Mothering Forum banner

1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am so discouraged. I think I posted about this before... but I have been home schooling my son for this year (7th grade) and he hates it. On the one hand he wants to do nothing but watch cartoons and dork around and on the other hand he wants to me to "teach" him. (barf)<br><br>
He wants set times, set days that are "school time" and "free time." He wants assignments he can just race through and be done with. I hate hate hate it!!!! He hates this too. He says he wants to go back to PS!!!!<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">: I am so frustrated. I want to UN school him... I want him to find things he loves to explore/learn about and just go for it. ... I am depressed. This has been kind of a disaster.<br><br>
I think PS would be a HUGE mistake for him next year. He is high functioning autistic and has done horribly in school, is VERY young for his age and has social issues to be sure. He was so so miserable at PS.<br><br>
Can anyone recommend a curriculum? We don't have much $$ and I am reluctant to "teach" so fairly low-cost and ... kinda unschooly would be what I am hoping for here. I want this kid to have what he needs, I need help! I need your brains and experience, talk me down. I am on the ledge here. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,209 Posts
So, what would be the point for him of having assignments he could "race through and be done with"? It doesn't sound like it would be about learning for him...<br><br>
When you say you want to homeschool him - is it okay with you if he plays video games all day? Or is he wanting to play games while you try to interest him in some other sort of learning?<br><br>
Dar
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmm, thank you for helping me think about this! Ok, just a first thought: he is subject here to having the work he produces reveiwed by a teacher to see if he has done well enough... so just having some work for her/him to reveiw WOULD help... I think the assignements and standards being set by someone NOT ME would also help... I am hoping to find a program with a teacher at the other end so I am not judge and jury as it were...<br><br>
I am IMing with my hubby about this too... he is actually relaxing a little... wow. He is willing to continue HSing, chalking this year up to "adjusting" and we are thinking... a curriculum, 4 days/week, (shared custody issue with ex) teacher on other end... might work best. PS was such a disaster, worse even that this year.<br><br>
Any thoughts/suggestions appreciated.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,777 Posts
Well, I suppose there will be different opinions on this, but if you want to unschool him, then for one thing, I'm not sure why him watching cartoons and dorking around is a problem; for another, if he is asking for structure, that isn't inimical to unschooling -- if it is what he is asking for. It could be that he knows what he needs, and you guys just need to work out a way to do it that works for both of you. If he's just racing through the assignments, maybe it's about feeling like he has done or accomplished something, and if he's racing through them, then they aren't taking too much time away from other activities, right? And maybe you know/feel that he isn't really learning anything from racing through assignments, but he doesn't know that through experience yet, and needs to live it for himself to get it and move on with his learning.<br><br>
Those are just my random thoughts that popped up while reading your post. That, and that you sound really frustrated. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> It's a big job -- my oldest is only 7 *years* old, nowhere near 7th grade, but I think that trying to do what you feel is right for older kids and trusting the process must be so much harder than it is with younger kids.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I really appreciate all the replies.<br><br>
I will check out the link you all suggested and see if it or something like it is available. It seems familiar, I may actually have checked it out before.... I know I found one free homeschool situation that wasn't available in our state. (Mass)<br><br>
Anyway, my son is liking the idea of an outside curriculum with a teacher he can communicate with and who will give him feedback and all. I am looking into some options on that. There is one that he and I looked at that we both really like, I am going to post about it in the hopes of getting a lot of feedback on it.<br><br>
Thank you all so much. Today is going to be a better day!<br><br>
XXOO<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
156 Posts
As I was typing a reply, your last post came up. I just want to offer my support and encouragement.<br><br>
My ds2 also craves (demands) structure and is much happier with it. He's not the typical, average kid, and free-form days make him anxious.<br><br>
So, I try to keep in mind the big picture, that education is a child-led journey. If the journey leads you to a curriculum with an outside teacher, great! Sounds like he'll be happier, stress will go down all around, and you'll have more happy times together, which to me is the whole point.<br><br>
I just think that we have to follow our children whereever they lead--and, ironically, that's the idea of unschooling anyway!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks Hilmama, you're right, it is all about what THEY need and not our expectations. This year of mostly unstructured homeschool has been so much better emotionally for him than the previous years of PS... but he wants the structure, so he shall have it. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,933 Posts
If it were me, his first "assignment" would be to design a proposal for how he would like his schooling structured, Not required, but helpful elements to his proposal would be schedules, subjects covered, review process for "grading work", etc etc.<br><br>
If he is unhappy with the current system and wants more structure, why not charge him with the task of redesigning it? Hah and then you will basically still be unschooling or at least "consentual" schooling because everything would be designed and layed out by him.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,771 Posts
<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">If he is unhappy with the current system and wants more structure, why not charge him with the task of redesigning it?</td>
</tr></table></div>
Shaggy, wanting structure and recognizing that it makes you comfortable, and being able to independently design and propose a structure that is effective for you, are two different things. That's a lot to ask of a kid in this particular poster's situation, especially since you are asking him to know what he doesn't already know.<br><br>
I'm afraid that this proposal would basically play out as a punishment for his request for structure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I appreciate all input, and I get that designing it himself would keep my son in the driver seat...<br><br>
... still, with my son's particular challenges I think he would feel overwhelmed by it and perhaps punished too. A neat idea for the right kid though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,681 Posts
