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#1 of 15 Old 08-05-2002, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am feeling like my oldest could use a little more structure this year and was wondering what others have found helpful. I was looking into Five in a Row unit studies and was wondering what others thought of this.

We have tried Oak Meadow and found that this did not really work for him. Although, it will work wonderfully for my 2 and a 1/2 year old. I guess that this is part of the beauty of homeschooling-- tailoring things to the individual's needs

My oldest ds is 5 yo, very bright, articulate and exceptionally strong in math and science. However, he struggles with small motor skills and therefore, detests writing and art projects-- although, he creates the most incredible lego projects from the smallest of legos. He has a real engineers mind.

I am hoping to foster his natural abilities and help him tp gain confidence in his weaker areas. He is a real perfectionist, so things truly bother him when he is not able to do them perfectly.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated...
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#2 of 15 Old 08-05-2002, 05:23 PM
 
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While I know mainstreamers preach the importance of a liberal studies based curriculum, I think that's the beaty of homeschooling...the individualized attention they receive.

I would say let him lead. If he detests writing and art projects...put them by the wayside for the time being. The fact that he is more involved in science, and especially Legos, gives him lots of opportunity for fine motor development. Perhaps you could get him some science-based art projects? Building a volcano out of clay...coloring spaceships...even model kits might be more up his alley.

In time, he will find an interest in these things, I'm sure. As he begins to read independently, he'll have a greater love for the written word, and may even enjoy writing projects!
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#3 of 15 Old 08-05-2002, 07:06 PM
 
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We just finished kindergarten year with my son who sounds a LOT like yours. We began the year with FIAR, and while I liked it, we both became bored with it very soon (it's weak in math and science)

After I read The Well Trained Mind I decided to use a classical educational approach. My son really enjoyed the Singapore Math program, and we began doing science and history using the recomendations in The Well Trained Mind using Usborne books, lots of library books and corresponding projects. We also used a writing program called Handwriting Without Tears which my son enjoyed and his writing has come a long way this year. Feel free to PM me if I can help you in any ways or give you more info.
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#4 of 15 Old 08-05-2002, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thankyou for the replies.

Momschooling, I hear you on the letting him take the lead. I really do and for the most part that is what we do. He loves science projects and will spend hours working with us on any given one-- dinosaurs, astronomy, kitchen table science, etc. He has a amazing concentration when something is of interest to him. Funny, considering how many people used to looooove to tell us about his "ADD":

However, part of the trouble is that he is frustrated with himself and his inability to write, draw, etc. He has the desire, but becomes so angry with himself that it is not to his expectations. That is part of why I want to find a way to help him develop those skills. I should also mention that he does love to read. Dh spends at least an hour every night reading some of the classics in children's literature to him ( at ds's insistence ). He would love to be able to write some of his own stories down...

Khrisday, is your son spririted, as well? In case you haven't noticed from my post, ds is pretty spirited-- which is a good thing, but just presents its own unique opportunities and challenges. This is also why I am looking for a little more structure. Nothing rigid-- we are still mostly unschoolers, but just a little something more.

I would love to hear more about this book that you are referring to as well as the writing lessons and math. We have yet to use any curriculum other than Oak Meadow, as I said, so I am new to all of this.

Well, sorry for being so longwinded. I really appreciate all of your suggestions, momschooling and Khrisday. Please feel free to send any more my way
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#5 of 15 Old 08-05-2002, 10:28 PM
 
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My son is spirited and then a whole bucket more LOL
He is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (and then also has symptoms of ADHD, OCD and depression) so I hear ya!

I like to call us "classical unschoolers" because we like to encourage and follow interests, but also use the very loose structure of a clasical education. My son is really thriving within this framework, and we only spend an hour a day doing sit down "schoolwork".

The basic theories of clasical education are that the child should be doing developmentally appropriate work (ie in the elementary age which they call the grammar stage they should be given lots of information to absorb and not have to figure everything out), teaching history chronologically in a four year cycle (so they get history from the first civilization to modern day in each developmental period) and using literature, music, geography, science and art to tie it in to the rest of the curriculum, and to teach skill such as memorization, logic and languages as well as the basics.

