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Maybe WTM isn't the right fit?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I told myself when I started this homeschooling journey that I would watch that twinkle in my son's eye, the one he gets when he's into what he's doing and excited and full of life. And if I saw that dimming during schooling, I would take that as a cue that something is not working. I feel like we're at that point. 


I'm pretty sure he has ADHD, never formally diagnosed, but his daddy has it and we definitely see signs of it. But he is young and bounciness and difficulty focusing goes with the territory for a six year old boy anyways. 


I love the idea of WTM. I love the order of it and the structure of it. I love the way history is set up in a four year rotation. I even love that my two boys are exactly four years apart which means that when my DS1 is done with his first rotation, my DS2 and he will be studying the same time periods when he starts school. I mean, how perfect is that? 


School started off well. We're on our second year. I have decided to slow the pace down as I see that we're running into trouble with his attention span. He is very smart and catches onto things quickly when he's actively focused on it. But when he's not it can take an hour to do something that takes five minutes on a different day. We have a small window during my day in which I can school him. I run a home daycare, so our school time is the daycare kiddos' naptime, so I admit that I constantly feel pressured to get this done and am not very patient when his attention and focus isn't there. But good grief, he's only six and I know this in the back of my head, but I still get so irritated when we don't get through what we're supposed to.


Anyways, back to WTM, some of the materials for young children are scripted. At first I liked it. No need for planning, thinking, just open the book and go. In my ideal world I wouldn't need this kind of resource, but that would involve me not having to work 55 hours a week. So, since that's not the case, I like that I can just open the book and go and there's a set plan. But I do think the repetitive approach drives him a bit bonkers. He does okay with it. I can just tell it's not thrilling. But is grammar and learning to read ever going to be thrilling?


We've added on some other elements as I wanted to make sure we didn't leave out fun stuff. So we have an art lab book, science kits that come in the mail every month, and recorder lessons in addition to the basics of math, grammar, handwriting, reading (which is currently on hold right now because he seems overwhelmed with it), and history. And also I try to read really good book selections. Some are from Sonlight because I thought I was going to try that this year. After briefly attempting the curriculum, it just didn't seem right for us. 


So now I'm contemplating moving to a more Waldorf approach next year via Christopherus (we can't afford to buy more curriculum for this year). If we decide to do that, I'll probably just slow down on a lot of what we're doing this year and set some of our subjects aside as a "when he's interested" kind of thing. 


But I don't know if changing approaches might just be throwing the baby out with the bath water. I don't know if it's WTM that's not working for him or if I'm just needing to relax in my implementation of it.


I feel like I'm rambling and not really giving any kind of good information for anyone to go off of. I guess I'm wondering if anyone else has gone through this and had to sort out whether or not a new curriculum is needed or if it's just a problem of implementation? Has anyone switched from a classical approach such as WTM to a Waldorfy type approach. He does love math and will sometimes do pages and pages of his Singapore math at a time, working far ahead than I had originally planned. So I'm nervous that he'd get bored with a curriculum such as Christopherus - that it might not feel challenging enough to him. But I also see him doing too much sitting and working and feel like the WTM approach might be killing his spirit a bit.


So any insight or advice is much appreciated!

Edited by swimming-duck - 11/17/13 at 8:48pm
post #2 of 8

My kids are younger but already doing alot of homeschool work.  We blend waldorf and classical.  We skip alot of the WTM script.  We're just getting through four and five letter words in reading and we skipped most of the guide to reading before it.  We read a ton, tell stories (which are great when you're out and about and waiting), we sing counting songs, etc.  Right now reading is the only classical style teaching that is happening.  Math, writing/drawing, and science is either as questions come or Waldorf.  We are also working on german.  I made the decision that grammar can wait till they are older and can focus without major drama.  Math is done in the context of the day, with music, and when work books seem fun (my mom got them at a garage sale).  My daughter is in gymnastics and for some reason she reads better while doing cartwheels and back flips.  I write up each sentence on the black board and she has to read a sentence between each tumble.  Perhaps this would help with the ADHD?  I kind of feel like WTM is something we'll do more dilligently when they are older (like ten or more).  My husband was classically educated and felt that it should start around twelve.  Until then we try to relax and remember that they are learning alot from the world.  As you said he is just six.  Perhaps given the limits on your time it might be better to do "schooling" on days when he is interested and focused and on the days he isn't do something fun.  It might reduce stress and at least in our case we can leave things for days and weeks and when they're interested they pick them right back up.  This young I feel like its more about patterns, answering questions, and interest.   Honestly reading your post again it sounds like you are trying to do way too much.  Your relationship with your son is more important than any learning right now.  You don't have to do everything at once.  And some kids are just not ready to read until later.  The only reason we're working as much as we are (my eldest is almost five) is because she begs to do it, also we do tiny amounts at once.  I'm sure alot of this is stuff you know and I'm even more of a newbie than you are.  I just thought I'd put in my two cents as we do blend Waldorf and Classical. 

