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Bad attitude, will not apply herself, and hates school


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#1 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:31 AM

I realize the "topic" of this post seems quite negative, but this is serious. We have 2 daughters. The oldest will be 9 this month. She is doing 4th grade level work. The youngest is 7 1/2, and she's doing 1st grade work. (She has a huge medical history including treatments that have caused her learning delays - steroids, chemotherapy, dialysis, lots of hospital time, and lots of ongoing meds as well as visual impairment.)

The youngest is okay. She's just now starting to read and working on BJU Math 1. She participates in Bible, and she listens in (for exposure) to History and Science. Overall she's doing good.

My problem is with my oldest daughter's attitude toward anything related to school. She complains about everything, and she will not apply herself to anything.

(Example) : MATH - The first few chapters of her Math this year are a review. She knows how to add and subtract. I'm not asking anything huge of her. She acts like she's dying - there are tears, she gets almost every problem wrong, and her writing (numbers) is so sloppy I can barely tell which numbers she's writing. She doesn't pay attention to what she's doing so she adds when she should subtract. I know she can do this, and do it well. She starts every assignment with such a negative attitude that she sets herself up for failure. I don't think we should just keep moving through the curriculum. I will not mark out half of the questions either. There are not too many questions for a 4th grader. She's smart, but almost unwilling to try. (We are doing BJU Math 4 per her request. Last year she did CLE and she hated it, begging me to let her do BJU again!) I'm desperate for advice, suggestions, any help at all. We have a good relationship overall. It's just school she hates. She would rather play all day.

Her other subjects are just as bad. Her writing is so rushed and messy. She just wants to get things done so she can go play. She acts so annoyed that I should ask her to do anything. Here is our curriculum this year :

Bible - Grapevine OT overview
History - MOH Volume 1
Science - Christian Kids Explore Eart and Space
Math - BJU 4
Grammar - trying FLL 3 (neither of us love this, but we do it)
Writing - WWE 2 (again, neither of us love this, but we're doing it)
Handwriting - Veritas Press classical Cursive
Spelling - (her spelling is awful!) we're alternating Spelling You See Wild Tales and Megawords
Literature - 1 chapter a day of a book I choose. (We discuss, she narrates, or sometimes she'll draw a picture for narration)

When we have time we add sewing lessons, art (pastels), music and art appreciation. I would like to add Latin, but I don't want to add anything until we resolve some of the issues we're having. I don't think I'm asking too much of her, and I don't expect perfection. I do expect that she should do a good job, show a fair effort, and present neat work. Am I expecting too much? (Thank you if you've read this far).

Edited by The Substitute is a Westie, 04 September 2017 - 10:34 AM.


#2 wapiti

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:45 AM

Frustration, spelling, handwriting, adding where she should be subtracting even though she is otherwise capable of the calculation.  This is not an uncommon combination.

 

My two cents:  I would assume bad attitude dead last in the list of possibilities.  Consider getting vision checked - a regular annual checkup, but with a COVD optometrist, who can screen for developmental vision issues and discuss whether a full eval may or may not be needed.

 

Also, for skills you are certain she already knows/remembers how to do, if she doesn't actually need the review, I'm not sure I'd put her through that, at least not more than a few problems as her personal review needs dictate.

 

Allow her to work on a white board and see whether that helps at all.  White boards allow for larger writing and less friction and may make for a more pleasant experience.


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#3 whitehawk

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:46 AM

A few questions that might help you as you're thinking about things...

 

How far into the school year are you?

 

Is she sleeping well? eating a good breakfast?

 

Have her eyes been checked recently?

 

Does she tend to be anxious? If so, do you feel she's getting enough signals about what is coming up?


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#4 Ellie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:49 AM

I realize the "topic" of this post seems quite negative, but this is serious. We have 2 daughters. The oldest will be 9 this month. She is doing 4th grade level work. The youngest is 7 1/2, and she's doing 1st grade work. (She has a huge medical history including treatments that have caused her learning delays - steroids, chemotherapy, dialysis, lots of hospital time, and lots of ongoing meds as well as visual impairment.)

The youngest is okay. She's just now starting to read and working on BJU Math 1. She participates in Bible, and she listens in (for exposure) to History and Science. Overall she's doing good.

My problem is with my oldest daughter's attitude toward anything related to school. She complains about everything, and she will not apply herself to anything.

(Example) : MATH - The first few chapters of her Math this year are a review. She knows how to add and subtract. I'm not asking anything huge of her. She acts like she's dying - there are tears, she gets almost every problem wrong, and her writing (numbers) is so sloppy I can barely tell which numbers she's writing. She doesn't pay attention to what she's doing so she adds when she should subtract. I know she can do this, and do it well. She starts every assignment with such a negative attitude that she sets herself up for failure. I don't think we should just keep moving through the curriculum. I will not mark out half of the questions either. There are not too many questions for a 4th grader. She's smart, but almost unwilling to try. (We are doing BJU Math 4 per her request. Last year she did CLE and she hated it, begging me to let her do BJU again!) I'm desperate for advice, suggestions, any help at all. We have a good relationship overall. It's just school she hates. She would rather play all day.

Her other subjects are just as bad. Her writing is so rushed and messy. She just wants to get things done so she can go play. She acts so annoyed that I should ask her to do anything. Here is our curriculum this year :

Bible - Grapevine OT overview
History - MOH Volume 1
Science - Christian Kids Explore Eart and Space
Math - BJU 4
Grammar - trying FLL 3 (neither of us love this, but we do it)
Writing - WWE 2 (again, neither of us love this, but we're doing it)
Handwriting - Veritas Press classical Cursive
Spelling - (her spelling is awful!) we're alternating Spelling You See Wild Tales and Megawords
Literature - 1 chapter a day of a book I choose. (We discuss, she narrates, or sometimes she'll draw a picture for narration)

When we have time we add sewing lessons, art (pastels), music and art appreciation. I would like to add Latin, but I don't want to add anything until we resolve some of the issues we're having. I don't think I'm asking too much of her, and I don't expect perfection. I do expect that she should do a good job, show a fair effort, and present neat work. Am I expecting too much? (Thank you if you've read this far).

 

I would expect a little 9yo person to want to play all day. :-)

 

My head sort of exploded when I saw how many things you're planning to do.

 

If she were mine, I would drop everything except MOH, and maybe the math if she loves it to death. Otherwise I'd drop that for awhile, too. She sounds like a child with burn-out. Some children overcome that by pushing through, but IMHO, it's better to spend some time doing a whole lot of nothing academically.


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#5 Arcadia

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:57 AM

She complains about everything, and she will not apply herself to anything.
...
She just wants to get things done so she can go play. She acts so annoyed that I should ask her to do anything.

  

This part sounds just like my DS11. We stick to the bare minimum for academics to maximize his play time. It is just easier for him to put in more effort for the bare minimum than to have more and he felt his day is never ending amount of academics. My DS11 is just very playful and it's hard to be focus on academics when the reward isn't tangible to him. My DS12 wants to go read so he can be sloppy at times. For a nine year old, there is no consequence for getting a B versus an A so it's hard for a playful child to want to put in that amount of effort. Neither my husband and I put in full effort until high school except for our areas of interest.

