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Bugs
11-22-2011, 11:03 AM
We've been at this for about 5 weeks, and have spent that time really focusing on simply math and reading to get our feet wet. Math because DS loves it, and reading because I WANT him to love it. I've been really, really pleased with our progress and how our family has adapted to this lifestyle.

In just a month I am playing more and paying more attention to my kids and their intrests. We have rediscovered a love for the library. We have learned to get messy. I am learning how to trust my kids with things like sissors (why have I not handed them over sooner???). We read out loud, we cuddle, we create, and laugh and have a grand ole time.

Its been going great. Until I pulled out the "real" lessons. We tried to sit down and do the first lesson of the first unit of MBtP. I really love the lessons and the workbooks. But my son would not sit still for anything, and answered all my questions with "batman" and laughed at everything I said.

I'm sure he's just tired, but man, I am dissapointed! We'll try again tomorrow.

What do you do when the kids just won't settle down?

baker
11-22-2011, 11:45 AM
My kids are 6 and 8 and this is our first year of homeschool. They were both perfect angels while in a private school - rarely a complaint from the teacher about my son and NEVER about my daughter. Well, things are mighty different when mom teaches!! I think my kids are high achievers, especially when being compared to other kids. But when it is home with me, no other direct competition from same-aged kids doing the same stuff, they tend to get lazy or bored. After several months and much reading about homeschool styles, I have eased-up on the direct "lessons". My kids completely shut down when the flashcards appear, when drill work begins, etc. I panicked at first, but I know they are learning. I am easing toward a more "unschool" approach, but my personality won't let me dive straight in!! We talk about things, rather than fill out worksheets. We read, play games, cook, etc. I have stopped worring about the amount of actual school time, realizing that in public or private school the kids would not be getting this much one on one time with the teacher. I have read posts on this forum for months and find there is a huge amount of insight. good luck.

Accidental Homeschooler
11-22-2011, 12:10 PM
With my 6yo it helps to give her a break when she finishes so I can say something like, "OK, lets get this done so you can do what you want to do." The stuff that is tedious for her I keep short but make sure I do it everyday. Some days are just tough and it is hard to get much done and some days she is on task and I can get more accomplished. I think it takes a while to figure it out when you first start. Maybe try to think of it as a process of discovering what will work with your child and so instead of having a day that failed, you had a day learning something else about how he needs to learn or you to teach. Good luck!

Bugs
11-22-2011, 12:46 PM
The funny thing is he LOVES worksheets, and apparently the two months he was in PS ruined him because he wants me to grade his work (sigh..... I agreed to grade math, but thats IT.....). But if I try and tell him about anything, I'm SOL.

Airen
11-22-2011, 01:15 PM
My ds is 6, and it helped him *immemsely* to make a schedule. I hate it... I am not a schedule person. But he asked, and school has gotten much easier.

He helped plan it out. Wake up, breakfast, clothes and teeth. History copywork, science, geography. Break. Math. Break.

He's never been in school, but he loves graded worksheets, too. I think he likes having proof he's learning. I don't give him a number or letter grade. We have a small, medium, large happy face for how many he got right. Then we go back and correct them, and he gets another one for that :)

I think the schedule helps because he knows when a break is coming. It's a loose schedule... no times. More an order, and he knows it may change based on what the baby does...

Bugs
11-22-2011, 02:07 PM
Thats a great idea Airen, we'll try it!

Gabriela
11-22-2011, 04:18 PM
My son loves worksheets too, and also does much better with a schedule and knowing what will happen when.

One thing we've started doing is singing in between the tougher or more tedious subjects.
But it has to be a song that YOU really like too, something that gets the blood moving, add some clapping and swaying if the kids are into it.

I'm a terrible singer, but it's amazing what some soulful singing does to re-focus and recharge us. And, you can call it your music class on your homeschool records.:)

dbmamaz
11-22-2011, 10:32 PM
My kids just dont seem to like unit studies. First and 2nd grade, most of what we did was math and reading and time4learning, because he would. We tried several different unit studies, even in subjects he was really interested in, and he just didnt like the format. I can read him a book about science, and i can MAKE him sit still (now) for a book about history, but we couldnt do unit studies.

theWeedyRoad
11-23-2011, 02:54 AM
'k, this is going to sound harsh LOL, so I hope it makes sense.

