Feeling like I'm failing my son - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is in kinder, just turned six almost a month ago.  I don't know if the problem is myself as a teacher, the curriculum, or my expectations.

 

For a while we struggled with learning to read.  This my fault for the most part I feel, as we didn't get a good reading curriculum or lessons for a long time.  We now use a combo of ReadingEggs.com, Tanglewood School's phonics curriculum with reinforcement with Spectrum Phonics Level K, (just a sheet or two a day), and the Level 1 set of BOB books.  He is reading more than he was...I feel like it's finally not memorization but he's actually decoding it in his head.  We still have a long way to go however.

 

Our second struggle was/is math.  I have him in Singapore Earlybird with reinforcement on IXL.com and this is where the biggest issues are now.  Part of me wonders if the kinder standards are just too much for some kids.  His mental math skills are almost none.  If you ask him what 3 plus 2 is, he just looks at you blankly.  He does not reach for his manipulatives or even use his fingers, he just says "I don't know."  Skip counting by any number (2's, 5's, 10's) is a disaster, he just does not grasp it. Tally marks-nope!  I feel he's just kind of coasting along. 

 

We use mostly a Charlotte Mason method, using Ambleside Online Year 0 and an easy pack from Queen Home school.  For the most part he seems to do OK in other subjects.  I don't expect a narration or recitation at this age, but after reading through the lesson I will ask him "What's one thing you remember about this lesson?" and much of the lesson he will say he does not remember.

 

I worry especially because the time is likely going to come when he has to go to either a brick and mortar school or, if I'm fortunate, an online public school, once I start nursing clinicals in a few years.  I don't want him behind when this happens and have to hear the criticism of parents leaving the teaching to the teachers and how I've messed him up (from teachers, family,etc).  If I knew for sure that he was going to be home schooled permanently I wouldn't worry as much but since that likely won't be the case I do worry.

 

So I don't know if it's just me or if he's not developmentally ready for some of this or if I need a change in curriculum.  I sense I need to switch math curriculum but which one will help him I don't know.  I don't know if I may need to switch completely to an online school now, or to Calvert or Oak Meadow...something with a teaching advisory service.  Or even put him in a brick and mortar school.  I love love love being with him and teaching him but if I just don't have a handle on teaching him where he can process stuff then I'm doing him no favors and he'd be better off in some school where at least he might have a chance with being taught.

 

Words of wisdom..thoughts....anything and everything is welcomed.

Lori


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#2 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 10:17 PM
 
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I'm guessing he's bored. Maybe try gearing your interactions so he has more fun and he's pursuing what he wants to learn. Let him figure out that learning is fun, not something mom is trying to force him to do. Remember in Finland and Sweden they don't even start academics until 7 and they are leaders in academic achievement.

 

Best homeschooling book I ever read: http://www.amazon.com/Legendary-Learning-Homeschoolers-Self-Directed-Excellence/dp/0983151008/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329282752&sr=1-1 

 

This is probably the best parenting book I have ever read. How you can offer your kids the skills they need to follow their passions and succeed (as they define it) in the world. Although it is geared to homeschoolers, most of this can be applied to children who attend school. She discusses Montessori, Charlotte Mason, A Thomas Jefferson Education (a form of classical education,) and unschooling. She has researched how many highly successful people were educated as they grew up. Although all were homeschooled for some period of time, many also went to school for awhile as well. She discusses people like Thomas Edison, Teddy Roosevelt, Pierre Curie, Agatha Christie, Margaret Leakey, and many, many others. The bottom line is to help your child find their passions and teach them the creativity and skills to attain their goals.

 

If you follow the philosophies in this book you may not have to send him to school once you start your clinicals.

 

My son is totally resistant to learning anything formal. So a couple times a week we play games. He loves them because they're just games that we co-operate on. He doesn't know that they're reading/math games.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Family-Math-Jean-Kerr-Stenmark/dp/0912511060/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1329282927&sr=1-1

 

http://www.lovetolearn.net/catalog/product/07073

 

Here's something I just read tonight: http://zenhabits.net/kid-skills/


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#3 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 10:25 PM
 
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Lori,

 

First let me say that I do not believe you are failing your son. Look at how much you are doing to help him. Do you know how many people I know who have the mentality "kids are not even required to go to school at this age, why bother teaching them anything?" Clearly you are going above and beyond trying to customize his curriculum to his learning needs. This is huge, I wish every child could be taught with this much thought. Some times something that really helps is not only discovering what learning methods work best but also what kind of curriculum a child relates to. For instance, my son (who is also in Kindergarten) gets bored quick just answering equations, but loves when the curriculum has pictures representing each individual problem. Not only does it help him visualize the equation better but having colorful pictures often makes solving the math problem more fun. Additionally, I have found that he will be beyond uninterested in reading certain stories that he is capable of reading and therefore when it comes time to discuss he has not absorbed anything. 

