Might a child not be ready for formal learning? - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 02:15 AM - Thread Starter
 
Lisa1970's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
My 6 yr old was in public school last year. He did well. I have been told by many people that he was one of the best students. End of year conferences, he was above average and I was told he is plenty ready for this fall in 1st grade. It is supposed to be one of the best public schools with highest ratings.

BUT, that being said, I cannot get him to do anything I try to pin him down to do. We are not talking endless writing. I have done some tweaking. I switched his handwriting to Handwriting Without Tears. I had a spare book around from one of my older children who did it but did not finish the book. He is ok with that now and doing well. Math, well, forget it. He hates it all. Actually, I only tried Miquon and Math U See with him so far. On Miquon, he could not seem to get that different length blocks represented different lengths and then he only wanted to do pages where he could use the blocks like puzzle pieces but refused to actually answer any of the problems, even though they were minimal. Miquon was supposed to be fun. I took the Miquon back and saw they had some used Math U See there so I purchased the blocks and the Alpha level.

Ok...nope. First, he knows all the topics except 2. The 2nd topic was an extra for this level and is actually taught in the higher level. The first topic, I tried to show him and present to him, but he took off in an art direction and was not even willing to listen to the point of the lesson. I tried to make it as fun as possible within the confines of what it was supposed to teach. But the houses on decimal street still ended up with lots of furniture and hand drawn blocks and no room for actual blocks.

I am suspecting that perhaps, I need to put the formal curriculum aside and come up with games and hands on stuff and have him be a mother's helper for the next while until he reaches the point where sitting down is not a killer. He has a May birthday so he won't be 7 until May anyway. Plus, he already knows much of his math facts which is what the rest of the Alpha level which I can sneak in to daily activities or get him to play educational computer games to get.

What do you think? Is he possibly just not ready for formal class? Should I move on and just try to find ways to incorporate learning in to every day life and try again later when he is a little more mature?
Lisa1970 is offline  
#2 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 03:33 PM
 
JamieCatheryn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: SW Pa
Posts: 5,105
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 12 Post(s)
Definitely. I've seen programs that put off virtually all formal lessons until age 7 with great success. Just give him plenty of chances to do things and gentle prompting to consider how it all works in real life. Build stuff together, get his help with shopping or yard sale pricing. Look at unschooling, many people just skip all of this formal forced curriculum and it works for the kids, if they miss anything they catch up quick when it's actually needed.
JamieCatheryn is offline  
#3 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 03:48 PM
 
EdnaMarie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I'm confused. Are these things he was supposed to do for school? Or you decided to home-school him?

I guess this is the homeschooling area so you may be committed, but I came here expecting to see a 5-y-o flailing at school. Instead you are saying he did great in school, but isn't responsive to YOU.

Have you considered the possibility that he was enjoying public school? That he works better when he sees other children doing that? My own child works much better with other adults than with myself, even when I'm in my best "teacher" mode.

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
EdnaMarie is offline  
#4 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 04:45 PM
 
PGTlatte's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Chicago far NWS
Posts: 1,991
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
He may not be ready for sit-down work, or at least not in certain subjects; or he may be a kinesthetic learner who does not do well with a sit-down style of learning.

Our oldest was "supposed" to be in grade 1 last year; at the beginning of the school year, his sit-down attention span was about five minutes long, and that was pushing it. So I kept his sit-down activities to 5 minutes at a time with lots of breaks and gradually increased the time through the year.

He did math with a wide variety of manipulatives, and the only written math work he did then was a minute or two at a time of actual reading/writing, and manipulatives were always involved. He also likes the computer games Zoo Zillions and Carnival Countdown.

By the end of the year, his attention span for sit-down-with-a-pencil school work had developed, and now he can do it. But if I had tried to get him to do it for very long one year ago, it would not have worked out at all.

DS1 March 2003DS2 Sept 2005,
and 3 , in our happy secular
PGTlatte is offline  
#5 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 08:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
Lisa1970's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I'm confused. Are these things he was supposed to do for school? Or you decided to home-school him?

