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Old 08-16-2014, 12:09 PM   #11
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Thank you everyone.

I'm going to try some of the suggestions.

Something has to give. Wish me luck.

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Old 08-16-2014, 07:10 PM   #12
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Re: In desperate need of advice

I totally get where you are coming from mama!
You do need to have them get serious about school, but in their minds, working for 3 hours straight on one subject is going to burn anyone out.

Can you set small goals to start with, each day? either a time limit, or numbers of problems limit? Make sure the math child knows the math facts needed. When they don't know the facts quickly, it will slow them down big time. Also, make a cheat sheet or print one out - let them use a cheat sheet for the simple division. They will eventually remember it from using it so much!

Just keep at the few subjects. Really spend time with them in the morning, make sure they have had a good breakfast - mine always need some protein in the morning like eggs if it is a school day.

SPend a half hour with each child, do a lesson or go over independent work quickly so they know what to work on. This helps set the tone of the day. Make it positive. you are happy to be homeschooling!

Then, set 1/2 hour or 20 minute increments for each subject. Say it is Math, Spelling & Handwriting. that's what mine had to do at these ages. Spelling &HW might take 20 minutes together. if they are not able to get thru something, lead them thru it. if they feel like they are going to be sitting there for 3 hours, they will not rush! So make sure to keep lessons short. if you spend 1/2 hour on the math with that one problem, explaining it and helping them along so be it. Maybe have them attempt the next one ONLY on their own - not the rest of the page. So this way you are setting short, attainable goals and once they see that it is short they will be more inclined to work at it.

I do let mine have breaks. even on days we seem to be lagging (like my boys won't stop talking or goofing around - or the oldest is drawing on his paper, etc.) they can play outside for a break. they do get snack breaks, but it is right back to school after the break. We only do school for about 2 hours total, so they don't feel that dread. but always after a long break it is as you describe. SO you CAN get thru iT!! stay positive!!


Also, Have some things set to go for your 2 and 4 year olds - like puzzles they can do, play doh, or colored paper, scissors, stickers & glue sticks (that is one day's project ) If they can sit for 1/2 hour while you work with one child, within earshot or nearby, then sit for a 1/2 hour PBS show, or the like, then you can all go outside for a break! IF you start at 9, you can do a snack break, then all go outside for a bit at 10!
It works the same for the littles. if they think they are having a "limited' School time, they will be more likely to sit, knowing a break is coming. this only happens thru routine, of doing the same thing every day.

You CAN do this. THEY CAN do this. empower them, and praise them for trying when they do get something - at least part right. correct little bits at a time.

Then later if this is going well, and they might get bored from so little,you can add more. LIke doing family learning first. Mom reads, doing History, Bible or Science, doing an activity or learning excersise and then moving on to independent work. THis is very Charlotte Mason and if you like how easy it sounds, you can look at www.simplycharlottemason.com it is very helpful! Also, Charlottemasonhelp is a great site.

hope it helps!!
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:55 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by vintagegyrl
I totally get where you are coming from mama! You do need to have them get serious about school, but in their minds, working for 3 hours straight on one subject is going to burn anyone out. Can you set small goals to start with, each day? either a time limit, or numbers of problems limit? Make sure the math child knows the math facts needed. When they don't know the facts quickly, it will slow them down big time. Also, make a cheat sheet or print one out - let them use a cheat sheet for the simple division. They will eventually remember it from using it so much! Just keep at the few subjects. Really spend time with them in the morning, make sure they have had a good breakfast - mine always need some protein in the morning like eggs if it is a school day. SPend a half hour with each child, do a lesson or go over independent work quickly so they know what to work on. This helps set the tone of the day. Make it positive. you are happy to be homeschooling! Then, set 1/2 hour or 20 minute increments for each subject. Say it is Math, Spelling & Handwriting. that's what mine had to do at these ages. Spelling &HW might take 20 minutes together. if they are not able to get thru something, lead them thru it. if they feel like they are going to be sitting there for 3 hours, they will not rush! So make sure to keep lessons short. if you spend 1/2 hour on the math with that one problem, explaining it and helping them along so be it. Maybe have them attempt the next one ONLY on their own - not the rest of the page. So this way you are setting short, attainable goals and once they see that it is short they will be more inclined to work at it. I do let mine have breaks. even on days we seem to be lagging (like my boys won't stop talking or goofing around - or the oldest is drawing on his paper, etc.) they can play outside for a break. they do get snack breaks, but it is right back to school after the break. We only do school for about 2 hours total, so they don't feel that dread. but always after a long break it is as you describe. SO you CAN get thru iT!! stay positive!! Also, Have some things set to go for your 2 and 4 year olds - like puzzles they can do, play doh, or colored paper, scissors, stickers & glue sticks (that is one day's project ) If they can sit for 1/2 hour while you work with one child, within earshot or nearby, then sit for a 1/2 hour PBS show, or the like, then you can all go outside for a break! IF you start at 9, you can do a snack break, then all go outside for a bit at 10! It works the same for the littles. if they think they are having a "limited' School time, they will be more likely to sit, knowing a break is coming. this only happens thru routine, of doing the same thing every day. You CAN do this. THEY CAN do this. empower them, and praise them for trying when they do get something - at least part right. correct little bits at a time. Then later if this is going well, and they might get bored from so little,you can add more. LIke doing family learning first. Mom reads, doing History, Bible or Science, doing an activity or learning excersise and then moving on to independent work. THis is very Charlotte Mason and if you like how easy it sounds, you can look at www.simplycharlottemason.com it is very helpful! Also, Charlottemasonhelp is a great site. hope it helps!!