Frustration, spelling, handwriting, adding where she should be subtracting even though she is otherwise capable of the calculation.  This is not an uncommon combination.
 
My two cents:  I would assume bad attitude dead last in the list of possibilities.  Consider getting vision checked - a regular annual checkup, but with a COVD optometrist, who can screen for developmental vision issues and discuss whether a full eval may or may not be needed.

I agree with having vision checked just in case.

#6 mellifera33

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:58 AM

Is this new, or has she always had trouble with handwriting and attention to detail? She sounds a lot like my son, who is around the same age and dealing with multiple learning disabilities. 



#7 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:06 AM

Questions that might help us help you....

 

Did you take a complete break from academics for the summer?  In other words, was she away from academics for an extended period before starting up with this rather intense load?

 

Has she always had fairly messy handwriting but now it seems worse?  Or it was always very neat and now it is really messy?  Or...?

 

How long are you allotting for academics for her each day?

 

How independently are you expecting her to work?

 

How many subjects do you do collaboratively (not you lecturing and her "absorbing")?

 

 



#8 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:07 AM

We just started back to school 6 weeks ago from a 7 week break. - She shouldn't need a break.

She has had her vision tested recently. That's a regular thing for our family as the little one is "legally blind". Her vision is good.

We don't do everything every day. Science is only twice a week. MOH is only 3 times a week. We don't do all of the activities either. For science we read one day and do an activity on day 2. For MOH, we read the lesson 3 days a week, and we might do one activity. We do grammar 3 times a week, and it's less than 15 minutes per lesson. None of her lessons are particularly long. She knows our routine so none of this is a surprise.

I know she knows how to do the math because she does it with no problem (but a lot of complaining) when we do it together. She needs to practice the problems, though. Moving to a new topic won't help. She is repeating the behavior she had last year. Review or not, her response is awful.

She sleeps well (bedtime at 8, but she can read until 8:30). She gets up at 8, and comes downstairs for breakfast. We have a fairly regular routine. She eats well. She actually prefers healthy food (oatmeal, eggs, fruit, yogurt...) to pastries and cereal/milk.

It's almost like she refuses to accept that she must participate in school. She makes everyone else miserable because of her attitude. I want to help her work on her feelings and recognize that life isn't always enjoyable, and learning can be fun.

ETA : this behavior isn't new, it's just been growing worse. Her handwriting has never been great, but I think it's getting worse. I think that's because she's rushing things. Please know - we do not have an intense school schedule. We're almost always done with everything in less than 3 hours. That includes read aloud time ( by me).

Edited by The Substitute is a Westie, 04 September 2017 - 11:11 AM.

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#9 Tibbie Dunbar

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:10 AM

I agree with so many previous posters. I think I would try:

 

1. Super duper streamlining of curriculum.

 

math

spelling, since she needs it

Elson Reader with copywork, narration, dictation

SOTW

read alouds that YOU read

incidental-feeling nature study and science

Bible story with Daddy at bedtime

 

2. Do look into screening for vision problems and learning disabilities. Check the learning differences board here if you need info on how to get started.

 

3. Is there a problem partly bc of younger sister's ongoing medical needs? I say this as a fellow mom of children who had special medical needs -- it can mess everybody up. Do you need to consider asking the pediatrician for a referral to a therapist, does elder dd need more time away from home...?

 

4. How are you all doing with relaxing social times, fun with friends, time spent in nature, and other lifestyle stuff like healthy diet, exercise, sleep...?

 


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#10 greenfields

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:17 AM

Blessings to you and your family. 

 

I agree with the posts about relaxing. 

 

 


Edited by greenfields, 13 September 2017 - 08:52 PM.


#11 Faithful_Steward

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:18 AM

Some children wither without the social interaction and outside validation of a school environment. If you think that might be an issue, we can help you brainstorm ideas to meet those needs while homeschooling.

Best wishes!
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#12 wapiti

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:19 AM

She has had her vision tested recently. That's a regular thing for our family as the little one is "legally blind". Her vision is good.

 

This is encouraging.

 

Just as a PSA, be aware that most ophthalmologists - generally - do not check for developmental vision issues (tracking, convergence, etc., tasks involving how the eyes work together) anywhere close to the extent that a COVD optometrist does.  Developmental vision issues are the sorts of issues that can result in handwriting difficulties, trouble with spelling, missed math signs, and general frustration because - like many learning issues of one sort or another, even "mild" ones - completing tasks can take up a great amount of energy.  The greater the effort, the greater the balking at work.

 

I agree w/the others about streamlining for a while while you figure things out.


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#13 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:20 AM

I agree with so many previous posters. I think I would try:

1. Super duper streamlining of curriculum.

math
spelling, since she needs it
Elson Reader with copywork, narration, dictation
SOTW
read alouds that YOU read
incidental-feeling nature study and science
Bible story with Daddy at bedtime

***. Our curriculum is streamlined. We seriously don't do much right now. None of us can stand SOTW (sorry). We're only reading the lessons from MOH. She doesn't mind listening to the MOH story for (less than) 5 minutes. Doing the reader with copywork, narration, dictation would be more than we're doing now. I do the read aloud. -- She's really a bright girl. When she has a good attitude towards things, she really excels.

2. Do look into screening for vision problems and learning disabilities. Check the learning differences board here if you need info on how to get started.
*** done. Her doctor agrees, she's fine.

3. Is there a problem partly bc of younger sister's ongoing medical needs? I say this as a fellow mom of children who had special medical needs -- it can mess everybody up. Do you need to consider asking the pediatrician for a referral to a therapist, does elder dd need more time away from home...?
*** I don't believe this is an issue at all.

4. How are you all doing with relaxing social times, fun with friends, time spent in nature, and other lifestyle stuff like healthy diet, exercise, sleep...?

***. She eats and sleeps great. Healthy foods. Loves to run and play outside and ride bike. She gets outside and exercises. They are both American Heritage Girls. They have enough time out of the house doing other things.

#14 J-rap

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:28 AM

If you think she knows the math, how about start by giving her just a sampling of the lesson.  If there are 30 problems, have her do just 6.  If she gets them all perfect, then she can move on to the next lesson.  If she knows it already, maybe part of the problem is that she is bored, or just overwhelmed by the amount of something she already knows.  

 

Once you find the correct level that is actually challenging, maybe just assign her odd numbers.  Tell her she'll only need to do even numbers if she gets more than 2 wrong, or something like that.

 

For things like literature, you could give her 5 book choices and she can choose one.  

 

We didn't use a history curriculum at that age.  We picked an interesting period -- maybe ancient Egyptians, or the early pioneers, for example, and did various activities related to it.  Many of them were art projects.  There are fun children's documentaries about different historical periods too.  I sometimes got a Scholastic type workbook on the subject that had various activity suggestions and map work.  Or, we might do some writing projects like pretending you're a girl living in that period, and write a diary entry for the day.

 

Does she like gym?  Art?  Music?

 

I guess I'd work to find activities that she enjoys, so that she begins thinking of school as interesting, at least for some subjects!

