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Farrar

If I wanted something more out of the box for 7th grade

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I don't know that I do... it's hard for my head to get there. We're very DIY for everything. However, one of my boys, my ball of anxiety, just needs something different. Part of me feels like he'd maybe be happier (and, honestly, happier would mean a lot - I don't even care that much about learn better) with something more self contained, more proscribed, less negotiable feeling for him. Maybe more worksheety?

 

The only thing I'm even vaguely drawn to would be BYL, but there's no way he can do BYL 7th grade because we've just done world geography and paleontology and evolution and we've read a full half of the books or more. It just wouldn't make any sense.

 

Is there some other program I should think about? It would have to be secular. It couldn't cost an arm and a leg, just because I'm so unsure it would work. I can't imagine sinking hundreds of dollars into something that I'm so dubious would work. I thought about something like MBtP, which you can buy in 9 week units, though it looks like the 7th grade one you can't anymore. Bah.

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You may try etutor Virtual Learning, School of Choice. It is all online. I am using it with my kids and they love it.

 

Here is few samples lessons:

 

Mathematics lesson for High School students: Similarity Theorems - https://etutorunplugged.com/sample/full/similarity-theorems?etutor=true

Science lesson for Middle/Junior High School students: The Amazing Universe -https://etutorunplugged.com/sample/full/the-amazing-universe?etutor=true

Social Studies lesson for Intermediate students: What Do You Need? - https://etutorunplugged.com/sample/full/what-do-you-need?etutor=true

Language Arts lesson for Primary students: The Mouse And The Lion - https://etutorunplugged.com/sample/full/the-mouse-and-the-lion?etutor=true

 

 

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I am slightly confused. Your title says more out of the box, but you are thinking more workbooky as the solution? Are you actually wanting something less out of the box?

 

If you want something laid out with assignments that is slightly less traditional than a school at home approach, I agree with the OM suggestions.

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I understood the title to mean something like a boxed-curriculum. As in: Recommend a good 7th grade box. Am I correct?

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I don't know that I do... it's hard for my head to get there. We're very DIY for everything. However, one of my boys, my ball of anxiety, just needs something different. Part of me feels like he'd maybe be happier (and, honestly, happier would mean a lot - I don't even care that much about learn better) with something more self contained, more proscribed, less negotiable feeling for him. Maybe more worksheety?

 

The only thing I'm even vaguely drawn to would be BYL, but there's no way he can do BYL 7th grade because we've just done world geography and paleontology and evolution and we've read a full half of the books or more. It just wouldn't make any sense.

 

Is there some other program I should think about? It would have to be secular. It couldn't cost an arm and a leg, just because I'm so unsure it would work. I can't imagine sinking hundreds of dollars into something that I'm so dubious would work. I thought about something like MBtP, which you can buy in 9 week units, though it looks like the 7th grade one you can't anymore. Bah.

 

BYL's grade levels are mere suggestions. 8 is History of Science or 5 & 6 are US History - you could go either way. 

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Sorry about my rambling terms... I meant more in the box, I guess. Sigh.

 

I think a lot of the reading for BYL 8 is a little too much for him - both the nonfiction and fiction, I'm guessing half the books, he's not quite there yet for them to be just right.

 

I'll look at OM... Hm...

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So Farrar, you think he needs more...control of his days/weeks?

 

I was going to recommend OM too.  We're using OM7 world history for 2 years starting next year, along with its OM7 English (just for 7th). Def more scripted, however, he does get choices about projects/what to write about, as in "select from the following (usually 4) things:  write a newspaper article about so and so, make a screenplay, outline something or do a research paper about x" whether it's the OM English or History.  My kiddo really appreciated having the choice the last time we went round with OM (in 4th).

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Yeah, maybe. I don't know what he needs. I'd be happy to unschool him, but he would be miserable - not having things assigned would make him anxious, especially if I kept doing school with his twin (which I would). I'd be happy to give him less work or more... but no matter what, his anxiety gets in the way. Looking at OM, the reading level is right on for the books on their list, but I think there's so many projects, he does really well with that sort of thing, but he requires sooooo much encouragement to get them done because his perfectionism gets in the way. I want something that makes us interact less and puts more onus on him. I think he's better when he's working more independently and can do more checking in with me after instead of coming to me constantly to beg and whine.

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I'd love to be like, I'm a failure as a teacher! Thank goodness I have a control child in this experiment who seems to be doing fine (I mean, "fine" being relative for moody middle school boys, but I'm good with calling him "fine"). I'm excited about planning his 7th grade year.

