Okay, well, I think what's happening here is we all have a variety of educational philosophies. I have read John Holt and Sandra Dodd, and I know that for some people that works. While I understand that it is totally okay for a child to unfold at his or her own pace, and that is a BIG reason we left public school, I also believe that it is my job as a parent to gently nudge my children out of their comfort zones, and to challenge them when necessary.
- topicHomeschoolingtagged by System, 1/17/12
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Headstrong 7yo won't "do school" - Page 3post #41 of 611/29/12 at 5:10pmThread Starterpost #42 of 611/29/12 at 6:10pm
Given your parameters, I would start with work that should take 10 minutes and increase the amount as he is successful.
Of course, how to get a kid to focus, is the question….
-make sure he has a good breakfast - do any work before any playing or screens.
-experiment with where you are as he does his work: at the table, in the same room, out of the room.
-experiment with different environments (sounds like you have done some of this)
-offer a fun project after the 10 minutes of work - yes, a bribe, lol
-mix up resources and materials. There is definitely more than one way to do things - if you want to work on fine motor, but HWT is dragging - how about some mazes, a game of operation, etc?post #43 of 611/29/12 at 6:16pm
One thing about educational/homeschooling/parenting philosophies is that they really tend to change as time goes on and as we experiment and stretch and learn more and more about ourselves and our individual children. The way I thought by the time my child had moved from homeschooling into college was entirely different from the way I'd thought before I started and during the first year or so.
One thing I have in common among parents I've known well whose homeschooled children are now adults is that our children have by far exceeded expectations we had for them, and their paths have gone in entirely unexpected and delightful directions. It's all so complicated to be able to see in the bigger picture, and all of us - just as with anyone who ever homeschools - had our fears and stresses now and then along the way. Hard as this may be to understand or believe unless you've witnessed it yourself, none of our children's success is related to cooperating or not cooperating with lessons during their childhood years - in fact, I don't think many of us even had formal lessons, but our families were eager and curious learners as a unit.
The point I'm trying to make is that I think sometimes nudging them is not really as necessary as it seems a the time - sometimes it's more effective to move back and try to see what it is that they're really saying, wanting, feeling, needing that isn't being expressed well. They have so little life experience in trying to express themselves diplomatically and effectively without resorting to behavior that often puts that at odds with their parents!
I'm rambling, but those are just some thoughts that came to mind. I think others here have expressed some of this quite eloquently, but my own experience as a newer homeschooler was that the more input I got from different kinds of people, the more ideas would waft through my mind when I was mulling over my own day to day experiences as they came. - Lillianpost #44 of 611/29/12 at 7:24pmThread Starterpost #45 of 611/29/12 at 9:17pm
Just to add, IME writing issues can present primarily as defiance or laziness, masking the degree of skill deficit. I was interested to see this fall, when my reluctant writer was tested, that his tester described him as "trying every trick in the book to get out of writing! He even complained about how tired his hand was!" And this was a seven-year-old working for three and a half hours, with a ten minute break, writing out pages of math problems from second to tenth grade, plus writing sentences! Yes, DS is reluctant, but... I think it's fair to say that his hand *was* tired! I mention this because these were actual trained professionals who were calling laziness. (They were generally very positive about him being a hard worker and pleasant, so it's not from him behaving badly.)
For us--and we're not unschoolers--it's been more helpful to focus on giving him tools and strategies, rather than emphasizing the unwillingness issue; even if the unwillingness is a piece of the puzzle, so is the need for scaffolding, and it feels less combative to start there and figure out what he needs, where he is, what he can tackle. It's just so hard to learn if you are feeling overwhelmed, you know? I want all his energy to go toward his work, and if he's fighting me his focus is not on his work. The term I like is "i plus 1," where i is what feels comfortable, and "plus 1" adds just enough difficulty.
Specific aspects my kid has wrestled with, may or may not apply to you--hand strength, confidence in spelling, not knowing grammar, lack of practice in forming cursive letters, not knowing what to say, frustration with the lag between his ideas and how slowly he can execute them, not knowing how to pace his writing on a line and when to start on a new line. So I wait, mostly, on output; but we work hard and regularly in brief bursts on these individual pieces.
YMMV. You might not want to wait on output; but the scaffolding needs to be there alongside.
