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  1. #1

    Default I wish it didn't feel so personal

    I'm struggling today. I had my first major homeschool meltdown. And I do mean mine.

    Today he has a cold (mostly just a runny nose, no fever or cough or sneezing) so we kept school to the bare minimum. He did science (which he loves), one short page of math review, and he had to read half a chapter in his book.

    It was hard to get him focused today but we were done before lunch. Well, as I was getting everything ready for tomorrow, the bookmark fell out of the book he was reading for school. I was trying to figure out where to put it (i had him finish half way through a chapter today because there was a natural break and otherwise the chapter was 20 pages long) Anyway, long story short, he hasn't been reading it. He was only reading a couple pages per chapter and pretending he finished the whole thing.

    I hated all the stupid quizzes they gave in school. The ones that made you memorize stupid minor details that meant absolutely nothing to the story. And he struggles with writing, I can take an hour to get him to copy down a sentence or two. Adding in extra assignments is only going to add to our struggle. I'd hate to do that, and he'd hate it if I did that. But what other options do i have at this point?

    And it feels so personal, you know? I put so much time and research and work into doing this with him. I tried to make it as easy as i could. I try to tailor it to the way he thinks and learns despite what would be easier for me. And then it all falls apart and nothing is working, and he hates every minute of it, and I feel like nothing I do is going to be good enough.

    Because as bad as school got for him, his teachers never yelled at him and told him that he lied to them and then sent him away.

    He never really liked school, and I feel like all that we are accomplishing with homeschooling is to ruin our relationship and take away the only safe space he had.
    -Sam
    New-to-homeschooling mom to
    8th grade DS
    with 2 more in public school (2nd grade DS, and Kinder DD)

    We are a neurodiverse family

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  3. #2

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    *Hugs* I'm sorry you are having a rough day. We all have them. The great thing is that you can both start over fresh tomorrow. ;-)

    You don't have to do the "did you really read it" quizzes if you don't want to. What I had my middle schoolers / jr high aged kids do when I would discover they were not completing their reading as they were suppose to was make them read it aloud to me just like they had to when they were little. If I can't trust them to read it to themselves, then they lose that privilege and they have to read it out loud to me so I know they read it. Usually didn't take long for them to realize they disliked being treated like a little kid more than they disliked the reading itself. Just another way of dealing with it because you're right, if writing isn't his thing, the quizzes are just going to drive the wedge between you further.

    You might also consider letting him listen to the books as audiobooks instead as long as he can still complete the assignments that go along with the book correctly (so he's not just turning it on and then not listening). Perhaps even listen together while you both do some quiet hobby and you can even pause it and discuss things right then and there. My kids always preferred doing it this way whenever possible. I would sew or crochet (or nurse a baby lol) and they would draw or make models or do legos while we all listened to an audiobook and when they wanted to ask a question or I wanted to discuss something that just happened in the story with them, we would pause it and have the discussion right there. Even as middle school / junior high aged kids they liked it when we would do it this way.

    I know it feels personal, but I know you know it's not. We all have less than stellar homeschool days and less than stellar parenting days. It just inevitably happens, particularly as they get older and try to assert their independence, sometimes in unacceptable ways. Take tomorrow to take the steps toward mending your relationship with him. If you can, find out why he did what he did. Is the book more difficult than he is used to? Is the book dry and boring to him? The pace of reading too fast for him? Or is he just seeing what he can get away with? It can be easier to see what needs to be done if you can find out exactly what is causing the problem in the first place.

  4. #3

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    It does feel personal, and so ungrateful of them.... We research and plan and do a ton of prework to make the world orbit around them... and then they cheat and lie to us!
    Ive found I have to ask questions after every reading assignment, or else its likely been just skimmed.

    Take a health day tomorrow, either do something for yourself, or something to rebuild the friendship you worry is deteriorating. Youre never gonna regret putting off a days schoolwork - and you may regret not patching things up.
    Homeschooling DS11, DS5.

    Atheist.

    My spelling and typing are fine, its my keyboard that doesnt cooperate.