 

Anyway, just trying to brainstorm.  :) 

 

 



#15 alisoncooks

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:31 AM

Did you skip a lot of school when in the thick of your youngest's health crisis? My DH was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago, and underwent a year of intensive treatment (lots of inpatient stays). Honestly, school took a back burner. Waaaaay back. Once things were somewhat back to normal, my youngest had a difficult time transitioning back to regular school. (And why not? I mean, we'd spent months and months hanging out in hospital Starbucks and playing video games and extended, fun stays at grandma's house.)

This may not apply to your situation, but it just reminded me of our experience. My 9 year old is still prone to whining and bad attitude re: school.
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#16 Mommyof1

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:32 AM

I feel weird about asking, how is she handling her little sisters illness? Could it somehow be related to that?
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#17 Tanaqui

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:33 AM

If she's crying, it's probably not her bad attitude that's causing her to fail. It's more likely that this work is legitimately difficult for her for some reason, and that's what's causing the attitude. And this is a cumulative problem - the more she associates schooltime with failure and bad feelings, the worse this is going to get. You're right - this is serious, and it's probably no more fun for her than it is for you!

 

I notice that you twice mention messy handwriting, first in math and then in writing. You attribute this to her rushing and fussing - but it strikes me as a possible symptom. Off the top of my head, I can think of any number of learning disabilities that might lead to sloppy handwriting, starting with dysgraphia and ending with certain vision issues which would not be picked up in a normal eye exam. Have you had her evaluated? That would be my first step, a full battery. (Your school district should pay for this if you live in the US, however, in some places it's like pulling teeth, especially if you're not enrolled.) As a stopgap, have you tried having her do everything orally?

 

I'd also suggest dropping the writing and grammar programs. Neither of you "love" them, and honestly? They're not necessary at this age, not with a resistant child. Drop the grammar entirely, and look for a writing program that she will enjoy. You might also consider dropping history and science for a short while, then picking them up again entirely interest-led. More buy-in from her might make everything easier.


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#18 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:36 AM

I appreciate the comments and suggestions. She is a healthy kid, and she has a healthy lifestyle. We have a routine (not a schedule) that we follow. I wish there was a way that I could show her what other kids her age are expected to do in a traditional school environment. I think she would then appreciate how much nicer our school days are.

She doesn't have learning delays. I truly think this is a heart issue. I think she simply doesn't want to give up any of her own time to do things that aren't fun. I think she needs to overcome the naturally selfish tendency that we all have - "my time is my time and I'll choose what to do with it." I just don't know how to approach that.

I also don't want her to think that having an ugly attitude will make the bad things go away. I want her to learn to control her anger and frustration without being disrespectful to others. I absolutely agree that sometimes the answer is to just give them a break, but she has had lots of breaks. We truly dont spend much time at all doing "school", and I dont ask her to do much writing because I know she doesn't like that. Overall I need to help her see that she needs to give a few hours of work to earn the free time.
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#19 Tanaqui

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:38 AM

She sleeps well (bedtime at 8, but she can read until 8:30). She gets up at 8, and comes downstairs for breakfast. We have a fairly regular routine. She eats well. She actually prefers healthy food (oatmeal, eggs, fruit, yogurt...) to pastries and cereal/milk.

 

You know, this is going to sound strange, but your healthy diet would've caused massive meltdowns from me as a child. Why? The yogurt - I had an intolerance of some sort to dairy, and I would go completely off-the-walls if I had it too often. Like, from sobbing to hysterical laughter.

 

If you say she has a healthy diet I'm assuming that the obvious culprits like food coloring and "artificial flavors" are already not in her food, but it's still possible that something she's eating is affecting her behavior. You may want to add in "screening for allergies" to the list of suggestions.


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#20 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:39 AM

I feel weird about asking, how is she handling her little sisters illness? Could it somehow be related to that?


She is fine with her sisters illness. we've talked about that a lot. Most of the hospital stays and treatments were 3+ years ago. She has been doing well. She only goes for regular checkups now, and she has to take meds daily. She's just like any other kid, just delayed in most things.

#21 Tanaqui

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:39 AM

Also - you don't need to repeat yourself :)

 

I know it feels that way, which is really frustrating, but that's because a lot of these updates are coming in while commenters are still typing. They'll read the previous posts after they reply.

 

(I hate it when I feel people aren't listening, myself.)



#22 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:41 AM

I agree with having her vision checked by a COVD optometrist (this is not the same as reading the eye chart for the doctor with a paddle over one eye). 

 

Her younger sister has been through a lot.  This means that she too has been through a lot.  It is stressful to be the sibling of a sick child. 

 

Before setting strict boundaries with a line-in-the-sand, I would first do some things to evaluate the situation some more.  What happens if you make learning more of a game?  I can think of very little fourth grade math that can't be done in fun ways instead of the sit down with a book approach of most schooling.  You want to review subtraction and addition?  There are some great math games out there.  Read history together or watch a fun video on the subject.  Do science experiments and forget the science textbook.  Write a letter to Grandma instead of enforcing writing in a workbook.  Does she still have problems esp. with writing?  Then she might also need an evaluation for LDs in addition to the developmental vision check. 

 

Obviously as parents there are times when we do need to set boundaries.  So setting up a short lesson (no longer than ten or fifteen minutes) by explaining that you are going to work on XYZ and you do not want any complaining, can be appropriate but in my opinion, that is only appropriate if you have already done the previous things with her.  Then let her take a break even if the break is in the form of a hands-on science experiment or an art project (if you don't want to lose the momentum of school).  Then another short book lesson.  Followed by another hands on activity or a short recess with active games like hop scotch.  (BTW - this is how I do school with all elementary age kids.  Short lessons that alternate sitting/book work with active hands on work. ) 


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#23 SusanC

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:46 AM

Sometimes my dc don't realize the impression they are giving to me. I have, on occasion and when everything is calm, laid everything out for them.
"Look, you have been complaining a lot lately and seem to be struggling with math and handwriting tasks that i know you are capable of. It is possible that you have specific complaints about curriculum or quantity of work. If that is the case I would like to hear about it and see how we can address them. If that is not the case, I'm thinking that I may need to start scheduling some dr's appointments to rule out medical based issues like vision, hearing and neurological issues. I really want you to succeed and I don't think we should wait long, because the issues seem to be getting worse."

This has usually sparked a bit of change on their part and also some discussion. It appeared that they weren't really aware of how I was perceiving their go-to responses and once we talked about it done if it behaviour patterns shifted.

It is hard to tell, with or personal, tiny population samples what is normal for a particular she and what needs specific Steven of some kind.

It sounds like a frustrating time for you.
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#24 Mommyof1

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:49 AM

She is fine with her sisters illness. we've talked about that a lot. Most of the hospital stays and treatments were 3+ years ago. She has been doing well. She only goes for regular checkups now, and she has to take meds daily. She's just like any other kid, just delayed in most things.


I'm glad your little one is well.
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#25 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:54 AM

Writing - she can write so neat and pretty - when she wants to. If she's writing a letter to her friend or Aunt, it's beautiful! She is seriously just rushing to get done.

