How do you deal with the slumps? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 09-26-2012, 01:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're a semi-unschooling family, but we do work through a fabulous provincial "Distributed Learner". This basically means we're enrolled at a non brick-and-mortar school, but we devise our own learning plan each year, and can alter it as the children's interests change. We have to document learning, in the form of a weekly report. I actually quite like these, as they're not report card type things at all...more like a journal of our activities.

 

So, this year got off to a really good start. I've started writing down a rough daily schedule, as ds2 seems to do better with that (it has to be written) and dd1 doesn't mind it. We're doing a little bit of workbooks and/or reading each morning, right after breakfast, just to get in the groove of our day. (The kids had, for a variety of reasons, slipped into WAY too much screen time over the summer.) The first week was really, really good. The second week was okay, but the kids and I all had a bug...probably the flu, so it was really, really low-key. The third week was fabulous! DH took a week off and we went on a family vacation/field trip...took in a museum, a couple bug based attractions (a Bug Zoo and a Butterfly Garden), did some reading, walked on the beach and explored tide pools, etc. Awesome week! It was totally one of those "this is why we homeschool - I love this!" things, yk?

 

This week has been pretty rocky. I'm still not 100% (not enough sleep on our vacation, so I've never quite kicked the bug, and I have fatigue issues, anyway). And, when dh went back to work on Monday, ds2 went into a tailspin. He's currently in the process of being evaluated for probable Asperger's Syndrome, and he's a seriously challenging child to deal with...and he doesn't cope well with transitions. Even going on our vacation set off some behavioural stuff, and ending the vacation has been rough. He won't cooperate with anything, and erased today's entire schedule. So, we're not having a productive week.

 

This isn't the end of the world, and we'll be back on track in a week or two.  But, how do you all handle this kind of week? It throws everybody off their stride, so I'm trying to figure out some ways to get back on track. (We're all going to the library in a little while, but dd1 is making dinner, and ds2 has hijacked the iPad....I'm not fighting with him about it, until we're ready to go.) Do you all just ride out the slump, or do you have any tips for being proactive about getting out of it?


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#2 of 7 Old 09-26-2012, 04:00 PM
 
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I try to recover as much as I can with out coming off as being a 'heavy or a meany'.  I may spend more time reading with DS, or doing something like edu-tainment.  Time to see how those lego's can work as a science project, or how to bottle cap rockets etc.  Sometimes we just need to buckledown and do a bit of work.  DS reads ALOT so I might give a project based on a book he read - (a dreaded worksheet, quiz etc) 

 

Your kids are still pretty little so "edutainment" works most of the time.  I tend to use the library as my default setting.  When all else fails, head to the library :)


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#3 of 7 Old 09-26-2012, 04:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I love the library (never used to, but it's grown on me, since I ran out of room for the books I actually own).. My kids...not so much. I actually did go there today, as I needed to return a few things. I can't even describe how bad it was.

 

I'll keep that in mind as a kickstart in future, though. Some new books always get things moving.


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#4 of 7 Old 09-26-2012, 05:22 PM
 
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SB- what I did what DS, even when he was little, was not limit him to the kiddie area.  I gave him free range of the materials in the library. If he wanted to learn about Ocean Life, he could get adult OR kids books.  If he wanted to get magazines, same thing, Adults or kids.  DS loves dogs and we have worn thin the library copies of 'Dog Fancy'.  Some of the best DVD"s are hidden in the adult non fiction department (i have no idea why but they are).

 

Make friends with your kids librarian, she will slowly accept you have kids who can handle the ENTIRE building!, this will get the childrens librarian out of the little section and out to the larger racks.  My kids librarian often helps DS find things anywhere in the building - gasp!!.

 

Maybe start slow - take one child at a time and introduce them to one section of the library each week?   Take your 9yr old and show her the adult magazines.  Then take your 7 yr old and show him the adult non fiction xyz books (cars or plants/gardening etc).   Also show them how the Dewey Decimal system works (if you have that in Canada) and that the same system works in kids and adults.


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#5 of 7 Old 09-26-2012, 05:44 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DS2 loves the kids section. He thinks the adult section is a good place to run around and play tag. He's kind of strange about the library. One trip, he'll pull 15 books off the shelves (usually almost all on one topic). On the next one, he'll sulk and have meltdowns the whole trip and refuse to take anything out at all. It's exhausting. He's just not predictable.

 

DD1 is actually getting into it. She likes to go search for things in the catalogue (computerized, of course) and find them herself. She even makes notes about books she sees that she wants to take out in the future.

 

And, dd2 loves the library. I just have to stay on top of her, so she doesn't pull all the board books off the shelves.


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#6 of 7 Old 09-26-2012, 10:18 PM
 
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The DL program I think you're with (that we used to be part of too) I found to be very helpful in dealing with slumps. They continue to remind parents that kids are always learning, even when the learning doesn't present itself as lovely little school-like bytes of activities and knowledge. The various mandala areas (known in other school programs as "subjects") are so varied and holistic that I could always a part of that mandala that was really seeing some growth and learning. I would simply remind myself that during what seemed like "slump" weeks there was probably a lot of intrapersonal learning going on: dealing with overload, coming to understand a bit more about one's limits and learning preferences, learning about one's need for "down time" after a period of stress and growth in other areas, retreating into oneself for a period of quiescent integration, and so on.

 

Not only did that help me with reporting, but it made me more sensitive and empathic concerning what was really going on inside my kids when they were having rough weeks, or "recovery weeks." Which lowered my stress and frustration, which helped them bounce back sooner.

 

The other thing that helped was accepting that it was a 'recharging week' and making an effort to do some recharging myself. Not to stew about all the screen time and bickering and use the time to catch up on laundry and cleaning, but to make an effort to "be present" in myself, to do a bit more of what feeds my soul.

 

Miranda


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#7 of 7 Old 09-27-2012, 11:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks, Miranda. That's a very helpful perspective. I tend to beat up on myself for not being on top of everything, every second, and I'm easily discouraged when i hit a bump. I think this week has really bugged me, precisely because the year started off SO well, yk?

 

And, at least I've got the time to fill out the paperwork for the next step in ds2's assessment process.

 

It's definitely the same DL, as you referred to the mandala. :)


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Loving my amazing dh, James & forever missing ribbonpb.gif Aaron Ambrose ribboncesarean.gif (11/07) ribbonpb.gif

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