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I feel like I've failed... what now?


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I'm breaking my own rules right now and using words like "behind" and comparing my 9 yo DD to PS kids. It's just that kind of cruddy day. Cut me some slack ok?

 

SO... she's writing at a 1st/2nd grade level (when I can get her to write without whining and crying). Math is a little better (early 3rd grade level, so not *horribly* behind, but still... behind. Her spelling is sort of okay... plenty of mistakes, but her misspellings are definitely understandable (she has a good ear for phonics).

 

But, the PROBLEM is she wants to go back to public school. Um.... no. (1) The school is a testing obsessed, socially questionable PIT. (2) Even if we were okay with (1) - and we're not - she'd need to be placed in 3rd grade this fall as a 10 year old.

 

Here's her POV: She says she can't learn, school just isn't for her (homeschool or ANY formal school).

 

I want to beat my head against a brick wall. I am trying SO hard to meet her where she's at. She's a creative soul with a bend toward engineering and building. She's got this crazy, inventive intelligence that alternately cracks me up and blows my mind. She's a beautiful, unique soul. She is bright and interesting. And I'm failing her. But, on the other hand, she needs to put forth a bit more effort, too. Homeschooling her feels like a one-woman show (me doing all the work). Sometimes it feels like a boxing match. Either way, it sucks.

 

I don't know what to do.

 

Please be nice to me.

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Don't blame yourself!!!!

 

First of all, I have a DD who is 8, in PS, heading for 3rd grade next year. She has some LD, and is "behind" her peers in everything academic, way ahead in everything athletic. Reading and writing she is at a first grade level, math she is even further behind. We have tried homeschool and PS with her. Going into PS WILL NOT solve problems of being behind. Far from it. We have had to engage in afterschooling and tutoring just to keep DD from testing at a Kindy level. Neither will going to PS solve the problem of a child who doesn't like school. We have decided to keep our DD in PS because she loves it there, because we have a great school, and because she gets lots of support for her LD. If she didn't love it there, or it was a crappy school, NO WAY.

 

If you are committed to homeschool, WHO CARES what "grade" your DD is in?! Meet her where she is at! Keep your work expectations high for her, but lower your grade-level expectations. In other words, make it clear that you expect her to do XX number of math problems, but go ahead and let her cruise through some fist grade problems (or even Kindy!) that you know she can master. Do not let her get out of reading out loud, but let her read some level 1 easy readers that you know she can read with confidence. Read out loud to her from books that she might be able to read herself. Have her practice spelling words that you know she can learn quickly. Go back over your phonics lessons. Let her win at school for a few weeks in a row before giving her more challenging material. Praise her. Reward her. Scool is HER job, not yours. You are here to cheer her on and hand her more books.

 

Hang in there!

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Start where you are. First take spring break and figure out how to tweak things. One of my older boys was exactly like that at the same age. A couple years later everything clicked and he probably gained 3 grade levels in one year. PM me if you want to brainstorm curriculum that worked for him.

Just don't freak out- you can do this- and the solution isn't necessarily public school.

 

Jen

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What types of programs have you been using for her? She sounds much like one of mine at that age. I found the way to effectively educate her was to completely rethink my idea of presenting the material. We spent a lot of time in interest led, project based learning. It really allowed her to learn in a way that was meaningful for her and built so much confidence. Have you ever tried anything like that?

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What types of programs have you been using for her? She sounds much like one of mine at that age. I found the way to effectively educate her was to completely rethink my idea of presenting the material. We spent a lot of time in interest led, project based learning. It really allowed her to learn in a way that was meaningful for her and built so much confidence. Have you ever tried anything like that?

 

I lean this way. Also, why does she want to go to school?

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Is she doing chores and learning how to WORK? Academics isn't the easiest way to teach a child to work.

 

I've been in really co-dependant situations with children/students. I narrow things down, set smaller goals, learn to teach better those fewer and easier topics, and teach with passion and desperation. The student that needs to be spoon fed is not a student that needs to "keep up", because until they learn to WORK, they aren't going anywhere big and bad if you KWIM?

 

Finish school early and have them wash the floors, walls and ceiling if you run out of things for them to wash. Get them a needy animal to care for if possible. Find ways to WORK that are not academic.

 

I don't think you are failing her. You are ONE person in your daughters life and she is being influenced by a WORLD and has her own unique biological strengths, weaknesses and personality.

