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#1 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 01:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my 5 yo ds (who'll be 6 in early nov) wants to be homeschooled. my primary belief is that he wants this because he believes that being homeschooled means he won't have to do anything or follow any of the rules that would come from going to PS. he SAYS he's interested in ______, but when it's time to do ______, he'll do anything he can to put it off until later. he whines, he cries, he says "i can't do it". you name it, and he has an excuse.
all we're working on consistently is reading, math, and printing practice. i throw in language arts today (after reading a story we would have read anyway) and try ask him some questions. "i don't know" was all he could come up with. to every.single.question.
i am losing my patience. i'll admit, i'd love to have a structured set up whereby we do a block of school at some point in the day, but so far, no time seems to work for him. so i space things out, and that doesn't work either.
i have a hard time just saying i'll let it go for now, because there's just something gnawing at my gut telling me what he needs is some structure and rules rather than the relaxing of either of those, but maybe i'm wrong.
he just seems to complain ALL.THE.TIME. that he never gets his way. i get my way all the time. i get to do whatever i want to do. he's draining me.
not to mention he has a 3yo brother and a baby sister due any day now.
Did I screw up by keeping him home instead of putting him on the bus two days ago? I don't know what to do. If you have any advice, please send it my way.
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#2 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 02:10 PM
 
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Well, I kept my 5-year-old out of school because I agree with your ds. Five-year-olds should be able to play all day. They learn through play. They learn through being involved in daily family life, including the birth of a younger sibling. I believe that children's active curious minds, unless worn down by coerced learning, will greet the world with all the creativity, optimism and curiosity necessary for self-led learning.

So I'm afraid I don't have any advice about carving out "school time" for a reluctant 5-year-old.

Edited to add that much of his push to get his way all the time may have to do with the emotional upheaval of expecting a new little sibling. I expect it's a bit of a phase. But it never hurts to take a quiet cozy moment separate from whatever conflict has arisen and talk about "what we can both do to get along better and be happier together." Relationships within the family were our primary focus from age 4-10 or so in terms of spending special time working on things together. Relationships first. All else follows.

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#3 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 02:19 PM
 
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Have you considered a period of de-schooling? It sounds to me like your DS is reacting to the previous stress of school and shutting down.

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#4 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 02:46 PM
 
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PLAY is so important!!!!! I know that the "normal" is to be going to school by....Reading by.....you get the idea. But children learn from play.

If I was in your shoes. I would play with him working math, reading, science, writing, and all the other "school stuff" into it. Just making breakfast he is learning. That is what is so great about Homeschooling.

I know you are having a baby anyday so letting him play will work well into this time.

Hope that helps
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#5 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 02:50 PM
 
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Our DS1 was not ready for more than 5-10 minutes of work a day until he was about almost 6.5. Before that, I came up with something every day that he could get done in 5-10 minutes. I had him do it right after breakfast and getting dressed. He was not allowed to play until it was done - but getting it done was very quick and not hard if he didn't resist it. I knew he was ready for more when he would do it very quickly and seem to say "is that all ?" by being surprised he was done, and asking further questions about what he had done. Before he was interested and seemed ready for more I did not push him to do more because I did not want to get set up in a pattern of me pushing and him resisting that could drag us down for years.

As far as structure, our structure comes from how I structure the entire day. We all get up in the morning, eat, dress, brush teeth, I make beds and pick up, and then we begin "things". Lunch and dinner are always at the same time. Playtime is acknowledged as a block of time. Outings are always planned in advance and they know about them. Nothing seems random. I feel this has helped a lot as far as me being able to tell DS1 that it is time to work now. He knows it will not go on and on, and that there will be some playtime after work time. He also understand that I get my own "quiet time". This works for us.

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#6 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 02:52 PM
 
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At that age, most kids are not ready for "school", especially boys, IME. I would relax and lay off for awhile.

