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#1 of 17 Old 09-17-2012, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am tired of the tears over working. DS (5th grade) would do nothing ever if I was okay with it.  Each week I make a Word table of work. There are 7 columns- subject, notes for the week, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.  Then I have multiple rows- one for each subject area, plus one for each member of the family for things that may affect our time (like evening events).  Ds has been fussing about how much work I give him. Doesn't matter if it is next to nothing.  Tears! I talk to him about what he likes and focus on that. I try to rearrange what he does not like to make it as "fun" as possible.  I knock things off as I find he is unable to complete all.  I type for him and act like a scribe. Nothing seems to help.

 

Today, I did something that threw him off in an effort to get him back into the joys of doing this.  I did all his planning as usual.  Then I turned the text to white in all the assignment squares and printed it.  He got 7 columns, 5 of which were empty. The subject column and the notes (goals) for the week were filled.   I told him that he should plan what to do, that he needed to work in all subjects, but he is in control of how that happens.  He should fill in assignments as he completes them. When he asked about what he should be doing, he and I looked and verbally tried to plan out.  I made it clear if he does his very best, good things will happen at the end of the week (he has been trying to earn a special treat) and if he doesn't he probably won't be happy (he will need to work over the weekend rather than have free time).

 

Tonight, the neighbor rang to play. I told him I did not think it was a good idea, he needed to do a bit more work (he had not done anything but read his social studies and his reading story for the week). He said he was fine, had done plenty and ran out.  He came back in when I called him in later.  I told him he needed to fill in his chart subject by subject since he was done.  He realized how little he did and that he basically shot himself in the foot and... you guessed it... melted into tears.

 

It is almost midquarter for us and I am feeling frustrated. I know the best thing for him is not for me to put him in public school and deal with the consequences in a public manner, but it is tempting!  I am so tired of the laziness and tears.

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#2 of 17 Old 09-17-2012, 07:54 PM
 
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#3 of 17 Old 09-17-2012, 09:56 PM
 
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Follow through, mama. He realized what he did. Let him deal with the consequences.

 

(For the record, I totally know how hard it is....but sticking with it is hopefully going to help in the long run!)
 


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#4 of 17 Old 09-18-2012, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Follow through, mama. He realized what he did. Let him deal with the consequences.

 

(For the record, I totally know how hard it is....but sticking with it is hopefully going to help in the long run!)
 


Thank you for the encouragement! This morning he and I talked.  I suggested we "plan" together.  I took a second blank planning sheet and we looked at each subject and wrote in assignments for each day (including yesterday- finished and unfinished).  He was really excited to be part of the planning and probably chose harder assignments for some subjects.  Many subjects he had the same assignments as I would give, so the routine has been/is good overall.  Now he is getting right to work.  When he finishes an assignment he can write it in the square on the first planning page so he can see what he has accomplished. 

 

Hopefully this morning's enthusiasm will stick.  You are right, he knows what he did and realizes that there will be consequences. Right now the consequence is learning to balance his time with fun.  Who knows, maybe him taking part in the planning will allow him to feel more ownership in the choice to be home. That would not be bad in the long run at all!!!

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#5 of 17 Old 09-18-2012, 11:28 AM
 
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Learning time management is a huge deal. It will help him in the long run, as well as ownership of the work!
 


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#6 of 17 Old 09-18-2012, 06:41 PM
 
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Having him involved in the planning is definitely a good idea. 

 

One thought I had upon reading this thread is that the detailed, 35-cell table with multiple lines for each subject may be very helpful to you in terms of planning, prepping, organizing, and seeing that overall lots is being accomplished, but for your ds it may be overwhelming. It may make it all seem like way too much work, even if it's not actually that much. The point of a schedule for a child is mostly that it gives their day a comforting, predictable flow. 

 

We tend to be pretty free-flowing here, but when my kids ask for a tight schedule, we usually lay it out something like this:

 

After breakfast: Math, History. 

After lunch: Science, Hike.

After supper: Violin

 

The content of the scheduled blocks is either up to them, or is simply "the next few pages," or is something we discuss when it's time to do the work. We'll get into the details at that point, but the schedule is usually laid out just as subject blocks for that particular day. While we might have collaborated on planning out an entire week, I only present one day at a time. To a pre-teen, knowing you have two blocks of work to do in the morning and one in the afternoon is finite, straightforward, and not overwhelming, and therefore not greeted with anguish and resistance.

 

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#7 of 17 Old 09-18-2012, 08:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Having him involved in the planning is definitely a good idea. 

 

One thought I had upon reading this thread is that the detailed, 35-cell table with multiple lines for each subject may be very helpful to you in terms of planning, prepping, organizing, and seeing that overall lots is being accomplished, but for your ds it may be overwhelming. It may make it all seem like way too much work, even if it's not actually that much. The point of a schedule for a child is mostly that it gives their day a comforting, predictable flow. 