Thank you for your suggestions, and words of encouragement. It means a lot.
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Old 08-16-2014, 08:28 PM   #14
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Re: In desperate need of advice

We had a lot of luck with on line learning for 11 yo. It was a math program, called adapted minds...........the way it worked was there is a brief demonstration, then the kid gets right to it. When they get an answer wrong, the computer immediately demonstrates how to do the work correctly. When he got an answer right, he had immediate positive feedback. He earned math badge after math badge, and was very motivated by the constant stream of computer praise. The number of problems was adjusted to how well he did -- if he was missing problems, it gave him more, but after a certain number in a row correct, it would advance to the next concept. Because he has trouble remembering instructions, it was helpful he could go back and look at the demo over and over. Headphones helped block out distractions.

It was interesting how well he did with it. We had just pulled him out of school to homeschool in math only while he underwent testing. Math was the first class of the day, so he just joined his classmates for second period. One of things things that baffled us was that he did so well at state testing, and not well on homework. He did similarly well with the computer learning, and the testing revealed some visual processing issues that made it clear it is much harder for him to do problems on a sheet of paper with a lot of other problems. He has load of trouble blocking out irrelevant visual information. The computer learning, as well as state testing only let him see one problem at a time which was immensely helpful, and helped him focus (as did the headphones, and getting to repeat instructions). The computer also helped him "get it right" early in his learning process, as opposed to doing several problems, then finding out (the next day, when he did math at school) he didn't have the concept right.

The computer also took away a lot of arguing. For some reason, he trusted it more, lol. My husband would get an email of whatever he didn't understand, and could go over just those portions, and there were not a ton.

If anything rings a bell, feel free to PM me. I'm not going to go into to much in public.
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Old 08-16-2014, 09:07 PM   #15
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Re: In desperate need of advice

I'm an afterschooler only but have had some similar issues. My 9 year old ds struggles to learn in a classroom. We do math and grammar at home. We up what we do during the summers. (I after school the other 2 but there issues are different)

He would generally spend way more time whining about his work than doing his work, gets distracted very easily, and wants me right by his side. I don't have this 100% figured out but we have made some strides.

For starters I made a schedule, a vague outline of when I expected to work. So I would set aside 20-30min for math, and say how much he had to get done in that time. He has very poor executive function and poor understanding of time. We bought a glass clock online and we would use a dry erase marker to help him see how long he had to work. I started with 15min increments. If he wasn't done with his work by that time then he had to keep going. But, I would have other things on the schedule (video games, TV, talking to friends...) and he would see that things get taken off of the schedule. At first he spent the 15min freaking out he wouldn't have enough time but he did come around.

We did have to change things up. I literally bought 3 math texts and 4 LA texts and we tested them out and he picked which one. I was able to sell the ones we didn't use for near the price I bought them for but it still did use up some money.

He also LOVES computers so he gets to do his computer course if he finishes his math and LA. I also found a math program for math facts that he whined minimally about and he could do himself. Since I was going to have to be right next to him I mainly looked at curriculums that were fairly parent intensive.

