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  1. #1
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    Default Newbie at homeschooling...looking for advice

    Hello everyone,
    I am a newbie to both the forum and to homeschooling and recently hit some snags with my daughter who is turning 3 years old this month.
    I believe most of my daughter's current issues stem from the recent new addition to the household in the form of her baby sister who is 8 weeks old now but I don't know how to fix these issues or if they will naturally fix themselves...I just don't want my daughter regressing or to get behind in her education.
    So here is the deal...my daughter is quite advanced compared to the other children I've been around and she's very quick to pick things up. She knows her ABCs (and recognizes each letter in writing, both upper and lower-cased), she can count to over 20 (and recognizes all the numbers in writing as well), she memorizes her books and then "reads" them back to us and we know she can read quite a few words and she has "slipped up" and revealed that to us recently, she knows all of her shapes and colors and she can also speak some sign language which I learned in my college years and have been introducing her to it since she was a baby.
    Now here is my issues we are currently facing: she refuses to progress...she refuses to learn how to draw her shapes and letters and "plays dumb" whenever I try to teach her how to read words and there have been numerous times she plays dumb and claims she doesn't even know certain letters and will purposely make mistakes.
    I know this may not be a big deal to a lot of parents and I know she's still quite young but I fear she will regress more and stop progressing at the speed she has been going at since birth. I'm trying hard to keep my patience but one of my biggest pet peeves is a person "playing dumb" especially when it is used for manipulation so it's been a bit difficult for me and most of the time I just have to set it all aside and walk away because I just can't deal with her attitude and games.
    Any advice or words or wisdom or anything anyone has to offer even if it's to tell me I'm being a spaz would be much appreciated.
    Thanks and cheers all.

  2. T4L In Forum Oct19
  3. #2

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    Welcome! It sounds like your daughter is bright, and getting used to having a new sister, and not being the center of the universe anymore. Little kids especially may focus on one skill at a time - to the neglect and maybe apparent regression of other skills.
    If shes avoiding performing for you “playing dumb”, then dont pressure her. Quizzing her isnt fun for either of you, most likely. Engage in more open-ended conversations after sharing a story together. If shes regurgitating a story nearly verbatim to you, it probably isnt engaging enough for her. Add some nonfiction to her mix from the library, try some poetry for wordplay.

    Less pressure is better at this age! She will be fine, and you have other things to worry about, like getting enough sleep for yourself!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3
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    Thank you for your advice...I do tend to worry myself ragged over stuff that in a month or so probably won't matter but I'm sure most mothers understand that. I worry also that I am pressuring her too much and she is rebelling a bit also because of that...I'm pretty certain she gets her stubbornness from her father

  5. #4

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    Yes, we do understand that!

    And its easy to tell you to back away from the cliff when we’ve been there and done that, too!
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.

    Atheist.

    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  6. #5

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    Honestly, she is probably "regressing" because she sees little sister getting all this attention, which she now needs to share. I would just give it time until it becomes her new normal.

    And I second what Alexsmom suggested--be relaxed in your approach at this age anyway, whether she is advanced or not. Expose her to words, numbers, sights, sounds, experiences, but let her pick up and learn what she wants. Kids are educational sponges at this age and will learn because of or in spite of what you do.

    One other suggestion--are there simple tasks she can help with regarding her new sister? Things that give her a different sort of attention? Point out to her that she's older and more able?
    Carol

    Homeschooled two kids for 11 years, now trying to pay it forward


    Daughter -- a University of Iowa graduate: BA in English with Creative Writing, BA in Journalism, and a minor in Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

    Son -- a Purdue University senior majoring in Computer Science, minoring in math, geology, anthropology, and history

  7. #6

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    Good advice from the other ladies here. Another thing I'd like to mention is that many bright children may be able to understand things at a higher level than they can produce. As in, she may know her shapes, letters, etc, but not be ready to sit down and draw or practice them. Pushing it can begin a difficult dynamic that will make your future home educating very challenging. I can be a worrier too so I totally get it, but I hope you can take it easy on yourself and her and be confident that if you simply allow her to explore and enjoy, she will not actually lose anything. Child development and learning are never a straight upward curve. It spirals, they leap and plateau, they (temporarily) regress in one area while they build in another. Now is the time to enjoy exploration, focus on strengthening her relationship with her baby sibling, and to lay a foundation of enjoyment for your homeschool. You can ALWAYS teach numbers or letters. You can't as easily repair a combative dynamic. One more tip as a slightly more experienced parent...it is so easy to get stuck in thinking that your child is manipulating you, or refusing to do something they can/should be able to, but when I look at my own parenting, I don't parent or teach well when I'm viewing my children through that lens. Even if she technically COULD do it, it's perfectly typucal (and healthy!) for a 3yo not to be interested in practicing drawing shapes or writing letters. So if you can step back a little and not get yourself worked up over how she's being "stubborn" or "manipulative", it'll just be easier on both of you. And please understand that this is coming from me seeing a lot of myself in your post and hoping to share a little perspective that I've learned the hard way!