 

We tend to be pretty free-flowing here, but when my kids ask for a tight schedule, we usually lay it out something like this:

 

After breakfast: Math, History. 

After lunch: Science, Hike.

After supper: Violin

 

The content of the scheduled blocks is either up to them, or is simply "the next few pages," or is something we discuss when it's time to do the work. We'll get into the details at that point, but the schedule is usually laid out just as subject blocks for that particular day. While we might have collaborated on planning out an entire week, I only present one day at a time. To a pre-teen, knowing you have two blocks of work to do in the morning and one in the afternoon is finite, straightforward, and not overwhelming, and therefore not greeted with anguish and resistance.

 

Miranda

Great thoughts! The keeping him involved definitely helped today look a lot brighter.  He actually asked for me to work with him on Saturdays (talk about out of my comfort zone, I *always* plan on Sunday, lol) so he can start the week knowing what he can expect.  I think he figures he can keep better track of cashing in on any positive consequences which might help keep him motivated also.

 

  I do think you are on to something with the thought that it is overwhelming him.  I made the blocks bigger so he could write and *I* was overwhelmed with it today.  I definitely need to break it up differently (like 1 block for Language Arts vs 4 for Reading/ Grammar/ Writing/ Spelling) to make it less overwhelming.  Maybe I will pull out the planner he found in the Target Dollar section and we can try that instead for next week.

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#8 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 08:43 AM
 
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I was initially going to suggest this, but at the time it seemed out of place.  But now there is some beter advice here, and I feel it appropriate to throw in.

 

Is there a reason that your HSing is 5 days in a row, followed by 2 down days?  I suppose if your best friends are school kids, having the weekends off is good enough reason, or sports.  I wonder, though, if part of the overwhelming sense he has can also be relieved by breaking up the days, with a day off in the middle.  Or, if that is not possible, having a light day follow a heavy day, or a easy day following a difficult day.  If there is a subject he struggles with, perhaps pair that with something he loves afterwards.  If math is a struggle, perhaps no math on Fridays when he might feel more overwhelmed than at the beginning of the week.


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#9 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 03:11 PM
 
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My 5th grade girl is the same way.  I'm still trying to figure out what works with her.  She hates the work no matter what it is....we have tried EVERYTHING, now I just tell her to be done with the drama and move on!!!  lol


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#10 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 08:33 PM
 
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I second the idea to not show him your big planning spreadsheet. While reading your post I kept thinking how awful it would be for me, an adult, to be presented with a page full of work I have to do. Maybe just a daily plan on a chalkboard? Instead of 'social studies text, read pages 47-52, write out page 53 questions in notebook' maybe put 'we're learning about the Canadian provinces today!'. 

 

A couple questions I had were what does he do all day if not schoolwork and what are the consequences for running off right after you asked him to do something? If the answers are reading novels and coming up with science experiments and privileges are taken away then ok but if they're play video games and nothing then that might be the root of the problem.

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#11 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 09:20 PM
 
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For whatever it's worth, I'll pass on something that kind of stunned me today. I was cleaning out a storage space my family had moved things into when we moved out of a house we'd been in for many years. I was trying to figure out which were the boxes my son had asked me to save, and the first thing I saw was a notebook with a copy of his college application essay. The few lines I read went something like this: "I was homeschooled, and the educational path we followed was self-direction. I consider this to be what made me the person I am today." It was actually more eloquently written than that, but that was the gist of it, and he really meant it, and it somehow stunned me. I didn't read the rest, but I recall from reading his essays when he was applying to colleges that one of the things he found most valuable about self-direction was that it had given him the ability and confidence to realize he was capable of learning anything he pursued. And he got into his first choice, by the way, with scholarship offers from the first two he applied to. He hadn't grown up doing what would be called "work" to learn - he'd learned more naturally, and I'll admit to having plenty of anxiety attacks along the way, but it worked quite well for him. One of the things I learned over the years was to listen to him when he said he could learn this or that without the traditional methods I'd assumed were necessary for learning it. 

I'm not suggesting you make a radical change, but my suggestion would be to craft the format in a way that will let him feel as independent as possible and be able to feel ownership of his process a bit more - it wouldn't necessarily require dropping your own ideas and plans for what should be covered, but you could, as has been discussed with others here already, simplify what he sees of the planning part. I hope that makes sense - and maybe that's what's already been said - I'm exhausted and probably should be getting to bed right now, but that "aha!" moment today was so powerful that I just had to share it. -  Lillian

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#12 of 17 Old 09-19-2012, 09:40 PM
 
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For whatever it's worth, I'll pass on something that kind of stunned me today. I was cleaning out a storage space my family had moved things into when we moved out of a house we'd been in for many years. I was trying to figure out which were the boxes my son had asked me to save, and the first thing I saw was a notebook with a copy of his college application essay. The few lines I read went something like this: "I was homeschooled, and the educational path we followed was self-direction. I consider this to be what made me the person I am today." It was actually more eloquently written than that, but that was the gist of it, and he really meant it, and it somehow stunned me. I didn't read the rest, but I recall from reading his essays when he was applying to colleges that one of the things he found most valuable about self-direction was that it had given him the ability and confidence to realize he was capable of learning anything he pursued. And he got into his first choice, by the way, with scholarship offers from the first two he applied to. He hadn't grown up doing what would be called "work" to learn - he'd learned more naturally, and I'll admit to having plenty of anxiety attacks along the way, but it worked quite well for him. One of the things I learned over the years was to listen to him when he said he could learn this or that without the traditional methods I'd assumed were necessary for learning it. 