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I have kids that like to check boxes and be scheduled. What's worked best for us is using more and more online classes. But we kind of work our way into that, adding a class or two each year.

 

I'm also drawn to planned-out resources. What subjects are you wanting him to cover next year? You may not be able to use a whole "boxed" curriculum, but could probably find a planned-out, easy-to-use curriculum for each subject, and help him plan out his assignments in a weekly planner.

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Yeah, I guess I'd be open to having something for each subject. I'd be open to unit studies. I'd be open to online classes, though I'm hesitant, thinking about his anxiety with deadlines. Sigh. Probably not a good answer...

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For Middle school science, you might want to look at Kolbe. They are Catholic, but they use secular science texts. You can buy plans for each subject which include a schedule with everything planned out for the year, answers and tests, etc. I think they have life science, earth science, and physical science.

 

For literature, maybe something like lightning lit? There are also workbooky options for grammar. Math and foreign language can usually be pretty independent, especially if you use a curriculum with video lessons.

 

Maybe you could try a mix: half his subjects independent with a planned-out text or workbook, a couple with you, and one online class. Or some other combo. Online G3 might be a nice option because their classes are single semesters - not too big of a commitment.

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Remind me which one of the twins this is. What things have worked well for him before? Is he the one who liked BA or not?

 

Yes, Mushroom. He loved Miquon and Beast Academy. But his anxiety is soooo ramped up right now. I'm not sure if Beast would be good for him at this state of mind. He has liked doing Jousting Armadillos this year, but he's had so many interruptions that I want him to go back and do a number of chapters in Dolciani and maybe some in Mathematics: A Human Endeavor, before going on to algebra. I just want him to take a pause on advancing in math.

 

Other things he's liked... Um... nothing in particular? I mean, he likes Brave Writer. He did okay with AAS and it helped his spelling a lot, though around level 5, we finally gave up. He's an atrocious speller. I've basically just accepted it. He reads pretty well, though not quickly. He really likes meaty "issue" books - think Mockingbird, Wonder, Walk Two Moons, etc. - books where people die or have issues to overcome. He likes programming. He is a whiz with the Arduino and the Rpi. He's a pretty good artist. He has a really good eye for design.

 

Basically, he's a perfectionist. I'd like to give him some curriculum that simply doesn't play to that for awhile. Projects, tests, anything "big" triggers it for him. We've gotten to where dictation and narration are pretty routine. I'd like him to have a whole curriculum that just feels routine, I think. Where nothing seems big enough to trigger that fear too much. Where it feels in his control.

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We pulled my DD from the online school because she wanted more control. She still likes checking boxes--but she has to be able to check them at her pace and not have too much put in front of her at once. She currently has a binder with a plan for the week. Some of the boxes she is expected to fill in on her own (art). Others, she chose what we are studying but I still control how (Literature), and for math, she prefers to have me organize the what and have some input in the how (i.e., games more than worksheets, and new things with lots of hand-holding, with independent review).

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Have you taken a look at History Odyssey lately? It's very routine-oriented, and gives explicit instructions about what the student is supposed to do when.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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Maybe some "do the next thing" workbooks in the different subjects?

Sounds like you have math covered.

 

Easy Grammar or Hake for Grammar.

 

Maps Charts Graphs G: The World or Maps Chart Graphs H: United States Past and Present.

 

Some anthology or something where he can read a selection and write a short summary?  I am using Graphic Canon in this way, but something else might be more your cup of tea (note:  I had to go through it and do some heavy editing with a black sharpie and rip out a selection or two.  But overall, I really like it.)  Just read the next thing, write a summary.  Repeat.

 

World History Detective or US History Detective by Critical Thinking Company.

 

Draw the USA or Draw Europe or Draw Asia.

 

HTH!

 

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Basically, he's a perfectionist. I'd like to give him some curriculum that simply doesn't play to that for awhile. Projects, tests, anything "big" triggers it for him. We've gotten to where dictation and narration are pretty routine. I'd like him to have a whole curriculum that just feels routine, I think. Where nothing seems big enough to trigger that fear too much. Where it feels in his control.

