How do I motivate my six year old to homeschool? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 08:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My main concerns are this: he hates it when I do anything educational with him, and all he wants to do when he is home is play Legos.  How do you keep your kids on track without alot of whining/complaining/fighting?  I see us making up our own loose child-let curriculum.

 

He has made great strides at school, but he hates all the worksheets, and the day is waaay too long for him.  He loves math and science and those times are limited at school.

 

I'd love to bring him home if he could show me he is motivated enough to do it. I've been reading John Holt, reading all the blogs, doing the research.  I know it can be done, but how do I keep my sanity while doing it?  Without everything turning in to a battle, which is how things are between us sometimes.

 

When I ask him what he thinks of school, I get mixed signals.  Anything from: "I HATE IT!" to "I like it as long as I don't get in trouble."  When I ask him what he thinks of homeschool, he says no or yes, depending on his mood. I know that ultimately I will have to make the decision for him. 

 

I guess I just don't know homeschooling will work for us.  Not that I expect any of you to have my answer, I would just love to hear your experience!

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#2 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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I would use this time to consider what you believe, and to look into different beliefs.

 

There are many people who believe the work of 6 year olds is play - and if all he does is play with legos - great!  Consider me one of them.  I have no issues with early academics if a child wants or needs them - but I also have no issues with 6 years doing nothing other than playing (and maybe a few chores, lol)

 

If you do think he should do work - figure out the who, what , when , where, why.

 

A very rough guideline I have heard is one hour per grade, maxing at about grade 3.  So a grade 1 would do 1 hour of "work".  People often break it up into clumps - 10 minutes here, 15 there, etc.

 

You may have to play with different ways to find a path that works for you.

 

If I had one piece of advice it would be to avoid power struggles.  If you find yourself in a power struggle something needs to change.

 

Good luck!

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#3 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 11:11 AM
 
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If you think that homeschooling would be better for him and you want to try it, I would pick a start date. Then you can work on your plan for what you want to cover academically. Since he's going to have to transition from the way school does things to homeschooling, I would start with just the basics at first (math, reading, writing) and go from there once you start to get into a routine.


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13yo ds   10yo dd  8yo ds and 6yo ds and 1yo ds  
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#4 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 11:54 AM
 
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If you expect to take a kid who hates the worksheets and other seatwork and lockstep academic expectations at school, and intend to use a similar approach at home, I think you're likely setting yourself up for failure. But the beauty of homeschooling is that it need look nothing like school -- not in terms of schedule, academic program, mode of instruction, educational philosophy or basics of implementation.

 

I have a 7-year-old who is homeschooled. Today her homeschooling will look something like this:

 

Playing.

Reading a bit for pleasure.

Helping tidy the house.

Playing.

Taking the dog for a walk.

Taking some photos. Editing them on the computer.

Baking cornmeal muffins. 

Playing. Crafts.

Practicing violin.

Noodling about a bit on the piano.

Playing. Chatting. Hanging out.

Doing some oral math problems.

Attending a music concert.

Playing. Chatting. Hanging out.

Listening to a bedtime story.

 

Not very schoolish at all. Yet she's very advanced academically and is challenged and progressing via days that seldom look more impressive than this.

 

Legos are educational. I'd suggest reading about child-led learning, hands-on learning, and a variety of homeschooling approaches. It would be a very rare 6-year-old boy who would respond positively to structured academic seatwork. With homeschooling you have an opportunity to make learning look like whatever he loves.

 

Miranda


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#5 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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When my kids were 6 we didn't do any seatwork.  They mostly played.  I read to them A LOT ... both fiction and nonfiction (every topic under the universe):)

I bought some fun science kits and we did hands-on science experiments.  I bought quality art supplies and we did lots of art projects.  We went on lots of field trips to all kinds of places.

Homeschooling doesn't have to look anything like school at age 6, in fact, it works better if it doesn't. 

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#6 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 03:42 PM
 
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I'm not unschooley at all, and so my answer is quite different from the people who think that 6 year old homeschooling doesn't have to look educational (I am more Montessori-minded, and early academics is something that happens in Montessori).  I'm also of the opinion that in general, most children, if not given an appropriately prepared environment that lends to progression in academics, will naturally flock to activities which are recreational in nature.  Even as adults, we'd rather play than work.  So, even child directed learning must involve a carefully prepared environment given by adults in my own personal opinion (which obviously not everyone will agree with).  So, I'll come at it from that perspective...

 

First, keep in mind that you said that the school days are too long for him.  So, of course when he gets home all he wants to do is play.  He's spent the entire day at school working!  I wouldn't blame him...as an adult, if I worked 8 hours a day, the last thing I'd want to do is come home and do more work.

