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Lessons and lesson planning...


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DS is 15 and just starting to do high school level work. We're ramping up to start our school year and I'm already kind of stuck.

 

I would love to give my son his American Government textbook, and just tell him to read the chapter, answer the questions at the end of the chapter... Maybe have him write a short paper or two... Give him a test (like a midterm and then final exam) and be done with it. DS just looks at me like I'm crazy when I mention that plan.

 

DS wants me to print out/write out the questions for him (his penmanship is horrid) and then just have him fill in the blanks. Unfortunately, I did this for a while with several things as we were borrowing books and thus he couldn't write in them... And since his penmanship is so bad, anything he writes is illegible (to him and to me). I tried making him redo assignments but all that happened was that he flat out refused to do the work. Nothing could get him to redo it. I threatened to fail him... He didn't care. I grounded him... He didn't care. That's a big part of why he's so far behind now (he'll be 16 in a few short weeks).

 

DS also wants assignments written out for him with daily instructions... For example: Monday: Read chapter 1 in such and such and complete questions 1-10 on the worksheet. Tuesday: Review chapter 1.... Friday: Quiz on Chapters 1 and 2. The problem we ran into last year when I did that was that if he didn't manage to finish the work for one day, it would never get done. He took "Monday September 7th" to mean that if the work wasn't done on Monday, it needn't be done at all. But then, of course, he couldn't do Tuesday's work since it built off Monday's missed assignments.

 

We got him a planner (billed as being for middle school) that has the blank areas for assignments broken down by day and subject. I thought about sitting down with him every day and writing down (or having him write) the days assignments, but he says he wants at least a few weeks at a time so he can see what he has to have done. He likes the idea of the planner, but I hate the thought of having to write out every little bit of school I want him to do (and then not having him actually do it).

 

How can I get him to be more independent? Any ideas for lesson plans/planning/planners? Anything that will help me not pull out my hair every time I hear the word school?

 

Thanks,

Sue

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Does he type? If not, I would have him learn ASAP! He could type his answers to the questions in the textbook without anyone needing to write them out by hand.

 

Since he is so literal with dated assignments, I wouldn't put dates on them at all. I would make a list of assignments for each subject and tell him to do the next assignment from every subject each day. Tell him if he wants to do more after he has completed one from every subject, he can. That way, all topics get covered, and he can get ahead in some subjects if he wants to do more.

 

Is there a man in his life that he can be accountable to for getting his work done? Getting the "guy" pep talk sometimes makes a huge difference for young men who aren't getting things done as they should.

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He does kind of type (or is it keyboard now a days?) but his grammar and spelling even make that hard to decipher. And it's not that he doesn't know how to spell the words... he just rushes to get it out. So maybe it's not spelling as much as typographical errors. Same with the grammar. But you'd think that when I ask him to at least read something before he shows it to me (so as to correct the most glaring errors) you'd think I was asking him to eat frog spawn! Writing is one thing we're going to be working on this year (IEW). I try to keep the writing assignments to the bare minimum for now... In his American Government course, there's at least one writing assignment per chapter... I figure that I'll have him complete maybe one assignment per month.

 

I like your idea about the lesson planning and I'm going to switch to doing it that way. I'll use one sheet (or whatever we need) per subject and just write out the assignments there. When he completes the (undated) assignment, we'll just check it off and go to the next one. I'm still going to set weekly goals (usually one chapter per week since he's using textbooks for most subjects) and see how it goes that way.

 

Right now, he doesn't really have a male figure in his life. Sigh. Anything else I try saying just comes out as a pity party so I'll just leave it at that. He does have one person ("D" - friend of the family) who will work with him on school work and who does push him to get his work done and all that, but he lives too far away to be a regular influence. I'm always amazed at how much more DS gets done when we visit them for a few weeks.

 

Thanks for the ideas... I'm off to organize some lesson plans!

 

Sue

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If he needs to learn to be quick & accurate on the keyboard and he's fighting you, buy Typershark. It's by Popcap games and is not expensive. I bought this for my daughter after reading about it and it was great. She never had to be nagged to "work" on it, but she is now the fastest touch typist among her friends.

 

Basically, it's a game in which the kid (or adult - I play it too) dives for treasure and has to "blow up" sharks and other obstacles in their path by accurately typing the letters which show up on their side.

 

She also has lousy handwriting (although she has finally agreed to work on it with the prospect of SAT looming:laugh:) so she now hands in everything but math typed. Far fewer fights (how can I tell if you understand the material if I can't even read the response!), more willing to revise/expand, etc.

 

For the rest with completing assignments and working independently, :bigear:. Has anyone read URthemom's information on independent learners? Is it worth the money (does it WORK?)

 

Sara

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I have a totally different suggestion:

You can force him to be more independent by giving him the complete responsibility. After all, he is 15. I work a job, so I don't have time to micromanage my children's homeschool assignments and they have to be independent out of necessity.

For history and english we completely do without lesson plans and daily assignments. They have a time quota they need to fill and they know the subjects and general things they have to work on (for instance, they know where in their history book they are, that they are supposed to take notes on their reading, that they are working on a project about a certain topic or an essay). What they choose to do a given day is their choice - they need to keep track in their planner and show me.

I look over it at the end of the week and we identify areas where we are unbalanced, so they will work more on the subject during the next week - or month, if a subject captures all their attention momentarily.

Now don't get me wrong, I do work with them on some subjects, they do math with a parent, DD attends a college class - but I refuse to spell out daily assignments. Being used to this, even my 11 year old DS manages very well.

As for the typing: introduce your son to spell check and refuse to read anything that has not been spell checked and proof read. you might want him to take a typing class to hone this skill if he has handwriting issues.

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