View Full Version : Keeping a new homeschooler on task???

09-25-2011, 10:27 PM
I have decided to homeschool our daughter, hubby is ehhh 70% behind me, better than 0%. His concern is socialization ofcourse. His other concern is keeping her on task. He is wondering if she is gonna think she can play instead of doing her studies since she is not in school all day. I think that is a valid concern. She is active and very strong willed. How do you get a young child to focus on studies? I dont expect her to study non-stop for 8 hours. I imagine that homeschool studying and learning is maybe a total minimum of 3 hrs??? Please correct me if I am wrong. I'm learning.
We were doing another worksheet she got from class, and the math portion was asking her to count in order and asking about top bottom and middle...is this what 2nd grade math is? And she had some questions on another sheet, she was supposed to use yes or no only once. one problem was can apes pick up a leaf? the other was can seats and desks be locked in a room? between these 2 questions you can only use yes and no once. Am I missing something?? I had to show this to hubby to get him to understand that she is not being challenged. Little by little he is seeing the problems I see.

Stella M
09-26-2011, 12:16 AM
2nd grade would be a max of 3 hours. My 2nd grader does more like 2 hrs ( on a good day ). Don't forget, you have one-on-one instruction at home - a lot more can be accomplished in a shorter time.

I sit with my second-grader while he works - most of the time, he's getting more able and willing to do bits and pieces on his own. I keep lessons short ( 20 min max, maybe more for project type stuff ) but I'm very consistent and it pays off.

If he starts moaning and groaning about his work I just try to stay calm and act like a broken record. " Please stop talking and do the next maths problem please." "Look at the page, not at your sister." "We can have a break when you've finish your writing." blah blah. Nothing very earth shattering but I don't think it's unusual to have to help a 2nd grader keep focused on their work.

Concerns about keeping children on task, for a neurotypical child at least, would seem to be alleviated by being homeschooled, due to having a one-on-one instruction situation.

As far as her maths sheet goes, I don't even understand what about it is maths! But yes, some kids will find school type maths very basic and want to move on to Grade 3 or higher.

Other people here will be able to clue you in about maths program specifics; I don't have much experience there, sorry.

09-26-2011, 01:20 AM
I second the above post by Sadie.

I have a BUSY BOY that is not the world's easiest to keep on task...and a STRONG DETERMINED little girl who likes things her way.

I keep things SHORT (try to stay on 10 minute tasks with breaks inbetween...20 max)

I try to keep the worksheet / work book type stuff to a minum...avoid when possible.

I use moving beyond the page curriculum (which is a bit more active then some others) (I suppliment with singapore math and explode the code)

We start around 8am in the morning and finish up around 10-10:30 (normally there is an official playtime break in there somewhere aside from natural transition breaks) and then after school time is finished, we have more regular life, life lessons & active learning the rest of the day (ie: Playdates at the park, exploring, nature hikes, apple picking, farmers market, errands, educational games, house hold chores, ranch chores, field trippy activities, beach, etc...) Your DH might see some of those things as PLAYING, but he would need to read up on how much actual learning happens thru play...and how important play is...our children are lucky they get the same stuff as the school kids in a shorter time frame and have majority of their day to play and learn in fun ways rather then wait in a lunch line, only have a 20 minute recess to play...etc...don't under estimate play time. :)

Sooooo how do I keep them on task when it's something they are dreading....I try to break it up....if it's a worksheet that has 20 problems on it and it seems overwhelming, I ask my son to do 3 of them (or whatever it seems he's up for) and when he's finished with those 3 he can be done for the rest of the day...and my goal is to have the sheet done by the end of the week. The beauty of homeschool is you can take it slower when needed.

To stay on task when my child is bored...I typically try to shorten up the boring task...I don't give into the whine, for example, if they are half way thru page #2 and I thought we'd finish 3 pages that day, I instead tell them when they are finished with page #2 they are done for the day on that task. They never know how much I have mentally planned for them, so they don't KNOW they are getting a shorter lesson. And I always make them finish at a point a bit farther along then where they are at the point of complain.

THIS is my KEY KEY KEY trick...TRY your very best to notice changes before they become complaints and switch it up before the complaint happens. If I notice my children are feeling a bit pushed too hard, then I might lighten up the following day or week, depending...and give them more outside play time. It seems that when a break is taken from a stressful subject they come back with full speed ahead and leaps are made instead of inching along.