 

I guess what I am trying to say is that it sounds like what you are doing is awesome and that as time goes on you can develop curriculum more custom to what will be best from your son. I don't know you or your son and the last thing I want to do is to say "do A, B and C and everything will change." Every child is different, but just the fact that you are putting so much effort into your son I do not believe that you could fail him. Hang in there mama.

 

SundayCrepes that is fascinating about Finland and Sweden.

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#4 of 24 Old 02-14-2012, 10:25 PM
 
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How soon is he likely to go into a school?  I think you probably have lots of time to relax and have fun with all this instead of being concerned about getting the right curricula. Turning more to easy going games could help in both reading and math.

 

He's still young for reading, but from what you say, it seems to me he's doing pretty well at it. I'd try to ease out of curricula a bit and more into just enjoying some of the great picture books that have fun text that he can relate to - reading to him and pointing out words, and also letting him read some of it. Reading can make a lot more sense to him if it's in a meaningful context that has some appeal to him. 

 

As for math, he's awfully young for all that too. I wonder if maybe it's coming across to abstractly for him - and again, he's awfully young for all this. What if you show him, for instance, in a casual and fun way, that if you hold up 2 fingers and then hold up 3 more, you can count and see that you're holding up 5 fingers, etc., and then tell him an easy way of saying all that is that 2 fingers plus 3 fingers are 5 fingers. In other words, I'm just suggesting that you keep showing him exactly what the use of numbers is all about rather than going over so soon to just using numbers and terms such as "plus" or "equals." Be careful that your anxiety or concern is not showing or coming into play - that can really throw a monkey wrench into something that could be a lot more natural feeling and easy for him if he doesn't feel put on the spot. 

 

I don't think it's so unusual for a child to not be able to recall one thing they just learned from a lesson - he probably can't sort things out that easily at his age. I think he's going to be able to learn easier when he doesn't feel there's so much attention on his learning - it's quite common. And come to think of it - I just remembered! - I've heard many comments over the years about how hard it can be for 6 yr. olds. Here are some threads I bookmarked:

 

Reading with an almost 6 yr. old

 

6 yr. old not reading

 

developmentally ready?

 

well...

 

- Lillian

 

 

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#5 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 12:14 AM
 
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My DD is the same age.  I wonder if some of his "I don't know"s and lack of answers come from his personality.  Either he doesn't care about what you are teaching so he zones out, or his knee-jerk answer is "I don't know".  My DD is a bit of a perfectionist.  It has taken almost the whole "school year" for my DD to stop saying "I don't know" first thing to lots of stuff.  It isn't that she doesn't know - she just isn't 100% confident and certain that that is the exact answer to whatever question.... Anyway, now I don't always have to prompt with "try a guess" or "it's okay if you don't know, but let's see if you can think of something that might fit" , etc.

 

My DS is younger but very opposite.  He talks before he thinks.  If we're reading something he doesn't care about he just goes away somewhere else and does something else.  If he were officially school-age I can see him sticking around but zoning out and not knowing what was done.

 

Can your son learn poems or songs he LIKES?  Can he count how many baseball cards you are giving him, and compare how many you are giving to your DH?  Things like that?  I would try bringing things really deeply into his interests and seeing if he still doesn't "get it".  If he didn't understand things or care then, then I would look into things more thoroughly.  If he gets it when it applies to stuff he really cares about, I'd figure he's just very specific in his interests and drive, and find some way to do unit studies or something that can build off what he really cares about.

 

HTH

 

Tjej

 

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#6 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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My 6 year old:

 

  • Is progressing on reading but I certainly wouldn't say she was "reading" yet.
  • Enjoys math but has not memorized math facts except maybe X + 1. If you ask her for 3 + 2 she'll count it out. Does not count by 2s or 5s. Working on counting by 10s but honestly, I can tell this is more a memorization thing - she doesn't understand place value yet. None of this is because I haven't tried to teach them. She's just not there yet.
  • If you ask her to tell you what she's learned, she will say "I don't know." In DD's case, it's not attitude or resistance. I think it's just not a skill she has yet - to summarize a lesson or discussion or even a story (if I ask her what a story is about, she'll just name the main character: "A princess!" but cannot say "it's about a princess who saves a boy from a dragon."

