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#1 of 9 Old 05-12-2012, 07:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Dd has been hs'd for the last 3yrs, grades 1-3. I'm not sure if it's a personality clash, somethong she's going through developmentally, or what, but this year has totally been a wash greensad.gif

I started out with great goals but became more and more discouraged with her resistance to any sort of instruction for me and the whining/arguing that has been present every.single.day.

A couple of months ago, I totally washed my hands of instructing her and since she has only been responsible for the works she can do independently (English, Math). I ask her to do what would amount to about one hour of work if she is motivated and stays on task. In actuality, it drags on alllll daaaaay loooong with me continually "reminding" or asking what she has done and her continually redirecting my attention or "just having to do something first" or needing a snack or anything but doing the actual work.

She drags her feet and complains at even this minimal amount. I dont feel Im asking too much or for her to do work beyond her ability. She is upset that I no longer "instruct" her, but I felt so worn thin by what has become his huge coercive monster between us! When I sit down to show her how to do something, she literally argues with facts or just shuts down and says she cant or wont do it.

She is asked to do very few chores, maybe 15 minutes a day of contributingto the home. I know she is bored and would do better with more activities out of home, but I feel like geez we need to do the minimal RRRs and clean up the house before we go ________, kwim? In general, her attitude toward "work" of any kind has taken a huge downturn this year, and she is (always has been) extremely resistant to ideas/activities that come from outside her own inspiration. She is also a major perfectionist and HATES the learning curve of not having instant mastery of something.

I am miserable, hs-ing has been a really horrible experience for me this year. I wanted to send her to a new (waldorf) charter next year, but its not going to startup til the following school year, so we have a year gap.

I'm willing to hs again next year, but feeling gun shy. The other ps's here are not really an option. Hsing and freedom and noncoercive parenting are part of my values, but I just feel so upset by how things have gone this year and the dynamic that has developed between us. I think that I would be happier and dd and I would have a better relationship, too, if she were in out of home learning environment.

Because we use a public hs charter, we really cant fully unschool because of the learning plans that they require. I felt like asking for one hour of work a day was pretty reasonable. What to do? Write a contract together? Grade her and let her work speak for itself if she chooses not to complete it? Unschool anyways?

Encouragement needed!

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#2 of 9 Old 05-12-2012, 07:31 PM
 
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Do you "need" to go through the charter school or are you choosing to go through the charter school?  If you decide not to go with the charter you would have much more flexibility.  I know cost is an issue for some people and that many like having the lessons all planned out, but if it's not working it's not working.  Sometimes if the material is boring, (or even to hard) I know my kids will react by refusing to do anything.  We then take time off of whatever is causing the problem, or even abandon it entirely it makes things go much more smoothly.  

 

We love our library and use it like crazy.  I think it is the best resource, and has sparked many interesting learning endeavors in our home.   Unit studies based on something that she interested in may help.  We have done them on woodland plants, states, countries, animal groups, specific animals, ect.  Let her pick out what ever books she wants from the library and offer to read, read, and read some more.  If you get tired of reading pick out some wholesome books on tape, listen together (in the car, while making dinner, or where ever works) and talk about the books, maybe she would like to draw picture of her favorite parts.  If she gets bored just sitting and listening to you read let her draw  while she is listening (I have found this works really well with science or history).  Also remember that writing is important but it can wait while she learns to love to learn.  Talking, discussing, and living life are all learning opportunities.  Good luck!

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#3 of 9 Old 05-13-2012, 09:47 PM
 
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Is it possible to try a new curriculum? I know that some charters allow you freedom of choice.


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#4 of 9 Old 05-16-2012, 08:49 PM
 
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I'm not non-coercive, and I don't "ask" my son to work.  I stack up what he is to do.  I get him started and I am no further than seven feet from him until it's done.  I keep up a dialog with him and when he hits a snag, I am there to help him work his way through it.  There is no free time other than short timed breaks until it's done.   It's not optional.    Setting expectations this clearly has worked very well for him.  Instead of wasting his energy avoiding his work like he used to do, he's investing that energy into being interested in the work.  And then, he has finished, and has the rest of the day to spend as he pleases.   IMO it gives a child a very mixed message to say "I want you to do this work" but not be mentally in a place to see it through because you are not wanting to be "coercive".  With that setup, our son would want to find out exactly how far he could run with it.  That question would be far more interesting to him than any of the work I "asked" him to do.


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#5 of 9 Old 05-16-2012, 09:21 PM
 
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I think it depends on the child. We subscribe to the theory put forth by John Holt and others that kids are pre-wired to learn, and that learning is not something you can do "to" someone. I mean, you can make them do the schoolwork, but what I mean is there won't be real meaningful learning unless the child is interested and motivated. That comes from inside the child.

 

Needless to say we are child-led around here, with a few exceptions. Our child is a right-brained learner, so no amount of coercion, curriculum, worksheets or drilling was going to result in anything but a hatred of learning and probably of me! Once I realized that, things really improved around here. Yes it is harder because learning is sort of 24/7, but when he is interested in something there is no holding him back. THAT is when the learning takes place.

 

He is at 3rd grade age right now, and he is really starting to forge his own interests and passions and it is great to see. I am glad that I don't have wars about schoolwork. I try to keep my eye on the long-term goal which is a kid who is ready for college (or can become ready) when the time comes IF he wants it. How we get there is up to us.

