View Full Version : balancing kids with different learning styles

12-01-2014, 12:21 PM
I'm new to the forums (and homeschooling) and could use some advice. After a disastrous second grade for my daughter (age 9), my husband and I decided to homeschool her.

Given that we've moved states and are in a "very good" school district our intention was to send our son (7) to first grade PS. His kindergarten teacher, who we highly respected, suggested we HS him as well. Her reasons were that he was thoroughly bored by the work and needed more stimulation.

The issue I can't seem to wrap my head around is how to teach my two very different type of learners. My daughter loves arts and crafts and would lapbook everything if I let her. My son would be happiest moving piles of dirt all day while shouting answers to math facts.

Given the age/grade level difference I don't mind if he skips the projects and goes off to play. However, he isn't an independent child. He has no idea how to amuse himself (unless it involves a videogame). He degenerates into whining and complaining when my daughter and I are both occupied.

I've tried setting him up with his own projects (he's building a geoboard) or activity suggestions - but ultimately until she's done her work, he's miserable. I've been mulling over the idea of sending him back to PS but I don't think it's the right choice. He really was bored there and he needs to run and move frequently.

I'd happily adapt a lapbook to be less tablework, but I just don't see how I could even do that? I'd love some suggestions on how to occupy, engage, interest him. My daughter really wants more projects in her school work, but we're both sick of listening to him complain when she's working on them.

Any advice is much appreciated. All of this is still so new, it can be overwhelming at times.

12-01-2014, 04:00 PM
Welcome to the forums. It can be overwhelming in the beginning but you will soon find your routine. Just don't stress it. You'll all be fine.

12-01-2014, 05:57 PM
Welcome! and beware the label *good school district* - what does it mean? high standardized test scores? therefore they spend a lot of time teaching to tests instead of doing meaningful learning?

I think your problem is endemic to families with more than one kid. I cant even read aloud to my 8yr old withiut the 2yr old interrupting or climbing all over us. And leaving the 8yr old to do work by himself at the table - itll never get done.
Can you teach them at different times? maybe do the boys schoolwork in the mornings, then the girl in the early afternoon? Double up on history, art, literature (not reading), sciences so theyre both working on it at the same time? Could they even work on projects together?

Im not above putting my baby in front of the tv to get work done with my older one. Maybe playing video games while you work with dd is a reasonable solution.

12-02-2014, 12:43 PM
You are NOT alone! Mine are in 5th and 3rd, and it's a challenge to get them both on the same page. Neither of them wants to do independent work, but they don't work well together...I'm banking on the fact that whatever they are absorbing now, even though not ideal, is better than time spent bored or in the principal's office at ps. I will write more specifically about what I try to do with them in a bit - my morning computer time is about up. (In other words, I am hearing waking up noises from the Boy's room. :) )

12-02-2014, 01:22 PM
Is it really an issue of different learning styles, or more of a different maturity levels and/or different needs for exercise & movement?

Would it be possible to start the day with an hour of outdoor exercise so he can blow off some steam? Then, when you move inside it might be easier for him to settle down and do some seatwork. Or, if your daughter wants to work on projects, you could get her set up with what she needs and then direct your attention to your son - even shout math facts to him while crafting?

We did A LOT of reading aloud when my kids were younger. I would read history while my daughter drew or made crafts while my son built with Lego. The reading, stories, and discussion appealed to my daughter. Then, we would look relevant things up on maps or on the internet, which appealed to my son. They both learned and retained A LOT.

12-03-2014, 12:03 PM
Thanks everyone for the advice. Part of the problem is that we live in the northeast, and as the weather is getting colder (but not snowy enough to sled), my DS doesn't really want to play outside as much. So we may be experiencing a bit of cabin fever.

I'm thinking I need to get more "fun" activities for him to do while she does her crafty things. That way he isn't complaining that he's bored, or lonely. Yesterday he built a tower out of toothpicks and mini marshmallows while she drew ostriches, so it's a start.

12-03-2014, 01:15 PM
If he's an engineer/builder type kid, how about a snap circuits kit? Lots and lots of little projects and experimenting and such embedded in that, which would fit nicely alongside your daughter's craft projects.

12-05-2014, 12:10 PM
Thank you for the suggestion. I was considering buying one of those snap circuit kits, now I think I will.

04-07-2015, 02:42 AM
I think everyone has this problem to some extent. When they were younger and both needed help a lot we would rotate chores and school i.e. one does math the other puts away laundry. Now that they are older we can do a read aloud and than move to a project of their choice.

04-15-2015, 03:45 PM
I teach one and let the other play on the computer. (ABCMouse and Reading Eggs) that keeps them busy. I also made quiet bags (busy bags) for my younger son. He can only have one, when I need to work with my older kid. He has moved a bit past that now. (I need to look for older themed ones.) but he loves to play games. He gets out the board games and plays with don't break the ice, Jenga, connect 4, by himself. He will also color or draw. (I have a couple of drawing books, he likes to look at.) I don't necessarily believe one has to do doing "educational" activities while the other works. Some days we do play pokemon while the other works.

04-15-2015, 07:22 PM
No advice here, I'm sorry. My son (5.5) is the same! He has his own schoolwork, but gets done much quicker than my daughter. He's a huge extrovert and wants to be talking to someone constantly. This makes it difficult when I want to work with my daughter on math or writing. He's improved a little this year though, and he's sitting with us often (sometimes even quietly!) and learning a lot.

04-15-2015, 07:42 PM
I also gave him an audiobook with headphones one day, when he was driving me crazy.

I also work with both about not interrupting while I'm working with the other. My 7 year old will bang the table b/c he knows he is not suppose to to talk. It takes practice and discipline but mine have improved.

04-15-2015, 10:32 PM
Thank you for posting this. Today I needed these leads. My DD3 has been screaming every time I sit down with he brother. He just got a crystal kit and it seems I'll remember each crystal by the fit/pitch/object thrown it produced. But I'll try making a quiet bag -though from looking at Pinterest I see one of our problems is my kids have access to all their toys ask the time.