Older kids. . . how much "teaching" do you do? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 7 Old 03-30-2012, 07:15 AM - Thread Starter
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I am getting frustrated with teaching my oldest dd.  I don't plan on sending her back to ps until high school, and that is only if she still wants to go.  However, I think we must be at some sort of transistion point.  I am wondering what works for other families with middle school hs children.  

 

For example:

Math. . . I never thought I would resort to video math instruction because it is my strong subject.  However, I think I may start.  If I am teaching her something that she ends up not "getting" right away, she gets very upset.  Usually, the reason for her confusion is that she forgot some minor detail that we had covered before.  When I notice that (esp. if I can anticipate it) I will do a brief review of some key concepts first, but it doesn't always work out that way.  I have always tried to explain or demonstrate the "why" of math, but it seems that the "whys" we encounter now require an explanation that is beyond her understanding.  This frustrates her.  She has always been a perfectionist, and "not understanding" something has always been hard for her.  I thought we had moved on, but this last week has me questioning myself.  

 

English. . . I know that this is my weak area.  After reading other people's posts about SWI, I went ahead and started that this last month.  This is our first jump into video lecture style learning.  I watch them too and I feel that my role is that of support and further explanation if necessary.  It is working well so far.  

 

Because of our success with the writing program, I am toying with her doing math this way too.  However, she already does Rosetta Stone for Spanish too.  I am starting to feel like I am sending her away to learn (much like a ps).  I expect that we would continue to do literature, grammar, history, and science together.  

 

Does anyone else find themselves becoming more of a coach/tutor vs the "teacher" as their kids get older?

 

Amy


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#2 of 7 Old 03-30-2012, 02:36 PM
 
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As a former teacher I really believe in the teacher as a facilitator anyway... not the "disseminator of information".  And I think middle school is probably the best place to start doing that if you haven't already.  Help her define her goals (they might change) and then help her plan the work of meeting that goal by giving her access to the things she needs.  If something isn't working for her, talk to her about how she feels about it and work together to find what works.  If you're concerned about the "sending her away" thing, talk to her about that.  At middle school, I think these are conversations you could actually have with her.

 

I'm a second career teacher and before that, a project manager--so I look at it through that lens: research, plan, execute, review.  Research what's available to meet the goals, gather up the resources (enroll in classes, check out books or make a booklist, etc., find groups or a mentor with specific knowledge), plan out the tasks, do them (with you there for support and encouragement--and access) and then look at it when your done and decide what she and you liked, didn't like, what went well, what didn't go so well, etc.

 

Repeat.  :)


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#3 of 7 Old 03-30-2012, 05:24 PM
 
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As a mom to older kids, I've done very little direct teaching when my kids got beyond age 10 or so. I place myself more as a facilitator and trouble-shooter. I'm the person who facilitates their goal-setting, planning, resource-procurement and the structuring of their learning. They're mostly in charge of this part of it, but I'm there helping them brainstorm and distill things to a workable plan. After that I'm just the go-to person if my kids are struggling to understand something. Now, my youngest is 9 and really relishes the one-on-one time we spend together while she works through things, and she's an enjoyable kid to guide in this way -- receptive, not anxious, enthusiastic -- so I can see that with her I might continue this longer. We'll see. My older kids were more like your dd, though: prone to anger and frustration when I was at all involved in guiding them. So I left it to them, and they did pretty well. 

 

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#4 of 7 Old 03-30-2012, 06:43 PM
 
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For me... It depends.  :)

 

I've always believed in the "parent as facilitator rather than lecturer/teacher", but of course there are some curricula that require more parental involvement until the child is old enough or mature enough to self-direct through it. 

 

Plus, my son is Aspie and ADHD and so has needed a lot more hand-holding and parental direction than other kids might.

 

That being said, once he was mature enough to do mostly self-led curricula, he really took to that more than he had ever taken to "being taught".  

 

He's doing "grade 8" this year.  He's done the SWI level B course and loved it, did pretty well too.  He's doing LiveOnline math (pre-algebra) using the video course option and loving that.  He's just finished an Intellego Unit Study on WWII -- which is written to the parent, but he just read it and went with it on his own.  He did NOEO Physics III and has started Chemistry III.  Even his French is done independently.