Specific ideas if he wants longer but more fun ways of writing:
drawing chalk labyrinths from a nucleus
copywork of favorite things
writing recipes, Harry Potter potions, that kind of thing
invisible writing with lemon ink
making different inks and seeing what color they dry
writing words in different languages
window, tub markers
The other thing is, try something for a week. He might love it and you might feel like it wasn't enough. So... you're the mom, you get to change it.
Heatherpost #46 of 611/29/12 at 9:39pm
I'm wondering if your child has a learning issue that makes school work particularly difficult? One of my boys would throw tantrums in K & 1st over his reading and writing homework.. acutally ALL his homework. By 2nd, we took him in for a learning evaluation at our children's hospital and he has dyslexia. He was just so frustrated with school at that point and we had no idea. Once he started being taught in a way that works for him, his resistance to homework mostly went away.post #47 of 611/30/12 at 7:46amQuote:Originally Posted by PGTlatte
It seems to me that the looser approach can appear to work well for kids who don't have trouble acquiring the "academic" skills like writing and math. There are some fortunate people whose brains wrap around these things really easily and they learn this stuff very quickly once they decide they want to. And the parent can say, see, there was no reason to ever need to push ! On the other hand are the kids who will have to work very hard to learn these basic skills, and unless someone is either requiring them to do it or some huge motivating factor comes along later in life, they are probably not going to put in that effort. Our son is one of the second group. Learning basic academic skills is really hard work for him. IMO this makes it that much more important that I see him through this hard work now, so he has these skills to build on later.
Not necessarily - you can push all you want, but it is not your pushing that made them finally learn - perhaps he was finally ready to acquire that task after the passage of time. Of course you know your own child best, but for the OP and others reading this thread, pushing harder and drawing lines and being punitive is not the only way. For many, taking the pressure off and putting things on hold for awhile can be just as effective, if not even more so.post #48 of 611/30/12 at 9:57am
I'm not familiar with the term IME, but I've read a lot about various learning issues and have seen it repeated over and over that children who are dealing with one are usually seen as lazy or defiant because of not wanting to cooperate with traditional teaching techniques and/or writing.
Another thing to consider - and I've seen this mentioned many, many times over the years - is that it's not at all uncommon for writing to be very physically tedious and challenging for a lot of children under the age of 8 or even older. Not only that, but it can involve multitasking that isn't so obvious to an adult: the physical act of completing letters, thinking through what to write, remembering spelling - and even looking back and forth from a book to the page being written on and remembering what was just read can be seriously difficult for a child with certain aspects of dyslexia. My son was one who could do one of those things at a time well enough, but not all at once. He outgrew his difficulties, partly due to vision therapy at age 12, and partly, I think, due to the auditory discrimination in depth therapy he did around age 10. Pushing him before all systems were ready would have done nothing but give him a bad taste for things related to studying.
In fact, that's exactly what happened to him in the 1st grade of school, which wa fortunately his last year in a classroom. He had been learning up a storm the whole time, though, in other ways - often seeming out of the clear air - especially when something caught his imagination and came to him in a straightforward way that didn't mimic school/classroom methodology. I was amazed when he was home sick from 1st grade, for instance, when he was watching a dryly presented but straightforward high school physics lecture on TV, and I thought the poor little guy was just desperate to veg out after a lot of stress at school - but then I saw him a few days later waving his little arms around and explaining atomic theory to his dad! His imagination had been caught, and he had gone with it. If someone had made him sit and study the same subject, it would have been an entirely different and useless experience - but his mind had been able to wander and process in its own way.
Lillianpost #49 of 611/30/12 at 10:09ampost #50 of 611/30/12 at 11:17ampost #51 of 611/30/12 at 11:35ampost #52 of 611/30/12 at 6:22pmpost #53 of 611/31/12 at 4:52amQuote:Not necessarily - you can push all you want, but it is not your pushing that made them finally learn - perhaps he was finally ready to acquire that task after the passage of time. Of course you know your own child best, but for the OP and others reading this thread, pushing harder and drawing lines and being punitive is not the only way. For many, taking the pressure off and putting things on hold for awhile can be just as effective, if not even more so.
Precisely. My son was one of those with lots of difficulty writing -- though he was an excellent reader, so dyslexia was not the problem. It hurt his hands, his spelling was atrocious (though when tested on individual words he'd do fine), capitalization and punctuation were random (but again, when tested he knew the rules), legibility was out the window. And what's more, the *content* was choppy, rough, incomplete.
