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If you were "rigorous" in the grammar stage ...


ByGrace3
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If you were rigorous in the grammar stage do have any regrets? I don't mean about parent's attitude or how you handled it, but simply a rigorous academic focus in the early years.

 

I have been thinking a lot lately about academic rigor and balance thereof in the early years.

 

I am not exactly sure what I am looking for, or even that I can articulate this well, but I am going to try! :tongue_smilie:

 

We homeschool for several reasons. On the top of the list are Biblical literacy, character development, and rigorous academic pursuit. This three prong goal works together to fuel our homeschool, and I do not believe in sacrificing any of them at the pursuit of the other. Perhaps I am in denial but I do believe we can pursue all three without compromise. :tongue_smilie:

 

In the grammar stage (k-4) I often hear (and read) of a minimalist attitude when it comes to academics. I am not a minimalist. I believe in establishing a strong academic foundation in the grammar stage on which to build upon in logic and rhetoric. Could everything I teach in grammar stage be "caught up on" later? Yes, but then I could be using that time instead to "build upon" the foundation already laid.

 

I agree that the 4 R's are primary. We prioritize Bible, Laguage Arts and Math. Science and history are seen as "extra" but we do try to get to them regularly.

 

I do prioritize play and understand that a child learns best through play in the younger years. All preschool is play based in our house, and while K transitions slightly, we are not workbook people.

 

I desire an academic homeschooling experience, but I also understand that each of my children have different needs, and am willing to be flexible.

 

For example, dd finished first grade and hates school. :( This makes me sad and while I may need to accept that she might never "like" it, I want to do what I can to develop a love of learning in her and have made some changes in curriculum to this end for next year.

 

While I do desire academic excellence, I also desire my dc to have plenty of time for play and plenty of time for us to be a family outside of homeschooling. Sometimes I feel we are a "homeschooling" family and not just a family. Does that make any sense? :confused:

 

For first grade, dd probably spent 3/3.5 hours a day on what we count as "school" (math: 45 minutes; LA: 1 hr 15 min; piano: 30 min; history/science: 30 min; read aloud/projects 30+)

 

I imagine next year will be similar. However, adding ds in K, the schedule seems to take over the day. (ds 5: OPGTR, HWOT K, RSA/MM 1A joining in for science and history)

 

dd is in the early stages of competitive gymnastics and is at the gym about 8.5 hours a week.

 

Add a toddler to the mix and activities for ds, church commitments, and well, things are busy.

 

Honestly, busy is good. I tend to waste too much time and not invest it where it should be when we are not busy, so I kind of am ok with it. But in the back of my mind I am wondering if I will have regrets. Will I look back and think we should have spent less time on "school." I do fear if we did less school we would replace it with nothing, and I know I would regret that. We are a part of a large homeschool group and have regular field trips and outings.

 

Telling me to just relax and enjoy my kids, go on nature walks and "learn" just doesn't work around here. It isn't my personality or my kids. I know we need a schedule, a plan, but yet, I fear I am doing something wrong by doing it this way. I think mostly this is fueled by my dd constantly saying things like "I don't like school" or "I hate reading" etc. Is this just a part of life? learning is work? I want to do what I can to facilitate a love of learning, but I don't want to sacrifice learning to get it.

 

dd loves Bible and science and we are not making any changes here.

 

dd has a hard time with math, she does fine but it is work. She is working above grade level here and my plan this year is to slow it down, add more games and have her get closer to grade level to ease the dislike for math.

 

History: dd hated history this year. Partially bc I got frustrated with her lack of comprehension (same for WWE). I know I need to work on my attitude here, and I also am switching to SL for history to give her an experience I think she will enjoy. (stepping off the 4 yr cycle is a sacrifice for me! But I think it will be worth it!) :tongue_smilie: She loves read alouds and I am hoping this will make me more consistent with them, since they are "scheduled." ;)

 

LA: dd is reading well, but she doesn't "like" it. She is reading through the SL grade 3 readers, and when she finishes these, will move to the grade 4/5 readers. I also hope to get her interested in a series or something she will actually enjoy. Spelling (AAS), FLL, and handwriting are fine. WWE is a struggle. She has some issues with some of the details, but goodness so do I! :lol: We are planning to continue with WWE 2 but if it continues to be a battle, I am willing to switch.

 

ok, now that I have written a book, and have no idea what I am looking to hear . . . :lol: thoughts? Thanks!

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I don't regret it. But, I know people who know me consider me very rigorous, and I spend less time on school in a day than you do. My first grader spent about 2 hours tops on seat work in a day. 1.5 hours a day on language arts seems like an awful long time for a young child. I think that is how much time my 6th grader spent on LA, including the time spend on WWS1. I am sure my first grader didn't spend 45 mins a day on math and we use SM and MEP. Again, my 6th grader easily spent 45 mins a day on math.

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I don't regret it. But, I know people who know me consider me very rigorous, and I spend less time on school in a day than you do. My first grader spent about 2 hours tops on seat work in a day. 1.5 hours a day on language arts seems like an awful long time for a young child. I think that is how much time my 6th grader spent on LA, including the time spend on WWS1. I am sure my first grader didn't spend 45 mins a day on math and we use SM and MEP. Again, my 6th grader easily spent 45 mins a day on math.

 

LA is 1 hour 15 minutes, roughly, some days less. Fridays only 20-30 minutes.

WWE - 10-15 min 4Xs Week

FLL 5-10 min 2 Xs week

AAS 15-20 minutes 4 Xs week

Reading 20 min every day

Handwriting 10 min (only did it one semester last yr it will have cursive when we start again)

 

Math, we are only doing 1.5 to 2 pages of MM, sometimes right start games.

 

I think it is standard stuff, dd is just slow. :tongue_smilie:

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FWIW I need a good schedule too and I wish I would have been *more* rigorous in the early years with my 4/6th graders so we could be doing more interesting things now instead of basic grammar and math facts etc. Nevertheless with my new "rigorous" approach my 1st grader only did about 1.5 hrs of seat work this year plus read alouds with the family and the occasional Science experiment. She maxed out on Math at 30 minutes for sure even if it included a game.

 

My 7th grader is taking a decent online English course this year and it "requires about 1.5 hours/day including reading". Also at the request of our piano teacher mine only spend 10-15 minutes practicing daily too (although they are only in 2nd year). Anyway, just thinking maybe it's a long day for her.

 

I do have one that would complain about school no matter how short it was and another one who volunteers to do extra school so "liking" it has not been a good gauge at our house! But there is that glaze over the eyes...

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Well, my eldest is only going into gr 1 next year, so take this for what it is worth, but I don't see it so much as about having "regrets" about not being or being rigorous. I see it as being a matter of sometimes, less really is more. It isn't always about creating a foundation, but rather being developmentally appropriate.

 

I also think that it is good to remember that TWTM is about the only classical approach I know of that says the grammar stage starts in K or grade 1. For most it is grade two at the earliest, more often grade three or four. That is also in line with what Dorothy Sayers said in her essay which first associated grammar, logic and rhetoric with developmental stages and expectations of kids in the past.

 

So I don't see the rush to get those grammar skills cemented in K or even grades one or two. We have been taking a CM approach, so for the first few years we are looking at up to half an hour per subject, at most. The idea at this age is to develop kids who are still wanting to do more at the end of the lesson, and who really pay close attention for the whole lesson - we don't want to develop a habit of inattention.

 

On a typical day we do some SM (by time more than by a scheduled), we do some copywork and/or we use a lesson from EFTTC (often orally), we do piano practice, and she reads something worthwhile. We also add in the other "fun" CM things like artist study, science stories and history stories, nature study, and artist studies. By far we probably spend the most time on piano and other music stuff. Dd is at level and enjoying her work.

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Well, we are finishing up elementary with my 5th grader this year. To preface all of this: I am not rigorous by some of the standards of this board (people doing 2-3 maths in elementary, 2 foreign languages, 2 instruments, etc.)

 

BUT I am fairly rigorous compared to many IRL friends.

 

I do NOT regret being rigorous, but I DO regret the following:

 

1. Trying too much CM style past 3rd grade

2. Sticking with programs or systems that make my kids buck. Honestly, of WWe is "a battle," drop it. Maybe your dd would prefer a strong workbook or text based program that is still strong but a different style!

3. Busy Work

4. Following a curriculum blindly when I could see we needed time off/extra remediation/a change/outside help

 

Now, something has to give. Your dd is at the gym a lot! You'll need to decide what else to drop or change if she continues in that direction. Other activities, piano, something. Kids really do need free time, and "doing nothing" is not bad and usually turns into something good if you give it enough time.

 

Do things because they are what your family needs, not just evade you feel you "should.".

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oh, my kids easily did 3-3.5 hrs of lessons in 1st grade, if you count SOTW and science and art and all of the fun lesson stuff too. It wasn't all at once and it wasn't everyday. But it doesn't sound excessive to me.

 

And yes, I live by the schedule. My odd thrives on it and is self regulating with one. We are not slaves to it but I couldn't survive without the guideline of a perfect day. I am feeling lost when planning next year, because I haven't figured out the schedule yet, LOL.

 

And yes, once you begin schooling two, it does become the focus of your life. Such is the life of a classical homeschooling family. You can do other things that your family is into (scouts, part time jobs, gardening/farming, whatever the case may be..) but school fits all around that and you just find a way to work it all into your schedule.

 

It is a lot of work to homeschool. It is time consuming. It can be overwhelming. And just because we hs, doesn't mean they are going to love pulling out the math book everyday LOL. But it is worth it.

 

And btw, if you are wanting to keep the 4 yr cycle and do history/science via read alouds, I have been able to do it via WTM and SOTW. SOTW is basically just a read aloud and then you have all of the other great books from reading lists. Science is more hands on than read aloud some years with WTM, but the early years can incorporate a lot of library books and reading aloud. With two kids, I have always read the books aloud, since we don't have 2 or 3 copies of each book for the kids to read on their own anyway..

