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Am I being too hard?


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#1 jcgonczi

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 12:57 PM

My daughter attends a hybrid home school. She goes to school 2 days a week. The other 3 days a week she is homeschooled doing the assignments that her teachers have provided.

When you has to read her Ancient Rome, she ALWAYS reads it but can't tell me anything about it. And it isn't because it is too hard. It is because she just reads the words without paying any attention to what she is reading. So I make her read it again and again until she can tell me what she has read. (On as side note, I have read that there should be no second chances, but then she would never actually learn anything.)

So, once we painstakingly make our way through Ancient Rome it is time for writing. She is writing a 3 paragraph book report. There has been lots of teaching about what it expected in the book report (main points of the book, plot in order, etc.). Well she half a** does it, but she makes it more like her previous writing assignment which was a persuasive essay than a book report. So I tell her she has to redo it. Now she is in tears telling me it is too hard because she hasn't done book reports since last year.

Am I being too hard? She has been taught for a week and a half what she is to write about. Not my fault she didn't pay attention. Not my fault she daudles and makes her work take forever. I know she is only in the 3rd grade, but I expect her to focus and do her work. However, it seems as if I am asking the world of her. If she would focus and do her work she would have about 4 1/2 hours of work for the day. Instead she is making it take about 7. Any advise?

#2 angela in ohio

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:10 PM

I am a very academic homeschooler, so I don't say this from a place of thinking educational standards should be low, but...

A three paragraph book report, done on her own, for a third grader is too hard. You should definitely help her. I doubt she does remember it from last year. It takes practice to learn how to do something properly. It would be better to do the same type of writing for a few times in a row, rather than changing it up often.

As far as the reading, have you (or the teachers) taught her the skills to use when reading informational text? If not, google for info on the SPQ3R method. You can teach a student to ask questions as they read, so that they are engaged in the text and remember the main points. If it is dense text, she may need to read it several times to understand it. I do that all the time. :)

#3 Martha

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:12 PM

No it doesn't sound too hard to me.

Some things I have found helpful at that age.

- when answering questions, I have them find the sentence in the text/book that answers the question and circle the one or two word answer within that sentence.

- very rough beginning outline skills. For the book report for example:

Paragraph 1

Three main points of the book
A. Point 1 with example from book
B. Point 2 with example from book
C. Point 3 with example from book


Paragraph 2
Chronological plot of book

A. Beginning/foreshadowing with example from book
B. Climax using details from books
C. Conclusion/resolution

I find that for my kids this age, the biggest hurdle is HOW to spit the information out. It's not that they didn't read it or can't write it, it's that they get overwhelmed by HOW to get it out.

HTH

I would also call the teacher and explain the problem and then hand the phone to dd. It is VERY important they learn to speak up when they are having a problem. I think that's the hardest thing I've had to teach my kids.

#4 mykdsmomy

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:13 PM

My advice would be to sit with her and help her through the book report one step at a time. Maybe she gets distracted and overwhelmed with what she has to do and hasn't figured out how to develop a plan for getting her work done?

I only say this because I'm having the same problem with my 6th grader but I discovered she actually has some sort of learning disability and cannot do a writing assignment without me helping her through each step. Once I do that, she catches on and is able to write and feel good about it.

#5 Parrothead

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:17 PM

Expecting a 3rd grader (and a fairly new one at that) to write a three paragraph essay is too much. Sounds like instead of dawdling she is overwhelmed.

Read this essay by SWB. She explains a lot about how children learn to write, and why more and more writing without age appropriate instruction is not a wise idea.

#6 Night Elf

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:19 PM

As my DH tells me, sometimes you just have to let them make their mistakes. If she went back to her classes without her work completed, what would happen? Because honestly, you can have her read that book until the cows come home but it doesn't mean she's going to retain that information for long. Even if she repeats it back to you, she may not be able to recall that same information next week. So does she have to read it again? See the cycle? It's rough. At that age, I think the 3Rs are most important. The rest is just using the 3Rs.

I also agree that a 3-paragraph report can be difficult for a 3rd grader. She needs a step-by-step process with you checking the completion of each step. Eventually she will learn how to do it independently, but it isn't an assignment that I think is worth a sink or swim attitude. jmho

#7 Amy loves Bud

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:23 PM

I personally think the book report is too much for a third grader to do independently. I would talk her through it paragraph by paragraph. Breaking it up into more manageable pieces is important at that age, imo.