  5. #4
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    *hugs* I hear ya. Same skimming problem here. Or the 'I don't understand what I just read, so I'm skipping that part'. Sometimes we share read a book - he reads a page, I read a page (time consuming, but works well). I've got ds more on his own lately and touching base via talking once a day seems to have helped. I buy a copy and read the same book and write notes in it, things I want to ask / talk about. We are also trying something new, Sunday book club to discuss what he read over the week. Hoping to go a bit deeper then, food treats included (ds is all about the food treats).
    Rebecca
    DS 12, DD 10
    Year 6

  6. #5

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    I have a 15 yo with ASD and boy it is just a struggle. I don't have words of advice, but just wanted to let you know that your challenges are real and there are others struggling alongside with you. Hang in there!
    Beth
    DS14 with ASD, DD11 and DS8

  7. #6

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    You know, everyone is saying it isn't personal... but honestly, if that's not personal, I'm not sure what is. I think it's easier to get distance when you teach other people's kids. With our own kids, of course it's personal - that's both the most wonderful and the most treacherous, difficult thing about homeschooling in my mind.

    But... I guess that's the way you solve it too. You don't like the quizzes, he doesn't like the quizzes. Don't do that type of work. Engage with learning another way. Make it personal to him by making it the work that he can do. Don't fight him over it - push into the places with less resistance because you can see them. Be willing to choose other programs or routines - again, in school, where it's actually not personal, you can't do that because it's one size fits all. You can make it the right things for him.

    And, you know, give yourself a break. That's personal too. And do something else the next day if you have a day like that. Change your venue and do school at a cafe or the library, go for a nature walk to start the day, play a game, watch a documentary, just do it differently to get yourself a reset.
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  8. #7

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    I think what everyone means (or at least what I meant) by it's not personal is that it's unlikely that he did it as a personal attack against his mother. It was more than likely an act of a flippant teenager living in the moment without the ability to see how his actions hurt his mother, not to mention his future. Young teens, in my experience, all tend to go through a stage of being a toddler all over again. They want to assert their independence with another round of "I don't want to and you can't make me" just like a 2 year old only instead of throwing a tantrum because you told them to pick up their toys before bed, they try to just not do what they are told and see how long they can fly under your radar. I have seen a few teens who never did this and some adults who never outgrew it but usually, around junior high age, most kids try it, at least once or twice.

  9. #8

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    Ah yes...the underpreforming for mom. My older two...they tried hard. Youngest....well, I know it is hard sometimes but golly days the complaining, whining, yeah, it gets personal.

    My thing this summer was his writing. I let him dictate to the iPad if he wants. So, I went off, did stuff, came back, he had it done. Very nicely done. Too nicely done. I googled it, yep, he lifted it word for word from a web page. Then he had to write about plagiarism....I probably did not handle it too well.

    We do a lot of audio books. Listen during lunch, in the car and stuff like that. The library has various apps for downloading books and still has CDs.

  10. #9

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    You know, I know it is not ideal, but for specific pieces of literature, we read the book together. My son is autistic and 12 going on much younger maturity-wise so he does not balk at it, so I don't know if this will work for you or not.

    It helps us in a number of different ways. The first is that I don't have to worry about him getting distracted by something else and then not doing it. (Which also means pretending to have done it is not going to happen, either.) In addition, my son has some comprehension issues and has not really mastered active reading and asking questions to himself as he goes, especially for fiction which he is not too keen on reading. I ask him questions every few pages or whenever it makes sense, given the text, so I am not asking him questions after an entire chapter and finding out his mind wandered or did not think something important was significant to remember. This just frustrates everyone.

    Even if your son does not have these other issues, he may have trouble focusing on just getting his reading done, especially if it is not his type of reading or he does not like to read. I realize it is temporary scaffolding and he is going to have to become a better self-starter and be able to buckle down and just get it done at some point, but sometimes you do what you have to do.
    Last edited by HobbitinaHobbitHole; 09-21-2017 at 07:40 PM.

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I wish it didn't feel so personal