Right now he's more willing to do math than grammar so we do kind of a minimal amount of grammar and double the math. For awhile he preferred LA so I let him focus more on that for a month.
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Old 08-17-2014, 02:55 PM   #16
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We had a lot of luck with on line learning for 11 yo. It was a math program, called adapted minds...........the way it worked was there is a brief demonstration, then the kid gets right to it. When they get an answer wrong, the computer immediately demonstrates how to do the work correctly. When he got an answer right, he had immediate positive feedback. He earned math badge after math badge, and was very motivated by the constant stream of computer praise. The number of problems was adjusted to how well he did -- if he was missing problems, it gave him more, but after a certain number in a row correct, it would advance to the next concept. Because he has trouble remembering instructions, it was helpful he could go back and look at the demo over and over. Headphones helped block out distractions. It was interesting how well he did with it. We had just pulled him out of school to homeschool in math only while he underwent testing. Math was the first class of the day, so he just joined his classmates for second period. One of things things that baffled us was that he did so well at state testing, and not well on homework. He did similarly well with the computer learning, and the testing revealed some visual processing issues that made it clear it is much harder for him to do problems on a sheet of paper with a lot of other problems. He has load of trouble blocking out irrelevant visual information. The computer learning, as well as state testing only let him see one problem at a time which was immensely helpful, and helped him focus (as did the headphones, and getting to repeat instructions). The computer also helped him "get it right" early in his learning process, as opposed to doing several problems, then finding out (the next day, when he did math at school) he didn't have the concept right. The computer also took away a lot of arguing. For some reason, he trusted it more, lol. My husband would get an email of whatever he didn't understand, and could go over just those portions, and there were not a ton. If anything rings a bell, feel free to PM me. I'm not going to go into to much in public.
She just seems entirely self defeating.
Even when she is capable, she works herself into a state.

For an example, she finally "got" long division.
We added LD word problems to the mix. She had zero trouble figuring out and writing down the problem. When it came time to do the actual math, she decided she couldn't do it because she perceived it to be different from the previous questions.
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Old 08-17-2014, 03:34 PM   #17
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Re: In desperate need of advice

Disclaimer: We do not homeschool. Should this matter.


Sounds like there are a combination of factors going on.
Your oldest sounds a lot like my oldest personality and temperament wise. Naturally headstrong to borderline stubborn, often oppositional defiant, absolutely clever but does NOT want you to KNOW he is...maybe? Easily distracted by self and environmental sensory input, would rather quit and give up before he has even LOOKED at the work...

1. Does your daughter have any diagnosis? You said she was screened but negative on ADHD...but does show a lot of symptoms like ADHD to me and what I have experienced with my son. He also has Asperger's, mood disorder, and oppositional defiance disorder.
2. Why on earth were your children SO far behind in the public school system? Something is seriously amiss here! Is this why you chose to homeschool, the public was not working out well? It sounds like it may go back to #1, there could be some undiagnosed issues prompting some of the struggle with both your grade schoolers.
3. It sounds like schooling has been nothing but a negatively enforced nightmare. This is not your fault, not what I am implying. I wonder if changing the methods of "attack" to schooling will help. You have to take away the negative element. A child who is this frustrated by schoolwork will not learn, and her inner voices will just keep telling her she cannot do it. Need to find what her real academic abilities are and meet her there, build her up from the inside so she has the patience and confidence to try harder things.
4. Have you heard of "unschooling"?

I used to try doing extra school work with my oldest to get him to catch up. It resulted in both of us very angry and volatile with each other. We both have stubborn personalities that conflict to begin with, but mixed with his particular issues...couldn't get any knowledge in that boys head!
I have a feeling that if very basic ground rules were set up "No THIS if you don't complete THAT" kind of thing within a specific time frame. She should have enough time to not feel overly pressured for her abilities of course, but enough to make her LEARN to buckle down and attempt to do the work.
My son does not like being told he did something wrong, not that anyone does. But even gentle "oops, this answer wasn't correct" could dissolve him to angry tears. I found it took more patience than I thought I had in me plus wipe boards and markers to get math done with him. Put a problem on wipe boards, or I've seen some readily made wipe schooling books/pages, and lots of repetition. Don't give her the correct answer, don't make a big deal out of it. Erase the wrong answers and have her do it over.
Mix easy problems with harder ones. The few easier ones mixed in boost their confidence to tackle harder ones.
Take breaks. Involve her in other things. Return to the schooling. Be careful not to let her dictate when she needs a break though. My son took the idea of "I can say I need a break" and ran away with it. We had to set "Do this many, then a break" kind of deals.

