de-schooling? advice please
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  1. #1
    angeleyes1307 is offline Member
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    Question de-schooling? advice please

    I have seen the term de-schooling and think it applies here, but I need help.
    My son just turned 6, he misses the cut off for starting public school by less than a week. The reason this is important is because he was in a public day care center until very recently. He spent 3 full years in the "pre-school" enviroment. The final year was an actual Federal Pre-K program. He had a lot of problems there. Mostly because he would refuse to do the work ( or follow instructions). When asked why he wasn't participating with the class or doing his worksheets his response was either "Its boring" or his equivalent of "Whats the point?" The teachers were convinced for a while that the work was too hard for him, but then they "caught" him helping to show other students who were having trouble. (he really is a sweet kid) He developed a "Make me!" attitude about school work.
    In July I signed him up for kindergarden Time4Learning and told him they were fun learning games he could do for his Kindergarden instead of going to public school. There were a few concerns on his part for a bit about homeschooling, but now he loves it and brags on it. I didn't monitor what he was doing, just let him do his thing for the summer. Well a week after public school started here I checked on his progress to see what we would have to do to get through the program for the school year. He was done with first grade science, 100% on most of the quizes. Pretty well into both math and LA too, all good scores. I stayed back out of the way, no problems right? We tried doing the worksheets and stuff that go with it, but I think the boy has some kind of "worksheet trauma" and just looking at a "worksheet" puts him in a contrary mood, so I stopped pushing those.
    Well, here is where I messed up. I watched how he was doing, and one day he had a bunch of very poor scores. I asked him about them. It turns out his little sister was watching (2yo) and thought the sounds when he was wrong were funny so he kept making it make that noise... I asked him if he could go do them again and try to get the right answers so I could see that he understood and could do it. My answer to the "but thats boring mommy" was, "but it is your school and I want to make sure you are learning."
    So, now that it is "school" and something he is supposed to work at (in his words - "school is work it isn't supposed to be fun" which has to be something his so-called teachers in pre-K told him, because I certainly never said that) he doesn't want to really try. The kid is smart, but so defiant about "school" that it amazes me. When nobody tells him to go do it and he just logs in, he ussually does really good, unless he is being goofy for his sister of course. If you suggest he go do it, or ask him to do something in particular he balks. Now because it is a "school" assignment, he doesn't want to do it and will do the absolute least he can to make you shut up and go away.
    He is also a big active 6 year old, so there is no forcing him to focus when he doesn't want to - he needs to move and be loud. (which is another reason we are homeschooling, I understand the need)
    What I need is advice, recommendations, even a "been-there done that, it worked out" right now will help. I need help over coming this automatic resistance to "school work" and his reflexive "make me!" attitude when I ask him to do something.

  2. #2
    lovehmschlg's Avatar
    lovehmschlg is offline Forum Moderator
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    This is a great questions. I've posted it on our Time4Learning Facebook page as a question from a mom with a 6yo (anonymous).

    No worries if you don't have a Facebook. I will copy and paste the answers here for you to read. I'm curious to see, as well, what other homeschooling parents have to say.

    I would suggest in the meantime some field trips to a museum or art gallery. You could look on the science lesson plans to see if there's anything that would correlate to your field trip and have him do that lesson to start. I would also remind him that he enjoyed his lessons before you called it 'school'. And that whether you call it school or fun games, it's just learning. And the more he learns, the smarter he gets, and the smarter he gets, the more he can teach his little sister. Remind him that school doesn't have to be boring and that's why you're homeschooling. School in a building can be boring, but homeschool on the computer and doing other things with mommy and other families can be fun.
    Last edited by lovehmschlg; 09-11-2014 at 04:55 PM.
    Janet
    enjoying homeschooling and learning with my kids, using T4L and T4W
    blogging our homeschool experiences at The Learning Hourglass


  3. #3
    lovehmschlg's Avatar
    lovehmschlg is offline Forum Moderator
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    Here are the replies so far:

    Jerry: My two children are in the same grade. We have a computer connected to our living room TV and we do all of the work together. We make jokes, laugh, and make fun of some of the really cheesy things that come up in the animations. They know it's school, but they know who's in control. I'm not trying to be negative, but a 6 year old shouldn't be the one in control, over his parents.