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For MM, assign half the problems (you can come back to the ones you skipped as review if you needed more practice), and alternate you and her writing the problems OR alternate doing the problems (buddy math). FWIW, my son got pretty bored with MM. He likes Singapore much better. He learned from either one just fine, but in the time he'd do one MM lesson, he's currently doing 2 Singapore lessons just because it's a more interesting presentation, and there are less problems on a page.

 

Is your DD overwhelmed? You said she hates history, and I remember last year you were trying to mix together a gazillion history programs. Perhaps she needs more simplicity? Try doing the Sonlight core as written instead of adding a bunch to it. Don't overwhelm her with a bunch of books if she isn't enjoying it. You have several years to learn history, and she probably won't remember anything you did in first or second grade anyway. :tongue_smilie:

 

You might also see if you can streamline things a bit. Pick a passage from her reader to do copywork/dictation/narration. Make handwriting part of that work. Now you have 3 subjects taken care of at once. Talk about the grammar in there and you knock out another subject all at once.

 

Hope that helps. We will take about 3.5 hours for 3rd grade this year. Thankfully, K is done in about 45 minutes (not counting P4/5, which is probably an extra 30 minutes?). First grade took us about 1.5 hours. I tried to do 20-30 minutes of math then. Now we do 45, but his brain would have been mush trying to attempt that in first grade.

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I am also considered rigorous and I think that is accurate.

 

When my boys start complaining they don't like school. I try to find out what it is. Usually it is what they are currently struggling with. Sometimes we have just taken a break for a month or so. For example, if they are struggling in math we work to the next review and then put the book away for a month or set period of time. This has helped greatly with attitude. Then I replace what has been put away with review material or another book covering that material. Also, if they are consistently taking a long time for something I set an age appropriate time limit and then we are done for the day.

 

You stated that your daughter is working above grade level in a few areas, it might be that she needs to mature into the skills she has. Have her pick a topic to learn about and do a mini unit study. Where she is picking the topic, asking the questions she wants to know about. Then help her pick good books that are at her level to read. Find the answers and a way to share those answers with you, dad or someone outside the family. Being able to pick topics has given my boys ownership in their education and has helped to build a love for learning. I only do this at times - the deal is you get to pick a topic and I get to pick 6 or something like that. This has also helped me see what they are truly interested in and capitalize on their interests.

 

One other thing that has helped, as we to need a schedule. We now have what my boys call fun school on Friday. On Fridays, they get to do Life of Fred math, Geography, Art, Copy work in Greek instead of a lesson, some kind of different writing assignment instead of their grammar book. Basically Fridays look completely different but they are still doing a full day of school. For us it is things that are only once a week and I tend not to get done. But the important thing for me is the boys think it is fun and they look forward to it. It has not solved all of our attitude problems but it helps.

 

I hope this helps as you move forward. I do think you can build a love for learning while being rigorous but we do have to remember where our kids are developmentally and not just academically. Just because a kid can do something at a higher level doesn't mean they are ready to do it at that level for a longer period of time. They need time to be what ever age they are and still be challenged to.

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For MM, assign half the problems (you can come back to the ones you skipped as review if you needed more practice), and alternate you and her writing the problems OR alternate doing the problems (buddy math). FWIW, my son got pretty bored with MM. He likes Singapore much better. He learned from either one just fine, but in the time he'd do one MM lesson, he's currently doing 2 Singapore lessons just because it's a more interesting presentation, and there are less problems on a page.

 

Is your DD overwhelmed? You said she hates history, and I remember last year you were trying to mix together a gazillion history programs. Perhaps she needs more simplicity? Try doing the Sonlight core as written instead of adding a bunch to it. Don't overwhelm her with a bunch of books if she isn't enjoying it. You have several years to learn history, and she probably won't remember anything you did in first or second grade anyway. :tongue_smilie:

 

You might also see if you can streamline things a bit. Pick a passage from her reader to do copywork/dictation/narration. Make handwriting part of that work. Now you have 3 subjects taken care of at once. Talk about the grammar in there and you knock out another subject all at once.

 

Hope that helps. We will take about 3.5 hours for 3rd grade this year. Thankfully, K is done in about 45 minutes (not counting P4/5, which is probably an extra 30 minutes?). First grade took us about 1.5 hours. I tried to do 20-30 minutes of math then. Now we do 45, but his brain would have been mush trying to attempt that in first grade.

 

Dd really needs to do all the math problems to get it. But honestly she is ahead, about halfway through 2B and we are using CLE to tread water over the summer. I plan to slow it way down, which I did in the spring as well and things went better.

 

I am planning to use SL pretty much as written. I have some extra books on the shelf if there is an interest. And I have a huge list of supplemental stuff (coloring, projects etc.) that dd really likes as we get to it. Last year, the lit and VP stuff I added, she really liked. She also enjoyed notebooking, it was SOTW and comprehension questions she hated. :001_huh:

 

We have had a really light summer as we have been on several trips and only have a few weeks before we start back. I plan to start slow.

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I am also considered rigorous and I think that is accurate.

 

When my boys start complaining they don't like school. I try to find out what it is. Usually it is what they are currently struggling with. Sometimes we have just taken a break for a month or so. For example, if they are struggling in math we work to the next review and then put the book away for a month or set period of time. This has helped greatly with attitude. Then I replace what has been put away with review material or another book covering that material. Also, if they are consistently taking a long time for something I set an age appropriate time limit and then we are done for the day.

 

You stated that your daughter is working above grade level in a few areas, it might be that she needs to mature into the skills she has. Have her pick a topic to learn about and do a mini unit study. Where she is picking the topic, asking the questions she wants to know about. Then help her pick good books that are at her level to read. Find the answers and a way to share those answers with you, dad or someone outside the family. Being able to pick topics has given my boys ownership in their education and has helped to build a love for learning. I only do this at times - the deal is you get to pick a topic and I get to pick 6 or something like that. This has also helped me see what they are truly interested in and capitalize on their interests.

 

One other thing that has helped, as we to need a schedule. We now have what my boys call fun school on Friday. On Fridays, they get to do Life of Fred math, Geography, Art, Copy work in Greek instead of a lesson, some kind of different writing assignment instead of their grammar book. Basically Fridays look completely different but they are still doing a full day of school. For us it is things that are only once a week and I tend not to get done. But the important thing for me is the boys think it is fun and they look forward to it. It has not solved all of our attitude problems but it helps.

 

I hope this helps as you move forward. I do think you can build a love for learning while being rigorous but we do have to remember where our kids are developmentally and not just academically. Just because a kid can do something at a higher level doesn't mean they are ready to do it at that level for a longer period of time. They need time to be what ever age they are and still be challenged to.

 

 

Definitely agree with you here. Dd was not liking math last year after the first semester so I changed things up for spring and honestly it went a lot better. We slowed down, took time for games, and we will continue this laid back approach this year. I think it is just going to take some time for her to "realize" the change. And mostly, I have to watch my reaction/ frustration level. :tongue_smilie:

 

I really try to adjust as we go, keep my expectations realistic. I honestly think my response is a big part of the problem or perhaps THE problem. :glare:

 

Our main source of struggle has been in comprehension. And I do get frustrated after we have read something and she cannot answer a single question, yet other times she will remember every detail. :001_huh: I think if I helped her work on this, and don't get frustrated, she would "like" school more, as really this is the only part of it she doesn't like.

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My kids are still young too, but I don't think that you've got a super-long school day. If I added everything in, we'd probably have the same school day. My 1st grader does:

 

Bible (4x/wk)

WWE (4x/wk)

GWG (3x/wk)

AAS (4x/wk)

Cursive Copywork (5 min)

Reading (20 min)

Read Aloud (30-45 min)

Math (30 min) - We use Singapore and MUS

History/Science/Other Topic (20 min)

 

This really isn't that much, but for us the key is to break it up into small chunks so that they don't get worn out. For example, we do Bible over breakfast. After breakfast he does cursive, math, and GWG (about 45 min). He takes about 30-45 min off to play while I work with others. After his break he does WWE and AAS (about 30 min). Then he's done until after lunch. During lunch I read aloud to the group. After lunch is assigned reading time (20 min) and then our weekly topic slot. I read aloud again at night.

 

When I sense frustration, I try to identify the problem. Is he hitting a wall? Is he overwhelmed with the number of problems on a page? Is he tired? I've noticed that when you push them, their little brains tend to shut off.

 

The other key for us is routine. Like you, I need a daily routine to get everything done. My kids know exactly when they will work and when they can play. I've noticed that this helps with whining and fighting over schoolwork. We also work year round. The rule is: if Daddy's at work, so are you!

 

I also like Charlotte Mason's method for switching between different types of work. For example, a brain-intensive subject like math should be followed by something less taxing like handwriting or physical like sweeping the kitchen.

 

I don't feel like I'm going overboard with my expectations, and I don't feel like they're being pushed too hard. They still have plenty of time to play and do other activities, and I have my sanity!

 

Best of luck,

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I'm right there with ya, girl! No regrets. I haven't been as structurally or organizationally rigorous as you seem to be, but I do insist on the performance of whatever it is, to be done 110%. I see a big difference between my kids "love to learn" and their "love of the discipline of learning". They are two very separate things, in my opinion. Just because they don't want to do the "hard things" doesn't mean they don't love to learn. So I endeavor to enjoy life with them while still requiring them to do the "hard things". I once saw a bumper sticker that said "Before there was boot camp, there was mom." I instantly wanted to be that mom. :)

 

It sounds like you are a driven person. Your daughter is probably fairly driven as well. She most likely needs the organization and rigorous discipline that you are instilling in her. Good for you!

 

If I were you, I would trust my instincts about curriculum, and forge on ahead with confidence in regards to the academic part. But I would also find a few places where I could loosen up a little and let her find a few rabbit trails and follow those with her, more like a partner in learning, instead of the teacher. After all, we all have so much we learn along the way as well! You don't know where those rabbit trails might lead. Take a moment to discover the subject through her eyes, you will very likely be surprised and delighted!