There is a certain amount of 'training' involved in teaching kids about our expectations re:school. Obviously, it would be completely different with unschoolers, so I'm not talking about those folks. My ds (former ps student and had somewhere decided that ps was where one went to learn info) had to learn to trust me. He had to learn that there are REASONS behind what I ask him to do, and had to learn that hey! Mom does know a thing or two! He also had to learn (still working on this) that school time means brain engaged, fingers ready.

DD was similar, although had totally different behaviors. She had to learn that math sheet time was math... reading is reading. She can tell me unrelated stories, but that I expect her to keep them short and to do her work (not sitting by herself, which is both a help and a distraction for her). She still plays a bit while working, but nowhere near how it used to be and I use some of that play to help her learn (math problems she struggles with are all about cookies :p)

I hadnt' realized how far they had come until I had my neice here for a week. I homeschooled her along with dd, and holy cow, batman! She wiggled all over te place, talked constantly, and was so busy playing with the manipulatives that she had trouble completing the worksheet (way below her ps level).

So there you have it. YES, make sure you are accounting for learning style. YES, make sure you are presenting the info in a way he can get it (my kids wiggle extra if they are struggling to understand), and keep it at the length his brain can handle. But also, just like when they were toddlers, they have to learn very basic expectations for this phase as well.

lakshmi
11-25-2011, 04:50 AM
ouch Weedy.....lol

Yes, I am the opposite. Your kids are young and yes you *can* teach them how to sit, but it really can be tough and energy consuming. But a couple of ideas if you insist on keeping them "at the table" so to speak.

A small exercise ball, so that they can sit and bounce. My rule is that you can wiggle, (even though I find this so entirely distracting) but you can't make extraneous noises with your body.. tapping, humming etc. (because I find that Way more distracting.)

But I am very loose with the timing on the MBTP. I do not do a lesson a day. I go until it doesn't work and then I stop. If the girls are playing nicely. I won't interrupt for stupid school. Play is as important as learning numbers etc.

But, I second the singing. And if they get silly, then get sillier! lol Create a word that is a code word that means. I know that you just made a silly and rather nonsense statement and I'd like for you to focus.... Ours is Alaska. Sometimes I use pickle. Or booger pie.

Both of my daughters are wiggly. And they both make me wacky. So, I started using a timer. We all agreed to a set time. I even made them say, "I agree to focus on {whatever} for 15 minutes." That is for the youngest. And for those 15 minutes (well sometimes I forget to turn on the timer, or I pause it) she can stay fairly focused. If she jacks around I "get" to add a minute. That also works. I've only had to add one minute per session. BUT.... the key to this..... you have to stop when the time is up.

Which is the hardest thing to do, hence the "time-saving techniques" i mentioned. But it give them the understanding that it will be over. Then I move on to something else. I got this from somewhere, I thought it was here but maybe another forum. It gives them trust and control somehow. We started with 10 minutes. And at first I would say, "Would you like 10 minutes or 14 minutes?' Like that was a no-brainer, but she got to make the choice. In the beginning I would also give her a choice of what she did for the 10 minutes. Also if she whined or moped like this is such a stupid thing I'd rather be watching Strawberry Shortcake..... then I'd add a minute.

It has changed my life.

oh and so glad that you're enjoying the experience! And just wait until you're handing over more than the scissors. My 7 yo just used an 8" chef knife to cut potatoes yesterday. (my husband is a chef.) Once you're with them all the time you get to know their strengths and weaknesses in a way that you might not have before!

Woot

theWeedyRoad
11-25-2011, 07:41 AM
ouch Weedy.....lol

Yes, I am the opposite. Your kids are young and yes you *can* teach them how to sit, but it really can be tough and energy consuming. But a couple of ideas if you insist on keeping them "at the table" so to speak.

A small exercise ball, so that they can sit and bounce. My rule is that you can wiggle, (even though I find this so entirely distracting) but you can't make extraneous noises with your body.. tapping, humming etc. (because I find that Way more distracting.)