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#7 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 02:59 PM
 
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I'm loving the feedback here- yes, I hope someone posts some links to research about play- there's so much to back up this philosophy. kids learn BEST through play- that's why schools try to "make learning fun" but the fact is- it's ALREADY fun, nothing is more fun to a child than exploring their interests (and learning more about the things they're interested in)

Embrace his interests and you might feel better buying books, games or taking him on field trips that support his interests. It's all good- there's nothing wrong with playing I wish I played more
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#8 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 03:00 PM
 
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I agree with your DS as well. At 5 the most important thing is learning thru play. Really what makes that a magic number when learning now happens via 'school' vs 'play'? He may be a child who thrives in an unschooling environment (check our our section on here).

Instead of asking your DS questions about the story, why not draw a picture, paint something, use sidewalk chalk? Build a character out of legos? There are so many other ways to 'check' for understanding if you feel you need to do that besides just using questions. Kiddos tend to have a short attention span so you can always revisit the book later or tomororow, or next week too.

If public school started 2 days ago that doesnt mean YOU have to start school too. Homeschooling can be done, anytime, anywhere. Part of the beauty of HS is the flexibilty, days, nights, weekends... when, where, how does not matter.

What I did for DS at age 5-6 was lots of 'field trips'. The zoo, science center, library, park and I think he took a loosly structured art class. He loved the movies put out by LeapFrog called The Letter Factory and The Number Circus (i think), Im sure they have more available now. He had tons of toys - things like the leap pad, legos, crafts.

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#9 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 03:09 PM
 
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my primary belief is that he wants this because he believes that being homeschooled means he won't have to do anything or follow any of the rules that would come from going to PS.
Well, we think that's a huge benefit of hsing--not having to do things that come from going to ps. I'd let him play. He's young, maybe too young to be learning reading and writing and math in this way. (The whining, crying, "I can't do it" and "I don't know" is what would indicate this to me.) He's not enjoying it, and I wouldn't want him to get the idea that learning is misery, yk?

I would step back and give him more time. He's young, and on top of that, there's the excitement and adjustment that goes with a new sibling entering the picture.


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he just seems to complain ALL.THE.TIME. that he never gets his way. i get my way all the time. i get to do whatever i want to do. he's draining me.
I'm sure that IS draining! But I'd pay attention to what he's saying, because that's his reality as he sees it. It's what he's feeling right now. I was just grocery shopping and heard a mom telling her child he could choose ONE thing--I'm sure to that child it seemed very unfair. Mom gets to put whatever she wants in that basket on every aisle and bring it home with her! I've always found it helpful to try and see the world through kids' eyes, even when it seems off-base at first. Seeing things from their pov often leads the way to a solution. Have you talked with him about the specifics of where he sees you always getting your way and him never getting his? Maybe there is a way to help him feel more in control.

But I'd chill about the school work. Let him play, read to him, let him participate in the household, let him help you with his sibs if he wants, let him get to know his new sister...it'll be okay!

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#10 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 03:52 PM
 
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My son is just turned 6 and wants to play all day. He needs structure too but that does not mean it is academic. I just have around lots of stuff to do and try to keep our home on a routine. He is really into building marble towers, doing home science experiments, board games, playing with his sister, sports, going places, and stuff about dinosaurs or Star Wars. Sometimes he likes to do math workbooks. He also enjoys hearing the Little House on the Prairie books at night. I know he is learning because he can add in in head and is showing me that he has some understanding of phonics. My sister told me yesterday that she thinks he can do multiplication as well after talking with him about something.

Try and find some things your son is into and stay engaged with him--offering opportunities, answering questions, having fun together ect...

I think Peter Gray has research on delaying formal schooling. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn

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#11 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 03:54 PM
 
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At that age, most kids are not ready for "school", especially boys, IME. I would relax and lay off for awhile.

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#12 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 03:58 PM
 
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Can he sort things?

Recognize signs like The Home Depot?

Count a stack of sugar bags at the diner?

Is his self-care adequate?


If yes to all these then he is learning.... just not formally. Read to him daily, provide books in the back seat when you travel. Have lots of enriching games to play. That may be "enough" for now.
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#13 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 04:12 PM
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PLAY is so important!!!!! I know that the "normal" is to be going to school by....Reading by.....you get the idea. But children learn from play.

