View Full Version : Newbie and starting to panic! Help!

07-11-2011, 03:07 AM
We are getting ready for our first year of HS. I will have two boys (both 9 y.o.) home, and my two girls will be at PS. Anyway, I am starting off with RS math and MBTP concept 1 to see how it goes.

I am really excited about HS and my boys are as well. But today I had a little panic because I was helping one of my boys with his piano practice and he just got totally defiant and didn't want to practice and kind of went on a rant about how he hates to be bossed around and told what to do. sigh. anyway, my panic came because i had this fear that THAT is what I will be dealing with doing HS and then all my fears (and my husband's predictions!) will all come true and I really WILL fail at this and it will be a disaster and by january (or sooner!) he will be back in PS.

Ok, i know i need to just take a deep breath here, but I am feeling so worried that now that I have actually ordered the curriculum that its really happening and I am realizing that i have absolutely NO idea how to structure our day and get some learning done! Our schools here in HI start the first week of august, so the boys will start then too. so, i'm running out of time--instead of just "considering" HS, it is actually creeping up on me and I'm starting to doubt myself!

My point of posting--
1. how do you deal with a child who can in one minute LOVE learning and want to read and do exactly what you say and the next dig his heels in and refuse to "get bossed around." I'm feeling like a failure that I can't even get him to do a workbook page from his "summer bridge" book. thats not a good sign!
2. so many say that the first year is the time to work out the wrinkles. what do you wish you knew before the first year so i can try to structure our days to things go well sooner than later?
3. how did you stick with it and tell yourself "its okay!" and not let other's doubts and your children's bad days get the best of you and what did you do to help yourself stick with HS even when it was hard?

thanks to all of you 'experts'. i hope to someday have the confidence you all have in doing this!


Ellie's mom
07-11-2011, 04:57 AM

newbie here too on the forum but starting our third year HS. Still wrinkled:o

Hope you get a better answer but I will chime in on #1:
once I do get a handle on the attitude and defiance then it crops up again in subtler ways ie sloppy work. I have just decided this comes with the territory. What has helped is having a source to point the finger at for 'making her' do the work other than myself. That gets creative! When that is not enough, I hold the keys so-to-speak to any fun. Period.

I did once have to resort to fictitious planning of PS enrollment!

07-11-2011, 06:55 AM
I wish I could tell you that after 4 years my kids just get on with their work, but alas, I'd have to agree that it comes with the territory.

Have you done any reading on 'deschooling' though? You could all probably do with some time to get 'school' out of your system.

07-11-2011, 08:35 AM
The first year definitely has been a year of experimenting and learning how my kids like to learn, so don't expect it to be perfect. I deal with a fair amount of resistance and defiance from my son. The best way for us is to deal with it using humor and patience so that it doesn't escalate. We also try to give a little flexibility ("Do you want to do math or penmanship first?") but insist that the work has to be done before the fun stuff.

As to structure, you may have to play around to find what your boys like. We do one long chunk of seatwork in the morning and then shorter spurts of reading and activities through the rest of the day. Some kids like to plow through all their work in a few hours and have the rest of the day free. When we started in September, I started with just one or two subjects and added more gradually over the first two or three months.

If we're having a rough day, I like to go back and look at their work from September and see how much progress they have made. I also keep a running Word document with all they books we've read and is very satisfying to see it grow. If it feels like we're stuck in a rut or the kids are more grouchy than usual about school work, we plan a field trip or a fun activity to liven things up. Sometimes I make fun math worksheets with a maze or secret codes.

Good luck! It's really not so scary once you start!

SueEllen Grieves-Curl
07-11-2011, 10:37 PM
kids do not like to be hounded that is true. At least he is willing to tell you. Listen to what he is saying. Try sitting next to him or even away from him if you have to. And let him play by himself. Do not correct him when he makes a mistake. Yes I know not what you want to hear. I will guess that he was playing (his way) and you were trying to get him to play (your way). He got upset and threw a fit. If you allow him to play his way now he will develop a passion and create his own music. If playing is fun he will continue to play. If he is forced to play (time and how) it will not be fun for him and he will fight you to play. Ending in both of you getting frustrated and upset. I tell you this because it was war in our home the first few months of our HS.

I needed to let go and allow my kids to learn. We are borderline unschoolers. I say borderline because we have a few things we work on daily which only takes about an hour in the morning and 30 minutes in the afternoon. The rest of the day our girls are free to learn as they see fit. We have areas in our home set up for different things. Music, Reading, etc. the only rule is they have to be doing something. I limit TV and monitor what they do watch. Wii is limited as well.

Learning is a wonderful thing and should be fun. The books you ordered I would try to use them but if there is a daily fight than I would reconsider using them. there are many things you can do to make sure your kids are learning daily. I believe that books are a good resource but are not to be used as an only source of learning. they are a guide and nothing more.

Please do not doubt your ability to teach your children. That doubt will bring fear. And HS is hard enough without fear.
"You are your child's first teacher"

1. My daughter hates with a passion to write unless it is something she is creating. You put a book in front of her and it will take her all day to do one page. You put her in front of a computer with the same work and she will get a weeks worth of work done before lunch. Learn what he is better at doing. Not every child learns the same way. And that is one of the greatest things about HS. You can change things around to adapt what is going to work for both of you. When I hounded my oldest she did nothing. When I left her alone and just told her what she had to get done that day before she could go play it all got done within no time.