We struggled along with it for awhile... Sometimes I'd "force" it, sometimes I'd work hard to make it a game. It was a battle and a struggle that I just didn't seem to be winning. But I kept at it, because -- well, as a basic skill it was "that much more important that I see him through this hard work now, so he has these skills to build on later." Right?
When he was about 9, though, I gave in. I stopped fighting about the writing, and switched over to curriculum resources that let us use drawing and oral responses rather than essays and paragraphs, or modified what we were using. It was night and day. He was clearly learning a lot, and expressing it well, even without the written aspect. I recognized that the skill of writing is a separate skill from the master of physics or even of literature. Yes, it's an important skill to have in the long run, but it does not have to be mastered when he's seven, or any particular age. As long as he gets the hang of it EVENTUALLY, we'll be fine. So I realized it would be fine to take a break, and come back to it again when he's older.
Well he's now 13. Last year, his "grade 7" year, his schooled peers would be writing book reports and research papers with some regularity. He wasn't. He could barely even put together a decent paragraph. And we were okay with that. We did work through a handwriting course to improve his penmanship, but that was all. Last summer, though, we were looking at a history program he was interested in, but it involved quite a bit more writing, and for this level I was starting to think that just drawing wouldn't be sufficient anymore, not in this particular case. I told him that if he wanted to do this program, we'd have to advance his writing skills quite a bit first. A 'prerequisite' for the course was familiarty with the 5-paragraph essay form... which he was nowhere NEAR.
We discussed some options, and HE decided he was ready to learn to write. He was willing and even keen. We bought SWI-IEW level B and have been working through it this year. In fact he's almost finished the course now, and is writing short research papers. By "grade 9" in the fall, I think he will be completely "caught up" with his peers! His writing is now quite good. Still some spelling glitches and it's not calligraphy by any means, but "putting thoughts on paper" is no longer a problem for him. He's actually enjoying it!
This has worked, for us, SO much better than forcing the issue all the way through his youth and making him resentful and grumpy about writing. By waiting until he was mature enough to consciously grasp the importance of it, until he had his own internal motivation to want to do it -- and, quite likely, until his physical and mental development allowed it to be processed more easily -- it became a walk in the park instead of years and years of struggle! :)
Every child is different, of course, and you have to know your child. My 5yo daughter has been writing since she was 3... just little words, of course, but now she does long lists and even short little stories with her own invented spelling, all of her own initiative. And we're halfway through A Beka cursive kindergarten, she'll do 6-10 pages at a shot. Night and day from her older brother.post #54 of 611/31/12 at 9:08am
Thanks for sharing that story tankgirl! I have a seven year old boy who has never liked to write, and I haven't pushed it. His fine motor skills are developing and for now he can learn all the science and history he wants without the demands for written output. I'm imagining that once he is older-- and has a reason to want to write and the patience to work at it-- the writing will follow. It seems to be all about internal motivation for him. Funny, because I was the kind of kid who liked workbooks, check marks, gold stars and teacher approval! My son is the opposite-- and I'm glad for him, though his way of being has its challenges too of course. Anyway, nice to hear experiences like yours of learning and ability developing on a child's own schedule.post #55 of 611/31/12 at 11:41amQuote:Funny, because I was the kind of kid who liked workbooks, check marks, gold stars and teacher approval!
So was I. That's probably partly why it took me so long to figure him out and 'switch gears' with him, to do things a different way. One of the great benefits of homeschooling I'd foreseen was that I'd be able to give him the education I would have loved as a child. Except... that wasn't the kind of education he loved, or needed! After everything I learned with him, I was dedicated to unschooling my daughter until she was at least, say, 7, at which point we'd follow her lead. But it's never that simple, is it? She started asking for worksheets when she was just 2 years old. :p
Every kid is different. All kids want to do well, to succeed, to learn and to discover. If they don't want to "do school" it's not because they're lazy, or rebellious, or unmotivated... it's because it's artificial. Or at least, it's not a good match with how they're wired to learn. Kids don't spend the first several years of their lives mastering an entire language, completely of their own initiative and (mostly) unassisted, and pester their parents with "WHY WHY WHY" questions, only to suddenly want to not learn anything anymore once they hit "school age." The drive to learn is there, it's just that "school" (wherever it takes place) isn't necessarily the best way to teach many kids. Our concept of "sit down and work because they need to learn to do this eventually" is flawed, however well-intentioned. In part it's because it's all we know and it's hard to break that habit.