 

Listen, I don't know for sure either, but here are my suspicions:

 

  • DD is 6 years old. There's a reason they start formal schooling in Europe at *7*. While some 6 year olds are ready to buckle down and do the kind of formal learning we associate with school, it's not until age 7 that the majority of the bell curve of children are ready. 6 year olds are still focused on play. Doesn't mean we can't do formal learning with them, but I think we have to understand where they are developmentally.
  • DD is right brained. They tend to read later than left-brained kids. If their love of reading isn't destroyed before they pick it up, right brained kids end up reading just as well as left brained kids by the age of ... oh, I think 9 or 10.

 

Your kid actually sounds right on Kindergarten level, I believe. Mine is declared a first grader, and she is behind that (but surely ahead of Kindergarten, *shrug*). If I had to place her in school, I guess I'd put her in K. However, I think that by 3rd grade or so, she'll be "caught up" for the most part. I am hearing that kids are being asked to do much more advanced work than we did at their ages - I remember 2nd grade was about multiplication facts (up to 12 x 12) but I think these days kids are doing long division (which I did in 4th grade). My take on that is that I don't think the kids are UNDERSTANDING these advanced things yet. I'm cool with leaving long division for a couple more years. Yes, that does pose the risk that, should we need to enroll her in school, she'll be behind, but I think some of this stuff is crazy-making. I am hearing from so many places that parents are struggling to help their kids with their homework, math in particular - and it's not because they don't remember how to do long division, but because schools are teaching these skills in odd ways that even teachers are having to review in detail the night before teaching their second graders the lesson for the day. So if you have to enroll your kid a few years down the road, yes, he'll struggle with some of this stuff, but he'll surely be in good company. That's my opinion, anyway. I don't see any good to be gained by pushing him beyond where he is right now.


Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

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#7 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 09:43 AM
 
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OK, I'm forum crashing here (must have clicked on the wrong forum!) because my kids are in public school.

 

Given that I'd say that reading is something that he has until the end of 1st grade to grasp, and 2nd grade in schools is largely consolidating those skills. Considering he's 4-5 months into a K curriculum, it sounds to me like he's doing well. A lot of reading is developmental. Our son was reading at about the same level by the end of K, and didn't really take off in reading until 2nd grade. If you look at the Ambleside curriculum, they don't try to teach phonics until Year 1.

 

Second, for math, it sounds to me like he may not have the concept of one-to-one correspondence down fully. What that means is that he's not linking the number symbol or name to a concrete quantity. You can't master 3+2 until you know firmly what 3 is and what 2 is. The fact that he doesn't reach for manipulatives is what makes me say this. What I'd recommend is backing off on the addition, and working on more skills on counting and representing numbers and patterns. The good news is that you can do a lot of this with board games and other "fun" activities. Games like Chutes & Ladders or Hi Ho Cheery O are great for developing one-to-one correspondence. I like Cranium Cadoo too and there are different ways to play. (My kids have aged out of that game, but they still like it.) Sorry! is another one, but it takes a bit more emotional maturity to handle it. You can also build legos with him or bake and have him count out things to give you. "I need 3 blue legos. OK, now I need 2 red ones." For skip counting, you can work on patterns with him -- have him use the legos or unifix cubes to make A-B patterns, then A-B-C. Skip counting is a pretty advanced skill for K (one of my kids could do it, the other couldn't until 1st or 2nd).

 

Finally, don't borrow trouble. He doesn't sound like he's behind at all for a kindergartner. Don't go away from something you love just because you're afraid of what might come in the future. You can cross that bridge when you come to it.


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#8 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 10:24 AM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

OK, I'm forum crashing here (must have clicked on the wrong forum!) because my kids are in public school.

 

 

Seriously, I wish all public schooling parents I knew could respond to a homeschooling post the way you did.  I mean, I know this is MDC and the majority are more open-minded mamas--so it's not ENTIRELY shocking, but man, what a nice thing to see today.

 

OP: you have had some great advice here.  I think you need to look at your goals for your child's learning experience and see if what you are currently doing is going in that direction.  You might be pushing harder now than you really have to.


