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Andrea B
09-01-2010, 04:13 PM
Hi,

I started homeschooling in mid August and began with a very light schedule. Now I have increased the amount of work I am requiring of them where we are schooling about 3 hours a day plus art, music, an PE.

My problem is that they seem lethargic and depressed. Even though I take them on walks and they go for horseback riding, etc, they seem to check out after a total of 2 hours work. The 8 year old actually curls up in a ball on the chair and hibernates under a blanket. The 10 year old camps out on the couch and groans about her stomach hurting (this is her migraine season). I can't see 2 hours of work getting us through the school year and it definitely won't give enough time to improve the quality of their education over public school.

Is this a normal reaction to the transition of public to homeschool? Will it pass or do I need to try a different approach? :confused:

Andrea

Sarbare0704
09-01-2010, 04:17 PM
We also just started so I am not sure if this is normal or not, but what about at that two hour mark you take a break for a bit have a snack or get out for some fresh air maybe then after that they will be able to focus for more work?

Andrea B
09-01-2010, 04:18 PM
I forgot to mention, the eight year old is having severe sensory issues all of sudden. The way her clothes feel is driving her to tears and she refuses to put on sneakers.

MamaB2C
09-01-2010, 04:24 PM
Did you "deschool" at all?

Andrea B
09-01-2010, 04:44 PM
Please explain to me what "deschooling" is. I am giving them breaks. For instance today we took a walk after about an hour. Then we worked for an hour and had lunch. After lunch it was like pulling teeth.

MamaB2C
09-01-2010, 05:18 PM
Below are some quotes/links I find most compelling about deschooling. My son has never been in PS, but I was. I have found the concept helpful in myself, to get rid of some notions I had stuck in my mind. Not everyone does this, but many do and find it beneficial.


briefly deschooling is the process during which children who had previously been in public or private school need time to decompress, to shake off the schoolish notions that have surrounded them and find their footing in the freedom that homeschooling affords them. Think astronauts reentering the earth's atmosphere. Same thing, different situation. http://sandradodd.com/pattiedeschooling


Trying to adjust your lifestyle and thinking when you bring a child home to learn after having him in an institutionalized setting (read that school) is very difficult.
For you and the child.

The child has, most likely, had his natural desire to learn, his creativity and imagination quashed. He needs time to detox, take a vacation, have some down time -- however you wish to word it.

You as a parent need to deschool as well. We have been institutionalized ourselves and have many preconceived notions about what constitutes an education.
http://home-educate.com/unschooling/deschooling.htm


Often children who are coming out of a school setting that was less than successful tend to balk at anything resembling learning the moment you get them home. That's because ‘school’ and 'learning' equal 'YUCK' right now. Books and materials that look anything like ‘schoolwork’, whether they're shelved inside a locker or plopped next to the napkin holder, do not suddenly become more appealing just because the geography's changed. <snip>

Time is what's needed, and the amount it takes, varies. It'll depend on the child, how long they were in school, what their experience was like, their learning style, etc. Deschooling could happen in as little as 2 weeks, or take as long as 12 months. Sounds like eternity, doesn’t it? It certainly feels like an eternity. But, if you rush them because you can't wait to get started, I guarantee that a month or three from now, you’re going to be pulling your hair out and muttering to the ceiling at 3:00 a.m. http://www.rmec-online.com/starting/deschooling.html

warramra
09-01-2010, 05:19 PM
Please explain to me what "deschooling" is. I am giving them breaks. For instance today we took a walk after about an hour. Then we worked for an hour and had lunch. After lunch it was like pulling teeth.

Deschooling is a period of time after withdrawing a child from school where they are given freedom and time to do what they want to do. The theory is that it helps the child rediscover a 'joy of learning' and decompress after all the years of school expectations. It also helps the homeschooling parent because they can observe what the child is interested in and preferred learning styles which helps to pick a curriculum or homeschooling approach.

Is your two hours of schoolwork straight through, no breaks? My girls could never do 2 hours straight of schoolwork. We have to take mini breaks throughout the day, and just get away from the books and paper for 5 minutes here and there. Remember in a classroom they wouldn't have 2 hours straight either without some chance of 'check-out' time or switching activities. Just because we can move through material faster or between subjects faster at home doesn't mean we should.

And, the answer to your question is that the first couple of months of homeschooling can be difficult as both you, as the teacher, and your children find your rhythms. But, it may not be your worst month...I've had several 'worst' months due to this or that over the past 6 years.