I have a kid that is similar, I posted and deleted about her last week. I don't know that her level of anxiety is as much as his but the same struggles to a lesser magnitude. I went to SWB's talk about hs'ing the real child and she made a comment about how, " You may like spontaniety and that is fun when you are in control but if you aren't in control it is just sary and not exciting." (paraphrasing b/c I'm too lazy to double check my notes) 

 

That was a bit of a gut punch for me. I have seen this year that my son has done nothing but thrive with his checklist. With having little bits of short things to check off it has revolutionized him. I realized with dd that I need that even more and I need to back up with her work and make it much easier for her. Right now is not the time to make sure she is living up to potential. Right now I need to build her confidence and bring calmness to her and our day. She needs to know what she is doing is a routine that she can accomplish successfully with minimal help from me- because feeling that she has to overly rely on me makes her feel like a failure. 

 

What it looks like at her level is that we are mostly reading through 1 book plus encylopedia for science with set assignments that we rotate through each week. History we are doing more books but a pattern to it as well. I had planned to do Treasured Conversations with her for LA but I'm pondering right now if she is ready for it. I was thinking of instead doing something like WWE or some vintage programs- daily copywork, 1x a wk dictation, oral work, etc ie mostly BW lifestyle stuff with good books as we slowly read through them- but whatever I end up choosing it will be a pattern- new things do not work well for her.

 

For your son could you find a series or one big book for the content studies for him? Could your main focus be on lit as that is his strong suite with set assignments to cycle through or perhaps a weekly assigment routine (like 8 has mentioned- Mon. research/Tues- outline/Wed- write/Thurs-edit revise. Or as another option BYL at the Gr 7 level(I have that one for my son) has them doing weekly copywork and dictation and then they have a bunch of narration cards to choose from other days. You could do the same type of thing choosing your own assignments- either make them on a schedule or make a list for him to choose from of assignments that you could pick and go over with him ahead of time. 

 

With my daughter I'm thinking- make it easy, make it predictable and make sure she has a good chunk of input on what she is doing. We are not going to be hitting creativity so much in school stuff- fun options on the side but not as things she has to do. She loves doing art and such but I don't want it to be assigned- I see nothing good coming from it- her work will be fairly old school. Steady work on skills. 

 

fwiw I also looked at OM for her as I had been sure that it would work for her before but in the end after looking at the samples again and again I realized it would be too much. Too much to do, too many options- she wants full reign over her creative stuff I think the novelty of having to do these creative assignments for school would wear off quickly. Instead we will be getting things done quickly so she has time for hobbies. I'm also leaving liberal room in our schedule for daily walks/tromps through the forest and time to be active. Something about being outside is soothing for all of us, we crave it when we start to slack. She(we really) need plenty of down time, she has been especially spazzed out lately as with the end of the year the schedule gets so crazy. She keeps telling me that she is too busy and needs less stuff to do- granted we are only doing things she wants but things get busier this time of year. For all of our sakes I've got to find some things to cut for next year- this summer I'm not even sure she is going to do anything as of now. *Maybe* an hr-2 hrs of sewing some days when I take in ds for Swimming but no night time activities.

 

eta 2- I hope this rambly mess makes sense I was multi-tasking! I've went back and edited 6x already but I need to get off my butt.

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Have you covered american history? My oldest who sounds a lot like mushroom is doing BYL 6 this year for seventh for very simillar reasons and its working out even better than I had hoped. FWIW my oldest tried OM and while we loved 5th grade 6th was a frustraiting and painful FLOP.

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 I have seen this year that my son has done nothing but thrive with his checklist. With having little bits of short things to check off it has revolutionized him. I realized with dd that I need that even more and I need to back up with her work and make it much easier for her. Right now is not the time to make sure she is living up to potential. Right now I need to build her confidence and bring calmness to her and our day. She needs to know what she is doing is a routine that she can accomplish successfully with minimal help from me- because feeling that she has to overly rely on me makes her feel like a failure. 

 

OH this a thousand times over; If I could LOVE this post I would! Soror you just described the situation with my oldest to a tee. A few weeks ago I started using Trello to create a schedule for him to work through independently and he is really blossoming!

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We do a planner with a checklist daily. It hasn't been a winner this year, alas. I mean, it's fine, but it's not like a savior thing. There's also this element of... Farrar put this on the checklist, Farrar can take it off. It's hard to figure out where the line is between his anxiety vs. his using the anxiety to get out of work. Except, why is it somehow better to scream and hit yourself for two hours than to just do a page of math or write a paragraph? Clearly, it's *not.* Sigh. Still, I think i have this dream that if I didn't make the work, maybe it would be an appeal to an outside authority. Outside authority curriculum says, do this. Maybe it would be easier for him. Maybe. Or maybe not. Who knows. It might just become a different battle. And he's definitely not in control of himself regardless, so maybe it wouldn't matter at all.

