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caedmyn

this is not working...7th grade

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My 7th grader is struggling this year to get her schoolwork done.  She does NOT have a heavy load by any means.  She is doing Teaching Textbooks 7, a state history study, a very light intro to physics, Mapping the World with Art, literature, Getting Started with Spanish, writing, daily Bible memory work, typing, and a couple of one-day-a-week electives.  Not all of her subjects are assigned every day.  I figured this should take her around 3.5 hours if she works at a steady and reasonable-for-her-pace.  We do around 20 minutes of morning time as a family also.  The problem is that her schoolwork is not getting done, or it takes her for.e.v.e.r.  I've already tweaked her science to make it lighter as she hated what we started with and balked and balked at it.  I've just scrapped the writing program we started with (Jump In) for IEW as she apparently needs something very, very incremental.  She's having trouble with Getting Started with Spanish.  Some of the little things are just not getting done though it varies from day to day and week to week...last week it was Bible memory work.  This week it's Spanish.  She tends to balk at anything that involves writing more than individual words.  She just does not like to write, does not like to search for answers, doesn't like to think or put in effort overall.  She has a checklist that stays the same for an entire term (12 weeks), and she'll tell me she's gotten everything done, but when I look through everything or go down the list subject by subject, there's things that aren't actually finished.  She is NOT a self-motivated or persistant child.  If something's difficult she will give up or balk at it endlessly.  She's a relatively compliant child overall but very spacey.  She would much rather give up or try to get me to give her the answers rather than problem-solve (this applies to anything, not just school...choosing a size of Pyrex container to put leftover food in, for instance).  Part of the problem is that I am not checking her work every day.  I try to check it all at least every other day.  Part of the reason I don't get it checked every day is because when I am ready to check it, she still has a lot of it undone, and then she goofs off and doesn't get it done and I don't remember to ask after "school time" is over for everyone else.  Or I ask and X is not done so I tell her to go do it and realize later, or the next day, that she never got around to doing it.  She is also not doing the things she is specifically supposed to do, like come narrate after her state history reading.  It's marked right on her checklist for her to narrate, but she "forgets to look at the checklist" or "forgets to do it" or whatever the excuse of the day is and by the time I review her work before lunch, it's been two hours since she read and she claims she can't remember anything.  I don't even know what to do about that.

I just don't know where to go with this.  I try to give her a little grace because of all the horror stories I've heard about puberty stealing middle schooler's brains, but this has been going on for at least two years so I'm not sure I can continue to chalk it all up to puberty.  She has never been self-motivated, persistant, or a problem-solver.  I can't hold her hand through her schoolwork all day as I have 5 younger children to manage, including a 4 month old who wakes a lot at night, and there is only so much of me to go around.  She can't focus when there's noise or lots of activity around her anyway so it doesn't work for her to do her schoolwork in the same area as everyone else.  How do we make it through this year?  Should she drop something (and what?)?  

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Is there any reason to believe that learning issues or attention issues are at play or family history of such issues? My initial thoughts are circling around undiagnosed learning issues...that learning independently is a struggle and so she is avoiding the work...or that she doesn’t have the executive functioning skills to do this all on her own.

What do you see when you work with her one on one, undistracted? I realize that is not your daily reality...but it might be worth it to work with her quietly one evening just to determine how she does with one on one help and promptings to stay on task just to get to the root of the problem if you don’t know what that is already.

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22 minutes ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Is there any reason to believe that learning issues or attention issues are at play or family history of such issues? My initial thoughts are circling around undiagnosed learning issues...that learning independently is a struggle and so she is avoiding the work...or that she doesn’t have the executive functioning skills to do this all on her own.

What do you see when you work with her one on one, undistracted? I realize that is not your daily reality...but it might be worth it to work with her quietly one evening just to determine how she does with one on one help and promptings to stay on task just to get to the root of the problem if you don’t know what that is already.

She is probably mildly dyslexic.  She reads fine but has some problems with spelling.  I imagine she could be diagnosed with ADHD but that hasn't been pursued.  She has always worked largely independently, between the A.C.E. school she started in and the curriculum I've chosen for hs'ing as I've never been able to do a lot of one-on-one with her.  Just seems like things get worse and worse as she gets older.

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Just me, but it sounds like a student who needs much more personal 1-on-1 attention -- to help redirect her back onto task, to answer questions, and to mentor/scaffold struggle areas (like writing). Neither DS here was able to do a lot of independent work until well into high school. Some kids just can't. Also, she is right at the age when kids who have dyslexia or ADD or other learning issues hit the limit of being able to mask their issues or "fake it", as 6th grade is right about when the school work load kicks up a notch.

I totally understand you are very stretched thin right now, but your 12yo is hitting a critical stage and needs help clearing the higher hurdles in order to be able to succeed in the later years of middle school and high school. Independent learning has clearly not been working for her, and it's not going to get better without intervention and individualized help for her.

If you are not able to provide that 1-on-1, can you hire a tutor to come in 2x/week for a few hours each time? Or is there a "retired" homeschooler or a "grandma"-aged friend from your neighborhood or church or social circles who would like to volunteer to help out regularly? A college-age student who you can provide dinners to in exchange for a few hours of tutoring in the afternoon before dinner with your DD? What about hiring a nanny or babysitter to come in for the mornings 5x/week to deal with the 3 youngest kids, and you focus on schooling the older 3 DC for 3 hours per morning?

Yes, you can drop some things for her this year and just focus on getting her solid in Math and the Language Arts areas, with history and science as frosting on top as you have time. And you can have some of her reading be in those non-fiction content areas, as well as in the Literature (fiction) area. Yes, you can drop Spanish for now -- if she's struggling with some of the LA areas in *English*, trying to do a foreign language may be too difficult.

Also, I'd suggest reading through Smart But Scattered to learn techniques to help scaffold DD into stronger executive functioning -- many of the things you list in your original post sound like she struggles how to prioritize or persevere or think through how to figure things out, which is all tied in to executive functioning.

If outside help is not possible, then I'd suggest re-prioritizing, and give 12yo and 4th grader the "lion's share" of what time you homeschooling time you do have available each day. Drop the 2nd grader and and 5yo (or 6yo?) down to just doing Math, Reading, and Handwriting for this year -- they can probably knock that out in an hour sitting at the table together with you -- and let them independently read, listen to audio books, and explore science kits, educational videos and supplements. Or consider putting the 4th grader, 2nd grader, and 5yo (6yo?) into school for this year, so you can focus on 12yo and only have the 2yo and baby to juggle during the day, and then the afternoons can focus on any homework for the elementary ages, and meal-making/chores.

Don't worry about doing any formal academics with the 3 little ones. Or consider putting the 5yo (6yo?) into a half-day kindergarten to give him some stimulation and give you 1 less little one to run after for the morning. Going bare bones for a year with children under 4th grade is not going to harm them, but your 12yo sounds like she's on the cusp of falling behind/falling through the cracks right now, and at her age, it can be hard to catch up.

Consider getting a formal evaluation for 12yo, to make sure you're not looking at a learning issues or physical deficits like vision convergence, as getting her onto the therapies or meds to address issues will help DD move forward with her learning.

I am so sorry... You are in an overwhelmed stage of life right now with 6 children, most of whom are quite young. And I'm sure your DD knows something is not right and is feeling frustrated with herself as well. Please be gentle with yourselves. Ask for help/find some support. Compromise where you can if it reduces stress. Let go of trying to do it all at home, or having to do it all yourself. Hoping others will have more helpful ideas for you! Hugs and best wishes, Lori D.


ETA
Oops -- edited the younger children's grades above, as I was going off of your signature, but I see they are all 1 grade/year ahead of that now.

Edited by Lori D.
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Meds for the spaciness (ADHD) and higher structure. I can tell you that my dd was very similar and she LOVES finally being in college and having the herd effect. For kids who have trouble creating their own structure, they can ride with the group and feed off the group. So either you create that energy and check-in process or something like a cyber school does it or she enrolls or online classes or... 

The other thing I had to do around that age was have very firm scheduled check-ins and consequences. Every other day clearly isn't enough. She's going to have to have appointments to check in 1-3 times a day (start with more and fade as she does better) and put the appointments on alarms. So she knows get the first 2 things done before appointment 1, the next 2 things done before appt 2, etc.

Also, my dd did better with the same schedule every day, continuity. You're saying her load is light, but it's tons of stuff. All that means transitions. She might do better with less subjects. Some of those things that are workbooks might need to go to something that gives her more structure and momentum like computer software or a live class. I made feedback forms for my dd for things I didn't have time to conference with her about. I did that all through high school. So instead of telling her to come narrate to you (which isn't happening), make some kind of log form and be done with it. If she's artistic, maybe let her draw. Maybe dropping mapping the world with art and do the map work to go with the state study. I'm surprised she's doing well with teaching herself physics. Have you looked at the 101 video series? My dd really enjoyed it at that age, and I think they have a physics 101 video. 

