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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The more structured work we get into the more I struggle with having him learn things for the sake of thinking he should know it and not because it is revelant to were he is right now.

I'm not sure if this makes sense, but I am wondering what other homeschoolers think about this. We do an eclectic mix of things that DS, 7, does not seem to mind. Here is our list:

Winter Promise - American Story 1 (with Joy Hakim - Story of Us) as a spine. He loves, loves this and would listen and talk about history all day.

RightStart Math C - doesn't mind it, and he really likes math.

All Aboout Spelling - Level 2 - doesn't mind, but not crazy about.

OPG to Reading - doesn't mind, but not crazy about, but desperately wants to read on his own so we do a lesson or two a day.

FLL - grammar - this seems like really busy work to me, but I can see were a good foundation could be provided.

Science - various books/experiments, etc. We use BFSLU and Real Science 4 Kids pre-level Chemistry.

He loves crafts, science, history, math and terrorizing his little brother. I find most days we can only get into the "boring" busy work and have no time to do what he likes because I am busy teaching him things that I think he should know. I am not convinced that learning these things has to be done right now, but worry that he will fall too far behind if I let it go. I think I would also feel guilty about not having structured things for him to do throughout the day. Does anyone else struggle with this.

We have virtually no homeschooling support network here and so that is another bummer. He is involved in Boy Scouts, Soccer, a drama class, a outdoor education class every Saturday, and piano lessons. All of which he wants to do and would do more if I could afford him a personal taxi.

I love homeschooling and I have seen positive changes in his attitude since removing him from school. Along with no more headaches and stomachaches. I do feel that he needs rich experiences more than text book learning, I am just not sure how to provide that on a consistent basis and if it would be wrong of me to forgo the grammar, etc in lieu of more play time???

I would love your thoughts on this, does anyone else struggle? I was going to post this on the unschoolers page, but we are currently, very much "schooling". Thanks!!
 

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How long a day are you spending on things like grammar? You definitely don't want to overwhelm him, but with one on one teaching moving at the child's pace, there's no real reason why you can't get a good, solid lesson on grammar or spelling or math facts or whatever in in 15 minutes or so.

IMO you need a very solid foundation before you can explore any advanced topics. I think it's best to get the boring stuff out of the way so that as kids get older they can base further educational endeavors on it.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by sierramv View Post
The more structured work we get into the more I struggle with having him learn things for the sake of thinking he should know it and not because it is revelant to were he is right now.

!!
JMO -- but, shrug, sometimes that is just life / education. Not everything we learn or do or intrduce will be "where the child is now". JMO but we educate with an eye on where we want to be, not where we are now.

I think your plan sounds great
 

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If you are looking to cut from that, I'd trim grammar. I would definitely keep up with phonics- once he can read there is so much information at hand about the things that interest him! Spelling is important, but not a make or break- how often do you do it?
The rest he likes, right? I think you are doing a good job.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by theretohere View Post
If you are looking to cut from that, I'd trim grammar. I would definitely keep up with phonics- once he can read there is so much information at hand about the things that interest him! Spelling is important, but not a make or break- how often do you do it?
The rest he likes, right? I think you are doing a good job.
i agree. i didn't really focus on the mechanics of writing, grammar, spelling, etc. until i felt my daughter could read well. it sounds like your ds is enjoying everything else - so i'd just focus on that. lastly, when you get back into grammar, perhaps something other than FLL would suit him. we own it, and my daughter doesn't enjoy it at all. we switched curriculum & it's been great for her. hth.
 

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I'm not totally sure if you looking for replies from unschoolers as well, but if so...

Quote:

Originally Posted by sierramv View Post
He loves crafts, science, history, math and terrorizing his little brother. I find most days we can only get into the "boring" busy work and have no time to do what he likes because I am busy teaching him things that I think he should know.
Aside from terrorizing his little brother, why not start with the subjects he enjoys? Those are important subjects AND he likes them, so I'd make sure he always has time for those by doing them first. If you think he needs some kind of treat to get through the other stuff he doesn't like (please ignore the rest of this sentence if that is not the case)then I would find something else to be that treat. The kid should be able to learn science and math and history!

I am not against doing some formal language arts but so many LA programs seems like overkill to me, I mean the kid is only 7. I wouldn't try to fit in more than one per day, focusing on the ones either he minds the least or you feel are most relevant to him at his age. Obviously if he's in the mood to do more he can, but if he finds it boring then I would definitely limit how much you are having him do.

Quote:
would be wrong of me to forgo the grammar, etc in lieu of more play time???
No, it wouldn't be wrong. If formal grammar lessons are cutting into a 7 year-old's playtime, AND he finds it boring, I would definitely stop for awhile. You can discuss grammar on your own with him, while reading to him or while he's doing a reading lesson or when you're out and you see an interesting sign or whenever. He's not going to fall hopelessly behind or never understand grammar rules.
 