Tanaqui - she is the one who loves yogurt and healthy food. You couldn't get me to eat fruit and yogurt as a kid! She loves nutritious foods. We try to cut out any artificial dyes and sweeteners. We aim for mostly real foods, but we're realistic about it. Sometimes you just want some Fruity Pebbles! (But we use whole organic milk, so that makes it okay - right?). :)

I don't believe for a minute that the work is too hard for her. She shows me that she clearly understands, but when I ask her to complete a math worksheet to practice the steps she has a breakdown. I ask why she's crying and she tells me that it's too much work and she really wants to go play. I think she's comparing her workload to her sisters 1st grade workload.
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#26 Tanaqui

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:16 PM

I don't believe for a minute that the work is too hard for her. She shows me that she clearly understands, but when I ask her to complete a math worksheet to practice the steps she has a breakdown. I ask why she's crying and she tells me that it's too much work and she really wants to go play. I think she's comparing her workload to her sisters 1st grade workload.

 

That sounds like it's too hard. She's old enough to understand that crying and sobbing and making a fuss just makes the math take longer, so I really doubt she's doing it to get out of work.

 

If she comprehends it, but can't do a worksheet, then something is wrong - either you're mistaken about what she understands, or something about the worksheet is too difficult.

 

If you think she understands it because she can do the math verbally but not on the page, then my guess is that she either has some vision problem that the optometrist has not picked up, she has a problem with fine motor skills which makes her writing sloppy and difficult - and possibly painful, she has a problem with executive function (planning what problems to do and how to do them, having a reasonable estimate of how long it will take), or she has enough anxiety around this issue that a full page of problems looks interminable.

 

Writing - she can write so neat and pretty - when she wants to. If she's writing a letter to her friend or Aunt, it's beautiful! She is seriously just rushing to get done.

 

I can write really neatly when I want to as well, but it takes me a long time. I have a non-visible disability. Sure, I can overcome it with a lot of effort, but that effort costs energy. I do not have unlimited resources. It's not reasonable to ask me - or anybody! - to put in the same amount of work for worksheets as I do for letters. (And you know what? Given the complete lack of help I got at school, I bet my teachers thought the same thing you think now. I was lazy, I had a bad attitude, I was rushing my work just to get it done. None of this was true, but they made it true by their insistence on blaming me for my own disability.)

 

Tanaqui - she is the one who loves yogurt and healthy food. You couldn't get me to eat fruit and yogurt as a kid! She loves nutritious foods.

 

Right, but what I'm suggesting is that there is a small possibility that those healthy foods are still causing behavioral issues. It's a long shot, but if that's the problem then it's an easy solution - cut out the offending food.

 

Sometimes you just want some Fruity Pebbles! (But we use whole organic milk, so that makes it okay - right?).

 

Not if your child has an intolerance to food coloring, rice, milk, artificial flavors, or BHA. This is unlikely, but sometimes unlikely things do happen. Behavior and mood issues are a commonly overlooked sign of minor food intolerances.


Edited by Tanaqui, 04 September 2017 - 12:18 PM.

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#27 FarmingMomma

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:18 PM

I'll disagree with most of the previous posters and say it sounds like an attitude problem to me.  My oldest was that way about school work until recently.  I sat with her a lot more than should have been necessary, so that if she started being sloppy or doing a poor job on her work I could nip it in the bud immediately.  I also made it very clear to her that if she didn't do her work properly and with a minimum of whining, she would lose out on things she wanted to do like play, watch tv, sports, music lessons, etc.  

 

If you think the amount of work is reasonable for your child (and it certainly looks reasonable to me for a 4th grader), then that's what she needs to do.  


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#28 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:25 PM

Are you wanting us to tell you that your daughter is lazy?  That's what I'm getting from all the rebuttals.  All of us can benefit from GENTLE character training.  If you know that something is likely to get complaints or tears then sweeten the pot.  "I want you to get this set of problems done and then we will have these M & Ms (or we'll run around the house together)."  The beauty of homeschooling is that school doesn't always have to be about the stick. 

 

"I know that your math is harder than Sissy's.  You are such a big fourth grader!  Since you are a big fourth grader, I know that you can handle adding up this new allowance in this ledger.  Then we will subtract what you use for treats or small toys.  Little Sissy will be able to do this once she becomes a big fourth grader and can do the math too." 

 

I give myself rewards too.  (If I get this load of laundry folded, I can come back and read some more on this forum.) 


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#29 eagleynne

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 12:35 PM

It sounds to me like part of the problem is that she's rushing through her work with the expectation that she will get to play more or longer. Have you considered setting a minimum amount of time that must be spent on each subject? For example, if you know that she needs 45 min. to do her math neatly and well if she doesn't complain then you would tell her that she must spend a minimum of 45 min. on it. If she finishes earlier and the work is done neatly and well give her a math game to play until the time is up. Maybe if she doesn't have the expectation that sloppily done work or complaing will get her anything she sees as a postive she'll lose the motivation for it.
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#30 OneStepAtATime

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:13 PM

Right now your child is struggling and miserable.  Why is she struggling?  Hard to tell.  Maybe it is just that she likes playing more than school but you say this is ongoing and was this way last year, too.  That indicates to me that the attitude is stemming from something, and I am betting it is not JUST because she likes playing more than school.  In fact, she may like playing more than school not just because playing is fun but because school is hard in a way that may use up all of her resources just to get through it.

 

 I used to think my children were struggling because of poor attitude.  Turns out the poor attitude was because of underlying learning issues (including dysgraphia for one of them) and anxiety generated from those learning issues and developmental vision issues.  Intellectually they were quite capable of doing the work.  And my dysgraphic son's handwriting could be quite nice when he put in a lot of effort.  What I was failing to recognize was that while they were capable, every.single.thing. they were doing was EFFORT.  LOTS of EFFORT.  Waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy more effort than most kids were putting in, even though from the outside looking in I didn't realize it.  30 minutes of writing combined with reading and having to process what they were writing (not just writing a letter for fun) was completely wiping out any mental and physical energy they had.  Then they had to move on to the next subject when they had already burned out.  It was exhausting them and frustrating them and they didn't have the words or the experience to help me understand why.  Nor did I have any clue what they were actually struggling with.  

 

I have a friend whose child had an increasingly negative attitude and it turns out that it was at least in part due to a food allergy they had no idea he had.  

 

In my own childhood I hit a real rough couple of years in school and was utterly miserable doing any academics.  A "bad attitude" was blamed for my tears and frustration and not wanting to do the work.  Yeah I had a bad attitude.  But there was a REASON for my bad attitude other than I just hated academics.  Turns out I had hypoglycemia and a massive (by the time it was finally discovered) undiagnosed asymptomatic kidney infection.

 

In other words, there are many many reasons a child may exhibit a bad attitude.  Most of the time, in my experience, the attitude stems from something besides JUST a bad attitude.  Something specific caused it in the first place, even if the reason isn't readily apparent.  And it often is not JUST because a kid doesn't like academics in general.  Often there is a reason WHY.