I guess this is the homeschooling area so you may be committed, but I came here expecting to see a 5-y-o flailing at school. Instead you are saying he did great in school, but isn't responsive to YOU.

Have you considered the possibility that he was enjoying public school? That he works better when he sees other children doing that? My own child works much better with other adults than with myself, even when I'm in my best "teacher" mode.
He hated public school and was hiding every morning before school and refusing to go. He even got a detention for being late. We had homeschooled prior to this with the older children, but gave in to sending them this past year due to my giving birth at the beginning of the school year and an extended stay in the hospital. It was a huge mistake. The school actually held a big meeting for the entire grade on how most of the kids were out of control. Later, I was told by the teacher and some of the other parents that my child was one of the nicest. The school brought in the behavior intervention specialist to deal with extreme widespread problems. I think refusing to do any work is something DS6 picked up from being in that public school. The school even said that they had to let the academics go so they could deal with all the behavior issues. Since my child was one of the "good kids" I think he just never warranted any attention. Every time I stopped by the school to volunteer or something, he was playing on the computer in the classroom. That seemed to be almost all they did there.
Lisa1970 is offline  
#6 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 08:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
Lisa1970's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdnaMarie View Post
I'm confused. Are these things he was supposed to do for school? Or you decided to home-school him?

I guess this is the homeschooling area so you may be committed, but I came here expecting to see a 5-y-o flailing at school. Instead you are saying he did great in school, but isn't responsive to YOU.

Have you considered the possibility that he was enjoying public school? That he works better when he sees other children doing that? My own child works much better with other adults than with myself, even when I'm in my best "teacher" mode.
Do you homeschool?
Lisa1970 is offline  
#7 of 13 Old 08-18-2010, 08:39 PM
 
JuniperBCN's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 157
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Just wanted to note that in many Scandinavian countries, formal schooling isn't really introduced until age 7 and that Finland routinely scores highest in European rankings regarding learning. I would draw back and give him a bit of room to breathe and play for the moment.

There was a thread here recently that mentioned a Waldorfy art book that used drawing to work on handwriting that sounded quite cool. Maybe somebody else can remember the name? Also stuff like using non-traditional materials/surfaces like sidewalk chalk, tracing through things as diverse as shaving cream to cornmeal, writing in the sand with sticks, fingers etc...

And if you search through math questions on the unschooling page you should get a lot of ideas about how to make math available to him without forcing it and/or check out this site http://www.livingmath.net/. I'm trying to build up a good variety of games and stories in my math toolbox because this was an area that made me feel nervous. I'm also blown away by the information I realize my son has extrapolated alone through playing with legos! He can't verbalize a lot of it, but if I observe how he works, you can see through his planning, sorting and rejecting of pieces that there's some cool stuff going on in his brain. I also invite my kids to help cook and bake and talk aloud through the whole process about how if we need a cup and a half that mean we need to dump three times from the half cup measuring cup or how we need one part rice to two parts water, etc.
JuniperBCN is offline  
#8 of 13 Old 08-19-2010, 01:06 AM
 
quester's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Concord, NC
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Absolutely! I like your idea of just reinforcing his developing math skills with things you are doing already & blocks & such- maybe some pattern blocks? I think just playing with the math manipulatives would allow him to figure some of it out himself.
quester is offline  
#9 of 13 Old 08-19-2010, 08:07 AM
 
EdnaMarie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,148
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lisa1970 View Post
He hated public school and was hiding every morning before school and refusing to go. He even got a detention for being late. We had homeschooled prior to this with the older children, but gave in to sending them this past year due to my giving birth at the beginning of the school year and an extended stay in the hospital. It was a huge mistake. The school actually held a big meeting for the entire grade on how most of the kids were out of control. Later, I was told by the teacher and some of the other parents that my child was one of the nicest. The school brought in the behavior intervention specialist to deal with extreme widespread problems. I think refusing to do any work is something DS6 picked up from being in that public school. The school even said that they had to let the academics go so they could deal with all the behavior issues. Since my child was one of the "good kids" I think he just never warranted any attention. Every time I stopped by the school to volunteer or something, he was playing on the computer in the classroom. That seemed to be almost all they did there.
Wow! Okay. You didn't really mention the problems in your OP, so I was imagining him going to an average kindergarten, reading a bit, writing, drawing, etc. and doing okay.