As far as consequences, I had to have something my dd was looking forward to so that she was motivated to get her list done. 

I agree with you on the puberty concerns and not wanting to make her life suck. Is there anything on that list she's really passionate about? I had my dd read opera stories daily and then watch an opera once a week around that age. It was a real highlight for her, and it gave her something to look forward to that wasn't HARD. Doing work at that level is HARD. If you have disabilities, you often have low processing speed, etc., making things feel HARD. So having something idiotically fun where it was just watching operas, watching Gilbert & Sullivan productions, this stuff made life GOOD. And when she felt like her life was good, she could get more done. 

At the Opera This was the opera book we used

Stories of Gilbert and Sullivan operas also we used two volumes of this and some shakespeare summaries.

It was the fun stuff that got us through puberty. 

Edited by PeterPan
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5 hours ago, caedmyn said:

My 7th grader is struggling this year to get her schoolwork done.  She does NOT have a heavy load by any means.  She is doing Teaching Textbooks 7, a state history study, a very light intro to physics, Mapping the World with Art, literature, Getting Started with Spanish, writing, daily Bible memory work, typing, and a couple of one-day-a-week electives.  Not all of her subjects are assigned every day.  I figured this should take her around 3.5 hours if she works at a steady and reasonable-for-her-pace.  We do around 20 minutes of morning time as a family also.  The problem is that her schoolwork is not getting done, or it takes her for.e.v.e.r.  I've already tweaked her science to make it lighter as she hated what we started with and balked and balked at it.  I've just scrapped the writing program we started with (Jump In) for IEW as she apparently needs something very, very incremental.  She's having trouble with Getting Started with Spanish.  Some of the little things are just not getting done though it varies from day to day and week to week...last week it was Bible memory work.  This week it's Spanish.  She tends to balk at anything that involves writing more than individual words.  She just does not like to write, does not like to search for answers, doesn't like to think or put in effort overall.  She has a checklist that stays the same for an entire term (12 weeks), and she'll tell me she's gotten everything done, but when I look through everything or go down the list subject by subject, there's things that aren't actually finished.  She is NOT a self-motivated or persistant child.  If something's difficult she will give up or balk at it endlessly.  She's a relatively compliant child overall but very spacey.  She would much rather give up or try to get me to give her the answers rather than problem-solve (this applies to anything, not just school...choosing a size of Pyrex container to put leftover food in, for instance).  Part of the problem is that I am not checking her work every day.  I try to check it all at least every other day.  Part of the reason I don't get it checked every day is because when I am ready to check it, she still has a lot of it undone, and then she goofs off and doesn't get it done and I don't remember to ask after "school time" is over for everyone else.  Or I ask and X is not done so I tell her to go do it and realize later, or the next day, that she never got around to doing it.  She is also not doing the things she is specifically supposed to do, like come narrate after her state history reading.  It's marked right on her checklist for her to narrate, but she "forgets to look at the checklist" or "forgets to do it" or whatever the excuse of the day is and by the time I review her work before lunch, it's been two hours since she read and she claims she can't remember anything.  I don't even know what to do about that.

I just don't know where to go with this.  I try to give her a little grace because of all the horror stories I've heard about puberty stealing middle schooler's brains, but this has been going on for at least two years so I'm not sure I can continue to chalk it all up to puberty.  She has never been self-motivated, persistant, or a problem-solver.  I can't hold her hand through her schoolwork all day as I have 5 younger children to manage, including a 4 month old who wakes a lot at night, and there is only so much of me to go around.  She can't focus when there's noise or lots of activity around her anyway so it doesn't work for her to do her schoolwork in the same area as everyone else.  How do we make it through this year?  Should she drop something (and what?)?  

We are finishing up grade 6, I’d say with a similar work load and it take is 4 hours minimum if we do it all.  Your time expectations may be slightly unrealistic. 

I also think if there was something like “narrate” on my kids list unless I followed up and made sure he did it he would just get away with not doing it.  

It might be adhd but I think it’s still fairly normal for a kid this age to need some follow up, reminders and habit training to work consistently and effectively.   Either that or my same age kid has add too!

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Hugs. 

ITA w/ Lori D.

I'd spend most of my school time w/ her, I always spent more time w/ my ADHD eldest than anyone and I'd cut all but the basics. 

For the ones that are school age I'd do some read-alouds and the 3Rs.

I'd also agree with the evaluation, it really helps when you know exactly what you are dealing with and it helps her b/c she knows she is not a failure and it isn't her fault.

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4 hours ago, Lori D. said:

Just me, but it sounds like a student who needs much more personal 1-on-1 attention -- to help redirect her back onto task, to answer questions, and to mentor/scaffold struggle areas (like writing). Neither DS here was able to do a lot of independent work until well into high school. Some kids just can't. Also, she is right at the age when kids who have dyslexia or ADD or other learning issues hit the limit of being able to mask their issues or "fake it", as 6th grade is right about when the school work load kicks up a notch.

I totally understand you are very stretched thin right now, but your 12yo is hitting a critical stage and needs help clearing the higher hurdles in order to be able to succeed in the later years of middle school and high school. Independent learning has clearly not been working for her, and it's not going to get better without intervention and individualized help for her.

If you are not able to provide that 1-on-1, can you hire a tutor to come in 2x/week for a few hours each time? Or is there a "retired" homeschooler or a "grandma"-aged friend from your neighborhood or church or social circles who would like to volunteer to help out regularly? A college-age student who you can provide dinners to in exchange for a few hours of tutoring in the afternoon before dinner with your DD? What about hiring a nanny or babysitter to come in for the mornings 5x/week to deal with the 4 little youngest kids, and you focus on schooling the older 2 for 3 hours per morning?

Yes, you can drop some things for her this year and just focus on getting her solid in Math and the Language Arts areas, with history and science as frosting on top as you have time. And you can have some of her reading be in those non-fiction content areas, as well as in the Literature (fiction) area. Yes, you can drop Spanish for now -- if she's struggling with some of the LA areas in *English*, trying to do a foreign language may be too difficult.

Also, I'd suggest reading through Smart But Scattered to learn techniques to help scaffold DD into stronger executive functioning -- many of the things you list in your original post sound like she struggles how to prioritize or persevere or think through how to figure things out, which is all tied in to executive functioning.

If outside help is not possible, then I'd suggest re-prioritizing, and give 12yo the "lion's share" of what time you homeschooling time you do have available each day. Drop the 1st and 3rd grader down to just doing Math, Reading, and Handwriting for this year -- they can probably knock that out in an hour sitting at the table together with you -- and let them independently read, listen to audio books, and explore science kits, educational videos and supplements. Or consider putting the 3rd and 1st graders (and possibly the 5yo, if kinder-aged) into school for this year, so you can focus on 12yo and only have the 1yo and baby to juggle during the day, and then the afternoons can focus on any homework for the elementary ages, and meal-making/chores.

Don't worry about doing any formal academics with the 3 little ones. Or consider putting the 5yo into a half-day pre-school or kindergarten to give him some stimulation and give you 1 less little one to run after for the morning. Going bare bones for a year with children under 4th grade is not going to harm them, but your 12yo sounds like she's on the cusp of falling behind/falling through the cracks right now, and at her age, it can be hard to catch up.

Consider getting a formal evaluation for 12yo, to make sure you're not looking at a learning issues or physical deficits like vision convergence, as getting her onto the therapies or meds to address issues will help DD move forward with her learning.

I am so sorry... You are in an overwhelmed stage of life right now with 6 children, most of whom are quite young. And I'm sure your DD knows something is not right and is feeling frustrated with herself as well. Please be gentle with yourselves. Ask for help/find some support. Compromise where you can if it reduces stress. Let go of trying to do it all at home, or do it all yourself. Hoping others will have more helpful ideas for you! Hugs and best wishes, Lori D.

I fully agree with Lori. It is your 7th grader who needs you. It looks like your other school age kids are 4th, 2nd, and K. I would only spend 20-30 mins with the Ker and about 1 1/2 hrs with the 2nd grader, so 2 hrs total with those 2. I would expect them to play nicely and independently during your time working with the other 2.

The vast majority of kids need teachers. They need the direct presence of someone actively involved with them while they are working. They need someone directly interested in their successes and their struggles.They need someone to say good job when they solve a difficult problem or word something articulately. They need support when they can't figure out how to approach a problem or the words won't come out. You say it isn't working. I can't imagine it being a positive learning environment in almost any case. It is way too much responsibility to expect a 7th grader to be their own teacher, their own motivator, their own supervisor. I don't think the issue is needing to give her grace. 