If I was in your shoes. I would play with him working math, reading, science, writing, and all the other "school stuff" into it. Just making breakfast he is learning. That is what is so great about Homeschooling.

I know you are having a baby anyday so letting him play will work well into this time.

Hope that helps
It's only normal to be learning reading and other paper pencil skills by 5 in some places. A few countries, Sweden for example, begin these types of lessons at 7 instead of 5. Trying to teach reading before a child is developmentally ready just frustrates and makes learning a tedious chore instead of fun. Teaching these things too early is probably why we have such low literacy rates.
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#14 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 04:20 PM
 
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All I really expected my dd to do during her first year of home school (she was five too) was play. That's what 5 year olds should be doing in my opinion. We also did art, spanish, took lessons, cooked, and stuff like that. But none of it was forced.

I only brought out the work books when she whined about being bored. It gave her something to do, she got some one on one time with me, and she learned something. It also taught her to not complain about being bored unless she really meant it.

Even with a year that mellow she learned a lot and improved her reading/writing/math skills by a lot. Now she's starting first grade and is a lot more interested in learning and doing book work. I'm glad that I didn't force much last year.

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#15 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 05:16 PM
 
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play and read and play and read somemore.

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#16 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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Also he might be more interested in learning in some other subjects and other ways. I have been checking DVDs out from the library for our 7.5 yo - Bill Nye science videos, Schlessinger ancient civilizations videos, and "All About" videos. Our almost-5 yo has really enjoyed watching them too and asks for some of them over and over

I also bought some science stuff from American Science Surplus and Steve Spangler's website. We've been mixing a lot of baking soda with colored vinegar here, and playing with magnetic stuff...and they both keep flipping through the Steve Spangler catalog and asking for more science stuff. They also both put on goggles and head off to the bathroom with some "equipment" to do "experiments"...I'm just trying to make sure there is nothing dangerous involved or foreign objects going down the drain.

So although it's not workbooks and the basic skills of reading, writing, and math, IMO it still counts. Maybe you could keep the "pencil/paper" work to just a few minutes to very briefly touch a basic skill and then let the rest be stuff he thinks is fun ?

Another idea - DS2 does not like to write on paper but enjoys chalkboards and whiteboards, esp the easel so he can stand up. He doesn't mind imitating a letter or number on the whiteboard because he loves any opportunity to use the whiteboard. Maybe a different format for the basic skills would make it more fun for your son ?

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#17 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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DD was kindergarten age last year and yeah, it was mostly play and almost nothing formal, certainly nothing daily in terms of things that look academic. A lot of the stuff you mentioned, at least in my DD, seemed very developmental--which makes it easier to wait for things with DS, my 2nd child. When DD first turned 5, she was really not ready to write, she just wasn't there, and then several months later, very suddenly, she started copying printing and it's slowly progressed from there. Numbers have always seemed very developmental to me too, at least in my kids.

One of the great things about homeschooling is that I can try something for a while, and then like you are, reevaluate and make changes as I need to. That's my plan for this year--DD has asked for a bit more structured studies and gave me a list of topics, but I'm not sure how it's going to really work out (we haven't started things yet, just got back from a lot of summer travel).
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#18 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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Oh thanks for this thread! My DD1 is age 5, ready for kindergarten, and I was planning on just "going with the flow" as we have since she was born... but then all her friends going off to school, some very "focused" HS parents with older kiddos, examinations from the in-laws, and I'm feeling insecure about following her lead. She's always let us know when she's ready to learn and wants us to show her something, asks questions like mad, and keeps herself busy with projects... why did I think I needed to "do" something different just because she's kindergarten age?!

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#19 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 09:03 PM
 
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At that age, most kids are not ready for "school", especially boys, IME. I would relax and lay off for awhile.
That.

My oldest (a boy) is 6yo, will be 7yo in a month. We didn't "officially" start hs'ing until this year. As in, 4 weeks ago when he decided he couldn't wait to start getting into it when the big box of books arrived. If he were in public school, he'd be in first grade next week or so. But in the last year? He figured out the alphabet, basic numbers, has started attempting to write down words ("road wrak ahead"), can make triple decker train setups using tracks and blocks (seriously, it's impressive!), learned to do more household chores like put away dishes, fold his laundry, fold kitchen laundry, put away toys quicker/neater, and so on. He can't sit still to save his life, either. Drives me batty at dinner time.