 

Second, he's 6.  Six year olds are really still very young children, and don't really have the capability to understand the consequences of big life altering decisions like "do you want to quit school and stay home".  They're going to agree with the thing that seems the most fun now.  Case in point--my 6 year old, at the end of May last year, said he hated school with a passion.  He wanted to homeschool.  He begged every day to homeschool.  I asked him why...he said he hated the teacher's rules.  (Aaaah, he forgot that I have more rules than his teacher. :lol: ).  Fast forward a few months to October.  I asked him what he thought of homeschooling now, and he said that he loves school and doesn't want to be homeschooled.  He has a lot of friends this year and enjoys the school's curriculum.  So, in the span of a couple months, he changed his mind, solely based on what was happening in his life at that moment in time.

 

If you do decide to homeschool, you can take his learning style into consideration.  If he's a visual and hands on learner, for example, having a math & science curriculum based on manipulatives (Montessori, Math-u-See, etc.) can work really well for him.  And keep in mind that even the most strict classical education isn't going to take 8 hours a day every day because you're working one on one with the child, instead of 1 on 30.  So, even if you give him a carefully prepared environment, it won't take up an entire day.  (And what I mean by carefully prepared environment is that I will look at what the content standards are for the particular grade level in all areas of curriculum, and make sure that each homeschooling day, there are things across all domains that work towards those goals.  I may alter the "exterior" so that the child is interested, and the child will decide to choose that work, but I know that everything in that room meets academic content standards.  For example, if I want the child to learn addition, spelling words, handwriting, and sequencing that week, but the child is really really into animals, I will use toy animals for counting/addition, have him spell words that have to do with animals, habitats, and animal care, write about his favorite animal, and sequence stories that have to do with animals.)  It can take a lot of work, so if school is working for your child except "he hates worksheets" and there are no real problems, then I'd think very carefully about whether you really want to put the time, money, and effort into it.  If you do, and it is the right choice for everyone involved, then it can work beautifully (when the child doesn't want to, or the parent can't/won't put in the time/money/effort, I've seen homeschooling work really really badly.  But when the child wants to and the parents are really invested in it, I've seen homeschooling work absolutely brilliantly!)


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#7 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 05:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post

I'm not unschooley at all, and so my answer is quite different from the people who think that 6 year old homeschooling doesn't have to look educational (I am more Montessori-minded, and early academics is something that happens in Montessori). 


My kids have done early academics (at 7 my youngest is doing 5th grade math, for example) it's just that most of her academic learning doesn't look like traditional sit-down school. It looks plenty educational if you're paying attention; it just doesn't look like school. 

 

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#8 of 9 Old 11-19-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AllyRae View Post

I'm not unschooley at all, and so my answer is quite different from the people who think that 6 year old homeschooling doesn't have to look educational (I am more Montessori-minded, and early academics is something that happens in Montessori). 


My kids have done early academics (at 7 my youngest is doing 5th grade math, for example) it's just that most of her academic learning doesn't look like traditional sit-down school. It looks plenty educational if you're paying attention; it just doesn't look like school. 

 

Miranda



Oh, I definitely agree!  Especially when traditional sit-down school looks like a lot of worksheets and unindividualized work times.  I think some of the best academics don't really look like academics (most of Montessori is that way...it doesn't look like higher level math when you're playing with a bunch of beads, but it is. :D ) 


~Brandon Michael (11/23/03), Jocelyn Lily Nữ (2/4/07, adopted 5/28/07 from Vietnam), Amelia Rylie (1/14/09), & Ryland Josef William (9/7/05-9/7/05 @ 41 wks). 
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#9 of 9 Old 11-21-2010, 07:17 AM
 
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I am also not unschooly at all.  I do require our older son to complete written work in math and language arts, and to do some assigned reading aloud with me followed by questions or discussion for comprehension.  I also have him do some educational programs on the computer.  He is not free for the day to do recreational stuff until his school work is done.  But, unlike a day at school, at home his written work for each day is really very minimal;  I will sit and help him with it; nothing is ever graded and nothing is left wrong; he can take short 5-10 minute breaks as he needs them; he can snack while he works; and he is able to zip through it and have most of each day to choose what he wants to do.  We also have the freedom to do experiments or chase down answers to questions he comes up with.  Science and social studies are very relaxed explorations through books, videos and sometimes experiments that don't seem like school work at all. 

 

I began structured work with him when he was 5.5 and it was 5-10 minutes a day.    I find the hour per grade is a pretty good guideline, as long as I include short breaks between assignments in that time. I find it's best to start first thing in the day and get it done.

 

If you decide to homeschool and you want some to see some structured work being completed, I think it's important to be clear with your child about what you are requiring.  If you are unsure about requiring your child to do some work, he will probably pick up on that.  Our son is not always happy about having to do his work but he understands it is a requirement and is not optional.   And I am totally okay with him not always being happy and excited about schoolwork.  wink1.gif  It is a flexible structure though, and I think that is just as important.  I am absolutely open to adjusting the day's work according to how he's feeling, how his concentration and energy level are, etc.  This is another benefit of being home instead of at school.


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