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  1. #1

    Default Resistance from 10 year old daughter

    Hi everyone,
    I'd really appreciate some input on how things are going with my almost 11 year old daughter. We just started homeschooling and are nearing the end of our second week.

    I am trying to do a little math and a little ELA each day, like 10 minutes each. She acts as though it's all really hard, completely resists it, and does really poor work (illegible handwriting, etc).

    Prior to this year she was in public school. I understand about deschooling and that she will need some time to change her perceptions about school. She was never a fan of school work.

    Do I not do any "formal" schooling at all? Or do I just keep on with what I'm doing (I'm trying not to show frustration but do ask her to try to do the work)?

    The math we are doing is RightStart - which I am rethinking. It's so different from traditional math and I'm kind of struggling explaining and demonstrating things. It kind of seems like my fumbling around gives her an opening to complain and resist. The ELA is a Brave Writer Arrow.... so copywork, talking about some literary devices, grammar and dictation. I'm keeping it really short and sweet.

    I know it's early days now but I would like to establish a simple routine.

    Thank you so much for you input!

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  3. #2


    Hugs! If it makes you feel better, I dont think what youre experiencing is either unusual or your “fault”.
    BW is pretty gentle - my only suggestion would be to let her pick out which book she’d like to read from their collection, to increase her buy-in. When you do the copywork, have that be the only time you are a stickler for good handwriting and accuracy. (Does Arrow want you to repeat copywork, doing later ones dictation style? If they do, that never worked for my older son. My younger is a pro at taking (then typing) dictation... not everything will work for each kid.)
    You could alternatively substitute some days with Mad Libs (have her pick out the subject matter) to help solidify her parts of speech and creative vocabulary. Or pick out an expensive, overpriced (but good) ELA workbook from Critical Thinking Company (they have ones like Word Roots and Editor in Chief that may appeal to her more). Or Mosdos for a reader and workbook type of Lang Arts... but again, Id stick with the least expensive solutions first.

    And same advice about Right Start... but if its a program you have a hard time getting behind, its not going to work for either one of you. Look for something else. In the interim, you could try giving her edutainment apps like DragonBox to keep her doing something consistently mathy each day.

    Good luck, and I think you have the right mindset towards making progress. You could deschool, and practice doing loving learning together things like visiting museums and parks, doing art projects together, and other teambuilding activities.
    But I suspect your DDs troubles are because she would rather be doing her own thing, playing Roblox or whatever she does in her free time. Deschooling isnt going to help with that other than strengthening your relationship with her.
    Homeschooling DS13, DS6.


    My spelling was fine, then my brain left me.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012


    Ugh, sounds like a battle of wills. Big hugs. Also, this is pretty typical. It is always hard knowing when to stick with vs. modify the plan. FWIW, I don't think you have unreasonable expectations. I personally would take a few more weeks to let things smooth out, doing what you are doing before you make any big changes (or invest in other curriculum).

    I would suggest that if you have not, perhaps you two create a simple routine together of how your day should flow which you can post where everyone can see it (so expectations are clear). I'd also start using some when / then language - When you have completed all your assignments then you can __________________. It's ok to have stipulations on the when part too, as in, when you have done all your assignments neatly, correctly, and fixed any mistakes.

    Let us know how it goes.
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  5. #4


    Thanks for the replies! I appreciate it so much.

    I think that you are right that this is not really a deschooling thing - it's just kind of her personality. She is not a go with the flow kind of gal. Today she really wanted to draw on the iPad rather than do math and language arts. Which I get! I do make her hold off on the video games until "school" is done. I should have mentioned that she has three younger siblings so that's part of our struggle. Like, I've got 20 minutes when the two youngest are occupied so I want to do math with her then. And I feel pressure to get it done because it's hard to find quiet time to do it. And it's hard for me to concentrate because there are noises in the background. Maybe she is feeling the same way. I wish it could be more of a relaxed time.

    I am attempting to create a routine which includes math/ELA individually for the age 6+ kids, a circle time where we do our read aloud novel/fun picture books/songs, and we are starting Layers of Learning for science, history, geography and art, and trying to get them outside as much as possible too. I'm also trying to consider these first few weeks as just a sort of trial period, so I can adjust accordingly.

    I have some Evan Moor Daily Language workbooks on the way. Do you guys know if they are decent?

    I don't know, I just really want it to go well. There are just so many balls in the air. Thanks again for the feedback. It's nice to know that I can vent and get advice somewhere!

  6. #5


    We have been homeschooling for 4 years and my daughter was fantastic up till about a couple of months before her 11th birthday and then she developed an eye-rolling, snarky comment, resistant streak. So some of it is just an age and stage, unfortunately. Hang in there! Particularly if you are new to homeschooling and have other children as well, it sounds like you are doing great.

    For the handwriting, is she purposefully writing badly or does she actually struggle with writing and this was never obvious before because it got missed in school? Writing was my daughter's big issue and we really took it in baby steps to build up her confidence and ability to write.

    For the copywork, would you get more buy in from your daughter if she helped you pick out a paragraph for copywork? This is what we usually do. Once we have got an idea of the types of things Bravewriter discusses, I just ask my daughter what parts of the reading she liked, and we pick something from that to do for copywork and use the Bravewriter as a guide of what to talk about.