So, to harness that energy for good instead of evil, I tend towards more hands-on and bright activities and good stories to read. I have pattern blocks and tangrams and a balance scale for math, along with a math "program" using lentils which is also hands on (learning volumes, percentages, fractions), listening to all kinds of books while they color or put toys away or fold laundry, etc. We'll be the ones at Costco discussing the mechanics of that goofy Halloween display and how the giant refrigerators work and how/where/why those tubes of cash go/do/etc. Nothing is off limits in our house it seems, and most of all this happens while not sitting down at a desk.


ETA: We have the occasional "helpful" friend/relative that feels the need to quiz my 6yo to make sure he's not wasting away. Few months ago MIL asked 6yo if he knew the alphabet. 6yo didn't answer her, and walked off. About 10 minutes later he quietly shoves a piece of paper in her hand and goes back to playing trains. He wrote down the whole alphabet, with only one letter backwards. Hah. And guess what? We've never done any formal lessons with letters/the alphabet. He's just soaked it up from being read to, us answering questions and showing him how to write letters/words when he asks or is having trouble, etc.

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#20 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 09:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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ok. thank you all SO MUCH. i will admit this is going to be hard b/c i am not a go-with-the=flow kind of person myself. i like schedules and organization, etc...
but i DO NOT want to screw this up with what works for ME. I've already been to school.

but let me throw this at you. he LOVES to write. he seems quite proud after finishing a reading lesson (he just gets whiny during it, and it only lasts about 10 minutes tops). the problem is his writing. while very legible, he writes mirror image for a few letters and numbers. and he makes them in a "weird" way. to me, it is very inefficient. for example, starting from the bottom rather than the top or (and these feels worse to me) just making it in a way that isn't "traditional". for example, for lowercase e, he'll make the little loop at the top and then completely separately, put the curve on the bottom instead of one swoop. i worry that if i don't work on helping him form letters in an efficient and non-mirror image way that this is going to stick or something and it'll take him forever to write a sentence in a few years b/c he "draws" his letters instead of printing them.
tell me i'm crazy. please.
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#21 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 10:10 PM
 
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I would not worry too much about the reversals at this age. If he's still doing it in two years, I would be more concerned then. Rainbow Resource has a book called Correcting Reversals that has helped our DS1.

You can show him the "correct" order and direction for strokes for letters. I use the "modern printing" ebook from Teacher Created resources. It's only $5 and you download it and print what you need. It has a sheet that shows the order and direction of strokes for each letter, and practice sheets for letters and words. I did not want to spend a ton of money on a formal handwriting program. This gives me everything I need.

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#22 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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the problem is his writing. while very legible, he writes mirror image for a few letters and numbers. and he makes them in a "weird" way. to me, it is very inefficient. for example, starting from the bottom rather than the top or (and these feels worse to me) just making it in a way that isn't "traditional". for example, for lowercase e, he'll make the little loop at the top and then completely separately, put the curve on the bottom instead of one swoop.
DS is 5, will be 6 next January. He writes the same way. I also personally think he grips the pencil too close to the paper, and it always looks like it would cause a hand cramp to me. When I've tried to show him that, he's gotten really angry at me. I figure eventually he'll catch on and change the way he's doing things.

DH is panicky about DS' letters because he writes a fair number in mirror images, and he is not progressing in learning to read. The more I read, though, the more I realize that it's normal for boys especially at this age.

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#23 of 36 Old 09-01-2010, 11:16 PM
 
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but i DO NOT want to screw this up with what works for ME. I've already been to school.

i worry that if i don't work on helping him form letters in an efficient and non-mirror image way that this is going to stick or something and it'll take him forever to write a sentence in a few years b/c he "draws" his letters instead of printing them.
tell me i'm crazy. please.
First, I have that same issue - I have to think outside the box/outside my own comfort zone for what I think will work for my boy. I wasn't a boy like he is and like hubby was, so I have a tendency to run ideas by hubby to see if he would've enjoyed it when he was little. So far hubby's been a good judge.