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#9 of 24 Old 02-15-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

OK, I'm forum crashing here (must have clicked on the wrong forum!) because my kids are in public school.

 

Given that I'd say that reading is something that he has until the end of 1st grade to grasp, and 2nd grade in schools is largely consolidating those skills. Considering he's 4-5 months into a K curriculum, it sounds to me like he's doing well. A lot of reading is developmental. Our son was reading at about the same level by the end of K, and didn't really take off in reading until 2nd grade. If you look at the Ambleside curriculum, they don't try to teach phonics until Year 1.

 

Second, for math, it sounds to me like he may not have the concept of one-to-one correspondence down fully. What that means is that he's not linking the number symbol or name to a concrete quantity. You can't master 3+2 until you know firmly what 3 is and what 2 is. The fact that he doesn't reach for manipulatives is what makes me say this. What I'd recommend is backing off on the addition, and working on more skills on counting and representing numbers and patterns. The good news is that you can do a lot of this with board games and other "fun" activities. Games like Chutes & Ladders or Hi Ho Cheery O are great for developing one-to-one correspondence. I like Cranium Cadoo too and there are different ways to play. (My kids have aged out of that game, but they still like it.) Sorry! is another one, but it takes a bit more emotional maturity to handle it. You can also build legos with him or bake and have him count out things to give you. "I need 3 blue legos. OK, now I need 2 red ones." For skip counting, you can work on patterns with him -- have him use the legos or unifix cubes to make A-B patterns, then A-B-C. Skip counting is a pretty advanced skill for K (one of my kids could do it, the other couldn't until 1st or 2nd).

 

Finally, don't borrow trouble. He doesn't sound like he's behind at all for a kindergartner. Don't go away from something you love just because you're afraid of what might come in the future. You can cross that bridge when you come to it.




Well said! As a homeschooling mama I think you are being pretty tough on yourself. It sounds like you are a great mom who is very thoughtfully homeschooling and trying to meet your kiddo's needs.  As a former K/1 classroom teacher, I love the suggestions given by Lynn. I used to make game boards too and use them, starting with the number one on a grid paper and moving around it until you reach 100.  Then get a dice (or two) and some buttons.  You can use it for all kinds of variations (using a single dice, two dice and adding the numbers, two dice and subtracting, counting by 2s as many times as the dice roll, etc).  For counting by 2s, 5s, and 10s, I always made it part of my class's routine and added an action (same action each time).  The actions often crossed the midline to engage more areas of the brain- so punching air across while counting to twos, touching opposite knees while lifting them high for 5s, and simple jumps for 10s.  Engaging movements always helped!  When they learn the pattern and eventually can put the concept of the concrete quantity together, you will see true understanding of the skip counting, not just the verbal act itself.  Often that happens in 1st grade.  This is a fantastic book for helping with mathematics concepts for all ages! http://store.math.com/Books-1000-0762102330-How_Math_Works_How_It_Works.html Not a curriculum but a guide to understanding the concepts and helping your kids learn them.

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#10 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 09:56 AM
 
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I agree with the PPs--sounds like you're doing a great job!  I don't really have much to add to your main question, but had another suggestion for working with skip counting that I used with my daughter.  I drew a line of squares with chalk outside, basically like hopscotch but in a straight line.  Then I numbered the boxes from 1 to 20.  I also wrote ZERO before the first square.  Then she would start on the 0, and I'd have her jump to every other square to count by 2s, or every 3rd square for 3s, etc.  It took awhile for the idea to click, but eventually she got it and she had a blast doing the jumping game.  She still doesn't have skip counting memorized, but she gets the idea of it which is much more important to me right now.  I also used the little jumping numberline for basic addition and subtraction too to teach how to use a numberline.  So for 3 + 2, she would go to the number 3 and then move 2 squares to the number 5.  If nothing else, at least it gets your little one outside and moving!  :)  Oh, and for tally marks, I just played a zillion games of tic tac toe and used it to keep score, and had her make the marks sometimes.  She still doesn't entirely get it, but knows what they look like, what they're called, and what they're purpose is.

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#11 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 10:02 AM
 
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Originally Posted by ILikeLogic View Post

Lori,

 

 Do you know how many people I know who have the mentality "kids are not even required to go to school at this age, why bother teaching them anything?" 

 


Sheepish.gif  This is me-- in a way.  I don't know about the "anything" part, but I do assess what they are learning based on what is expected of them at that age.  And if they already know it?  Well, play away, girls!  