I would sit with both the 4th grader and the 7th grader while they do the majority of their work. I still sit with my high schoolers for some subjects and am constantly interacting with them during others. You need to find a rhythm that works for you, but not having one is not fair to your older children.  When my kids were similar ages to yours, I would get up at 5 with my oldest and we would work for 2 solid hrs before any of the other kids except possibly the baby were awake. My current 7th grader and I still do something similar. She climbs into bed with me at  545 every morning. We do math and sometimes more together before I have to get up and take her older brother to work. 

That approach works for me bc my Dh gets up at 4every morning and I am rarely able to go back sound asleep. For other people later in the day works better for them. When the baby is down for a nap, the 7th grader is your absolute  first priority and then the 4th grader. The 7th grader and 4th graders are capable of watching the baby for a short time while your work with the younger kids later in the day.

In our homeschool, I would teach the 7th grader math concepts and then have her sit right beside me and work on math while I worked with the 4th grader on math instruction. I would check the 7th grader's math "in progress."  By the time the math lesson was completed it would already have been graded.  I would have the 4th grader reading independently while I worked on writing with the 7th grader and then flip those 2, 4th grader writing, 7th grader reading. I would discuss with each of them in turn what they were reading. If you have to combine them and read aloud history and science to both of them together, that is what I would do. That would be superior to the 7th grader being expected to do it on her own and her not.

Fwiw, if your family does not have a structured routine that works, I would take a week with less school focus and develop boundaries and a routine that works. It might take some adjusting things around to find the rhythm that works for you. But, I know for our family, rhythm was and still is vital to our homeschool's success. Without it, in a large family just normal everyday functioning can leave no room for strong academic focus. Having a strong rhythm allows for life to happen and still staying on track.

 

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You need to make a few changes.  Going down a checklist didn't work for my kid.  We had to do independence in bites before he could do the whole chunk.  The most important thing was to check his work after EVERY subject if he was working independently.  I had a paper I wrote his 7th or 8th grade year that was just one day in our life broken out by times.  It had things on there like:
9:00 - went over very easy grammar paper with the 13yo.  Set him to work.  Changed over the laundry and folded a load.
9:10 - child said he was done.  Looked at it, made him read the instructions OUT LOUD to me, and then set him back to work.
9:30 - child whined for 20 minutes about having to use colored pencils while actually doing the paper. 
9:30-9:40 - sanity break for both of us.

And on and on all day.  Check in at the beginning, give him time to work, check it when he says he's done and immediately make any corrections and have him redo the parts that need it.  I rotated through the subjects so every day I was working with him on a handful and the others had independent work.  With a loud toddler in the house, the teen learned to use headphones well and we blocked off a small corner that I could see into, but the constant activity of the 3yo was out of sight.  And I made as much use as I could of the time over meals and during naps to be able to give my attention to the teen, even if I couldn't be there for him all day to bounce ideas off of.

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As my husband says, you can only expect what you inspect. Sounds like this DD needs your full attention and direct instruction and supervision most of the school day. If you can’t give her that, you need to ensure she gets it from someone else (tutor, online class, or virtual/traditional school).

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For Spanish use  Spanish Homeschool Academy. That will need to be scheduled, and then it gets done. 

She needs more supervision. Have her sit with you while she works. If she needs to, she can wear headphones to help her concentrate in a busy house. Kids have a hard time getting started. They do not understand time. 

7th grade is a hard year!

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I don't have any kids that old yet, but I do have a plethora of ADHD children who really struggle with distractions.

What I find works best around here is keeping the littlest, loudest children with me, and the bigger kids who are supposed to be working one room away from me (each in a separate room unless they are working on a subject together) slightly around a corner where I can easily look in on them, but they can't see the littles and their activities/antics.

So, while the littles finish breakfast in the kitchen eating area, I get the fourth grader working on his writing assignment in the connected dining room (sitting him at the far side of the table where he can't see through the doorway) and the second grader working on computer programming in the laundry room (again connected, but out of line of sight).  Then I rotate - read the littles a picture book, check on and encourage the writing process, pop in the laundry room and give a high-five for earning three stars on a programming level, and back to the table to start tidying up after breakfast.

It goes that way all morning: help the 3 year old into a tiger costume, listen to the 5 year old read me ridiculous jokes out of a library book, dictate spelling sentences to the 7 year old, correct a couple math problems the 9 year old has finished and give a mini-lesson to help him understand one he got wrong, etc.

Something else that helps my ADHD kiddos is to minimize transitions.  We all thrive on short, Charlotte Mason-y lessons, but we need to creatively group them so that it doesn't feel like we waste hours transitioning between subjects.  We do this by grouping our subjects and keeping all the supplies for each block together so we can treat them as one unit.

Wendy

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She sounds ... twelve.  

Part of the problem is that I am not checking her work every day.  I try to check it all at least every other day.  Part of the reason I don't get it checked every day is because when I am ready to check it, she still has a lot of it undone, and then she goofs off and doesn't get it done and I don't remember to ask after "school time" is over for everyone else.  Or I ask and X is not done so I tell her to go do it and realize later, or the next day, that she never got around to doing it. "

 "She has never been self-motivated, persistant, or a problem-solver."   

Gently, your daughter doesn't need grace, she needs not be set up for failure.  She needs more scaffolding than you are providing.  I am always amazed at people saying they give their middle schoolers a checklist and a pile of resource and the children go off and self-teach.  This may work for some children.  In my house, it would be a disaster.

 

 

 

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I also have a 7th grade DD who isn't especially self-motivated. 

I schedule my DD's work in "blocks" (chunks of time). For example: 9-10 is math, 10-11 is reading, etc. I check her work after *each* block. We also touch base before each independent block, so there's no chance to fall behind or get overwhelmed. If I saved checking work for every other day, I know I'd let it slip (*I* need more structure).

I realize you have a lot of littles, so this might not work for you. I just wanted to share what works for my similarly-aged child (who is dyslexic and who sounds a lot like your description). 

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One other thought.  It might do you well to put reminders or an alarm on your phone so that it alerts you various times throughout the day to check in on her.  I have scattered attention issues so my timer on my phone gets used quite often.  Otherwise I get distracted and can't remember what it is I was supposed to do later.

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Ok, my next question is, how distractible are you? Generally if a kid may qualify as having as ADHD-I or ADHD, one or more of the parents do too. Frankly, I think all parents with small children live lives as if they have ADD because of all of the disruptions, but how well are you functioning cognitively? I ask because I've got two kids with attention issues and while the bulk of that genetic inheritance is from dh, I do have some issues with staying on task and with estimating how long it takes to complete something.  I am great at making lists, it takes some cognitive effort and phone alarms to make carrying them out consistently happen.  I don't want to give advice that isn't going to work for you, iykwim.

I'm with Lori and 8Fill on this one, your 7th grader is going to need more direct time with you, but how to make that happen with the menagerie of small children that you have is going to, in part, depend on how well you task switch or on what other resources you can bring on board.  If you are already cognitively past your capacity, then I'm going to suggest different things than if you can set up a block schedule and rotate between everyone.

FWIW, my hardest year of homeschooling was when my kids were 7th (unmedicated ADD), 3rd (undiagnosed learning issues), K (needing a lot of help), and toddler (crazy, insane, whirlwind of a toddler).  I think 7th grade and 3rd grade are hard years academically.....there is a huge boost in demand on their cognitive load and if the foundational skills aren't in place, it's really common for things to fall apart.  

 

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She sounds just like my ADHD child. She is still that way, unmedicated at 16. I have to be very involved. Others all said it very well. I have to adjust expectations. I have some specific therapies and work we do just for ADHD to help her learn ways to deal with it. 

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6 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I am great at making lists, it takes some cognitive effort and phone alarms to make carrying them out consistently happen.  I don't want to give advice that isn't going to work for you, iykwim.

One of the funniest things for my dd her freshman year was to get in business classes and realize that as professional people (which we are!!) get busier, EVERYONE needs supports and strategies, whether they have ADHD or not. So things that she uses because of her ADHD are strategies, apps, etc. typical of highly successful business people. She came home over break and wanted this $$$$ task manager app, and I was like what in the world are you SURE??? And it was like $75 per component for the absolute cheapest version and then you had to buy it for each platform. But she's like no it can finally manage all the things I'm doing and help me keep on track!! She loves that software.

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6 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

Ok, my next question is, how distractible are you? Generally if a kid may qualify as having as ADHD-I or ADHD, one or more of the parents do too. Frankly, I think all parents with small children live lives as if they have ADD because of all of the disruptions, but how well are you functioning cognitively? I ask because I've got two kids with attention issues and while the bulk of that genetic inheritance is from dh, I do have some issues with staying on task and with estimating how long it takes to complete something.  I am great at making lists, it takes some cognitive effort and phone alarms to make carrying them out consistently happen.  I don't want to give advice that isn't going to work for you, iykwim.

