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Old 08-15-2014, 12:07 PM   #1
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In desperate need of advice

Am so frustrated and burnt out.

I started HSing my 2 older kids last fall.

They are now almost 10 & 8.

I am having a terrible time keeping them on task.
Even with me sitting directly beside them.

It took my Dd (10) 3 hours to complete 11 long division questions today with all together too much yelling. This summer, I have been trying to focus on their worst subjects to help them catch up.

It's an all day project to do what should take an hour tops. My house is in shambles, we live out of laundry baskets, eat scrambled eggs for dinner, my 2 younger kids 4 & 2 are getting neglected and spending too much time with the electronic babysitter.

I'm scared for September when I'll have more than just math to deal with again.

She was already 2 years behind in math when I brought her home. I managed to get her through grade 2 math last year while severely neglecting everything else but English.

Similarity Ds 8 who was very much struggling with reading and writing. At the end of the year he can now read,and write, but aside from that and math, we did almost nothing.

I want to do more with the little ones this year but feel spread too thin as it is.

I'm totally stressed, overwhelmed, and even a little depressed. Dd has been throwing fits like a 2 year old over silly things like brushing her hair. Complete with stomping and screaming.

The little kids are picking up on this behavior.

I actually broke down into tears the other day after dealing with one of those fits.

I can certainly understand why DD in particular was learning nothing at school. She is so distracted!!!!!

It's turning our whole relationship negative, to the point that I'm annoyed to be around her period sometimes.

I'm sure this is how her teachers felt, as the one was actually being emotionally abusive towards her.

We had her assessed, and they said she was not ADHD. She can be so mature in some ways, yet so immature in others.

I need help before I have a nervous breakdown.

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Old 08-15-2014, 12:41 PM   #2
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Re: In desperate need of advice

Okay, well, what are the consequences for not getting their work done? When my kids have gone through a phase like that, I set a time limit. If work is not completed correctly by that time, they don't get electronic time. If it isn't finished by dinner, they don't eat. If they don't get work accomplished during the week, they do work on Saturday. It is hard, but I decided that they were at an age old enough to be more responsible for their time.

Also, are you teaching to their learning styles? Some kids just hate to learn, I know, but sometimes it is we are not teaching to them correctly.

Something that might be difficult for you to do, is to take a break and only do fun stuff, and nothing that they will think of as schoolwork. Work on the attitude problems and then start doing school stuff again.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:21 PM   #3
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Okay, well, what are the consequences for not getting their work done? When my kids have gone through a phase like that, I set a time limit. If work is not completed correctly by that time, they don't get electronic time. If it isn't finished by dinner, they don't eat. If they don't get work accomplished during the week, they do work on Saturday. It is hard, but I decided that they were at an age old enough to be more responsible for their time. Also, are you teaching to their learning styles? Some kids just hate to learn, I know, but sometimes it is we are not teaching to them correctly. Something that might be difficult for you to do, is to take a break and only do fun stuff, and nothing that they will think of as schoolwork. Work on the attitude problems and then start doing school stuff again.
I guess there are not consequences per say.
We sit there and do it, whether it take an hour or 6. If they outright refuse, they go to their room until they are ready to work. Don't get to play with friends, if we are going to something like HS gym I have made them sit on the side and work.
This often leaves me neglecting everything else.

Tbh I don't really know what their learning styles are.

I know Ds could not get sight words, but does well with phonics and math.

Dd seems to want to know why things are the way they are. Ie how can I apply this math to daily life. She is capable of the math, but is very self defeating. Her reading skills are awesome.
She recently devoured the Harry potter series, the hunger games trilogy, divergent, and is currently reading insurgent.

She would read all day and night if I let her. From asking questions, she seems to have a pretty good comprehension of what she is reading. She missed some of the nuances.

We took a month break from school unintentionally due to illness. They have been playing with friends for the entire time. ( I lost my voice for several weeks.) I know that doesn't so much qualify as fun stuff, but rather the absence of work.
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Old 08-15-2014, 01:28 PM   #4
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Re: In desperate need of advice

I wouldn't worry about focusing on nothing but math and reading while you got your son caught up. He'll catch up now that he is reading better. It's not worth worry about that at all.

For your daughter, do you have somewhere for her to work where she has fewer distractions? I know this is not always possible and I have at times dreamed of taking a big box and sitting my most distractible son inside the box to do his work at times. But you need to find a way to take yourself out of the equation to that it does not become a combative relationship. Explain the assignment, make sure it is understood, explain how long DD has to finish the assignment, let her know she can ask for help if she gets stuck, and just walk away and do something else. Doing the assignment is on her. Anything not done at the end of the time limit becomes "homework" to do after the next subjects are finished. The hardest part is for Mom to remain sane through the whole thing and the super hard days when DD will push and push and push. I know it is hard some days.

Does your daughter have outside activities that are really important to her? Can you link participation in those activities to having the work done? I've known other Moms to put together a job jar of chores around the house for kids who are refusing to do their work. You don't want to work, go pull a slip from the job jar. Or go run 10 laps around the house. The most important thing is for you to find a way to remain emotionally neutral which I know is super hard. And to make sure that the problem is not wanting to do the work vs not understanding.