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I'd definitely get away from the reading program and just let him read - that's going to be the thing that pulls his reading together - as well as letting him relax and enjoy listening to you read other wonderful things that would be a push for him. The grammar part can wait for a long, long time. In fact, my son never did study grammar, but he had no problem successfully jumping right into college level English classes and even impressing teachers as one of the best students they'd had in years - and that's because he grew up being read to and eventually getting into literature on his own that he loved. Experiencing captivating literature is a lot like the notion of full immersion when learning a language - it's a very different thing from slaving over textbooks. Unless he has a problem with spelling, that also tends to amount to a lot of busy work that's unnecessary in the long run.

It's sad, I agree, not to have time left for the stuff he really enjoys - because that's the stuff that will really instill the love of learning and make him feel great about his homeschooling experience, as well as making him into an independent and self motivated lifelong learner. If there are things you just can't let go of including, you might at least decrease the amount of time on those drastically and keep an eye out over the longterm to see if it's really true that they're necessary as a regular program. I'd take a look at the FUN-Books website to see what fun and interesting things might work better than some you have now - and there are lots of things that can be used lightly without having to do methodically.

There's really nothing he can "get behind" - he's learning independently, not with a group, and he obviously really loves learning and thinking. If he misses something he needs, he can quite quickly pick it up in his teens. In fact, when my son was on a panel of grown homeschoolers and mentioned that you can learn things a lot quicker and more easily when you're older, the comment brought on raucous laughter and applause from the front and center part of the audience where other homeschool grads and their parents were sitting - because they'd all been there/learned that and could now laugh over their earlier concerns.

I think you might get some valuable feedback if you also post in the unschooling forum - there are always lots of people who started out with traditional or semi-traditional structure and stepped aside from it in order to let a different kind of process take place (I'm one of those). Here's an interesting thread: Myths about unschooling.

Lillian
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Needle in the Hay View Post
I'm not totally sure if you looking for replies from unschoolers as well, but if so...
Gee, I hope she was, because I just went on and on...
Lillian
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Lillian J View Post
Unless he has a problem with spelling, that also tends to amount to a lot of busy work that's unnecessary in the long run.
I should amend that - I still don't feel a 7 yr. old has any need to spend time on spelling drills. My son never studied spelling once I got him out of school - except when he was around 9 or so and learned some of the simple rules of thumb that help with less obvious words. And it was using his spell checker when writing in his teens that really cemented his spelling - he and lots of teens find that just observing the words it catches teaches them, so that there are consistently fewer and fewer misspellings. I'd also approach things like science in a way that just lets the fun and interesting experiences flow through his life in such a way as to keep his imagination lit and his knowledge growing. Eventually, there's a reason to learn set data when studying certain subjects, but not that young. It sounds as if there's plenty he'd like to learn about that will all go into building a full spectrum of skills - this is where all sorts of things often come into play quite unexpectedly but impressively.

EDIT: Darn - I still forgot to say what I started out to add - that there are some people who do have trouble with spelling, and that it makes sense for them to find ways of working on it, but I just can't see that being a clear case yet with a 7 yr. old.

Lillian
 

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<delurking>

I don't think you need to do spelling and grammar as discreet subjects. Can you not teach it as part of history, for example? And you could definitely do some spelling-friendly crafts - beading and spelling names etc.

And I agree that real quality reading (and even being read to still) is an excellent way to learn grammar.

Hope that helps.

<relurking>
 

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I'm right there with you! We follow a literature-based curriculum so I feel the guidance is great when I need help selecting books and reserving them at the library to study history, science, math, poetry, and lit.

But you know what? It's too much sitting down for my active ds (and me!), even though we keep lessons very short- 10 min each. My son can focus, and really doesn't seem to mind it, but he enjoys so many other things that we just can't seem to fit in as often as he'd like.

So, we've been ignoring the "plan" and just cooking together, playing games, visiting friends, hanging outside, trying new classes, creating art, and reading whatever he picks out from the library when we visit every other week.

It's been heaven. I do feel slightly guilty though, as I know he benefits from reading practice, but I figure he's only 6. He already knows how to read and if we revisit easy readers again when he's 8, then he'll probably benefit a lot quicker. We're having so much more fun! And, really, this is what I envisioned when dh and I decided to hs in the first place. It just wasn't happening while trying to fit in the formal lessons.
 

