View Full Version : When the day has left you behind.......should you give your kids more control?

Journey of Life mama
10-06-2010, 08:53 PM
So, today was one of THOSE days..The kind I wonder why I am trying to homeschool and take care of the two year old. Daughter is 10 and in 5th grade, she is pretty smart--when she tries and puts forth effort. A lot of times, and it doesn't matter if it is an educational question or not, she just doesn't have the confidence to speak up. If I ask any question all I get is "I don't know." Not even a guess or an attempt at using what she already knows to get to some sort of answer at any question that may require thought. It is frustrating. Not to mention I do expect the things we teach and learn to be applied and I am just not seeing it. I sometimes feel as if I have to hold her hand all day. Today I thought I should just send her back to public school because I certainly wasn't doing her justice. I wondered if I was pushing too hard and if I should schedule things differently. I am pretty much at a loss and considering sending her back to public school--but I really can't stand the schools where we are and I don't feel it is the best thing to do. Then I wonder if instead of giving her a schedule, I let her pick what she wants to do and we fill in the schedule. I know that there are certain things we must do--spelling, math, reading, but maybe giving her more control would initiate more independence and confidence. ANY ADVICE OR SUGGESTIONS???????

10-06-2010, 09:42 PM
If I understand your question correctly, are you saying you would still set the subjects, but your daughter would select WHEN she does them?

If so, I think that helps give the child a feeling of control and responsibility. Of course, with the two year old, if she needs your help, she will need to realize she may have to wait for your attention. In that case, there may be other work she could do independently.

My kids get a daily list of their academic and otherwise work. Other than the things we do together, they determine what they want to work on when, within parameters. It needs to be done before dinner time, or before I tutor in the afternoons if they need my help.

Give it a trial run and see how it goes?

Journey of Life mama
10-06-2010, 11:22 PM
right now, I give the schedule with everything for each day of the week typed out. She already chooses when she does which subject. I am thinking instead of already typing it out, to let her fill it in. For example, we do Math Mammoth and I usually put in her schedule exactly what to do. I am playing with the idea of letting her decide how much she will do. My thought is that she will do at least what I would give her and be a bit more independent about it. She pretty much knows the spelling routine, but if she is in charge of making her own lesson plan, maybe it will seem more intriguing and engaging? Part of her trouble now is that she looks back at her schedule and sees all she has left to do--she has to highlight subjects as she completes them. Maybe if I reverse that she will feel like she is accomplishing more than she realizes. I don't know, but I think we will try it.

10-07-2010, 06:39 AM
If motivation is the concern, would you consider unschooling for a while (or some version of unschooling)? Keep the math and reading but allow her to pick her other subjects as they become interesting to her? It sounds to me like she might benefit from letting go of the schedule. Is there a reason it is so rigid?

Unschooling or child led learning can sound so scary but in reality it's all about giving your child control of her education. We all learn best when we are motivated, and everything we do can be a learning experience. Interest led learning gives your child the opportunity to become engaged with what she is learning and experiencing, which is totally empowering.

We do a mix of child led learning and things I hope to cover through the year. I don't do schedules though, because they would totally overwhelm ME never mind my son and we prefer to keep things fresh. Instead, I keep a journal of everything we accomplish each day so I'm never left with a unmarked checklist, but I do have a clear log of what we've studied.

Hope this helps!

10-07-2010, 09:27 AM
Maybe your curriculum does not encourage that higher order thinking?

Maybe you could do something like tell her how many math lessons she needs to do in a week and what you expect to have done in spelling each week, etc. Then she could come up with her own plan. She might prefer to do a day of math and have it done or get everything done in two days so that she could have some free time the rest of the week or something.

Theresa Holland Ryder
10-07-2010, 04:18 PM
Teaching on the dialectic is a learned skill for both parent and child. You have to figure out how best to ask the questions to elicit confident responses, and the kid has to learn how to frame the answers in their head before speaking. One thing that seemed to help is having my kids read aloud to me. I think it helps get them accustomed to being the presenter of information and become accustomed to more formal speaking.