 

In our state, (public school) kindergarten math is counting from 1 to 100, recognizing and extrapolating patterns, and naming shapes.  There is also telling time and counting money.  At kindergarten age, they should already know that written words stand for something, and how to write their name.  I find those requirements online (and I pay attention to them--sometimes!)

 

You ask whether it is a developmental thing or the curriculum.  It could be a little bit of both.  Maybe he is bored.  Maybe he freezes up when asked to recall things.  It could be a combination of all of that.  Ways we have reinforced math skills have been board games (with dice and often money), allowance, card games, a big old clock on the wall, wooden shape blocks ("picture blocks"), and on and on.  I tend to listen to my girls for clues as to where they are at rather than ask them point blank (this is really easy in our house, but other kids might be quieter about their discoveries.)  

 

When I was a kid and my parents asked me some question, my brain really was blank suddenly.  But also, for young homeschoolers, this can be an aspect of the parent-child relationship that is brand new.  And frustration in the parent, if palpable, can be interpreted as something wrong with the child, from his POV.  So, with kindergarteners I think this is important to be aware of.  As a parent you do not need the same kind of tools teachers need to assess where your son is. 

 

I am also risking some arguments coming my way, but as practical a goal as it is, trying to keep kids mostly at grade level so that they could fit back into the public school system at some point in the future (just in case, of course) can derail some of the best advantages of homeschooling--working at the level our kids are ready for.

 


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#12 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 11:58 AM
 
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I am also risking some arguments coming my way, but as practical a goal as it is, trying to keep kids mostly at grade level so that they could fit back into the public school system at some point in the future (just in case, of course) can derail some of the best advantages of homeschooling--working at the level our kids are ready for.

 


No arguments coming from me - I totally agree. Homeschooling provides the opportunity for learning to be a lot more natural and inspiring. wink1.gif     Lillian

 

 

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#13 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 03:44 PM
 
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I am also risking some arguments coming my way, but as practical a goal as it is, trying to keep kids mostly at grade level so that they could fit back into the public school system at some point in the future (just in case, of course) can derail some of the best advantages of homeschooling--working at the level our kids are ready for.

I disagree. Keeping your kids on grade level or above is insurance that no matter what happens in your family's life.. your kids are more likely to be successful. If you suffer divorce or if both parents die.. what are the chances that your children will remain homeschooled? My kid's guardian in our will is an awesome lady, but she would not have homeschooled.. she has a career that she adores.. the kind that really makes a difference in the world. It would be hugely unfair of me to demand she give that up to raise my kids.
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#14 of 24 Old 02-16-2012, 04:44 PM
 
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I disagree. Keeping your kids on grade level or above is insurance that no matter what happens in your family's life.. your kids are more likely to be successful. If you suffer divorce or if both parents die.. what are the chances that your children will remain homeschooled? My kid's guardian in our will is an awesome lady, but she would not have homeschooled.. she has a career that she adores.. the kind that really makes a difference in the world. It would be hugely unfair of me to demand she give that up to raise my kids.

 

This is one of those things you have to weigh for yourself. In my case, we chose guardians who were comfortable and experienced with homeschooling. Their kids mostly attended school, but they did homeschool for two years and are comfortable with the prospect. We have life insurance policies payable to them that would compensate them for any reduction in their family income if they ended up needing to homeschool our kids. And in my case the risk of both me and dh dying in short course and leaving the kids without parents and unprepared for a transition to school is just so unlikely. We almost never travel together. When we're together, we're with the kids. Typically at home.

 

I think it's possible to get overly concerned about astronomically unlikely occurrences to the extent that your contingency planning negatively affects your life. Doing battle over reading or handwriting to keep kids at or above grade level might, depending on the issues and the personalities involved, give a 50% risk of damage to a child's self-image as a capable learner, interest in learning and relationship with the parent. Compared to that risk, a 0.05% risk of being orphaned and needing to enter the school system with no preparation phase and *not* finding creative caring people within that system to assist with whatever lags might be present ... well, 10,000 times less likely. I'm going to live my daily life giving the first risk precedence over the second.

 

Miranda

 

 


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#15 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 06:52 PM
 
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I am also risking some arguments coming my way, but as practical a goal as it is, trying to keep kids mostly at grade level so that they could fit back into the public school system at some point in the future (just in case, of course) can derail some of the best advantages of homeschooling--working at the level our kids are ready for.