The discussion about self-designing a structured learning program has brought me out of the woodwork. My kids and I are part of an umbrella-school like program (in Canada) called the "SelfDesign Program." The whole premise is that children collaborate with their parents to design their own learning program, as structured or as flexible as they want.<br><br>
For younger children and newbies, they suggest starting out with a 'mind map,' a sort of web-like visual diagram of interests, hobbies, dreams and ideas. The web-like diagram works well for some and not-so well for others, but the main point is to brainstorm and not to worry about organizing or any of the practicalities at this point in the process.<br><br>
The next step, which might be best delayed for a few days to allow for other mind-map ideas to bubble up, is to begin to look at ways that at least some of these ideas might be developed. If a child has voiced an interest in motorcycles, or geometry, or manga, you can start talking about how it might be possible to refine or develop those interests. A 7th-grader could probably participate a lot in researching resources, but the parent would likely still need to take a strong facilitating or guiding role.<br><br>
"Okay, here's what I've dug up. Jim Harris, you remember him? His brother runs a small engine repair shop. He might be willing to let you hang out and watch and help with dirt-bike and lawn-mower repairs and such. I haven't approached him yet, but Jim thinks he might be open to that. There are 138 hits on the library's on-line index for the keyword motorcycle. So there are lots of books there we could look into. I know you want your own dirtbike, so if you were motivated to work, there are jobs you could likely pursue to start saving up. There's a babysitting course being offered at the end of May. Darren has a flyer route and says they're always looking for more carriers. I also wondered whether the speedway might need volunteers for some of their big weekend events. Not sure if they'd take a 13-year-old, but we could look into that. And I know you also said you were interested in learning more about the web ... and I think that if you were interested in putting up a webpage or a blog about motorcycles, we could find a place that would allow you to do that safely."<br><br>
He might look at you like you'd grown another head and say "I just like motorcycles. I don't want to do anything like that. Maybe when I'm older I'll buy one, that's all." At which point you start looking at another item on the mind-map and exploring that.<br><br>
But he might latch onto something ... and then you could start to focus more on practicalities like what level of committment should be expected, how often he'd like to do whatever it is, what role he'd like you to play in structuring the endeavour or enforcing the structure he's decided on.<br><br>
Gradually you work through the different items on the mind-map, setting some aside for "maybe later", fleshing some out into a plan, discarding some that seem completely impractical. What you end up with is a Learning Plan, with some basic agreements on how it will be implemented and (if relevent) enforced.<br><br>
Then, at pre-determined intervals, perhaps every couple of months or whenever appropriate, you sit down with the Learning Plan and say "how have we done with all this?" You look at what has proved productive, what stuff has fizzled, and decide whether the Learning Plan should be revised.<br><br>
I'm amazed how helpful this SelfDesign Learning Plan process has been for our family. We're very much unschoolers, but we tend to suffer from difficulty with transitions, with follow-through and consistency and with the creation of any structure. Much like your ds, I expect. The SelfDesign process allows us to be more intentional about the learning that takes place, but it doesn't impose on us a paradigm or expectations that we don't want.<br><br>
When I sit down with one or another of my kids to revisit their Learning Plan, and we look at an area that has been neglected, I'm often amazed at their reaction. I say something like "hmm, learning Japanese hasn't really happened. We tried that Rosetta Stone demo, but you didn't really take to it. And that kana book from the library didn't even get looked at. Shall we scratch Japanese off your plan?" I expect my child to say "Yeah, I kind of lost interest in that. Let's forget it." Instead, most often I get a response like "No, I still really want to learn Japanese. I actually liked Rosetta Stone; I kind of forgot about it, that's all. I want to try it again and I want you to help me stick to it this time. Maybe I should have a schedule, and maybe if I stick to the schedule for a month, we could think about buying the whole level ... "<br><br>
In other words, my kids tend to make good decisions about what they want to do, and collaborate well in deciding on appropriate structure. What they need help with is staying focused -- and revisiting a formal or informal learning plan helps us tackle those issues of staying focused without nagging and power struggles.<br><br>
In short, I think there's a wonderful middle ground here between leaving a child to muddle along with whatever structure he does or doesn't create, and imposing structure upon him. You can work collaboratively to help him learn to create and implement the structure he wants.<br><br>
Miranda
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
687 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
That is a very facinating idea, Miranda. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> I need to look into that more. Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43,705 Posts
I went through something kinda similar with my DD this year. I want to unschool and she requested more structure, so together we're developing a curriculum that meets her needs for structure while meeting my needs to not be any more structured than it has to be!<br><br>
Instead of purchasing a curriculum that may be completely wrong for him, how about you search for free online curriculums and have him get involved in the project. Or if purchasing a curriculum is a realistic option for your budget, I would still have him involved with selecting one.<br><br>
Depending on his research skills/cognitive abilities you may do more of the research than he does, but I think it's important to ask him "what do you think of this one? Does this one look better?" I don't know if this particular child could do the whole "setting up the curriculum" project all by himself, but I would definitely involve him in the process as much as possible.<br><br>
All the ladies here told me it's still unschooling if the child requests the structure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Find for other alternatives or activities that will interest your son together with the studying. I say you make it exciting and be creative.<br>
_______________________<br>
A <a href="http://www.military-school.org/Choice_of_Military_School/United_States/advertise.asp" target="_blank">military school for boys</a>, training future leaders.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top