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Motivating the unmotivated gifted child


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#1 Dealea86

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:04 PM

My oldest DD doesn't really love learning like the typical gifted child. We homeschooled her for K and 1st, but it was never a joy, always a chore. And then in 2nd grade she really started to protest, to the point where we put her in an online public school for a few months (disaster), and then eventually into a hybrid school (two days a week in school, the rest at home). I'm really struggling to connect to her, to make learning something she enjoys.

 

She is going into third grade next year in the hybrid school. The teachers and directors wanted to skip her into fourth grade, but for a variety of reasons - the chief of them being that she really didn't want to be skipped - we are keeping her in her age-appropriate grade and wanting to supplement with more at home. She wanted to stay in third grade because she's having fun with her friends, and she enjoys the easy level of the work. I don't mind her having two easy days of school a week, I suppose. She's a very social child and being able to go to school for two days has made a huge difference in her attitude at home. She is much more cooperative for the work we are doing at home, even if she's not enjoying it, and I think a large part of that is that she has two "fun" days a week. But if she's going to goof off two days a week, I want her to actually accomplish something in the other three days when she's home.

 

To be clear: I am not the kind of mom who schedules hours and hours trying to recreate school at home. We did Ambleside Online for the first two years (a cobbled-together year 0.5 and then year 1), which took maybe an hour a day.  We were having so much trouble with this, especially when we went into year 2, that things were really out of hand. She basically refused to do all work. Then when we switched to the hybrid school I "deschooled" her - or should I say "de-homeschooled" her? So long as she did math, I didn't ask for anything else. She was technically supposed to do spelling and handwriting, too, but I only really asked for it once a week. I didn't even push her to do her homework for the hybrid school. I would remind her every day that she needed to do it, and I would remind her that if she *didn't* do it, she would have to explain to her teacher why, but I never sat her down and made her do it. So that's kind of where I'm coming from. It's time for the "deschooling" period to stop and for her to have reasonable third grade expectations this coming year. I just need to figure out exactly what I'm doing.

 

The hybrid school covers all subjects except math, spelling, handwriting, and grammar, so I have to do those four subjects at home. But since she's so far advanced from the class in other areas, I've considered trying to add some fun (but more advanced) literature/science/history into the schedule. Only if I can do that without overwhelming her with work, though.

 

We're doing giftedandtalented.com for math, and she likes it okay. She at least doesn't fight me when it's time to start math like she used to with Singapore. I was thinking of trying MCT for English next year, at least Grammar Island and Practice Island, and maybe one or two others, too. We're going to continue Handwriting Without Tears cursive, which we've had for a year now and are only about halfway through. :-P  And for spelling we're going to try Spellwell, because it can be done independently (independent = good for this child, she hates having mom as her teacher). For free reading I want to have her work through the Mensa Excellence in Reading list for 4th-6th grade, or maybe some of the Ambleside books for year 3? I don't know what to do for science and history... 

 

Any thoughts? What has helped your unmotivated or uncooperative child enjoy learning?



#2 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:15 PM

Is there any subject that SHE is interested in?  Anything in Science or History subject she cares about that you could just give her free reign on?  Provide materials (books, videos, projects) but let her do it without input from you unless she asks?  Does she like reading in her spare time?  Instead of a structured literature situation maybe just leave books around she might want to pick up on her own for now?  


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#3 okbud

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:16 PM

I would remind her every day that she needed to do it, and I would remind her that if she *didn't* do it, she would have to explain to her teacher why

 

 

Most third graders aren't here yet. Where they can just be "reminded" into diligently doing stuff they don't want to do. Some people never are.


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#4 Dealea86

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:23 PM

Is there any subject that SHE is interested in?  Anything in Science or History subject she cares about that you could just give her free reign on?  Provide materials (books, videos, projects) but let her do it without input from you unless she asks?  Does she like reading in her spare time?  Instead of a structured literature situation maybe just leave books around she might want to pick up on her own for now?  

 

There's plenty she's interested in, but nothing she's interested *enough* in to read about it in her free time. I've tried leaving books out for her to read... she just reads the same books over and over.



#5 Dealea86

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:25 PM

Most third graders aren't here yet. Where they can just be "reminded" into diligently doing stuff they don't want to do. Some people never are.

 

I know, but we really needed the space in our relationship to not be at each other's throats. It had been a really long and unhappy six months before this. :(  But the plan is to be more structured and disciplined next year.