As for that work not being challenging...you know your child, but don't skip ahead just to get to the challenging stuff...I personally think that was a mistake I made last year. And I skipped steps that are building blocks and I have found myself stepping back this year and repeating some stuff I KNOW my son knows, but didn't get a good coverage last year because I skipped over much of it. When I got to the TOO challenging of stuff he was totally lost and didn't have a solid foundation of the stuff he 'sort of knew' but could of known better.

remember when you can accomplish what a classroom takes all day to do in a couple of hours...that translates into you being able to accomplish so much more in a year then the classroom can...so take your time, give your daughter time to play and get her body mov'n when she needs it to move. :)

09-26-2011, 01:28 AM
PS being bored and being pushed too hard both equate to stress for my children...so in both situations FOR US, it's best to back off and take a break and come back at it in a different way, fresh and ready. A lot of times when we take a break, I get the time needed to figure out a better way or new approach to teach the lesson.

09-26-2011, 04:24 AM
Good responses from both Melissa and m2wandc.

My 8 1/2-year-old gets a maximum of 2 1/2 hours a day. Maybe 3 hours if he's especially enjoying the work, such as a science experiment or game related to what we are doing. We stick with short lessons too (no less than 15 minutes, no more than 30 minutes per lesson). We also break that 2-3 hours of lesson work by taking a stretch after our 2 workbook based subjects and changing location for his computer-based lessons. His math and French are both computer based, and I always plan to use one Usborne "quicklink" per day from his history or science book, so that gives us a game or activity to reinforce our reading.

He sees the transition from dining room table/workbooks to the computer as fun, and it helps keep his interest.

The basic rule in our house is schoolwork before electronics. My son loves his computer, Nintendo DS, and video games. Therefore, he doesn't get to use any of those things until schooling is done. He generally gets up and gets right to work on his schooling, so his day is free for play, reading for fun, his 2-hour-a-day computer/video game allotment, etc.

Once you establish that schoolwork comes before certain things and get in a routine, it will hopefully be fairly simple to stay on task. :)

09-26-2011, 10:00 AM
forgot to mention one thing I do and recently thanks to this board realized there is a name for it: STREWING...you can always make your second half of the day full of educational strewing...and she won't know she is learning, she will think you're just the world's most fun mom and have the best house full of fun things to find/do. I strew both outside and inside, so my kids will find things outside on the picnic table to discover and play with as well as kitchen table, coffee table, bathroom sink, etc...

my hubby was pretty much ON BOARD with me, but he did have some reservations, however the hatred he had for the school we pulled from helped things along...I stray...back to my point...he started to see changes in our family and the peaceful vibe vs the stressful one after a couple of weeks, so if you pulled from school, then you might need to take a couple weeks (forgot the equation...something like one month for every year they were in traditional school) and deschool before you will get your daughter to enjoy homeschooling and your hubby to see beneficial side effects. My son HATED anything that resembled school work...he still dislikes SOME tasks, but overall after a spell of deschooling (which is hard, for this controlling mama) he is VERY HAPPY to do what is required (I blame some of the stuff I want him to do that he doesn't on the state) in order to stay home and not have to do that stuff all day long in a classroom. :)

09-26-2011, 10:47 AM
We do about 2.5 hours a day, not including read-alouds. We do work in 45- to 60-minute blocks, switching between two or three subjects during each block. We have about an hour break in the morning and a 1.5 hour break for lunch and quiet time.

I found, after trial and error during our first year, that having a written schedule for the day really helps my son, who is strong-willed like your daughter. Seeing the times for work and breaks written down helps him reassures him that he's going to have time to play and it makes the transition easier when it's time to get back to work.

This is the list of math subjects for second grade from the World Book's typical course of study (http://www.worldbook.com/typical-course-of-study-grade-2-curriculum-guide.html):

* Counting, reading, writing to 1,000
* Counting by 2's, 3's, 4's, 5's, and 10's
* Ordinal numbers to 10
* Zero as a place holder
* Using sets and number facts
* Addition and subtraction facts to 20
* Basic multiplication and division facts
* Multiplication and division facts as inverse operations
* Multiplication properties of 0 and 1
* Place value through 100's
* Fractions in daily life
* Decimal numeration system
* Basic concept of ratio
* Geometry puzzles and activities
* Estimation
* Common customary and metric measures of time, weight, length, volume, shape, temperature
* Telling time and using the calendar
* Handling money (coins)
* Problem solving
* Charts and graphs