 

Do your best and that is all YOU are expected to do. Your best STOPS when the pain starts. Pain is a symptom of self-negect, and all forms of neglect are wrong, including and maybe especially self-neglect.

 

I'd set an earlier bed time and a strict media curfew, until she can prove she can handle the schedule she is keeping now. Lack of sleep in mind numbing. Make her drink several glasses of water a day.

 

When I feel myself sinking into that "one-woman show" I stop focusing on academics and deal with the character, mental health and physical health of the student, until I get them back on track, or I'm just wasting my time and strength. I start on daily rhythm first, for me and the student. I'm loving but FIRM and tell them I will not ENABLE them.

 

:grouphug:

 

Ignore me if my reading between the lines and faulty memory is causing me to speak wrongly. Just take this as a buffet, and taste anything that looks useful and decline the rest.

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It helps him to know that his struggles are not his fault or a sign of laziness or stupidity, etc.

 

 

Once we determined that dd had dyscalculia it took such a huge weight off of her mind. She realized that she struggled for a reason...before it felt like no matter how hard she tried it was never enough, so she just gave up.

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At that age my son's work spanned about five grade levels. It felt exhausting most of the time. Behind, ahead, bright unique child, not gifted, not motivated. We did almost no writing at that age. I pulled out some stops. I said my son will not be behind because of X. He had great comprehension but didn't read well. I read to him. We did nature study a lot and got out into the world. We worked on building things together, spending as much time together not doing academics as we did in "school".

 

I also decided to set some limits on school time. I know some people are able to blend life and school, but for my son I needed to define some school hours. He also had to read for 30 minutes each weekday evening. I helped him find strengths and interests that weren't classical or academic. I cried in the closet a lot.

 

I never put two demanding subjects back to back. Math and writing were done at totally separate time, with a fun subject in between. I wanted ds to trust me, that I could guide him through this education thing, even when I felt like I'd let him down.

 

Quit comparing! If you haven't already look into books like Strong Willed Child or Dreamer, The Edison Trait (now called something else), and rejoice that your child is unique (like everyone else as ds would say). Build that, read biographies of unique women. Quit thinking about grade levels and meet her where she is. You have not failed her.

 

Public school was never an option at that age. I knew he'd be in remedial classes for one subject, be bored in another if he didn't miss it entirely. His esteem would have been shot because he'd been labeled as slow. I don't like that term, I prefer to think of it as maturing at their own pace. I would not discount some LDs if you haven't explored that already. Then there is the stubborn child, like mine. Ds had to be told why everything was important. Every subject, why do I have to? He still asks why all the time. He keeps me on my toes.

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At that age my son's work spanned about five grade levels. It felt exhausting most of the time. Behind, ahead, bright unique child, not gifted, not motivated.

 

I so LOL'ed at this. I have, at various times (and even at various hours on the same day), wondered if DS10 was a prodigy or...um...euphemism alert...not a prodigy. :lol:

 

I also decided to set some limits on school time. I know some people are able to blend life and school, but for my son I needed to define some school hours.

 

I helped him find strengths and interests that weren't classical or academic. I cried in the closet a lot.

 

This was a huge help here too. Setting school hours in stone has the wonderful side effect of setting free-time in stone too! :D I agree with finding their gifts too, and then finding ways for them to feel proud of themselves every day. Hobbies go a long way toward helping here.

 

Strong Willed Child or Dreamer, The Edison Trait (now called something else)

 

Yes, shiny! Read these, if you have not.

 

http://www.amazon.com/Strong-Willed-Child-Dreamer-Dana-Spears/dp/0785277005/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1364260696&sr=8-1&keywords=Strong+Willed+Child+or+Dreamer

 

http://www.amazon.com/Dreamers-Discoverers-Dynamos-Problems-Formerly/dp/0345405730/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1364260340&sr=8-2&keywords=Edison+trait

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Lots of good advice given.

 

I'll add: let her know PS isn't an option, take it off the table. Work to find a solution that works for her. Ignore grade levels. Insist she work at her best, not some mold society thinks she should fit in. Give encouragement when she struggles, praise when she's working hard, work at good communication both ways. Baby steps are still steps toward the goal. Teach character to work toward those goals. For the things she excels at, let her run with them. In the end, graduation and leaving home, it won't matter what level of x she did at age 10, but what kind of adult she has become. ((hugs))

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I want to beat my head against a brick wall. I am trying SO hard to meet her where she's at. She's a creative soul with a bend toward engineering and building. She's got this crazy, inventive intelligence that alternately cracks me up and blows my mind. She's a beautiful, unique soul. She is bright and interesting. And I'm failing her. But, on the other hand, she needs to put forth a bit more effort, too. Homeschooling her feels like a one-woman show (me doing all the work). Sometimes it feels like a boxing match. Either way, it sucks.