In part it's also just faulty logic, though. Not having thought it through. "They'll need to learn it eventually" is not a good reason for making them do something before they're ready for it. We don't put children behind the wheel of a car when they're 5 years old because "hey, they'll need to learn to drive sooner or later," do we? It sounds patently ridiculous to even suggest it. Of course you wait until they're physically and mentally mature enough to be able to handle the responsibility, the body of knowledge, and the skill set to do it safely.
We don't get our 8-year-olds drunk because they'll have to learn how to cope with a hangover sooner or later. We don't make our 10-year-olds do our tax forms for us because they'll have to learn how to do it eventually. We don't send them out to jobs when they're 6 because sooner or later they have to learn how to take orders and bring in a paycheck.
These things seem obvious. You have to wait until they're old enough. But when it comes to 'academic' issues our approach is the complete opposite. Sometimes the reason is a mistaken belief that they 'should be' ready to do something at a certain age, when really they're not (either children of that age in general, or that specific child). Other times, though, it's done knowing full well that it's a difficult and challenging task to try to get a child to do, but believing that it's worthwhile by the mere fact of it being training for some unpleasant thing they'll have to learn to endure when they're older. This is where the logic breaks down IMO.
Edited to add: I wanted to clarify that I do understand and absolutely agree with "gentle nudges" to help get kids over humps of reluctance. The trick is in learning the difference between a gentle nudge when that's all that's needed; and pushing too hard, when the issue is not simple reluctance, nor just "needs a bit more practice then he'll be better". When they're truly trying their best but unable to meet our expectations (even if our expectation is that 'their best' should be better than that). Recognizing when it's time to nudge, and when it's time to back WAY off, is probably one of the #1 skills we need to develop as homeschooling parents.
I think you'll find a whole lot of discussion and advice in the homeschool spheres that is preaching about 'laying off'. More than you'll find about 'how to nudge' perhaps. I think this is because so many of us err on the side of 'pushing'. When in doubt, we'd rather push a bit too hard than leave them disadvantaged and falling 'behind' because we made the mistake of being too lenient. It's completely well intentioned. But it misses the fact that pushing too hard has negative consequences just as dire -- and perhaps even worse -- than not pushing enough. Because it's the more automatic response for most of us in our current society, though, there are more questions out there on "how do I get my kid to do more" than the other way around. It's the squeakier wheel, so it gets more grease. It doesn't mean that gentle nudges are a bad idea - it just means that many of us need a kind of adjustment, or realignment, of our system of measuring 'pushing'. If that makes sense. :p
Edited by tankgirl73 - 1/31/12 at 11:53ampost #56 of 611/31/12 at 1:03pm
Have you already posted in Special Needs Parenting to ask for helpful tips there? There are lots of moms of kids with fine motor delay that probably can help. I think there may even be a sticky for it! A quick Google search found a couple of sites too:post #57 of 611/31/12 at 7:42pmpost #58 of 612/3/12 at 8:11ampost #59 of 612/3/12 at 10:34ampost #60 of 612/10/12 at 1:00pm
May I ask what program you use? It sounds interesting?Quote:Originally Posted by briansmama
Something is obviously not working for your DS. You mentioned he had a hard time in school- is it possible he learned to strongly dislike lessons during that time? Have you read up on deschooling and given him the opportunity to let go of that negative experience and regain his enthusiasm for learning?
Also, are you stuck using standardized lesson material? Personally, I find standardized curriculum to be the most in-inspiring, boring, and disjointed educational material available. There is an abundance of educational material available that is high quality, interesting, and inspiring! As homeschoolers were able to offer our children more of what works for them and our family.
My DS is now 8 and last year at age 7 we were able to do an hour or two of seat work without complaint. He is very active and always prefers activity to seat work, but I made sure he was getting plenty of exercise and movement throughout the day to support this need and help prepare him for lesson time.
We also use a holistic literature-based program that is very high quality, interesting, and creative. The program also includes academic movement and music.
I also believe a strong rhythm to our days helps frame lesson time and what comes next, so lessons are part of a natural flow and not something I'm imposing whenever I feel like it (not saying you are, just offering what works for us).
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