 

Soror, I also really took that exact same quote from SWB about spontaneity to heart. It's just really, really hard, I think. This kid does such amazing work when given a challenge - a big project. He makes incredible stuff. But it eats him up too. And there have to be tests and big projects sometimes. Sigh. 

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My box-checker has liked Derek Owens online classes - we do it as half-price with me doing all the support/grading. He has also liked watching Teaching Company videos. I basically have told him to watch a video a day - it doesn't matter too much about which subject. He has requested that I by everything from certain lecturers. I don't assign anything more to the task other than watch the video - it's amazing how much he picks up.

 

edited to say - he really does it at double pace (not half-pace); it's my daughter that moves slowly.

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I cannot believe I'm contemplating handing him a pile of Critical Thinking Co. workbooks and telling him to go away until math. But I kinda am.

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We do a planner with a checklist daily. It hasn't been a winner this year, alas. I mean, it's fine, but it's not like a savior thing. There's also this element of... Farrar put this on the checklist, Farrar can take it off. It's hard to figure out where the line is between his anxiety vs. his using the anxiety to get out of work. Except, why is it somehow better to scream and hit yourself for two hours than to just do a page of math or write a paragraph? Clearly, it's *not.* Sigh. Still, I think i have this dream that if I didn't make the work, maybe it would be an appeal to an outside authority. Outside authority curriculum says, do this. Maybe it would be easier for him. Maybe. Or maybe not. Who knows. It might just become a different battle. And he's definitely not in control of himself regardless, so maybe it wouldn't matter at all.

 

Soror, I also really took that exact same quote from SWB about spontaneity to heart. It's just really, really hard, I think. This kid does such amazing work when given a challenge - a big project. He makes incredible stuff. But it eats him up too. And there have to be tests and big projects sometimes. Sigh. 

Perhaps as you said an outside checklist would be better. My daughter does well with others- if they have the right personality- she doesn't take pushing at all but encouragement from someone outside is often enough to get her to push through her discomfort and try something. It has however occurred to me that outside school might be better in ways but then again sometimes you get good teachers and sometimes not and I can see her being destroyed by the wrong type of teacher.

 

Do you think he sees your list as arbitrary? What does he say when you discuss it or can he articulate the issue? I'm working on getting under this with my own- so it isn't like I'm an expert-so I'm not trying to be a know it all but throwing out the thoughts I've had with my own. I've realized that regardless of the why of the anxiety it is still there. I also remember SWB talking about crying, no learning is happening when there is crying. It doesn't matter what I think she should be able to do if she shuts down she isn't ready. I actually deleted my post because I felt like I was likely opening judgement for not doing enough but when I look at the kid I have I've got to work where she is and scaffold and incrementalize like crazy. We aren't doing any tests or big projects, the biggest project we have is party school and that is more of a fun thing and not stress. I guess I'm thinking now that one of the pluses of hs'ing is the ability to look at the whole child and although the brains are there the anxiety is a bit of a block so we have to slow it down. We'll get to the other stuff later, really I don't see a requirement for tests until highschool and any project I remember from Elementary was more fun than learning- so if the fun isn't there we don't have to do it.

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He wants to do anything I give him for the most part. He just gets in his own way. He second guesses everything. He definitely doesn't see the checklist as arbitrary. He wants to do the work. He just... spends forever stalling, then crying, then hyperventilating, then crying some more, then arguing that he needs to stay and do the work, which is obviously pointless because who can work when they're hyperventilating? And at that point, I'm so spent. And at that point, *I* feel like it's arbitrary. I'm questioning why force this child to do anything. He's very articulate when he's not in the midst of an attack. He knows he's just getting in his own way.

 

I'm not willing to send him to school for middle school. I'd rather he did nothing than go to middle school. So... not even on the table. He doesn't especially want to go anyway. And I don't know where I'd send him. Not to our local school, that's for sure. And getting into a charter on an off year... and the lottery's over anyway.

 

Our expectations aren't super high. But I'm getting to the point where I feel so frustrated that I can't ramp up the work for Balletboy, who deserves more pushing. And I don't deserve the abuse he throws at me. Gah.

 

I mean, let's be clear, the problem is *not* the curriculum. Obviously. But I guess I'm trying to find a small piece of the solution in changing up curriculum to something much more rote and simple. Something remedial, honestly. Something that won't challenge him. Won't ask him to be creative. Won't demand too much of him. Will let him feel an even keel with schoolwork.