 

 

First, :grouphug:

 

My son wasn't behind at different points, but we have butted heads MAJORLY. You're not alone.

 

A couple of other people mentioned possible testing for learning disabilities. I think testing would be a good idea...and there could be some 2E issues going on as well (comment in red makes me think this as a possibility). I'd encourage some testing. I've been told to test when you have a question. Sounds like you've got a few. Different types of tests at different times have been helpful for us.

 

I understand about wanting some effort from the dratted kid. :cursing: and then :crying:

Figuring out different approaches to get buy in is needed. Brainstorm possibilities... either together or separately. What we've got at this point is my son earns marbles for getting his schoolwork done. These can be redeemed on the weekends: 1 marble = 15 min of video game time. We needed something that was positive reinforcement. I'll also sometimes give marbles for good questions, good attitude, good effort.

 

Again, :grouphug: . And hope tomorrow is better.

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If my child was in PS and was behind (and did not have any learning challenges that need to be addressed), I would hire a tutor to work with them and set out a plan to get them caught up over a reasonable period of time. So, I would consider doing that with a HS child too - focusing on reading comprehension, writing and math. Having someone else to assist, assess and make suggestions may help you, and having another adult to be accountable to may help your daughter.

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A reading tutor for my son has been extremely helpful. His progress has been slow, but steady. It's been nearly 18 months and he's reading on grade level now. For awhile I just stepped back completely (from reading, not everything), but after several months I was able to start supplementing his reading/writing at home.

 

I don't think you can say you've failed a child who is only 9. Reading disabilities can mean that a child isn't ready to read until about that age.

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Oh dear, it has taken me so long to write this (I kept getting interrupted) that you already have had lots of advice. I have not read any of the previous posts, so I hope I am not repeating what has already been said.....

 

I have been where you are. My youngest is a very sensitive child who internalizes failure. It came out when we were at speech therapy for his stutter that our standards were too high and causing anxiety which was aggravating his stutter. The therapist told us to reduce expectations across the board: academics, chores, behaviour, the works. We did this for 2 years which helped immensely with his speech; however, the side effect was a child that was behind academically and not very motivated in much. A wise friend of mine told me that it would take at least 2 years to bring my ds's attitude towards work and learning back up to an acceptable level. This I have achieved! It has been a long hard slog, but I will tell you that of all the things in my life that I have accomplished, this is the one thing I am most proud of.

 

First of all, you need to change your attitude. You have not failed anyone. How do you know that it would not have been worse at school? You just need to LOSE this feeling. I am *serious*, she can see it, even if subconsciously, and it is affecting her. If you have to, keep a diary of her small accomplishments and improvements to convince yourself that improvement is occurring. You MUST change.

 

Second, you need to change her attitude. IMHO, attitude is EVERYTHING. I would definitely worry more about attitude than academics at this age. Talk to her about incentives that she would like to earn for a good attitude. I talked to my ds about how lots of people give themselves incentives to encourage themselves in some way - to lose weight, to save money, etc. The incentive needs to be HER choice, she needs to *want* to change. In my house for every subject that is done with a good attitude, my ds gets a tick. A certain number of ticks gets a prize. At first it was a link in his paper chain that we hung in the lounge. Every person who came in commented on the chain, and he got to say that each chain represented a good attitude. It was such a public display of his success. Currently, 100 ticks=1 icecream parlour visit. Last year he saved up his ticks to get up to 400 so he could take the whole family out to icecream. (it was very cute). The trick is that HE had to evaluate after every subject if his attitude was good enough to earn the tick. It needs to be internal.

 

Third, IMHO you need to start over with academics. Drop all things she struggles with for 2 weeks and focus on what she does well. She needs to have success. Start with 10 minutes with a positive attitude. Then 20, then 30 etc. I would start with only 30 minutes of work from her, and then maybe an hour of you reading to her. Whatever. Just REDUCE. Reduce to the point of positive attitude. Then slowly, slowly, slowly build up with the academics. I know you are feeling pressured because she is behind, but she will stay behind if she has no desire to learn. Focus on the big picture. She MUST develop a good attitude.