Honestly, with my most combative child, when I get really desperate and need a break, he goes to work with Dad for a day with his backpack. He then will often do 2 or 3 days of work in one morning. It baffles me but every so often I just NEED the break from fighting him so I can focus on the other kids without pulling my hair out because it is not a good thing when you are constantly fighting with one kid over work. I know it is stressful and hard and makes you feel like you are doing something wrong. And I know our solution won't work for everyone. But maybe you might have a friend or grandparent who could keep DD for a day to do her work and give you an emotional break while still reinforcing to her that she HAS to do her school work. Just a thought.
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Old 08-15-2014, 05:12 PM   #5
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Re: In desperate need of advice

Depending on what is in their rooms, they might not see that as a bad thing. My daughter would love to be sent to her room -- that's where her books and crochet stuff is at. Try having them sit there and do the work that you know they could do on their own while you go about doing your stuff. Right now, my guess is that they figure they are winning because while they can't go do what they want to do, neither can you. Some things they will need you there to instruct, but probably not nearly as much as you think. I will try and find a test later to link for you about learning styles, but if you do a Google search, you can probably find some.

Also, with your daughter, have you tried any diet changes or giving her something to do with her hands while she works? Some kids bounce on an exercise ball, some chew gum, some squeeze an stress ball.
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Old 08-15-2014, 07:58 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by tallanvor
Depending on what is in their rooms, they might not see that as a bad thing. My daughter would love to be sent to her room -- that's where her books and crochet stuff is at. Try having them sit there and do the work that you know they could do on their own while you go about doing your stuff. Right now, my guess is that they figure they are winning because while they can't go do what they want to do, neither can you. Some things they will need you there to instruct, but probably not nearly as much as you think. I will try and find a test later to link for you about learning styles, but if you do a Google search, you can probably find some. Also, with your daughter, have you tried any diet changes or giving her something to do with her hands while she works? Some kids bounce on an exercise ball, some chew gum, some squeeze an stress ball.
The only things in the room are beds, dressers, and books. Your probably right about Dd being entertained.

It seems that they cannot do a thing without me sitting beside them. Even if they do any work, it gets 1/2 the effort of when I'm there.

Dd is very high strung. Can seriously go off the deep end if her hands are dry, or her socks are bothering her.
Diet wise, we eat almost no pre-packaged anything. Mostly organic, I even make our own breads.

She will only eat apple, carrot, and grapes for fresh stuff. She won't even drink juice, unless it's apple which I never buy.

She has had texture and smell aversions since she was a baby. She can make herself almost puke just thinking about something she perceives to be gross.

She is a big carb junkie though and would eat almost anything mixed rice,and pasta until she was sick if I let her.

Is there specific diet changes that might help?
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Old 08-15-2014, 10:17 PM   #7
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Re: In desperate need of advice

I would suggest taking out wheat. Not necessarily gluten, just wheat. Even if you could just scale it way back, you might see a difference. If you can find spelt flour, try making your bread with that, though you will need to add either gluten or use half wheat and half spelt, as spelt is so low gluten, it really doesn't rise on its own.

And, just be careful to not use much artificial anything -- sugars, flavors, etc. I know that even with making your own foods, things can creep in.
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Old 08-15-2014, 11:09 PM   #8
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Re: In desperate need of advice

I know this isn't a quick fix situation, but I'm wondering if just focussing on the one trigger problem and doing a quick fix on that would help...at least give you some positive time with your daughter so it's not a "whole day" where you aren't feeling anything positive about your relationship. Three hours to do 11 questions is crazy....have you tried some of the online math games? Just google " math games long division" or whatever concept you want her to practise. There's a good site called "wired" or something like that and another one called "math frog". But there's more online games than you can possibly play and it's a lot more rewarding for kids to practise that way.

Long division on paper is pretty much punishment, I mean, I don't know any adults who enjoy it or even do it.

Your problems obviously go deeper than just the math questions, but at least it's a small thing that could be fun and positive.
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Old 08-16-2014, 06:48 AM   #9
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Re: In desperate need of advice

I would make sure the child who is taking a long time in math can stop the worksheets for a week & get lots of practice/ drills

When we take a long break, my kids tend to " forget" math
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:03 AM   #10
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Re: In desperate need of advice

I assign my kids homework..
we cover an average of 6 areas of study a day.. I'll usually allot up to an hour per each if after that time is up the choice is made

1) were done great
2) not done but effort was made (even if they were very frustrated) it gets put off and continues the next day
3) not done because life happened and we got distracted again we try again the next day
4) not done because you were overly fussy stubborn and refused to work then it is homework..

Its pretty obvious when the frustration comes from them not understanding the materials and them playing around fussing and just refusing to try. I make sure our assignment choices are concise something that doesn't take an hour to complete and gives us comfortable time to review and go over mistakes if needed. Like honestly we have never actually done 6 hours of school it usually closer to 4..

But yes at some point I do say okay put that away and get out the next.. You'll need to finish that for homework..

Homework time here starts at 3pm (we are usually finished by 1pm) So she does get a break but then instead of being allowed free time and access to media which is off limits before 3pm... before she can play with her friends which start heading home from school by 3-4pm she now has to go back and still work out what she had an attitude over before.

It took just a few times of me casually saying okay lets move on that is HW and then her loosing media time and us sending friends away and her also now having to sometimes work under DH supervision for her to learn...
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