Second, you're crazy. Sure, if a 17yo is still writing like that, it could be problematic. My boy couldn't care less what the alphabet was at 5yo, he just paid attention when we were reading the ABC board book. So writing things? Wasn't on his to-do list. He still has a backwards lower-case "e" and a few other goofy letters. But. He's still at the beginning! He's still learning! He gets so, so, so frustrated when he can't get things perfect the first time around (gee, wonder where he got that from? ). I have to constantly remind him that it takes time and lots and lots of practice to get really good at something. Handwriting included.

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#24 of 36 Old 09-02-2010, 01:22 AM
 
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ok. thank you all SO MUCH. i will admit this is going to be hard b/c i am not a go-with-the=flow kind of person myself. i like schedules and organization, etc...
but i DO NOT want to screw this up with what works for ME. I've already been to school.

but let me throw this at you. he LOVES to write. he seems quite proud after finishing a reading lesson (he just gets whiny during it, and it only lasts about 10 minutes tops). the problem is his writing. while very legible, he writes mirror image for a few letters and numbers. and he makes them in a "weird" way. to me, it is very inefficient. for example, starting from the bottom rather than the top or (and these feels worse to me) just making it in a way that isn't "traditional". for example, for lowercase e, he'll make the little loop at the top and then completely separately, put the curve on the bottom instead of one swoop. i worry that if i don't work on helping him form letters in an efficient and non-mirror image way that this is going to stick or something and it'll take him forever to write a sentence in a few years b/c he "draws" his letters instead of printing them.
tell me i'm crazy. please.
This is gentle ok... homeschooling with little kids is very 'go with the flow'... To me, it sounds like you have a bit of a type A personality, kids are messy, explorative, inquisitve, etc...

There is more than one way to teach handwriting. Even in the one school district I work with they use 2-3 different 'types' of printing. Given time your DS will improve, its not going to be effecient right from the start. Let your son explore and try out writing. Once he 'sees' lots of writing examples, does writing and has a small amount of help it will improve.

My son is 10 and he prefers to type most things. He can write, he just prefers to type EVERYTHING if he could. Is that a product of my teaching? maybe, is that a sign of the times we live in? maybe, but most likely its my sons personality. In his opinion (and mine) typing is just faster, neater, and more efficient.

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#25 of 36 Old 09-02-2010, 01:45 AM
 
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You're not crazy at all! My 5.5 year old is the same way. Writes constantly, but still has reversals. My son is 8 and has some visual sensory issues, so he still reverses some, but Handwriting Without Tears has really helped with that. I don't usually mention it to my 5 yo for most things, but will occasionally show her the right way if she's asking how to spell something. Totally normal at their age.

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#26 of 36 Old 09-02-2010, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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again, thank you ALL! i need to relax. to PP who indicated i might have a type A personality, you are right on the money. it is one of the reasons why i wonder if i'll be "good enough" to homeschool my children. there's probably a part of me somewhere that hopes that my children will change me - if i could just let them.
i talked to dh last night and said that i want to take a step back from this and focus more on playing. which is a whole 'nother story. i don't enjoy playing particularly and both ds 1 and 2 want me pretty involved in their play most of the time. i have a really hard time with imagination or something b/c i just have a really hard time getting into making car noises and moving army men around. i didn't have problems as a child, but i guess i've just outgrown it and have a hard time getting it back.
will work on more of just family life, outings, special "projects" (which he loves), creating, reading, and yes, playing.
will try to work in some math and reading in short bursts b/c he really does seem proud of himself when he completes these things. i just have to back off when he says no, i guess.
thanks again - and if you have any suggestions for helping me get more into playing, bring 'em on!
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#27 of 36 Old 09-02-2010, 07:35 AM
 
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I think when your oldest is 5 or 6, it's just so hard to have any perspective. I fretted a lot about just the kinds of things that you're worrying about--but for better or worse, I had a toddler consuming most of my attention when my older dd was 5, so we were forced into going with the flow. And guess what? She learned lots of stuff just by playing and living.