 

Fourth, for any subject that she is truly behind in, like writing, you need to break it down into all the different elements and assess her informally. For writing: how is her hand strength? her copying ability? her composition skill? her summarizing skill? the beauty of her language? her spelling? grammar? punctuation? handwriting? etc. Given that she is 10, I would involve her in this assessment. Make a chart, have her rank her skill from 1 to 5 for each skill. Focus on the glass being half full -- meaning focus on what she can do, not what she struggles with. Then work with her to come up with a plan. Is her hand strength poor? What does she want to do to improve this? She could do coloring for 20 minutes a day, she could work with squeezing silly putty etc, she could copy out beautiful poems. What does she want to do to remediate her problem? Make sure that it is a separate goal for each piece that she struggles with. And each piece earns a separate tick for good attitude. Then reassess her every 6 weeks or so, and keep an ongoing chart for her to see. This will help her see what she has accomplished, which is so important to motivation.

 

I could go on and on as I have lived this for years, but I won't. Good luck! And remember that homeschooling is hard work!

 

Ruth in NZ

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A couple of other people mentioned possible testing for learning disabilities. I think testing would be a good idea...and there could be some 2E issues going on as well (comment in red makes me think this as a possibility). I'd encourage some testing. I've been told to test when you have a question. Sounds like you've got a few. Different types of tests at different times have been helpful for us.

 

 

:iagree: This is exactly what I thought. If there is any way you can do it, I would pursue neurological testing by someone experienced with 2e children so you can find out exactly what her strengths and weaknesses are and understand how to address them.

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Is she doing chores and learning how to WORK? Academics isn't the easiest way to teach a child to work.

 

I've been in really co-dependant situations with children/students. I narrow things down, set smaller goals, learn to teach better those fewer and easier topics, and teach with passion and desperation. The student that needs to be spoon fed is not a student that needs to "keep up", because until they learn to WORK, they aren't going anywhere big and bad if you KWIM?

 

Finish school early and have them wash the floors, walls and ceiling if you run out of things for them to wash. Get them a needy animal to care for if possible. Find ways to WORK that are not academic.

 

 

Thanks for your post. That is exactly what I resolved this weekend to work on with my son.

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Is she doing chores and learning how to WORK? Academics isn't the easiest way to teach a child to work.

 

I've been in really co-dependant situations with children/students. I narrow things down, set smaller goals, learn to teach better those fewer and easier topics, and teach with passion and desperation. The student that needs to be spoon fed is not a student that needs to "keep up", because until they learn to WORK, they aren't going anywhere big and bad if you KWIM?

 

Finish school early and have them wash the floors, walls and ceiling if you run out of things for them to wash. Get them a needy animal to care for if possible. Find ways to WORK that are not academic.

 

I don't think you are failing her. You are ONE person in your daughters life and she is being influenced by a WORLD and has her own unique biological strengths, weaknesses and personality.

 

Do your best and that is all YOU are expected to do. Your best STOPS when the pain starts. Pain is a symptom of self-negect, and all forms of neglect are wrong, including and maybe especially self-neglect.

 

I'd set an earlier bed time and a strict media curfew, until she can prove she can handle the schedule she is keeping now. Lack of sleep in mind numbing. Make her drink several glasses of water a day.

 

 

This is such good advice. We are dealing with this right now with dd. We are requiring her to actually WORK more (just started chores this past year, got her a dog that she has been begging for and needs to take care of- she is 11 years old, she can handle it) but all of these are bringing out major character issues. She just absolutely doesn't want to work. Period. She gets frustrated easily- with schoolwork and with normal, daily activities that she is perfectly capable of handling. She is stubborn and just refuses to do what she doesn't want to do. That certainly isn't helping her learn how to deal with life, and it doesn't help the family dynamic.

 

She also needs a LOT of sleep. If we reduce her sleep by even 30 minutes, we start to notice it within a couple of days. She needs 11 hours a night, minimum.

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Hunter is right in, IMO. I notice a big improvement around here when my dc are given meaningful work. One is primarily responsible for the family dog and the other was able to adopt a cat for Christmas because we knew he NEEDED the responsibility/work. It does extend beyond academic when it comes to putting forth effort.

