Explosive 7 year old - homeschooling - don't know where to turn...have exhausted my efforts. - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 03-22-2013, 05:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there. I enter this thread with exhaustion and a broken heart. My daughter is seven and homeschooled. She is in the first grade. She is very motivated when it comes to the things she wants to do....she is super creative and crafty. She is sweet and wonderful as long as she is not faced by the frustrations of having to switch gears and do school lessons.....which is daily. Sometimes we have spats that ends with a frustrated child doing her work in anger and sometimes we have a 10-60 minute explosion over the fact that school is not a choice. She is the kid who doesn't seem to be able to pause her brain in the middle of a project to get a school lesson done. 

 

 

A friend recommended the book The Explosive Child to me. I have started to read through it, however am feeling overwhelmed by the technique. Also, ther has not been a mention of any consequences in regard to explosive behavior. 

 

I have done the sticker reward charts.....warnings.....laid out a schedule....given 15 min. Breaks between lessons........I don't know what to do and how to create a functioning environment for her, her two yr. old brother I and her dad. It madness. I am at the breaking point and would love any input.

 

thanks.

J.

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#2 of 8 Old 03-22-2013, 11:57 AM
 
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I have found a lot of great advice by exploring the unschooling forum. Her behaviors seem quite age-appropriate and likely a sign that the structure is not working at this time. I found for us that backing off the need for structured school times and trying to honor the child's interest made a huge difference in the relationship and learning spectrum. I have to work hard at it, but I can find ways to bring learning into any activity my child suggests. I am certainly not saying you should chuck the curriculum, but try to keep an open mind to ways you can help her find the knowledge without interrupting important projects she initiates.
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#3 of 8 Old 03-22-2013, 04:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I will be honest....the idea of unschooling scares me to death. She's great at directing her own activities.....however is a struggling reader and I don't want her to fall behind. I fear if I left it up to her, she would have no interest at all and fall even further behind. Also leaving math up to her is another thing that would freak me out. I am sure there are many ways to integrate, but I wouldn't even know where to start. We use All About Reading and Right Start Math.

 

And what about the normal things they learn in school....history for example. I don't want her to miss the mark on what other kids are learning and what she should know. However, I do realize that the statement I just made goes against everything unschooling is all about. I just really overwhelmed. I just want the best for her and peace in my home. I want it to be fun again, like when she was littler. 😢

 

J.

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#4 of 8 Old 03-22-2013, 04:44 PM
 
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Have you discussed it with her?  Is there maybe a better schedule that would suit her needs?  Maybe some schoolwork could get done after dinner as things are winding down for the day. Or before (or at) breakfast before she gets going into other activities? 

 

Maybe you could schedule one subject at a time at various times during the day so that she feels like she has enough time to do the things she wants.  My first grader can't always see beyond the current activity and sometimes has trouble believing that if we just do X we can move on to (the more desirable) Y.  So short bursts of schoolwork might work.

 

Does she have a choice in the curriculum?  For instance, can she choose her own reading material/subject or her own unit topics (maybe from ones you've preselected)?

 

I would also suggest not interrupting her projects to do school.  She is likely learning quite a bit from her own creative endeavors.  Perhaps you could observe and make a timely introduction into schoolwork when she is at a lull in her own work.

 

Is there anyway you can integrate her interests (arts, crafts?) into the subjects you feel are important?  Pinterest is chock full of "math art" or "history craft" sorts of projects.


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#5 of 8 Old 03-22-2013, 07:21 PM
 
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Yes. A
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Originally Posted by woodchick View Post

Have you discussed it with her?  Is there maybe a better schedule that would suit her needs?  Maybe some schoolwork could get done after dinner as things are winding down for the day. Or before (or at) breakfast before she gets going into other activities? 

Maybe you could schedule one subject at a time at various times during the day so that she feels like she has enough time to do the things she wants.  My first grader can't always see beyond the current activity and sometimes has trouble believing that if we just do X we can move on to (the more desirable) Y.  So short bursts of schoolwork might work.

Does she have a choice in the curriculum?  For instance, can she choose her own reading material/subject or her own unit topics (maybe from ones you've preselected)?

I would also suggest not interrupting her projects to do school.  She is likely learning quite a bit from her own creative endeavors.  Perhaps you could observe and make a timely introduction into schoolwork when she is at a lull in her own work.