I'm with Lori and 8Fill on this one, your 7th grader is going to need more direct time with you, but how to make that happen with the menagerie of small children that you have is going to, in part, depend on how well you task switch or on what other resources you can bring on board.  If you are already cognitively past your capacity, then I'm going to suggest different things than if you can set up a block schedule and rotate between everyone.

FWIW, my hardest year of homeschooling was when my kids were 7th (unmedicated ADD), 3rd (undiagnosed learning issues), K (needing a lot of help), and toddler (crazy, insane, whirlwind of a toddler).  I think 7th grade and 3rd grade are hard years academically.....there is a huge boost in demand on their cognitive load and if the foundational skills aren't in place, it's really common for things to fall apart.  

 

I am easily distracted and have a lot of trouble dividing my attention, like with trying to watch multiple kids and focus on something else (though in my case this happened after my health tanked about 5 years ago and I've never fully recovered from that).  It is very stressful for me to try to keep multiple kids working and divide my attention between them.  Right now I make homeschooling work by dividing it up into chunks of time throughout the day.  4th and 2nd graders do their math in the evening after the younger two are in bed.  I need to have DD do her math then also although she and the 4th grader use Teaching Textbooks and we only have one laptop.  Maybe she can do other schoolwork then.  4th and 2nd graders do 30ish mins of schoolwork in the morning before breakfast (we tend to eat late, around 9 a.m.).  DD is supposed to have about 60 mins before breakfast to do schoolwork but drags everything else out so much that she rarely has that much time.  Either she doesn't get up on time, or she gets up and lays in bed and reads instead of getting up and getting moving, or she takes forever to get dressed, or some combination of the three.  After breakfast and group morning time the 2nd grader has 30 mins of online reading tutoring, and 2 days a week the 4th grader has online tutoring after he is done (both are dyslexic).  I try to work with the K'er during this time. I have not started any sort of reading instruction with him yet and I need to add that in somewhere.  The 2nd grader usually only needs me to check his work, supervise any corrections, and help him with memory work after that.  The 4th grader mostly needs to be kept on track after that til he finishes which usually doesn't take too long.  I check his work and help him with memory work.  Then we do a group block subject with everybody but DD (history this term, science the next, grammar the last term).  I try to work with DD after that.  

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14 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

 

In our homeschool, I would teach the 7th grader math concepts and then have her sit right beside me and work on math while I worked with the 4th grader on math instruction. I would check the 7th grader's math "in progress."  By the time the math lesson was completed it would already have been graded.  I would have the 4th grader reading independently while I worked on writing with the 7th grader and then flip those 2, 4th grader writing, 7th grader reading. I would discuss with each of them in turn what they were reading. If you have to combine them and read aloud history and science to both of them together, that is what I would do. That would be superior to the 7th grader being expected to do it on her own and her not.

Fwiw, if your family does not have a structured routine that works, I would take a week with less school focus and develop boundaries and a routine that works. It might take some adjusting things around to find the rhythm that works for you. But, I know for our family, rhythm was and still is vital to our homeschool's success. Without it, in a large family just normal everyday functioning can leave no room for strong academic focus. Having a strong rhythm allows for life to happen and still staying on track.

 

The 4th grader clearly has ADHD and he would get absolutely nothing done if a sibling was sitting next to him.  I tried having him and the 4th grader work at our dining room table at the beginning of the year.  They sat at different sides of the table and the 2nd grader had a partition to keep him from getting distracted (ha ha) and he basically got nothing done until the 2nd grader finished his work.  I gave up on that idea.

More structure would help but I don't think I can make that happen.  I've been trying for literally years to be more structured.  I am great at planning it out but largely a failure at implementing it.  We have a loose routine of what comes next that I mostly manage to stick to in the mornings, and that's the best I've been able to do.  A time blocked schedule is utterly impossible for me to stick to.

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57 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

I am easily distracted and have a lot of trouble dividing my attention, like with trying to watch multiple kids and focus on something else (though in my case this happened after my health tanked about 5 years ago and I've never fully recovered from that).  It is very stressful for me to try to keep multiple kids working and divide my attention between them.  Right now I make homeschooling work by dividing it up into chunks of time throughout the day.  4th and 2nd graders do their math in the evening after the younger two are in bed.  I need to have DD do her math then also although she and the 4th grader use Teaching Textbooks and we only have one laptop.  Maybe she can do other schoolwork then.  4th and 2nd graders do 30ish mins of schoolwork in the morning before breakfast (we tend to eat late, around 9 a.m.).  DD is supposed to have about 60 mins before breakfast to do schoolwork but drags everything else out so much that she rarely has that much time.  Either she doesn't get up on time, or she gets up and lays in bed and reads instead of getting up and getting moving, or she takes forever to get dressed, or some combination of the three.  After breakfast and group morning time the 2nd grader has 30 mins of online reading tutoring, and 2 days a week the 4th grader has online tutoring after he is done (both are dyslexic).  I try to work with the K'er during this time. I have not started any sort of reading instruction with him yet and I need to add that in somewhere.  The 2nd grader usually only needs me to check his work, supervise any corrections, and help him with memory work after that.  The 4th grader mostly needs to be kept on track after that til he finishes which usually doesn't take too long.  I check his work and help him with memory work.  Then we do a group block subject with everybody but DD (history this term, science the next, grammar the last term).  I try to work with DD after that.  

I hope someone else can offer you insight and helpful suggestions.  

50 minutes ago, caedmyn said:

The 4th grader clearly has ADHD and he would get absolutely nothing done if a sibling was sitting next to him.  I tried having him and the 4th grader work at our dining room table at the beginning of the year.  They sat at different sides of the table and the 2nd grader had a partition to keep him from getting distracted (ha ha) and he basically got nothing done until the 2nd grader finished his work.  I gave up on that idea.

More structure would help but I don't think I can make that happen.  I've been trying for literally years to be more structured.  I am great at planning it out but largely a failure at implementing it.  We have a loose routine of what comes next that I mostly manage to stick to in the mornings, and that's the best I've been able to do.  A time blocked schedule is utterly impossible for me to stick to.

In terms of the bolded, what do you think would actually work?  If greater supervision and structure are not options, what sort of suggestions are you hoping to receive? If posters understand what you want, that might help them figure out what sort of suggestions will help.

Your description of your dd in the first post does not reflect a self-disciplined, mature student who is ready to work independently without structure and supervision.   I gently encourage you to reflect on the bolded and your inability to make it happen and what you are expecting from your 12 yr old. 

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9 hours ago, HomeAgain said:

One other thought.  It might do you well to put reminders or an alarm on your phone so that it alerts you various times throughout the day to check in on her.  I have scattered attention issues so my timer on my phone gets used quite often.  Otherwise I get distracted and can't remember what it is I was supposed to do later.

I live by my timers. I was going to recommend you try that. 

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I think you understand yourself and your limitations well.  What other resources can you bring on board? 

Can you bring in additional household help?

Can you bring in an IRL tutor?

Can you look at medicating your ADD kids? (Honestly, I was very against medication, but having seen the difference now, I really regret all of the time lost and frustration expended in trying to cope on our own without it.)

Can you purchase an additional laptop?

Can you enroll some of your children in public or private school?

Can you utilize a co-op?

If you read my siggie, you'll see I have some kids in public school now. It started off as just one, then we added a half-day for another, and my third is off at kindergarten this year.  It actually works  well for us. I use my mornings to work with my Oldest. My next in line comes home at lunchtime, and I work with him until my girls get off of the bus.  When my girls come home, I then after school them. I'm done by suppertime, and in bed by 8pm.  We will eventually bring the girls back home to homeschool (at least those are our plans now), but I needed a breather after over a decade of doing this and coping with my own health issues.   I needed to be mom first for a bit.  I know my choice isn't right for everyone, but I think the reality is that we all have different home situations and when things aren't working, we need to do the best we can in the circumstances we're in.

I gave it a really hard honest go, working from 6 am-9pm so that I could dedicate time to everyone and their special needs.  I utilized block schedules. I optimized materials. I used alarms. I did online grocery ordering. I set aside a medical half-day for all of the OT/PT appointments to minimize interruptions. I started bringing in outsourced classes.  I literally did "all of the things" and it still wasn't enough. I had to let go of my pride and let go of some longheld beliefs (all public schools are awful, homeschool is the only way for your children to maintain their testimony/salvation, etc., you know the drill) and really put everything on the table and choose the best of a lot of less than ideal options.....

I wish you the best as you consider how to move forward!

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12 hours ago, prairiewindmomma said:

I think you understand yourself and your limitations well.  What other resources can you bring on board? 