But I am very loose with the timing on the MBTP. I do not do a lesson a day. I go until it doesn't work and then I stop. If the girls are playing nicely. I won't interrupt for stupid school. Play is as important as learning numbers etc.

But, I second the singing. And if they get silly, then get sillier! lol Create a word that is a code word that means. I know that you just made a silly and rather nonsense statement and I'd like for you to focus.... Ours is Alaska. Sometimes I use pickle. Or booger pie.

Both of my daughters are wiggly. And they both make me wacky. So, I started using a timer. We all agreed to a set time. I even made them say, "I agree to focus on {whatever} for 15 minutes." That is for the youngest. And for those 15 minutes (well sometimes I forget to turn on the timer, or I pause it) she can stay fairly focused. If she jacks around I "get" to add a minute. That also works. I've only had to add one minute per session. BUT.... the key to this..... you have to stop when the time is up.

Which is the hardest thing to do, hence the "time-saving techniques" i mentioned. But it give them the understanding that it will be over. Then I move on to something else. I got this from somewhere, I thought it was here but maybe another forum. It gives them trust and control somehow. We started with 10 minutes. And at first I would say, "Would you like 10 minutes or 14 minutes?' Like that was a no-brainer, but she got to make the choice. In the beginning I would also give her a choice of what she did for the 10 minutes. Also if she whined or moped like this is such a stupid thing I'd rather be watching Strawberry Shortcake..... then I'd add a minute.

It has changed my life.

oh and so glad that you're enjoying the experience! And just wait until you're handing over more than the scissors. My 7 yo just used an 8" chef knife to cut potatoes yesterday. (my husband is a chef.) Once you're with them all the time you get to know their strengths and weaknesses in a way that you might not have before!

Woot

LOL- see, that's actually exactly what I'm talking about. Not so opposite at all :)

I pay a lot of attention to wiggles with my kids. They aren't usually wiggly kids, so too much wiggling almost ALWAYS means the work is hard. That's ok, I want them challenged. BUT with mine, wiggling a lot, spaced out or gazing off at nothing and really not getting anything done at all means it's TOO hard, or that they don't quite understand (or they understand but lack confidence to use it). And even with math, if they are THAT wiggly and obviously unfocused, we do more problems together on the board. That unfocused and wiggly for dd and reading means I shorten the lesson. Wiggly doesn't mean 'naughty' here at ALL. There is no punishment for talking (for dd, it's ad nauseum about anything from her kitty to what she wants to get her brother for x-mas for the next 3 years), they just know to keep it short, and we'll continue the conversation later.

I think my post meant more.. wiggling or talking doesn't let you off the hook for an assignment. I expect it to be done, and they know that.

I also tend to have some areas that are worksheet/writing focused (math, LA) and some that are reading/learning focused with almost zero written work (sci, ss, reading) so they have a very finite amount of humdrum, quiet-at-the-table type stuff.

Stella M
11-25-2011, 05:37 PM
I'm glad to hear you've been having a great month or so :)

Is there any reason why you can't continue as you are for a little longer ?

When my kids won't settle down I will talk with them about it. "I've noticed you don't really want to do any MBTP work ?" and see what they have to say. As far as possible, I try to respect their answer or explanation and work with it. The fact that your son is not willing to do this new work and is trying to make a joke of it, despite being perfecting willing to work and learn and explore together otherwise, could be telling you something about the resource, his learning style or just his readiness or lack of for more than you have been doing up till now.

Bugs
11-25-2011, 05:54 PM
I think more than anything, I am just bored of the reading and math focus.... I wanted to get more fun into there! Luckily after spending some time on it this week, Bug got more excited about it. I think maybe that first day he was just anxious that I brought out something new?
Either way, he's been enjoying making maps, and is really excited to be talking about animals. And, we're going to the zoo, so whats not to love about that?

The tips on wiggling and singing really helped, we've been taking time to go to the park and parade around the room and bounce up and down this week. Wiggle breaks and focus time is really, really helping. I guess I didn't see that an hour of work a day would take this long! But its going well, and so far, no tears!

Thank you, thank you, for all the kind words.

lakshmi
11-25-2011, 09:38 PM
lol... Bugs, An hour of work today took me, like six. It felt like 10.