Is there anyway you can integrate her interests (arts, crafts?) into the subjects you feel are important?  Pinterest is chock full of "math art" or "history craft" sorts of projects.

Yes! All of that! I wasn't actually trying to sway you into unschooling, of course. I simply find loads of ideas to help me think outside the box when I am in a parenting/schooling snag.

If your dd likes being read to, you can work together to find entertaining historical and scientific youth novels. I would venture to say that having her help with grocery shopping and cooking can be excellent sources for reading and math enrichment. These are some examples of what I have found useful in the unschooling forums.
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#6 of 8 Old 03-23-2013, 07:21 AM
 
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I got my DD interested in reading to herself by allowing her to stay up half an hour longer at night but only if she was reading and by getting a bunch of Fox books (fox in love type not nonfiction fox books). She loved reading funny books and staying up later so it was an easy way to sneak in practice. I also let her pick the books to read even if they were too easy because at least she was reading.

For history i let her choose what we learned about and read to her. I would then have her write a few sentences about what we learned. Math was the trickiest for us and i found it was less of a struggle to give her the work and allow her to do it as slowly or as quickly as she wanted to without nagging or rushing. She couldn't do anything else until it was done and after a few hour long struggles she completed the work in ten to fifteen minutes.

For my DD, having a consistent routine for when we did school work and in which order we did it helped. Most of what she learned about was her choice or something i knew would interest her but actually learning wasn't a choice. We started right after breakfast and did math, science (usually an experiment with a log to write observations but sometimes reading and drawing or writing), a break, flash cards, history, free reading for twenty minutes, then journaling on what she read and we were done for lunch and YMCA classes (they have great physical activity classes for homeschoolers).
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#7 of 8 Old 03-23-2013, 08:03 AM
 
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Leapfrog and Reader Rabbit software was enjoyable when my son was young. When he was older, I searched for and found other educational software that didn't involve shooting or blowing up things. I used that as something he could use when I needed a break but was still feeling anxious about him "falling behind".

In general, struggling readers usually benefit from being read *to*. If she's willing to sit beside you as you read, great! If not, you are still improving comprehension skills, especially if you talk about what you read. What did you like? What did you hate? How would change or improve it? Which character was your favorite? These kinds of discussions (you talk about your views, too) work on comprehension.

Keep your eyes open to anything involving math and history, since those seem to be areas of concern for you. I found a book of math detective short stories. I used to play pinochle with my son (playing three hands, while he played his), and he kept score and added up the meld.

Blast to the Past and Crime Through Time are two good book series that reference historical events. Like the Magic Tree House (which we also enjoyed), these books open the topic and provide a springboard for further research and discussion of historical events. Another historically based series is Little House on the Prairie. There are additional books, written by other authors, about Laura Ingalls maternal ancestors, too. Even though I had a boy, I read them to him, and he enjoyed them. Farmer Boy certainly interested him more, and I sped through descriptions of sewing, but he found the farming and landholding aspects interesting.

Joanna Cole, who wrote the Magic School Bus books, also branched out into history. I can't remember the series name, because she only had one published when my son's taste in book changed, and he preferred Harry Potter and the like.

My son created a Wheel of Fortune game on the computer using spreadsheets, and learned spelling more easily by typing stories into WordPad documents, then copying them into Open Office documents, and running spell check. Using WordPad is important, since it doesn't autocorrect!!

Visit bookstores, libraries, educational stores, as is feasible.

Unschooling doesn't have to be all or nothing. You can bring unschooling possibilities into your everyday activities. Keep a notebook of what you've done for your records, and you have evidence for yourself or your school district that subjects are being covered.
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#8 of 8 Old 03-31-2013, 09:38 AM
 
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If you search on my name, you'lll find a bunch of old posts about tantrums and using The Explosive Child. It really helped us. I haven't needed it in a while, but basically--I don't think there are any consequences, because with the technique you're diffusing the situation before it gets out of control. You're teaching the child that instead of tantruming and getting rude, they should slow down, take a deep breath, accept a hug, and talk about it instead of exploding. Or instead of putting them in their room to stew alone. My daughter's similar--tough with transitions, very self-directed and independent in her play, also having a tough time reading--and just the act of slowing down and reconnecting made a big difference and brought that peace back. The hard line of discipline really doesn't work with her--we did time outs for three years before I gave up and tried this. Some kids are just wired differently.
We're much better communicators now!
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