 

The trick now is to find out WHY she has a bad attitude and I would not automatically make the assumption she just hates academics and is putting up a fuss because of it.  I would give her some grace and seek to dig in deeper, try to find out why the tears and misery.

 

In the meantime, I would work very, very, very hard to help you both find some joy in this process.  

 

1.  Streamline the work.  Don't see this as rewarding her for a crappy attitude.  See this as an important step in trying to prevent whatever is happening from destroying her interest in learning completely and possibly damaging your relationship as well.  I don't mean take a long break again.  Honestly taking a long break can make it harder to get back in the groove, especially if last year was really hard too.

2.  Find what interests her, what fires her up and seek ways to do THAT.  If she loves horses, do limited, short copywork sessions maybe with sentences she comes up with herself regarding horses.  She dictates them to you then you write them out then she copies them over.  Keep the hand writing sessions short.  Find other ways to tie into her interests.

3.  Math.  You say she needs all the practice but absolutely knows the math.  I say this as a parent who used to strongly believe that lots of practice was the way to go.  Back off on long pages of math.  Less is more for many children.  My kids actually retain better and are more engaged and willing when they have just a few math problems for new material plus a few additional problems for review.  A huge long page of redundant problems is exhausting and boring and demoralizing.   Don't try to review every single thing every single day.  Rotate review.  Cut down the workload here and do several problems on a dry erase board together.  Sometimes scribe for her. Separate out the handwritten requirements from the math.  You need her to be engaged with the material, not fighting it tooth and nail.  She is only in 4th grade.

4.  If you are a box checker and it is really bugging you that you can't check off the boxes, maybe try to readjust the focus here.  Checking boxes, especially in elementary school, misses what learning can be all about.  Firing up curiosity.  Firing up a desire to pursue topics in more depth.  Firing up pursuit of areas of interest that may turn into much beloved hobbies and even possible career choices later on.  I know I learn more when I am fired up about something instead of just box checking.  Kids are no different.

 

My daughter struggled in school and did not like academics.  Bringing her home to homeschool I was a box checker.  We needed to do this that and the other thing.  Lets go.  Lets check those boxes.  I found, though, that what she really needed was to have more time to tap into and discover areas of interest.  We started doing more things together, in a collaborative and fun way.  No box checking for those things.  She discovered she loves architecture, art history, art, writing (even though she HATED writing in school), photography, graphic arts, etc. etc.  She is thriving in so many ways that she never did when we were focused on box checking.  And because she does have all of these interests she is far more willing and interested in doing the necessary box checking to achieve those goals in areas she wants to pursue.  Got to do a grammar lesson today?  O.k. Then she does two, or maybe three or four to get them out of the way for the week because she knows I won't pile on more.  She finishes her lessons for the week so now she has more contiguous time to pursue her areas of interest.  Her motivation to get through the stuff she doesn't like increased 10 fold when I 1. was able to find out that there really were some underlying learning issues that needed to be addressed and 2.  I stopped focusing on the box checking and focused on touching the heart and soul of the child in front of me and giving her a chance to find out who she is.

 

And while you are streamlining everything and trying to help her connect in a positive way, see if there are other issues underlying this.  Maybe she has dysgraphia (dysgraphia does not automatically mean a child always has awful handwriting).  Maybe she has great visual acuity but some challenging developmental vision issues that are not showing up in a regular eye screening.  Maybe she has underlying food allergies or a thyroid condition or is hypoglycemic.  Maybe she actually struggles with attention issues so long periods of seat work are exhausting her brain.  Maybe she is feeling like the bulk of the time you are not actually engaged with her in her work in a positive way but more a "just get this work done while I work with your sister and stop giving me bad attitude" instead of "I love spending time with you and think we can find some really interesting things to learn together".  

 

And maybe she really just does hate all academics and just really wants to play more without any underlying issues of any kind.  So if that is the case, set a time for each subject.  Keep the sessions short for now.  Scribe for her where possible and try to help her reengage.  Smile at her.  Give her hugs.  Reassure her that you love her.  And focus hard on ways to help do academics in a way that actually engages her mind.  Keep the clerical work to a minimum for now.

 

Good luck.


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#31 Mama Anna

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:18 PM

I'll add my 2 cents into this discussion, for what they're worth.  I've worked 2 daughters through age nine now and, though they have quite different personalities, they both fell apart around that age.  Could it be a stage?

 

Dd-now-14 has always been on the dramatic side.  (That's an understatement, by the way.)  She was fiercely jealous of her 3-year-younger sister's "lack" of work at that age and daily tears were not unusual.  I would often cut down math and grammar assignments to give her a break, just making sure that she could demonstrate her knowledge of the subject.  We had a deal: if she demonstrated on a few problems that she knew what she was doing, she would be done.  If she made an honest mistake, she had to correct it and be able to explain it to me.  If she obviously just rushed through things, I'd give her some more since she obviously needed practice.  (Those few days when she got more practice were very tearful indeed.)  Personality/character-wise, she's always needed a little more pushing than her sisters, so I felt comfortable with this.  Now that she's 14 years old, she's only occasionally tearful and much better able to work on her own.  (I still sometimes trim work for her, though.  We run a pretty rigorous school and I have to be careful about overloading the girls.)

 

Dd-now-11 was always laid back, busy, and fairly contented.  Her greatest difficulty in school was the constant movement that made her fall off her chair after 5 minutes of working on her math.  Around age nine, all that changed.  (We think she may have undiagnosed ADHD due to the constant motion and the extreme difficulties of focus that she's displayed since.)  She became easily overwhelmed, tearful, and incapable of remembering 5+5.  (Seriously.  Deer-in-the-headlights.  No clue.  Nothing.)  I cut down her problems like I had her sister's, but it wasn't enough.  Now, I work with her a lot.  If I do a problem on a white board while she's doing it on her paper, my working with her keeps her focused.  I sometimes read the grammar to her and have her write down the answers.  On really bad days, I'll scribe for her or even let her do grammar orally.  The point is not so much pencil-to-paper, it's knowledge-into-brain-into-practice.  Note:  This has really upped my time commitment to teaching.  It's still frustrating at times, and some days there are still tears.  (That's leaving out my youngest, who is another post.)  However, I have a commitment to educate these young minds.  We try to laugh as much as we can to offset the stress and homeschool isn't pure drudgery, but it isn't heaven, either.

 

Concerning attitude, I also support the idea of waiting until a calm time and bringing up what you're hearing.  It's very likely that she has no idea what she's sounding like.  If the two of you can agree that the atmosphere of the home needs to change, maybe you can discuss together options for improving it.  I know that such discussions in my home usually end with both me and the child coming away with one or more adjustments to make - even if mine is simply, "I will try my best to not interrupt you when you are complaining," you know?

 

In any case, don't give up.  Give her grace and remember that her body is likely doing weird things to her that she doesn't yet understand.  Anything that can be made fun is awesome.  In our house of girls, chocolate has turned many bad days around.  Silliness, song, and dance still seem to work.

 

HTH!!