#6 okbud

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:25 PM

Third grade was hard for me to wrap my head around for my gifted kid. He was so! friggin! smaht! but so¡ fracking¡ uninterested¡ in schoolwork.  One thing I figured out, gratefully sooner than later is that he liked to do A BUNCH of different stuff. I jumped all over the place. We did this, we did that,he read widely and voraciously, he watched a tonne of documentaries.

 

So I just committed to learning actual nits and bolts type things...grammar, punctuation, arithmetic (because algebra, he pick up on his own but 3*3 was a torturous maternal betrayal :001_rolleyes: :001_rolleyes: :001_rolleyes: ) and directed him to a certain amount of output for me, and otherwise left him alone. While, again, using loads of different resources for those basic things and bouncing between them. He's not a "linear thinker," so it was irrelevant that we weren't studying in a linear fashion..

 

IOW, decide what hills you'll die on, and give them reign over the rest. Third grade is actually a great age to see if they'll actually get up to anything good. Because if they don't, and you find you have to exert more top-down control over academics the next year, it's only the fourth grade and NBD.


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#7 okbud

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:30 PM

 she just reads the same books over and over.

 

Yeah they do that haha.

 

And in my house it's always the most random stuff you can imagine. One copy of Reader's Digest Guide to Home Improvement circa 1982 has seen more action here than ALL THE OTHER COPIES THAT WERE EVER IN PRINT :lol: :lol: :lol:

 

But, also, programming books, Robinson Crusoe, Dr. Seuss, college genetics, environmental science, and biology textbooks. It's good to have a wide array, is what I'm saying, and go with the flow.

 

Relationship issues are ROUGH, man. :grouphug:


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#8 Dealea86

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:32 PM

Third grade was hard for me to wrap my head around for my gifted kid. He was so! friggin! smaht! but so¡ fracking¡ uninterested¡ in schoolwork.  One thing I figured out, gratefully sooner than later is that he liked to do A BUNCH of different stuff. I jumped all over the place. We did this, we did that,he read widely and voraciously, he watched a tonne of documentaries.

 

So I just committed to learning actual nits and bolts type things...grammar, punctuation, arithmetic (because algebra, he pick up on his own but 3*3 was a torturous maternal betrayal :001_rolleyes: :001_rolleyes: :001_rolleyes: ) and directed him to a certain amount of output for me, and otherwise left him alone. While, again, using loads of different resources for those basic things and bouncing between them. He's not a "linear thinker," so it was irrelevant that we weren't studying in a linear fashion..

 

IOW, decide what hills you'll die on, and give them reign over the rest. Third grade is actually a great age to see if they'll actually get up to anything good. Because if they don't, and you find you have to exert more top-down control over academics the next year, it's only the fourth grade and NBD.

 

I think this would work for her. She's required to do math, spelling, and grammar next year, so that's probably the nuts and bolts kind of thing I want to be requiring. What kind of guidelines did you have for the self-directed study?



#9 okbud

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 03:42 PM

. What kind of guidelines did you have for the self-directed study?

 

I didn't/don't. I buy the bookshelves and fill them up with books I have screened. I have a stricter-than-many near-zero twaddle rule. But if he expresses an interest, I research and get him in front of good stuff that explains that thing by whatever means. Shows, library, kindle books, book/books, PDFs, actual curriculum, whatever.

 

So he's one of those "surround them with interesting and quality materials, and they will learn" kids. One of my other sons isn't that way at all, so requires a different approach.

 

I have the kids both keep what I call "main lesson books." The oldest makes four entries a week. At this point (9 years old) I require an excellent paragraph, or paragraph-equivalent, with some sketches. I say equivalent because he loves to make MLB entries that look like encyclopedia or field guide entries. Sometimes I choose the subject, sometimes he does....except that he does at least one MLB assignment for each literature book that he completes.  It's maybe 30 minutes a day four days a week. Plus about 2 hours of school with me per day, six days a week. A couple outside commitments (sports), and however long chores take.... and the whole entire rest of his life, essentially, he's free to do whatever he wants to do, with what we have (again, vetted by me).

 

He learns a lot. And this way his mind is wide open for the "teacher-required" subjects.


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#10 tiuzzol2

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 05:27 PM

What is she doing at home when not studying?

 

 

I have to wonder if she loves being in school more than homeschooling whether you should just force the issue on the grade skip and put her in all 5 days.  It might still be easy for her, and she should adjust and make new friends (plus the old ones are still around right--same school?).  Just thinking out loud.