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people have said I am rigorous. But our school day compared to many I know is much shorter. We cover a lot but in less time.

 

I don't have regrets over the last 4 years. I do think that prek/K time could have just been put off a year and he would have ramped up fine. Dd too. But school then wasn't much but in hindsight it wasn't worth my time to organize/buy/teach at that age. They were learning to read on their own and preK/K stuff could have waited a year.

 

I regret not taking more breaks for grade 1 and 2 when they were tired of school. We did lots of fun stuff but when everyone was whiney we should have just taken the week off. I now have no issues skipping some things in the year or taking off a few days if needed.

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oh, my kids easily did 3-3.5 hrs of lessons in 1st grade, if you count SOTW and science and art and all of the fun lesson stuff too. It wasn't all at once and it wasn't everyday. But it doesn't sound excessive to me.

 

And yes, I live by the schedule. My odd thrives on it and is self regulating with one. We are not slaves to it but I couldn't survive without the guideline of a perfect day. I am feeling lost when planning next year, because I haven't figured out the schedule yet, LOL.

 

And yes, once you begin schooling two, it does become the focus of your life. Such is the life of a classical homeschooling family. You can do other things that your family is into (scouts, part time jobs, gardening/farming, whatever the case may be..) but school fits all around that and you just find a way to work it all into your schedule.

 

It is a lot of work to homeschool. It is time consuming. It can be overwhelming. And just because we hs, doesn't mean they are going to love pulling out the math book everyday LOL. But it is worth it.

 

And btw, if you are wanting to keep the 4 yr cycle and do history/science via read alouds, I have been able to do it via WTM and SOTW. SOTW is basically just a read aloud and then you have all of the other great books from reading lists. Science is more hands on than read aloud some years with WTM, but the early years can incorporate a lot of library books and reading aloud. With two kids, I have always read the books aloud, since we don't have 2 or 3 copies of each book for the kids to read on their own anyway..

 

Thank you. These are all things I tell myself, and know it is true. It is just so hard when we are surrounded by people who take homeschooling these early years SO lightly. But then I know I would be so uncomfortable with that. I see thier kids uncomfortable at church bc they are the only ones who can't read well enough to read aloud. My dd would hate that, I would hate that for her. I hate the idea it gives the rest of the world about homeschoolers. I know not everyone has to school classically, and I am fine if you only do the 3 R's in your family in the beginning, i just think you should at least do that! but I often feel so out of place because we have chosen to do it differently.

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Ok, well this is my experience starting my 18th year of homeschooling, with the two oldest graduated and off to college.

 

If your dd is complaining that she "hates school" and her comprehension is faltering, I promise she will not learn or retain one single thing and all your efforts at "rigor" will be completely wasted.

 

When I started homeschooling there wasn't much available, so we used Calvert. After 4th grade, my oldest complained that he "hated it" and wasn't learning anything. He wasn't. I pulled out some of the science and history we had done the year before and he remembered nothing. I felt like I'd spent the entire previous year :banghead:. I decided something had to change, so I started Konos. Yep, the dreaded unit studies. With all the messy projects, crafts, giant time sucking activities, etc. My kids LOVED it. They retained so much, I couldn't believe it!! They didn't even realize they were doing school, they were having so much fun.

 

My point is that rigor isn't a method. Maybe it's your methodology that your child hates. Try something new. Do some unit studies on a subject they enjoy over the summer (which was how we started). When children are engaged, they are learning. When they're not....you're completely wasting your time and "rigor" will amount to absolutely nothing, because your children aren't learning and they won't advance. You will spend the next stages of their education trying to get them to absorb what they missed the first time around. That leads to frustration and burnout. You need to teach in the way your dd will learn. That may be completely opposite of how you'd like to do it. Sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow, but I promise, the results are worth it.

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Dd really needs to do all the math problems to get it. But honestly she is ahead, about halfway through 2B and we are using CLE to tread water over the summer. I plan to slow it way down, which I did in the spring as well and things went better.

 

I didn't say to completely skip those problems. I said to skip them ONE DAY only, then come back to them. So you're essentially creating a spiral. It may just be too much to do all at once. So do half the problems one day, then come back to the ones you skipped another day - giving her plenty of practice AND some time to chew on the material.

 

Also, how are you teaching MM? I found that we had better results when I taught it at the white board with the workbook in MY hands. That created more discussion about the math and better understanding (it's up there in big print instead of just in that teeny tiny box on the overwhelming page). And are you letting her use manipulatives if she wants/needs them? C-rods would be easy to add to MM. Check out the educationunboxed.com videos for some C-rod work. It might help her understand better. Definitely slow it down if she's struggling where she is. It's ok to be at grade level.

 

I am planning to use SL pretty much as written. I have some extra books on the shelf if there is an interest. And I have a huge list of supplemental stuff (coloring, projects etc.) that dd really likes as we get to it. Last year, the lit and VP stuff I added, she really liked. She also enjoyed notebooking, it was SOTW and comprehension questions she hated.

Ok, here's some ideas:

 

1) Nix the comprehension questions. If you want to check comprehension, do the notebooking instead. Notebooking DOES show comprehension. And if you weren't already doing SL, I'd say nix SOTW, but you've done that, so good for you! :D CHOW might be a better fit. I've heard of a lot of kids liking CHOW if they don't like SOTW. Not every kid will like SOTW. That's ok! You don't get booted from the "classical club" if your kid doesn't like/understand SOTW. Some kids aren't ready for it until later, and some kids just don't like the tone. Either one is FINE. It's lower elementary. What you teach about history now doesn't really matter. Just try to do what you need to develop some type of enjoyment of history. In logic stage and up, you'll get into the nitty gritty details. Don't worry about the details right now.

 

2) Since comprehension in general seems to be a problem, again, I suggest using her readers for that. They will probably be a bit easier than WWE and SOTW. That's GOOD. She needs to start easy and gain confidence. Then gradually increase the difficulty. Another thought... Does she do better if she reads the passage herself? My son always did better if I let him read it and then answer the questions. I still did oral reading most of the time (to try to build up his listening comprehension), but if he was really struggling, I would let him read it himself. 100% of the time, he was able to answer the questions after reading it himself.

 

I honestly think my response is a big part of the problem or perhaps THE problem.

 

Yep, I've seen that around my house a lot of times too. :tongue_smilie: Change MY attitude, and now things go much better. Always good to look at ourselves first and see what we can change before we try to make other changes! You sound like a perfectionist. I am one too. I've had to let go of some of that and just tell myself that something is "good enough". No one has ever given their child a perfect classical education. There is no such thing! I want to give my children a good education, and we are doing that, even if there are things we aren't doing that others are. Overall, I can name a bunch of things that we're doing well, and that will have to be "good enough".

 

Thank you. These are all things I tell myself, and know it is true. It is just so hard when we are surrounded by people who take homeschooling these early years SO lightly. But then I know I would be so uncomfortable with that. I see thier kids uncomfortable at church bc they are the only ones who can't read well enough to read aloud. My dd would hate that, I would hate that for her. I hate the idea it gives the rest of the world about homeschoolers. I know not everyone has to school classically, and I am fine if you only do the 3 R's in your family in the beginning, i just think you should at least do that! but I often feel so out of place because we have chosen to do it differently.

 

Here's the thing... You're seeing these people on one end of the spectrum, and you are trying to avoid it by almost swinging to the other extreme! There is a middle ground (or as Bill would say, "A Third Way" :D). That's why many classical homeschoolers don't have hugely rigorous early elementary years. They are focusing on the foundational SKILLS (4R's), and letting content come in after those skills are solid. That way, they aren't trying to teach basic addition/subtraction facts in 6th grade. They've moved on from there. They're not trying to teach what a noun is in 6th grade. They're teaching their child to write and use good nouns. And now that the foundational skills are there, the children have more time to go deeper into content and use those skills to study content (ie, write a paper about what you read in history/science/literature).

 

So absolutely teach your children to read and do math and all that jazz! Focus on those skills and get the foundation solid. Let the content be gravy, and don't worry about retention there. Just keep it light and fun.

 

I think you're actually pretty close to that middle ground. As I said earlier, you may just need to streamline a bit. And plus you've made some changes that seem to be helping, and you have other changes planned that should help. So I don't think you're going to go overboard - you've noticed the things you need to change. Awesome. Keep it up, and try to relax your expectations to developmentally appropriate levels. 45 minutes of math is too much for most 1st graders (unless they really love math and all things school :tongue_smilie:). The attention span is just too short usually. Do math for 20-30 minutes. Set a timer. Don't worry about how much you get done. If you want a second session later in the day, you could do games with C-rods or something like that. And WWE... it's not unusual for kids to not be ready for WWE1 until 2nd grade, so don't push her beyond what she is currently capable of. Tone it down, backtrack to easier passages (again, passages she's reading herself would be good), and give her some help with the questions, OR even better, have her demonstrate comprehension in other ways - oral retelling, drawing a picture, acting something out, etc. Instead of sitting there and reading a list of questions (which is boring), make it a casual conversation about the book. She may be comprehending but just freaking out about the questions. My son does that sometimes.

 

Anyway, :grouphug:. You're doing fine. Just make those changes you've planned, and I'll bet things will get a bit better. I don't expect a kid to love every moment of school (I doubt my son will ever love writing :tongue_smilie:), but hating history or science in 1st grade is a red flag to me. There is plenty of time to hate them later in high school. :lol:

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Thank you. These are all things I tell myself, and know it is true. It is just so hard when we are surrounded by people who take homeschooling these early years SO lightly. But then I know I would be so uncomfortable with that. I see thier kids uncomfortable at church bc they are the only ones who can't read well enough to read aloud. My dd would hate that, I would hate that for her. I hate the idea it gives the rest of the world about homeschoolers. I know not everyone has to school classically, and I am fine if you only do the 3 R's in your family in the beginning, i just think you should at least do that! but I often feel so out of place because we have chosen to do it differently.