And, yes, all her reversed letters are now correct.

It's hard to trust, but it does get easier!
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#28 of 36 Old 09-02-2010, 08:56 AM
 
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ok. thank you all SO MUCH. i will admit this is going to be hard b/c i am not a go-with-the=flow kind of person myself. i like schedules and organization, etc...
but i DO NOT want to screw this up with what works for ME. I've already been to school.

but let me throw this at you. he LOVES to write. he seems quite proud after finishing a reading lesson (he just gets whiny during it, and it only lasts about 10 minutes tops). the problem is his writing. while very legible, he writes mirror image for a few letters and numbers. and he makes them in a "weird" way. to me, it is very inefficient. for example, starting from the bottom rather than the top or (and these feels worse to me) just making it in a way that isn't "traditional". for example, for lowercase e, he'll make the little loop at the top and then completely separately, put the curve on the bottom instead of one swoop. i worry that if i don't work on helping him form letters in an efficient and non-mirror image way that this is going to stick or something and it'll take him forever to write a sentence in a few years b/c he "draws" his letters instead of printing them.
tell me i'm crazy. please.
Just another mama here saying the same thing - my DD is the same age as your son. It's easier for me to be laid back, but I can see how it can be difficult. My DD mirror writes a fair amount, sometimes whole words are written entirely backwards. (She's left-handed, so that is probably related). I've not said a darn thing, and the reason for that is - she's still gaining confidence with her letters. I think she's very close to the point where she's confident enough that I can start pointing out the mirror writing. If she's not really confident it will just overwhelm her. Mirror writing is not going to be difficult to correct once she's pretty comfortable with the letters, I just don't see how it will be.

She, too, writes some letters awkwardly (such as starting from the bottom and drawing up) but I just noticed yesterday she self-corrected most of it already! I didn't say anything yet. I do think it's important to write efficiently, so I wasn't going to let it go too long, but I stayed quiet for a while so she could just ENJOY writing (and she does). Once she finds the enjoyment, a few pointers will probably go over ok. But if she felt like everything she did was wrong - ugh, I think she'd probably abandon her enjoyment.

So I watched her write a fairly long word - "rectangle" - and her strokes were perfect except she started from the bottom for the R and the T (though not the L). Otherwise totally perfect. Soon I'll show her about starting from the top - but honestly, I actually see her logic. The other parts of those letters are near the top, so starting from the bottom means she'll finish the first stroke closer to the next stroke! I plan to work on it with her, but honestly, if she continues to write that way I don't see it as being a huge loss in efficiency.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#29 of 36 Old 09-02-2010, 04:13 PM
 
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thanks again - and if you have any suggestions for helping me get more into playing, bring 'em on!
I may be the minority, but I'd just leave them to their own devices with that. Picked up a book from the library the other day. Idle Parenting by some guy (it's upstairs and I don't feel like going up, sorry). How children do just great if you stick them in the backyard with sticks and rocks. I do not condone this man's opinion 100%, but it's an interesting perspective, and makes me feel a little better about not being on the floor all the time making car noises.
My kids do decent at entertaining themselves, but I've always been more of a gal who sits at the table or on the couch chatting with friends when we have playdates; only interfering when need be. They love showing off their creations so I have to be "on" for that, but still. It's nice when they wake up quietly in the morning and come downstairs and start playing like half an hour before I wake out of my stupor. My 6yo has fashioned a pulley out in the backyard before. Out of a random piece of string, a metal rod/hook leftover from a car canopy, a bucket, and our maple tree. While I'm inside doing dishes or taking a shower or nursing a sibling or whatever. So it could be something worth trying out here and there.

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#30 of 36 Old 09-02-2010, 10:15 PM
 
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subbing so I can find this later....seem s exactly what I was going to post about (except my DS is almost 4)

Kelly, wife to DH, mom to Caden Reese (10-2-06), Tessa Brynn (12-26-08 ), and Maddox Quinn (7-16-11). Fur-mama to Finnegan, Ripley, Raisin (my little kitty amputee) and Kimchi. 748/2011, 2028/2012-I did it!! 2023/2013-Again!!! 404/2014
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