View Full Version : I need help...

01-17-2011, 08:36 PM
I'm not really sure how to word this; or even what I need. I just know that what we are doing is not working. I'm thinking of scrapping it all right now. Is it okay to just completely stop what your doing in the middle of the year? If I scrap what we are doing now, I don't know what to go to. I just know that my kids are miserable, and I'm not really feeling like mother of the year.

This is my first year homeschooling. My school aged kids are 10 and 9. They were in Public school up until last year. I don't question my decision to pull them out of school, just whether or not I can provide them what the need by myself. In the beginning, I tried doing everything with them. I sat down and read the history to them, and then we did the timelines and the questions together, we did the science together, I was in the same room with them when they did math, I sent them off to do reading. My toddler really didn't want to let this happen, and eventually my son told me he didn't like it when I read to him. So, we needed a change.

I started making them a daily list of what to do; what pages in math to do. what pages in history to read, what questions to answer, what paragraphs to write, what outlines to do, etc. They come ask questions very infrequently, mostly with math questions, and DH helps with the math. Some days, they would take all.day.long. to get anything done, and some days they'd be done before 12. I'm not sure if that was me not balancing the days right, or if its just some days are funkier than others.

Some days, when I check their work, I'd find that they didn't do everything. like, didn't even try, totally just skipped it, like it wasn't even there, didn't do their work. when asked about it, they would say "I didn't know what to do, or I didn't have time to finish it" etc.. Well, we have an entire day of the week set aside to work in whatever is leftover (spillover, I guess) and they are told repeatedly that if they don't know what to do, then they need to ask questions. but still, at least weekly, I find this issue with the hiding incomplete work.

I'm just not sure what to do at this point. I sort of feel like its too much; I mean, I personally don't remember what I learned in the 4th and 5th grade. I was public schooled, and I remember having a problem with my 5th grade teacher, and feeling like everyone at school hated me, but what I learned? no. I don't remember that. I barely remember middle school. so how bad would it be to take a different approach to the learning? and what approach should I take? How do you start child-led learning, based on what they are interested in?

(This is crossposted in another forum, so apologies if you are reading it twice)

01-17-2011, 09:18 PM
I would certainly change what you're doing, since you're finding it's not working. Maybe just take some time off to "de-school"? During that time, you could start to see what they are actually interested in (*maybe*...I'm still trying to figure out what will catch my dd7's interest!!)

I agree with your thoughts about really not remembering what I learned in elementary school. So just how important was that stuff? that's my question too. Do kids this age *really* need all the history and geography and stuff? I don't remember any of it. I remember hating history class, and very much disliking constantly labeling maps in geography. Personally I think it's most important to get the math basics covered, and instill a love of reading and learning...once they know how to read and find information, the world is open to them to learn about what interests them. And if they start asking questions about history or geography or arts or something you're not covering, THEN you put some focus on it, and lead them to find the answers, etc.

But really, when it comes down to it, I have no clue, LOL. My eldest is 7yrs old and refuses to listen to me if she thinks I'm teaching her. Today I tried to do spelling with her and she purposely spelt it all wrong, and told me I could ask her those same words until she was a teenager and she would still spell them wrong for me. ha! kids.

01-17-2011, 09:28 PM
Well I haven't been homeschooling very long at all....just a few short weeks but I can tell you that if I tried to give my son all of his work at once and told him to get it done by the end of the day, he would never do it. We pretty much do school stuff from 9-1 and sometimes break around then so I can pick my K son up from school and then do maybe an hour more in the afternoon. We usually start with math. If it's a new lesson, we watch the video together and then I sit down with him and explain it then have him do a couple of the worksheets. I always check his work as soon as he completes it, then we move on to language arts, spelling or cursive writing practice. He does his spelling work on his own either on spellingcity (teach/play) or I have him write using his spelling words. When he is finished he tells me and I look over the work. He reads for 30 minutes then does some writing and again, I check his work and we go over his writing. For history and science, we're using unit studies so I usually am with him for most of that, going over it for him and watching the videos with him, or I am really close by to make sure he is doing it and to see if he has questions. So maybe they need a little more structure and interaction/feedback on the work throughout the day. Things are going really well for us so far. I'm hoping it continues.

