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Old 10-30-2012, 02:33 PM   #1
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Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

Perhaps I'm guilty of idealizing homeschooling, and even underestimating how difficult it could be to teach Kindergarten, but seriously, this is not going well.

My 5yo DS doesn't want to do anything. Nothing! The most I taught him today was how to fold a paper airplane. Oh wait, I just asked him to recite the vowels, and he did it, so perhaps today wasn't a complete bust. He completely refused to touch his math; he also skipped handwriting. Blah.

The problem is multi-faceted. One: We lack a good daily routine - we have nothing to stick to, and we have nothing to veer from. Two: I think the Kindergarten material is too easy (and I've been trying to get him to take a placement test, but he won't do it). Three: We lack support - the co-op/support group we signed up (and paid big bucks to be part of) doesn't do anything unless you pay extra for the classes. The support group/field trip portion is practically non-existent. I was hoping for every-other-week interaction with someone, but the "administration" is too busy trying to keep the group in existence to actually plan anything. So stinking frustrated right now. For example, the field trip planning committee didn't plan a fall activity until the END of October, and in Ohio that's when winter starts. There are no pumpkins left at the pumpkin farm at the end of October. What are they thinking?!? I know for a fact they didn't have a meeting to plan the year until August, and we all know that's too late. Our meeting in November is to plan for NEXT near!!! What!!! We're not even doing anything THIS year!!! But it's only my first year in this group, should I even say anything? Thinking about starting my own group - these ladies are nuts.

So perhaps my main frustration this week lies with the "support group." How do I start or find a new one?

What are your tricks for getting 5yo boys to sit and do anything?


Kim - homeschooling mommy to Gunnar and Norah

Last edited by GunnarzMom; 10-30-2012 at 02:45 PM.
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Old 10-30-2012, 02:47 PM   #2
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Re: Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

First, We've ALL been there and had terrible days! It's par for the course!

Next, I didn't have a squirmy DS last year, I had a squirmy DD who hated school. She hated writing, she hated reading, she barely tolerated math. So you know what we did? I stopped taking out the books! We played games for everything!

For math, we used lots of different manipulatives, we used numbers from our wooden puzzle, we used playdoh to make numbers, we played games, we just had fun!

For reading, I would write words on the sidewalk, we'd play "make a word" games by taking the second half of the word from one bag and the front half from the other bag. If it was a word, you got a point, if not, no point. For instance, we'd have -at pulled from the second bag. If she pulled a c or an h, it was a word, if she pulled a g it was not. Get the idea? I actually taught from Phonics Pathways, she just never saw the book. I couldn't let her.

For writing, she was willing to do copy work. She was willing to write on the white board. She was even willing to write on the sidewalk with chalk. As long as it was fun to her, she would do it.

We never stayed on one subject very long (10-15 minutes tops) and I always tried to make what she did something she could easily succeed in doing. She needed to feel like she was good at it. The other thing we did was play "Mommy says" in between when she got too antsy. Think Simon Says here...she loved it.

Those are my tricks! Good luck!!
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Old 11-10-2012, 09:33 PM   #3
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Re: Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

I am not sure if you are Christian but if you are get the Victoria Botkin Curriculum Advice Volume 1. It will ease your mind and give lots of wonderful ideas.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:05 AM   #4
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Is that the only homeschool group in your area? I live in a big metro area so mu experience might be different, but I found several homeschool groups by googling my city's name and homeschool group. If that doesn't work, could you ask people in your current group if they know of any other groups around? Are there any resource places for home schoolers in your area ( bookstore, museum or another place that offers homeschool classes)?

Another option would be to work within the group you are already part of. Ask if you could start a park day (often held at chickfila in my area), or a play group at your house or trading houses or a moms night out held at local restaurants. The only thing any of these would require is a group list and I would think your group leaders would be interested especially if you offer to run it.

As for your son, I have a 4 year old that will likely put me in you situation next year. At my house, school comes first before any other activities like going to the park or play dates with friends or crafts or trips to the library or even classes like gymnastics or soccer. We seem to have something scheduled every afternoon and my daughter knows that school has to be done before we do anything else. Knowing she is working towards fun stuff later in the day keeps her motivated although she doesn't actively dislike her schoolwork, at least most days.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:07 PM   #5
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Re: Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

Kindergarten here is often "games." Dominos, crazy eights, go fish, war, chutes and ladders, etc. I hand out cookies based on math problems "Mommy has 10 cookies, and 2 girls want to eat cookies. How many does each girl get?"

We talk letters for everything. Dinner conversation usually includes things like, "I wonder what letter broccoli starts with?" We go around the table and everyone gets a turn, even our 2 year old. Sometimes I answer it right, sometimes wrong. Sometimes my husband and I both choose the wrong letter on purpose and wait for her to call us out on it. We play letter hopscotch, use letter magnets,, etc.