2. Do not over structure. take your time and enjoy this time you spend together.

3. A bad day is one thing, we all have them. Take a break and a day off if need be. However if that bad day becomes a daily thing it is time to stop and rethink your approach. We tried 3 different styles before we finally found one that works for us. Do not worry too much what others think. Unless they have been there and can help you. If they have not HS a child than they have no clue what it really takes. HS is not easy so please don't think it is. It gets easier but it is a constant job. You have to plan out what you are going to do, where you are going to go. What is best for your child to learn and are they ready for the next thing or grade level. Even thought it is hard work it is very rewarding.

I wish you the best in your HS journey.

07-11-2011, 11:26 PM
I'm just starting out too, also with a 9 yr old boy, so take my advice with a grain of salt (on a margarita glass if need be, lol!). But one of the biggest things I learned over the last few months was that some things will work, some things won't, and don't go in with a pre-set view of how things "have" to be. Meaning, everyone has different learning styles and that some approaches will work better than others. When we first started I borrowed Discover Your Child's Learning Style (http://www.amazon.com/Discover-Your-Childs-Learning-Style/dp/0761520139/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1310440867&sr=8-1) from the library and it was a big help. It also made me realize that my learning style and his learning style are vastly different, and we sometimes clash because of it.

One of the things that I really like about homeschooling is that if you need a break, you can take one! If you need to stop school to bake cookies, go for a walk, get away from each other while you read a book & he plays legos or whatever, you can and it's not a problem. If you need to start your day later or earlier, you can tailor it to your family's needs.

My son loves to read, so I let him have lots of free reading time after his work is done. I keep a log of what he's read (including how many pages, which he really likes to see, lol) and he loves adding to it.

Best wishes for you! And hang in there!! :)

07-11-2011, 11:36 PM
My oldest doesn't like to be hounded and the best approach with her has been to empower her to do and then correct her own work. She does a lot better when she doesn't feel like I'm telling her she's wrong. It's not always possible and I often have to explain things but it's when she asks opposed to me pointing mistakes out. It works for her.

I wish I could give you an idea of how to structure your day but for us it varies according to how things are going. I think it really becomes very personal depending on personalities, outside activities, the type of teaching and learning you are doing. The best advise I have is to stay flexible. If something isn't working then change it. Go with the flow and don't be afraid to ask the kids how they would like to do it. Sometimes they come up with great solutions!

It is ok. Just tell yourself that and come here for encouragement when you need it! :)

07-12-2011, 02:30 AM
thank you so much to all of you! i knew i would find some good wisdom here! i will take all advice and log it away in my mind so i can refer to it as we go! i think the key as you all have said is to be flexible. that will take some getting used to for me, but i think we will have a good year. i'm excited for the time with my boys.

thank you again! i really appreciate all of your insights, because you all have been there.

07-21-2011, 02:53 PM
I'm dealing with the same thing, but with a teenager (who has begged to be homeschooled for four years, but still has his moments!) I had a great conversation with him and we created a contract together. We both added items to the contract. He wanted frequent breaks, I wanted a good attitude and civility from him. He wanted to call a day off when he didn't feel like working and I added that he got one day a month, but we added those days to the end of the year. We spelled it out. I think, especially with a control-freak (which is both me and my son) it helps them to feel in control and also realistically negotiate to get what they want. I'd also really think about consequences and add a breach of contract clause; that is, what happens when the rules are violated (school on the weekends, adding days before summer break... but also if YOU break the contract! (If you need to cram school before a doctor appt. so no breaks, what is the consequence? Maybe longer breaks the next day?)

I will be homeschooling my 7 yr old daughter in the fall and plan to do this with her as well. Good time to teach about what a contract is all about. Of course it's easier said than done, but the mutual contract get their buy-in and that can make a difference!

07-22-2011, 11:09 AM
You will get lots of great advice from HS'ers on this forum. There are so many styles of HSing, as each family is unique.

My advice is to try not to panic. Easier said than done. My panic time comes at the end of the year when I try to put together what we have done over the year. We are very eclectic hs'ers, sometimes leaning more toward unschooling.

Just remember, this is a journey for you too. You will find things that work for one child won't work for another - sometimes very frustrating. You will find things that you are excited to teach and the kids will have no interest. It is all a learning experience. When you find something that works, milk it for all it's worth. When you find something that doesn't, don't get discouraged. Take it for what it is and move on. That one is harder for me. Abandoning a topic because no one else is interested made me realize that if I really wanted to study it more I should, personally, but like food, not everyone likes the same things:eek: It really becomes about learning to enjoy each other and enjoy learning together.

Good luck with your first year. Each year has its challenges, but I think that first year is a little extra scary until you find your groove.

07-22-2011, 01:46 PM
Good luck in your first year! We are starting our third official year, but still very much figuring it out as we go along. My advice would be very similar to SueEllen's. Don't be afraid to throw your original plans out the window. Don't be afraid to throw all preconceived notions about "school" and "education" out the window. You can do this. Just listen to what you kids are telling you and try to work with their concerns. Kids want to learn. Sometimes we just have to silence the voices in our own head enough to hear what our kids are telling us. Sometimes it's necessary to silence those voices also in order to see how much our kids are really progressing. That's the thing about your third question above. I have completely freaked out about what my daughter was (or was not) doing. I got support from local hs friends, but I also had to step back and really examine her progress based on her and her alone, not was anyone else was saying she should be doing.