This is exactly what I see from your posts, too, Caedmyn, and I think this is a lovely way to think of it -- what options are available to you and your family to have the best educational and family life success? It is absolutely NOT a "failure" to not be able to be superwoman and do it all. And it is not true that you can only be a "success" only if you homeschool. Prairiewindmomma has some wonderful ideas of resources to come alongside you in support, and I suggested some others in my post above. Perhaps this is a season to take advantage of some of these ideas (or others)? It doesn't have to be a permanent decision. : )

BEST of luck as you and DH research, discuss, and think through what is best for you, for each child, and for your family in this particular season of life. Warmest regards, Lori D.

 

Pairiewindmomma: Thanks for sharing so honestly and specifically from your own experiences. So glad your family is experiencing more joy, more "good family time', and more academic success now! BEST wishes for wherever your journey leads from here. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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4 hours ago, PeterPan said:

One of the funniest things for my dd her freshman year was to get in business classes and realize that as professional people (which we are!!) get busier, EVERYONE needs supports and strategies, whether they have ADHD or not. So things that she uses because of her ADHD are strategies, apps, etc. typical of highly successful business people. She came home over break and wanted this $$$$ task manager app, and I was like what in the world are you SURE??? And it was like $75 per component for the absolute cheapest version and then you had to buy it for each platform. But she's like no it can finally manage all the things I'm doing and help me keep on track!! She loves that software.

I'm very curious as to what this amazing app is?

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Caedmyn, I've read a few of your posts over the years and I think your situation is somewhat similar to mine. I struggle a lot with executive function (was diagnosed with ADHD as an adult) and so do most of my children. My husband has multiple disabilities and also struggles with mental health; he's making a heroic effort to hold down a breadwinning job but doesn't really have anything left to offer when he is home. 

We have seven kids ages 1-15.

I love homeschooling, but as life has gotten more complicated and I couldn't meet everyone's needs with the fairly laid back schooling I was able to manage I have sought out other opportunities and options to fill in the gaps. This year my oldest two are in school part time and the next three are in school full time. I'm juggling four different schools, a crazy amount of driving, managing IEP's, and trying to still cover what needs to be done at home. It's a different kind of insane from homeschooling all of them but the kids who needed more structure and support are getting it. 

I'm hoping to do more homeschooling (and a lot less driving...) again in the future but I do feel like right now my kids are benefitting from the outside structure.

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27 minutes ago, maize said:

I'm very curious as to what this amazing app is?

Here it is. It's way more complicated than anything I do, lol. https://www.omnigroup.com/omnifocus/  Someone came into their class and taught them how to use it and why and how the components worked together. From what she was saying, it is more connected across domains and has the ability to filter. So like if you have 5 minutes, you can have it show all the tasks you can do in 5 minutes. Or you can filter other ways, tag other ways. 

My dd dumps EVERYTHING into her tech and uses it as external RAM so to have notes, calendar, addresses, everything working together and helping her plan and manage was supposedly going to be a big help. So like if she had to meet someone at such and such time, the list (agenda, supplies, whatever) for that would be tagged and appear. I don't know if it's delivering, but that's what it was supposed to do for her.

There is a desktop version and an app and I think one of them has a trial option. I think she trialed the desktop first, liked it, then added the apps. And I think she's using the pro with education pricing.

Edited by PeterPan
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18 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

 

In terms of the bolded, what do you think would actually work?  If greater supervision and structure are not options, what sort of suggestions are you hoping to receive? If posters understand what you want, that might help them figure out what sort of suggestions will help.

 

The suggestions thus far that I think would be helpful and that I can probably actually implement are:

Have less subjects/drop some things (starting with Spanish)
Have set check-in appointments and let her know she needs to get first however many things done by first appt, etc
Have the same schedule every day
Look into Physics 101 DVDs
Have a reward/incentive set up for finishing her work
Minimize transitions
Keep the kids separate but within sight (we're moving to a new house next month and I think the new layout will work much better for separating them yet keeping them all relatively close)
Get a second laptop
Drop the narrating since it's not working and use some other form of feedback instead such as notebooking

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I think the one thing that there are just no shortcuts on (unless you can afford a really good class or pay a tutor) is writing. Our kids need feedback on writing. There's just no way around it. I don't even so much think that it's the particular program, but the interaction that really teaches the writing. Good assignments, explanations, etc. help, but the feedback is what's most crucial.

I like the above list of what you're going to try. I just wanted to chip in with that for your consideration. Kids can usually do content via documentaries and online quizzes. There are good online responsive learning options that work for most (if not all) kids for math (though not for early elementary, but this is a middle schooler). When kids can read, just getting them to put in the time will be enough for most kids most of the time, especially before high school. But for writing... in my experience, there's no way but to give it our time.

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1 hour ago, caedmyn said:

The suggestions thus far that I think would be helpful and that I can probably actually implement are:

Have less subjects/drop some things (starting with Spanish)
Have set check-in appointments and let her know she needs to get first however many things done by first appt, etc
Have the same schedule every day
Look into Physics 101 DVDs
Have a reward/incentive set up for finishing her work
Minimize transitions
Keep the kids separate but within sight (we're moving to a new house next month and I think the new layout will work much better for separating them yet keeping them all relatively close)
Get a second laptop
Drop the narrating since it's not working and use some other form of feedback instead such as notebooking

 

6 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I think the one thing that there are just no shortcuts on (unless you can afford a really good class or pay a tutor) is writing. Our kids need feedback on writing. There's just no way around it. I don't even so much think that it's the particular program, but the interaction that really teaches the writing. Good assignments, explanations, etc. help, but the feedback is what's most crucial.

I like the above list of what you're going to try. I just wanted to chip in with that for your consideration. Kids can usually do content via documentaries and online quizzes. There are good online responsive learning options that work for most (if not all) kids for math (though not for early elementary, but this is a middle schooler). When kids can read, just getting them to put in the time will be enough for most kids most of the time, especially before high school. But for writing... in my experience, there's no way but to give it our time.

Based on your post on the writing forum, your dd needs significant remediation in writing.  Farrar is correct. There is no shortcut.  Simply implementing a check-in appt is not going to be enough.  Whatever you have been doing in the past has not not been working. She needs writing instruction.  She needs immediate feedback, critiquing, correcting, and redirection to what is appropriate writing.  She sounds like she needs scaffolded support to encourage her to succeed.

You say that you think you can "probably actually implementthe above, but is the above actually enough scaffolding and support for your dd to thrive? I think they are good starting points for you to get control over homeschool days, but my concern is for your 7th grader.  You describe her as

21 hours ago, caedmyn said:

DD is supposed to have about 60 mins before breakfast to do schoolwork but drags everything else out so much that she rarely has that much time.  Either she doesn't get up on time, or she gets up and lays in bed and reads instead of getting up and getting moving, or she takes forever to get dressed, or some combination of the three. 

Your description of her sounds like SHE really struggles with focusing and needs direct support in meeting minimal functioning expectations outside of academic learning. Will instituting a reward system and telling her she needs to finish x,y, and z before your appt time lead to her succeeding in meeting that level of expectation? Or does she need more directed help? 

Kids not quite academically thriving in elementary school can catch up under good instruction.  But, your dd is in 7th grade.  She is entering into the age when basic skills should be mastered and learning should be progressing to a different level. Falling continuously behind at this point can lead to difficult remediation in the future.

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Not to disagree with anyone esteemed, but there are things you can do to make writing go better when life happens. My ds has ASD2, and frankly some of those last years with my dd were so hairy that I can hardly remember them. We had legal fights for services, were driving hours upon hours each way for therapies, I developed asthma and had recurrent pneumonia and bronchitis. It was a MESS. Maybe not the same mess as having a lot of kids, but a mess.

-high structure materials--I used WWS1 in 8th and WWS2 in 9th. Someone is welcome to fume about that all they want, but my dd's ACT scores were stellar and she's doing quite well at her university. With an ADHD dc with EF deficits, they may need to do things later and may need extensive help to see structure. Dyslexia is considered a language disability, which means the dc could have narrative language deficits, etc. on top of the reading disorder. That would be a step I didn't have to do with my dd but am having to do with my ds. So that's a matter of degrees, like whether it's crunchy but she can narrate, or she really isn't getting it out. My dd was the former and my ds is the latter. So anyways, WWS is high structure, and by 8th she was ready to do it semi-independently. I went through it with a highlighter to make sure she would catch everything important, and I taught her to use mindmapping software (Inspiration). There are also free apps like Popplet. These are evidence-based approaches with ADHD, using mapping software and graphic organizers, highly recommend. Bonus was she learned how to read tons of gibberish and come away with the important parts.

-idiot-proof things she could use to respond/write with. So for literature, I might do something like an anthology and then make a brief reading log that had sections for author, topic, theme, blah blah. I used this quite a bit during her high school, so the forms varied. We did it with fiction literature but also essay collections, philosophy books, all sorts of things. Sometimes I made it more open-ended, like read this and write a response essay. I didn't care so much about long or short but the EFFORT of thinking about the topic and how it connected to what you already knew or could apply to life. Response journals and response essays are pretty common in college, so they're a handy thing to be proficient at.