 

You are not failing at all. Third grade is a pivotal change for many kids. It's the age when math becomes more challenging, learning is expected to be more independent, siblings become more annoying, the world is not as friendly, the child wants more interaction with peers and wants to fit in. This year my ds (who has never been to school and is doing great with his lessons and classes) asked to go to school. He actually cried about it. It was heartbreaking for me because Dh was concerned and I knew our local ps- and private schools for that matter- couldn't meet his academic needs the way we were able to at home and with outside classes. Ds thrives on challenge, hates repetition, is advanced in many areas, and at grade level in others. No way a school with more than 7 kids in a class would meet his needs.

 

I'd ride this out with her. Be very clear that going to ps is not an option (maybe let her know exactly why), but you are willing to meet her needs by signing her up for science classes that focus on design/engineering, for example. Can you do this? Can you find classes based on her interests that will give her time with peers? That would be my first step.

 

My next step would be to figure out why she doesn't think she's good at school work. Has she been tested a lot? Can you remove the testing from her life? Can you look into a curriculum/program better suited to meet her needs? Personally, I'd be looking into something as vastly different from standardized public school Ed as possible so she starts to associate learning with something entirely different than textbooks and tests, primarily so she can enjoy learning and see herself as someone who likes to learn. That's important. Are you interested at all in offering her a literature-based program? Without testing and workbooks? I love Charlotte Mason's literature-based methods that utilize narration instead of comprehension tests/questions, but there are other excellent lit-based and creative methods out there.

 

Lastly, did she have a chance to de-school after you brought her home from ps? Your comment about how she doesn't see herself as a good student makes me think she didn't get enough of a break from the public school mentality to fully embrace learning again. Ps can do that to a child- I didn't realize how much I loved learning until I was years out of college.

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I just got off the phone with the Special Ed. dept at our local PS district. She's emailing me a pre-referral form to get the ball rolling. This was prompted by today's meltdown. I decided to backtrack with DD, review/reinforce ONE spelling/phonics rule that she's already covered earlier this year but forgotten. Today was for the ending /k/ sound, after a short vowel write ck. I used a little white board, went really slow, showed some examples and she almost immediately started tugging at her hair, squeezed her eyes shut and kept saying, "Noooo. This is too hard."

 

So, on the one hand my mother's heart breaks when she does this.

 

On the other hand, I think I'm being played. She learned this rule *easily* last fall. We just hadn't reviewed it in awhile so she forgot. I don't think today's short lesson was worthy of all the immediate drama.

 

We ending up having long talk about her education. She thinks she's not getting a good education at home. (Gee, y'think?!) I told her public school is not an option, so we need to find a way to make home schooling work. I pointed out that you get out of it what you put into it, and she needs to own her education instead of blaming me. I told her we can start all the way back at the very beginning in everything, if that's what she needs. But, I still need to see her putting forth EFFORT. I don't mind if it takes her a long time to learn something. I *do* mind a lousy attitude. I told her that I'll meet her where she's at, but she has to show up, too. I can't do the learning FOR her.

 

So, anyway, we're going to get her tested for learning disabilities just in case something's going on. But, honestly, I'm feeling totally fed up at the moment.

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Is she doing chores and learning how to WORK? Academics isn't the easiest way to teach a child to work.

 

I've been in really co-dependant situations with children/students. I narrow things down, set smaller goals, learn to teach better those fewer and easier topics, and teach with passion and desperation. The student that needs to be spoon fed is not a student that needs to "keep up", because until they learn to WORK, they aren't going anywhere big and bad if you KWIM?

 

Finish school early and have them wash the floors, walls and ceiling if you run out of things for them to wash. Get them a needy animal to care for if possible. Find ways to WORK that are not academic.

 

I don't think you are failing her. You are ONE person in your daughters life and she is being influenced by a WORLD and has her own unique biological strengths, weaknesses and personality.

 

Do your best and that is all YOU are expected to do. Your best STOPS when the pain starts. Pain is a symptom of self-negect, and all forms of neglect are wrong, including and maybe especially self-neglect.

 

I'd set an earlier bed time and a strict media curfew, until she can prove she can handle the schedule she is keeping now. Lack of sleep in mind numbing. Make her drink several glasses of water a day.

 

When I feel myself sinking into that "one-woman show" I stop focusing on academics and deal with the character, mental health and physical health of the student, until I get them back on track, or I'm just wasting my time and strength. I start on daily rhythm first, for me and the student. I'm loving but FIRM and tell them I will not ENABLE them.

 

:grouphug:

 

Ignore me if my reading between the lines and faulty memory is causing me to speak wrongly. Just take this as a buffet, and taste anything that looks useful and decline the rest.