10-07-2010, 05:45 PM
Ok, I'm not entirely sure what you are asking either here. But i have two comments to make. Maybe three. First of all, dont let a bad day dictate your approach. The title is 'the day has left you behind' which I THINK means it was a bad day, right? Or does that mean your daughter isnt getting her assignments done?

Second. She's heading in to puberty and she will be difficult for . .. well . . for mine it was about 6 years. Dont expect her to be easy, confident, or indpendent cuz often she just wont be. She's not 2, but she will still need you. You might need to focus more on making sure she knows you love her and are here for her, rather than frustrated because she isnt independent - because it could feel like rejection to her, esp if she is at all jelous of the baby.

Finally, have you talked to your daugther about what she wants? Does she want to go to school, or does she want to home school? Does she feel like its too much work? Do you think she's college bound? All of these questions can help you decide what is best for her - because if, for example, she thinks its too much work but you dont think she's college bound, you can just ease up. if she WANTS to go to college, you can emphasize to her how important it is to learn how to work hard in order to succeed in college.

Oh, and praise her!!! Dont let her see you frustrated with not answering questions. Give her other ways to report back to you - maybe she'd rather write a paper or fill out a worksheet (you can find quesitons about almost anything on the web) or do a play or something? My son does some assignments as entries on his blog!

Journey of Life mama
10-07-2010, 09:55 PM
Hockeymom, Yes, I am considering some type of unschooling--just not too sure how to go about it.
Theresa, I am having her read aloud more than I have been.. It is something she really has reservations about. Odd thing is though, she wants to get into drama. I haven't found any groups where we are but I would love for her to get involved that way.
Cara, I was not entirely sure what I was asking either! I think I was asking if handing over a bit more control would possibly lead to more confidence and joy. I know no one can really answer that for me and my child but insight would be nice. Yes, she is heading to puberty and I don't expect her to be easy, but I do expect some independence on some things--not everything and definitely not on newly learned concepts etc... She has always been a super-sensitive child. We talk plenty about what she wants and what our goals or plans are and that they and we are flexible. She was at public school and wanted to homeschool--it was mostly her decision. She always tested in the top 5 percent in her class. She is bright and easily makes friends. She is definitely able to go to college--that will be her choice not mine. We are very open with her on most everything. She is very creative and is a perfectionist at most things--she came into the world that way and is easily frustrated when she makes mistakes. It has always been a struggle to get her to realize that mistakes are not bad and in fact have great benefits. I do need to not get so frustrated--and I am working on that. As for jealousy--I really don't think that is any issue. As a family, we have been through a lot and she has been there for all of it--before her brother was born, she had a baby sister who was born with a lethal genetic disease and died at 2 months. I'm sure she has the typical jealous sibling issues--but not too much--she really enjoys her brother. It has been very tough for us in this economy, we have both been unemployed and we did just move back to the mainland last year. She misses all of her friends--she grew up and made all of her real first friends on the Big Island. Since we have been back, it has been tough to establish new friendships because we are far out and most things are church based. WE are trying though....

10-07-2010, 10:24 PM
Oh, i bet NC is a big culture shock! Good luck!

