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Old 02-02-2012, 12:31 PM   #1
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Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

Ok so I just have to admit to utter frustration teaching my DD sometimes. She is a sweet young lady who is very smart, creative and helpful. School is a source of problems for us. I haven't had a child up to this point who didn't just get to work when school time comes. I do know I am a structured type of person who needs things organized and DD is bizarro me. We liken her to a butterfly as she flits from one thing to the next most days. So where DS gets his schoolwork done efficiently, DD is still working on her 1st subject 1 1/2 hours later.GRRRRR. I am starting to wonder about other approaches with her. I reread Cathy Duffy's book and this girl is all Wiggly Willy with a heavy dose of Sociable Sue! DS is Perfect Paula through and through. I don't want to be nagging her to do school work and right now we are doing more bookwork than I would like but with our 7 month old it is next to impossible to sit with them to do school. The baby is super duper demanding and my patience is wearing to be honest. So please tell me what you do with your "Butterfly"?

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Old 02-02-2012, 02:16 PM   #2
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

Hands on curriculum with lots of breaks. No electronic time or playing with friends until school work and chores are completed.
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Old 02-02-2012, 03:18 PM   #3
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

I also have the no media until such and such is done. I would say with a new baby in the house to sort of expect some looseness in your day. If you can sit with your dd (nurse the baby, or put baby nearby in a high chair with a supply of toys etc) and then work through the basics with her (spelling, math, handwriting etc). It also helps to divide the work up---vocabulary on Tues, handwriting on MWF, etc etc).

I have a 9 year old ds who will not finish or self motivate unless I'm right there at his elbow. Stickers or a M&M placed on answers help motivate as well. I think even 8 year olds need mom right there. And try to find a lot of fun things to do (science, art, history activities that will help keep the energy and fun going in the afternoons). Also take a look at where your dd sits when she's doing work---cold? noisy? too bright? too dark? too quiet? too isolated from the hub of the house?chair too hard? too soft?

We always do history reading on my bed in my bedroom, it just works better. Math and some language arts at the table. Writing and reading on the couch. Try to work with her butterfly self instead of against it.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:34 PM   #4
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

Thanks and we too do not allow any "media" until all school is done. I have tried putting her in different areas of the house to see if she was being distracted and that just gets me a little girl who daydreams instead of doing her work. We start our day at 9:30-10:00am. Usually there is a break around 11:00 and then we break for lunch at noon. Then get back to it at 1:30 and work till 3:00 or done with the days work. They do Bible, Math, grammar and spelling in the morning and in the afternoon we do our reading (History and Science), writing, Spanish and Geography. The last 2 are more for fun as the DC like the little workbooks and DD loves the Spanish one. I try to keep the sessions to a half hour or less to alleviate boredom- unless we are loving what we are studying. She is just such a dreamer.
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Old 02-02-2012, 08:47 PM   #5
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

That is a LOT of subjects in one day for a child who has that personality. Do you think maybe you are making it too much like "school" for her? My 8 yo is doing good if I can get him to sit for 2 hours and do book work. Our day goes more like this Math, Spelling and then an hour break where they play hide and seek or simon says or we go outside. Then, we read aloud together like Shel silverstein, poetry or short stories. We play games and then we might do hands on science actitvites or some science or history. I tried doing all subjects in one day, but it was like pulling teeth. I also do let my son watch educational movies that are science or history on netflix. I would also consider my son a butterfly and the schedule you describe would be his worst nightmare. He does better with a couple hours of book work and then having the afternoon to build with legos, play outside, play with his siblings, etc. When I was trying to do all subjects in a day, he hated homeschooling. I loosened up and he is doing more writing and drawing and things that he hated doing because I was making him. I know it is hard because I am a lot like how you described, but to make it work with him, playing more games like magnetic poetry-making poems on an easel after reading poems aloud or playing scrabble or uno really helps. Plus, they really do learn outside the books!
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:39 AM   #6
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

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Originally Posted by fishingfor5 View Post
Thanks and we too do not allow any "media" until all school is done. I have tried putting her in different areas of the house to see if she was being distracted and that just gets me a little girl who daydreams instead of doing her work. We start our day at 9:30-10:00am. Usually there is a break around 11:00 and then we break for lunch at noon. Then get back to it at 1:30 and work till 3:00 or done with the days work. They do Bible, Math, grammar and spelling in the morning and in the afternoon we do our reading (History and Science), writing, Spanish and Geography. The last 2 are more for fun as the DC like the little workbooks and DD loves the Spanish one. I try to keep the sessions to a half hour or less to alleviate boredom- unless we are loving what we are studying. She is just such a dreamer.

