Help me figure out whether to continue homeschooling - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 9 Old 05-10-2011, 10:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
heatherdeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Everywhere... thanks, technology!
Posts: 4,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

Xposting in Special Needs.

 

Not sure what to do.  My 7yo ds has mild Asperger's and we've been through holy heck with him (PROFOUNDLY delayed as an infant--to the point of suspected cerebral palsy, through countless therapies and interventions, in different daycare/preschool programs until we pulled him at the pre-k year and kept him home).  He tested gifted as he was entering the K year (and exiting SpEd services).  We've already had some bullying incidents with kids on the block.  :(  Under control now, but requires a LOT of extra work on behalf of all of the parents (and we're moving in 2mo).

 

He's been home and I think it's been good because in the last 2 years we got a surprise adopted daughter (she was a SafeHaven baby just as our license was going to expire), lost a baby in 2nd trimester, lost the two people closest to me in my life, had to relocate out of state, and move 4 times related to that... blah, blah, blah... it's been rough.  I think it was good he was home during that.

 

But he has zero motivation to do anything other than watch TV and play Pokemon cards.  He gets limited screen time because it makes him extremely aggressive.  He has zero desire to do anything of any educational value at home and I haven't really pushed it because we understand that delayed academics works.

 

The problem is that maybe for him, delayed academics wasn't the way to go.  We had him in a Montessori around 4yo (it was the last school he attended) and they agreed he simply needed more structure.  And as he enters what would be his 2nd grade year and I look at actually teaching him, I'm concerned about the pushback I'm going to get.

 

He's taken a few enrichment classes through the homeschool coop and done alright.  But this morning I went to see a Montessori for my 2-1/2yo for part time next year and couldn't find care for ds.  Of course, he loved it (he loves any place that has kids there).  But I kind of liked it, too.  It was EXTREMELY community-oriented and went through high school.  The older kids mentor and look out for the younger kids and among other things, there is a gentle self-regulation of social rules.  And they do a field trip every Friday in addition to travel trips every year (last year they went to Italy--next year to Boston for US History which is ds' favorite subject).

 

So on one hand, I feel like it COULD be a great place for ds.  On the other hand, I'm wondering how they're going to inspire that "intrinsic motivation" that he completely lacks... and what if they can't?  He's not a neurotypical kid--so I can't just sit back and accept the whole "No, no, dear--they all come around" because they don't generally account for kids in the spectrum with that stuff.

 

I've spent these years figuring out how he might best learn and have finally nailed down some curriculums for specific subjects that I think would fit us best... and bought it all.  I just don't know how to get him from a "we won't do it if he's not interested" mode to actually learning (and sorry, but I can't completely unschool--I don't know that he'll never have to enter a school).  And I know I can't replicate the social learning of a closely supervised, gently community of children.  THAT is VERY appealing.  He has done so well with close supervision and mentoring of social situations so far, but we're now at a stage where mommy isn't really cutting it.  :/

 

If you've read this far... thank you.  If you have insights or advice,  thank you more!


Heather - Wife , Mommy  & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant 
 
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
heatherdeg is offline  
#2 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 02:31 AM
 
Calm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: The Illusion
Posts: 3,131
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I just wanted to let you know I read your post.  I don't have any advice, I'm not much of an expert on hsing as I'm just starting out.  My 9yo daughter is not neurotypical, but she loves to read so I am not too worried.  When you said you limit the screen time but he doesn't want to do anything educational... what is he doing instead of those two things?  

 

We have a "TV unplugged" policy here through the day, and we all get on the couch and watch Brady Bunch for wind down time at night.  DS, 3yo, often falls asleep on my lap in front of the TV at this time.  So we're not overly thingy about TV, but by the same token it's just not on during the day, there are only five channels and they all show crap through the day.  We have never bought her video games.   She was an only child until she was 6yo, so she has been used to figuring out things to do on her own.  She and her dad play chess or backgammon, and her other favourite past time is concocting mixtures... with whatever she can find, and often testing them on DS's hair.  lol.gif  

 

It's amazing what they're learning when it looks like they're doing not much at all.  Does your son respond to being given things to do with his hands, like craft?  What is his best learning style... listening, touch?  At this age, they are still learning through play.  I find "teaching" both my kids must involve play or they (and I) start to feel a bit stiff and forced with it all and they lose interest.  

