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Ordinary Shoes

Deschooling After a Bad Year

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We're pulling DD out of school after this year. There are 5 weeks left of school, counting this week. 

My daughter is bored with absolutely everything related to school. She doesn't want to do anything new. We have a subscription to Audible but all she wants to listen to are the Mysterious Benedict Society books...over and over and over again. I think we all have them memorized by now. We got our two new credits today and I put my foot down and said that we are going to listen to the new books instead of re-starting the Benedict Society AGAIN. 

She's going to sleep away camp right after school is out, followed by day camp and vacation church school. 

I know every kid is different but any advice how long we should de-school? How would you advise to ease into homeschooling for a burned out kid? I've already decided that we are going back a few years for literature. DD is a good reader and reads above a 4th grade level now but she does not have much experience reading challenging things. Her reading group at school just finished Wood Song which DD hated. She says that the book started with wolves eating a baby doe alive. DD is very sensitive about animals being hurt or killed so she is kind of traumatized now. 

With a burned out kid, is it better to give them more control over what they study or choose something for them that you know that they will enjoy and find easy? 

ETA - how long of a break would you recommend from writing? Writing is a sore spot for DD. She actually likes to write when she gets to choose what to write about and has enough time to finish. She rarely finishes her school writing assignments because she takes too much time to complete which I think is a source of stress for her. I considered doing only copywork during the fall or doing freewrites like in Bravewriter. 

 

Edited by Ordinary Shoes

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Oh, hugs!  I'm sorry she's burned out and that you are dealing with this. 

I've found that it is important to balance easy, sheer-fun stuff with more-structured stuff where the child is making clear, measurable progress.  But what the balance is, and what materials to use, this is all very variable.  My rule of thumb is to keep engaging reading, writing, and math in some sort of forward progress; and we and many others need regular spelling, too. 

Because my children are not always easy to educate (!!!) I like to have some sort of program for writing and math that sets goals and moves us forward.  Maybe an intro program would be to use the summer to gently troubleshoot writing and math programs, with the goal of working at about half-pace during the last couple of weeks before your fall semester officially starts: I've learned the hard way to figure this stuff out before the new school year begins. 

If you want her doing grammar and spelling, and she is burned out, then maybe troubleshoot those programs over the fall and start them in the new year.  

Or do all your troubleshooting over the summer and fall and maybe pick up in the winter. 

She could pick a science and a history topic from several you give her and then read through booklists for those subjects over the year.  This, plus literature readings, would see her back on her feet. 

Don't know how much of this will resonate with you, but it is the sort of thing I come back to when we're had similar challenges. 

ETA: barring a learning difference, I'd work hard to get her doing some sort of writing program, even if you take a few months to get her up to desired output.  It could be WTM-style writing and not a "formal" program; 8FilltheHeart has Treasured Conversations, which many folks really like.  The writing will, in the long run, make her school more enjoyable and it will be easier for you to educate her in the logic/middle school years.   But I'm biased -- writing has been a struggle with my oldest, and structure really helped, but your child may be in a very different place. 

ETA #2: I  just saw Ellie's advice below ... this may suit your situation better ...

Edited by serendipitous journey
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34 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

We're pulling DD out of school after this year. There are 5 weeks left of school, counting this week. 

My daughter is bored with absolutely everything related to school. She doesn't want to do anything new. We have a subscription to Audible but all she wants to listen to are the Mysterious Benedict Society books...over and over and over again. I think we all have them memorized by now. We got our two new credits today and I put my foot down and said that we are going to listen to the new books instead of re-starting the Benedict Society AGAIN. 

She's going to sleep away camp right after school is out, followed by day camp and vacation church school. 

I know every kid is different but any advice how long we should de-school? How would you advise to ease into homeschooling for a burned out kid? I've already decided that we are going back a few years for literature. DD is a good reader and reads above a 4th grade level now but she does not have much experience reading challenging things. Her reading group at school just finished Wood Song which DD hated. She says that the book started with wolves eating a baby doe alive. DD is very sensitive about animals being hurt or killed so she is kind of traumatized now. 