Here are a couple of websites for you:

http://www.welltrainedmind.com/

http://www.hwtears.com/

http://www.singaporemath.com/
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#6 of 15 Old 08-05-2002, 10:33 PM
 
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glad2bemama, I think that I could have written your post two years ago! In fact, the reason that I am homeschooling is because my ds was discouraged when he compared his "art" skills to other students.

My ds is now 7 1/2. He still does not like art or writing. He can write but if it is not perfect he gets frustrated plus his brain works so fast that it hard for him to slow down to write. I have decided to let him decide when he want to use his writing. I know that when it becomes applicable he will take off with it. I try to encourage him by using things that interest him (e.g. I will ask him to look through the pitsco-dacta catalog and make a list of things that he is interested in). He usually catches on to what I am doing and will balk a bit but sometimes he will write out a list. I am trying hard to not push it though. I will also emphasis that perfect writing is not important. I tell him that if I can understand what he has written then that is good enough. He is interested in learning keyboard this year so I think we will take a whirl at that in the next few months.

I have heard the age of eight is a more reasonable age to start a child with handwriting but I don't have any info to back that up.

I have let him take the lead with his Legos and he is now able to do basic computer programming with his Lego Mindstorm Robotics. I choose to think of his lego building as his art. I love homeschooling, it is such a great way to meet the needs of kids!

If you don't have a pitsco-dacta catalog you can order one at
www.pitsco-legodacta.com
Most of their stuff is for groups of students but the catalog is great fun for a lego enthusiasts to enjoy (or you may want to get together some lego building kids together).

I'm not sure I have helped here, I just wanted to let you know that there is another mom of a "loves legos, doesn't like to write and do art" kid out there! ~Jill
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#7 of 15 Old 08-06-2002, 03:23 AM
 
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Have you heard of the book In Their Own Way by Thomas Armstrong? It talks of different learning styles. I will see if I can find a link to it.
-------------------------------------------------

Okay, this looks like a really good site:

http://www.upsidedownschoolroom.com/...ngstyles.shtml

Perhaps this might shed some light on what way he can learn best (forgive my grammar, I am pretty tired).
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#8 of 15 Old 08-06-2002, 03:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thankyou all so much! I really appreciate all of your help-- it looks like a lot of great ideas!

Khrisday, the classic unschooler approach looks really interesting. Dh and I were looking over some of it last night. This sounds like it might be a good fit for us

breathingmom, thankyou for your support. Your post made me laugh I am glad to know that there is another mom of a "kid that loves legos, doesn't like to write and do art out there". LOL.

Also, dh was sooooo excited about the legos site that you sent. Let me tell you, I don't know who is going to have more fun with that site-- ds#1, ds#2 or dh...: Seriously, though, it looks like great fun and right up ds' alley.

gilnikche, thankyou for the site. I have not read that book, but I will. This should be particularly helpful for me as my two sons have very different learning styles already.

Thankyou all again
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#9 of 15 Old 08-06-2002, 05:47 PM
 
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Here is the specific page on the site about learning styles:

Overview Of Seven Perceptual Styles
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#10 of 15 Old 08-06-2002, 06:44 PM
 
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Glad2beMama,

I agree with the whole don't push your son thing, but if he is frustrated by his inability to draw and write, here are some ideas.

Has your son tried any of the "how to draw" sorts of books for children? My 5-year-old daughter loves them. We have a few by Ed Eberly and a couple others, but I just learned of a series called Draw Write Now, which looks great.

Also check out http://www.fun-books.com/reading.htm for some fun books on writing. One that looks particularly good to me is Peggy Kaye's Games For Writing. They also carry the Draw Write Now books.

You might also want to look for a book called Drawing With Children, by Mona Brookes. This would take a little more work on your part, but I know a lot of people who rave about this book. I'm hoping to do it eventually.