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T4L has a special going on now. $12 for a month.  I've felt the same way about this curriculum, but I'm buying it tonight so we can have a full month to review it.  I think the deal expires tomorrow.

 

How about elearningk12.com?  Prices range from $10 to $20 per month. 

 

mrdmath.com - excellent

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I might consider using something like Starline Press and then just hand him the books everyday and let him work. It might be a little boring and dry but that might be what he needs. You can buys the workbooks individually to keep the cost down. 

 

I don't think I would do Time4Learning. My perfectionist daughter did this for a while and it was terrible for her anxiety. She always got upset when she got the questions on the quizzes wrong.  

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My other suggestion would be to forget the school stuff and just go back to looking at the anxiety again. It kind of sucks when you have to do that. We're in that stage with dd atm - everything was great for a few years, now it isn't, and we're back to fine-tuning meds and therapy and all that - idk. Just a suggestion. 

I was thinking the same thing- this might be the season that work on anxiety is the main work of the day.

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I cannot believe I'm contemplating handing him a pile of Critical Thinking Co. workbooks and telling him to go away until math. But I kinda am.

 

Nothing wrong with adding a great reading list to that and giving it a shot. 

 

There are several different self-paced math options if you decide you want to try that:   Derek Owens, Mr. D Math, Aleks, Kahn.

 

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      My son is really enjoying WWS because of the amount of control he has, the amount of hand-holding, explicit instruction, and honestly the fact that he has his own giant workbook. It makes him feel more in control. When I give him a writing project, it feels overwhelming because there are so many steps to get from the blank page to a finished project. He would much rather just have the steps parceled out one at a time and not know where he's going -- that way he doesn't have to envision such a leap. It's only one small step at a time. So even though I've always thought he was a whole to parts learner (he wants to understand for the most part where he's going and why it's important) when it comes to a finished project he'd rather just not know. It's too overwhelming. 

      My oldest daughter we've realized has always had problems with executive functioning, and it often manifested itself in 11 o'clock meltdowns during middle school when she had avoided a project until then due to it being so overwhelming.  She just couldn't conceive how to begin.  So throughout middle school I was up at all hours of the night helping her formulate the steps to get the project finished. To this day, even though she is very creative and loves out of the box assignments, they drain her so much and for the most part she greatly prefers taking copious notes from a chapter or even doing math (the horror) over coming up with an idea and executing all the steps to get to the finished project. Even now she might have a meltdown over a project, not because she is a perfectionist necessarily, but more because she is so proud and competitive with her classmates. 

      I realized my son's issues when I saw how he reacted to a new assignment, and then how he reacted when I repeated the assignment. I gave him questions from the OUP Ancient Egyptians that needed short responses and looking in the book for the answer. He was completely overwhelmed and shut down. The next week he spent 30 minutes coming up with sarcastic answers and then had to start over. (they were really funny, so I did save them, but still!). By the third week he had figured it out and now he can whip out the answers within 15 minutes. 

      All that is to say that even though my son says he wants to do something creative, he really thrives on predictability, so I've tried to make the creative projects  extracurricular. I would imagine that if there were executive functioning issues, anxiety issues, and puberty mixed it, it would become a perfect storm.  

     So all that to say -- what works for us is a big mix of predictability and routine assignments with only a small portion of creativity.  Workbooks are really enjoyed by my son -- the sense of immediate completion is soothing.  I don't know how many times he's said during projects "We might as well give up. We'll never finish. Let's just throw it away."  Workbooks are much safer -- you can complete a page in one sitting and have that sense of completion! 

   I don't know if any of that is relevant! JME. 

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Also just another data point which might or might not be relevant- we went through a lot of negative self talk, hitting himself in the head, etc last year in the spring. Along with fogginess, inability to harness his thoughts, tiredness. Turns out the majority of the problem was Zyrtec. We took him off and he was back to normal. It was scary how much it affected his personality and our relationship. Allergies are really big around VA, so just thought I'd throw that out!

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I was hoping it was that one because he shares many similarities with DD so maybe some of my ramblings might help. She's a perfectionist with anxiety issues. 

 

I've always been a very "do the next thing" type of person. I start out my year with a rough idea of what I'm doing. Most curricula designed for homeschoolers has been an abysmal failure for us both so I mostly glue stuff together. I never really spent a pre-defined amount of time on anything. It was very fluid and worked well when things were mostly input driven with not a lot out output requirements other than discussions.