    Malena: I have a 5 year old and a 6 year old. We actually pay them a dollar a day for doing school work. I was reluctant to do this at first, but it has been great. They know that they don't get paid if they don't work. They also know that our answer any time they ask us "can I get...." is "do you have enough money" So they are careful with their money and learning to save. We also try to make it as fun as possible. We have a puppet that they like to work with. They love reading to the puppet, who of course gets very silly. They love teaching the puppet new skills, especially since the puppet never seems to get it. Make sure the work is a good level for your child. My 5 year old tends to shut down when work gets too hard. We tried having him work in the 1st grade section because the K section was very easy for him. That was a disaster. We dropped him back down to the middle of the K section, and yes it is easy, and yes he normally gets 100% on everything, but his confidence is going back up. While he finishes up the K math work, I have begun to teach him some of the major first grade math concepts so that when he gets back up to that level they should be easy for him. My 6 year old on the other hand found the first grade math section too easy. He was very proud when we moved him up to second grade math. First grade reading was perfect. I also wanted to warn you that some of the math quizzes don't really match what is taught in the lessons. So if he is really struggling on a quiz, you may want to make sure it is actually what was taught that day.

    Sherri: I try not to make things about control in our house. They know if they don't get their work done the fun things don't happen either. I guess it's kind of like paying them but it also makes it seem like it's their choice "well if you want to go to Suzy's house this needs to be done first, but it's up to you." My daughter tried me out on that once......

    Stephanie: I have the same problem with my 7 year old so I tried a store type thing. She did so much work everyday and she got "money" she could spend on toys in her store. It worked for a while but after a couple months she lost interest. now I'm lost....
    Last edited by lovehmschlg; 09-11-2014 at 04:58 PM.
    Janet
    enjoying homeschooling and learning with my kids, using T4L and T4W
    blogging our homeschool experiences at The Learning Hourglass


  4. #4
    Ruth_Lanton's Avatar
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    I wouldn't push it. If he's "kindergarten aged" and has already finished most of the "first grade work" then I wouldn't even worry about it.

    Ignore the scores that show up online. It's not a reflection of what he knows- apparently it's just a reflection of how many times his toddler sister watched him work! He HAD to have known the answers or he couldn't have consistently pressed the wrong ones so easily. Making him re-do the work JUST to get a high score on a computer thingie truly is "busy work" and does nothing for him- it just makes YOUR paperwork easier.

    I think you're better off reviewing those lessons on your own time, to see what they taught. Then ask him about those things, in a conversational "not test like" atmosphere. I bet you'll find he retained what he learned. Alternatively, trust that he actually understood everything in spite of the "goofing off for his sister." You see that he DID the assignments, you now know WHY the scores were low, and you can stop worrying about it.
    Ruth, single mom to Jack, 13, Hannah, 19, and Leah, 20.

  5. #5
    angeleyes1307 is offline Member
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    Ruth - Thank you. I am still very nervous about the decision to homeschool and it is making me very twitchy. He is over a 3rd of the way through both math and LA at the K level and he did all the science which is a first grade level. I am not overly worried about it on the finishing it level. I know he can do it, and we will finish well ahead of schedule. I was worrying about the habits and attitude, but I think you are right, I need to trust he is doing it And let him get into the flow. (and there is no way he could do 20% one time and 100% when I tell him we are going to work on it before we go to a friends house if he isn't understanding it.)
    We have the token system for TV, dessert, and stuff, he does exactly what he needs for what he wants and not an inch more.
    My own advice - "Breathe, it will be ok" LOL

  6. #6
    Ruth_Lanton's Avatar
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    You need to learn to pick your battles. I think too many parents try to control their kids too much, and it's not healthy. I think it's worse when parents feel outside pressures about how their kids should behave or "perform." And there's way too much pressure on kids to "perform" at younger and younger ages. It's one of the main reasons I pulled my son out of school this year- the public school was putting a lot of pressure on the kids to perform academically, with the focus ALREADY on college prep! They can't just enjoy middle school; they need to worry about both high school and college when they're still going through puberty?

    The kind of academic pressure your son faced in preschool was NOT age-appropriate. It damaged him, and it's going to take a little time for him to heal. If you take the pressure off, and just let him do his own thing regarding learning and educational activities, he'll be fine in a few months or a year. At some point he may enjoy doing worksheets again. I remember my oldest used to love workbooks and "playing school"- whether school was out for the summer, the week, or only for the day. My younger daughter wouldn't seek out the workbooks on her own but gladly "played student" when Leah was "playing teacher."

    And if he never enjoys worksheets, that's OK too. There are plenty of other ways to learn. You have to remember that he's still a 6 year old. In some countries, formal education doesn't even start until age 7.
    Ruth, single mom to Jack, 13, Hannah, 19, and Leah, 20.

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