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#1 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 04:55 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm homeschooling my two boys and am having real issues with my 7 1/2 yr. old.  there are a few things at play, including the fact that we are very different personalities.  we take a very relaxed approach to academics, and while i'm not an unschooler, i don't tend to push or require too much in the way of classes and activities and, for the most part, he gets to explore the world in his own way at his own speed.  the problem is this: it's driving me nuts!!!  anything i suggest doing (unless it's a playdate, park day or some other play opportunity), he refuses.  if i force him, it almost always ends up fine, but we have to go through such a battle to get there.  if i don't require anything and just completely let him lead the way, not only would we spend 99% of our time at playdates or at home with legos, but i will seriously lose my mind.  i'm not talking forcing him to take big heavy classes, but maybe go to a museum (not a field trip with our group-- those end up just being playdates in new environments), an art class or hike with his brother and i. i'm all for playing, but i've been playing for almost eight years-- i'm ready to broaden our horizons just a bit.  does any of this sound familiar?  any advice? when will this change? am i being ridiculous?  

thanks, in advance :)

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#2 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 09:28 PM
 
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I'm sorry I don't have any advice for you, but I just wanted to let you know that I have two girls ages 11 and 12, and one 9 year old boy.  The girls are so enthusiastic about everything, they love everything and want to do everything and go everywhere.  My son, on the other hand, hates everything.  When we go somewhere or do something he always ends up having fun, but he will tell me on the way home that he hated it, wished he had just stayed home, and never wants to do it again.  Is it a boy thing?

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#3 of 10 Old 12-21-2010, 10:47 PM
 
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the same thing happens here with my 7 yo dd!! i planned out a hike this morning, got us all ready, and dd  REFUSED to go! screamed like crazy and we ended up staying home. when she was smaller i'd just pick her up and pile her in the car and she always ended up fine. now she's too big for me to haul around (lol), so we are just stuck :( . kina stinks because i only have this week off and i was looking forward to a little hike with the girls. she actually likes doing school work though. as long as i pick up on things that she's interested in she's almost always willing to at least try activities with me as long as they are close to home. no advice. i bet they will outgrow it soon (hopefully?).


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#4 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 12:04 AM
 
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Maybe it's the age?  My 7yo boy is being.... challenging as well.  Manifests in a slightly different way, but still.


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#5 of 10 Old 12-22-2010, 02:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the moral support!  good to know i'm not alone, but i'm sorry so many of us are struggling with the same issue.  i've been told it's the age and it will pass, but i don't see that much of this in our hs group here, so sometimes it does feel like it must be something i'm doing wrong.  i think i just have to treat it like a spiritual practice and repeat to myself that this too shall pass.  still, it can get me worrying at times. thanks again and good luck to all of you!

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#6 of 10 Old 12-28-2010, 08:46 PM
 
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So funny, I just came to post about my DS/8, once we get through the rough patch of him bouncing around the room, he sits and focusses, but otherwise it's like wrangling cats! What I think is it is, and I see this w/ some friends who send their kids to Waldorf, or similar schools, is that the boys learn better hands on, and outside. But it's so cold here right now and I can't afford private anything :)  So I find myself bargaining and taking things away, which sucks, cuz I want there to be an even flow to our learning day. My DD/6 totally gets into our work and loves it- not 100% of the time- Science is a challenge, but reading, phonics, language arts are her cup of tea. Anyway, I haven't figured it out just yet either, but we are getting there. I tried switching the day around and doing our learning after dinner time, but the first time was tonight, I'll let you know how that works out!


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#7 of 10 Old 12-29-2010, 08:02 AM
 
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I've become less unschool-y over the years, in part in response to my son's learning style.  (My daughter's too, but hers is a different situation, not relevant to this thread.)  While I still involve the kids in decisions about what we study and when, we really are in no way unschooling anymore.  (I'd call us semi-structured/eclectic now.)  My son (now 8) enjoys outings, so it's not exactly the same issue, but I've discovered that he needs some structure and "nudging" to even get to the point where he can discover that he finds something new interesting!  I was also seeing a problem with his self-esteem in that he felt he "couldn't" do many academic-type things.  In reality, he just hadn't tried them all that much!  He wouldn't believe this explanation, but when I required him to do it, and he saw that indeed he *could*, it made a difference for him. 

 

So I guess the bloom fell off the unschooling rose for me right around age 7.  I know it works great for some families, but it doesn't for mine.  And I'm sure that within families, there can be some children that thrive on unschooling and others that flounder.  I don't know the OP or her situation enough to suggest that a more structured approach would help, but I thought I'd toss out my experience in case it is helpful.  If not -- ignore!  :)

 

ETA:  I also know that 7 can be a tough age, in and of itself.  7 year olds often feel out of sorts and have difficulty engaging with the world in the way they did when they were younger.  My dd went through this and it was hard.  But she came out the other end more mature and more sure of herself.  So if it's a recent thing, it might indeed be just a phase.  Good luck.