As for the reading retention, it sounds like she needs training. What worked with my daughter when she was about that age was to breaking it up, just like the writing. Start by having her read the first paragraph then either narrate it to you or answer your comprehension questions. Then the second paragraph, etc. When she masters that, stretch out the length of passage she reads before narrating to you. Again, when she masters that, increase the passage length. Continue this until she can read the entire passage and then narrate it well or answer your questions correctly. It may take a few months to get there, but she will get there.

#8 jcgonczi

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:23 PM

Ok - so when I wrote the original post I was still blowing off steam and wasn't as clear as I should have been. The book report is not on Ancient Rome. It is on a Flat Stanley book. Ancient Rome was just the painful lesson prior to the writing assignment. She had already done an outline and the first paragraph last week. Yet she still somehow took a major left turn when doing the last two paragraphs. We have read and discussed the book together. We have worked on the the outline. I proofed the first paragraph. She just had to take the outline of the last 2 paragraphs and turn them into actual paragraphs.

I am not sure what the SPQ3R method is, but I will look it up.

Knowing all of this, do ya'll still think I am being too hard? I am new to home schooling and knowing what she should be able to do on her own is a big problem of mine. Sine she goes to an actual home school with "real" teachers who are 100% into homeschooling 2 day a week, I do tend to work under the assumption that she should be able to do what they assign. Is that a cop-out on my part?

Edited by jcgonczi, 09 November 2010 - 01:27 PM.


#9 Cadam

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:27 PM

I would not expect a third grader to retain information she is reading on her own. Why not read it to her or buddy read it at least and stop every couple of pages to talk informally about what you have read.

Three paragraphs is too much to expect a third grader to do, especially on her own. It's not age appropriate at all. It would be investigating this school a lot to determine their educational models. In third grade you are still building a writing foundation so expect to do a lot of hand holding and walk her though the process.

Ask her leading questions, help her to rephrase things into complete sentences and be her scribe while you do this out loud and then have her copy the three very basic paragraphs over a couple of days time.

If you are going to have her in a class with developmentally inappropriate requirements then you are going to have to help a lot. She is only eight years old. She will not be able to do almost anything independently at this point. You can get her started on a handwriting page or maybe a math review worksheet but outlines and paragraphs are things best saved for 5th grade and up.

Have you ever listened to Susan's writing lectures? I highly recommend them. They really step you through how to teach writing and what is appropriate for each grade.

Edited by Cadam, 09 November 2010 - 01:29 PM.


#10 Martha

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 01:57 PM

As my DH tells me, sometimes you just have to let them make their mistakes. If she went back to her classes without her work completed, what would happen?

I also agree that a 3-paragraph report can be difficult for a 3rd grader. She needs a step-by-step process with you checking the completion of each step. Eventually she will learn how to do it independently, but it isn't an assignment that I think is worth a sink or swim attitude. jmho


:iagree: Sometimes they have to fail to take it serious. I also think a 3rd grader should be writing 3 paragraph essays. They won't be pretty and it won't be easy because they are just stepping into the deeper end of writing. Make sure they have a solid framework to work within and guinea them along it.


Ok - so when I wrote the original post I was still blowing off steam and wasn't as clear as I should have been. The book report is not on Ancient Rome. It is on a Flat Stanley book. Ancient Rome was just the painful lesson prior to the writing assignment. She had already done an outline and the first paragraph last week. Yet she still somehow took a major left turn when doing the last two paragraphs. We have read and discussed the book together. We have worked on the the outline. I proofed the first paragraph. She just had to take the outline of the last 2 paragraphs and turn
them into actual paragraphs.

Knowing all of this, do ya'll still think I am being too hard? I am new to home schooling and knowing what she should be able to do on her own is a big problem of mine. Sine she goes to an actual home school with "real" teachers who are 100% into homeschooling 2 day a week, I do tend to work under the
assumption that she should be able to do what they assign. Is that a cop-out on my part?


No, I think that's part of the reason behind bothering to outsource. I'd call the teacher and explain the situation. It sounds to me like a lot is going on in class that is not being communicated at home. Just because she is expected to do the assignment does not mean the teacher expects her to do it without guidance from home the other three days a week. Talk to the teacher about how you can help each other help your dd.

#11 LibraryLover

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:24 PM

Expecting a 3rd grader (and a fairly new one at that) to write a three paragraph essay is too much. Sounds like instead of dawdling she is overwhelmed.

