to do school.  It needs it's own time, set aside just for that (OK, I do a load of laundry or 2 while she is working)  I can't let it slide or I would let it continue to slide and I don't want her in public school or behind.  We have a routine in the mornings (4 days a week mostly)  We get up usually 8-8:30, eat breakfast and I drink a cup of coffee and then we start school.  I do all the lessons, writing on white board what I teach and then DD does her worksheets.  You can't just give her worksheets and expect her to learn them.  It might just be 1st grade math, and 1st grade math is easy...to us!   It may not be easy for her.  We have to remember that we know it...they don't. 

Yes! That's what I have to keep in mind.
Quote:
Your DH might see that you aren't really doing much with school and that is why he may have a bad attitude toward it.  (I am not bashing you...I feel where you are, really!!!)   My DH doesn't do anything with school...ever....and I don't expect him to.  DD does get work when she goes to her dad's house (the 2 days a week I work) and he does a half a$$ job at helping her too.  I always go over the 2 days of stuff the night before she goes and sometimes I send actual curriculum pages from Abeka, sometimes I just print worksheets covering what we already have covered.

I think you just need to find time to do school.  I think you could easily get away with 3 really good days at 3 hours a day of school a week.  Also, do stuff in the car when you are traveling.  Do the contractions out loud...could not=couldn't, do math problems out loud.  If it is 1 1/2 hours away that you are driving, that is 3 hours that you are missing out on teaching her.  I would not worry about your DH doing school with her if it is just going frustrate you that he isn't doing it right.  Work with her a little after you get off work. 

Good luck!


Thanks. Tomorrow we're going to story time at the library, but I will make it a point to do some school both before and after. Maybe if I get into a good routine with the rest of 1st grade I won't feel like I need to put her into school for 2nd.
post #5 of 10

When I get at a point like that with my kids I go backwards a little for something easier.  If she needs your help with every bit of math, it is probably too hard for her.  Can you buy her an easier math workbook that she is able to do independently, and then go back to the harder stuff?  Also you could add something like math bingo or some other game for reinforcement.

 

As far as DH not being on board, I would just ignore him and stop looking to him for support.  If you are determined to make HSing work then you have to be willing to do it without his active participation.  It would be nice if we could change our spouses to be more helpful but it's not really possible.  As long as he's not actively undermining HSing I would just ignore it and take the responsibility upon yourself.  This is what I've had to do.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by frugalmum View Post

When I get at a point like that with my kids I go backwards a little for something easier.  If she needs your help with every bit of math, it is probably too hard for her.  Can you buy her an easier math workbook that she is able to do independently, and then go back to the harder stuff?  Also you could add something like math bingo or some other game for reinforcement.

 

As far as DH not being on board, I would just ignore him and stop looking to him for support.  If you are determined to make HSing work then you have to be willing to do it without his active participation.  It would be nice if we could change our spouses to be more helpful but it's not really possible.  As long as he's not actively undermining HSing I would just ignore it and take the responsibility upon yourself.  This is what I've had to do.


I might try going backwards a bit and see at what point she can work independently. BUT, I'm not convinced it's a difficulty issue. I think it may be more of an attention issue. Or a combination of both. I think what you touched on about not being able to change our spouses applies to our kids as well. I'm wanting (also some days needing) her to be more independent and she's just not like that. I mean, she will do some things on her own (if it's her idea - she's very stubborn), but this girl has an insane (to me) need for attention. I don't understand it, I'm not like that, and my other child isn't like that. But as she gets older it's just not getting any better, and I think maybe this is just one of the ways that's manifesting itself. So, I guess that means I need to find a way to meet that attention need. And maybe, just maybe, if she feels her attention needs are being met (if they could ever be met), she'll start working a bit more independently??

I say that I need her to work independently some days b/c on the days I sleep after working a night shift I leave out some work for her to do on her own. Her math is a big component of that.

As for DH, I think you're right. Unfortunately I think what you said applies to other things I need his support for as well. But it helps to hear it anyway, even though I don't like it.

Talking all of this out is really helping to clarify some things for me. Thanks, ladies.
post #7 of 10

Are you using CHC? I think I remember you mentioning that on a post before.

 

We are, and a big thing that has helped me was throwing the idea of this work needs to be done by this date out the window. At the start of the year, I take each days work assignments, type up a cover letter with any projects related, and put each day in a file folder. Religion activities are done in monthly files with the same cover sheet in order of dates. Then I just pull the next file in line WHEN we get to it. DD is in K this year with CHC, and we likely won't finish until July, and I'm okay with it. We've taken a lot of days off and been sick a lot, but she's still learning.