What a horrid school experience for him!

It's not that the stay-at-home-parent gets to stay home with the kids. The kids get to stay home with a parent. Lucky Mom to DD1 (4 y) and DD2 (18 mo), Wife to Mercenary Dad
EdnaMarie is offline  
#10 of 13 Old 08-19-2010, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
 
Lisa1970's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 2,604
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by quester View Post
Absolutely! I like your idea of just reinforcing his developing math skills with things you are doing already & blocks & such- maybe some pattern blocks? I think just playing with the math manipulatives would allow him to figure some of it out himself.
I have 2 sets of pattern blocks!!! One is wood with templates and the other is foam, bigger in size. He has been building all over the house. I have 2 sets of shapes blocks. I also have fake money and real (we really just use the real money, somehow, he LOVES counting money, he could recognize a dollar sign when he was a toddler, but not his own name!) I have so much, from computer games to Leap Frog videos. I have base ten blocks and mathusee blocks. I also have a brand spanking new "Brain Quest" book for him.
Lisa1970 is offline  
#11 of 13 Old 08-19-2010, 11:57 AM
 
wondermama's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: at home in the heartland
Posts: 141
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Yes, I would definitely give him a year to play/heal/regroup. I've often heard the advice to give a child who has been in a difficult school setting a good long time to "deschool" and find his center again before starting formal homeschooling. Good luck to you!
wondermama is offline  
#12 of 13 Old 08-21-2010, 10:35 PM
 
learningathome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Victoria, BC Canada
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I like your idea of your son being a mother's helper. It sounds as though he is a very capable child and just needs some time to reconnect with what he'd like to learn. I found that playing gives children an opportunity to discover, learn and explore in ways that more formal lessons don't. When my children were young, we followed a child directed way of learning. Lots of card games, board games, conversation, reading aloud of stories etc. They are now each capable and thriving adults.

You might enjoy reading my book, Learning At Home: A Mother's Guide To Homeschooling,for a more information and support. There are links to the chapters and a link to Google Books where you can read a number of pages.

I wish you all the best.
Marty Layne

"Be yourself, you can't be anybody else..."
http://martylayne.com/
learningathome is offline  
#13 of 13 Old 08-22-2010, 02:07 AM
 
lmonter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: My own private Idaho
Posts: 6,383
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My 6, almost 7yo (this fall) can't sit still to save his life and detests worksheets/busywork type things. So I kinda wing it and make things up as I go. For example, I'm using Sonlight's Core K for read-alouds and a loose schedule to stay near (although at this rate with how we're burning through books he might be done by Feb/Mar?), hoping to add in some handwriting practice and reading/spelling into the mix as I decide what I want...

We do math/science with more hands on things. Like I got a little deal called "Get A Grip" - it's math/volumes/fractions/decimals/percentages using lentils (except I had navy beans on hand) and old baby food jars and old pill bottles. So my 4yo and 2yo are in on the action with their own set of jars/beans, even if they're nowhere close to understanding what the 1/6 notation on the jar means.
Same with Tangrams (a set for each kiddo, copies of the puzzles to solve and then color), pattern blocks, balance scale, etc.
Add in cooking and baking and counting out laundry (how many socks did you fold? let's count how many pairs of pants you put away!) and our garden and canning and just life in general, I figure we're covered. He's got a few years before we need to worry about geometry (I hope!) and physics (again, I hope!).

Luckily I get to start from scratch so to speak since my kids haven't been in an organized school. I get to search out the things I know would appeal more to them like all the hands-on things. So even tonight my 4yo and 6yo were begging to do school at 7:30pm on a Saturday as bedtime stories - because it's fun! Now the challenge will be to see if I can keep that attitude going...

Wife to an amazing hubby, mother hen to four chicken3.gif 
(If you're curious, 2003, 2006, 2008, 2010, and yes, it's a busy house)
lmonter is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off