 

 


Hunger is political.  Wherever there is widespread hunger, it is because people with guns are preventing other people from bringing in food.  
Calm is offline  
#3 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 07:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
heatherdeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Everywhere... thanks, technology!
Posts: 4,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

For the three years he's been home and I've been watching, I still for my life don't know how he learns best.  And I have a Master's in Ed so I know what to watch for and all, I just don't see one thing being more effective than the rest.  Possibly reading.  I'm leaning heavily on Charlotte Mason-ish stuff for next year because the majority of what he's learned HAS been from reading.

 

He has plenty of things to do without screen stuff, it just becomes a regular arguing point when he gets bored (which is constantly--no matter what).  There is no shortage of kids to play with pretty much at all times.  There is a half-day kindy kid on the block and a kid who missed kindy cutoff by 2 days (his mom was thrilled) and attends a 3 morning/week program.  He plays totally fine with kids that age (and they're both a little older than their years anyway).  But he WILL (constantly) try to either get into one of their houses or bring them into ours to watch a show or play Wii.  Thankfully, all the parents on the block are not big on electronics and know that mine is on extremely limited time.  So if they feel like they want to allow it some time, they do call to see if mine can play.  But when the kids aren't available, he has his Legos, Pokemon stuff and lots of reading (sometimes about one of those two  :)  ).  Getting him to do a craft is akin to water torture.  He's so not "that kid" (farewell, Oak Meadow  :(  ).  Same for puzzles (except his hidden picture search books).  And getting him outside is also a chore--which kills me because I'm a very "barefoot in the grass and brook" kinda mom (I'm typing from my back deck... and he is actually doing some work).

 

I'm torn between leaving him alone to grow out of the "play" stage and into a better "learning" stage, or just pushing it now.  As an Aspie, there's really no guarantee that he will move out of these stages naturally--so I can't just relax about it and trust nature to take it's course.  :/


Heather - Wife , Mommy  & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant 
 
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
heatherdeg is offline  
#4 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 10:05 AM
 
Nazsmum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: In the vine
Posts: 2,667
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 29 Post(s)

Just my 2 cents....Can you give the school a try. If it is not working out then back home. I worked with children with PDD and I can tell one of the best things and one of the hardest things is changing things up. So you could do this @ home or letting him go to school. It might give him a jump-start.

 

I worked with both ****** and Greenspan. I hope that helps.

Nazsmum is online now  
#5 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 11:05 AM
 
briansmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Magical PNW
Posts: 661
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I read your post and just wanted to say that I too have a 7 1/2 yr old son who becomes aggressive after watching TV. He also shows signs of giftedness and loves being around other children. While he has never been tested for neurological issues, he has shown signs in the past of having a SID and he's highly sensitive, preceptive, and bright. He's also sensitive to gluten/casein and anything with artifical colors/flavors.

 

I too have considered a gentle school (waldorf, in our case) for the community. However, there are still issues surrounding that decision for reasons I won't go into since they are different for every family. What has really, really helped us stay with homeschooling and thrive has been implementing a solid, consistent routine/rhythm in our home and approach to education. I can say that I do not receive resistance with regards to our academic part of the day at all (I have and continue to receive resistance in other areas, but usually that is when there is a lack of adequate outdoor play anf structure on my part).

 

We joined a nature-based outdoor program with other homeschoolers that met 1 day per week. It was a mentor-style learning program (no lectures) and the class was limited to 10 kids. They met all over our geographical area in wilderness parks and tracked animals, investigated scat, weather, hiked, built fires, climbed, fished, etc. It was wonderful and set the tone for our week. That alone made me realize that school is not going to give him that.

 

Now we live in an area with lots and lots of nature so we make sure to get out and use it as much as possible. We've been using a homeschooling-friendly nature-based holistic curriculum for academics, and only after a long nature walk and chores, and only for an hour and half tops. Then we do lots of movement and activities to nurture his body and move him out of his head. Swimming, horseback riding, hiking with friends, rock-climbing/bouldering, all of this keeps him balanced, centered, and fosters his amazing creativity. And it's all done with a natural, consistent rhythm.

 

At home (although we are only at home for a short period every day) I feel I can better meet his needs with regards to his specific diet, need for rhythm and movement and lots of physical activity, as well as his need for an hour of downtime every day at the same time. He loves literature, loves football, loves friend, is doing so well. I know for a fact a classroom would overwhelm him (unless it was a very small class, and even then, he would be limited in his movement and exploration).

 

Sorry this is so long! I just read your post and had to share what I've learned over the years, having faced the same decision as you. I'd highly suggest looking into a nature-based holistic curriculum for a child like your ds. And keep to a solid rhythm, continue limiting the TV/Wii/media to weekends only. I know you already focus on diet and that is key in our home. I know Enki combines waldorf and montessori- we're exploring that for 2nd grade.