Stephanie mom to Brianna (6/00) , Alexander (6/02) , and Ethan (9/07) .
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#8 of 10 Old 12-29-2010, 12:38 PM
 
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Something to consider is that what needs to be learned for a full and productive adult life does not really need to be begun quite so early in order to grow into fullness - a lot of it can come quite quickly and easily later on. Playing with those legos, and playing with other children, provides for a lot of practice of the imagination, and that in itself is a great foundation for all later learning.

 

We've all grown up with the work of the schools seeming to be so much more important than what children might naturally be more drawn to on their own that we've discounted the importance of what children are doing when having fun with things like legos and imaginative play. I certainly understand wanting to broaden the horizons - been there/done that, and learned the hard way. What I discovered was that my own notions about that whole thing tended to be shaded by school traditions that my child simply had no reason to relate to, and I think he smelled that - children see a lot more than we sometimes realize. He was learning plenty in his own way all along, and it really didn't matter one little bit whether he learned any of the things I thought were somehow important from those museum visits, field trips, etc.

 

I found that it helps for parents to just go ahead and explore the things they think are interesting, but not worry so much about leading their children into them - while fully supporting and taking interest in the things the children are interested in, but letting the children own those things, without parents trying to nudge those things into the realm of what the parent things is "educational." Natural modeling, good conversation and sincere enthusiasm go a long way toward facilitating a love of exploration and expansion of interests. When they feel that you really understand and support what they're doing, children tend to be a lot more mutually responsive to things you're interested in. 

 

You mentioned that you've already been playing for almost eight years, but remember that most of those years were ones during which your child would not even have been in school - so it more realistic to think in terms of the fact that your child has actually been of traditional school age for a pretty short time and still has the drive to play a lot. Play is such an important experience, but it lasts for a pretty short part of life, whereas there's plenty of time in the years to come to get into the more academically relevant types of learning before any of it matters. A visit to a museum will expose a child to lots of things, but only a few of them might capture his attention at all - and the value of those things at that early age will not be the things themselves but simply the value that comes with the feeling of how fun it is to learn about new things. And if it's to the act of playing/working with legos and the act of connecting/playing with other children that a child is most drawn, that would indicate that those are the things that are filling the strongest natural drives he has right now.

 

As my child grew up to be a capable self-motivated learner, I got to also see children of friends and acquaintances grow up into fulfilling adult lives after having had plenty of time to indulge in such childhood drives - there's honestly no hurry to get into things that look more important to adults - it will all come with time and natural curiosity. wink1.gif   Lillian

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#9 of 10 Old 12-29-2010, 05:17 PM
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An idea:

 

When your hs group is planning a fieldtrip to the museum, can you come early.  That way you first look at the exhibit together and then you both get to be social.  

 

Amy


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#10 of 10 Old 12-30-2010, 09:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post

Something to consider is that what needs to be learned for a full and productive adult life does not really need to be begun quite so early in order to grow into fullness - a lot of it can come quite quickly and easily later on. Playing with those legos, and playing with other children, provides for a lot of practice of the imagination, and that in itself is a great foundation for all later learning.

 

We've all grown up with the work of the schools seeming to be so much more important than what children might naturally be more drawn to on their own that we've discounted the importance of what children are doing when having fun with things like legos and imaginative play. I certainly understand wanting to broaden the horizons - been there/done that, and learned the hard way. What I discovered was that my own notions about that whole thing tended to be shaded by school traditions that my child simply had no reason to relate to, and I think he smelled that - children see a lot more than we sometimes realize. He was learning plenty in his own way all along, and it really didn't matter one little bit whether he learned any of the things I thought were somehow important from those museum visits, field trips, etc.

 

I found that it helps for parents to just go ahead and explore the things they think are interesting, but not worry so much about leading their children into them - while fully supporting and taking interest in the things the children are interested in, but letting the children own those things, without parents trying to nudge those things into the realm of what the parent things is "educational." Natural modeling, good conversation and sincere enthusiasm go a long way toward facilitating a love of exploration and expansion of interests. When they feel that you really understand and support what they're doing, children tend to be a lot more mutually responsive to things you're interested in. 

 

You mentioned that you've already been playing for almost eight years, but remember that most of those years were ones during which your child would not even have been in school - so it more realistic to think in terms of the fact that your child has actually been of traditional school age for a pretty short time and still has the drive to play a lot. Play is such an important experience, but it lasts for a pretty short part of life, whereas there's plenty of time in the years to come to get into the more academically relevant types of learning before any of it matters. A visit to a museum will expose a child to lots of things, but only a few of them might capture his attention at all - and the value of those things at that early age will not be the things themselves but simply the value that comes with the feeling of how fun it is to learn about new things. And if it's to the act of playing/working with legos and the act of connecting/playing with other children that a child is most drawn, that would indicate that those are the things that are filling the strongest natural drives he has right now.

 

As my child grew up to be a capable self-motivated learner, I got to also see children of friends and acquaintances grow up into fulfilling adult lives after having had plenty of time to indulge in such childhood drives - there's honestly no hurry to get into things that look more important to adults - it will all come with time and natural curiosity. wink1.gif   Lillian




Laura mama to Caitlyn 12/26/06 and Frenchie dh non vaccing unschooling multilingual family
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