Amy

StartingOver
09-01-2010, 05:24 PM
I totally second deschooling !!! I usually recommend 1-3 months for every year they were in public school. It will not do any harm, there is plenty of time to catch up after they take a good long break. I recommend sitting down with the girls and discussing it with them. Make a plan for how long to deschool, and when lessons we resume.

180 days in an average school year x 12 years = 2160 divided by 365 = 5.9 years of actual work. Take time off if you need to, let them learn to love to learn again. If they are interested in something run with it. Let them explore many subjects.

I have never had a child in the public school system, but there are many who deschool.

hockeymom
09-01-2010, 06:01 PM
I totally agree with the deschooling idea. I sort of get the sense that your kids are burned out or stressed, and that's never good especially when starting something new (homeschooling, new routines etc). I would suggest rethinking your idea of what "school work" is. It totally does not need to be worksheets or sitting at the kitchen table poring over books--how about exploring whatever their current interests are outdoors if possible? Star gaze at night if they are interested in the planets, read Little House on the Prairie if they are interested in the pioneers (and build a fort!), dye some cotton or wool cloth with walnuts or goldenrod (this is science after all) and enjoy a sewing project (art), take a nature hike and talk about the changing seasons (migration, fall colors, leaves--photosynthesis, textures, scents, you name it)...School work does not--get this!--have to be written down all the time. It does not need to fall into neat categories or be testable. It SHOULD be fun (often a new concept to kids who are accustomed to the classroom environment) and it SHOULD be mind expanding. If they are balking at the basic stuff--the math, the language arts, etc--let it go for awhile. Let math be baking 1 1/2 batches of cookies, allow language arts to be writing lovely little letters to the grandparents (in their best handwriting, of course!). Do allow the time and space for natural curiosities to resurface, for interests to pique, for them to remember--and recognize--their natural desire to learn.

I wish you the best on your journey! :)

Firefly_Mom
09-01-2010, 06:32 PM
Lest you thing that 2 hours isn't enough for their ages:

About three years ago I started researching how much time was actually spent "learning" in public schools. I have no idea if this same info is still out there, but a the time, the NEA (National Education Association) stated that of the average 900 hours that a child spent in school, only 200 hours (!) was actually spent on task (meaning: learning). The other 700 hours are generally spent waiting for handouts, roll call, getting between classes, assemblies, etc. If you do the math, that means that only a little over 1 hour of each public school day is spent learning.

Around the same time I found that, I found that my state (Oregon) deemed 15 minutes of one-on-one instruction to be the equivalent of one hour of classroom instruction.

Just food for thought. :)

dbmamaz
09-01-2010, 08:37 PM
Also, is the method/style you've chosen what will work for them? I second the take-a-break - we usually do an hour or so, take a walk, have lunch, and then do some more. I also find it helps if the kdis have some control - like you give them a list of what they have to do, and they can chose what order to do it in. If they are used to homework, they could even chose one subject to do while you are making dinner, or after dinner.

Also, try to remember what you are trying to accomplish - that helps determine how to handle things when they dont go as determined

fbfamily111
09-01-2010, 09:21 PM
Lest you thing that 2 hours isn't enough for their ages:

About three years ago I started researching how much time was actually spent "learning" in public schools. I have no idea if this same info is still out there, but a the time, the NEA (National Education Association) stated that of the average 900 hours that a child spent in school, only 200 hours (!) was actually spent on task (meaning: learning). The other 700 hours are generally spent waiting for handouts, roll call, getting between classes, assemblies, etc. If you do the math, that means that only a little over 1 hour of each public school day is spent learning.

Around the same time I found that, I found that my state (Oregon) deemed 15 minutes of one-on-one instruction to be the equivalent of one hour of classroom instruction.

Just food for thought. :)

Holy C**P! That's crazy! I mean I knew it was bad, but nit that bad.

We deschooled some too. Not as much as has been recomended but DS was in first grade. When they start to zone out I find a video, or game that applies to the subject we're on. It helps reinterest them. Then during and after the video I am bombarded by questions. A 10 minute clip will take twice that because of having to pause to discuss the what, where, why, when and how of it.

Teri
09-01-2010, 09:36 PM
Assuming you get through the deschooling thing...