Journey of Life mama
10-08-2010, 05:55 AM
Thanks Cara. NC really isn't too big of a culture shock--I grew in in southwestern VA and my husband is from Boone NC, which is where we are currently--my sister is near Richmond in Matocoa! The only big shock is how important it seems to everyone else what your faith is or what church you go too. It really did not seem so "in your face" all the time before we moved to Hawai'i but after we moved back it just seems so intense. Maybe it is a bit of culture shock and the time away makes it more intense! I don't know. She was in Montessori for pre K and K and then in the Hawai'i public schools from 1-3. When we moved back, the job we moved for fell through--the woman who ran the montessori school I was going to work for did not tell me she had failed trying to open 4 other schools in the previous years and all the research I did showed only positive things about her. But, on the second month of employment my paycheck bounced. She had only 5 kids enrolled and told me there were 10 and many other lies. Anyhow, we had to up and move 2 months after our big 6,000 mile move from the Big Island back to a family farm house--free rent is greatly appreciated when there is no work to be found. That is when we started homeschooling. At the beginning of this 2010-2011 school year, she went to the public school. A week into it and she decided she wanted to homeschool--for various reasons. Now, we had our hard times figuring it out last year and I guess we are still figuring out how it works best for us still! It was a particularly tough day--the math is always a DREADFUL time.. I don't want her to hate math at all and am trying to teach her that it can be fun. We started math mammoth this year--and some things are a bit challenging--the algebra for example. But if she doesn't get it quickly, she gets frustrated--so we are just trying to work it through. It was just one of those days where I wondered if I was doing her any good..........

10-08-2010, 07:53 AM
What an adventure you've been on! I wonder if your daughter has had the opportunity to deschool, that is, to get the expectations of public school out of her system. Even though you've tried homeschooling before, it might be beneficial. Can you take some time away from the schedule to explore your new surroundings? Maybe you can also take the opportunity to talk about why you are homeschooling (why she wants to) and what she hopes to get out of it. Does she have certain things she hopes to study? Does she want to work independently or take coop classes? Does she want to do any volunteer work in an area that is of particular interest? Does unschooling appeal to her (it might not if she is a perfectionist) or does she like the idea of structure (homemade or boxed)? It might take some time for her to answer these questions and for you to find a balance that your entire family can be comfortable with.

And math...so many people struggle with math but there so many good programs out there. I can't offer any advice since I AM one of those people (and trying to teach a kid who is NOT one of those people--yikes!)! LOL Good luck! :)

10-08-2010, 10:05 AM
Math has been a big struggle with me and my 14 yo, as well. This is only our second year of homeschooling, but we finally had a good math day yesterday. We're using Singapore New Syllabus now. I try to keep reminding myself that they dont have to learn algebra by a certain time, its more important that they learn at the pace that works for them. The community college my daughter went to during high school offerred algebra classes . . . so if he doesnt master it in the next 4 years, he can do it there! But, he has emotional issues and is unlikely to go to a 4 year school - i would just like him to get a 2-year degree if he can, to help with getting jobs. Who knows.

Journey of Life mama
10-08-2010, 10:10 AM
Thanks hockeymom! I am a math person and I think the Math Mammoth will be ok once we get over the "I hate math hump!"--she on the other hand can understand it but would rather write a poem about it! She can write like there is no tomorrow--give her a topic and you will get a poem or some sort of writing back quite soon--and with wit and humor as well! You may be right--to let her find out her own expectations is good and it will take a while--kids are so used to people telling them what to expect and exactly what to do--she probably became quite accustomed to that with public school. We try to do as many outside experiences as we can--she has an 2 hours every Thursday for music--1 hour for guitar and 1 for fiddle, an hour of tap and an co-op PE group. The college here holds a few different after school classes and we just go into a drawing club. So, she is beginning to explore what she wants! She loves music and would take more lessons on different instruments if we could afford it! I think unschooling frightens her a bit--any advice?? As for our adventure--yes it has been quite intense.
thanks so much for the advice!

10-08-2010, 01:54 PM
I'm hardly an expert but I think unschooling, unless it's something you begin with as a philosophical belief in regards to life and education, is something a lot of homeschoolers fall into as their kids get older and more independent and as the expectations of public schooling wear away. For a perfectionist it may never be the way to go, but the great thing about homeschooling is that there is no right or wrong to go about it as long as the kids are learning and the family is happy. :)

I'm impressed with how much she has going on already, living in a new place. It's fortunate that you have so many resources.