Mama Anna



#32 SarahW

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:22 PM

It sounds to me like part of the problem is that she's rushing through her work with the expectation that she will get to play more or longer. Have you considered setting a minimum amount of time that must be spent on each subject? For example, if you know that she needs 45 min. to do her math neatly and well if she doesn't complain then you would tell her that she must spend a minimum of 45 min. on it. If she finishes earlier and the work is done neatly and well give her a math game to play until the time is up. Maybe if she doesn't have the expectation that sloppily done work or complaing will get her anything she sees as a postive she'll lose the motivation for it.

 

 

Yeah, DH did something similar with our kid a few days ago. He also complains, slops through, messy handwriting, the works.

 

DH had him do something and said "You have 20 minutes to do this. You must use the whole 20 minutes. Spend your time. Write neatly. If you're done before the 20 minutes are up, you can go back and check your work. If after 20 minutes it is done sloppily or incorrectly, you will have another 10 minutes to correct it."

 

I thought it was kinda crazy, but it worked. We don't do that all the time for everything. But when he's "backsliding" it helps get him back on track.

 

 

[We've already done a whole course of evals for nearly everything, so I'm pretty confident we know what's going on with him].


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#33 fairfarmhand

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:28 PM

I wonder...it's pretty normal for many kids to need mom at the elbow for a long time. Like until high school. My 4th grader is like this. He's the youngest of 4 and sometimes I wonder if it's his way of ensuring that he gets his share of my attention. Since your youngest has health issues could this be an underlying issue?


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#34 ClemsonDana

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:36 PM

Does she fight you on things other than school work? I ask because I have one who responds to school work much like your daughter, but this child also fights making the bed, cleaning up toys, brushing teeth, etc. The advice about slowing down or backing off school work is good advice IF the problem is frustration or even burn out. But, with my child, I know that the school work is not too hard, and days that don't have school work have fights about something else instead. Having eliminated dyes, I'm considering trying dairy next as somebody above suggested.
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#35 HomeAgain

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 01:59 PM

My first thought went to time management.  From 8:00-3:00, we are on "school time" here.  It doesn't mean it isn't fun, it means that activities are restricted.  No tv.  No video games until the weekend.  The child may read, play imaginative games, run around outside, and do lessons with me.  The lessons are set for a duration of 10-30 minutes depending on what we're doing (seat work or active work), and there are plenty of brain breaks.  But it's not a free for all.

 

It takes time to get into a new routine.  Having strict parameters helps a ton instead of relying solely on personal development.


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#36 Alice

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:13 PM

My middle son was like that at that age. He still hates school (he's almost 11) but now has a better attitude. Slightly. :) My oldest has also gone through phases of not liking school but not as much.  

 

Things we've done: 

1) Address the attitude. I told him that it felt rude and hurtful to hear things like "I hate school." I pointed out that we all have jobs. His job as a kid was to do school. That could be at home, or elsewhere (we are open to non-homeschool options). But he had to do it. I gave him things he was allowed to say: "I don't like Math." or "Math is worse than being trampled by elephants." but not "I hate school" or "School is stupid" When his attitude was really bad I would ask him to go to his room and take some time to get in a better mood. 

 

2) Use a lot of humor. 

 

3) Streamline where I could. Use anything that was more his style or interesting to him where I could. 

 

4) A lot of his complaining had to do with boredom. He would make stupid mistakes because it was boring. So I did a lot of "Do half the problems on this page. If you get them all right you don't have to do the others." Or I'd put out M&Ms and say that I would eat one for every careless mistake but he could eat them all if there weren't any. He was allowed to ask for help if he really didn't understand something but that cut down on adding when he was supposed to subtract or just not reading the problem. 

 

5) I think sometimes I tend to push the "fun" things to the back burner because I feel like I need to get the main subjects done. Or I look at the fun subjects as a reward or an extra. But I've found that when I sometimes START the day with the fun subjects that the attitude about the other things gets better. 

 

6) We use a weekly notebook and I write all assignments in it. It helped my school-hater a lot to also have me write down what he was expected to get done that day. And then I was very good about not adding more. If I goofed and gave him a too easy assignment, I didn't add more. He just got a light day. It also helped him to see that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. And if he worked ahead he knew he would have free time at the end of the week. He became very motivated to work M-Th and would often have a goal of having a completely free Friday. 

 

7) I also had to adjust my own attitude and realize that he is never going to be a kid who loves school. He does like to learn...but he wants to do it his own way. Anything formal or anything too structured is anathema to this kid. That includes extracurricular activities as well. I had sort of this dream of having kids who loved learning and would independently ask for essays on Greek literature in between practicing their two instruments (without being asked) and while doing Calculus at age 9. Ok,maybe I wasn't that unrealistic but it was close. He is who he is. And yes, he needed to learn to be less grumpy but I also needed to learn to be more free and have a more open mind about how we did education. 


Edited by Alice, 04 September 2017 - 02:17 PM.

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#37 CadenceSophia

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 02:45 PM

My 9 year old fell apart for most of last year. I think it is a stage. One thing I realized at that point was that his independent ability and work-with-me ability were two separate things. To encourage a tiny bit of independence, I needed to make that independent work MUCH easier than the work he was doing with me or his anxiety was out of control. I actually moved him 1 and a half grades back for math. Now I consider his independent work like a separate subject that we do, and we keep progressing both threads of math. On his own, he's a hair below grade level and with me he works about 2 grade levels above that on the white board. I don't know how that would work for other kids, but I feel like I finally found a magic formula to meet his needs.
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#38 greenfields

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:02 PM

I also want to add that you and your kids are doing a lot and braving through the storm of life!

 

 


Edited by greenfields, 13 September 2017 - 08:54 PM.

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#39 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:18 PM

I'll disagree with most of the previous posters and say it sounds like an attitude problem to me. My oldest was that way about school work until recently. I sat with her a lot more than should have been necessary, so that if she started being sloppy or doing a poor job on her work I could nip it in the bud immediately. I also made it very clear to her that if she didn't do her work properly and with a minimum of whining, she would lose out on things she wanted to do like play, watch tv, sports, music lessons, etc.

If you think the amount of work is reasonable for your child (and it certainly looks reasonable to me for a 4th grader), then that's what she needs to do.

Thank you. I appreciate all of the suggestions. I really feel that I know my child, and I really feel like this is an attitude or heart issue. She has a tendency as any other child to be lazy, selfish, and she is very stubborn. These aren't bad labels. They're just describing part of their character that they need to learn to manage. I need some helpful advice for encouraging her in this.

I will try setting the time frame of "45 minutes for math". I like that idea. Maybe if she knows that she has to spend that amount of time doing math, she'll slow down and do it well. I can tell her that if she shows me that she is capable of doing a good and neat job in 30 minutes then we'll change the amount of time. This might encourage her to stop the drama and get to work. I also thought of telling her that if she doesn't show some effort, she won't get to go to American Heritage Girls.

I hope everyone understands that I'm not trying to argue. I feel like that's the way some folks were responding. I'm not an arguer at all. That's probably the worst part of forums. When communicating with someone, they can't see your face or hear your tone. If I feel that things get worse, I will talk with her doctor about evaluations, but I seriously don't think that's the issue. I think I know my kids pretty well. Thank you again everyone for your kind words and helpful suggestions.