 

I hear ya. We do co-op with a few families like this. Not my cup of tea. But the kids can play and have fun with their kids and then we go home and do lessons the rest of they week.

 

Ignore my thoughts on SOTW. I saw your later post that it didn't work for you guys...

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Nicole, I haven't read the rest of the comments yet, but I want to commend you for doing the hard thing, going against the grain, and doing what you feel is best.

 

I am starting to homeschool my second set of kids. We most certainly are going to be rigorous this time. Did I enjoy it last time? YES. Do I think there were benefits? YES. But I also think there are benefits from doing school. I got to do it with my friend's son a few years ago and LOVED it. There was still PLENTY of time to just be kids, follow interests, flip around the living room, etc. But there was also serious study including Latin, multiple math and reading programs, a full science and history program, etc. Balance is most certainly possible. You can put in a full day of schooling AND be developmentally appropriate, fun, interesting, and follow each person's needs. Really :)

 

So where many people wish they had slowed down and relaxed during these years, we're gearing up for a very academic pursuit. We will have fun with it and go with the flow plenty, but I'm glad we get to use some neat materials and DO this pursuit called education :)

 

ETA: Now that I'm reading through the comments, I see I must have missed some of your original post...I'll be back :)

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Ok, well this is my experience starting my 18th year of homeschooling, with the two oldest graduated and off to college.

 

If your dd is complaining that she "hates school" and her comprehension is faltering, I promise she will not learn or retain one single thing and all your efforts at "rigor" will be completely wasted.

 

When I started homeschooling there wasn't much available, so we used Calvert. After 4th grade, my oldest complained that he "hated it" and wasn't learning anything. He wasn't. I pulled out some of the science and history we had done the year before and he remembered nothing. I felt like I'd spent the entire previous year :banghead:. I decided something had to change, so I started Konos. Yep, the dreaded unit studies. With all the messy projects, crafts, giant time sucking activities, etc. My kids LOVED it. They retained so much, I couldn't believe it!! They didn't even realize they were doing school, they were having so much fun.

 

My point is that rigor isn't a method. Maybe it's your methodology that your child hates. Try something new. Do some unit studies on a subject they enjoy over the summer (which was how we started). When children are engaged, they are learning. When they're not....you're completely wasting your time and "rigor" will amount to absolutely nothing, because your children aren't learning and they won't advance. You will spend the next stages of their education trying to get them to absorb what they missed the first time around. That leads to frustration and burnout. You need to teach in the way your dd will learn. That may be completely opposite of how you'd like to do it. Sometimes it's a hard pill to swallow, but I promise, the results are worth it.

 

:iagree::iagree: HELLO! Print this up and stick it to the wall. Sometimes I think homeschool moms equate rigor with heaping on more and more work. Frankly, I'd like to just throw out that word (rigor). Effective, that's what I want. Whether or not it looks rigorous to the outside world is besides the point.

 

I'll speak personally of my oldest. We started in 4th grade with a haphazard but earnest approach. I was green. Some things worked and some didn't, but she's now going into 10th grade at a private school and doing wonderfully.

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I don't do rigorous academics in the early years, although I have rigorous plans for the later years. I've based that decision primarily on my own experience--I was raised by a mother who believed that children need time to be children. She kept each of us home until we were about 8 years old, and then sent us to school. We did Suzuki music, which certainly added an element of rigor to our lives (and part of my mom's philosophy of childrearing was the idea that children need something challenging to do every day) but there was no focus on academics. She made sure each of us knew how to read before we went to school, and we were also introduced to lots of mathematical concepts (partly by helping with a family business) but we didn't have any regularly structured school time or activities. We had lots of books, both my parents read to us regularly, and we spent many, many hours engaged in creative play indoors and out. There was no TV to distract us.

 

We later went on to a variety of rigorous academic experiences, we were raised to face and even seek out challenges in academics and life. Several of us graduated with International Baccalaureate degrees, and colleges attended have included Stanford, MIT, Duke and the Air Force Academy. I think all of my siblings agree that those early year free of academic pressure were a huge benefit to us, both in giving us a sense of being grounded in life and in teaching us to think for ourselves and see learning as something to pursue on our own and not something we should wait for someone to spoonfeed to us. I cannot see any way in which earlier or more accelerated academics would have benefited us, and I hate to think of what we would have lost in terms of a simple, pressure free childhood and room for personal development and exploration. That is something I am determined to give to my own children, and I do not believe for a moment that their overall academic achievement and success in life will suffer for it.

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Let me preface this by saying I haven't read the other responses. And my DD is only 6.5, so I don't have a lot of experience.

 

But what we do is considered by pretty much everyone who knows us IRL as extremely rigorous. I've even been accused of being one of those stage moms, just with academics, until they see DD literally BEG to do school, and pull out all her school books and throw a temper tantrum if I say no school today. (Okay, so we clearly have a behavior issue there, but she certainly loves school! :tongue_smilie:) We currently do 22 separate subjects, and by the end of this school year will be doing 25. This includes a couple things that are done once a week (health, logic, etc.), art and music separated from art and music appreciation, literature and poetry which are just read alouds at bedtime for now, memorization as it's own subject.... so it isn't quite as crazy as it sounds. But it does include 2 foreign languages, 2 math programs above her age level, a comprehensive history program (SOTW + Maps, Myths and Marvels, + more), two geography programs, grammar, copywork, and more.

 

But again I say: DD loves school. Seriously. It isn't right, but in a more desperate moment I have actually said "If you don't get yourself together, we aren't doing school today!" One thing I've done is really worked hard to make her love it. Rigor is important to me, but it is equally important to me that I instill a love of learning in DD. I keep this in mind for the long term when picking out curriculum, and also in the short term for daily planning.

 

For long term planning, I try and find things that will appeal to DD in some way or another. For example, my DD is very interested in languages and other cultures and places. So right now we do A LOT with that. We study French and are going to add Spanish soon, we do two geography programs (actually studying physical geography and maps), we are doing a world culture study (studying a new country each week), ancient history is obviously not United States, I seek out literature and poetry from other cultures... etc,etc,etc. Sure, it can be extra work, but it keeps her interested and engaged with her work. Not every subject has to tie in, but by finding something that really was really interesting to my daughter, I was able to get her really into school.

 

When it comes to daily planning, I start with something quick, easy, but that DD enjoys. I like to start our school session off on a good note. I like having good mojo. :D Then I try and alternate good subjects with blah subjects. That way if DD get caught up on a couple difficult math problems I can entice her with the interesting looking science materials sitting on the table. "But look, as soon as you finish that page, we get to do a science experiment with that stuff!" Also, stay flexible. Yesterday I had some copywork planned that was three pages. (It was actually only 6 lines, but the way I print it out takes up a lot of space!) DD *hates* writing, and had done really well in the rest of her school work. I could see the frustration start, so I told her if she did really well on the first page, she could do the other two pages another day. Tada! I had a page of perfect copywork, with no whining! :D

 

And on particularly bad days? We quit for the day. Just stop where ever we are, and pick back up the next day. Sometimes with that subject, sometimes with school altogether. There have been days that we've worked through a couple math problems and realized that you know what, our hearts just aren't in it today, and went outside to run around instead. I know you said you didn't want that advice but... It's okay to do that every now and then. We don't do it often, but when we do, it is a nice little tension breaker.

 

Wow, now that I've written a book!! Mostly my advice is- stay flexible, and make it fun. Rigor isn't going to do anything if she hates it. Maybe even consider backing off for a year to put some love back into the learning, then gearing up from there? I think the gain from that would be considerable.

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LA is 1 hour 15 minutes, roughly, some days less. Fridays only 20-30 minutes.

WWE - 10-15 min 4Xs Week

FLL 5-10 min 2 Xs week

AAS 15-20 minutes 4 Xs week

Reading 20 min every day

Handwriting 10 min (only did it one semester last yr it will have cursive when we start again)

 

Math, we are only doing 1.5 to 2 pages of MM, sometimes right start games.

 

I think it is standard stuff, dd is just slow. :tongue_smilie:

 

This sounds about right to me and probably about what we are doing, although our takes a bit longer at times because I have two sons who are doing 1st grade together. My two normally do about 2 pages of MM a day also. Sometimes they are quick and other times one son drags it out forever. We normally start around 9:00 and we frequently finish after lunch, although we do take a 20 minute break at some point and then we will also break for lunch. But we often have to finish up after our lunch break, so I would say we are doing pretty much what you are. I feel like we are somewhat rigorous but I also think they still have plenty of time to play and have fun and I don't think it is really too much work for them. It sounds like a lot when you total it up but when you break it out, as you did above, it really isn't all that much on any particular subject....although we do take a bit longer to do history and science. My sons are not in love with school either. I think they love to learn but they do not like the 'work' associated with school, such as writing. They love to read though.

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If you were rigorous in the grammar stage do have any regrets? I don't mean about parent's attitude or how you handled it, but simply a rigorous academic focus in the early years.

 

 

No, no regrets. People say we are rigorous and if you consider full days with a broad and deep focus across the board then we would qualify. That doesn't mean we are doing tons and tons of seatwork though. Seatwork is only a portion of our days. Our greatest memories and learning times have been when we are snuggled up on the couch with a book, discussing something, playing a game, or doing a project.

 

If your child dislikes school I would try and change things up. I think I've finally come up with a good plan for my middle child this next year. He doesn't love school and I'm changing things to suit his learning style better.