-debate--50 Debate Prompts for Kids - Scholastic Teacher Storehttps://shop.scholastic.com/.../50-debate-prompts-for-kids-9780545179027.html This was one of my favorite things ever for that age. Kids love to argue and the topics in this book were relevant and timely to discuss. Again, you can make it idiot-proof by dividing the work into chunks. Like day one read the page, day two argue with mom, day 3 write a brief essay (5 paragraphs--intro, 3 reasons, conclusion) arguing the other side, etc. 

Some people would say you need to edit your dc's writing, but actually there's a school of thought that you should not or need not, that it's more important that they just keep making the EFFORT. I think activities like that debate book, where you work on thinking clearly about a topic and offering support, are important, because you're developing clarity of thought and concision in your explanations. If you can't get everything done you dream of, then narrow down to exactly what aspects of writing you REALLY WANT that dc to be proficient in. That might be child-specific too, and that's fine! For my dd, I wanted her to be able to get out her thoughts, which meant being able to type or use dictation software and knowing what environment she needed to be able to function was HIGH PRIORITY. I also wanted her to think clearly, so the arguing, responding was important. But beyond that, all semantics, all fixable. But maybe you have a different vision for your dc, depending on where they're going. Maybe you really want them to write clean paragraphs and understanding editing. Maybe editing is a big deal to you or really valuable for them. Pick what is most important would be my advice. You might not win at everything (because you're busy, because life happens) but pick 1-2 things you really want to win at and nail them. Her education is not going to stop just because she graduates, and it's not the end of the world if you can't do everything. Pick something to do WELL. 

Edited by PeterPan

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6 minutes ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

 

Based on your post on the writing forum, your dd needs significant remediation in writing.  Farrar is correct. There is no shortcut.  Simply implementing a check-in appt is not going to be enough.  Whatever you have been doing in the past has not not been working. She needs writing instruction.  She needs immediate feedback, critiquing, correcting, and redirection to what is appropriate writing.  She sounds like she needs scaffolded support to encourage her to succeed.

You say that you think you can "probably actually implementthe above, but is the above actually enough scaffolding and support for your dd to thrive? I think they are good starting points for you to get control over homeschool days, but my concern is for your 7th grader.  You describe her as

Your description of her sounds like SHE really struggles with focusing and needs direct support in meeting minimal functioning expectations outside of academic learning. Will instituting a reward system and telling her she needs to finish x,y, and z before your appt time lead to her succeeding in meeting that level of expectation? Or does she need more directed help? 

Kids not quite academically thriving in elementary school can catch up under good instruction.  But, your dd is in 7th grade.  She is entering into the age when basic skills should be mastered and learning should be progressing to a different level. Falling continuously behind at this point can lead to difficult remediation in the future.

I am hoping the new house will help a lot.  I'm planning on putting her in the main floor bedroom where I can check in on her more frequently and supervise her more closely .  Having everyone all together yet with a larger space should help a lot with the school supervision aspect.  And if I cut things like Spanish from her schedule, I can spend less time trying to make sure she gets everything done (because there won't be so much to get done) and less/no time checking over and having her correct the things that aren't so important.  Then I'll have more time to focus on things like writing.  

A reward system has been very motivating to her in the past.  I do think telling her exactly what needs to be done by what time will be helpful to her.  I was trying to give her more control over her schedule and her time this year but clearly that isn't working.

Her writing is not as poor as it appeared from that one sample.  She is not the greatest writer but she is capable of constructing coherent sentences.  This is a written narration from last year on a chapter of Animal Farm.  It could have used a little more editing (I haven't been making her correct every single thing because she gets overwhelmed so I tried to increase the expectations over time) but it's not terrible.

"Mollie was acting strange.  She complained about aches and pains, but her appetite was excellent.  Then one of the pigs thought he saw her letting a person pet her.  She denied it though.
"The next day, however, she disappeared and was seen by some pigeons happily living with some humans.  In her bedding they discovered some sugar and ribbons she had hidden there.  Sadly, Molly had missed her human life greatly, and she was never seen again."

 

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Some kids are good enough natural writers and read heavily enough that regularly writing is going to bring steady improvement. And we use freewriting constantly at my house - and I pretty much never give feedback on that. But kids who can learn just from that are like the kids who teach themselves to read. And even they greatly benefit from feedback in my experience. Feedback is NOT editing someone's writing, by the way. It's guiding kids through the writing process.

In any case, from the OP's post about her dd's writing, her dd isn't in that category. She's a reluctant writer who is not on grade level. Which is FINE, by the way. She can absolutely turn it around. There's really time. It's just that more than any other subject in my experience, it's the one where what you put in is what you'll get out.

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Ok, I'll ask a question here. Jump In has writing prompts that are actually really nice. Can your dd do those? I used them with my dd one year for working on just her comfort in getting her thoughts out, and they were enjoyable.

I don't think it's a deal breaker or sign of something horrible if a kid does not do well with a particular writing curriculum, because a lot of them are formulas and wanting kids to pull things from out of the air. BUT it's a really huge deal if a dc has undiagnosed language issues and needs narrative language intervention. Narrative language is the foundation of expository writing. It's stuff we homeschoolers have known for a long time, but it's always been sort of vague. (first we narrate, then we turn our narratives into nicer paragraphs and essays) Well now you can get materials that are meant for intervention in students with dyslexia and language disabilities that will show directly the correlation between narrative structures and expository. https://mindwingconcepts.com/products/the-thememaker-student-expository-tool

My ds has had extensive testing and he has some wicked language issues. I really don't know what's going on in the op's situation, but just like stepping up to Barton for the reading helped, sometimes stepping up to intervention materials for writing is the right choice. I'm using a combination of SKILL Narrative (Gillam) and the Mindwing materials with my ds and they're excellent. There are some other narrative language programs out there (Story CHAMPS, etc.), but none that I know of are doing as solid a job of showing the connection to expository as the MW stuff.

The handy thing is that excellent intervention materials are faster, lots of bang for your buck. And the MW people have tons free. https://mindwingconcepts.com/blogs/news/36161281-new-common-core-book-and-free-lesson this link has the chart showing the progression of expository from narrative development. Narrative language develops in an order, so we're actually able to target where it glitched and begin moving it forward. And we can then know which expository structures the dc is ready to understand based on their narrative language development. You can find all that info for free on the MW site if you dig. Moreau there also has wonderful youtube talks where she explains everything. https://mindwingconcepts.com/blogs/news/46846209-expository-my-research-cut-and-fold-booklet has a free pdf from their Core of the Core book. Again, not saying it's the entirety of what a 7th grader should do, but it might give you a starting point and some ideas. If any of those things are HARD for her to do, that's noteworthy, kwim? And the flipside is once you know the next step she needs for structure you can use one of their graphic organizers and make it more independent. 

Remember, even though she's a teen and it's so easy to ascribe bad motives, we still have the "if the student could do it, he would do it." Sometimes the skills to do the task really aren't there and we have to back up and provide so much support that the task is within reach. So if intervention materials are needed, back up. MW stuff for writing would be sort of like your Barton for Reading. It's backing way up and saying where's the glitch and why can't it come out. 

That's if it can't come out. My dd didn't really need all this, but she's your straight ADHD presentation, no dyslexia. My ds on the other hand is Mr. Bonus and gets everything. So do what they need, definitely.

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On November 6, 2018 at 10:20 PM, caedmyn said:

doesn't like to think or put in effort overall.

The Walch Powerbasics series has really charming (I think) workbooks that allow for a variety of responses, including projects. I'm always looking for idiot-proof structure, but to get creative options in a workbook format is kind of nice.

Do you have any options for high school that can get her herd effect? I can't emphasize enough what a difference having a herd makes for some of these kids. Meds helped immensely, and frankly having some more years helped. I seem to recall dd becoming a person around 16. Like seriously all this mess just fell to the side and she blossomed and became a really excellent human being. It's sad, because right about the time they blossom and become fun, they leave. 

It was only the last two years that really felt like what I *thought* other people meant homeschooling high school should look like. And even then it wasn't the same. I assume it's the ADHD. I think one thing we did well was focusing on her as a human, as a whole person, and trying to turn out a confident, competent whole person. When you increase the structure and supports so the tasks are doable and getting done, you increase competence. When you increase things she does that are maybe hobbies or personal interests or skills beyond school, you're growing her as a person. My dd is that sort of well-rounded person who maybe makes it through academics but also has a lot of ability to live. I think it's ok to find these OTHER strengths in our kids and add them to the list and build some competence and proficiency. It's a way to keep things upbeat and combat depression. 