We have written curricula that includes worksheets, but we only do those when she's in that mood. Even playing cars and talking about street signs, gravity, fast/slow are all learning opportunities!
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:18 PM   #6
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Re: Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

Hi there Kim!

You have gotten some great suggestions so far.

Keep in mind the 1st yr of homeschooling is the hardest. Many of us have all these goals and expectations that fall short. After the 1st yr we hopefully start to be more realistic w/ our expectations and things fall into place.

Don't worry about your son not doing enough. You sound like a very caring parent who is really doing the best she can. He is learning SO much and you probably aren't even aware of it. Reciting the vowels is an awesome skill that he picked up. I am sure there are many more.

I agree w/ others about making it a game to learn stuff. Go to the library and take out fun books where he can look @ the different words and maybe learn to sound them out on his own. If not just enjoy reading to him and get him to love reading or being read to. This is more important than learn to read.

I also love to get the kids to help me out w/ stuff where they are also learning. He could help you count out change to buy a stamp, check the caller ID to see who is calling, dial phone numbers for you and sort the mail and tell you who it is from, write items you need on the shopping list. Although some of these things may take longer because he is helping you, he will be learning a bit and also feeling a sense of accomplishment.

Try not to be so hard on yourself and your DS. I promise you will have a bright kid on your hands who is more willing to do more book work.

W/ the co-op I would be upset for paying the big bucks and not getting anything out of it. Since you already paid I would see what I could do to get some of my money's worth. You already have interested members there so see what you can do to plan more get togethers. They don't have to be too involved. You could meet @ the library, @ the local museum or each other's homes.

When I first started homeschooling I started a homeschooling co-op w/ a few other moms. I loved ours because it was FREE, we used the library as our meeting place and each parent contributed something (like a snack, taught an activity or photocopied papers). It worked out well (IMHO) and I was SO happy to have that.

Best wishes!
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:37 PM   #7
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Re: Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

Could it be a phase he's going through right now? Stick with it!
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:48 PM   #8
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Re: Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

I know you are asking how to get 5 year old boys to sit down to work.

My advice my be way off what you want to hear

I don't.

I believe many boys are not ready for the traditional education we present to them at 5 years old.

Until they are 6 (or even 7 if your state allows it) I plan to just let them learn through play or books I read to them.

They will still learn the alphabet and numbers.
They may even pick up on reading and some writing (though I have read that it can actually benefit the child to hold off on handwriting a bit)

The first year of homeschooling IS tough but it may be that your son just isn't ready at 5 years old. Have you thought about letting him wait a bit? I was torn on doing that with my son but it was SUCH a struggle trying to educate him in the traditional sense. We finally started him this year (6 in April) and he is FLYING through his work. I believe he will complete K and a large portion of 1st grade,if not all of it, by summer.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:05 AM   #9
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Re: Throw everything out and start over!!! Venting, read at your own risk.

It sounds like you may need some more time to settle into homeschooling and what it means to your family. Are you homeschooling or schooling at home? What type of learner is your child and is the curriculum you have tailored to that? What should my child be able to do at this age and can he do it? What's most important for your child to have learned when they are grown and have left your house -ie what kind of person do you want your son to be when he grows up? Your family values, educational philosophy and child's learning style should be what shapes your school day.

I started my homeschooling journey when my daughter was 3. I figured that gave me 2 years to figure it out and still be able to put her into PS if I couldn't figure it out. And in that time the biggest lesson I have learned is that the problem often isn't my child, but my expectations. When I changed my expectation, I suddenly had this awesome learner. I have to remind myself continuously that my daughter is only 5, not 15. Sitting and doing is not fun for most 5 year olds. Kids learn at this age from doing and experiencing. Playing restaurant has more learning potential than reciting the alphabet does. So when she doesn't want to sit I give her movement to do. Run down the hall hit the wall and get back as fast as you can. Make the alphabet with your body. Don't wanna do any of it -okay, what do you want to do? You can put learning into everything you do without sitting down and doing a curriculum. The times I back off are often the times the most learning happens. She is always surprising me with what she has learned all by herself (as she likes to say).

Co-ops are as varied as Religion. Each co-op serves a different purpose. You need to know know why you want to be a part of a co-op -is it for social development, for art, for math, etc? Then select or create co-op based on that. Co-ops are not necessarily meant to be a support group. For support I would recommend checking out yahoo groups. I'm part of many homeschool groups through yahoo groups and they have been the best for support. And it's free! You can find nationwide or local groups as well specialty groups like Disneyschoolers or Workboxers. Choose one that meets your need.

Our family isn't good at routine either, but we recognize it's importance. So we choose a daily rhythm instead of a routine. This gives us the freedom to change up the day if we come up with something better, but if not, we have an outline for the day.

Anyway, give yourself permission to take time and figure it out. It's a process not a result
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Old 11-22-2012, 06:32 AM   #10
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We also did fun and games for kindergarten and spent about an hour and a half each day max. There's plenty of time for seat work in the future. Hang in there!
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