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Hi :)

 

I also have never been able to relate to families who take it super slow. I've heard the theories about letting them learn to read when they show signs of readiness, even if that comes at age 10. And I've seen in practice it works, my brother in law learnt to read at 10 and moved to reading harry potter within 6 months or so. But do I intend to follow that pattern with my kids? No way. I know the kids will catch up, but we could be spending that time so much more constructivly! By the time we hit grade 3 I don't want to be wasting time on learning to read, I want to be delving into great books! In my little K-12 long term 'plan' (i.e. collection of ideas) I see my kids being a couple of grades ahead quite naturally, but the foundations of that come in those early years. When I was being homeschooled, among the families we knew it was NORMAL for kids to be a grade or two ahead on their better subjects, or even every subject except their poorest one. It was an expected part of homeschooling because the one-on-one attention allowed for it, and the idea of *only* having an hour of school for a first grader was pretty 'out there' and 'unschooly', and in some ways a child working at grade level raised eyebrows. Things have changed so much in the past 10 years. Now a parent whos children are all working above grade level is sometimes frowned upon as pushing them too hard and not letting them be kids! As someone who did 5th grade math in grade 3, and 4th grade everything else, I still had PLENTY of time to be a kid. The old pressures to be ahead of state schools were not always handled well, some kids did get pushed when they shouldn't have been, but that dosen't mean they were all wrong either. When I see families who insist kids under 8 or 9 shouldn't even do science or history, I find myself wondering how much of a missed opportunity that is, the time when kids are most curious about the world around them and they don't learn any of it?

 

Looking at your timetable, it all looks pretty good to me except for LA, that seems to be very intensive, which is great if your child likes LA, but could lead to burnout if they don't, so maybe consider how much of it is nececary. Outside of that, 3 hours a day for a first grader including science and 'fun' subjects used to be considered very normal, at least among the homeschoolers I grew up with here in Australia.

 

A few things to consider though. Is the time spent working through at a good pace and progressing well, or is it spent in busywork and desk time. While 3 hours total was very normal, only about half of that would be spent at the table on books, the rest would be read alouds, or activities and science experiments and other hands on stuff. The attention span of a 1st grader would be pushed for 3 hours of bookwork. You won't regret progressing, but you might regret spending hours doing worksheets of the same thing over and over, for the sake of doing it. There's a key difference between having a lot of learning, and having a lot of paperwork. Also, are you keeping it interesting with those added extras like science etc? I know school becomes very interesting once the basics are mastered, but if your child spends those first couple of years thinking that 'school' is math drills and handwriting practice, by the time you get o the fun side of school you may have lost their interest and excitment.And finally, to those who think that 3 hours is so much time that the kids will miss out on being kids, we need a little perspective. Remember 1st graders usually go to school for some 6 hours, plus a half hour or more of homework! How much time is wasted there? Your child is still spending half as much time on school as most their peers! I think they have plenty of 'being a kid' time.

 

The other thing you talk about, which dosen't seem to have gotten much of a reply, is balancing it with enough play, which is also vitally important in the early years, I have two suggestions in that regards.

 

Firstly, when I was a kid a very common homeschool schedule was an early start after breakfast, finishing before lunch, and then the afternoon was for play and fun. That has gone out of fashion, with kids who don't have good attention spans and seem to need (want) constant breaks. Homeschoolers seem to need their children to enjoy every aspect of homeschooling these days, which I disagree with personally. Sure, the kids will find it a little harder to work in big blocks instead of small blocks, but what workplace allows you to spread 3 hours of work over the course of a whole day? As the parent it's up to you to decide what's best for your children whether they like it or not. Tailoring an education to your child, which is a great benefit to homeschooling, has recently become tailoring life to your childs comfort and preferences, which is ill preperation for later life. They can still enjoy education without enjoying the challenging parts of getting it done in a timely manner that fits in with the family. You don't want to be a homeschooling family, you want to be a family that homeschools, and while that's no longer popular it is perfectly ok and do-able. Doing homeschool in a chunk then having it 'finished' for the day is a good way to seperate them, but again has fallen out of fashion in favour of 'a lifestyle of learning', which I absolutely believe happens, but is taken terribly out of context sometimes. I'm not saying it works for everyone, but it sounds like it's what you need. Don't be afraid to homeschool in a way that your kids don't always love, don't feel like you must always make things easier for them. You matter here too, and sometimes kids don't like what's good for them. I don't assume that my child needs special things because she dosen't like vegetables, and proceed to tailor her diet so she only takes in what children her age are comfortable with, I assume she dosen't know what's good for her, and teach her that she has to eat them whether she likes it or not, but do my best to make them fun and palatable in the process! Sometimes homeschooling is the same way, and it's not a bad thing.

 

Having said that, for a first grader you will want to break the morning up by mixing fun and book activities. Maybe start with reading together, then do some english books, then do some fun science together, then do math, then do art/music, then lunch happens and they have the rest of the day to play to their hearts content.

 

And finally, you say that your afraid giving them time to play will just be wasted, that you want a plan in mind to see where you're going and work towards. Well what about semi-structured play? Kids do need time to discover on their own, but what if you planned one activity each afternoon. Maybe fill a jar with activity ideas. Bake cookies, play with the hose, play 'shop', pull out the legos, climb a tree, go to the park, take a walk, listen to some nursery rhymes, Build with boxes and tubes, play in the sandpit, all these differemt things are great learning experiences through play, and if it makes you feel better to plan and structure them just like any other subject, then do it! Call it 'life skills' and plan it into your day like your schoolwork, then you know that extra time is being spent in worthwhile persuits, and again, it still leaves plenty of time for free play.

 

I know I've stated some unpopular opinions here, so if you have any questions about what I've said, feel free to PM me. :)

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...rigor isn't a method.

 

:iagree:

 

And I would expand on that to say that rigor is also not a particular curriculum choice, or a certain scope and sequence, or starting young, or doing school for more hours, or being serious all the time, or ____________. Rigorous also does not equal joyless. I bet dollars to donuts that the real problem here is the absence of joy, not a rigorous education or the particulars of how each subject is being taught.

 

When a child hates school work, I think 9 times out of 10 it is likely to be a problem with attitude, maybe on the part of the child but also, perhaps in a greater share, on the part of the HS parent. Regardless, the fix has to come from the adult in the situation. Exemplify a good attitude, stay calm, and bring the joy with you every morning. If we can't do it as grown-ups, what makes any of us think our kids should be able to?

 

Oh, and asking their opinion helps too. The older they get, the more they should feel like part of the team in making choices about their own education. I'm not just preparing them for real life, I am assisting them in slowly but surely take over their own for themselves.

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And finally, you say that your afraid giving them time to play will just be wasted, that you want a plan in mind to see where you're going and work towards. Well what about semi-structured play? Kids do need time to discover on their own, but what if you planned one activity each afternoon. Maybe fill a jar with activity ideas. Bake cookies, play with the hose, play 'shop', pull out the legos, climb a tree, go to the park, take a walk, listen to some nursery rhymes, Build with boxes and tubes, play in the sandpit, all these differemt things are great learning experiences through play, and if it makes you feel better to plan and structure them just like any other subject, then do it! Call it 'life skills' and plan it into your day like your schoolwork, then you know that extra time is being spent in worthwhile persuits, and again, it still leaves plenty of time for free play.

 

I know I've stated some unpopular opinions here, so if you have any questions about what I've said, feel free to PM me. :)

 

Love this idea, thanks! And dd will love it too, and it might be just the incentive she needs to get that math done in less time! ;)

 

:iagree:

 

And I would expand on that to say that rigor is also not a particular curriculum choice, or a certain scope and sequence, or starting young, or doing school for more hours, or being serious all the time, or ____________. Rigorous also does not equal joyless. I bet dollars to donuts that the real problem here is the absence of joy, not a rigorous education or the particulars of how each subject is being taught.

 

When a child hates school work, I think 9 times out of 10 it is likely to be a problem with attitude, maybe on the part of the child but also, perhaps in a greater share, on the part of the HS parent. Regardless, the fix has to come from the adult in the situation. Exemplify a good attitude, stay calm, and bring the joy with you every morning. If we can't do it as grown-ups, what makes any of us think our kids should be able to?

 

Oh, and asking their opinion helps too. The older they get, the more they should feel like part of the team in making choices about their own education. I'm not just preparing them for real life, I am assisting them in slowly but surely take over their own for themselves.

 

You are very right. I agree 1,000% that I am the main problem.

 

I see it and am working on it, but I have a long way to go. Also, I know what I need to do in some areas, I just need to get over "falling behind" my ideas of where we should be to do it. But I need to. I have made the first step of changes in a few curriculum changes, but part of it will just have to be me being willing to do what I need to do to add joy back in.

 

Thanks.

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Also, I know what I need to do in some areas, I just need to get over "falling behind" my ideas of where we should be to do it. But I need to. I have made the first step of changes in a few curriculum changes, but part of it will just have to be me being willing to do what I need to do to add joy back in.

 

Thanks.

 

I require a lot of my almost 5 year old. I think on a "full" school day, she does 2 to 2.5 hours. Mostly she doesn't mind, except for math. She tends to do school-like activities anyway for play - like writing stories and reading books and making grocery lists and thank you cards and spending hours drawing and making crafts. She is very good at math (and ahead for her age) but doesn't like it very much because she finds it is "too much writing". I had to let go of my (self-imposed) schedule and break math into very little chunks. We do SM and she now does 5 to 6 problems per day. If she gets one wrong, I add one more problem to her list. This usually encourages her not to make careless mistakes. If she's getting a lot wrong, it's because she doesn't understand the concept and then we take a break from the book and just play with the rods a bit, maybe skip the topic and spiral back to it later. Some days she has a lesson from me, and some days, she is just finishing the second half of what should normally have been done in one lesson. Since she's ahead, it doesn't matter if she's "behind" the typical schedule for SM 2A. She ruminates over each problem and also gets distracted by the "play school" activities I am doing with DS. Before I made this change, her math was taking over an hour to do because she just wasn't focused. Is there a way you can decrease the number of questions per day and allow yourself the freedom to let go of the "schedule" since your DD is already ahead in math? Just a thought.

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I was quite rigorous with my rising 5th grader (we've homeschooled classically since Grade 1) and personally, I see the benefits now. He knows how to apply himself, he takes initiative, he doesn't have many holes, academically, and he enjoys school.

