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View Full Version : DS is so hard on himself--help!



hockeymom
04-14-2011, 10:05 AM
I'm at my wit's end. My son is feeling totally unmotivated to "do school" lately, mostly because he can't see the progress he's making. He honestly feels like he should be way "ahead" of where he is, especially in math, despite all assurances from us that we don't share that expectation. It isn't a new issue, he's always had incredibly high expectations of himself that are often unrealistic. At the same time, he's bored by repetition, even when he NEEDS the review (in this case, learning math facts). He knows I don't have him do busy work, yet he seems so distrustful of the process.

I really don't know what to do. This morning I brought out two big notebooks full of math that he's learned this year to show him how far he's come, but it wasn't enough to convince him. It's NEVER enough for him, even when he just isn't ready to move on. It's like there's this disconnect between what he WANTS to be learning and what he's developmentally ready to learn.

Also, because he gets so bored with repetition, I feel like I'm constantly having to reinvent the wheel, an exhausting process at best. Is it unrealistic to feel like I have to come up with *new and improved!* ways to present information every couple of weeks to keep him engaged (and seriously, how do you do that with math anyway?)? I've been making up our own curriculum which has allowed for flexibility, but I'm starting to wonder if something like MBtP would fulfill the same goal and take a lot of the pressure off me (at least for the other subjects).

Sorry if this post is a jumbled mess. I'm near tears this morning and feeling so stuck. Thanks to anyone who listened.

inmom
04-14-2011, 10:13 AM
I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for. Perhaps he could still learn a bit of new stuff every day and have a bit of review every day? Maybe then he might feel like he's making progress, while you feel that he's still getting some review.

I totally understand about making up your own curriculum. I've been doing that for 6 years now. With dd starting high school next year, we're still eclectic in our approach, but some of her courses will be online or at least taught by someone else besides me. It's just getting to overwhelming with 2 kids homeschooling and working part-time.

Greenmother
04-14-2011, 10:45 AM
We go back and repeat math a lot. My kid has a hard time retaining the information. So we have to rinse and repeat. A lot of people are just that way and there will always be some subjects that you struggle with. Math happens to be ours for now.

Or perhaps look for a math oriented video game {if you haven't already}.

farrarwilliams
04-14-2011, 06:17 PM
My boys can both be this way about themselves too sometimes. Someone was telling me that the way kids brains are wired, when they have a failure at anything, instead of separating themselves from the failure (so they can move on, try again, do something else, etc - like a healthy adult would) they simply cannot see themselves as separate from that failure - they ARE the failure. And oh, do I feel that when my kids get frustrated and want to do something.

One thing that helps my boys is actually our portfolio process. I require them to pick out the work they're proud of, and then to present the portfolio (usually to dh, but also sometimes to visiting grandparents if it coincides well enough). They have to explain why they picked it, what they learned, etc. They're so used to it by now that's it's really easy for them, but I find that it gives them the same lift that doing portfolios gives me. Also, when they do something they're especially proud of, it helps because they say they want it to go into the portfolio. Having something so routinized and at specific intervals just helps to let them reflect and see how far they've come.

dbmamaz
04-14-2011, 06:42 PM
I read this earlier and . . . not sure if I'm totally off base here but . . . first of all, learning facts is depressing, and I tend to put it off . . . they will pick it up eventually and can continue to work on them while moving forward with other math.

Have you tried letting him try khan academy? Its free if you let him log in with a fb or google account, which you have to make since he's a child. The kids can progress at their own pace - finishing 10 right in a row lets you mark an area as complete, but you dont actually have to finish an area to move on. They get rewards for watching the educational videos as well as for completing problems. I dont know what math you are using, but I'm having both my boys do it - just sometimes - on top of their other math. Its free, its not a big risk either way. All kids start at basic addition and move forward at thier own pace. Oh, and if you give him a different account than you give him, you can also see graphs of his progress and even drill down to see the problems he's done.

hockeymom
04-14-2011, 06:46 PM
That's a fantastic suggestion about the portfolio, Farrar. Thank you. We don't need to officially put one together for our province, but I save everything and keep daily notes for myself and for practice in case we need to when we move. I really like that idea, and it seems like a good time of the year to start reviewing his work; I also like that it gives ownership to the work completed and learned.

Thanks inmom, too. I am feeling overwhelmed lately with putting it all together myself, although I also enjoy most aspects of it. I can't help but wonder, though, if DS would simply respect an "official" curriculum instead; something like MBtP certainly seems more creative than anything I can do myself. I can only imagine how it must feel going into the high school years!

Greenmother, it can be so hard to get certain stuff to stick! I have to admit I'm surprised that there is still some hesitation with the basic math facts, since it's a subject that has always come so easily. I know it will sort itself out in time; it's just one of those days (er, weeks)!

hockeymom
04-14-2011, 06:53 PM
Cara: I just saw your post--we must have overlapped. You know, he actually doesn't like using the computer for schoolwork and even online games bore him after a couple times. We've tried to revisit Khan for their instructional videos, but his eyes glaze over and he's asked to NOT have to sit through one of those again. It's not an attention thing--he can easily focus for hours on a single thing if he's interested--he just really doesn't learn that way. I don't either and I'm not keen on using too much technology yet when it comes to school work, so I'm sort of glad. I know he'll need it eventually and I don't limit it, he'd just rather do a worksheet. I think the 21st century is sort of skipping us by...:)

dbmamaz
04-14-2011, 08:31 PM
Oh, thats understandable - my boys both seem to really like Khan Academy, so we're using it and making sure EVERYONE is at least AWARE of it!!

Miguels mommy
04-15-2011, 12:00 AM
Honestly that sounds like Miguel. Eventually if he can't get it he just stops trying instead of repeating anything. He has a two week time limit to when everything has to completely change. We are trying MBTP LA unit first before I buy the complete curriculum. So far it gives him something to look at as he's supposed to know XYZ by the end of the day. Super spiral may work best for math but the work books from Singapore math worked well for a while for Miguel. MBTP is the first curriculum Miguel has not had a choice of weather he wants to try it or not. I would suggest if your really interested in MBTP to just try one unit or one concept before getting the whole thing.

hockeymom
04-15-2011, 06:18 AM
Honestly that sounds like Miguel. Eventually if he can't get it he just stops trying instead of repeating anything. He has a two week time limit to when everything has to completely change. We are trying MBTP LA unit first before I buy the complete curriculum. So far it gives him something to look at as he's supposed to know XYZ by the end of the day. Super spiral may work best for math but the work books from Singapore math worked well for a while for Miguel. MBTP is the first curriculum Miguel has not had a choice of weather he wants to try it or not. I would suggest if your really interested in MBTP to just try one unit or one concept before getting the whole thing.

I'm seriously considering it. I'd never thought about a "boxed" type curriculum before but now I'm reading everything I can about it and thinking about giving it a try. I'd take your suggestion to try a unit first; the investment is huge for us (my poor DH went pale when I mentioned it) but I'm all about simplifying right now. It looks challenging too--especially the writing, which I've been "patient" about this year. Next year, though, I'm going to want more out of him in that department. I'll definitely be interested in hearing how it goes for your family. Which level are yo starting with? I'm thinking we'd do 8-10 (though if we sample it this spring/summer, I'd order 7-9 so we don't overlap).

It turned out that DS came down with a cold or something yesterday afternoon, which probably partially explains why he was so reluctant to work in the morning. I'm glad now that I didn't push him. Next week is a short one for us anyway, so I think we'll take a break and use our time putting together a portfolio, then start fresh(er) in May.