 

All of this awesome. Thank you for taking the time to share this with me. You should write a book. Seriously.

 

So, today was a bad day (school-wise) and I'm on the sofa with the laptop looking through the French doors at our messy backyard. I think homefry is doing some yard work today. Maybe it will help her. Definitely can't hurt. I.feel.so.DONE. This whole situation feels almost abusive to me, you know? When I consider a new way to teach her something (anything!) my stomach is tied up in knots because in those situations, 9 times out of 10 her response is rude, whiny and ungrateful. The rest of the time she's a normal, generally pleasant 9 year old.

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My oldest never wanted to do school work, and she won't work for money either as an adult unless she is dead broke and HAS to. She is very smart, especially in math, and very creative. I really blew it with her as far as allowing her to attend ps high school because I knew she was not academic anyway, so why not let her enjoy the social things she loved so much about school? PS was a DISASTER for her, although, sadly she thinks she got a great education.

 

If I had it to do over with her I would not bear so much responsibility for her in these middle years. I used to sit with her for three hours a day, basically ignoring my other children, to get her through her reading and LA which she hated. I also would not give her lunch until she was finished with a certain amount of school work. I would give her water and fruit to stave off hunger and keep her blood sugar level until she had finished all of her reading and LA, since she hated doing them so much, but she loved a hot lunch. I got her to do a lot of school work this way, but I resented her and she was always glad to get away from me when school was done so it really took a tole on our relationship. Also, it hurt my other kids because she soaked up large chunks of my time.

 

I think that she does need other responsibilities as another poster noted.

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Argh. The little twerp was playing me. About an hour or so after the first attempt at school, we sat down to repeat the same lesson, except this time I told her to try spelling sick (she got it correct).... then I gave her a bunch more short vowel - ending /k/ words. She nailed them. Briefly discussed long vowel / ke pattern. She nailed that, too.

 

She just doesn't want to put forth effort. We used to do poetry memorization. I think today I'll have her start memorizing Attitude by Chuck Swindoll:

 

 

ATTITUDE

 

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

 

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

 

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

 

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.

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This whole situation feels almost abusive to me, you know?

 

I totally get it. My kid was smarter than me, plain and simple, and he used his abilities and my fears to manipulate me. Just before I gave up and just took him to take the GED, he was laughing and mocking me about the co-dependant relationship we had fallen into.

 

I found myself falling right back in to the same patterns with a couple of my tutoring students last year.

 

I have found that our relationships with children can mirror our relationships with adults. The children watch how we interact with adults and treat us the same way others do. We have fallen into patterns with adults that we also fall into with children.

 

I've been applying a lot of trauma recovery work to my teaching with good results. Not only has it been good for me, but it's been good for my students, too, indirectly and directly.

 

EDIT: OOOPS! :lol: I guess I was being repetitive from an earlier post in the thread. I took some out.

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My oldest never wanted to do school work, and she won't work for money either as an adult unless she is dead broke and HAS to. She is very smart, especially in math, and very creative. I really blew it with her as far as allowing her to attend ps high school because I knew she was not academic anyway, so why not let her enjoy the social things she loved so much about school? PS was a DISASTER for her, although, sadly she thinks she got a great education.

 

If I had it to do over with her I would not bear so much responsibility for her in these middle years. I used to sit with her for three hours a day, basically ignoring my other children, to get her through her reading and LA which she hated. I also would not give her lunch until she was finished with a certain amount of school work. I would give her water and fruit to stave off hunger and keep her blood sugar level until she had finished all of her reading and LA, since she hated doing them so much, but she loved a hot lunch. I got her to do a lot of school work this way, but I resented her and she was always glad to get away from me when school was done so it really took a tole on our relationship. Also, it hurt my other kids because she soaked up large chunks of my time.

 

I think that she does need other responsibilities as another poster noted.

 

This all sounds sadly familiar!

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Argh. The little twerp was playing me. About an hour or so after the first attempt at school, we sat down to repeat the same lesson, except this time I told her to try spelling sick (she got it correct).... then I gave her a bunch more short vowel - ending /k/ words. She nailed them. Briefly discussed long vowel / ke pattern. She nailed that, too.

 

She just doesn't want to put forth effort. We used to do poetry memorization. I think today I'll have her start memorizing Attitude by Chuck Swindoll:

 

 

ATTITUDE

 

The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life.

 

Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company... a church... a home.

 

The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.

 

And so it is with you... we are in charge of our attitudes.