I know this from experience, because it is what I used to do too.
Don't sit and work on the same things all day. If she really is not having it for whatever reason, cut the losses and move on. Seems backwards, but keep in mind that this is not a discipline matter (I believe so, from what you wrote anyway.) Sounds like her combination of learning troubles, personality, and environment is all coming to play and messing up her learning. No sense in beating a dead horse, you're going to have to meet her on a level she can handle and understand. My son did the best at learning when he did not know I was trying to teach him. I got sneaky about it.
"Too wild? Ok, let's count by twos while we jump rope outside!"
"Won't focus on your work? Come fold laundry with me, tell me if we can divide the towels into three equal piles!"
"Won't do your sight words? Ok, let's spell the dishes as we wash them!"

These are a bit simple for a 10 year old, but when my son was 5 I got that learning in without him realizing it. I wonder if there is a way you can get your chores and schooling in at the same time
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Old 08-17-2014, 04:58 PM   #18
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Disclaimer: We do not homeschool. Should this matter. Sounds like there are a combination of factors going on. Your oldest sounds a lot like my oldest personality and temperament wise. Naturally headstrong to borderline stubborn, often oppositional defiant, absolutely clever but does NOT want you to KNOW he is...maybe? Easily distracted by self and environmental sensory input, would rather quit and give up before he has even LOOKED at the work... 1. Does your daughter have any diagnosis? You said she was screened but negative on ADHD...but does show a lot of symptoms like ADHD to me and what I have experienced with my son. He also has Asperger's, mood disorder, and oppositional defiance disorder. 2. Why on earth were your children SO far behind in the public school system? Something is seriously amiss here! Is this why you chose to homeschool, the public was not working out well? It sounds like it may go back to #1, there could be some undiagnosed issues prompting some of the struggle with both your grade schoolers. 3. It sounds like schooling has been nothing but a negatively enforced nightmare. This is not your fault, not what I am implying. I wonder if changing the methods of "attack" to schooling will help. You have to take away the negative element. A child who is this frustrated by schoolwork will not learn, and her inner voices will just keep telling her she cannot do it. Need to find what her real academic abilities are and meet her there, build her up from the inside so she has the patience and confidence to try harder things. 4. Have you heard of "unschooling"? I used to try doing extra school work with my oldest to get him to catch up. It resulted in both of us very angry and volatile with each other. We both have stubborn personalities that conflict to begin with, but mixed with his particular issues...couldn't get any knowledge in that boys head! I have a feeling that if very basic ground rules were set up "No THIS if you don't complete THAT" kind of thing within a specific time frame. She should have enough time to not feel overly pressured for her abilities of course, but enough to make her LEARN to buckle down and attempt to do the work. My son does not like being told he did something wrong, not that anyone does. But even gentle "oops, this answer wasn't correct" could dissolve him to angry tears. I found it took more patience than I thought I had in me plus wipe boards and markers to get math done with him. Put a problem on wipe boards, or I've seen some readily made wipe schooling books/pages, and lots of repetition. Don't give her the correct answer, don't make a big deal out of it. Erase the wrong answers and have her do it over. Mix easy problems with harder ones. The few easier ones mixed in boost their confidence to tackle harder ones. Take breaks. Involve her in other things. Return to the schooling. Be careful not to let her dictate when she needs a break though. My son took the idea of "I can say I need a break" and ran away with it. We had to set "Do this many, then a break" kind of deals. I know this from experience, because it is what I used to do too. Don't sit and work on the same things all day. If she really is not having it for whatever reason, cut the losses and move on. Seems backwards, but keep in mind that this is not a discipline matter (I believe so, from what you wrote anyway.) Sounds like her combination of learning troubles, personality, and environment is all coming to play and messing up her learning. No sense in beating a dead horse, you're going to have to meet her on a level she can handle and understand. My son did the best at learning when he did not know I was trying to teach him. I got sneaky about it. "Too wild? Ok, let's count by twos while we jump rope outside!" "Won't focus on your work? Come fold laundry with me, tell me if we can divide the towels into three equal piles!" "Won't do your sight words? Ok, let's spell the dishes as we wash them!" These are a bit simple for a 10 year old, but when my son was 5 I got that learning in without him realizing it. I wonder if there is a way you can get your chores and schooling in at the same time
1. She never received a diagnosis, the closest we got was " possible LD masquerading as ADHD"

2. Yes, this was a big part of why I pulled them. Dd was behind for a combination of reasons.

Both kids are late fall birthdays and started junior K at the age of 3. Almost a full year younger than most kids in the class.

