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Mimicoto

How much should I be spending 'alongside' my 5th Grader?

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Our family has returned to Homeschooling after a one year hiatus.  Based on our initial experience, we are doing things much differently - much more outsourcing, much less mom-designed work.  For the most part, things are going well and this is a setup that allows us to continue homeschooling within the limitations and realities of our family dynamic ;-)

 

DD 13 is very independent and autonomous - always has been.  She is doing very well and requires little to no input from me - although I do covert monitoring daily to make sure everything stays on track.

 

DH 10 is another story altogether.  He is very bright, but has always been reluctant (to put it mildly) to do schoolwork.  He has done a brilliant job of applying himself so far this year, but has some extra ground to cover and is lacking in the skills that will eventually make it possible for him to work more efficiently and quickly.  Specifically:  1) he has great verbal ability, but is an extremely hesitant and slow writer.  2) he is still learning to manage his time and apply himself to tasks in a self-organized manner, and sometimes seems to struggle to understand what is being asked of him in an assignment.  I should add that, while he is in 5th Grade, he is enrolled in MS content courses for Humanities and Science - he is more than capable of handling the content, but due the writing delays (and lack of formal experience with this level of studies) sometimes struggles with the output side of things.

 

At the moment, I am spending a LOT of time working 'with' him, helping him to plan his work, decipher the assignments, complete his work and 'coach' him through the writing required.   I haven't kept track of exactly how much time, but I'll jot it down over the next week to see....but it's a heavy percentage of the time - definitely more than 50% of the time he's doing active work.

 

I have to say that he has come a long way in a short time and is honestly giving it his best effort.  This is the first year that he 'wants' to do well and is taking more pride in his work.  I would add that he remains a curious and lively child - loves to read and enjoys learning.  But I do need to prod him along often ;-)

 

We are both working with the understanding that the goal is for him to transition to more independence as the school year unfolds, and he is accepting and embracing that.  I am very grateful as well that we enrolled him in a Leadership Course that focuses on time managements and personal responsibility.  It is a huge gift for any child IMHO.  

 

There is a question in all of this.....I'm curious to know from others who have BTDT if this is typical of the age and of boys in general?  He doesn't seem to be chaffing at the demands too much, but does find the workload challenging....

 

BTW, I am ok with this for the time being - it is where he is and I am grateful to have this opportunity to be sure he has a strong foundation before the higher grades hit.  I'm pretty sure he would be at risk of seriously lagging in traditional class room setting.  Just wondering if this falls within the range of normal....ish....

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Mimicoto

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My just turned 11 year old is like this.

 

I am not always with him as I have two younger kids but I stay at the table the whole time. If I don't mayhem breaks out or someone gets stucksðŸ˜

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My answer is as much as they need. My son at that age needed my nearly all the time. Starting around 12 yo he was able to do more on his own but he still does more work with me than his 10yo sister.  He was diagnosed as ADHD and the NP had said expect him to be a few years behind on such things and that has held true for him. I could have pushed him to do more on his own but it would have been much lower quality and would have taken 3x as long as he needed help staying directed. It does get better.

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I have one above and one below:

 

My 6th grader does literature, free reading, piano, spelling, history without me. She does a bit with me with spelling, math, and grammar and finishes on her own. Writing she does independently sometimes but others she needs me. I hang around with her Latin but I'm learning along with her.

 

My 4th grader needs me for grammar. He does free reading, literature, piano and spelling independently. He takes a quick lesson and does math exercises independently. I have to hold his hand for history work because he's learning how to construct strong sentences. He needs me for Latin.

Edited by blondeviolin
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I think a lot really depends on the individual student's personality, how much/little the student enjoys academics, and also how much/little school is a struggle for the student. I homeschooled 2 "delayed blooming" boys, and neither of them were ready until somewhere along about 9th-11th grade for the amount of solo/independent working (especially in the area of WRITING) that you are asking about for a 5th grader. I'd say that for most students, it's a *gradual* PROCESS over grades 5-8, or grades 6-9 to reach the level of solo working and initiative that your 13yo DD is doing already.

 

 

...DD 13 is very independent and autonomous - always has been.  She is doing very well and requires little to no input from me - although I do covert monitoring daily to make sure everything stays on track.

 

DH 10 ... is very bright, but has always been reluctant (to put it mildly) to do schoolwork.  He has done a brilliant job of applying himself so far this year, but has some extra ground to cover... Specifically: 

1) he has great verbal ability, but is an extremely hesitant and slow writer.