 

 

Love that poem. I think I need to print it out and hang it up.

 

Unfortunately, I understand how you feel. My kids sometimes decide that they are not going to do something or that they cannot do something, even if they are perfectly capable. It is all about attitude. My oldest is still sitting with his math dragging it out for hours needlessly. I just try to make sure that they are the only ones that suffer for their choices and minimize the effect it has on me. ((hugs))

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This was prompted by today's meltdown. I decided to backtrack with DD, review/reinforce ONE spelling/phonics rule that she's already covered earlier this year but forgotten. Today was for the ending /k/ sound, after a short vowel write ck. I used a little white board, went really slow, showed some examples and she almost immediately started tugging at her hair, squeezed her eyes shut and kept saying, "Noooo. This is too hard."

 

So, on the one hand my mother's heart breaks when she does this.

 

On the other hand, I think I'm being played.

 

 

I have been there. For YEARS. You did not respond to my previous post, so not sure if you have questions about what I was saying, but let me write to this problem. You dd sounds like she has *no* self esteem. My mother always said, and I agree, that you get self esteem by achievement not by being told "you are so great." I think that your dd needs to start having activities that she can actually achieve at. Activities where you do NOT help. If she is anything like the way my little boy was, if you are near, she is not able. So for school work, start with 5 minutes of something that she can do on her own. Can she copy a poem? Can she do math drill? I would suggest something that does not require a lot of thinking, but rather something that is kind of brainless. Because then it is about an internal fight about doing the work rather than confusion about solving a problem which leads to excuses that she can't do it. So IMHO when you did the lesson on phonics, she could play you. She could give forth no effort because you were doing all the work. So I would avoid those types of lessons for a bit until she shows some involvement in her learning.

 

Personally, I would set a buzzer for 5 minutes, and if she can copy with full focus in that time, then she gets to put a ring on her paper chain. Then go read to her on the sofa, and 15 minutes later set the buzzer for 5 more minutes, and have her work independently again. You can sit in the room if this is required, but there must be a rule about no talking, or she will try to get you to take the initiative. It must be her internal fight. If she can achieve 5 minutes, she gets to put another chain on. etc. You are working towards her internalizing the need to work. Make sure that she knows the schedule and what is expected of her and what will be the rewards. She must choose the reward and she must evaluate her effort.

 

I would also suggest that you get her involved in some other activity that she could achieve at - knitting, cooking, gymnastics, etc. She needs to build up some self esteem and she will only do this by working and achieving.

 

Ruth in NZ

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I have been there. For YEARS. You did not respond to my previous post, so not sure if you have questions about what I was saying, but let me write to this problem. You dd sounds like she has *no* self esteem. My mother always said, and I agree, that you get self esteem by achievement not by being told "you are so great." I think that your dd needs to start having activities that she can actually achieve at. Activities where you do NOT help. If she is anything like the way my little boy was, if you are near, she is not able. So for school work, start with 5 minutes of something that she can do on her own. Can she copy a poem? Can she do math drill? I would suggest something that does not require a lot of thinking, but rather something that is kind of brainless. Because then it is about an internal fight about doing the work rather than confusion about solving a problem which leads to excuses that she can't do it. So IMHO when you did the lesson on phonics, she could play you. She could give forth no effort because you were doing all the work. So I would avoid those types of lessons for a bit until she shows some involvement in her learning.

 

Personally, I would set a buzzer for 5 minutes, and if she can copy with full focus in that time, then she gets to put a ring on her paper chain. Then go read to her on the sofa, and 15 minutes later set the buzzer for 5 more minutes, and have her work independently again. You can sit in the room if this is required, but there must be a rule about no talking, or she will try to get you to take the initiative. It must be her internal fight. If she can achieve 5 minutes, she gets to put another chain on. etc. You are working towards her internalizing the need to work. Make sure that she knows the schedule and what is expected of her and what will be the rewards. She must choose the reward and she must evaluate her effort.

 

I would also suggest that you get her involved in some other activity that she could achieve at - knitting, cooking, gymnastics, etc. She needs to build up some self esteem and she will only do this by working and achieving.

 

Ruth in NZ

 

Sorry I didn't get back to this thread sooner. I've been letting all the advice simmer.

 

DD has many things she is great at, especially relating to art and design. She even designed a method to "cro-knit," by using a crochet hook to produce a fabric that looks similar to knitting. It's incredibly cool.

 

The area she has no self-esteem is academics. I am going to to try your idea of independent work 5 minutes at a time.