 

HTH!

briansmama is offline  
#6 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 11:21 AM - Thread Starter
 
heatherdeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Everywhere... thanks, technology!
Posts: 4,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

briansmama--that DOES help.  Yours sounds a LOT like mine.  I allowed myself to fall victim to a hsing friend's criticism that we were "overscheduled" once (about 2 years ago) and cut things back.  It did NOT work for us.  We need more structure.  Dh & I know that my 2-1/2yo will go to the Montessori next year (we really love it for 3-6yo) and I started thinking it might be a good thing for her to go 5 days instead of 3 or 4 so that I can get a routine together for ds.  Maybe once it's a routine and I can focus on him and his learning uninterrupted, things will be different.  What nature curriculum do you use?  Oak Meadow had too many crafts for us, but I haven't found another.  :(

 

Dh and I agreed last night that we'd try being at home and use the Montessori as a backup since they suggested it--so they're clearly open to it.  We have tons of opportunity to be around other kids.  He'll have math class with a homeschool coop and probably enrichment classes with them again (he had 3 this spring).  We won't live on this street anymore, so he won't have nearly the same access to other kids, but we're involved in enough other stuff (Scouts, the coop, friends we've made, plus visits back to this neighborhood) that I know he'll have playtime with kids.

 

We always planned for this year (would-be 2nd grade) to have actual structure to his learning and forcing the matter vs. more following than leading.


Heather - Wife , Mommy  & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant 
 
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
heatherdeg is offline  
#7 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 11:39 AM
 
briansmama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Magical PNW
Posts: 661
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

Hi Heatherdeg,

 

That sounds so nice! We're getting into scouts too, and my son is really looking forward to it. It's so hard to let those comments from friends roll off the back, isn't it? We've heard those over the years too, mostly from MIL and neighbors.

 

We've been using Christopherus and truly, we didn't have to force anything. Once the rhythm was established, we added in stories, nature songs, movement. I found my ds really enjoyed that time with me where I had a plan and the stories in waldorf really appeal to kids by trying to meet them with where they are at.

 

For 2nd we are seriously considering Enki because they include more (and excellent quality) nature/science stories, which ds loves. We'll also be using their language arts and math stories (told through tricksters and sage tales, which will appeal to my ds too I'm sure). It's a really enjoyable time for both of us, nothing like standardized ed (regarding holistic ed in general, we do not have Enki yet).

 

Good luck with your decision! Let us know how it goes.

 

 

briansmama is offline  
#8 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 12:13 PM
 
Aeress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Neat the Shores of Lake Erie
Posts: 6,501
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

What about Montessori, but at home? We moved from a typical Montessori approach, to a Montessori Workbox approach and it is working well for my child who needs more structure. She chooses from the workbox shelf, and keeps track of what she has done. For us, it wasn't just about a curriculum but about finding a way of homeschooling that works for her.

 

The workbox system doesn't have to be worksheets and books, it can be activities and manipulatives. If you google workbox system, you will get a bunch of great ideas and information. We just started and it has been easy to use so far. It takes sometime to set up and get going but once in place, it is pretty simple to use. It requires less adult direction, while still giving the child choice.

 

I picked up several Montessori related kits and ideas and put them into our system this week, such as living/non living sorting activity. I try to balance, math, reading, science and sensorial acitivites in the boxes.

 

Might be worth a try, since ds isn't motivated to find his own activities.


Dhjammin.gif, Me knit.gif, DD 10 REPlaySkateboard04HL.gif, DD 7 cat.gif, DD 4 joy.gif

We reading.gif, homeschool.gif, cold.gif, eat.gif, sleepytime.gif not in that order

Aeress is offline  
#9 of 9 Old 05-11-2011, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
heatherdeg's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Everywhere... thanks, technology!
Posts: 4,888
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 5 Post(s)

We actually used a workbox system for activities for a while and he just loses interest. I have Montessori elementary manuals that I paid a fortune for but they still seem way below his level.  I liked the workbox system a LOT, but it's too loose for him (at least for now).  Finding higher level Montessori math seems impossible.  And really, although we saw a Montessori (more for my 2-1/2yo, but it went up to high school) and I believe in her work & theories, I think he may be fine with a more Charlotte Mason approach.

 

I've never heard of Christopherus... I'll have to look into that.

 

Thanks, all.


Heather - Wife , Mommy  & Health & Wellness Educator, Speaker & Consultant 
 
Dairy, soy & corn free with limited gluten... yes, really. And journeying towards peace.  Blogging about both.
 
Let me guide you to find the food and lifestyle choices...
heatherdeg 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