I had slowly been giving her more output type things to do independently and everything was taking forever to get done, if ever.However, by about January of this year DD made it clear that things weren't working for her. So many tears and frustration.

I read a bunch of ideas here and decided to try something I've never done--limit subjects to 40 minutes each. I have a rough set of 6 subjects I want to do per day. So, that translates to 4 hours of work per day. I work full time but if we start our day at 6 and work til 10, she can get everything done with me. Reality is we rarely start at 6; we often start at 7. So, our deal is she gets me 1:1 until 10am. If we finish it all by then, she has no independent work. Otherwise, she has to do the remanning work on her own.

I also set it up that her output was always done during our 1:1 time. That was the stuff sucking her time away and panicking her. So, I sit there doing my own thing for 40 min while she works on her writing assignment or math or Spanish. We stop at 40 minutes now unless she begs to finish something and then we negotiate. But, this has revolutionized our life. Truly. I feel like an infomercial but I can't even begin to explain how much pressure it takes off her too.

We have managed to get pretty good now at estimating how long things will take. So, if she has time to do independent work I'll assign science or history reading. Or some research or something that is more input rather than output. Before we managed to figure out what was reasonable in the remaining blocks of time (for example, if we did 20 min of history together but I wanted her to do 20 min of reading on own to max out those 40 min), I simply told her to stop wherever she was at that 20 min mark. We got a timer app for the phone and we have 40 min timers set for every subject. This has helped her considerably with time management which was clearly an issue for her. 

I also have one subject that is more structured than others, and that's Spanisb. We found a Spanish program that we both love and she doesn't think the worksheets and even the tests aren't too onerous from her perspective. I am grading the quizzes and work in just this one subject, and she loves it. But, she doesn't want it for other subjects yet. 

We still do a billion different things for math. We finished pre-algebra except for a few small things so I got BA 5B and she is so happy to keep using it for review. We do a ton of history and science but it's most discussions and small writing assignments. We started working on persuasive essays because she wanted to. She really doesn't like creative writing assignments and when she does them very well after so much complaining I just decided it's stupid to make her do them. If she would rather spend months researching a topic to write a serious persuasive essay, I'll support that.

 

Take away messages that I've learned

  • Transition to more output driven work more slowly with more scaffolding, perhaps focusing on just 1-2 subjects rather than several, and stay close at hand when working on those items
  • Choose just one subject to focus on weak skills. For us, she doesn't like to memorize or complete worksheets or anything like that, but she's willing to do it for Spanish. So, I am using it to teach those types of study skills.
  • Provide clear time limits with focus on providing quality work within that time period rather than fully completed work in twice that time period. (This really reduced the anxiety and procrastination and helped her focus much more!)
  • Avoid doing work that you are doing just because think you should be doing at a particular age or grade. (In our case, if she can take on a persuasive essay, do I really care if she completes a creative writing assignment describing "orange"?)

Everything else is still the same. I still pull together a ton of diverse resources for studying things. We still have great discussions. But, she is much less stressed, produces better output, and has more free time. 

 

Don't get me wrong--we still have occasional eye-rolling, fits because she can't remember something perfectly, frustrations that she doesn't know everything. But, they're more contained, shorter, and with me on hand so it doesn't have time to roll out of control.

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We do a planner with a checklist daily. It hasn't been a winner this year, alas. I mean, it's fine, but it's not like a savior thing. There's also this element of... Farrar put this on the checklist, Farrar can take it off. It's hard to figure out where the line is between his anxiety vs. his using the anxiety to get out of work. Except, why is it somehow better to scream and hit yourself for two hours than to just do a page of math or write a paragraph? Clearly, it's *not.* Sigh. Still, I think i have this dream that if I didn't make the work, maybe it would be an appeal to an outside authority. Outside authority curriculum says, do this. Maybe it would be easier for him. Maybe. Or maybe not. Who knows. It might just become a different battle. And he's definitely not in control of himself regardless, so maybe it wouldn't matter at all.

 

Soror, I also really took that exact same quote from SWB about spontaneity to heart. It's just really, really hard, I think. This kid does such amazing work when given a challenge - a big project. He makes incredible stuff. But it eats him up too. And there have to be tests and big projects sometimes. Sigh.

My experience with DD is that the appeal to outside authority was just a different battle, and made it worse.

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My experience with DD is that the appeal to outside authority was just a different battle, and made it worse.