Edited by The Substitute is a Westie, 04 September 2017 - 03:19 PM.

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#40 Tanaqui

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:31 PM

I just want to say something else. I don't know if the OP's daughter has a learning disability of any sort. That's one of the reasons I suggest a full battery - if she doesn't, that'll rule it out.

 

However, if you're smart and have a learning disability, that is awful. You'd think it'd be better, but it's worse - you can cope just well enough that nobody else can see how hard it is, and people tend to assume that lack of progress is laziness because smart people just don't struggle. Even when people know better, they do this.

 

I really, really want to emphasize that the OP should definitely get a full evaluation, including a check for developmental vision problems and allergies. Maybe none of these things are a problem. Okay, then at least you'll know. But you have to rule these things out before you can say "Nope, that's not it" because with a smart child, you're not going to be able to tell just by looking at them that this, this is the problem.

 

I've got a kid right now, very bright, reads with a great deal of fluency and emotion, consistently reads at least a year above grade level - and she's dyslexic. And it sucks, because it is close to impossible to get the school system to give her the assistance they're supposed to provide with her writing. She reads well, are we sure she's trying hard enough on her writing? (Yes, we're sure.) Well, when she spent 30 minutes on two sentences that one time, the spelling was wonderful! (Which doesn't mean there's no problem.)

 

We know she's dyslexic because we're really on top of looking for learning disabilities, and because it runs in the family, but we had to fight with administrators, before we pulled her out for middle school, to have that acknowledged. Superficially it looks like she can do the work - but she can't.

 

You know your daughter a heck of a lot better than the DoE knows my kid :) That's an advantage, but it's not perfect. You still want a professional to check her out, just in case. Maybe we're all wrong and your kid is just a pain. Well, then come back and we'll give you different advice once you have proven it.


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#41 The Substitute is a Westie

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 03:42 PM


You know your daughter a heck of a lot better than the DoE knows my kid :) That's an advantage, but it's not perfect. You still want a professional to check her out, just in case. Maybe we're all wrong and your kid is just a pain. Well, then come back and we'll give you different advice once you have proven it.[/quote]

My kid is definitely not a pain. I'm going to assume you didn't mean it to sound like that. I'm also not willing to put her through a bunch of testing unless I truly feel it's necessary. If you knew my child, you would understand that the evaluation would cause her immense stress and anxiety. This is the one issue that she has as a result of being the sister of a seriously ill child. As her parents, we will discuss with her doctor if/when we feel that is needed.

I won't be returning to this post. I do feel like some were able to offer some helpful advice, and I'm grateful. Thank you. Have a nice evening everyone.

#42 happysmileylady

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 04:23 PM

Here are my suggestions.

 

First, back off for ONLY a little bit.  I am not suggesting a "break"  but rather, re-starting the start to your school year after your 7 wk break.  So, this week, do just ONE subject.  Pick which ever one is most important for you.  If you feel it necessary...add some "fun" stuff in a second subject.  So, maybe the MOH is the most important so do that the first week, but you feel math is important so randomly toss in some math games or similar.  Then the next week, you start the math curriculum, for real, and maybe add in some cool science stuff-maybe like some edible experiments.  Then the next week, you are doing MOH, and the real math curriculum and the real science, and then throw in some fun spelling games.  And so on and so on.  So that your start is slow and builds up inertia.  We started school with "eclipse week" the week before the eclipse.  We did a bunch of eclipse reading, videos, experiments, etc etc.  It was an unofficial start to school for us and a good ramp up.  Also, we did phonics/reading/daily math all summer, so my kids didn't get hit with a full school day all at once.

 

Second, maybe try...a lesson and then a break.  A lesson, and then a break.  Lunch.  A lesson and then a break.  A lesson and then a break....etc  So, basically intersperse a lot of regular breaks so she gets her "play fix."  Maybe decrease the breaks over time, as it gets colder and outside time is more difficult. 

 

Third, reconsider curriculum you don't love.  It is ALWAYS so much harder to have to do something you don't enjoy doing.  And if you aren't a big fan of school to begin with, having to do not one but TWO curriculums you really hate....it can make school as a whole a terrible experience.  It's absolutely possible that her dislike of WWE and FLL are spilling over into all other aspects of school. 

 

Finally, a suggestion that I suspect will not be popular.  Consider dropping Bible all together.  My reasoning is...most people I have met who are the type to include a Bible curriculum in their homeschool already do church, with some sort of sunday school type component.  Many also have kids involved in youth groups and other church community activities.  IF you are doing those sorts of things already, that really is probably enough of a curriculum on it's own.  Now, if you AREN'T involved in a church, then by all means, keep it up.  But if you are, it's almost like an outsourced religious curriculum anyway.  Doing it at home is like "afterschooling" and if you have a kid who is already fighting so much school, afterschooling as well might not be the best bet. 



#43 mytwomonkeys

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 06:15 PM

My son was miserable in 4th grade to homeschool. He would spend a ridiculous amount of time complaining about something that would take him minutes to do (when he would simply focus and do it).

He's 13 now and went to public school for a couple of years, but here are some things that worked then and now:

He can choose the order of his day & what subjects he wants to do

Written assignments can be typed

Allow some assignments to be completed orally (especially at age 9)

Adapt the curriculum to work for you

For math he can use a calculator except on tests (but Im not sure if in 4th grade I would have done that-- but allow manipulatives)

He can do school wherever he wants (couch, kitchen table, bedroom) as long as he's focused

We listen to his favorite music during school on low volume

I focus on what's working and going well & tell my son how I feel and encourage him

Every Friday we do something fun & it gives us something to look forward too

If he's getting frustrated with a subject, he can skip to another subject and come back to it later (he usually breaks one math lesson into two segments instead of one setting - it's easier for him)

Hang in there. Bad attitudes are contagious, so even when your daughter is miserable, stay calm and positive. I know it's easier said than done, but it will make a difference. That age was hard for me too with both kids.

Hugs

Edited by mytwomonkeys, 04 September 2017 - 06:33 PM.

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#44 LMD

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 06:36 PM

Susan Wise Bauer says in one of her talks that crying is often a sign that it's too hard - the non verbal expression of frustration.
It may not be that the work is all too hard, it's that all of it is a bit harder - at the edge of her limit, and cumulatively it pushes her over the limit?

One thing that helped my daughter at that age was getting a bunch of colourful pens and letting her work in multicolour! I would get sentences with every word a different colour but they'd be neat!
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#45 Pen

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 09:42 PM

... She starts every assignment with such a negative attitude that she sets herself up for failure. I don't think we should just keep moving through the curriculum. I will not mark out half of the questions either. There are not too many questions for a 4th grader. She's smart, but almost unwilling to try. ...  I'm desperate for advice, suggestions, any help at all. We have a good relationship overall. It's just school she hates. She would rather play all day.

... Am I expecting too much? (Thank you if you've read this far).

 

 

In case you are still reading...   something seems clearly wrong.  I don't know what it is.