 

Quote

 

Originally Posted by philomom View Post

I disagree. Keeping your kids on grade level or above is insurance that no matter what happens in your family's life.. your kids are more likely to be successful. If you suffer divorce or if both parents die.. what are the chances that your children will remain homeschooled? My kid's guardian in our will is an awesome lady, but she would not have homeschooled.. she has a career that she adores.. the kind that really makes a difference in the world. It would be hugely unfair of me to demand she give that up to raise my kids.

I'm not quite sure what you are disagreeing with.  One of the best advantages of homeschooling *is* that you can work at your child's readiness level.  Some parents *do* find that keeping their child on par with schooled children their age *does* derail their ability to work with their kids on their personal level.  Others, of course, have no difficulty at all.  (My house included, though not necessarily by design.)

 

I don't think you are disagreeing with my comment (above) that the goal of parity is a practical goal-- your post shows you agree with this.

 

Do you instead disagree with any (unintentional) implication that parents *should* make working at a child's level the priority over public school parity?  This is my best guess.  I do have my own personal opinions, of course, but I don't believe I made a statement to imply that one is the better priority.  Parents should be aware, though, that for some kids at some times in some subjects, these two goals can be at odds.
 

 


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#16 of 24 Old 02-17-2012, 11:53 PM
 
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Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

I am also risking some arguments coming my way, but as practical a goal as it is, trying to keep kids mostly at grade level so that they could fit back into the public school system at some point in the future (just in case, of course) can derail some of the best advantages of homeschooling--working at the level our kids are ready for.

 

 

 

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Originally Posted by philomom View Post


I disagree. Keeping your kids on grade level or above is insurance that no matter what happens in your family's life.. your kids are more likely to be successful. If you suffer divorce or if both parents die.. what are the chances that your children will remain homeschooled? My kid's guardian in our will is an awesome lady, but she would not have homeschooled.. she has a career that she adores.. the kind that really makes a difference in the world. It would be hugely unfair of me to demand she give that up to raise my kids.


 

I agree with both of these quotes.  The reality is that if you are trying to keep your child at least at grade level, you run the risk of pushing them into a position they're not going to function well at--which really defeats a great number of the advantages of homeschooling.  

 

But it's true that if you follow the child and your freedom to capitalize on learning where your children are interested and taking advantage of that to teach what is relevant to their interests--then you DO run the risk of them being off-track from the schools and their grade.

 

These are just facts.  You have to weigh how serious each one is to you and which one is more important... or likely.  I know in our case, we have FINALLY gotten life insurance--and enough of it that I know that if one or both of my kids parents die, my kids will not be forced to go to school.  Some people don't need life insurance for that because they have supportive family, friends or potential guardians.  We don't have that (the would-be-guardians, but they'd never afford it without the life insurance :/ ).

 

So I don't really worry too much about keeping my kids at grade level.  And really, maybe I'm comfortable saying that because at the moment, my son is at or above grade level in most areas.


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#17 of 24 Old 02-20-2012, 11:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much everyone!  I do feel a lot better.  I do feel my son is on par for kindergarten, though probably not post No-Child-Left-Behind public school 2012....maybe kinder when I was in kinder in 1984-1985 where, according to my mom, all I did was play and she grumbled about that eyesroll.gif.  Maybe Waldorf-kinder level.  I do wish public school was more like that now in many ways.  I have a bunch of books on order from amazon and the library and some games saved on my wish list at amazon.  In Singapore math we've just skipped the rest of the lessons on that unit and moved on to the next unit, which is on sequence, aka first, second, third.  I went to LivingMath.net and got some great books from the library to add on and doing some Life of Fred-Apples too.  There is no sense in frustrating him now...and I do think he's just not quite developmentally and emotionally ready for it yet.  Same with reading mastery.  I'm trying on working hard to not freak out so much.  Charlotte Mason, whose theories I agree with around 75% of the time, did recommend 6 or 7 for learning phonics (another poster pointed this out already).  Ambleside Online's Year 0 just has wonderful books to read---that's it!   Waldorf is also the same with regard to when to learn reading and I like much of the Waldorf theory as well.  I will definitely try to relax both math and phonics practice somewhat. 