 

 

Could you maybe try some PC based math games that cover the same material for when you are gone? Then it's not "school" it's a "game" which works for some kids.

post #8 of 10

I am putting my responces inside the quote because I am stuggling to figure out the multiquote thing.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lavatea View Post
You're right, it does sound like busywork. Which is one of the things I hate about the thought of school. But I'm not real sure how to check her learning otherwise. Do you use any worksheets at all?
I DO use some worksheets.  And some curriculum too.  I don't use any curriculums that come with a schedule.  My second grader uses Singapore math as the spine.  I use it for guidance of what to cover even if I don't use all their workbook pages.  I use workbook pages sometimes.  I don't use any of the ones for clocks or counting money.  When we were doing things like 12 - 9, etc. I gave her a dish of pinto beans too.  If she needed too, she could pull out 12 beans, take 9 away and count out the answer.  That is time consuming though and I found that she relied on it less and less as she got better with knowing the answers or at least figuring them out in her head.  Now, she doesn't use the beans at all even though her recall of math facts is a bit slow.  And if a topic is getting to be too frustrating, we will take a break from it to do something else.  My dd loves the worksheets on charts, graphs, and geometry concepts.  So we don't do them in order, we throw them in as a break from the more frustrating concepts.  We also play things like "shut the box" to reinforce math facts.  I recently purchased the math games kit from Right Start.  This has been great for us.  My best investment though, has been a $2.00 clock from learning resources.  I like it because the hour hand moves with the minute hand so that when reading 1:50 the hour hand is really very near the two--like a real clock!

I'm afraid not to use a curriculum. I have no idea what concepts are covered in which grades, and I'm afraid that I'll forget to cover some concepts altogether. Or cover them in the wrong order and not have a good foundation before I build up to a harder concept.
In second grade, the only purchased curriculum I have is Singapore Math, AAS, and HWT.  I do have "Building Foundations of Scientific Understanding" to help guide me with science.  Our school district has what they call "frameworks" for each grade.  This tells parents what the kids should be learning.  They have a link to these frameworks on their main page.  It has been handy to keep my expectations in perspective.  Maybe your district has something similar.  
 

 She likes computer math games, too, but so far we've used those more for review than for learning. What she's currently hung up on is subtracting from 12, 13, and 14. Last night we talked about what numbers add together to make 12. Then she was able to do the 12 subtraction a little easier. But then I almost feel like I gave her the answers, IYKWIM.
First, I don't thing you gave her the answers.  You helped her make a connection between addition facts and subtraction facts.  Good job!  Second, we also like using the computer for math.  Like you, we often use it for reinforcement.  However, I also use it for drills.  For some reason, my dd can practice her math facts on the computer much longer than she will tolerate me drilling her or more worksheets.  
 
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
So I approached school time with (I thought) a better attitude, but it quickly crashed. She just won't do the work! At lunch we talked again about what things added up to what, but when I gave her her problems (the same 3 sheets we've been working on for a week now!) she plays dumb. I've come at the problems from different angles, and for the most part I think she knows the material. Now it's just sheer stubbornness. She won't work independently on the practice. Part of me says to just put these three worksheets away and move on, but I know this same issue is going to be there on the next set of problems we do. What she wants is for me to sit there and do every single problem with her. She want me to think through the problem with her out loud, over and over again (many of the problems repeat) so that she doesn't have to use her own brain. I feel like I'm beating my head against the wall. I'm fine with teaching her in alternative ways and coming at the problems in multiple ways to make sure she gets the material, but I am not OK with doing the thinking for her. Especially since I know she can do it on her own. I watched her write the answer to 8-5 quickly without thinking. Then when it showed up again down the page she threw herself onto the floor and said she didn't know the answer and couldn't figure it out.

I don't think this is even a should I or should I not homeschool question anymore, because she would have to do independent learning exercises in a class room. I guess really this is just a "how do I get my child to do independent learning" question.

Interestingly, she loves tests. Most of the time she will likety-split through a math test (and generally does really well). Maybe I should just skip all of the worksheets except the tests?

Ugh...AND we've wasted all of our school time on this stupid math.
post #10 of 10

Honestly, this method isnt working for your child.  This is first grade.  Math can resemble something like.... DD how many socks do we have to put away from the laundry, then DD counts out all the socks,  OK can you match them up, great, now how many pairs of socks do we have.  If we started with 10 socks and now have groups of socks, do you know what 10-5 is?

How many red shirts do we have?  How many blue shirts?  How many more red than blue shirts?   ..... Do you get the idea?

 

You can do this with cooking, cleaning, all kinds of things.   

 

So much of the lower grades is just 'life' that the kids pick up in day to day activites that making them sit down and do worksheets is frustration for everyone involved.

 

The handwriting will come along in time.  If she is writing to do all those other worksheets, why does she have special handwriting worksheets?  I incorporated writing and fine motor skills into art classes and projects.

 

I say toss the boxed lessons and follow your childs lead.  She is telling your something important,  listen to her.

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