    We have used the Critical Thinking Co. workbooks and like them; have not tried Evan-Moor. I am sure anything will be good to have options and experiment. What I have found works best for my daughter is having variety (she hates doing the same thing every day) and choice (is more resistant if told what to do) but guidance (if she did not have things to pick from, she would rage about not knowing what to do and hating everything). So we have structured choice for LA. I divide her LA into what we call Writing 1 and Writing 2. Writing 1 is more skill development and Writing 2 is creative/composition. So for the five days of the week, she can pick what she is doing out of:
    a) Writing 1 = Editor in Chief (Critical Thinking Co.), and Writing 2 = writing project (Bravewriter) or Building Writing Skills (Critical Thinking Co.)
    b) Cursive Success (Handwriting Without Tears) or Draw Write Now (done in cursive), and Writing 2 = freewriting (Bravewriter style), writing prompt, or story spinner (last two from Write Shop free downloads)
    c) Writing 1 = copywork or dictation (Bravewriter style), and Writing 2 = book review or narration card (Build Your Library) or reading comprehension questions (found online)
    d) Writing 1 = Spelling or word roots, and Writing 2 = letter, list, instructions, or diary entry
    e) Writing 1 = Poetry reading or poetry teatime (Bravewriter style), and Writing 2 = research (on topic of choice) or presentation/speech

    She can choose whatever she wants each day from options a–e but she can only do each once per week, and where there are choices within an option, she can choose but needs to make sure that she does not make the same choice every week for weeks in a row.

    So that is something we have come up with over 4 years of homeschooling and finding what works. I don't show it as a "this is how you should do things" but to allow you to see that things can constantly evolve over time and it is ok to take a bit of this and a bit of that and end up with a mix of things you have gleaned from different places.

    A routine as mentioned by RTB really helps, and knowing what they need to do to earn their recreation time.
    NZ homeschoolers (school year runs start Feb to mid Dec).
    DD 12 (year 7) and DD 7 (year 2).
    Fourth year homeschooling.
    Part-time freelance science copyeditor.

  7. #6


    NZ_Mama -Thank you! This is really helpful! And slightly intimidating :-). So far I feel like I am floundering around but I can see how over time a clearer picture will emerge. Even in just one week, I have learned a lot - our first copywork and dictation, etc. Sometimes I think about everything they'd be producing in school and how she's barely doing anything compared to that now. But then I remind myself of how stressed she was at school. And now she is overall happier, more carefree, and getting along better with everyone in the family. I will keep plugging away. I like the idea of concrete options developed over time together. Thanks again!

  8. #7
    Senior Member Arrived RTB's Avatar
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    Feb 2012


    @ MaryS - The first year is a big learning project (for you both), the year of R&D. It really does take a bit of time to find your groove.
    DS 15, DD 13
    Year 9

  9. #8


    I am going to say outright that copywork was never our thing. I tried it for a bit with high interest material and I didn't really think it was worth the trouble. That said, I wasn't really sold on the benefit of it, either. If you think the benefits of it are important, then maybe try reducing the frequency of it. Have her do it maybe only once or twice a week, and then have her do journaling instead of that for the other days of the week? I might even present it as a choice so that she has some buy-in. I think letting them have some control over their education can be really helpful when it comes to getting compliance.

    Mathematics does not really lend itself as much to that approach, but you can kind of shake it up a little bit. Do you think she would like Khan Academy? it is free; you can monitor progress; and it really is kind of fun (depending on the kid.) We have always used it as supplemental material to whatever textbook we are using just to make sure I don't have any gaps in my son's math when we switch from program to program for example.

    Language arts on the hand gives you a lot of flexibility and there is really a lot you can do to customize it for her interests and learning preferences. If you are only aiming for ten minutes a day, reading chapters in a book might be fun, and you can cap off each book when you finish it with her writing a short "sequel", a story that is similar, or a reaction to the story.

    You can use non-fiction texts, too, if that is preferential to her.

    It really is less work to change things up and get compliance first before worrying about getting the educational particulars optimized.

  10. #9


    Sounds something like a phase that we go through at some point each year in my family. At that point I usually sit down with each kid and have a chat about what they want to do, and give them some options. For example, "Which subject do you not like and why? How can we change it up? Would you rather do online classes or workbooks or a different curriculum? Here look a some samples and see what appeals to you? Would you rather unschool and what would that look like for us?"
    When my kids have more say in their schooling, they are usually more motivated. At least for a while, and then we change it up again when something changes and we need to re-evaluate. It's an ongoing process that we are constantly tweaking and occasionally completely revamping.

  11. #10


    For quite a few years we were pretty slackschooling (not unschooling, but close). We didn't go with some real structure until DS was 12. One thing I have learned is that they can catch up rather quickly with many subjects. For a while we watched videos. listened to audio books, and did activites but I didn't focus on school with worksheets. (We went back and forth on it.) DS told me he really dislikes worksheets so I got rid of them for the most part, with a couple of exceptions (spelling and foreign langauge)

    Now that DS is in 7th, it is more structured, but he is better understainding that I am trying to get him ready for high school, so he is more willing to go along with it (a little).

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Resistance from 10 year old daughter