View Full Version : Argh! Adjustment issues!

09-13-2010, 08:07 PM
We are in our third week of homeschooling. I know where dd needs help and where she is okay. My biggest problem with dd is her inability to completely read directions or listen to directions before she starts an assignment. We end up having to redo every assignment because she either didn't follow directions at all or she hurriedly writes down some half-hearted bs and says she "tried her best."

I don't want to talk to real world friends/family member because I know they will simply say "I told you so" or "send her back to school." Except that I know she does this same thing in school, that's why I pulled her out, because her teacher, with 40 other kids in her classroom, doesn't have time to sit dd down and make her redo everything. If she goes back to school she will not have the tools to graduate high school, let alone get into a halfway decent college.

I knew this would happen. I knew dd would get frustrated with me for not letting her do just enough to get by. I knew I would get frustrated with her for not trying her hardest. I have no intention of giving up on this. I just need to vent and to hear that someone else made it through the adjustment and lived to tell about it....

09-13-2010, 08:21 PM
You might want to actually sit with her while she does the work to help her change her habits - have her read the directions out loud to you and you can watch to make sure she is doing the right thing before leaving her on her own to finish the assignment.

09-13-2010, 08:24 PM
My daughter also would breeze through directions . I started having her underline all the key function words in the directions. Now they jump out at her and she follows directions.

09-14-2010, 12:56 AM
Hi Laura!
My little boy is 8 and sounds very much like your dd. One of the main reasons we decided to homeschool was because he was not able to do his work independently in a classroom setting. More importantly, he really needs someone right there with him to help him stay focused on his task. Looking back, I think that I was laboring under the impression that homeschooling would 'solve' the problem of his inability to work independently at this stage.
That didn't really work out the way I thought it would.
After months of struggling and trying to get him to work independently on a worksheet or reading assignment - and coming back 20 or 30 minutes later to find that he'd done nothing, we've made some changes that really should have been made months ago. Now, we're doing a lot more of his work together (with him at my desk unless I'm working with my other son at my desk), working orally instead of long periods of time where he was expected to write a lot, working on the chalkboard (we have a large one on the wall in our school room) so he can stand and move instead of sitting at a desk, working on the computer - just trying different things for him that meet his needs better than trying to fit him into a mold that he clearly does not fit into.

It's really hard to let go of the thought that homeschooling will solve whatever problem our kids have. Well, it can, and does, but not without a learning curve :) First of all, I've learned that what I see or think of as 'a problem' probably isn't - it's only a problem when I tried to apply the 'classroom model' to my child. But realizing that the classroom model didn't work for my kid is the reason we're homeschooling :) It's a weird loop and it took me a while to realize that's where I was. Since we've implemented some strategies to help meet him where he is, things have been better. His ability and enthusiasm for school work has improved, as has his cooperation and general attitude.

Like Cara said, maybe you could work with her a little more closely until she's better adjusted to homeschooling.
Another thought -have you guys done any deschooling? She may need some time to decompress and sort of 'un-learn school' and rediscover the joy in learning for a while.

09-14-2010, 05:14 AM
Are you sure you weren't talking about my daughter (she's nearly too)? She used to do the same thing. Do something half-heartedly and say it was her best work ever. I realized that she was rushing through, trying to get it done "in time" before the next thing, like regular school so she wouldn't be in trouble for not finishing, or being too slow. We didn't "unschool" the kids, but we also completed the last school year and began the new one with homeschool, so they had the summer to decompress. And now Maeve is doing just fine. I do have to remind her to slow down and take her time, that we are in no rush, but she's doing much better. Her work has improved dramatically, and so has her mood. Sitting with her and working with her was a huge help. I took that time to guide her in the right direction and slow her down. She now reads the directions (I know because I always ask her to explain the assignment to me, and I have read it myself the night before) and if she didn't understand it we talk about it first. I feel at her age/grade she should be doing work independently (not all of it of course, but a good part after an introduction and understanding). I also need her to because I have her two younger brothers to help as well.

Take a deep breath, realize change comes slowly, and know you are doing the right thing. Let your girl know that she doesn't need to finish by X time so the whole class can move onto the next thing. Make her repeat back the assignment directions to be sure she understands and knows what is expected. And then give her all the time in the world. Certainly have her redo anything that is not up to standard but give her time to do it. Maybe the next day, not right away. Good luck! It's only been 3 weeks. You have all the time you need to change.

09-14-2010, 09:29 AM
3 weeks is no time at all!
I, too, would recommend sitting with her while she does her work and only giving her one assignment at a time. If she starts the day with a list of things to do, she might feel pressured to get it all done (especially if there is something cool waiting at the end of it for her).
You might do something like "we are going to work for three hours and whatever we get done, we get done" and not even worry about hitting everything or finishing.

09-14-2010, 09:46 AM
Life is an adjustment issue!! (Or maybe it is just one of those mornings!) Excellent advice! Hope you find a workable method for you and your daughter, Laura--and that neither of you ends up pulling out all of your hair. :)

09-14-2010, 09:50 AM
I feel your pain..
My daughter does the same thing, and she is going to be 12! I thought I was going to be able to hand her assignments and not have to spoon feed her everything. It can be frustrating!
Hang in there! I hope things go more smoothly for you soon.