 

I had a thought. What if it's not too hard (even though that's her constant refrain). What if it's too easy and she's bored, but she knows crying "too hard! too hard!" will tug at my heart strings and eventually lead me to put the loathsome assignment away. ETA: Or what if it's insulting to her to be working from a 1st grade language arts book, for example, when she knows she'd be in 3rd/4th grade if she were in traditional school.

 

Lots to think about. Thanks to EVERYONE for the empathy and suggestions. I appreciate all of it.

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Sorry I didn't get back to this thread sooner. I've been letting all the advice simmer.

 

DD has many things she is great at, especially relating to art and design. She even designed a method to "cro-knit," by using a crochet hook to produce a fabric that looks similar to knitting. It's incredibly cool.

 

The area she has no self-esteem is academics. I am going to to try your idea of independent work 5 minutes at a time.

 

I had a thought. What if it's not too hard (even though that's her constant refrain). What if it's too easy and she's bored, but she knows crying "too hard! too hard!" will tug at my heart strings and eventually lead me to put the loathsome assignment away.

 

Lots to think about. Thanks to EVERYONE for the empathy and suggestions. I appreciate all of it.

 

My DS10 used to say "too hard" all the time, but when faced with a deadline and reward, he could whip through the "too hard" work like lightning, getting everything right. What I finally realized (after lots of reading) is that what he meant by too hard was that it was too hard to focus on his work because it was too easy. Too easy equals boring, and bored equals hard to focus.

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One more thing: we had a good talk a few days ago and it came out that she wants to see a 4 (as in 4th grade) on her school books. I explained that I made a mistake. I put her in Kindergarten (public school) when she was only 4 (turned 5 in September). I explained that was too young and I should have let her wait a year. So, although she thinks of herself as a 4th grader, many kids who are exactly her age are "3rd graders" this year. So, maybe we can call this year "3rd grade" and next year "4th grade" with books that (mostly) have a 4 on them. I pointed out that it will also give her an extra year in AWANA, and she was sold (Homefry *loves* AWANA).

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Just wanted to thank you for posting this and for all the advice that was given. I came on here to write almost the exact same post. Only referring to all 6 of my school aged children. :( I do feel like I am failing them. If we didn't have our co-op this year and the subjects that they do there, I'm not sure what our school year would look like. I'm STILL having major challenges with my ds11 (almost 12). Ds10 though reading much better this year is still "behind". Ds14 has zero interest in school, hates being homeschooled (not an option to ps in our area) and would play guitar all day if I let him. Dd16 who used to be so ahead of the game is now lagging nearly behind (I keep telling myself she is a YOUNG 11th grader due to starting school early). Ds13 couldn't care less about school either. My ds4 and dd6 are the only 2 who are somewhat "on target" in most areas. Anyway, I didn't mean to hi-jack your thread but just wanted to say thanks for all the advice here b/c I needed it, too. I feel like I need to revamp our entire schedule, curriculum, etc. And I'm not sure how to do that except a little at a time.

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I don't have any concrete advice, but I just wanted to say that I had one like that. Once I accepted that her learning pace was different and lowered my expectations, things went much better. Sometimes I would see where kids her age were at who were in PS, and I would worry. We just kept plugging along though, at the rate that was comfortable with my daughter. We made sure she was involved in lots of other extra-curricular/hobby type things, because that's what she really enjoyed and it seemed to stimulate her. Suddenly, when she was about 16 or 17, everything academically picked up. By the time she graduated, she was an A-student, and at the right level.

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I haven't read all the replies - so sorry if I am redundant.

 

I don't think you can "fail" at homeschooling unless you don't actually homeschool. By that I mean - pull the books out every day, and do the work. Math, reading, science, history, etc. Do it. Every day. How fast a kid gets it is to me - an unreasonable and unfair measure of success. Their taking longer to get something is not a big deal. If you're feeding them appropriate material every day... at a reasonable pace... with reasonable expectations... they'll get it when they're ready.

 

The great thing - is that if you haven't been consistently doing schoolwork, it's super easy to get back on track. Just do it! Super easy. Every day. I tell my kids math is as optional as brushing their teeth (which is NOT optional! LOL!). The results will be amazing.

 

(I'm also a huge fan of a rich environment when bookwork is done - minimal screens, lots of fresh air, lots of dirt, books on tape, read alouds, baking... you know the drill. It's amazing what they will pick up in a rich environment).

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