Khrisday, we have always been an unschooling family, but I recently picked up The Well-Trained Mind and am impressed by it. So now I am also trying to see how I can work some of the ideas of classical education in with unschooling.
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#11 of 15 Old 08-06-2002, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow! I am so excited to try these out! I have to admit though, that it will have to be another day. Both ds's are recovering from a bad stomach flu. Luckily, our homeopath is on her way over

You are all so creative. I am glad that I came here for ideas This is one of the many wonderful things about Mothering here-- it is full of wonderful people with creative ideas and support. Thankyou

Hydrangea, I must admit that I think of you often these days as we just planted our first hydrangea bushes a couple of months ago. They are so beautiful! Hydrangeas and lilacs are my very favorites. I am guessing that you love hydrangeas as well.

Great ideas ladies! I will keep you posted on how it all works out
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#12 of 15 Old 08-06-2002, 10:44 PM
 
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I do love hydrangeas. I also love lilacs. I think I just love all flowering bushes! I just moved to this house (my first with a yard!), and I've been plotting out my landscaping. I think we'll plant a few bushes this autumn.

I also just really love the word hydrangea.

I hope your ds's are feeling better soon.
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#13 of 15 Old 08-07-2002, 12:01 AM
 
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We have been using miquon math and find it really helpful. While my dd really likes math the whole writing the answer part really throws her off and slows her down. The way the program is set up is that knowing how to get the answer is more important than writing numbers so if wrtiting the numbers is a problem they can use marks, sometimes I just write the answer that she tells me or she can show it with rods (all mathmatical concepts are demonstrated with cuisenaire rods and all the porblems so far can be solved with them. They are also fun and challenging to build with when math just isn't on the menu ). The books move at your own pace and you can either follow the sequence in the book or go by subject from one book to another eventually working through all of them.

Right now this is the only thing we are really using cirriculum wise. She really needs some structure to her day and this sorta helps us get off to a good startwithout me feeling like we are just playing school at home.

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#14 of 15 Old 08-07-2002, 04:11 PM
 
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Dd was also easily frustrated about writing. One thing that helped was a moveable alphabet -- she could simply arrange the letters to say what she wanted, THEN copy it off into her own handwriting (trying to come up with a concept, figure out how to spell the words and also remember how to form the letters all at once was just too much for her). I got the moveable alphabet idea from Montessori...lots of ideas on building motor skills and working up to writing.


As far as things others have mentioned: we have Draw-Write-Now...dd enjoys it, but never uses it for the handwriting component. She likes to do the drawing part, though. We also have Games for Writing, which is great (libraries often have Peggy Kaye's books, BTW). Lots of neat ideas. We also have Handwriting Without Tears, and that made a BIG difference in helping her see which direction some of the letters were supposed to face (someone who worked in schools helping kids with handwriting recommended it, as I recall). We also have Drawing with Children, but I've never had the patience to use it with dd. Hmmm...sounds like we have a veritable bookstore here, doesn't it? We also have FIAR, and I suspect it's not going to do what you want. I use it when we need a break/change of pace. We've been loosely following Well Trained Mind as far as history and science go, which is great because I feel like we're getting a good overview of the subjects.
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#15 of 15 Old 08-10-2002, 04:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Lilyka and Queen Gwen, thankyou for your suggestions. I am sorry that I have not thanked you earlier. I really do appreciate your taking the time.

Now, I am just trying to sort out what works for us and our budget. But, I must tell you ladies-- I am so excited! You have all brought some wonderful ideas!

Ds and I have been trying out the bird drawings from Draw Write Now. He is so excited that he has learned to draw a bird! Plus, we have been making thankyou notes (he just turned five) with the thumbprint art drawings. He loves this, as well...

The well trained mind looks so very interesting, as well. Isn't homeschooling exciting? I am so excited for my children and for dh and I... we get to learn so much of what we missed the first time around-- yeah!
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