Two hours of work is really quite a bit.
Our entire day (all added up), is about 3 1/2 hours, but it is not all in one lump and sitting in one place. I have three and our mornings look kind of like this.
Kid 1 does math (computer), while Kids 2 and 3 work on Chinese and Latin, respecitvely.
Kid 1 works on German and spelling while Kid 2 does math and Kid 3 does spelling and practices drums.
Kid 1 practices piano, Kid 2 does spelling and Kid 3 has his turn on math
Then, all three come together we do science/social studies (they alternate).
Then we do literature/language arts (read several chapters of a novel, do grammar lessons and assignments/projects).
Then it is lunch time and we are usually done unless they are working on projects that have engaged them.

Melissa541
09-01-2010, 10:07 PM
I dont think we do much more than two hours of work per day. I mean, with a toddler around, it takes all day to get it done; but about 2 hours of work is what it adds up to, depending on projects we've got going on.

Are your kiddos crafty? My 9 year old really likes lapbooking & learns quite a bit about a subject while putting the pieces together.

We aren't afraid of breaks around here, either. I've taken plenty of time off due to having two babies during our homeschooling years & my girl hasn't suffered for it.

I think it takes about a year (atleast) to figure out what works, what doesn't, where your groove is. To keep that Burn Out Beast at bay, follow your kids' lead; don't try to push something at which they're balking.
I wish you success!

Andrea B
09-01-2010, 10:58 PM
Thanks so much for all the information and advice. We do take breaks, that is why we end up having to work after lunch. I am going to adjust what I expect of them. They told me their favorite subjects were spelling and science so I think we will focus on those subjects for a while. I've already discarded several curriculum that bored us to tears in the first week (like Saxon math). The girls have been taking art lessons from a local artist all summer. They mostly roam the woods and draw nature and horses. One day they had a substitute teacher who shut them up in the barn and tried to force them to understand high school level art. Brenna got it, but Elise cried the entire lesson. I expressed my disagreement with this approach and was assured they would never have that teacher again. I am realizing that I may have a tendency to be that kind of teacher too. (No doubt, since I have a BA in teaching) A home education that is force fed can't be much better than a public school education.

StartingOver
09-01-2010, 11:10 PM
Use that love of art and science to your advantage. If they want to draw a horse they could research it first, or read a book about horses. The same with science, if they want to make a volcano, then have them research them first. Nature studies are awesome too.

Even if you don't deschool, make it fun. There is plenty of time for hard work. Hang in there, it gets easier.

InstinctiveMom
09-01-2010, 11:59 PM
Yes to the deschooling suggestion - and many of the other suggestions, too :)


I am going to adjust what I expect of them. They told me their favorite subjects were spelling and science so I think we will focus on those subjects for a while. I've already discarded several curriculum that bored us to tears in the first week (like Saxon math).

I think it takes time to find your groove. If your kiddos are digging their heels in, then I think it's a great move! Seeing what works and what doesn't, and making adjustments is all a part of it. My thinking is that we don't have to get it right, right off the bat. We just need to be open to change and be flexible! Sounds like you're in a similar place :)


About three years ago I started researching how much time was actually spent "learning" in public schools. I have no idea if this same info is still out there, but a the time, the NEA (National Education Association) stated that of the average 900 hours that a child spent in school, only 200 hours (!) was actually spent on task (meaning: learning). The other 700 hours are generally spent waiting for handouts, roll call, getting between classes, assemblies, etc. If you do the math, that means that only a little over 1 hour of each public school day is spent learning.

Around the same time I found that, I found that my state (Oregon) deemed 15 minutes of one-on-one instruction to be the equivalent of one hour of classroom instruction.

Wow - I came up with something similar when I did the math for my kids school day at school. In the first 4 weeks, we got as much one-on-one instruction time than they'd have gotten for the whole YEAR in public school. (breakdown in this post (http://thisadventurelife.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/report-cards/))
~h

MamaB2C
09-02-2010, 01:11 AM
I am realizing that I may have a tendency to be that kind of teacher too. (No doubt, since I have a BA in teaching) A home education that is force fed can't be much better than a public school education.

I don't know about others here, but it took me several months of research and introspection and really paying attention to DS's organic learning as a toddler - I mean he learned to walk and talk and use the toilet without school, after all - to kill the education cop in my head (what Foucault refers to as "the internalization of the disciplinary function") and learn to trust that learning is inevitable. I am not an unschooler, but I am much more relaxed and confident now.

