View Full Version : This is doing my head in....

01-20-2012, 08:55 PM
Spoiler Alert: This is just a whine. I know I should be grateful, but not right now, thanks.

So as many of you know, I'm hsing my oldest son Batman, who has high-functioning autism, in a very structured way. We use Calvert and Sue Patrick's workbox system. We are all about structure, limits, sequential, scaffolded learning, worksheets, etc.

Every day is a struggle to keep him on task and to make the transitions between tasks as smooth as possible. He has struggled with reading mechanics, he's struggled with reading comprehension, he's struggled with printing, he's struggled with paying attention, with regulating his emotions.

The system is this way because it works. All of his struggles have dramatically improved with what I'm doing now. (That and attention meds.) It took me a good deal of time and anguish to come around to it. Can you believe, I actually started with an Ambleside/WTM approach? I was so excited!!! It took several epic fails for me to realize that it was just not going to work, not anytime soon.

So I have a younger son who just turned five and apparently has taught himself to read on his own. He just motored through an early reader without breaking a sweat. He can do his brother's math homework easily. He loves science, building things, reading etc. (Calvin & Hobbes is his current favorite.) Whenever I sit him down, he shows no interest in formal work, but will happily build something while constructing some verbal story about it. And I can always read to him. His motivation is poor unless he is directly interested in something. Then he wants to learn everything. He has a wonderful memory. Oh, and he hates printing. Oh, and he fits the profile for ADHD--hyper, terrible working memory.

So, dh listens to Robin while he reads his book out loud and says, "He seems like a great candidate for unschooling." And I had to agree. He's right.

My whine: Don't tell me I have one son who thrives on Calvert and another who learns best in a relaxed/unschooler type way! ARGGGGHHHH! (Banging head on desk.) WHY??? WHY can't things be simple or at least, straightforward?

Okay, please take into account that I haven't left the house all week due to snow and I have cabin fever bad. I will see all the good points to this situation soon and going to hie my way over to the recent kindergarten thread for some book ideas.

Any suggestions would be appreciated. See, I told you this was whiny.

01-20-2012, 10:14 PM
Whiny whiny... whiny...

No suggestions here.. But at least you have spousal support!

01-20-2012, 10:35 PM
I see this to a *much* lesser extent with my kids, but enough that sometimes it drives me nuts. BalletBoy needs me to lay off and let him be in his lala land and just keep handing him a progression of stuff to do. He needs to practice things and master them then move on. He learns in leaps, with these mysterious click moments where he suddenly surges ahead, seemingly independent of anything we're doing for school. When he's upset, he needs me to really get in his face about it a little bit and show him that I'm in charge and that we'll handle it. Mushroom needs me to be really calm and quiet with him - where I have to outdo BalletBoy and show him who's boss, I have to underdo Mushroom and show him I'm stable and his rock. He needs to keep changing and do different things constantly. He needs to not master skills, but to spiral around them.

It drives me nuts. But I try, I really do.

So, no real advice, but I think you should just do it, Batgirl. I mean, you're right. And what a good parent to honor their differences and try to help them like that. :)

01-20-2012, 10:39 PM
ok, mine arent QUITE that extreme, but i'm in a similar place. The year I started, Orion was in 8th and Raven was in 1st. Well, the reading abilities are swapped tho. But Orion totally needed a printed schedule, consistancy, me there every step of the way, work that was school-like, regular, orderly, predictable.

Raven fought me any time i told him to do anything, refused to listen to me, refused to write anything. I totally felt like i was being pulled in two directions. There were several things I thought we coudl do together that totally failed.

thats when I started the time4learning with Raven - which we did in an unschooly way. As long as I just said he had to do it for 20 minutes (you can adjust the timer setting on it), he could do whatever he wanted. HE read through the science as fast as he could He started math at the last section available to him, and wandered around in circles. He avoided language arts like the plague. He spent probably 2-3 hours playing around with their graphing applets.

Over time, I've gotten better at feeding Orion work he can handle, and he's gotten better at handling it on his own. and finally last summer Raven decided that doing work in a book wtih me could be more fun than T4L. so now its more of a balance. but still . .. I am running in circles trying to keep up with Raven's interest in science, his ability in math, his shortcomings in english. Orion is just plugging along and I realy wonder if he wouldnt do better with k12 or calvert (if it was secular) or something that was just premade and orderly like that. I think he's mostly caught up on math (struggling but sort of understanding how to add fractions when one denominator is a - 1 and the other is a^2 - 1.

anyways, yeah, its an adventure.

oh, and the worst part? honestly? Is that sometimes i'm sitting here terrified of what kind of support Orion will need just to get through 2 years of community college, and then Raven makes leaps of maturity that his brother never made and suddenly I'm mourning the beautiful, perfect boy i thought i had until Orion started getting dx'd . . . and feeling guilty too. so much fun.

rah - rah - fight fight fight . . . .

01-20-2012, 11:36 PM
Oh, ugh. I worry that I'm going to be facing something similar this fall. DS is my ADHD Aspie. He's on a nonstimulant med currently (I still desperately miss Vyvanse, but I understand that the Intuniv is better for him in several ways), and I have to write his daily schedule in a binder or he flips out. He wants to do the subjects in a certain order each day. Do school-at-home, use lots of black-and-white workbooks, let him type instead of write, and he thrives. DD is my bipolar social butterfly. She has already announced that when she comes home this fall, all she's going to do for the first week is math... which, by the way, will not be the same math curriculum as her brother because she's seen him do a few lessons and pronounced it "incredibly boring." She wants her math to have color. She wants to read a million books and write in a journal (something DS would rather pull teeth than do), bounce around the house and do as much oral work as possible (except for math, which she loves worksheets for, as long as there's color), and just generally follow her mood rather than have a plan or a structure.