1. Her distractedness in class, combined with a teacher stretched to thin to notice.

2 An abusive teacher in grade 2 who enjoyed tormenting her and allowed the other kids to do so as well. By midway through grade 2 she was melting down under her desk, and having to be removed from class. ( but that's a whole long story)

Grade 3 better teacher, but she was ill and they ended up with 2 subs ( not horrible but very green), and the teacher back for the last month of school. Not much learning got accomplished. The previous year put a target on her for merciless teasing and even physical bullying. The school refused to do anything about it besides lip service about zero tolerance.


Grade 4 was shaping up much the same. More bullying, and a teacher who was singling her out and making it worse.

When I pulled her a month into grade 4 I tested her knowledge. She was at grade level for English. 2 years above in her reading. But her math was a grade 2 level. I actually had no idea she was so far behind. Her report cards never indicated she was doing so poorly in math. All involvement with the school focused on the bullying and behavioral issues, everything else was put to the wayside. They just kept passing her along with an IEP expecting the next teacher to pick up the slack.


My Ds was not so far behind, but rather his lack of ability to read was holding him back.

Since JK they had been pushing sight words. We went over them over and over again. Ds was simply not picking them up. The school had us using flash cards, reading books by memory, etc They said I wasn't doing enough at home (I was) We continued this process through SK,and grade 1 with little to no success.

By the summer before grade 2, I had enough. I bought the book "teach your child to read in 100 easy lessons" I was amazed by the immediate success he was having. When we went back in Sept we found his jk/SK teacher was now teaching grade 2. I excitedly told her about the progress we made, and she said that was not a good approach, and I was going to confuse him.

After a few meetings they agreed to try to use the book. After a month of school, I was clear they were not going to.

He was falling behind in every other subject because he couldn't read. He came home and told me he was stupid because everyone else could read.

A year later, and he is reading much much better.

The funny thing is Ds was diagnosed as ADHD, but I don't see it. He's mischievous ,and will try anything to avoid work, but I don't see the overall distractibility,fidgeting, or hyperactivity.

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Old 08-21-2014, 03:44 PM   #19
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Re: In desperate need of advice

Take a break. Get to know your kids again... Read the first year of homeschooling your child by Linda Dobson

Chill out. I've got similar ages .. What engaged my kids was changing curriculums and finding a math style that worked for them . Singapore is what we use right now because I tried everything to get my boy to do his work and he just got distracted and bored.

We found we learn better at night when the babies go to be d , I have a newborn and a 2 yr old and they go to sleep at 8 pm so from then on we do school work. Everyone is winding down and ready to learn. I could fight all day for what will take them 15 minutes after 8 . Traditional schedules and trying to do too much is overwhelming for a lot of kids who suffer major burn out from school.

Go with the flow.. We have a loose schedule and also I expect the older kids to do the chores that keep a household this large functioning . The oldest 7 going on 8 next week takes the dog out , feeds all the pets and keeps everyone's laundry going, the 5 going on 6 she folds the laundry with me and helps me put it away.

I've started following the fly lady to help do all the chores and the 2 yr old swiffers the floor and vacuums (not the greatest but keeps him busy so I can nurse the baby and clean the kitchen. )

Meal planning ! Have at least two meals already ready Sunday for the week so she things go to pot at least you have dinner and sometimes it's okay to just grab some cereal and that be enough !

There is always tomorrow....

I have to remind myself when I falter and become frustrated and nothing goes right that there is always a new day to try again.


Stop saying you are behind or your kids are behind. Just change that around to we haven't learned this yet! It will happen.. There are so many opportunities to learn... Most never need to be forced.
Don't compare your journey to other people's ! It will make you crazy. Especially if you have kids that need a little extra tlc <3

Feel free to PM me
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