Best wishes on finding what works for you and your Kiddos

hockeymom
09-02-2010, 04:01 AM
Yes to the deschooling suggestion - and many of the other suggestions, too :)



I think it takes time to find your groove. If your kiddos are digging their heels in, then I think it's a great move! Seeing what works and what doesn't, and making adjustments is all a part of it. My thinking is that we don't have to get it right, right off the bat. We just need to be open to change and be flexible! Sounds like you're in a similar place :)



Wow - I came up with something similar when I did the math for my kids school day at school. In the first 4 weeks, we got as much one-on-one instruction time than they'd have gotten for the whole YEAR in public school. (breakdown in this post (http://thisadventurelife.wordpress.com/2010/02/11/report-cards/))
~h

I used to volunteer in my son's grade 1 class before we pulled him out, and he used to complain about how much time the teacher wasted in explaining the same information over and over. One morning she started explaining how to *read to themselves* and--no joke--it took her over an hour. An hour! After which time it was time to move on to something else, and by the time the poor kids got to practice "reading to themselves" quietly (really, that needs instruction?) it was hours later in the day and she had to explain it all over again. Absolutely ridiculous.

Shoe
09-02-2010, 07:56 AM
Hi,

I started homeschooling in mid August and began with a very light schedule. Now I have increased the amount of work I am requiring of them where we are schooling about 3 hours a day plus art, music, an PE.

My problem is that they seem lethargic and depressed. Even though I take them on walks and they go for horseback riding, etc, they seem to check out after a total of 2 hours work. The 8 year old actually curls up in a ball on the chair and hibernates under a blanket. The 10 year old camps out on the couch and groans about her stomach hurting (this is her migraine season). I can't see 2 hours of work getting us through the school year and it definitely won't give enough time to improve the quality of their education over public school.

Is this a normal reaction to the transition of public to homeschool? Will it pass or do I need to try a different approach? :confused:

Andrea

I'm kind of in the same position with my daughter. She's been difficult to get up and going this week, too. My son, who has been homeschooling for the last year, hasn't had as much trouble in this way. We've been starting our day with a 11 minute exercise period (the 5BX Plan for Physical Fitness), and a short walk with the dog, which has seemed to help some. I'm thinking of adding in a 5-10 minute meditation period following that next week to see if that will help her focus a bit.

(To those who gave me the same advice about de-schooling in an earlier discussion: I'm trying, and not ignoring your advice! It's so hard to let go and believe that I'll still get everything accomplished. I'm more relaxed about things than I was when I pulled my son out of public school last year, but am still can't let go of a structured homeschool program for her...)

StartingOver
09-02-2010, 09:42 AM
(To those who gave me the same advice about de-schooling in an earlier discussion: I'm trying, and not ignoring your advice! It's so hard to let go and believe that I'll still get everything accomplished. I'm more relaxed about things than I was when I pulled my son out of public school last year, but am still can't let go of a structured homeschool program for her...)

I could never let go for long. I could never be an unschooler. I am just to much of a box checker. ;-)

belacqua
09-02-2010, 02:41 PM
I agree that the first month can be tough. But I would also submit that you shouldn't get down on yourself when it isn't a perfect, linear progression of better-better-better all the time. Things will straighten out, and then you'll hit another rough patch. Perfectly normal, and no indication that you're doing it wrong.

To paraphrase Marvin the Android, "The first month? That was the worst. The fifth month? That was the worst, too."

SunshineKris
09-03-2010, 04:24 PM
You earned a BA in Education, so maybe you need to deschool yourself as well! I was hoping to earn an MAT and realized I needed to let go of the typical notions of what a school day "should" be. We do Calvert, which is fairly scheduled but we've done away with that part. We try to get all the lessons done in the day. Skipper starts his day earlier than his sister (his request, my little early morning person, just like me!) so we get a head start. And it gives me one on one time with him. Maeve starts an hour later where I have her doing independent work so I can go between the two with "formal" schooling and the little guy. Then I get one on one time with her later for her more intensive lessons. We take breaks when we feel like it. Lunch is an hour long. If we don't finish the official lesson plan for the day, we add it to the next day. It seems that once every 7-10 days we are taking a catch up day, like we did today. A day to finish up the odds and ends, a relaxed day.