 

It is true I would like him as on-par with public school as much as possible, since I don't know what tomorrow will bring per se.  However I don't think this is going to be completely possible....he just isn't going to fit in to public school mode on every level.  It is true he may have to go for a few years at some point....if he does, then we will have to deal with what he lacks then.  I'm not even IN the nursing program yet LOL!  I have to finish the pre-reqs and apply....and pray that my titers check out (that's a whole other topic elsewhere).  My school has at least a 2 year long waiting list, although I could try to go to a school in a different county.  So I'm, as usual, doing a pre-emptive strike I guess and stressing myself more where I don't need to.

 

FTR, I am already divorced.  I thought for sure sure divorce meant that the dream of homeschooling would not happen after all...their dad pretty much cut us off, moved to another state, etc..  I had started looking into charter schools, had him enrolled in a few.  Then I got the job I have now a month before the school year started, where I work 40 hours but it's broken into 3.5 days a week.  I am religious and I believe it was an answer to a prayer.  I want to make the most of what time I have with them and keep them as one of my focuses.


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#18 of 24 Old 02-20-2012, 11:49 AM
 
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FWIW, there are loads of people (I am one myself) who have faith in delayed academics-- that kids might actually learn this stuff better if the academic route were delayed for several years.  Waldorf puts one version of this theory into practice.  

 

I'm not saying that to encourage you to necessarily drop anything you are doing now, but mainly to remove a sizeable chunk of the stress that's weighing you down.  Don't be too discouraged by your son's apparent lack of readiness.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSilver View Post

FWIW, there are loads of people (I am one myself) who have faith in delayed academics-- that kids might actually learn this stuff better if the academic route were delayed for several years.  Waldorf puts one version of this theory into practice.  

 

I'm not saying that to encourage you to necessarily drop anything you are doing now, but mainly to remove a sizeable chunk of the stress that's weighing you down.  Don't be too discouraged by your son's apparent lack of readiness.


That reminded me of some of the stories I've heard from a man I know who's helped a lot of kids over the past decades get from one stage of their education to another - mostly from high school to college. Wes "worked in public schools for 31 years, mostly in high schools, and in a private school for one year. He taught science, math, and English, and directed programs for gifted and 'at-risk' kids. He wised up in 1993, left the system, and has since then directed Beach High School, which consists of a home office and an attitude – the attitude expressed in this book, Forging Paths: Beyond Traditional Schooling." 

 

Here's his essay on Self Directed Learning.

 


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What jumped out to me was 'tally marks' ... we just switched to Teaching Textbooks Math 5 for DS, who is 12 and has NLD.  Math has been hard for him and he is now a PRO at tally marks!  He couldn't get them for the longest time.  I'm not saying this to say your son might have a LD but just saying that not knowing how to use tally marks hasn't harmed my son, and now he knows them.  He's 12 - when he's an adult and needs to use them for something, nobody will care *when* he learned them.

 

We also had GREAT success using touchmath for addition/subtraction.  It's basically how I do it, so it made sense to me.  My son was in his third year of MUS and still couldn't add/subtract without blocks.  He took to touchmath very quickly.  You might want to check it out. 

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It is true I would like him as on-par with public school as much as possible, since I don't know what tomorrow will bring per se.  However I don't think this is going to be completely possible....he just isn't going to fit in to public school mode on every level.  It is true he may have to go for a few years at some point....if he does, then we will have to deal with what he lacks then. 

 

It sounds like you're in a good place now.  As for worrying about public school equivalency just in case -- to be fair, not even 'worrying' but just 'keeping in mind' -- it can help to remember that MOST kids who are IN the public school system have tons of holes and delays too.  Just because they've been in the system with particular curricular expectations doesn't mean that they're all meeting those expectations!

 

A few years ago I was looking over standardized test results and analysis for our province.  I can't remember the exact numbers, but they were shocking enough that the precision doesn't matter, just the generality.  Basically, a student was considered to be 'successful' on the test (I think this was for grade 3) if they achieved something like 60% on the test.  A school was considered to be successful if like half of the kids had satisfactory results on the test. Some tests, provincewide, had like a 30-40% 'successful' rate, and this was considered to be acceptable!

 

So by absolutely no means does the curricular lesson plans mean an expectation of *mastery* at any particular grade level.  In other words, if your child ends up having to go to public school for a couple years and is 'behind' or lacking in any particular area... he will NOT be the only one in the class!  :)


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#22 of 24 Old 02-21-2012, 01:23 PM
 
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I do like to keep tabs on what our public schools include in their curriculum, if for no other reason than for ideas.  If I look under math expectations and see that extrapolating patterns is covered (A A B A A B A A __ ) then I bring home some beads that the girls can play with.  I see that they cover the names of shapes, so I bring home some wooden shape blocks so that not only do they find out the names but (more importantly I think) learn how the shapes interact by making pictures.  We play board games with dice for simple addition (not on purpose, but it works!)