09-14-2010, 10:58 AM
My daughter is only 6, but she tries to pull the same stuff over on me. I actually just had a discussion with her yesterday because she will completely skip over reading worksheet directions and start doing the work. I told her that it was important for her to listen and read the directions and also, to let me teach her because I might have more information to add along with the directions.

I also sit with her while she does her lessons, giving her pointers and helping out when she needs it. The only time I do not supervise her is when she's doing art or creative writing.

Don't be too hard on yourself, especially if this is only week 3 for you! Homeschool is definitely a learning experience. My daughter and I have been working together for 3 years and are still trying to figure things out...and I'm sure long time veterans of homeschooling would agree that they also have to work through issues. :)

09-14-2010, 11:09 AM
One thing that hasn't been mentioned yet in this thread is that difficulty in following directions can sometimes be either a comprehension issue OR a learning style issue. My oldest son has TERRIBLE reading comprehension and in reading anything, he will pick out a few words from each sentence and really believe he has read the sentence. However, when I provide those same instructions in audio form, with my voice, he uses the inflections of my words to make complete sense of what I'm saying. It might not be a bad idea to provide instructions for your daughter in a few different ways, and see which one she responds to best. If written instructions aren't working for her, try it in picture form (for a visual learner), in auditory form (for an auditory learner), or in kinesthetic form (where you show them exactly what you want and then ask them to copy what you have done).

09-14-2010, 11:47 AM
My son is 13, 9th grade. We are homeschooling in our 5th year out of 9 years of school so far and I STILL have to sit with sonny to make sure he follows directions correctly at times. He just wants to get through school as fast as possible. At first, I had to really spoon feed it to him with an electric cattle prod in one hand and a bull whip in the other to get him to follow instructions (just kidding). He too did many assignments over with much frustration when I let him work independently ("I can do it myself!").

Sonny could read at age 3 but he didn't comprehend very well. When we pulled him out of school in the 3rd grade his comprehension was horrible so we definitely worked on getting that up by getting him to slow down when reading. We accomplished this by having him read out loud and also have him read (not out loud) with a book on tape (cd or mp3 actually). This got him to slow down when reading so his brain had time to process the information that his optical nerves was sending it. He also increased his comprehension by identifying keywords in what he was reading. About three words per sentence is good, symbols don't count toward the word max of 3 (# 1 $ % & etc.). His comprehension skills are now on or above grade level but he still wants to short cut his time on task by jumping ahead before reading all the instructions. So what to do?

I took the advise of a more experienced homeschooler in my group... before the class/subject starts tell them what their assignments are, have them in print format for them (type them up if you have to), have them highlight (with a highlighter) the instructions as they read them out loud before doing the assignment, then have them cover up the instructions and tell you what they are supposed to do for the assignment (the instructions) (this way you know that they know what to do). This has been working with my son. I also have him underline up to three key words per sentence in the instructions. Then in the margins I have him write just those keywords. (example: underline 3 words. margins write keywords.)

09-14-2010, 10:24 PM
My daughter (age 9) is just like that as well! I understand the frustrations, it's definitely something we're still working on. (I'm glad this thread was started!)

09-15-2010, 07:58 AM
Laura, I don't have any advice for you, but I do understand your frustration (I've been a bit frustrated trying to get my daughter motivated recently). Hang in there. It is still early with lots of time for adjustment, and it sounds like you've gotten some good advice here from other posters. Good luck.

09-15-2010, 11:13 AM
You got a lot of good advice!

We are new homeschoolers as well. My DD is 5 and I'm finding she loves working on the computer. So I try to balance it between doing work/worksheets BEFORE we use the computer. It works for us. Have you tried getting her to do some work on the computer?

Good Luck!

09-15-2010, 01:29 PM
I am having similar issues with my 7 year old daughter, who seems to be aging me prematurely! :) On top of not wanting to settle down to do work, she is all over the place (physically and mentally). Working with her is a lot like trying to wrangle butterflies with a rope! She just flits around, darting here and there, and I quickly end up exhausted, just trying to keep up with her. I have already axed the math worksheets, as that was clearly not happening. Instead, I am to doing the work orally at a board and using manipulatives. Still, she manages to find a 1000 different things to distract her. It can be just about enough to make a tired mom want to walk right off a cliff (no cliffs nearby, thankfully!). So, I am also glad this thread got started, as I plan to reread the advice (as often as it takes) to remind me of other avenues--and that I am not the only one pulling out my hair (what is left of it!). :)

09-16-2010, 04:44 AM
Oh, thank goodness I'm not alone!!

What I've found is that Cass thinks if she gets it wrong, that's the end of it, and understood or not understood, it's done. The idea of learning something, not just for the sake of a grade, but to really learn and understand the concept...it's just alien to her. Which means concepts that build on an earlier concept are lost on her because even if she actually learned it, as soon as she got the grade it was gone.

What makes me really sad is that she's 10, and in sixth grade, and I'm just now realizing what the problem is. I knew there was a problem, it's why I decided to homeschool, but I think of all the wasted time...all that angst over why she wasn't "getting it."

I've decided to take your advice, and we're only going to do 3, maybe 4 hours a day. We're doing our homeschool through CAVA (it's the K12 virtual academy here in CA) and I've heard they aren't that flexible with schedules, but I talked to her teacher today and explained how things were going and told her my decision to slow down and give Cass some more adjustment time, and she was just fine with it.