I agree that it may be too many subjects for a child this age to do every day, all day. Just looking at what you've posted here I would do the math, grammar, spelling as morning "seat work" and do that every day. Do your Bible everyday as well. I would do reading and the Spanish everyday as well (you read to them, they read to you, silent reading, bedtime reading). But I would cut History down to 3 days a week and science down to twice a week. I would designate maybe MWF to work on your writing program, and Tues and Thurs to work on your geography.

Don't worry about doing so much in one day---you may burn out, and worse your kiddo might too. There's a lot your dd could do with some free afternoons that is learning. Arts & crafts, audiobooks, music listening, educational games, building projects, outside exploration, free reading, educational movies, etc. She may be daydreaming because either she's doing too much, or the curriculum you're using isn't right for her, or she isn't ready for independent responsibility for her work yet.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:22 PM   #7
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

Thank you both and I do agree it looks like a lot. The battle I think is more me. I really want to let go and let her just paint and draw which are two things she LOVES to do but the "classical" schooler in me just fights this. I always imagined that our schooling would eventually morph into more exploration and discussion but the "public schooler" in me is terrified to let this happen. UGH! I don't know how to break free from the traditional public school mentality.
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Old 02-04-2012, 03:20 PM   #8
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

So I don't hs, but my dd age 7 is a total butterfly as you describe.
But to compare to public school since you said you feel tied to that model - my dd doesn't do anywhere near as much as you describe in a day.

My dd's class has windows to the hall so I've watched. They spend very little time where they need to be self motivated. Most of their time is in short bursts and very directed. And each day there is also either a music/library/gym class as well - so that takes out of 'desk time' too.

When we practice her spelling or home reading at home I know I've got to keep it interesting. white boards, diffferent coloured markers, sparkly pencils... The maximum time she will focus is about 15 minutes.
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Old 02-05-2012, 05:16 PM   #9
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

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Originally Posted by isabelsmummy View Post
So I don't hs, but my dd age 7 is a total butterfly as you describe.
But to compare to public school since you said you feel tied to that model - my dd doesn't do anywhere near as much as you describe in a day.

My dd's class has windows to the hall so I've watched. They spend very little time where they need to be self motivated. Most of their time is in short bursts and very directed. And each day there is also either a music/library/gym class as well - so that takes out of 'desk time' too.

When we practice her spelling or home reading at home I know I've got to keep it interesting. white boards, diffferent coloured markers, sparkly pencils... The maximum time she will focus is about 15 minutes.
Thank you for that. I can't tell you how much I appreciate all of your input. Looks like mommy needs to re-evaluate her schooling. Yay!!!

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Old 02-09-2012, 01:47 PM   #10
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Re: Ideas for HSing a Flighty 8yr old girl?

I just wanted to say we had a lot of problems and I realized most of them are me. We do still do some formal work, but in short bursts. I also incorporate silly breaks where we play Simon Says and we do "act like a monkey, crawl like a snake, jump on one foot" etc. My son is 8 and he needs tons of play to get his work done. We also incorporate tons of board games into our day, which is really helpful. Right now, Scrabble Flash is tons of fun, Yahtzee hands down is another favorite. My son still doesn't love book work and relaxing and realizing how much he learns when he is actually into it has been hard for me. I also will let them draw for an hour and get out play doh to build dinosaurs if that is where the morning leads. Sometimes I find reading something history or science related while he builds with his hands helps. He can listen and do art. Never underestimate how much children at this age learn just by being read to. If she is a butterfly, this may help. I would say just switching things up would be good to. If we are having a day where my son is having trouble listening, I find reading something silly like Shel Silverstein really helps!
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