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Lazy Oldest Child (11) ~ needs more work!

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So my oldest child (a girl ~ turning 11 in 2 weeks) doesn't fit the typical First Born stereotypes. (My second child,9 yo girl, however, does. sigh!) We're using Sonlight Core E this year & loving it, but I'm challenged. Oldest (Z) reads very quickly and rushes through her work. Second child (A) reads more slowly and this core is an overall good pace for her. I also have two youngers (K and 1st graders), so my one-on-one time is a little limited. 


Oldest needs some more work. We haven't added Latin yet ... is there a program that's pretty independent that she could start in on?


Any other ideas? I'm wanting to create more work (that's meaningful, not just busy work) for HER, not for me. :)


Thanks, folks. I'm only here on rare occasion, but am always so grateful for the wisdom and insight your perspectives and experiences lend.



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Well, I am not sure Latin or any foreign language, would be a great thing to start independently. My elder son is now almost independent with Latin, but that is after years of study together.


I am not familiar with Sonlight or what Core E means, but I will assume it is a complete curriculum and that science and math and grammar are all covered? If she is 'rushing' through her work because she is a fast reader, that doesn't sound 'lazy'. It sounds like she is smart and can get her work done efficiently. If she is done with her work then maybe she can spend some time studying something that she finds interesting. If she is a language kid, maybe she would like to start a creative writing program. Peace Hill Press has one. Maybe she would like to do some music appreciation or study drawing?


Maybe you could brainstorm with her and see what she thinks. At 11 she is old enough to be asked her opinion.


If she is 'rushing' through her work so she can get back to the important work of reading interesting novels (something I might know something about) I would say let her. I think that is one of the benefits of homeschooling.  An 11 year old brain is becoming a teenage brain and it needs lots of processing and downtime. As long as she is meeting her academic obligations, and you don't say that she isn't, then I am not seeing the 'lazy'. Maybe she has earned the free time.


Or, maybe she needs a great academic challenge. If you do think she needs a greater overall academic challenge, then I am a big fan of going deeper, not doing more. That would mean perhaps more challenging novels, slightly longer writing assignments, a more challenging composition program, a more difficult (not necessarily excelled) math program, more hands on science. However, none of that means less work for you. With her only being 10 almost 11, increasing her academic challenge very well might mean increasing her need for you to be her facilitator. A middle school kid who needs challenge often needs discussion time and a space to talk and make connections. It means you leading discussion and drawing her ideas out and letting her find the fun of talking about ideas. It might mean finding ways to support her in doing some real science and that can mean time and space are needed.

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Thanks for the input. Red Squirrel, I think you raise several good points. She really isn't lazy, she's just very clever and bright :) I think your point about possibly needing a greater academic challenge may be close to home ... and I'm just not really sure how to go about it, and maintain my sanity! (truth be told, maybe I'm the lazy one ~ or just feeling very stretched, having the other kids ... I'm sure there's got to be a board/conversation thread here about that?!)


Thanks for the other suggestions as well ~ I have a few other things I can add to her schedule (including art, which she loves). The Creative Writer program through Peace Hill Press looks intriguing as well. Her writing could be beefed up some. Admittedly, I've not pushed her much, as it's been easier on me to keep her and my 9yo together in most subjects, but over the last 6-8 months or so there has been a marked growth and change in her in a number of ways. I guess that's what happens, huh?!


Thanks again,


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Admittedly, I've not pushed her much, as it's been easier on me to keep her and my 9yo together in most subjects, but over the last 6-8 months or so there has been a marked growth and change in her in a number of ways. 


My oldest made several leaps in ability & focus over a year ago & I realized I had to de-couple her from her next-closest-in-age younger sibling. I actually did that in Latin before the end of that school year (5th grade) so she could continue at her own pace. She's been 'by herself' ever since. (And she didn't love it as much as she thought she would.)


There was such a gap that occurred that I HAD to separate them. It does allow me to push her more, but I, too, don't have a ton of time. I have attempted to get her more independent in some things, while still keeping our contact with each other steady. (I don't always do very well with this.) I second the recommendation to see what SHE would like to do - and I wouldn't necessarily just add things to fill up her day. We have a full day, but my eldest is easily distractable  :tongue_smilie: so for-fun books are sometimes found in her hand when she should be doing her assigned schoolwork. 


Kids are very different from one another. I find I have to remember that constantly because while I would like for them to be more like DH :001_tt1: , they are sometimes way too much like me!  :smash:

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Andrew Pudewa, at a recent talk, recommended structuring time, not content.  What a gift if your daughter has too much time!  There are so many things I would love to do with my kids if time permitted.  If she is already getting the fundamentals, ask her what she is interested in studying.  Find some interesting materials (library books, science supplies, whatever...) and tell her school lasts until _PM.  Then tell her she has to fill the time making with worthwhile activities.  You can require a paragraph on what she learned at the end of the week, or a video report, or an art project...whatever appeals to your child to motivate actual progress.

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