 

The reason I tell you about our situation is that when I was forcing something external onto him, it was horrible. Once I accepted that he is one heck of a bright kid and will indicate when he is ready for something, things got much better. An example of this is that we used to read Story of the World for history on a regular basis back when I was "doing to" him. *I* thought it was a great book (it is) and said that's what we are doing. At one point he lost interest and we went for a long time without it. I was unhappy about that. I have a traditional schooled background and kept thinking "how will he learn history?" (over & above just normal everyday conversation about it, I mean) Well, just last night we were all goofing around with a game I got at a yard sale called "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?" Some history questions came up and my husband of course answered them with ease as he's a big history buff. I even got a few right, despite what I've forgotten over the years. But my son burst into tears and said "I hate not knowing this!! I don't know anything about history!!" To which I said "You are the one who wanted to stop reading Story of the World; would you like to start it up again?" And to my surprise he said Yes, and we're back on it! Now that HE sees the reason for doing it; why it's important to him personally, NOW he has the motivation. I am thrilled!

 

Similar thing with social studies/government: We talk politics around here a lot, and somehow one day I got my hands on the US Citizenship test online. I think I wanted to test myself on what I knew. Well he latched onto that and for the longest time would ask me to ask him all 100 questions, in order, not skipping any. He got quite a few correct! (Just from what we've taught him on the fly.) Now, how many other 9 year old boys would ask you to administer the citizenship test just for fun? It was interesting to us, he felt he could be good at it, and so we did it, looking up the answers we didn't know, etc. In other words he is learning a lot, but it just doesn't LOOK like traditional schooling.

 

The things you are doing with your DS might no longer fit with her style of learning OR the fact that she is changing. What worked before may not work now. I would definitely try looking at it that way. If it helps, try imagining a subject you are bored with, or which you hate & thought was irrelevant, and imagine someone making you do it every day.

 

Best of luck!

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#6 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 10:35 AM
 
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I'm seconding another poster's question about whether you have to go through the public charter.  If non-coercive parenting and freedom are important values to you, you might want to look more closely at unschooling.  Have you read John Holt's later work (Instead of Education and Learning all the Time)?  Alison McKee's Unschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves is also really good if you're still exploring unschooling.

 

Even if you do have to deliver a formal education plan and evaluation, there are ways to do this and still unschool, and your child doesn't have to be aware of it (or minimally aware, anyway).

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#7 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 11:04 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PGTlatte View Post

I'm not non-coercive, and I don't "ask" my son to work.  I stack up what he is to do.  I get him started and I am no further than seven feet from him until it's done.  I keep up a dialog with him and when he hits a snag, I am there to help him work his way through it.  There is no free time other than short timed breaks until it's done.   It's not optional.    Setting expectations this clearly has worked very well for him.  Instead of wasting his energy avoiding his work like he used to do, he's investing that energy into being interested in the work.  And then, he has finished, and has the rest of the day to spend as he pleases.   IMO it gives a child a very mixed message to say "I want you to do this work" but not be mentally in a place to see it through because you are not wanting to be "coercive".  With that setup, our son would want to find out exactly how far he could run with it.  That question would be far more interesting to him than any of the work I "asked" him to do.

Thats what I used to do, and it used to work!

I am more interested in unschooling at this point and if anyone does use a charter and unschools, please talk to me about how that works out for you!

We use the charter because they fund stuff we wouldnt be able to do (like pricy horseback riding or karate lessons, buying a telescope/microscope, etc).

Dd spent the week at her grandparents and was waaaay upset that I packed her school books. She called me and said she didnt want to do it, and I told her to only do it if shefeltgood about it. She endedup doing a ton of work and blew through an entire life of fred book!

I just . . . Well I have goals for her! Lol. Things I want us to study together! I'm afraid she will never do math aggain if I dont make her, kwim?

Thanks for the feedback.

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#8 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 11:40 AM
 
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She may not want to do math workbooks again, but that's really quite a different thing from never doing math again, right?

 

My unschooling son did enjoy math workbooks (asked me to buy them) when he was 4 and 5 and first learning addition and subtraction.  He now enjoys playing chess and building elaborate configurations with Legos . . . and earning/keeping track of money . . .  and figuring out how many days until our upcoming trip . . .

 

You might want to search the unschooling board for "reporting"--seems to me there have been some very detailed posts on how to handle reporting to a school authority when you unschool.

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#9 of 9 Old 05-17-2012, 03:38 PM
 
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From what I understand of the situation, you're doing the charter school because it gives you perks, but you are actually happy to unschool too. Is that right?

 

If so, I think I'd approach it by discussing with your daughter. "We have two options. We can continue with the charter. This means you get to do xy and z, that we cannot otherwise afford. However, a condition of doing the charter is that you need to do a certain minimum amount of work. Alternatively you can leave the charter. This means you don't have to do any math or English or anything else you don't want to, but does mean you will not be able to do horse riding or xyz unless we can figure out another way to raise the money for them.". I'd let her make this decision-from what you say she is around 8? My 8 yo son has made similar decisions, and its actually been pretty good for him IMHO.

 

If she wants to stay in the charter I'd also discuss with her ways to make the charter required work more palatable for her, eg you hanging around, working outside, etc.

 

Finally I actually think its ok to ask other people living in your house to do their share, and again, I'd explain how its making you feel. If you feel you need housework doing first thing, talk with her about it. "I have a really strong need to have the housework done before I leave the house. Otherwise I am pretty grumpy, because all day I am thinking about having to finish them when I get back.". Or whatever. IME kids do generally want to be kind and help.

 

x

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