2) he is still learning to manage his time and apply himself to tasks in a self-organized manner, and sometimes seems to struggle to understand what is being asked of him in an assignment...

 

...he is enrolled in MS content courses for Humanities and Science - he is more than capable of handling the content, but due the writing delays (and lack of formal experience with this level of studies) sometimes struggles with the output...

 

... I am spending a LOT of time working 'with' him, helping him to plan his work, decipher the assignments, complete his work and 'coach' him through the writing required.   I haven't kept track of exactly how much time, but I'll jot it down over the next week to see....but it's a heavy percentage of the time - definitely more than 50% of the time he's doing active work...

 

...the goal is for him to transition to more independence as the school year unfolds, and he is accepting and embracing that...

 

... we enrolled him in a Leadership Course that focuses on time managements and personal responsibility...

 

....I'm curious to know from others who have BTDT if this is typical of the age and of boys in general?  He doesn't seem to be chaffing at the demands too much, but does find the workload challenging....

 

 

This sounds very typical of a 5th grader. Remember, the Logic stage (roughly grades 5-8) is when students are *developing* these skills of analysis, interpretation, etc. A few students start developing these skills early (the far left of the "bell curve"); most START developing these skills somewhere along about 6th-8th grade (the peak of the "bell curve"); a few students start developing these skills a bit later, in 8th-10th grade (the far right of the "bell curve"). Every student begins to "click" with these skills in their own unique timetable of development.

 

For a 5th grader, especially with an outsourced class, I absolutely would expect a parent to do all the things you mention above that you are doing, and to need to spend more than 50% of the student's active work time with the student. Keep up the good work of encouraging him and running alongside! Maybe you'll be able to scale that back a bit by the end of the year, but don't fret if scaling back a bit can't happen for another year or two. That would be absolutely normal.

 

Honestly, I think you are quite lucky! it sounds like your rising 5th grade DS is actually ahead of the "average" 5th grader in attitude and willingness to work with you on moving towards more independent work. (Totally normal that you might have a slightly skewed view of "normal" because of your first-born who is unusually independent and self-motivated first student -- it's hard not to think of THAT as "the norm", and to compare subsequent siblings as "falling a bit short" ;) .)

 

My thought: it's great that you are meeting your DS "where he is" with the more advanced content! :) A caveat: I'd be very careful about assuming he "should" also be doing the writing/output at a middle school level, and independently. And I'd also be very careful to adjust the overall amount of work, and esp. the amount of writing as needed so that your DS does not *burn out* on school and academics -- esp. since you mention he's always been reluctant about schoolwork, AND because you actually have his buy-in on working on developing leadership and independence skills this year. Be very careful to not crush that just-budding interest/willingness! :)

 

JMO: I would absolutely be right at DS's side all year to scaffold and encourage his writing, and work on QUALITY rather than QUANTITY of writing. If that means having to drop the middle school level History/Science courses (if they can't work with you about amount/volume of writing), and also having to develop your own syllabus to help DS go advanced in those areas, while allowing DS to grow in Writing at a slower pace that gives him success and doesn't cause him to hate writing -- I would absolutely do that. For me, that's the beauty of homeschooling, is being able to let the student run far and deep in their strong areas, and to let them develop their weak areas in their own unique timetable.

 

Just my 2 cents worth! BEST of luck in your new school year. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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My answer is as much as they need.

So well said! While we do work towards more and more independence over time, the goal is learning. As an adult I can learn things independently but I also need and appreciate actual teaching and educational support.

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I think you will find this is time well spent. Teaching him time-management and organizational skills is paramount for success! Do not worry. 

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.My thought: it's great that you are meeting your DS "where he is" with the more advanced content! :) A caveat: I'd be very careful about assuming he "should" also be doing the writing/output at a middle school level, and independently. And I'd also be very careful to adjust the overall amount of work, and esp. the amount of writing as needed so that your DS does not *burn out* on school and academics -- esp. since you mention he's always been reluctant about schoolwork, AND because you actually have his buy-in on working on developing leadership and independence skills this year. Be very careful to not crush that just-budding interest/willingness! :)

 

JMO: I would absolutely be right at DS's side all year to scaffold and encourage his writing, and work on QUALITY rather than QUANTITY of writing. If that means having to drop the middle school level History/Science courses (if they can't work with you about amount/volume of writing), and also having to develop your own syllabus to help DS go advanced in those areas, while allowing DS to grow in Writing at a slower pace that gives him success and doesn't cause him to hate writing -- I would absolutely do that. For me, that's the beauty of homeschooling, is being able to let the student run far and deep in their strong areas, and to let them develop their weak areas in their own unique timetable.