Read this essay by SWB. She explains a lot about how children learn to write, and why more and more writing without age appropriate instruction is not a wise idea.



I am always happy when someone on WTM forum speaks to what is actually recommended by the WTM authors. :D Too many people think WTM is this big honking 'rigorous' helllhole for little kids, and it's really not. Third grade is what age? 8?

I agree. Way too much, even by WTM standards. That's not the recommendation for the grammar years at all.

Edited by LibraryLover, 09 November 2010 - 07:08 PM.


#12 In The Great White North

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:25 PM

Knowing all of this, do ya'll still think I am being too hard? I am new to home schooling and knowing what she should be able to do on her own is a big problem of mine. Sine she goes to an actual home school with "real" teachers who are 100% into homeschooling 2 day a week, I do tend to work under the assumption that she should be able to do what they assign.


Is everyone else in this class 8 also?

What did they do last year (that your dd missed)?

#13 Tabrett

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 03:54 PM

I agree that a 3 paragraph essay for a third grader is way too much.

Have you tried having her narrate a paper to you and then you dictate the paper back for her to write down? This is a more realistic skill level for a 3rd grader. It would still be her own writing, grammar and spelling. You are just helping her hold her thoughts.

Learning to read and reading to learn are to different activities. Just because a dc can read doesn't mean that they are capable of reading to learn yet. That is why so many books for dc that age have illustrations. A third grader needs a "project" in which to retain info like history.

What kind of history text is used? Is a boring dull school text or is it in narrative form? Can you get an mp3 of the text and let you dd read along or listen to the text. MANY, many dc don't retain info from reading and need to hear or experience material.

Learning the material is more important than the media in which it is presented.

Are YOU happy with the way the hybrid homeschool is teaching? Do you think it is the best way for your dd to learn?

I would be pulling my dc out really fast. Sounds way to "public school style" to me.

#14 6packofun

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:17 PM

Yes, you're being harsh. It makes me shudder to hear that a 3rd grader won't focus so that she can finish 4 1/2 hours of work. Egads.

There is a problem,IMO, if you're not aware of her level of comprehension or abilities. If you're going to homeschool at all, an individualized education has to be a big part of your goal.

Kids need help with direction and writing is one of the most difficult subjects for younger ones. They don't automatically know how to organize their thoughts. Please help her and then ease off little by little.

#15 Tabrett

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 04:39 PM

This is quoted from SWB's The Complete Writer the previous poster wanted you to read. What is being asked of your dc is an appropriate level for 5th and 6th graders not 3rd graders.

Years Three and Four: Putting the Two Steps Together

Around third grade, most students are ready to begin putting the two skills
together. In third grade, students will begin to use part of their own narrations as dictation exercises. They will tell you the narration; you will write it down for them, and then dictate the first sentence back to them. Eventually they will learn that, in order to write, all they need to do is put an idea into words (something they’ve practiced extensively through narration), and then put those words down on paper (which they’re accustomed to doing during dictation).
They will begin to write.
During the last two years of the elementary grades, you will concentrate on
drawing the two skills together for the student. Some students will be able to
bring the two steps together instinctively, without a struggle. But many need to be led through the process gradually, with plenty of practice, so that it can become second nature—and if they are not given this practice, they continue to struggle into middle school, high school, and beyond.

What You’re Not Doing

But what about journaling, book reports, and imaginative writing?
In Years One through Four, it’s not necessary for the student to do original
writing. In fact, original writing (which requires not only a mastery of both steps of the writing process, but the ability to find something original to say) is beyond the developmental capability of many students.
There is plenty of time for original writing as the student’s mind matures.
During the first four years, it is essential that students be allowed instead to
concentrate on mastering the process: getting ideas into words, and getting those words down on paper.
Some children may be both anxious and willing to do original writing. This
should never be discouraged. However, it should not be required either. Students who are required to write, write, write during elementary school are likely to produce abysmal compositions. Take the time to lay a foundation first; during the middle- and high-school years, the student can then build on it with confidence.


Hope this helps.:001_smile:

#16 Ellie

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Posted 09 November 2010 - 05:00 PM

A three-paragraph book report? Really? For an 8yo? wow. I'm sure *I* didn't do that when I was 8. Seems like too much to me, but maybe I'm way too relaxed. :-o


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