I am thinking if you do a year round school you might be able to loosen up more and feel okay about it. Some days we are done in 3 hours or so; others we are still working at 2PM. But I let the kids lead me. I know that by going all year we can take the time we need, to either dig deeper on certain subjects or to just chill out, or to take time and travel. I am new to this too. So I might just be talking out my arse. ;)

RACA040404
09-03-2010, 10:41 PM
I am so glad you posted this because I am dealing with almost the same. My to boys are 'just' in First Grade and have never been in a Public or Privat School but they will space out after about 2 hours of school work. I tried to give them breaks but when they wander away from the table they don't want to come back at all. They try to run outside to play with the dogs and the longer the day goes on the harder it is for them to try and focus on school.....

Gem
09-04-2010, 08:01 AM
Ugh - I am having a lot of the same with my 10yo dd. After plugging along for a couple of weeks on the (very light, I assure you LOL) schedule I devised, I sat down with for a frank talk with her about attitude and expectations. We made a chart comparing the time she would be spending at school with the time we were at home doing lessons, and she saw how much time she had for pursuing her own interests. That time would be lost if she was back in pub. school. I think this made a big impression. It also let her see how little time we spend doing formal lessons - basically just math and grammar. The rest of our "school" day is pursuit of whatever science or history topic they choose and read alouds - which they love. And writing and drawing etc - essentially just our regular day that we have had all summer, plus one math and grammar lesson.

I let that sink in for a day or so, then came back with a weekly/monthly calendar (because we could see all of our plans and commitments), and let her tweak the schedule. She has a bit of ownership now of our plans for learning, and can see why we need to focus next week, for instance, because we will be going on a trip from x day till x day, and will not be doing lessons.

I guess we will see if this makes a lasting difference to her attitude, but it showed me that making her a planning partner is essential, and I will be doing that from now on.

That said, yes I see the same symptoms as the OP when we reach the end of a long stretch - the shutdown, the aches and pains, the stomach ache. We are just going to push through it, try to get started and done early with essentials (MATH!) and use lots of cups of hot tea, and read aloud breaks to ease the pain LOL. We should all check in after another month to see what is improving and what isn't.

Good Luck!

Gem

hockeymom
09-04-2010, 09:37 AM
Gem, those are great suggestions. :)

elkhollow
09-04-2010, 09:57 AM
Adjusting your schedule to meet your kids' needs is one of the many wonderful things about homeschooling. We are trying year round schooling for the first time and it's working out so far. Since this is new I don't schedule for so many weeks on, so many days off. We just keep going (not counting weekends) until I can tell she needs a break, then we take a day to just goof off. We are loving the flexibility of it. Some people stick to a four day a week schedule and that works for them, some go six weeks on, one week off. I have read about families who school for six months and take six months off because of travel, work, etc...
You can also play with both the days and the hours that you teach things. Some families do all their math on one day, all their language arts on another, etc... I know a couple of families who homeschool in the evening after playing all day because it works for them.

I also agree that two hours of actual learning time is adequate for elementary school. I got a ball park figure of how much time my daughter was actually spending on task in public school, and it came out to be about two hours on a good day. I'll also second the deschooling suggestion and perhaps looking at different ways to teach them. If your kids are resisting then they may just need a different approach. It takes awhile, sometimes, to figure out each child, what their interests are, how they learn best. I finally figured out that school was synonymous with worksheets for my dd (b/c that's mostly what they did there) and the more we can do without those the happier and more productive she is. It helps to figure out if you have visual, auditory, or kinesthetic learners, too. I also could not completely surrender to child-led learning, but I believe there is a place for that and we count the pursuit of own academic interests as school time. If they are learning and making progress, then it counts at our house. I have also had to learn flexibility, which after ten years in the classroom is not very easy for me to do. But I am learning that if we're supposed to be studying the Byzantine Empire but she's really interested in the Titanic, the world isn't going to come to an end if we learn about the Titanic and pick up Byzantium next week. And I still count it as history.

I hope this helps and wish you the best!

camaro
09-04-2010, 10:08 AM
Hey, Gem. Your story matches mine so closely I'd almost think you were working with my boys! We started homeschooling last year with our oldest who had two years in PS. We started well, but things fell apart despite a light schedule. I explained what time he'd have to get up to get on the bus (he's NOT a morning person!), when he'd be at public school and how long he'd be there before he had a bus ride home. I'd then explain that we usually only worked through a morning. He'd grumble and do his work, but it didn't get much easier through the last school year. So far this year it's been easier, so maybe he's growing out of it and getting used to the idea of how things are supposed to work. I hope it lasts!