 

 

Thank you EVERYONE for the wonderful replies.  All of them validating and helpful.  Given my DDs precociousness, it has been hard to guage whether the level of engagement and support for my son's needs is appropriate.

 

Lori D. - I agree with you 1000% and am already placing my brain on standby to drop or adjust the higher level studies if they start to impact his enjoyment.  I may touch base again with his instructors this week to feel them out on reducing some of the requirements.....particularly since he will be starting IEW this week and will have another writing-intensive item on his list.  I spoke with the course provider (Williamsburg Academy) before enrolling him in STEM and Humanities to explain his situation and they were / are supportive of accommodating him.  However, unless we absolutely have to, I'd like him to stay enrolled - participating in MS level classes is a point of pride for him and is doing a world of good for his confidence....his late-blooming skills have made him self-conscious about his abilities, made him question his intelligence....which becomes a bit self-fulfilling for a student who doesn't think he can succeed.

Much of the time, I transcribe his writing assignments for him - he talks, and I type.  This is helping him to loosen up with his words, and I am more than ok with this.  I will feel more comfortable doing this now....he is working on handwriting and typing separately, and that's good enough for me.  I'll let him keep 'expressive writing abilities' and 'technical writing skills' separate until he doesn't have to think so much about them and they begin to become more natural.

 

I should add....he does math lessons and practice,, TONS of free reading guitar practice and assigned reading for STEM and Humanities independently - and has good research skills in those areas as well.  Gosh, I'm pretty proud of him!  :hurray:

 

 

Edited by Mimicoto
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By sitting next next to him,you are replacing the positive peer pressure of sitting in a class of children all working on the same tasks. Sit with him as much as he needs.

Edited by Laura Corin
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Uhhhh, my DS who is in 8th grade, and will be 14 at the end of the year, is just now starting to be able to predictably do independent work and to do it without whining and complaining about it. He has some anxiety issues which delayed him because he would get very nervous about trying anything on his own due to fear that he would fail (for the record, no amount of reassurance from me that it was okay to make "mistakes" helped alleviate his anxiety). As he has grown more able to manage his anxiety he has expanded his desire and ability to work independently.

 

Like your son, my DS is advanced with content (he is taking two high school level courses this year) but slower and more reluctant in skill areas like writing. He can discuss and analyze verbally far more than he can communicate coherently in writing. So, in skill level areas like writing I am going deep and taking lots of side-by-side time with him to lay a solid foundation for the future. I know it will pay off in improving the quality of his work and in boosting his confidence that he can be successful with independent work.

 

Now, in contrast, my 6 yo does her independent work so fast sometimes (and often just finds it and does it without being asked) that I am consistently taken by surprise by her academic initiative. I think my DS is on the "slower" end of being comfortable with independent work while my 6 yo is on the more advanced side and what works just depends on the child. This is the beauty of homeschooling! 10 yo is not too old to still need you beside him for large portions of the day imo—I wouldn't worry yet : ).

Edited by chiefcookandbottlewasher
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Chiefcook - this exactly :  "He can discuss and analyze verbally far more than he can communicate coherently in writing."

 

This has all been so helpful!

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I do 95% of LA with my 10 year old (almost 11) 5th grader. He has dysgraphia, so writing is actually quite difficult for him. We've gone back to the beginning in that subject. Last year we worked on just writing a coherent SENTENCE. This year we've moved to paragraphs. Just last week we added details to our supporting sentences. He's typing the paragraphs and writing individual sentences by hand. Typing is really helping a lot, as the computer helps with the spelling portion and he doesn't have to worry about how to form the letters.

 

Math is done more independently, but he finds math easy.

 

I don't expect this child to be independent anytime soon. His younger brother is very independent (and precocious). His older brother needed me to be at elbow for writing at this age, though he does not have dysgraphia... He was just a little bit of a late bloomer with writing and still doesn't like it, but he can write (his virtual school teachers have commented on how well he writes!).

 

Also, if you're moving into logic stage and changing output expectations, I would expect to need to be at elbow more than previously. That's pretty normal, from what I've gleamed from the forums over the years. :)

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