 

Some areas I know we are behind.  My oldest, who has always struggled with fine motor control, is behind in her writing, but a combination of biding our time and bringing home sparkle-covered notebooks has been enough to get her practicing and make some significant progress.  Other areas the girls are way, way ahead.  DD1, 7yo, is (by happenstance) understanding multiplication and doing it in her head.  Also, our interests have included subjects like astronomy and Greek mythology and I'm sure they understand way more than the average first grader on those subjects.  We also raise chickens (and soon ducks) and we garden.  Learning to read, in our house anyway, just happens and doesn't need teaching.

 

So, knowing what is included in the curriculum can be helpful for the reason pp's mentioned and my reasons in this post, but they are not necessarily something that needs to be strictly adhered to.  Also, as I have attempted to show, they don't need to be approached in the same way.


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#23 of 24 Old 02-21-2012, 03:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
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It sounds like you're in a good place now.  As for worrying about public school equivalency just in case -- to be fair, not even 'worrying' but just 'keeping in mind' -- it can help to remember that MOST kids who are IN the public school system have tons of holes and delays too.  Just because they've been in the system with particular curricular expectations doesn't mean that they're all meeting those expectations!

 

A few years ago I was looking over standardized test results and analysis for our province.  I can't remember the exact numbers, but they were shocking enough that the precision doesn't matter, just the generality.  Basically, a student was considered to be 'successful' on the test (I think this was for grade 3) if they achieved something like 60% on the test.  A school was considered to be successful if like half of the kids had satisfactory results on the test. Some tests, provincewide, had like a 30-40% 'successful' rate, and this was considered to be acceptable!

 

So by absolutely no means does the curricular lesson plans mean an expectation of *mastery* at any particular grade level.  In other words, if your child ends up having to go to public school for a couple years and is 'behind' or lacking in any particular area... he will NOT be the only one in the class!  :)


This is soooo true!  I don't put stock into standardized testing the way it's done today and I definitely can see that my son would likely be in good company if and when this happens.  If testing was done the way it's done now back when I was younger I never would have finished school.  I was so poor in math and I never got any help sadly.  If i had known that I needed to do testing just to be able to graduate I would have been much worse of a basket case than I already was.  Anyway...its true that my son may struggle a little but like you said, kids raised solely in the public school system often struggle as well.

 


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#24 of 24 Old 02-22-2012, 07:08 PM
 
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I've read most of the replies and it sounds like you've already gotten alot of the encouragement and support that you need to reassure that you are not failing your son!  I wanted to offer a couple of practical tips that helped my ds.  DS1 turned 6 in August and he is in K according to our school district cut-off, but I would count him as a semester ahead.  So we are about to finish K.  Anyway, ds began to read when he was 4, but due to lack of my knowledge in how to encourage his reading, he really stalled out until we started homeschooling last year.  He became very good at sounding out short words, but as far as putting a sentence together and being "smooth," it wasn't happening and he was frustrated.  Two things helped.  We started using Progressive Phonics.  You can choose exactly what level to begin with.  You read part of the story and your ds reads the big red words that he is supposed to be learning.  It's fun for ds because we do it TOGETHER.  I read with great enthusiasm and he gets to insert his part.  We have worked our way from beginning up through intermediate and he almost never grumbles about it.  There did come a time half way into our year where he was just grumbling about everything.  It was all "too hard."  I was frustrated and so was he.  I thought the last thing I should do was take a break, but it was december, so I decided to just take a month off.  It was against everything I felt to be right.  I didn't think it would be wise to stop working when he was stalled out and complaining, but we did it.  Took the month off...entirely.  The only thing we did that month was I read to him.  About three weeks into the month, I was reading "Frog and Toad" and there was a short page that had very simple words.  I told him, "You know, I bet you could read most of these words...give it a try."  He didn't fuss, he just looked at it and started sounding out the words.  The next thing I knew he had read three pages and was so proud of himself!

 

I'm not saying take a month off and your ds will be reading, but it might not hurt just to ease up on the academics and just breathe.  Take the stress out of the equation and see if he makes a leap while your'e not looking!

 

 


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