My son is 7 years old and we just started homeschooling this fall. Last year he went to a Waldorf kindergarden program and before that I worked with him a lot at home anyway.
I've always wanted to do homeschooling, and spent months thinking out what we would do this year. I looked at what he liked to do anyway and tried to come up with things that would compliment that. For example, he loved to write in a notebook, so I thought we would do journals. He liked to draw, so I thought we could do nature drawings for studying science.
But now that we are doing homeschooling seriously he doesn't want to do any of those things. I let him play most of the day, but would like to spend an hour at least with him for homeschool. All the things I arrange are fun, and he hates them all, even things like carving potatoes and making prints on paper with them or doing watercolor paintings. All he wants to do is ride his scooter around and destroy the plants in the yard by beating on them with sticks he makes into swords. He can't sit still for a few minutes with me for anything. It's heartbreaking.
I keep thinking I must be doing something wrong and try to shift my ideas to come up with what he would like to do, but it doesn't seem to work, and I'm wondering if he maybe has a learning or attention problem?
His teacher at the waldorf school didn't say anything about it, and he always paid attention there.
I'm hoping this is just a phase, but what if it isn't and he can't read when he's 10? One reason I am homeschooling is so he will get a better education, but it's seemed to just turn him into a complete blockhead.
Anyway, I was just wondering if anyone else has had that sort of experience, and if anyone can offer any advice. I'm feeling pretty discouraged. I just can't understand why he was so easy to teach before but this year he can't focus or learn anything. When I ask him about it he says there's just so much he wants to do.
We use a program that combines Waldorf and montessori methods, and come from a Waldorf-inspired background for the earlier years (my oldest is 8). So, we include lots of movement (skip counting on the mini trampoline) seasonal songs, games, and crafts. All of this comes before our main lesson.
After we do our circle/movement and main lesson (which rarely takes longer than 45 min. And we are doing 2nd grade) both my boys know free play follows.
If my dc were already riding razors and playing swordplay there is no way I'd be able to reign them in for our morning routine. So, the free play follows and it works really well for us.
If there's so much that he wants to do, maybe you can get him to qualify and quantify it? What exactly does he want to do/learn and how can you fit that into a general outline of a schedule.
I've told my 7 year old that I need music, reading & math from him for about 45 minutes to an hour each day. He wants to do history, science, legos and playmobiles. His younger sister wants to do arts & crafts. So, together, we made a schedule about a month ago that we loosely follow, incorporating everybody's ideas. I can remind him that this is his schedule, and we can tweak it or change it, but then he might miss out on something.
Of couse, this week he went on a math tear! He spent 2 or 3 hours the other day doing 2 to 3 weeks of math lessons. Today he spent an hour or two on the Khan Academy website, doing math problems and watching the tutorials. So, the schedule was out the window, but in a good way. That's the first time he's spent so much time on anything but making volcanoes.
You started homeschooling just two months ago, so I'd say he's going through a perfectly normal transition period. It seems like a strange phenomenon sometimes, but it's pretty typical. Here's a thread about decompression and deschooling that it would be helpful and reassuring to read. And here's one started by the mom of a 7 yr. old who had just begun homeschooling: Trying to trust the process. You may feel that he had the whole summer to relax and play, so that should have been enough decompression time, but for some reason, it's quite rare for the summer vacation to work as the beginning as a decompression time. One thing to check is whether you find yourself acting a little different when you try to do an activity with him - maybe behaving a little like a teacher or a little more formally than you ordinarily are - because that's something that a lot of children find unnerving with parents. - Lillian
What is he playing when he's hacking up plants with swords? How did he make the sword? We've done so much of our learning to support the stories we read. Swords and medieval warfare-- what the heck is a hauberk, and what does a siege tower look like? Is there a difference between a spear and a pike? How swords were made and wielded and does he want to make a shield, too? What materials would he need? Measurements to take? What makes a Japanese sword so different from others? Who were the Samurai? What is a livery? What was chivalry? Etc. etc. etc.
I am in agreement with the deschooling idea, but I wanted to point out that you have so many places you could start. Waldorf and Montessori follow a very particular progression (public school, too, though they are not as philosophically bound as those two are). But YOU DON'T HAVE TO! There is absolutely no reason why you can't study the heck out of medieval history before learning who George Washington was. And somehow, my 7yo's interests took her from sharks eventually to monsters and then.... Shakespeare? (OK, Marcia Williams' versions.... but still, she knows exactly who Banquo is.... and Lysander.... and Laertes....) Seriously, she knows more about it now than I did in college!
Of course, I took your sword comment and ran with it as an example, so forgive me....
"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
My kid does the exact same thing. My poor lillies in the back yard may likely never bloom because DS keeps hacking them down.
What finally got my kid interested in homeschool was the venus fly trap. We started watching videos about them on you tube and soon we watched videos about bugs, then it was videos about snakes eating mice, then spiders, then owls. Then he wanted to make a venus fly trap out of paper.Then he wanted to make bugs so we learned about origami. That got us into a whole study about the origins of origami and the cultures of Japan and China. I never plan out our science studies, I just turn on you tube or we pick out a video from Nat. Geo. that he's interested in.
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Thank you, everyone!
Every single reply makes me feel so much better! We'll give it some more time, and I think things really have been different for him since he's not in school anymore, the school to home transition must be more than I was giving it credit for. And there are some good opportunities for self-reflection.
We do Oak Meadow, but no matter what curriculum I might use, I know my boy and it's dreadful to try to get him to stop playing on his own and come learn. Alas we've been sick and I'm still working out the sleep problems I developed while sick (3am and I'm still awake = problems), which means he is playing before I'm ready for learning with him...but we're working on it.
When you put this up against the question in your title, you've got to think to yourself..."how would this behaviour go over in school?" And that answers your question of if it's for you...he's going to learn a lot better from you, being flexible about when and how he learns, than he's going to in a classroom, that's for sure.
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