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On November 6, 2018 at 10:20 PM, caedmyn said:

She has never been self-motivated, persistant, or a problem-solver.

When my dd had her evals, the psych ran some kind of test on persistence. I forget what it was called but could look it up. The results just blew my mind, because it so fit with what we were struggling with, that she just would give up. There are also tests of problem solving. When you're saying these things, I definitely don't think it's your imagination. It's really just more do you want to push for evals and get the things quantified? On some things, like problem solving, there are actually interventions. I do workbooks on it with my ds, because he has clinical levels of issues with problem solving. For the persisting, I had talks with my dd and said bluntly these are your scores, this is your tendency, now let's know ourselves and make choices not to just give in. Sometimes it really helps a dc to acknowledge to them how hard it is, that you get that it's that hard, that others get that it's that hard. Evals, good evals, can be really pivotal there. Without evals, you're sorting shooting blind, trying to figure this stuff out. You've said in the past they weren't an option, but I'm just saying that's how they played out for us. I also have friends who won't do evals. They have their reasons, and they just have to figure out ways to make it work. The evals are there if you want them and they would address the stuff you're describing.

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I think what you have is a discipline issue. You need to be more disciplined about checking her work and making sure she gets it done. She needs consequences for not getting the work done in a reasonable time, saying it is all done when it isn't, and dragging her heels in the mornings. 

I would start by streamlining the work that you are asking her to do. Drop all non-essential subjects. I would focus on Math and Language Arts. Focus on getting those things done and checked every day. After you are consistently getting that done add in science and history. Give each subject a set block of time. For example school starts at 10am. Math is from 10am to 11am, writing is from 11am to noon etc. Set a timer. Check her work at the end of the time for that subject. If the work is not complete in the set amount of time then she gets some sort of consequence. 

Susan in TX

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12 hours ago, Susan in TX said:

I think what you have is a discipline issue. You need to be more disciplined about checking her work and making sure she gets it done. She needs consequences for not getting the work done in a reasonable time, saying it is all done when it isn't, and dragging her heels in the mornings. 

I would start by streamlining the work that you are asking her to do. Drop all non-essential subjects. I would focus on Math and Language Arts. Focus on getting those things done and checked every day. After you are consistently getting that done add in science and history. Give each subject a set block of time. For example school starts at 10am. Math is from 10am to 11am, writing is from 11am to noon etc. Set a timer. Check her work at the end of the time for that subject. If the work is not complete in the set amount of time then she gets some sort of consequence. 

Susan in TX

From what I have seen and experienced I would want to be very sure that there isn't an underlying problem.  Consequences when the child cannot help it are not usually helpful.

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11 minutes ago, kiwik said:

From what I have seen and experienced I would want to be very sure that there isn't an underlying problem.  Consequences when the child cannot help it are not usually helpful.

I think you're right, but there are three issues at play here:
1. lack of discipline on the part of the parent.
2. puberty
3. lack of skills and/or discipline on the part of the student.

If 1 and 3 can be attacked at the same time, it gives more information to see if there's a 4, but 1 & 3 have to be addressed together for a long time to see if a real routine and direct instruction make a difference.  2 just has to be ridden out, but with scaffolding (1&3 again), routine will help.  It's really hard to say if there is an underlying problem if nothing is being attacked successfully to begin with.

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1 hour ago, HomeAgain said:

I think you're right, but there are three issues at play here:
1. lack of discipline on the part of the parent.
2. puberty
3. lack of skills and/or discipline on the part of the student.

If 1 and 3 can be attacked at the same time, it gives more information to see if there's a 4, but 1 & 3 have to be addressed together for a long time to see if a real routine and direct instruction make a difference.  2 just has to be ridden out, but with scaffolding (1&3 again), routine will help.  It's really hard to say if there is an underlying problem if nothing is being attacked successfully to begin with.

I think you have summed it up well. I think an additional part of the equation is whether or not all of the issues are equally addressed or if the solution is deflection.

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15 hours ago, kiwik said:

From what I have seen and experienced I would want to be very sure that there isn't an underlying problem.  Consequences when the child cannot help it are not usually helpful.

 

I agree. And when I said consequences that was probably not the right word to use. I don't mean being punitive. But there needs to be something to encourage the child to do their work. If the child lacks self-motivation then the parent/teacher needs to find a way to motivate the child. If there is an underlying problem such as ADHD then other support needs to be given as well.

 

Susan in TX

Edited by Susan in TX
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11 minutes ago, Susan in TX said:

 

I agree. And when I said consequences that was probably not the right word to use. I don't mean being punitive. But there needs to be something to encourage the child to do their work. If the child lacks self-motivation then the parent/teacher needs to find a way to motivate the child. If their is an underlying problem such as ADHD then other support needs to be given as well.

Even with ADHD we're going to talk about natural consequences and motivators. If the dc has ADHD, their ability to organize themselves and make an efficient path or even to problem solve can be affected. They may need a LOT OF SUPPORT to bring the tasks within reach. That's on our end and the mom-discipline Susan was talking about. And then, when we KNOW the tasks are within reach (because we've actually gone through it with them for a couple days and we know they can do every single thing if they use the provided structures and stay on-task), THEN we bring in our motivators and natural consequences.

What I did with my dd was to have something she really wanted to do but it was just matter of fact you have to be to this point on your list to go do it. But I did that walk through with her where I had gone through the entire list enough days with her that I knew she could do it all and that the supports were adequate. I sent my ds (ASD, very active, huge distraction) to someone else and walked through her day with her. Not realistic for op, I know, sigh. Just saying it worked.

There's a concept of errorless learning. We want to bring the supports so high that basically they always get there or at least get there 80% of the time. So if we're not hitting those kinds of percentages, we want to raise our structures and supports till we're getting there. We want the dc to have an expectation that they CAN do their work and CAN succeed. 

Depression rates are really high in this population, especially at this age. The work becomes harder, the expectation to work more independently increases, and depression goes up. So then you get these spirals. It gets challenging to keep it positive because you can get these spirals. Some of it can be helped and some of it is because working at this age with kids with difficulties is hard. Don't take it personally and just keep trying, upping the supports, being matter of fact. You'll fail some and win some, and hopefully the overall effect will be positive. That's what I would look for, the positive *trend* of ways she's growing or trying harder or staying more positive.

If you're opposed to meds, have you tried super small doses of caffeine? I found charts when my dd was that age and that's how we started. The caffeine activates less parts of the brain, but it was enough of an improvement that we knew we needed to move over to longer-dosing, controlled release meds. HUGE difference. For the caffeine, yeah just google for charts. It was like .10mg per 10kg of bodyweight or something. Super low dose, not cups of coffee or something. Lasts 3-4 hours, very short half-life. She can take it and then go do her math and see what she thinks.

Edited by PeterPan
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3 hours ago, kiwik said:

From what I have seen and experienced I would want to be very sure that there isn't an underlying problem. 

C has already shared that almost all her kids have some form of disability or suspected disability and that there's little/no support to help her get evals. It sounds like C is working her butt off trying to make everything happen, but it's really hard with little support, no evals, and no outside help.

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I get hesitant about calling kids who are struggling with something undisciplined. Sometimes they are, but there's a baggage with that term. I think sometimes it leads us to think they're willfully not doing work or doing it poorly because they're lazy when the reality is that they're often dealing with learning issues. Yes, she needs to learn better work habits. Yes, she needs to work on persistence and mindset. But these are things she'll have to actually learn. You can't just tell her to do it or flip a switch or punish her into doing it. It would be like punishing a 4 year old into reading Harry Potter. If they can't read it, they can't read it and sitting in the corner with it isn't going to magically make them able to. And I don't think anyone is talking about that per se, but I do want to give that warning not to fall into that mindset. It seems ridiculous that you would try to force a young child into doing something they can't do yet, but it's very easy to feel like a 7th grader who is a bit behind can do things she cannot actually do yet.

Learning the discipline of learning is hard for some kids, especially if there are learning issues. We are our kids' structure. When we don't have the structure, they can't have it either. That's why it's so important that we be structured. And it doesn't mean we have to be perfect and we definitely shouldn't spend any time beating ourselves up over it all, but we have to make it work for them.

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1 minute ago, Farrar said:

I get hesitant about calling kids who are struggling with something undisciplined. Sometimes they are, but there's a baggage with that term. I think sometimes it leads us to think they're willfully not doing work or doing it poorly because they're lazy when the reality is that they're often dealing with learning issues. Yes, she needs to learn better work habits. Yes, she needs to work on persistence and mindset. But these are things she'll have to actually learn. You can't just tell her to do it or flip a switch or punish her into doing it. It would be like punishing a 4 year old into reading Harry Potter. If they can't read it, they can't read it and sitting in the corner with it isn't going to magically make them able to. And I don't think anyone is talking about that per se, but I do want to give that warning not to fall into that mindset. It seems ridiculous that you would try to force a young child into doing something they can't do yet, but it's very easy to feel like a 7th grader who is a bit behind can do things she cannot actually do yet.