 

I "liked" some ideas above that I thought were important in what they said, or had suggestions that maybe could help. I especially think that trying timed schoolwork, with incentive of shorter time possible if done well might be of help.

 

And, for a child who hates school, yes, I think you are expecting too much.

 

And I also think you probably need someone in person who can evaluate what is going on.  I understand that this is not a suggestion you want to hear even though you said any suggestions at all. But if a child goes on struggling, for whatever reason even if it is an emotional reason not a learning issue,  it becomes harder to turn things around.  So I think you are right not to just try to keep moving through the curriculum and to fix the problem first.

 

When did she last like school and do well with it, and what was different then?


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#46 Lotsoflittleducklings

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 09:59 PM

Susan Wise Bauer says in one of her talks that crying is often a sign that it's too hard - the non verbal expression of frustration.
It may not be that the work is all too hard, it's that all of it is a bit harder - at the edge of her limit, and cumulatively it pushes her over the limit?
 

 

I thought of this too, as soon as I read the OPs subject heading.  OP- If you can still track the audio down, I think SWB talked about it during the online WTM conference a couple years ago.  

 

As someone else upthread, I also wondered if maybe she wants more one-on-one time with you.  I think you mentioned that some of her work is independent, right?  Does her bad attitude surface more when she's on her own?



#47 OhElizabeth

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:02 PM

...I'm also not willing to put her through a bunch of testing unless I truly feel it's necessary. If you knew my child, you would understand that the evaluation would cause her immense stress and anxiety. This is the one issue that she has as a result of being the sister of a seriously ill child. As her parents, we will discuss with her doctor if/when we feel that is needed.

I won't be returning to this post. I do feel like some were able to offer some helpful advice, and I'm grateful. Thank you. Have a nice evening everyone.

 

 

I realize the "topic" of this post seems quite negative, but this is serious...

Kind of a curious turn to your thread. Fwiw, just coming to the thread late and looking at it totally from the outside, it looks like the girl needs some counseling, some time to unwind whatever feelings are inside of her. Clearly she has some. Would she have this anxiety response to the idea of seeing a professional because she saw her sister see one so much or because she herself has some anxiety? 

 

Just as a pat answer, when a kid is getting labeled "lazy" the first thing you ask is ADHD. And when a kid is acting up who has a sibling with significant, significant SN, you assume (or at least ask if) the dc is struggling because of the effects of the sibling's SN on the family. 

 

Getting help is a good thing. Some of the consequences might have taken a while to pan out. Like it might be that now that your other dd is doing a little better, now the older is free to express her needs, maybe make up for some lost time.

 

You might consider starting a thread on Chat asking about behavior in siblings with families with severe challenges going on. 

 

As far as the actual answer to your question, I would play with her. My ds is extremely challenging to work with. He has autism, and he sorta writes his own book in that department, lol. I suggest you play with your dc for 15-20 minutes, then work for 10. Then play another quick game or activity for 10, work for 10. Keep going in this way for 45 minutes, take a break to attend to sibling while assigning something she can do independently for 15. (typing, Zoombinis, whatever)

 

Also at that age you have hormones, as the others have suggested. However, just in general, I would want to know *why* she's struggling so much to comply, because *usually* this is an age that still wants to comply. She may have things she has not been able to put into words yet. It would be good to get figured out. 

 

If all else fails, it would be really informative to toss her in school for a semester and see what happens. Do you have experiences to know what happens when she's in other environments? 


Edited by OhElizabeth, 04 September 2017 - 10:06 PM.

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#48 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:04 PM

You have gotten a mix of suggestions. Of course we all need to sort through suggestions with our particular situation in mind since we can never communicate absolutely everything. But I hope that you are willing to see that adults need to bend and support children more than the other way around. The more we come alongside our kids from when they are young, the more they will be open to us as they reach their teens and beyond.

No one is saying that you should not do any schooling or let her run amuck. We're giving advice on how to best identify and serve her actual needs.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by Jean in Newcastle, 04 September 2017 - 11:09 PM.

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#49 Corraleno

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 10:31 PM

I'm also not willing to put her through a bunch of testing unless I truly feel it's necessary. If you knew my child, you would understand that the evaluation would cause her immense stress and anxiety. This is the one issue that she has as a result of being the sister of a seriously ill child. As her parents, we will discuss with her doctor if/when we feel that is needed.


Your pediatrician can evaluate her physical health, but he has no knowledge of, or means of assessing, things like verbal processing speed, working memory, visual-spatial reasoning, etc. It's incredibly common for kids to be extremely bright and have underlying learning disabilities — in fact, the higher the IQ, the more likely that any LDs will be masked. Kids who are "2E" ("twice exceptional") are constantly labeled as lazy, sloppy, and having "bad attitudes," when they really are genuinely struggling. 
 
It sounds like your DD's current schoolwork is already causing her a significant amount of stress and anxiety, whether you think her response is justified or not, so why not get the evaluations done and make sure there aren't any underlying issues, instead of insisting that you know for a fact she's just "lazy, selfish, and stubborn"?
 

I won't be returning to this post. I do feel like some were able to offer some helpful advice, and I'm grateful. Thank you. Have a nice evening everyone.


Well I hope you do come back and at least read the additional replies, even if you don't respond. It seems like the only advice you want to hear is how to force compliance in spite of her unhappiness, rather than trying to get to the root of her unhappiness in order to help her. And now you've gone off in a huff because you didn't get the response you wanted. 


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#50 Calming Tea

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Posted 04 September 2017 - 11:03 PM

I would phase out everything except the 3Rs!

and, I really REALLY hate to say this but I greatly dislike almost every one of your curriculum choices except FLL.

Math- BJU is overwhelming and although it's solid it's just kind of huge. I would consider something she can speed through like Developmental Math. It builds on itself with mastery and precision. So she will feel very confident.

English- FLL is ok, but if she's struggling with spelling WWE is not a good fit. PLL might be better because the child can take time to re-do lessons if necessary. Another good one for the impatient child with spelling issues is ACE, again, there's no guesswork and everything builds on itself. The placement test will ensure you place her just right. My dd has always struggled with spelling. So I recommend their spelling as well.

Spelling- spelling U See is NOT for struggling spellers! It's so memory-based- even though it's cute it must be exhausting for her mentally.

Honestly I would just make things streamlined and simple-

Developmental Math
ACE Word Building and English (use the placement tests; don't just pick 4 th grade)

And read aloud plus her reading age appropriate library books ....

That's it. I would work very hard on being consistent and having clear goals and expectations and keep things short and sweet. Then next year you can re-introduce another subject such as History or Science.


Consider that she's had a tough life too. With her sister having cancer, dialysis and all her issues big sis gets less attention and was probably very stressed out. Even though kids don't show it, they're worried too. Playing is a healthy means of therapy for her and it's understandable that she desires to play all day as any 9yo would, let alone one who apparently could have feared for her little sisters life.

I personally would make things super streamlined and set her up for success so she can see the pride and value that comes from a "job well done" and wait to introduce all the extras.

((Hugs))

Remember setting kids up for success often means making things kind of sort of easy for them and then giving them room to succeed.
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