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Issues again, considering Montessori school for my son (9)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

Hi all,

 

Not sure if some of you remember me from several months ago, when I posted about the issues we were having with homeschooling. Things were going better for a while, but recently we've been having problems again.

To be honest, I think that my recent health issues have been a big factor this time. I'll make that part short, since this is really about homeschooling, and trying to figure out whether to continue trying or to try a (private) Montessori school for a few months.

I was diagnosed with stage 0 breast cancer shortly before Christmas, which is by now upgraded to stage 1. I had surgery (lumpectomy) almost 2 weeks ago now. I am fully recovered, but am likely facing more surgery, and will also be starting treatments with a naturopathic oncologist in the next 1 or 2 weeks. Anyway, this has been very stressful for all of us, and I see that in my son's attitude and behavior. I am doing my very best to stay positive, but I am aware that there are times that I am less patient than I should be, because I'm stressing.

 

My son just turned 9 on Monday, and overall is doing ok with academics, at least the most important ones, math, grammar, reading and writing. The other subjects are somewhat on the back burner right now, but we do things as we have time and energy for science and social studies. He's doing amazing things with his cello playing, and his ability to play with musical expression is so far beyond his years these days that he often brings tears to my eyes when he plays! 

And yet, he is so EXTREMELY distracted all day long, and takes forever to get started with anything, even just putting his clothes on in the morning. Even with his cello practice, it takes him forever to get started (he can easily take 10-15 minutes to just get his cello out, and then there's his bow too), and when he does start, he often gets distracted every few minutes, for 5 to 10 minutes at a time. If I just leave him alone, it can easily take him 3-4 hours to do 1.5 hours of practice. But here's the thing, he WANTS to practice. When I suggest that he be done, he won't hear of it, he wants to continue. So the problem is not that he's doing it because he "has to", he wants to, but he just can't stay focused. So then he asks me to work with him, which mostly means me sitting there, constantly getting his attention back on practicing, because in reality, his practice methods are really good, he rarely truly needs real help to practice. And that's just his cello practice, then there's his school work, which is even worse, because at least he wants to do his cello practice, but he has no desire to do math or grammar. At least he now has a kindle with a book he loves, so I don't have to worry about his reading for now.

 

But at this point, I feel completely drained and burned out, and feel like I need a break. But then I also feel guilty about the idea of having to send him to school to get that break. Initially my son didn't want to go to school at all, but the last couple of days, after I tried to explain why, and that it hopefully would only be temporary if he didn't want to go next year, he seems to be less resistant about it. Now he says he's hoping that they will help him be a better homeschooled kid for next school year, which actually pretty broke my heart when he said that. :(

 

Part of me feels like just taking a break from school altogether for a couple of months, and just relax and do some fun things together on the days that I don't have any treatments (which are only twice a week), but my husband won't hear of that, he said that's neglecting our son's education. I do understand his point, although this would only be for a few months, and then we can do some school during the summer, although I also get it that that would be harder now that our daughter is at school and will be home during the summer (she won't do any school for me, for sure!). 

 

At least the school - a private Montessori school, very close to home - looks really good. We met with the teacher for more than an hour a few weeks ago and she is very nice and seems to have a good grasp of my son's needs already. And it would only be for the rest of this school year at the most, since my husband has made it very clear he won't pay for private school beyond that.

 

But I can't decide what would be best, both for my little guy and for myself. Any thoughts? Sorry this got so long.

post #2 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewink View Post
 

Part of me feels like just taking a break from school altogether for a couple of months, and just relax and do some fun things together on the days that I don't have any treatments (which are only twice a week), but my husband won't hear of that, he said that's neglecting our son's education. I do understand his point, although this would only be for a few months, and then we can do some school during the summer, although I also get it that that would be harder now that our daughter is at school and will be home during the summer (she won't do any school for me, for sure!). 

 

I really think that's a great idea. But I'm not sure how to explain to your dh how positive that may be in the long term. Being able to slow down when life happens is one of the major perks of homeschooling. Your son is probably stressed about your health and being in school won't necessarily make it easier for him to focus. Some things you can let slide for now, like getting dressed. No need if he doesn't have to leave the house that day. Just focusing on your relationship with him and having positive interactions now will help homeschooling go well in the future. 

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
 

I really think that's a great idea. But I'm not sure how to explain to your dh how positive that may be in the long term. Being able to slow down when life happens is one of the major perks of homeschooling. Your son is probably stressed about your health and being in school won't necessarily make it easier for him to focus. Some things you can let slide for now, like getting dressed. No need if he doesn't have to leave the house that day. Just focusing on your relationship with him and having positive interactions now will help homeschooling go well in the future. 

Yeah, I'm more and more feeling that way too, but unfortunately my husband won't have anything to do with it. He's extremely opposed to unschooling, and he says that's too much like unschooling in his book. But my son has been begging me to not have to go to school, even that Montessori school. My husband says that's only because he doesn't know what it's like to to go to school, and that, once he's over the shock, he'd most likely like it, and also that he's always felt that the kids don't get enough interaction with kids their own age anyway, so that he feels that he needs to go to school anyway. As for myself, I feel that if Keenan hates the idea of going to school that much, forcing him to go anyway would likely cause extra stress on me, not bring my stress level down. So my son and I have mutually agreed to continue to homeschool this year. For myself, I have decided not to stress too much about how much or how little he gets done on any given day. I'm going to try to focus on finding ways to make it more interesting and fun for him, and try to figure out what sparks his interests. So I'm essentially lowering the bar for now, not assigning him a set number of pages of anything. I did tell him he needs to do something for math each day, but not necessarily out of his workbook. So, yesterday he decided to practice his multiplication tables on the little game that I bought for him a while back, and then he ended up doing 4 pages out of his work book on top of that. Today he just did 2 pages out of his workbook, and that's ok too. For language arts I'm just letting him read his favorite book on his Kindle, and he has 4 letters from his penfriends (from different countries) to answer to, so he started writing a letter today. He's really into learning to speak Dutch/Flemish more fluently these days, so I'm letting him spend more time on that too. We haven't done any science or social studies in the last 2 days, and I'm ok with it too (trying to be anyway, LOL).

 

He's spent a lot of time with his cello, even though not all of it is very intense practice. I think he improvised for 45 minutes today, and we played a piece together for 25 minutes, and he did some real practice for not quite an hour also. 

 

Anyway, I feel less stressed about schooling today, but now my husband is after me of course... He says I'm going to regret this. Hoping he's wrong...

 

Tomorrow we have play group with our local homeschool group. I'm very much looking forward to that.

post #4 of 4

Although my son was younger when he tried school, it was really stressful getting him to school. And we didn't even have to contend with homework. I seriously doubt being in school would help either of your stress levels... Easing up sounds like a good compromise. I think your husband is wrong and you won't regret it.  Plus there is a lot of merit into having the time to delve deeply into something, like your son's music, instead of the artifice of spending a little time each day doing a little of everything on someone else's schedule. And kids usually learn things faster and with less struggle when they are older. I could have put in a lot of time when my son was young trying to teach him to read. Or I could have waited until he was ready and willing to learn at an older age, as I did. Because my son doesn't have an easy compliant temperament, unschooling is a good approach for us. But relaxed homeschooling might be a better approach for your family.

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