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#11 Dealea86

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 08:38 PM



What is she doing at home when not studying?

 

 

I have to wonder if she loves being in school more than homeschooling whether you should just force the issue on the grade skip and put her in all 5 days.  It might still be easy for her, and she should adjust and make new friends (plus the old ones are still around right--same school?).  Just thinking out loud.

 

Playing in the playroom (which last year when she was in her months of school refusal I used to lock during school hours), re-reading a book she's read 10x, swinging in the backyard. Or yelling at other family members for bothering her. That's a favorite with this particular child, lol.

 

We very nearly put her in a 5-day-a-week private school at one point last year. I'm glad we didn't. This school is a lot more flexible academically. She would be doing a lot more busywork in a regular school, and one thing I learned from online public school was that she cannot stand busywork. (Also, it wouldn't be the same friends, this school only does the 2-day homeschool program.)

 

We went back and forth on the grade skipping for a while, but the last semester has been the most peaceful one in our house possibly since she was born. I really don't want to upset that by forcing her into a school situation she doesn't want. There will be time for acceleration later if it's appropriate. Right now the goal is to give her as much acceleration and/or gifted-appropriate education as we can at home. Hopefully that will be enough.



#12 bookbard

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Posted 14 May 2017 - 11:45 PM

Have you read project-based homeschooling by Lori Pickert? Very useful guide to self-directed learning. 



#13 Dealea86

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:02 AM

Have you read project-based homeschooling by Lori Pickert? Very useful guide to self-directed learning. 

 

No, I haven't. My sister read it, though, and loved it and tried to implement it in her homeschool. She said it was a big flop, her kids didn't take any initiative and the projects that got done were mostly her doing the work (aka her doing the learning) and having to do a lot of prodding - which seems to be the complete opposite of self-directed learning.


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#14 deanna1ynne

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 09:11 AM

No, I haven't. My sister read it, though, and loved it and tried to implement it in her homeschool. She said it was a big flop, her kids didn't take any initiative and the projects that got done were mostly her doing the work (aka her doing the learning) and having to do a lot of prodding - which seems to be the complete opposite of self-directed learning.

 

Hmmm. I have to wonder how she implemented it, because that sounds nothing at all like the book that I remember reading. We did it briefly and plan to come back to it when I no longer have a baby to wreck havoc on everything... lol. (or maybe just a dedicated project room that the babe can't get into)... Anyway, the only work that I did was at the beginning, when we sat down and I helped them figure out what they wanted to learn and we came up with a rough plan of what that would look like and what sort of output that would involve. Then we had "project time" regularly, which was basically a mix of free time and school time: it was time that they could do anything they wanted, *so long as* it was related to their project. They were required to work on their project, in any way that they saw fit, during that time. And then once or twice a month, I'd make time to touch bases with them again to see how things were going, if their interests / plan had changed, what other materials or resources they might need, etc. It was a ton of fun for the kids and relatively hands-off for me. The trick is to not take ownership of their projects for them - they are *their* projects and *their* responsibility, but you help set the direction and the expectation for quality output as you help them with their planning.


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#15 pinewarbler

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 10:33 AM

I agree that project-based is a great option and that they must take ownership on what will be achieved on the project. It is, in fact, the entire basis of the curriculum at the gifted B&M school my DD attended in grade 8.

 

There was structure in the project (how much research student needed to do, minimum amount of writing, etc.) but student chose many aspects. For instance, student chose the topic (within specified field), teacher taught appropriate sources for research, student could (if wanted) choose an unusual way to present material, teacher discussed style of writing that was appropriate for that presentation (eg. if you are writing a chapter from a textbook, then what style is appropriate) sometimes time was taken to build (with real tools) models or to learn a new program (eg. googleslides animations).