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I try to keep it balanced. DD wasn't loving Miquon, so I've brought in other materials for math that met her request (a textbook rather than workbook and no manipulatives besides her fingers and drawing on the board), and we took a good long break and just did Living Math type stuff during it. She was struggling with phonics readers, so I told her we'd drop them until she finished Word Mastery, which only requires reading isolated words and in which she's making steady progress. We do Latin, but the lessons are short and fun with songs (Song School Latin), it's really just an intro to language study with a bit of grammar (what is a noun, etc.) thrown in. Most of the rest of what we do is me reading to her and us talking about it. When she got bored with what I planned for science and wanted to do experiments instead, we did that. If she comes up with a topic in a subject that she wants to explore, we'll take a break from the plan and do it instead (ex: our geography lesson this week was "where is Alaska?") Learning information when it's something she wants to know is going to stick better than me telling her when she doesn't care.

There are certain core skill subjects I insist on having structure for; for content areas (science, history, geography, religious studies, literature), I'm perfectly happy to let her interests lead when she wants.
 

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In my experience, really pushing a child in something that they may not be ready for only discourages them (not saying you are doing this) and diminishes their innate love of learning.
I believe that when an interest is sparked, the child will have a much easier time grasping concepts because they are interested in it. Honestly, if a child loves to read and has been read to, chances are grammar and spelling will be easily learned (and quickly!) at an older age. Wasn't it Adler who said it only takes 30 hrs to learn to read? So then a reader would see words in books, ect. I was HSed and never studied spelling. However, I was a voracious reader and have always been a strong speller because of my exposure to words in books.
However, I had always loved math when my dad was teaching me. When they outsourced math, a lot was review and then I was really pressured and I can literally point to the time I learned to hate math and have had a mental block for it since. I am excited to relearn math with my children and rediscover the love of learning in that area!
(I am really tired and am coming off fuzzy, so I hope this makes sense)
 

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I would look for avenues through what he does enjoy to show him what he needs to know. I agree that simple reading is huge with grammar and spelling.

Our style is neither traditional or unschool. I won't categorize our school other than to call it eclectic. Each subject and each child is so different!
 

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He loves crafts, science, history, math and terrorizing his little brother. I find most days we can only get into the "boring" busy work and have no time to do what he likes because I am busy teaching him things that I think he should know. I am not convinced that learning these things has to be done right now, but worry that he will fall too far behind if I let it go. I think I would also feel guilty about not having structured things for him to do throughout the day. Does anyone else struggle with this.

!![/QUOTE]

I do!

Because we do so little formal work, when we do "do work" it tends to be math or, more recently, writing. Stuff that is essential to leading productive adult lives. Some of the more fun subjects - like history, science, and art do not get explored during seat work in the same way the basics do.

It is not ideal, as it makes our seat work, well, non-fun, but I have made peace with it.

There are only so many hours in a day - and my desire for my kids to have the foundation plus oodles of time to explore their own interests means I do not trot out fun history or art projects. We school at home the basics and US everything else. I t works for us, although it is not ideal (but is anything perfect???)

Some people do create unit studies that teach writing, reading and math while incorporating history, science art etc... but that does not work so well for me/us. I always feel there is superfluous busy work in these things. I really do prefer to just get down to task, lol, and let them move onto what they are interested in.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Wow! Thank you all for your great and thoughtful responses. My computer died two days after posting this and have been anxiously awaiting the repair man to finish with it so I could soak in your words of advice and encouragement. aaaahhhhh!

After reading what everyone said I feel like I have a much clearer picture of what I want to do. I really should have started out our homeschool journey by writing out what we wished to get out of it and what we wanted to avoid.

I so vividly remember telling my husband that all they in school is LA and MATH. I hated that they had science only once a week and hardly any history at all. Plus a lot of busy work that my DS hated and I find I cannot bring myself to make him do.

Thank you all soo much! Such a great mix of responses, gosh, I love this commuinty.

So, I have decided to ditch the FLL for now and just keep it as reference if we NEED to know something. Cut back on the All About Spellling (although he really doesn't mind it) Cut back on OPG (reading, I'm not going to let this interfere with his book time) Keep the Math (he really does love math).

I am going to do his histroy, science, baking, etc. first because this is what he really enjoys. I mean this kid LOVES history. It's not like he wants to sit in front of the nintendo all day(we don't have one anyway). From the start of our homeschooling journey I have gradually weeded out all the stuff we started doing that I was excited about and replaced it with all the stuff I disliked about school and thought I SHOULD be teaching him.

I am going to keep all the classical curriculum because I do see the value in it, and I think eventually he will need/want the info, but I am not going to let it take priority. He already knows what he wants to learn about. Onward we go!!

I love you guys! Thanks!!
 

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I teach the basics. Then my children use that to explore the other stuff. So, I expect them to learn phonics, handwriting, math, spelling, writing. Then, they can read all they want, etc. We are a "geeky" family anyway so it is not uncommon to find their heads buried in history books or science books. (or to find an egg broken in the kitchen from the last science experiment, LOL).
 
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