  8. #7
    Junior Member Newbie
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    Hello there!
    It's just her way of dealing with the competition for your attention. It seems to me that you need to plan your time in such a way that you pay more attention to her than to a smaller child, as though it may sound strange. Psychologists generally advise not to tell older children that they are older and to give them more attention, then the younger ones will be more independent and older ones will not be deprived of attention.https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/b...hunger-vs-love

  9. #8

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    I also do not think this sounds like she is being manipulative. I am a big believer in child-lead learning, especially in the younger years b/c every single thing they do is educational in some manner. What does she want to do with you? Whatever it is, sit on the floor, or wherever, and do it with her. You can always incorporate academic learning with whatever she is doing if you want to, but I would do it in a low-key way and not all the time.

  10. #9

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    I agree with the posters upthread. Relax and stop worrying about her not continuing to advance in her education if you take some time off. She will, she's a sponge. You've got to be exhausted having a ten week old and probably sleep deprived. You can do tons of stuff on the fly. Just because she's advanced for her age, doesn't mean she has to always be "on" educationally. You've got so much time; definitely relax and breathe. Hell, I'd probably take the next 12 to 18 months off to enjoy the newborn and your older child, while trying to make sure to get some sleep.
    And if she likes workbooks (my daughter always LOVED them, but most kids HATE them--LOL), get her one of those Brain Quest workbooks.
    Last edited by outskirtsofbs; 07-18-2019 at 08:00 PM.

  11. #10

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    You've gotten a lot of good advice so far. I would just add a few thoughts that I don't think I saw mentioned already.

    Learning and education are two very different things. You cannot stop a child from learning. They learn from their environment whether you teach them or not. It is a survival skill innate in all humans regardless of intellectual level. Some children are naturally more clever than others and will figure things out faster or be able to figure out more sophisticated ideas without being taught just as some children are naturally more athletic and some are natural artists or musicians and some are natural tinkerers with the mechanical ability to dissemble and reassemble anything. You can help bring out these natural talents but you usually cannot force a child to display these talents if they don't have them. You cannot force a child to be a math whiz or a precocious reader any more than you can force them to be a violin virtuoso or a pint sized Olympian. Your child will learn things without your help and you can create an environment that is conducive to learning but you cannot use education to force them to be precocious in anything.

    Also actual learning is rarely as linear as education. Learning naturally ebbs and flows as the child grapples with and masters new ideas. Even a naturally clever child will plateau for a while in their learning while they play with and find the limits and intricacies of new ideas. Just because they are in a learning plateau does not mean they are falling behind! Far from it! They are just going at their own pace and experimenting with and learning more about the ideas they already have. Clever children in particular are known to be the type to wake up one morning and seemed to have made huge leaps in knowledge and understanding seemingly overnight! What really happened is that they have been grappling with the idea for some time and it finally all just clicked and they made the leap but it's often surprising when they make those leaps even if they have done it many times before.

    I have 6 children ranging in age from 21 down to 6 right now and each one of them has taught me something new in terms of parenting and how different each and every child really is. My youngest son from the time he was a toddler has had to teach us that he is not a trained monkey lol. What I mean by that is that just because we ask him to perform on command when we ask him to show us what he knows or show off to friends and family things we know he has mastered and can do, it doesn't mean he is willing to do it nor that he doesn't know it. It is strange because he is naturally friendly and loves to talk to people and make friends and just exudes self confidence but the second we ask him to recite something he has learned for grandma or show the nay-saying neighbor that he does know all the things their same aged child knows and more, he digs his little feet in, crosses his arms and will flat refuse. Lots of kids love to show off what they know but not this kid, not once in his life has he ever acquiesced to preforming tricks for others. Unless it's a magic trick. He is all about performing some magic tricks and getting to be the center of attention but just not by being a trained monkey lol.

    Just a gentle reminder, your daughter is 3. She has a mother who cares deeply about her education. She will not and cannot be behind. She is right where she needs to be education-wise, learning from her gentle home environment and thriving from the sounds of it. The only thing that a formal education could do for her right now is teach her how to line up, how to raise her hand to speak and how to be exhausted from constant stimulation. Nope I firmly believe that no child younger than 6 "needs" an education. They can learn all they need to learn before the age of six in their mother's lap in a loving home and that includes basic academics like pre-reading and beginning reading skills, beginning math skills, manners and curiosity. All of those are far more important than learning how to stand in a line and raise your hand for everything, IMO.

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