 

Much more scaffolding would need to be done at a grade 3/4 level for interesting/ motivating projects, but when DS was that age, he did projects at home while he went to a B&M school where he learned nothing. :glare:  I helped him structure the projects at home (what aspects should you do, what is your vision of the finished project, what topic are you interested in, what hands-on thing do you want to learn). He did a project on Titan when he was in grade 2, researched atmosphere, terrain, chemical interactions and designed his own creatures that must live there, based on the terrain. He paper machéd a model, which for sure took longer than any research/writing he did. But he learned to enjoy doing projects. I had to let go of it looking perfect or meeting all of my goals... it had to meet his goals. At that age, I spent a ridiculous amount of time scaffolding each step so that he could complete it. But now, in grade 5, he works mostly independently and he really wants to finish projects.  :hurray:

 

I feel your frustration, and have been there. Looking back, I think I could have pulled DS out of school and let him drift and pick up things on his own with some guidance for those grades. All that free time to read and think; it only comes once. If they are ahead, then maybe they can afford it? Both my kids need a lot of down time/ daydreaming time. They actually comes up with the most incredible ideas as a result. At that age, I spent a lot of time worrying then about them working at their level. I admit, though tht my eldest is highly motivated, so I may be benefitting now from my youngest seeing her standards.

 

I also wonder if your DD could be encouraged to choose more books. Do you live near a good library system... could you drive her to a larger library? Encourage everyone in your family to choose a book from an area of the library/ genre that they don't normally use. Make it a norm. However, reading the same book over and over at the age is absolutely fine! She is learning something.

 

My DS didn't pick up challenging books until end of grade 3 without being pushed, despite being at that level. Until then, I read aloud books that were at his level. When we go to the library now, we talk about how to find a good book, and then later we critique if the cover/ flyleaf was a good indication of the book. Is she competitive? DS just entered a book club contest where he has to read 150 novels from a particular category from now to the end of the year. That is on TOP of the non-fiction books and his own series he reads. The only motivation is winning free stuff  :lol:  He enters every contest like that... Lego, library, etc. I was exactly the same at that age!!

 

 

 

 



#16 Arcadia

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 11:03 AM

There's plenty she's interested in, but nothing she's interested *enough* in to read about it in her free time. I've tried leaving books out for her to read... she just reads the same books over and over.


At 8, both my kids are unmotivated. Now at 11 and 12, they are still mildly interested in everything with nothing they are passionate about.

For books, my kids have assigned reading which are what I want them to read and discuss. All other reading time is for leisure and they can read whatever they want, repeating however many times they want. That way we are both happy.

My kids aren't into projects so we didn't go the project based learning mode. There needs to be a buy in and I am not surprised since my husband dislikes projects and I only like projects when I am doing project management like a science fair team contest in school as a kid or an infrastructure rollout project when working. They have hobbies that come and go like knitting and music composition but no projects.

My currency to "work" as a child was social. If it isn't a social activity. I would rather be left alone in a well stocked library or university bookstore to read to my heart's content. Big class size of 40 or more made me happy while my kids prefer a class size of 8 to 20 students.

What help was goal setting and expectations. My kids like us (husband and me) to give clear goals and expectations. So if we expect this amount of work to be done to this minimum quality, we say so. My DS12 is a natural speller so we drop spelling early. We drop grammar after 3rd grade and just concentrate on proofreading. So it depends on each kid's strengths and weaknesses for goals and expectations.

#17 mathnerd

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 11:21 AM

Look at the Critical Thinking Company offerings for math, logic and LA. There are a lot of fun resources they offer and I can say that there is not a single book I have bought from them that was boring to my child. I specifically recommend Balance Benders (it helps with preAlgebra skills), MindBenders, Analogy Skills, the Detective series etc.

 

For my son, I only ask him to read books on topics that he is interested in - in his case, he likes books with animals, adventure, non-fiction and humor. I stick to these themes and he can get quite bit of reading done on those categories. For vocabulary, just let her listen to audiobooks of high quality books and call it a day. Science can be mostly hands on projects at this stage and watching documentaries.


Edited by mathnerd, 15 May 2017 - 11:28 AM.


#18 Dealea86

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:28 PM

Hmmm. I have to wonder how she implemented it, because that sounds nothing at all like the book that I remember reading. We did it briefly and plan to come back to it when I no longer have a baby to wreck havoc on everything... lol. (or maybe just a dedicated project room that the babe can't get into)... Anyway, the only work that I did was at the beginning, when we sat down and I helped them figure out what they wanted to learn and we came up with a rough plan of what that would look like and what sort of output that would involve. Then we had "project time" regularly, which was basically a mix of free time and school time: it was time that they could do anything they wanted, *so long as* it was related to their project. They were required to work on their project, in any way that they saw fit, during that time. And then once or twice a month, I'd make time to touch bases with them again to see how things were going, if their interests / plan had changed, what other materials or resources they might need, etc. It was a ton of fun for the kids and relatively hands-off for me. The trick is to not take ownership of their projects for them - they are *their* projects and *their* responsibility, but you help set the direction and the expectation for quality output as you help them with their planning.