 

That said, he is a child who COULD be anxious if I wasn't aware of that, so sometimes, we need to just ease up for a time and breathe. He can get worked up with trying to get things done, and I need to be the one who says "Hey, you know what? Let's go to the beach today, okay?" It doesn't happen often, but if you have a hardworking child who is doing a challenging school load, as the mama you need to be aware of this.

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For example, dd finished first grade and hates school. :(

 

My DD is only half way through K and hates school - I regret the "rigour" and it's only been 6 months.

 

We dropped it all and are unschooling and my DD has learned more in the last month then in the last 6 months when I organised it all for her. Her way of learning is just different from mine -I had to accept that.

 

It doesn't mean we don't do anything - we do tons. But instead of bookwork my DD now does an outside art class. She studies the history she wants to. She does tons of sensory activities. She retains so much when she can take the lead.

 

She reads on grade level - her skills are all at first grade level - just because we unschool doesn't mean I find it acceptable for her to be reading at 10 years old. I encouraged her, I told her why it was important, but I didn't force her - and she saw the value in it herself. I did/do give her reading lessons and math lessons -but we just do it without sitting down to a curriculum. (I myself follow a curriculum - I don't want her leraning random math and having gaps but I read the next lesson and find ways to slip it into her activities that day KWIM)

 

So yes I regret trying to be rigerous in the early years and I see the value in letting young children be - they will never be more interested and motivated tolearn then when they are young - its a natural thing for them. I capatilise on it and hope to keep it going in the older years. With a rigorous plan it was killing all her joy and motivation.

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We are considered rigorous in our various groups. That said, I feel that up to and including grade 4 a less is more approach to academics works best along with lots of opportunity for time spent outdoors in a natural setting if your goal is a whole, balanced, curious child. Some children, just as some parents, like to have a structured approach and that is easily accomplished without making it overly heady. We manage to do a solid amount of formal math, LA and a moderate amount of formal science, history and foreign language and a few other things as well as maintaining a pretty rigorous practice schedule for the various arts being pursued but I feel that it's done with a light touch with lots of room for digestion and I am always checking in to make sure dc's love of learning is continuing to be nurtured and that there is plenty of space for the material to sit, time for rabbit trails and so on.

 

If you look at any of the early childhood development studies so many of them reiterate the need for a slow, rhythmic pace, time to digest and absorb, and lots of time for play. This is all doable while maintaining rigor as long as you're willing to expand your definition of what rigor is. There is rigor in nature, it is articulate, has refinement, detail, precision, intelligence, power, beauty, mystery all the exalted qualities we wish to expose our children to. Really, rigor is an atmosphere.

 

Nature informs the soul in ways far beyond the quantifiable. All of us have felt a sense of Magnificence when at the ocean or in a deep grove of Redwoods, or looking up at a vast sky. To name this kind of experience waters it down, it doesn't need documenting or deconstructing because its essence is boundlessness. And it's so utterly important for our children to develop a fluid, visceral relationship with this.

 

Studies have consistently shown that children who have regular access to the natural world do well academically. So a combination of some seatwork and outdoor time is the ideal during the elementary years. The question one needs to keep in the forefront is 'do I want to cultivate a sense of wonder, curiosity and love of learning in my child so that the desire for learning and expansion continues?

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I'll just echo what others have said: rigor is not the same as joyless nor effective. DIfferent folks choose different styles to try to make education effective and joyful for their kids. And yes, I've definitely seen the value in waiting 6mo on some concept rather than beat on it.

 

The real question is whether it is working for you NOW, and if your 1st grader is hating, I'd say it's not. first graders IMO shouldn't hate learning any subject. As others have mentioned, it may not be that your education is too "rigorous" but that your methods/curric/style is just not working right now for your dd. A few tweaks and you should be able to find something that is effective, joyful, and works for you and your dd.

 

Good luck!

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I haven't read all the responses, so I'm sorry if I repeat. I do NOT regret the rigor in the younger years. It set a tone that when we work, we work hard and when we play, we play hard. I tried to teach them that some things are fun to learn and some aren't (initially). But, it all has to be done.

 

Having said that, rigor does not mean drudgery! We learned a ton through songs and poems and chanting and marching around the room with drums. We did lots of history projects (which gave my kids a love of history that carries over into the hard stuff! ;)) and science experiments. We had fun, but we did school every day. We didn't do long days, but it was consistent. I didn't try to make everything fun (math facts are math facts after all) and they didn't expect me to, but when I COULD make it fun, I tried to. I got excited about the things that they were learning to try and pass that excitement on to them. (Oh, how I wish that worked with teen-agers!!)

 

There were tears at times, and I changed things up that weren't working like I'd hoped, but NOT because of the tears. I changed things that I felt like were too much busy work for what they were learning. I stuck fairly closely (and still do) to WTM philosophy and it has served us well as we have entered Rhetoric stage with dd and almost through dialectic with ds.

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I don't see it so much as about having "regrets" about not being or being rigorous. I see it as being a matter of sometimes, less really is more. It isn't always about creating a foundation, but rather being developmentally appropriate.

 

 

 

Effective, that's what I want. Whether or not it looks rigorous to the outside world is besides the point.

 

 

 

:iagree:

 

We're taking a less "rigorous" approach with our second-born.

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My 3rd and 1st graders spent 4.5 hours per school day on academic work last school year. Of course we didn't do 4.5 hours straight, as we had multiple breaks during the day.

 

If I compared what I teach my kids with what others do who teach their kids nothing or next to nothing, then I might consider myself very rigorous or overly so, bordering on torturing the children.

 

However, if I compare what my kids do with what most of their friends in public school do, then I would say that our schedule is quite easy. Their public school friends are in the school building for 6.5 hours per day, not counting the time it takes them to get ready for school, travel to the school, and travel home. On top of that, 1st graders tend to have at least 0.5 hours of homework per day, and 3rd graders have 1-2 hours of homework per day. I am not exagerating. My kids have been to this school, and I have seen the homework that is assigned from that place. My kids often tell their friends how wonderful homeschool is. We work very hard on our 4.5 hours of academic work per day, but when we are done (usually at 2 or 2:30 p.m.), we are done. There is no homework, and my kids can go and play, participate in sports, or do other things they enjoy for the rest of the day. My son often plays outside for hours per day on the weekdays with nothing (namely homework) hanging over his head to be done before bed. We also have no academic work on weekends. I think my kids almost have an excess of free fun time, especially compared to most of their friends.

 

So you see, it is all relative. Personally, I don't compare myself to homeschoolers who have low goals and expectations. I especially don't emulate those who aim below what the average public school requires. Providing a rigorous academic education is a worthy goal. Attitude and relationship issues (in the children or the parents) may need to be worked out from time to time, but those are not the result or fault of rigor in academics.

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However, if I compare what my kids do with what most of their friends in public school do, then I would say that our schedule is quite easy. Their public school friends are in the school building for 6.5 hours per day, not counting the time it takes them to get ready for school, travel to the school, and travel home. On top of that, 1st graders tend to have at least 0.5 hours of homework per day, .

 

I would be careful comparing schedules with children in public school. The system is completely different. When I was a public school teacher I never felt that I had enough time with the kids because we had so much to cover. Looking back I realize how much time is wasted going to specials, recess, waiting in line for the bathroom, etc. The teachers can't cover as much ground in the same time you have because they have so many children of different abilities levels to teach. I would bet that we accomplish more in two hours a day than most children in public school accomplish in seven hours a day.

 

In addition, realize that your child is always the one on the spot at home. In a school classroom, a child can daydream or be off-task without being noticed because the teacher is busy working with other students. I realize sometimes how much more my daughter is having to produce because she is the only student I have to teach.

 

I belive in rigor, but not at the cost of a love for learning. I was part of a system for too long that sucked the wonder and enthusiasm of learning right out of the kids. I hope not to replicate that in my own homeschooling. Finding that balance isn't easy, but it is definitely a worthy goal.

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My older girls proudly identify as 'geeks' or bookworms and I think that is largely due to the rigorous homeschool environment we've created at home.

 

My daughter who is 7 turning 8 in October just finished 1st or 2nd grade, depending on who is asking :). She works daily (Monday-Thursday) from 9-12 on seat work: MM/BA, WWE, FLL, spelling, vocabulary & handwriting. After lunch, we listen to SOTW audio, do science, geography, free reading, and read-alouds (I'll include MCT in this slot) from approximately 1-4. The afternoons are spent on the couch or laying on the floor and are generally punctuated by play, snacks, and quick breaks as needed and are concluded with tea time. It makes for a full day, but I often ask myself, what else would we be doing? We live in Michigan, so much of the school year is frigid and not enjoyable for outdoor play. Fridays are fun days with 3 hours spent at co-op for enrichment classes. We take days off as needed for field trips or plays/operas/concerts. We take the summer off (except for a bit of daily skill work such as math and cursive).

 

Our three older girls are competitive swimmers, so we spend most evenings at the pool. They enjoy seeing their friends and their fitness is admirable. They are learning so many life lessons in the pool that will carry over into life: the value of hard work, goal setting, how to handle criticism, mental preparation for difficult tasks, etc. If it happens to help fund their college educations, so much the better, but that isn't the primary goal.

 

They don't have a lot of downtime during the week, but weekends we're not at meets are relaxed and seem to be enough to fuel their souls. If rigor feels right to you, carry on. Your attitude and sense of "this is just what we do" will rub off on your kids. My big girls have a real sense of purpose, focus and direction that many of their peers lack. They are beginning to feel very different, but in a good way. An unusual situation for a teen girl, I can assure you!

 

So, no. I don't regret the rigor at all.

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Here's the thing... You're seeing these people on one end of the spectrum, and you are trying to avoid it by almost swinging to the other extreme! There is a middle ground (or as Bill would say, "A Third Way" :D). That's why many classical homeschoolers don't have hugely rigorous early elementary years. They are focusing on the foundational SKILLS (4R's), and letting content come in after those skills are solid. That way, they aren't trying to teach basic addition/subtraction facts in 6th grade. They've moved on from there. They're not trying to teach what a noun is in 6th grade. They're teaching their child to write and use good nouns. And now that the foundational skills are there, the children have more time to go deeper into content and use those skills to study content (ie, write a paper about what you read in history/science/literature).