 

Of course I check up and check in on what he's doing, and I'll step in and "teach" if there's something important he's missed. But mostly I'm just keeping an eye on it for purposes of scheduling, making sure he actually did it and isn't lying so that he can play Minecraft sooner, etc.  :p

 

Now all THAT being said... No sooner have we got into a routine where pretty much all of his "school" is self-directed curricula, I discovered the Well-Trained Mind folks Writing With Skill and Advanced Language Lessons -- the follow on courses to Writing With Ease and First Language Lessons.  (Don't bother looking for the ALL course on their site, it's been indefinitely delayed while they focus on some technical issues and also on developing the full WWS course.  They offered the first few finished chapters for interested folks in the meantime).  

 

DS is 'behind' in language stuff -- great reader, delayed writer.  Common in boys, especially common in aspies ADHD's!  The SWI did a lot for the writing component.  Then WWS seems to fit the bill for what he can do next, it's so nice and structured and step by step.  And he can do it independently.


But the ALL... it's teacher-led.  It's fully scripted, in fact.  Like, rigorously scripted.  Something that I *think* he would have balked at, rolled his eyes at, whined and complained about when he was younger.

 

Now, he's ASKING to do these lessons.  Last night he even asked to do an EXTRA lesson at bedtime, just for the heck of it!  He gleefully goes along with "repeat the definition of a collective noun with me 3 times" and "read out loud all the progressive tenses of 'grab'"... 

 

I don't know what it is about it.  But I suspect that at least in part, it's because it involves me.  He's at that precarious age where they're trying to split off from parents, but also desperately clinging to them.  In part due to his issues, our relationship has often been... rocky... and this grammar course is a pleasant time we spend together.

 

Maybe it's partly because it's scripted, so it's not like it's actually me doing the teaching.  When I'm reading lines written for me, with tips included right along for how to help the kid if they're not finding the answers, I'm much less likely to get all frustrated and say things like "gah!  You should know this by now!  What's wrong with you?" and roll my eyes and all that great stuff.  

 

So -- my advice is really just to go with the flow.  If they like the self-directed stuff, great!  If they want more mom-as-teacher, great!  And don't be surprised if (and when) it CHANGES!!  :)


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#5 of 7 Old 03-30-2012, 10:37 PM
 
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My DS is 11 1/2 and for the most part I don't 'teach'.  I DO seek out material that he might find interesting and make it available to him.  DS has a passion for all things French and I keep my eye out 'French' things.  He is also into the Arts and I keep my eyes peeled for things in this area as well.  This could fall under new supplies, an interesting book etc.

 

We started out unschooling so there was nothing to 'direct teach', a few years ago DS started taking online classes for math then science.  I was going to add in something like SWI for writing but decided against it.  He is doing Rosetta Stone- French,sigh.  Of course there is free reading and some gently suggested reading from dear ol' mom.  History gets covered but I'm looking for a new direction for next year.

 

DS wouldn't react well to a direct teaching method at all, mom teaching, teacher teaching, whatever.  That just isn't his style.  I don't think he sees a video or online learning as a direct teaching method.  I'm ok with that.  He is able to find his way on his own and it works in this house.

 

There are outside enrichment type classes that DS thrives in however.  He loves swim team and takes direction just fine from a 'coach'.  He can excel in theater and arts programs.

 

I see DS continuing on this self education path for years to come.  I don't see him in a traditional classroom until he enters university and then I see him seeking out a program that allows for self study and independent study as an option for many classes. (even something that is project based vs lecture based)

 


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#6 of 7 Old 03-31-2012, 04:43 PM
 
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Definitely more of a facilitator than a teacher, especially because I barely finished high school, and really don't remember much of anything I learned in school (a main reason for homeschooling smile.gif ). There are few subjects that I could actually feel comfortable saying I teach. We research together, discuss, do projects.... And then there are the Language Arts and Math worksheets that we do together for the most part, because I hate having to check work later, and rather check and correct as we go.


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#7 of 7 Old 03-31-2012, 07:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the input!  It made me feel better.  When she started hs (grade 3), I felt like a "facilitator" instead of a teacher except when introducing a new skill.  DD has always been a big part of the decision making regarding what/how she learns.  She has always been very independent.  I don't know why, but I started becoming a "teacher" this year and I think that is what is backfiring.  Just because she is doing harder stuff now doesn't mean she needs me to change my role.  She has needed a bit more explicit instruction in some areas, but maybe like a pp said, the video instruction isn't the same as MOM doing it.  But, I was feeling guilty/neglectful about using video vs me.  Thank you for reassuring me.

 

Amy


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