 

It also could be that I am not communicating well what she was doing. I do know she didn't think it worked well for her kids (who, to be fair, were pretty young when she tried it, perhaps too young for that kind of approach?).



#19 Dealea86

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:37 PM

These are some great suggestions, thank you so much!

 

She spent most of the morning making paper dolls and then playing with them. I took a bit of okbud's idea and had her write a paragraph about it. She loved that idea, and the paragraph was actually quite good. I will definitely keep that up. Then she did two units of math (took her all of ten minutes). When the 2yo goes down for her nap, we'll have a quiet reading time. She should do some spelling, and probably play a math facts game. And I guess that'll be the school day today?

 

There's probably a way to make a special project work for her. I would need to figure out how to scaffold it enough. I'm not really a projects kind of homeschool mom, haha. It's not my strength at all. Plus I would worry that she would lose interest halfway through. But in its most ideal form it does sound appealing....


Edited by Dealea86, 15 May 2017 - 01:22 PM.

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#20 okbud

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 12:53 PM

**I hate projects**

 

Just saying, if you do too, you're not alone :laugh:


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#21 bookbard

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 05:36 PM

Yeah . . . project based homeschooling isn't about 'projects' as in school projects (which, when I was a kid, meant sticking things on a piece of cardboard). It can mean anything at all - that the child is interested in. From climbing trees to making a sculpture to exploring molecules. 

 

Anyway, the book is worth a read. I started it with my daughter at age 2 and it has informed everything we do - it's about respecting the process of learning, and giving the child space to develop their own interests. 



#22 cottonmama

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 06:52 PM

No, I haven't. My sister read it, though, and loved it and tried to implement it in her homeschool. She said it was a big flop, her kids didn't take any initiative and the projects that got done were mostly her doing the work (aka her doing the learning) and having to do a lot of prodding - which seems to be the complete opposite of self-directed learning.

 

This is going to be OT/PBH-related, but... I'm the sister.  :D  The part about my kids never taking the initiative was right.  But I didn't do any of the work for them, and I didn't prod a bit -- I put out materials and offered support getting resources, just like the book said.  I took notes on what my school-aged child was interested in.  But... it didn't seem like it ever turned into much of a learning experience.

 

My daughter expressed interest in cooking, but all she wanted to do was actually cook (fair enough!) -- but the thing was, she couldn't cook independently, so that was going to mean I needed to be constantly engaged in every moment of her project, and I had two other kids needing attention.  To satisfy state laws given this reality, she needed some of her project work to happen outside of the kitchen. I put together a project space in the living room, but all that ever happened there was the kids gluing hair and faces on recyclables using the various other materials I gave them.  They loved it,  but it was lightweight school at best, and anyway we barely had room for the project things; the house was getting messy with nothing to show for it.  I guess I just couldn't figure out how to ensure that learning was happen without forcing it on her.

 

Since then I have found that my kids, at least at this age, are much more engaged and excited about learning when I provide more direction and structure.  We talk about what they're interested in, or we agree on a topic to study together, and I take some time to find videos or books or hands-on activities to help them learn.  I come up with research questions (and sometimes they come up with their own), and they look for the answers online or in our encyclopedias.  That's not PBH, but it's what works for us.  And I almost feel like with young kids, they don't know the questions to ask until they start to be exposed to the kinds of things that are out there to learn.

 

I would still love to find a way to make PBH work.  I feel like my kids would need to catch a vision for what they could do with it, and they would really take off.  Quite possibly my middle child would run with it more than my oldest did.  It's probably something we will come back to as they all get older.  


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#23 cottonmama

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 07:18 PM

 the only work that I did was at the beginning, when we sat down and I helped them figure out what they wanted to learn and we came up with a rough plan of what that would look like and what sort of output that would involve. Then we had "project time" regularly, which was basically a mix of free time and school time: it was time that they could do anything they wanted, *so long as* it was related to their project. They were required to work on their project, in any way that they saw fit, during that time.

 

 

There was structure in the project (how much research student needed to do, minimum amount of writing, etc.) but student chose many aspects. For instance, student chose the topic (within specified field), teacher taught appropriate sources for research, student could (if wanted) choose an unusual way to present material, teacher discussed style of writing that was appropriate for that presentation (eg. if you are writing a chapter from a textbook, then what style is appropriate) sometimes time was taken to build (with real tools) models or to learn a new program (eg. googleslides animations).