Edited by Hebaume39 - 11/18/13 at 9:11am
post #3 of 8

6 years old-- he is really just entering into a life of learning. Perhaps shorten the work time, and alter with an activity that he finds either relaxing or energetic.  My son is older but I learned that he fiddled in his desk because he was "bored" aka not on task, and had shavings all thru his desk. He shaved his pencils. ( This happened in public school.)  At home I let him keep changing activites. He has a few that he will totally focus on for hours without let up, and one is LEGO. At 6 yrs old he could do a whole project by himself with total focus. Now he has added reading.  THe wonderful aspect of homeschooling is that you can alter the pace of material presented.  Or privide more of a particular area if your son is interested in it.  I also like to give rewards when it is helpful.  SOmetimes work is work. THat is a good skill to develop too. WOrk that just needs to be done not because is fun--this stuff would be of small amounts.REwards can be what turns him on: a food item, a toy, an activity. MOst little boys do not sit for very long. My son with ADD didn't sit for very long before needing to change what he was doing. My son is much older now and can focus longer. At 6 your boy will not have a long attention span. 

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thank you for your thoughts.


Hebaume39 - I think you are right in that we need to do more fun things when his focus isn't there. I can tell within seconds of sitting down with him what that school session is going to feel like. So I need to stop being so stodgy with my schedule that I've created and be willing to give a little on days that he just doesn't have it in him. He is after all, only six! Yesterday he was begging to do science experiments, so instead of doing the lessons I'd planned, we worked on his science kit and completed the weather kit and then started learning about the next one - phases of matter. He got a bit sidetracked and wanted to know about volcanic rock, so I went with it and we ended up googling information on volcanic rock. 


The one thing he asks to do a lot during schooltime that we can't is recorder. Our house is smallish and the sleeping babies are on the other side of the wall of the room we use for school, so we can't really work on recorder during our dedicated schooltime during the week. That being said, it's not getting done because we get busy on the weekends. So maybe I'll just try it - maybe it won't be loud enough to wake them up in the other room.


A Mother Hen - You gave me an idea with the legos. My son loves legos, but they're all up in his bedroom (scattered to the four winds I might add). He'd probably be able to focus on what I'm reading a bit more if he's building something while I'm reading. He loves to build and create - has from a very young age! I also agree that the advantage of homeschooling is getting to set the pace. I have decided to slow things down. We're going to take  1 1/2 years to 2 years for first grade. I think focus and attention wise he'll do better overall if I move him back a grade. So I'm slowing things down for the next couple of years so that I can do that without him realizing it!

post #5 of 8

I think there is something to be said for the early years to focus more on establishing a routine than a specific academic outcome, especially for wiggly kids who might not fall into a schedule easily.  


About the recorder.  Can that be moved to a "music room"?  

post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 

Unfortunately there's nowhere to go for the recorder. We have a smallish house. Daycare babies have the main room downstairs while they sleep an dmy two year old sleeps upstairs! We could try the basement I guess. Pretty sure he wouldn't focus down there as he's always trying to sneak down there to look through all of the exciting boxes of junk!

post #7 of 8

Legos-- we have legos every where. On large,LARGE sheet pans, filled bins and I find themwhereever I clean. lol  


My son has a LEgos robotics competition this weekend-- he and a team have been working for months after school. WHen he is home he will build for hours on end, HOURS. Focusing on symetry. Oddly he is watching TV at the same time. . . . 


Oh before I forget, I'm not sure how this all fits,but I will put it out there. My brother says boys are 2 years behind the same aged girls-- he would like to see public school start the boys 2 years later than the girls.  I look at the MCAS scores and already the A levels are primarily girls by 3rd and 4th grade. 

post #8 of 8

I'm doing a hybrid of Waldorf and Well-Trained Mind (even though they seem like polar opposites!). I love the order and structure of WTM. It fits very well with my personality. My son, however, who is also 6 years old and extremely active, HATES to sit still, loves nature, art, music, and history. Thankfully, he does love history (as do I), so we do Story of the World, Singapore math (but I hybrid it with gnome math stories and games) and First Language Lessons. Everything else is Oak Meadow. It sounds like you know in your gut already what is right for your son. Go with it! Like others have said, put WTM on the shelf for a few years perhaps, or fit in whatever seems to work with your son, and do the rest Waldorf style or anything else that brings that sparkle back to your son's eyes :)

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