 

That's my fear. Or, at least, that's my instinct. Still... Taking to heart what Sadie said about outside classes and teachers too. We did do a MOOC in the fall and it was never a battle to get him to watch the videos, study, and take the quiz. And this is a kid who usually hates quizzes.

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I was hoping it was that one because he shares many similarities with DD so maybe some of my ramblings might help. She's a perfectionist with anxiety issues. 

 

This is helpful... but also, we've done a lot of these things, or tried them. Thinking about timers again. They make him hyperventilate, but maybe worth just pushing through that and forcing them. Still, when he doesn't do anything for the 30 or 40 minute time limit or spends the whole time freaking out engaged in negative self-talk, it's hard to know what should happen. Maybe the 1:1 time thing is something he needs super set though. I haven't thought about that and I should. I mean, he gets 1:1 time... but it's not super set. Maybe it should be.

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Hmm. My formerly unschooled, anxious kid does a lot better with teachers than she does with me. Like, 100% better. You'd think adding in teachers would add to the stress, but for her, it relieved stress.

 

Obviously, I am not suggesting school. Dd is in an interesting type of school where she basically just hangs out with teachers, and rarely deals with classroom stuff, so it's not really school as we know it.

 

But how do you think he would do with outside classes ? What about the Bravewriter movie discussion club ? Low key. Would he enjoy working with a maths tutor on his own, maybe even away from the house ? 

 

My other suggestion would be to forget the school stuff and just go back to looking at the anxiety again. It kind of sucks when you have to do that. We're in that stage with dd atm - everything was great for a few years, now it isn't, and we're back to fine-tuning meds and therapy and all that - idk. Just a suggestion. 

 

I'm thinking about this. We are looking at meds and working on the anxiety. Sigh. It's sucky. I really, really would like to avoid meds for a few more years, but... well... it's under preliminary consideration at this point. Like I said, I'm happy for him to do nothing (I mean, happy is a strong word, but I'm okay with it) but it freaks him out.

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We do a planner with a checklist daily. It hasn't been a winner this year, alas. I mean, it's fine, but it's not like a savior thing. There's also this element of... Farrar put this on the checklist, Farrar can take it off. It's hard to figure out where the line is between his anxiety vs. his using the anxiety to get out of work. Except, why is it somehow better to scream and hit yourself for two hours than to just do a page of math or write a paragraph? Clearly, it's *not.* Sigh. Still, I think i have this dream that if I didn't make the work, maybe it would be an appeal to an outside authority. Outside authority curriculum says, do this. Maybe it would be easier for him. Maybe. Or maybe not. Who knows. It might just become a different battle. And he's definitely not in control of himself regardless, so maybe it wouldn't matter at all.

 

For my oldest, the checklist has to come from an outside source(BYL), it just does.

 

I think in part it helps me let go of the internal drama that I have when he starts to get worked up- I am able to let things run their course without all the second guessing that I am prone to with this child (like you, it's good that I have other children). If he needs to spend 2 hours melting down it just dosen't stress me out the way it used to, he'll pick up where he left off and knowing that somehow seems to help both of us feel less stressed about it. He has more room to move at his own pace, one that is sometimes fraught with meltdowns but overall he is moving forward. Because the work is coming from an outside source he feels pride in it when he does eventually get it done, he isn't second-guessing that I went easy on him because he isn't capable.

 

I know our situations are unique and what works for me may not work for you but your post above really spoke to me so I wanted to share.

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This is helpful... but also, we've done a lot of these things, or tried them. Thinking about timers again. They make him hyperventilate, but maybe worth just pushing through that and forcing them. Still, when he doesn't do anything for the 30 or 40 minute time limit or spends the whole time freaking out engaged in negative self-talk, it's hard to know what should happen. Maybe the 1:1 time thing is something he needs super set though. I haven't thought about that and I should. I mean, he gets 1:1 time... but it's not super set. Maybe it should be.

 

I asked DD about this because timers used to stress her out. She said, "Now I know that I have a limit and don't get overwhelmed. I don't have to finish ALL the work. I just work until the timer is done. It helps me focus better."

 

So, I think the key was really reiterating that she didn't have to finish everything assigned. When the timer goes off, she's done. I honestly think she is getting done more work now, and she agrees.

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I'm not going to harangue you, but there comes a point where there can be more harm to avoiding meds than trying them. 

 

I'd include effects on siblings in my 'harm' column. 

 

PM me if you ever want to talk meds, we have (good) experiences. I was probably where you are with Mushroom with dd. (We delayed till 13). I think, though,  some kids are able to embrace a world of challenge with meds that they just can't without. It's a tricky choice but I can't say I've ever regretted going down the meds path. Nor has dd.