:iagree: and I accidentally deleted but I also want to agree that you are doing a good job looking for that middle ground! I spent a lot of unnecessary time on content when dd was 6. She remembers very, very little of it and she never really enjoyed it. If I could do it again, I would do something like FIAR. She loved our regular read alouds. She had no interest in ancient Greece at that age. Working hard on the 3/4 R's and following their lead in content subjects is what I am doing with my youngers.

 

Frankly, I'd like to just throw out that word (rigor). Effective, that's what I want. Whether or not it looks rigorous to the outside world is besides the point.

:iagree:

 

There are so many posts here that I could quote. You've been given great advice. I try hard for that middle ground. I am "rigorous" in that I have to have a strict schedule *for myself*, and I expect my kids to work hard. However, that is basically only until lunchtime. We work really hard in the morning for about 3 hours, then we have free afternoons. (My dd 8 is the only child that works the entire time.) This works for my family. I hope you find what works for yours.:)

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Thanks everyone. When I think of rigor in the early years, at least for me I am talking mostly about language arts and math. We are pretty heavy on LA around here. Honestly, while math takes a long time, we are not doing too much there, it is just that dd takes forever. I am not willing to compromise when I believe it is simply laziness making her take so long. When. It is a new concept or I see her brain is tired or something like that I have no problem shelving it, but not for dawdling. I think for me a big part of "rigor" in the grammar stage is a foundation of LA and math and work ethic. I want to focus hard on those areas, and allow science and history to be fun. That is why we are switching history this year. Sonlight capitalizes on my weaknesses. It forces me to have read alouds and couch school scheduled. I know me, we will do occasional projects, hands on, coloring, and notebooking. I am good at that stuff, not all the time, but enough.

 

This year I have learned a lot about choosing curriculum based on your (the teachers) strengths and weaknesses and not just the students. I need the things I wont do naturally scheduled. I am excited about our new plans and hope dd gets excited about them.

 

Oh and to the pp who mentioned scheduling things like walks and baking cookies. That may seem so silly to someone else, but it was so great for me. All the things I want to do, but get busy doing something else, I have decided to do a bucket of ideas like that and have the kids help me fill the ideas, and if they finish school in a timely manner each day they can pick one thing out of the bucket. Anything from playing Legos with mom, snuggle time, a walk or bike ride, baking cookies, playing dolls or tea with mom, playing trains. All the things my kids love but I don't do nearly enough. Thanks! :D

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For what it's worth, I wish I spent more time on LA when my oldest 2 were younger, but I think 1 hr 15 minutes of LA for a first grader is way too much. In that case (please don't be offended!) but I would be shocked if she *didn't* hate school, to be honest. For most kids, that's really pressing the limits of patience and exhaustion to spend that long on LA. Sometimes dawdling is a symptom of trying to make them do too much (not always, for sure!). I think you can lay a really good foundation without school being burdensome like that. I would suggest not dropping curricula, but trying a LA "loop" schedule... Spend more like 30 minutes (40 tops) on LA and cycle your different curricula through. Yeah, it will take you longer to get through any one book, but if you ease the load a bit maybe your daughter won't dread school so much. I have a 5 yr old who currently loves school, but if I pressed her that hard come 1st grade, I know it would crush her joy in learning and I don't want that. It's a fine line, and I understand wanting to lay the foundation, but you also have to take their age into account.

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Honestly, while math takes a long time, we are not doing too much there, it is just that dd takes forever. I am not willing to compromise when I believe it is simply laziness making her take so long.

 

I think the big question is... What is making her dawdle?

 

For my son with MM, he would dawdle when there were a lot of problems on the page, because it overwhelmed him a bit if he knew he had to do a zillion problems. Another reason he might dawdle is because he knew the material and didn't need to practice it a zillion times. Another reason he might dawdle is because the pages were just plain boring. Another reason he might dawdle was because he was 6 or 7, and focusing on such a plain page for a long time was just not really developmentally appropriate.

 

So he still had to do work, but I did alter the WAY I had him do the math to help get rid of the dawdling. Me teaching at the white board instead of pointing at the workbook helped a lot. It engaged him in a way that was more developmentally appropriate for him. It also got him making his own observations instead of just being spoonfed the material printed on the page. ;) Alternating the writing helped a lot too (at that time, he couldn't physically write a LOT, so that huge number of problems overwhelmed him because he knew it would hurt his hand). He was still doing all the math work!!! And I gradually increased the amount of writing HE did until he was doing all of it. He now does Singapore workbook independently, but in first grade, he wasn't ready for independence. He needed me at-elbow. And that's another thing... If you are leaving her to do her work, she may not be ready for that. It can cause dawdling. Sit with her, engage her, and keep her focused. That way you are teaching her to focus on the work, and later when she's older and has the maturity to work more independently, she'll be capable of it.

 

I definitely want to instill working hard and all that jazz, but at the same time, I can't expect a 1st or 2nd grader to have the independence and work ethic of a teenager, kwim? I've noticed in the last few weeks that a change in work ethic has occurred in my son. He is more willing to do things independently. He is more willing to work hard at something. When we go outside early in the morning after breakfast to weed the flower bed for 15 minutes (before it gets blazingly hot), he is actively working that whole time. He didn't do that at age 6 or 7, but now that he's 8, it's like something has turned on! The dawdling at school work has significantly decreased. I'm seeing the payoff of sitting with him and teaching him how to focus and helping him stay engaged with the material (buddy math, etc.).

 

So I say again that if 1st/2nd grade MM is taking 45 minutes or longer, you probably need to change the way you're doing it, to remove the dawdling. Having her work for 45 minutes isn't really teaching her not to dawdle. Stop at 20 minutes, then pick up there the next day. If she's used to math taking 45 minutes, it might seem endless, which might make her dawdle even more! :lol: And again, actively engage her during that time by doing buddy math and the like. You can learn the same material and do the same amount of work much more quickly if you keep her engaged. Then you gradually remove yourself from the equation (pardon the pun ;) ) as she learns how to do the math in a timely manner.

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For what it's worth, I wish I spent more time on LA when my oldest 2 were younger, but I think 1 hr 15 minutes of LA for a first grader is way too much. In that case (please don't be offended!) but I would be shocked if she *didn't* hate school, to be honest. For most kids, that's really pressing the limits of patience and exhaustion to spend that long on LA. Sometimes dawdling is a symptom of trying to make them do too much (not always, for sure!). I think you can lay a really good foundation without school being burdensome like that. I would suggest not dropping curricula, but trying a LA "loop" schedule... Spend more like 30 minutes (40 tops) on LA and cycle your different curricula through. Yeah, it will take you longer to get through any one book, but if you ease the load a bit maybe your daughter won't dread school so much. I have a 5 yr old who currently loves school, but if I pressed her that hard come 1st grade, I know it would crush her joy in learning and I don't want that. It's a fine line, and I understand wanting to lay the foundation, but you also have to take their age into account.

 

Well, LA is not really the problem. She likes what we do other than WWE comprehension questions. ;) I think as far as the issues we had with her not liking school, I have made several changes to the plan for next year that I think will help tremendously. Also, it isn't that she doesn't like "school" as I remind her, she loves Bible, FLL, AAS, read alouds, anything involving songs (history timeline, lyrical life science, math facts songs, Bible memory), crafts, notebooking, science, math games ... that pretty leaves history (more specifically SOTW which we are not using next year) and Math workbooks, which I am cutting back on.

 

 

I think the big question is... What is making her dawdle?

 

For my son with MM, he would dawdle when there were a lot of problems on the page, because it overwhelmed him a bit if he knew he had to do a zillion problems. Another reason he might dawdle is because he knew the material and didn't need to practice it a zillion times. Another reason he might dawdle is because the pages were just plain boring. Another reason he might dawdle was because he was 6 or 7, and focusing on such a plain page for a long time was just not really developmentally appropriate.

 

So he still had to do work, but I did alter the WAY I had him do the math to help get rid of the dawdling. Me teaching at the white board instead of pointing at the workbook helped a lot. It engaged him in a way that was more developmentally appropriate for him. It also got him making his own observations instead of just being spoonfed the material printed on the page. ;) Alternating the writing helped a lot too (at that time, he couldn't physically write a LOT, so that huge number of problems overwhelmed him because he knew it would hurt his hand). He was still doing all the math work!!! And I gradually increased the amount of writing HE did until he was doing all of it. He now does Singapore workbook independently, but in first grade, he wasn't ready for independence. He needed me at-elbow. And that's another thing... If you are leaving her to do her work, she may not be ready for that. It can cause dawdling. Sit with her, engage her, and keep her focused. That way you are teaching her to focus on the work, and later when she's older and has the maturity to work more independently, she'll be capable of it.

 

I definitely want to instill working hard and all that jazz, but at the same time, I can't expect a 1st or 2nd grader to have the independence and work ethic of a teenager, kwim? I've noticed in the last few weeks that a change in work ethic has occurred in my son. He is more willing to do things independently. He is more willing to work hard at something. When we go outside early in the morning after breakfast to weed the flower bed for 15 minutes (before it gets blazingly hot), he is actively working that whole time. He didn't do that at age 6 or 7, but now that he's 8, it's like something has turned on! The dawdling at school work has significantly decreased. I'm seeing the payoff of sitting with him and teaching him how to focus and helping him stay engaged with the material (buddy math, etc.).

 

So I say again that if 1st/2nd grade MM is taking 45 minutes or longer, you probably need to change the way you're doing it, to remove the dawdling. Having her work for 45 minutes isn't really teaching her not to dawdle. Stop at 20 minutes, then pick up there the next day. If she's used to math taking 45 minutes, it might seem endless, which might make her dawdle even more! :lol: And again, actively engage her during that time by doing buddy math and the like. You can learn the same material and do the same amount of work much more quickly if you keep her engaged. Then you gradually remove yourself from the equation (pardon the pun ;) ) as she learns how to do the math in a timely manner.