 

 

These are very helpful descriptions of what both of you have done.  But how do you ensure that during project time they are working on their project, without prodding?  Or how do you ensure that the project ever gets done, without prodding?  That's the part I don't get.  With my daughter, it seems like nothing gets done without prodding.  Even in her free play, she doesn't necessarily stick to a game to the end, or to writing a story to the end, etc.  Not that I have expectations for her in those cases, but it shows me that being completely hands-off with academics is not likely to produce satisfactory learning.

 

As an example... this daughter has been working on scouting badges this year.  She chooses what she wants to earn, but the scouting handbook defines what requirements the output must meet. At the mid-year ceremony she was terribly discouraged getting only one badge, so I started to set aside time regularly for badge work.  Even though she has chosen what she wants to do, she takes almost zero initiative, and she needs frequent reminding to make sure she is indeed working on badges during badge time ... but in this case I have felt more free to prod because I'm not trying to meet some PBH ideal.   :D


Edited by cottonmama, 15 May 2017 - 07:20 PM.


#24 deanna1ynne

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 08:13 PM

These are very helpful descriptions of what both of you have done.  But how do you ensure that during project time they are working on their project, without prodding?  Or how do you ensure that the project ever gets done, without prodding?  That's the part I don't get.  With my daughter, it seems like nothing gets done without prodding.  Even in her free play, she doesn't necessarily stick to a game to the end, or to writing a story to the end, etc.  Not that I have expectations for her in those cases, but it shows me that being completely hands-off with academics is not likely to produce satisfactory learning.

 

As an example... this daughter has been working on scouting badges this year.  She chooses what she wants to earn, but the scouting handbook defines what requirements the output must meet. At the mid-year ceremony she was terribly discouraged getting only one badge, so I started to set aside time regularly for badge work.  Even though she has chosen what she wants to do, she takes almost zero initiative, and she needs frequent reminding to make sure she is indeed working on badges during badge time ... but in this case I have felt more free to prod because I'm not trying to meet some PBH ideal.   :D

 

I'm not sure what you mean by keeping them on task without prodding. We agreed ahead of time that they would finish the project they started, albeit not in a specific time frame. So they will finish this project before we move on to something else. And while I didn't prod in the sense of directing their project, I certainly have no qualms about enforcing that time to be project time, just like I'd enforce chore time to be chores only or piano time to be piano practice only. They can choose how to do their chores and they can choose what songs to practice, but when they agreed to practice piano regularly (chores come with the territory, so there's really no mutual agreement there, lol) in exchange for lessons, they sealed the deal until the next evaluation time comes (for us, we re-evaluate piano at the end of each "unit" of lessons in their book). I don't feel it's nagging or directing them or anything wrong to just say that this is what they agreed to be working on during this specific time, and if they're not going to do that, then here's the consequence.


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#25 Ausmumof3

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Posted 15 May 2017 - 11:46 PM

I think aside from the gifted thing third grade seems to be a real issue with motivation for all of my kids. I'm not sure why. Around the middle of fourth grade they seem to hit a point of just deciding to get on and get stuff done. I wonder if there's a mismatch between the most common curriculum expectations and executive function development.
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#26 pinewarbler

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:00 AM

Kids that age need reminding that time is passing... I never thought it as prodding.

 

Not finishing things is the prerogative of childhood :laugh:  I've realized (by having kids) that sometimes I also want to have the right to abandon a project I'm working on at home, and I'm too hard on myself when I do. Sometimes the project NEEDS abandoning.. I've learned all I could from it, or it needs turning upside down and restructuring, or I need to hire help etc.

 

I have worked with my DS for years to improve completion of projects. (And by completion, I mean to academic standards, not his standards.)

 

I try to think of this process as a series of "successive successes" (I think I've stolen that from James T. Webb?). Each 'project' (whether that entails packing your backpack or researching Titan) was completed slightly better than the last one. Over time, I saw an improvement in standards. I justified any sloppy work/inattention with that slight improvement. My main goal was to see a kid with motivation to do the project. As long as I had that, I decided I was winning. In the long run, I have won. Is the work up to his best standard yet? Not completely, but he's motivated and doing very good work, years above his peers. He sees that I have expectations, but that I am not asking for perfection. And occasionally I'll let him abandon a project that isn't as interesting as hoped to give him time to come up with a new idea. I think this was key.