 

Thanks for that, Sadie. Yeah, I've advocated for that with parents. I know to give myself the talk. Therapist feels like we're on a path. We'll see. I would like to delay mostly because I don't see much happening while he's literally on the cusp starting puberty. And as long as he doesn't have to be in school... I'm hoping we can wait a couple more years for his body and brain to grow a little and then reassess. But, yeah... we'll see.

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I was asking the same question about a month ago and really nothing school wise really makes my dd happy. She will tolerate many things but the reality is she is only happy when she's working on her projects or being outside or at art class.

 

So I'm just hoping for "learn well and not hate school". From this point forward.

 

We still haven't decided on a history, because I get very bummed. I love history even when it requires some work and effort. My dd loves exciting historical novels but just can't get excited about anything school wise no matter how nice I try to make it. I think in the areas that you really really love that'll be the hardest part to accept that your ds just can't get into it

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I don't know if the meds you've comtemplated are anxiety or ADHD related (a lot of what you are mentioning is a red flag for executive function trouble), but I thought I'd toss it out there that stimulant meds for ADHD can actually reduce anxiety in some kids. It did in our house--the executive functioning problems were creating anxiety which would exacerbate the EF trouble, and then create more anxiety). 

 

I also think it's worth trying meds (even if you hope they are temporary) because it's much easier to learn coping mechanisms and learn new habits or skills when your brain is not stressed. If the stress/hormones, etc. are temporary, then maybe the meds would be too, or at least be something that could work during the transition plus whatever time it takes to acquire new skills.

 

Just some thoughts. I think you should listen to your gut about the outside classes--if you think it might make things worse, i would proceed cautiously (or maybe on class at a time?).

 

My son has a sort of funnel system for organizing his to-do list. It was not feasible before meds, but now it's a thing of beauty. He has a list of how many assignments he has to do per week in each subject/book, and he has a list of activities and their time slots. He has certain things he needs to do pretty much daily (like math), and things he can choose to distribute as he likes (maybe several lessons for Sequential Spelling on two different days instead of one each day). This lets him control the flow of his work and the kind of effort he wants to put into things around his activities--on days he has certain activities, he makes the rest of his workload lighter. Anyway, it took some time to work out kinks, and it's still hard to know when math should begin and end, but it's really, really improved things around here. My son loves to check boxes and feel like he knows what he's aiming for. We also try to choose curriculum that is more cut and dry than we might otherwise.

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This is not what you're asking here, but I wanted to mention that my dd's anxiety looked a lot like your son's, including the hyperventilating and spending way more time freaking out than it would take to do the work. We put her on a low oxalate diet (she already was low histamine, but we had some genetic testing that indicated she might have trouble processing oxalates) and her anxiety is mostly a thing of the past. Occasionally it crops up when we go overboard with oxalates again. I seem to remember you've done all kinds of things to help him (actually I think I borrowed some of your techniques to decrease anxiety from old posts), and just wanted to throw out one more possibility before meds. It definitely feels like a very positive biochemical change that we've seen. Taking magnesium or calcium with meals also reduces oxalate absorption from foods because they both bind w/oxalate.

 

Amy

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I don't know whether you have a view on online classes, but I was thinking that online G3 classes are pretty low stress for my kid. I'd rather them be a bit more stressful, lol.

The reading is meaty, there's a checklist of tasks to be done before each class "watch this brainpop, look at this YouTube clip, read this one posted page on literary terms or whatever". When you click on the task, it marks it done whether you completed it or not. No other output other than class discussion (which my boy loves) and no grades.

My son has told me he always wants to be in an online G3 class, no matter the topic, so long as it's a particular teacher, so i indulge him. We've only tried the lit classes but i suspect it's all the same format

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I don't know whether you have a view on online classes, but I was thinking that online G3 classes are pretty low stress for my kid. I'd rather them be a bit more stressful, lol.

The reading is meaty, there's a checklist of tasks to be done before each class "watch this brainpop, look at this YouTube clip, read this one posted page on literary terms or whatever". When you click on the task, it marks it done whether you completed it or not. No other output other than class discussion (which my boy loves) and no grades.

My son has told me he always wants to be in an online G3 class, no matter the topic, so long as it's a particular teacher, so i indulge him. We've only tried the lit classes but i suspect it's all the same format

 

That's good to know. I had wondered about what the vibe was in those classes.

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