 

The thing is she isn't always slow (which is the frustrating part!). I often say she has selective laziness. :tongue_smilie: She can't find something I ask for (because she hasn't bothered to look for it) but has not problem working her tail off in a 3 hour gymnastics practice that it isn't unusual to get her to the point of tears. Yet she still loves it. :001_huh:

She is driven, when she wants to be. I don't want to "push" her too hard academically, but I do want her to reach her potential. It is a hard balance. I know she is capable of a lot, but the drive isn't there. I want to encourage her to challenge herself intellectually without any semblance of burn out. I don't think that is anywhere near an issue, but it is in the back of my mind...

 

 

And I do mostly sit with her to help as she needs it. We are using CLE for the summer to solidify skills. We have not been very consistent with it, (been away a ton) but for example she did the speed drill one day got a perfect score and did not need nearly all the time. The next one a few days later, only answered a quarter of the problems in the time allotted and missed several. The problems were no different. She just didn't focus. We are only doing about 2 pages of CLE at a time (not very many problems at all since we are skipping measurements and temperature since she has not covered it in MM) and it STILL takes her 20-30 minutes.:001_huh: Stopping after 20 minutes (which is how long it SHOULD take for MM) and then having a second session later might be a good strategy though. Then if she finishes in the first block of time, the second could be a break. That might work.

 

I definitely see the benefit of varying it up a little. Using the white board some is a good idea. She likes games and I need to increase how often we play. She even likes math facts games.

 

Also, the truth is she is advanced, has a super long attention span and is very capable of the work. I am not pushing her too hard in work load, I know that. She is working "at grade level" in everything but math and reading. And we are slowing down in math this year, so at least the first few months she will only be doing 1 page of MM and RS games. That should help. Plus since we have been so inconsistent this summer, she is going to need a good bit of review when we start back up and I have no intention of rushing it. That should help as well.

 

One thing I have really struggled with it when you are working "at your child's pace" and not finish a curriculum in a school year, where is the pay off for a semi non driven child? She does well and works hard but then I reward her with a few weeks of games and the next level of book. I am not sure what the answer is here, but something I have wondered about... I could see how that would get frustrating. The end really isn't the end kind of thing? :001_huh:

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The thing is she isn't always slow (which is the frustrating part!). I often say she has selective laziness. :tongue_smilie:

 

I know she is capable of a lot, but the drive isn't there. I want to encourage her to challenge herself intellectually without any semblance of burn out. I don't think that is anywhere near an issue, but it is in the back of my mind...

 

She does well and works hard but then I reward her with a few weeks of games and the next level of book. I am not sure what the answer is here, but something I have wondered about... I could see how that would get frustrating. The end really isn't the end kind of thing? :001_huh:

 

When you have a young child who works extremely hard in one area and not another, you do not have a lazy child (even selectively). More likely, you have a disengaged child. I would start looking at learning style.

 

As far as drive, I think it has to come from an internal place. I think the best thing you can do to improve her drive and her work ethic is to be absolutely, positively consistent. (And if you can stay creepily, serenely calm and supportive of her emotions while you are establishing that absolute consistency, all the better! :lol: You do not want to let her get a rise out of you!) As far as the end of one level and the beginning of the next, I would not reward with time off (unless, of course, that time off comes when you have actually scheduled time off for homeschooling). A school day needs to be a school day needs to be a school day...

 

I found out that my child I thought was selectively lazy was the child who absolutely, positively needed...no, craved routine. I mistakenly thought I was rewarding him by taking off here or there when we were ahead or accomplished more than I had planned in any given week. Instead, from his point of view, it just made him feel like schoolwork was based on Mom's whim. It made schoolwork negotiable in his eyes, which was absolute poison to his attitude. Once that occurred to me, it was obvious. Who could blame him? Only when he was in the habit of maintaining a regular schedule did his work ethic improve.

 

In other words, after I began consistently modeling a strong work ethic and positive attitude, he followed my example. When you say it like that, it doesn't sound so impressive or revolutionary, does it? :tongue_smilie:

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Yes, I regret our first 3 years of the heavy "classical" style memorization we did (for K through 2nd). My dd has the attitude issues now at 11 to prove it (and we've been back-peddling ever since). I burned myself out so much that I went to a literature rich and somewhat student-led curriculum to try and regain some joy in our day. I have tried to warn my local friends (especially new HS'ers) of the consequences of a heavy push at young ages but I've decided that causes too many negative responses from them...so now I'll tell an online forum of 1,000's of rigorous HS'ers. :D

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I've been called rigorous. With all we do, though, we are only at the table for 2-2.5 hours. And when DS was frustrated, we switched curriculum.

 

Last year we went from daily tears and tantrums with Sonlight Language Arts to him begging to do his language arts pile first. He chose to do the two grammar and two writing programs we are doing, and when asked, chose to continue all of them this year instead of cutting back to one of each. Even with all we do for LA, it doesn't take us anywhere near an hour and 15 minutes.

 

Math also caused daily struggles. Although I had changed LA curricula for the same reasons, because his weakness is math, I assumed that was the problem. After we finished for the year, I thought about that assumption. I talked to him about what was going on. He said that he just doesn't understand Math-U-See. I looked at the list I keep of other curricula I might be interested in and went through samples with him. He settled on Singapore and Miquon. He is not in love with math now, but he doesn't complain anymore and we get things done in a timely manner.

 

I don't think I'll regret our rigor at all. I do make sure that my expectations are appropriate. He still needs me by his side a lot, especially with math. When I would leave him alone with MUS, he'd take forever, but if I'm by his side, he works more diligently.

 

Anyway, I agree with looking at your curriculum choices, routine, and your availability to her.

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In other words, after I began consistently modeling a strong work ethic and positive attitude, he followed my example. When you say it like that, it doesn't sound so impressive or revolutionary, does it? :tongue_smilie:

 

Boy does that sound familiar! :lol:

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When you have a young child who works extremely hard in one area and not another, you do not have a lazy child (even selectively). More likely, you have a disengaged child. I would start looking at learning style.

 

As far as drive, I think it has to come from an internal place. I think the best thing you can do to improve her drive and her work ethic is to be absolutely, positively consistent. (And if you can stay creepily, serenely calm and supportive of her emotions while you are establishing that absolute consistency, all the better! :lol: You do not want to let her get a rise out of you!) As far as the end of one level and the beginning of the next, I would not reward with time off (unless, of course, that time off comes when you have actually scheduled time off for homeschooling). A school day needs to be a school day needs to be a school day...

 

I found out that my child I thought was selectively lazy was the child who absolutely, positively needed...no, craved routine. I mistakenly thought I was rewarding him by taking off here or there when we were ahead or accomplished more than I had planned in any given week. Instead, from his point of view, it just made him feel like schoolwork was based on Mom's whim. It made schoolwork negotiable in his eyes, which was absolute poison to his attitude. Once that occurred to me, it was obvious. Who could blame him? Only when he was in the habit of maintaining a regular schedule did his work ethic improve.

 

In other words, after I began consistently modeling a strong work ethic and positive attitude, he followed my example. When you say it like that, it doesn't sound so impressive or revolutionary, does it? :tongue_smilie:

 

It is as if this post was directly to me in my situation with my child.

 

Regarding regrets, I don't know. We've only completed one year and I can't say I feel awesome about that year. We did have some pretty serious attitude and behavioral problems through part of it but a great portion was solved by finding a curricula/approach that worked better for us and the rest is completely tied to the above quote. I did discover that some things we could do better in less time with the right (for us) approach. However, neither of us do great with a lot of free time (as much as we both "want" it) but I think I've found that we need more things to do rather than to spend a lot of time on core skills. Short, focused lessons have worked best for my child. We have been having short days (for LA and math) without bad attitude (again, for LA and math - all the free time has inspired it's own problems) and DS is still above grade level for math and even more for reading and writing.

 

Anyway, it's going to take an act of God to make me consistent and serenely calm but DH thinks that if I seek, I will find. :tongue_smilie:

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One thing I have really struggled with it when you are working "at your child's pace" and not finish a curriculum in a school year, where is the pay off for a semi non driven child? She does well and works hard but then I reward her with a few weeks of games and the next level of book. I am not sure what the answer is here, but something I have wondered about... I could see how that would get frustrating. The end really isn't the end kind of thing? :001_huh:

 

Why think about it in those terms? One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is being free of what are totally arbitrary and irrelevant constraints or limits of an institutional school system. Knowledge, learning and skills are not divided into years or curricula or anything else.

 

You could wait until you do finish the book to give her a "reward" so she will be celebrating finishing a particular book. You could give a break and reward even if you haven't finsihed if she has worked hard for a whole school year. You don't need to tie her sense of accomplishment to those kinds of arbitrary milestones - pick ones that are meaningful for your situation.

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but regret NOT being rigorous!!! I wasn't rigorous enough with the older kids who are now teens. It set up bad habits in all areas. I was too lax and more focused on making homeschooling fun. I sent them to ps as a single mom thinking that they would get a "better" education there and now they are beyond a lost cause in all areas right now...I am still praying for miracles though.

 

With this next set of kids, they started out with ps so they had the structure of school etc but academics was weak in my opinion so now I am spending all my homeschool time going back to the basics with them. Not fun having to do phonics at entering 5th grade. We could be doing so much more fun research type like projects than having to go back and learn all the phonics and grammar and this is so that they can read the books that they need to and write up what information they learned from the research. Until they get the basics down, they won't be able to do the research complex work that I find think is more fun. This last year has been more about me prying those A to Z mystery books, Junie B Jones, and Abby Hayes, Diary of a Wimply kid from them and getting them to read something more substantial and be able to understand what they are reading. Right now, one of my 10yr old is reading Hatchet and the series, the other ten year old is reading Doll People and the 8yrs old is finishing Dr. Doolittle.

 

Maybe by my third set of kids I will get it right!!!:lol:

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