It's enough to make a girl crazy. You're not whining. You're working with two entirely different people in two entirely different ways, and it's not easy! But you can do it. You take your children as they come, and that's why you rock. I hope I can follow in your footsteps. You inspire me :)

01-21-2012, 09:31 AM
Isn't there an advantage to having one child that needs a lot of your attention and one child that seems to be able to self-teach?

I have two children that need equal amounts of guidance and attention from me so I'm juggling. I spend time during our school hours trying to think of what one can do while the other gets "explanations" (don't want to use the word lecture). In other words, daughter #1 does Spelling Workout exercises while I explain today's math lesson to daughter #2....but what if daughter #1 wants to do math at the same time...negotiations begin.

Hope the snow melts and you get some time out of the house this weekend!

01-21-2012, 02:11 PM
Isn't there an advantage to having one child that needs a lot of your attention and one child that seems to be able to self-teach?

Definitely once they are a little older! Robin just turned five, so even though he's independent, he's not that independent and he actually seems to strongly desire (but not need, like Batman) verbal interaction in order to learn. He loves to be read to, which requires my presence, and he always asks a LOT of questions. And his working memory problems mean that he needs to be monitored for daily life tasks to get done. This is a kid who still poops his pants when he get absorbed in something....and sits in it, sigh. But yes, time is on my side with this issue.

Thanks! Rain has melted the snow, and I am LEAVING THE HOUSE! Woo hoo!

01-21-2012, 02:37 PM
yeah, i was thinking this too - the younger one wanting to be self-directed doesnt mean he doesnt still need you almost constantly, esp since mine wasnt reading independently until this year

01-21-2012, 02:46 PM
I think even if one kid needs less of your time, it's hard on the brain to switch parenting gears or homeschooling gears and see the whole process through a different paradigm. Plus, I think having radically different expectations can lead to more competition and discord among sibs in the house - even if they get it, it may just feel unfair that someone gets more attention or less book work.

Not that those are insurmountable - just that it's not simple.

01-21-2012, 04:21 PM
I think.. that a lot of us deal with this.

My situation isn't identical but I have two different types of learners with completely different attitudes about school.

One who is auditory, one who is visual. One who loves to learn, one who hates it and compartmentalizes 'school learning' from real life. I have one who trusts whatever I ask her to do, and one who thinks I'm just trying to torture him. One who could learn whatever way you asked her- unschooling, boxed, classical, etc (unless you are in ps), and one who still has me stumped. One who loves to read (even though it's hard for her) and loves to write, and One who thinks writing was created by sadists and reading is only slightly better. One who wants to know everything that's ever been discovered about the world, and one who feels he'll be a CEO (and apparently his underlings can know that stuff?).

I have one kid who makes me feel like the perfect parent, and one who keeps me humble.

(my father once questioned why I love sci so much, and reminded me (ha) that reading, writing, and math were the biggies. Well I DO love sci, but so do both of my kids. It's probably the one subject where everyone is interested and motivated to learn with ZERO fighting. Smiling faces, interested questions. LOL- teaching sci is like my darn reward for getting through the rest of it)

01-22-2012, 08:25 AM
Sister, I feel your pain. I'm in the same boat. What makes it even worse is that I hate being a structured teacher and when I lose it because I haven't kept what little system I have going and B1 is raging about a paper coming due, it's BOO who takes my rants about following the steps and self discipline to heart.

I teach the boys one at a time, because it's the only thing that keeps me from going insane. And right now both boys are talking at me at once so anything more I 'm might have to offer will have to come later.

Don't blame you at all for needing to vent.

Hope the snow let's up soon.

Accidental Homeschooler
01-22-2012, 08:49 AM
My kids are so far apart in age not to mention learning styles, that they do nothing together. We are going to try some science projects this Spring together (silk worms) and I am really looking forward to that. We also have the jealousy as my dd6 takes up and inordinate amount of time/attention/energy and my dd14 clearly lets me know that she is not getting enough of me, but this pre-dates hsing. I have been envious of all of you who have kids closer in age, thinking that allows for overlap that I don't have. I guess it doesn't guarantee an efficient, orderly hs as opposed to the way I bounce back and forth. I am honestly looking forward to the Fall when dd14 starts taking three classes at the high school as I can get most, if not all, of dd6's structured academics done while she is there. I am also hoping that she loves high school and wants to return full-time the following year and I can just hs one. I initially felt a bit guilty about this hope, but I am old and tired so I decided to give myself a break.

01-22-2012, 05:37 PM
Honestly, I have no idea what type of learning style my kids have. I suppose it is close enough to each other because for the last month the system we've been using is the best we've ever had!.

Kid one does reading while Kid two does math, And then they reverse. Then we do MBTP together. This is working really well. One is a little more advanced than the other so it isn't perfect. They will cycle together for the next 18 weeks, if we continue on the MBTP cycle exactly. Then I will be doing two maths and two MBTP. So I am doing nothing but school during the day. The house is the main one suffering from this schedule. But the kids are blossoming and it so amazing to watch them using their knowledge.

I will say that the unschoolers have a point when they talk about a child being interested in the topics. I notice that they use what they learned more readily when they were an active participant in that learning. eg using their style.