01-17-2011, 11:24 PM
I would definitely change what you are doing.
It sounds like you need a combination of your two approaches. Taking a couple of weeks off might do everyone some good while you all figure out what to do next.
I have an 8,9 and 10 year old, so here is what we do:
they each are doing Teaching Textbooks for math (3, 4, and 5th grades). This is all done on the computer and it keeps their grades.
The 8 and 10 year old are doing the 10-12 level of Moving Beyond the Page, which is set up to be very student driven. I keep tabs on them through the day though. This includes Science/Social Studies and Literature/Language Arts.
The 9 year old is doing the 8-10 level of MBTP. Hers has a definite parent involvement factor. I tried to let her be as autonomous as possible (she is ready for that).
They each practice their instruments.
We do this three days per week. The other two days are filled with other activities (piano lessons, girl scouts, co-op).

01-17-2011, 11:35 PM
Yeah, first of all, i was told early on, there are no educational emergencies. Dont panic! But going from reading everything to them and doing everyhting together, to giving them a list at the beginning of the week, thats a pretty big leap. Different ppl have different approaches of course. I have a schedule for when each thing needs to be done, but other people do it other ways. Eventually, some kids become responsible for their own education, but not that young and not that soon after being in school. Deschooling could be a good idea - and get an idea of how THEY want school to run . . .and then find a way to work WITH your kids, so it works for everyone. There are no educational emergencies, as long as you are following the law in your state, take some time to figure it out!

Oh, you're in texas . . . so never mind that law part lol

01-17-2011, 11:57 PM
I would suggest taking a break for a week or two. It may give you and your kids more perspective on what is going wrong. It is just fine to completely stop what you are doing if it isn't working to try something else--this is our first year and I've done it three or four times already--Calvert, Math U See, Ambleside, and others. I only found what worked for my son after a few months of trial and error. I do believe in keeping lessons short and sweet, though. I found that my son retained a lot more when we did that and we had a lot more fun. I also learned that I had to incorporate a lot more variety into my homeschool curriculum than he would have had at public school in order to keep him interested.

01-18-2011, 01:44 AM
I think that YES - it's FINE to stop and scrap everything in the middle of the year. If it's not working and you're forcing them into it, then you're stressing them and yourself out - and no one is learning anything! One of the benefits to homeschooling, IMO, is that you CAN adapt immediately - or take a break when you need to to sort it all out.
Jana mentioned in another thread that if you took all the days of school from K-12 that it takes like 5 years and some months to accomplish all of those days. You have TIME.

My primary goal at this age (my boys are 7 and 9) is to cover the basics in the core subjects and to give them enough of a taste of the other subjects to cultivate their interest in them so that THEY are motivated to learn more about them. Yes, our program this year is more rigorous than last year, but it's working for us now. If it stops working, we'll make adjustments!
There are SO many opportunities out there for learning things like history and science - museums, national historical sites, unity studies about persons, places or specific historical events. Even for core subjects, you can go about learning them sideways and tailor your program to their learning style and interests. Teach math through Bakugan! Teach language arts through literature or speeches (our LA work today was taken entirely from MLK Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' speech).

I can't give my boys a list of stuff to do and reasonably expect that it will all get done, in a timely manner, and correctly. We're doing quite a few worksheets right now, but most of them are done orally and then I have them write in the answers we talked about. I know some expect that kids this age should be able to do XYZ, but 'should be able to' is SUCH a nebulous concept; we do what WORKS for us.

On another note, I think that being able to say to your kids - 'hey, this isn't working. Mom made a mistake and now we'e going to work on fixing it. Do you have any ideas?' is SUCH a great communication booster. Letting them see that you're not afraid to make mistakes, acknowledge them and ask for help is a good demonstration for them, and getting their input may get them more excited about doing their work (for example, reviewing Latin vocab in pictochat with Nintendo DSi's, lol)

Don't be afraid to make changes :)