I'm not suggesting you make a radical change, but my suggestion would be to craft the format in a way that will let him feel as independent as possible and be able to feel ownership of his process a bit more - it wouldn't necessarily require dropping your own ideas and plans for what should be covered, but you could, as has been discussed with others here already, simplify what he sees of the planning part. I hope that makes sense - and maybe that's what's already been said - I'm exhausted and probably should be getting to bed right now, but that "aha!" moment today was so powerful that I just had to share it. -  Lillian

 

Thank you for sharing your experience.  It is always reassuring to hear these stories :)

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#13 of 17 Old 09-20-2012, 06:22 AM
 
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On the tears and fussing around/wasting time front…...

 

I find if I sit at the table with DD she gets very little done.  She fusses and has a captive audience for her antics.  Giving her the work, and then leaving the table and engaging in my own work (usually dishes, sigh) seems to work the best.  I cannot drift to the tv or computer, because then she does as well.

 

So - in my household, giving the child the work, and then engaging in some nearby chore, seems to work best.

 

Play around with with whether sitting with him, doing a chore near him, or even sending him to an area (such as a separate boring room) with his work and letting him know he can come out when he is done/runs into difficulty, works best for your DS.

 

I would also start small and build on success.  Give him 3 easy questions to do, then leave the room/do a chore.  Build up to more work once he can do a small amount without becoming overwhelmed.  


There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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#14 of 17 Old 09-20-2012, 08:07 AM
 
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kathy, you point out something many of us forget when we glow with warm, fuzzy feelings about the "teacher-student" ratios of our homeschools.  At school, there is usually a bit of distance from the teacher created because of the need to attend to so many students at once.  That kind of distance gives a kid some breathing room (to make mistakes, to contemplate, whatever) and we HSers need to remember that having the teacher hovering can be stressful.


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#15 of 17 Old 09-20-2012, 02:22 PM
 
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On the tears and fussing around/wasting time front…...

 

I find if I sit at the table with DD she gets very little done.  She fusses and has a captive audience for her antics.  Giving her the work, and then leaving the table and engaging in my own work (usually dishes, sigh) seems to work the best.  I cannot drift to the tv or computer, because then she does as well.

 

So - in my household, giving the child the work, and then engaging in some nearby chore, seems to work best.

I can see that that would be so true with my ds! I'm not trying to get him to do specific school work (we're unschooling) but he is like that with other things, like food. He has sensory issues which are no longer that big of a deal, food wise, but he'd still rather not eat food with texture like fruits and vegetables. So giving him food and walking away has been a technique of mine so he has a chance to look at the food and realize it isn't so bad before giving me an earful about it and outright refusing to eat it. It works well and is similar to giving a child school work and not hovering.

 

And if I'm at the computer, he'll do the same. If I'm doing chores, he's more likely to do other things. 

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#16 of 17 Old 09-20-2012, 02:24 PM
 
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He hadn't grown up doing what would be called "work" to learn - he'd learned more naturally, and I'll admit to having plenty of anxiety attacks along the way, but it worked quite well for him. One of the things I learned over the years was to listen to him when he said he could learn this or that without the traditional methods I'd assumed were necessary for learning it. 

 

Thanks for this Lillian! My son is very self-directed in his learning-- he has strong interests and prefers a lot of autonomy. We've been unschooling for a couple of years and though we're all loving it, I still have occasional anxiety attacks about our unorthodox approach to his education--  so I found your post reassuring. I think that adults often don't listen enough to our kids when it comes to understanding what works from them as learners. It's a good thing for me to keep in mind. 


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#17 of 17 Old 09-20-2012, 02:30 PM
 
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I second the idea to not show him your big planning spreadsheet. While reading your post I kept thinking how awful it would be for me, an adult, to be presented with a page full of work I have to do. Maybe just a daily plan on a chalkboard? Instead of 'social studies text, read pages 47-52, write out page 53 questions in notebook' maybe put 'we're learning about the Canadian provinces today!'

This reminds me, something that someone posted on the decluttering forum that resonated with me was having a done list instead of a to do list. That might be another approach that might possibly work well for your ds. You could have a whiteboard or something that he can write things down as he does them. It can feel good and be a more positive approach to grow the list of done things rather than face the intimidation of (and be tempted to procrastinate) a list of things "to do." 


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