Learning the discipline of learning is hard for some kids, especially if there are learning issues. We are our kids' structure. When we don't have the structure, they can't have it either. That's why it's so important that we be structured. And it doesn't mean we have to be perfect and we definitely shouldn't spend any time beating ourselves up over it all, but we have to make it work for them.

This is very well stated.

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On 11/8/2018 at 5:55 PM, Susan in TX said:

I would start by streamlining the work that you are asking her to do. Drop all non-essential subjects. I would focus on Math and Language Arts. Focus on getting those things done and checked every day. After you are consistently getting that done add in science and history. Give each subject a set block of time. For example school starts at 10am. Math is from 10am to 11am, writing is from 11am to noon etc. Set a timer. Check her work at the end of the time for that subject. If the work is not complete in the set amount of time then she gets some sort of consequence. 

Susan in TX

This. Low key and simple is your new mantra. Drop everything but math and lang. arts (writing, grammar, spell/vocab) for EVERYONE. Literature can be read 1 chapter from an assigned book each day. Seriously, drop every other thing. It is all gravy after math and lang. arts. Read scriptures at night and discuss.

If you are really concerned for the littles, then buy a copy of FIAR and do a book a week keeping to only what is in the manual. The younger 2 only need math, handwriting, and phonics right now. That should take you maybe 30-45 mins. per kid. Cut the rest.

I learned after burning out trying to do it all what I could do. Focus on a few things and do them to the best of your ability. Let the rest go. There is only so much of you to go round. Make sure you are using your time on what really matters. 

When I had 2 school age kids (one with LDs), 2 almost non-verbal toddlers, AND a new baby, this is what I did. You are NOT a bad homeschool momma for needing to pull back a bit. Sit the older 2 at either end of the table with you in the middle. Give them ear phones, if you have to. Put the newborn in a carrier on your front and send the youngers off to play with the 1 yr old. This is what I did for years. As they finish their assignments, check it right away. Mine graduated to checking their own work after showing me they had done it many years ago. No, it isn't cheating. 

Other thing I did/do was/is make a weekly lesson plan for me of what I want each kid to cover in a 5 day period. It was a simple table with the days numbered (not dates!) across the top and the subjects down the side. If a table is too hard, make a simple list FOR YOU, not the child in a notebook or on a piece of scrap paper. Put Math: CHILD 1: TT 7 L. 8, CHILD 2: TT 4 L. 6, etc.. This will keep you on track. If you miss a day, so what? Just pick it up the next day. As my kids have gotten older and more proficient, they have moved to having their own lesson planners my dh custom made for me. 

You can make this work if you make changes. You say you are moving next month. That is a huge transition. Consider calling it a "year" and pack everything away for a bit. Start fresh after the move. Re-evaluate your materials, get a routine going. That means the order in which you do things each day. Not a schedule: those have set times and can be stifiling. Give yourself some space to just be as a family. Try some FIAR for everyone. Try just doing that and math. Try some oral narrations from even your oldest. It sounds like you are all super stressed out. 

Realistic Routine we try to follow:

8-9-ish everyone up and fed

9-12-ish school time (there is no "30 mins/subject" sort of nonsense. Mine would stress over being "late".)

12-1-ish lunch

1-3-ish more school as needed (this is rare)

3-5-ish PLAY TIME

5-6-ish clean up, make dinner

6-7 dinner, clean up dinner, scriptures/family prayer time

7-8-ish teeth brush, bedtime for kids (this means in their rooms and quiet.)

If it helps, here is what my Son 4 (13) is doing. He sits at the table with me and asks when he needs help.

ESSENTIALS:

Saxon Math 76 - 1 lesson daily

Hake Writ/Gram 6 (not the journal or dictations)- 1 lesson daily

Writing Skills- 1/2 to 1 lesson daily (going to start WWS 1 soon very slowly as he is about done with this. This will be with me.) 

Wordly Wise 7: 1 section daily (We skip ex. E.)

Reads 1 chapter from a novel of my choice- daily (no discussion questions, etc. are required.)

GRAVY:

Below are the thing he chose to add. They could easily be skipped and are on rushed days or days we just don't feel like it. 

Calvert's A Child's History of the World: 1 story and fill in the blank simple outline- daily

Memoria Press Tiner's Science book: 1 chap- 3 times a week (his choice on how often)

Draw, Write, Now (drawing only): 1 or 2 times a week, if he wants (we are NOT artists here)

Do I feel guilty? Not one bit. He is putting his focus on the most important things: the skills he will need for higher learning. Middle school is not mini-high school.

And for a little long term perspective: Son 2 is about done with his AAS with an almost perfect gpa (darn drawing class!). All the teachers (outside of math) care about is can he write well? That is where your focus needs to be. 

Anyway, I hope this helps you a bit. 

Edited by Paradox5
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On November 9, 2018 at 11:20 AM, Farrar said:

We are our kids' structure. When we don't have the structure, they can't have it either.

I totally agree on the need to step up our game with structure, and it was a huge part of my learning curve with homeschooling, totally agree. However since Caedmyn hasn't replied in her own thread in a while, I'm kinda wondering if she's feeling beaten up here. Caedmyn has already said in other threads that she's putting a whole bunch of her kids through Barton, and unless someone has done Barton they may not realize what a SHOCKING AMOUNT OF WORK that is. It requires a lot of discipline, and her results have been quite good! I think it's reasonable to suggest she's in a very hard situation and that she's probably already aware that she sometimes fails or doesn't live up to her goals. People in very hard situations usually are, because they already get daily reminders.

On November 8, 2018 at 5:49 PM, caedmyn said:

I was trying to give her more control over her schedule and her time this year but clearly that isn't working.

I hope whatever you're switching to now is working well! :)

On November 8, 2018 at 5:49 PM, caedmyn said:

It could have used a little more editing (I haven't been making her correct every single thing because she gets overwhelmed so I tried to increase the expectations over time) but it's not terrible.

Is there a way to have a rubric (a grading checklist), so she knows exactly what the expectations were and can self-monitor whether she hit them? Also, in your original list of her work, I didn't see anything that was in the vein of grammar or something for improving syntax (her understanding of sentence structure). Some workbooks that are open and go for grammar, sentence-combining, proofreading, anything in that vein might get her a lot of bang for the buck right now. She might need gentle drip drips, something that spirals. Abeka is actually pretty good at this age if you pare it down. I think we did 3 on the page and then stopped if she got those right. Killgallon has some stuff on sentence combining. She needs something to move her language structure forward.

Also, is she listening to audiobooks? Getting in more language via audiobooks might push help her writing just by planting more language. Doesn't have to be hard or classic lit. It could be newer or non-fiction or anything she likes. If you get any of your kids eval'd and get the SLD Reading diagnosed, you could then apply for the National Library Service and get audiobooks for free, unlimited. :)

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I agree with everyone who is saying to get back to basics - making sure that reading, writing, and math are done every day. After that, the other subjects are gravy. You could think about executive functioning as being a subject for her, as well - it's going to be important for her as she gets older to be able to follow a schedule and get things done, even with ADHD. Like PeterPan said, you'll have to increase supports a lot so that she actually meets her goals, otherwise she's not going to experience success, and will stop trying. If you start to teach her how to use tools (timers, lists, etc) now, at 12, it will be so much easier for her to manage when she's 15, 18, 25...

I'm just imagining, here, because I'm a teacher in public school and not homeschool (so feel free to disregard if this is not realistic), but after you decide what's essential to her day and what can be dropped, what if you had a meeting with her and explained her new schedule with expectations. The schedule could be very basic - task 1, check-in with mom, task 2, check in with mom, task 3, check in with mom, done for the day. You could insert whatever teaching you're doing with her as well, or a period of free time, exercise, chores, whatever. My ADHD students need schedules with every single little thing listed, and they need me to make sure they check off every little thing!

I also think it's important to reflect on how the day went. At some quiet time (assuming there is one with little kids around 🙂), sit with her and go over her list. Find out how she thinks she did, and what could be done better the next day. 

Special ed teachers often use visual timers so kids can see how much time they have left. Most of my students have no clue how long things will take, or how to sense the passage of time. Love these timers. (You do need to buy batteries.) https://www.amazon.com/Time-Timer-Original-inch-Classroom/dp/B06XSZ57B2

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Mainer said:

Special ed teachers often use visual timers so kids can see how much time they have left. Most of my students have no clue how long things will take, or how to sense the passage of time. Love these timers. (You do need to buy batteries.) https://www.amazon.com/Time-Timer-Original-inch-Classroom/dp/B06XSZ57B2

There's a (free?) Time Timer app as well.

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