 

Something that I haven't see mentioned... chunking down work. People are unmotivated if they can't visualize the steps to completion. This is an item I scaffold with every child I work with. One effective way we break down work and track completion is a kanban board. This is ideal for older kids, but I wish I'd started running them when they were younger. My eldest is hugely motivated while running tasks on it. They work for me because I never have a large chunk of time to do anything, but since there are only 3 items in the 'doing' column, when I have a free moment I check the board, do that little item, move it to the 'done' column. Only when the 'doing' column falls below 3 is an item allowed to be pulled from the 'to do' column. The "to do" column is not in charge of workflow. When you only have 3 things to do, life seems easier.. you don't have a vague feeling that you need to do something.

 

To run a kanban, you need to know how to visualize the whole project. My eldest is running kanban for high school exams and projects right now. Using colour-coded-by-subject post-it notes (visual), each exam or project is chunked down into many tasks. (Eg. write up study notes/ practise presentation/ ask teacher for rubric/ do practise test/ make cue cards, etc.) Learning how to do this independently takes years of practise. One of her mentors heads a dep't at a multi-national company that has every single wall covered in them... that helped her see it as a real world skill.

 

I have children who learn by modelling, so right now I am using a kanban board, publicly working to finish my projects on time, and asking for help to brainstorm better strategies when something isn't working.

 

Love this guy.. he has articles about kid kanban. If you click on the "kidzban" tag at the end of his article, there are more articles available.

 

 

 


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#27 cottonmama

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Posted 16 May 2017 - 09:24 AM

Not finishing things is the prerogative of childhood :laugh:  I've realized (by having kids) that sometimes I also want to have the right to abandon a project I'm working on at home, and I'm too hard on myself when I do. Sometimes the project NEEDS abandoning.. I've learned all I could from it, or it needs turning upside down and restructuring, or I need to hire help etc.

 

Oh, absolutely.  I am a frequent abandoner of projects myself. ;-)  With a motivated gifted child I feel like it's easier to allow projects to be abandoned, because that comes after some meaningful learning has happened.  With my oldest, though, those learning experiences won't ever actually happen without someone keeping her on task.  I'm glad to hear that some amount of keeping them on task is "allowed" in PBH.  I'm starting to think we could be at least as successful with that kind of project as we have been with scouting badges.  Next year might look different than I had planned!

 

I love the idea of the kanban board!  I have been using tear-off strips like people post when they're looking for a roommate, for long-term school tasks and scouting badges.  It has worked pretty well, but its real weakness is that it doesn't have a way to keep something "in-progress."  Kanban boards should solve that, while also feeding my sticky note addiction.  lol



#28 desertflower

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 11:32 AM

As for history I would just get a bunch of books for her to read since she loves to read.  She reads at a high school level?  Perhaps Joy Hakim's series?  Or Beautiful Feet is a literature based history.  So far I like Pages of History Ancient Times.  I had to correct a couple of bible facts in it for our use though.  Publisher is Veritas?  Not sure.  They also have Pages of History Medieval Times or something like that. 

 

As for science I think mystery science is great.  John Tiner has a bunch of science books she could probably read.  My oldest child is enjoying The Story book of Science by Jean Fabre https://www.amazon.c...ct_top?ie=UTF8This is not the version I have.  Mine is green. If you want to focus on insects this year, Jack's Insects is a good one.  It's from either CM or SCM.  It has a lot of details. 

 

I like pinewarbler idea.  So perhaps, you and her could do this with the american girl series?  For example, is it Kristen who is from Sweden and comes to Wisconsin?  She could go to kidrex.org and do some research on what they wore back then and present time.  what they used to eat and what they eat now.  print out recipes.  Print out costumes of what their clothes looked liked.  Was there a lot of farming back then?  Old nursery rhymes?  Have your middle child color pictures or draw a picture of what the country looked like back then?  perhaps do this with her cousin or you?  Meet in 2 months?  Give her a calendar where she can mark off that she did work on it.  Say once a week? 

 

My project based homeschool was only done once a week. 

 

I understand where you are coming from.  For example, my oldest rather pick up a tablet first thing in the morning instead of a book.  It's a bit disheartening because I want him to read a lot more.  But he's *motivated* to build a green house or target on his minecraft.  :) 

 

I have seen him pick things up out of the blue and just read.  So that's something.  :)  A little bit here a little bit there.  I think it's a gradual thing.