With a burned out kid, is it better to give them more control over what they study or choose something for them that you know that they will enjoy and find easy? 

ETA - how long of a break would you recommend from writing? Writing is a sore spot for DD. She actually likes to write when she gets to choose what to write about and has enough time to finish. She rarely finishes her school writing assignments because she takes too much time to complete which I think is a source of stress for her. I considered doing only copywork during the fall or doing freewrites like in Bravewriter. 

 

I took my older dd out of school during Easter break of first grade. She wasn't ready for Official School Stuff for 18 months.

I would not expect her to be ready to do School until *at least* next fall, and possibly not until after Christmas. I would *not* require her to do writing at all. Seriously.

Edited by Ellie
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To give an example of how burned out she is. There was no school last thursday, friday, and today (Catholic school) so I asked her to find her backpack for tomorrow. She found her backpack and she drops on the couch in front of me her last spelling test. She says nothing. She got 18 out of 19 correct. She missed "chew," which she spelled "schew." I told her she did a good job and she got teary eyed. It took a few minutes for her to explain that she had erased the "s" in front of "schew" because she knew how to spell it correctly. She didn't do a good job erasing so I can see how her teacher didn't realize the "s" was erased. 

 

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10 minutes ago, serendipitous journey said:

Oh, hugs!  I'm sorry she's burned out and that you are dealing with this. 

I've found that it is important to balance easy, sheer-fun stuff with more-structured stuff where the child is making clear, measurable progress.  But what the balance is, and what materials to use, this is all very variable.  My rule of thumb is to keep engaging reading, writing, and math in some sort of forward progress; and we and many others need regular spelling, too. 

Because my children are not always easy to educate (!!!) I like to have some sort of program for writing and math that sets goals and moves us forward.  Maybe an intro program would be to use the summer to gently troubleshoot writing and math programs, with the goal of working at about half-pace during the last couple of weeks before your fall semester officially starts: I've learned the hard way to figure this stuff out before the new school year begins. 

If you want her doing grammar and spelling, and she is burned out, then maybe troubleshoot those programs over the fall and start them in the new year.  

Or do all your troubleshooting over the summer and fall and maybe pick up in the winter. 

She could pick a science and a history topic from several you give her and then read through booklists for those subjects over the year.  This, plus literature readings, would see her back on her feet. 

Don't know how much of this will resonate with you, but it is the sort of thing I come back to when we're had similar challenges. 

ETA: barring a learning difference, I'd work hard to get her doing some sort of writing program, even if you take a few months to get her up to desired output.  It could be WTM-style writing and not a "formal" program; 8FilltheHeart has Treasured Conversations, which many folks really like.  The writing will, in the long run, make her school more enjoyable and it will be easier for you to educate her in the logic/middle school years.   But I'm biased -- writing has been a struggle with my oldest, and structure really helped, but your child may be in a very different place. 

ETA #2: I thought she was going into 4th, and just saw Ellie's advice below ...

Thanks. She is going into the 4th grade next year. She'll be 10 in November. 

 

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4 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Thanks. She is going into the 4th grade next year. She'll be 10 in November. 

 

Oh, sweet child.  She'll be in my prayers -- and you, too. 

Reading over your subsequent posts, it does sound like you might un-school right through the fall.  My older fellow just requires so much structure that I lean toward recommending too much for other folks. 

One thing to consider: what would make you, yourself, feel like your de-schooling was going well?  Do you know what you are wanting from it? 

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Do you have a learning rich home environment?  By that I mean, do you have lots of games, time to go places (not necessarily "educational"), normal read-alouds as part of nonschool life etc.?  Just let her be for the summer.  Reevaluate at the end of summer but perhaps you might take more of a purposeful unschooling approach.  Fourth grade is still a time when you can do real life math like that in the Simply Charlotte Mason Your Business Math books.  https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/your-business-math/

You can write letters to Grandma and cousins.  You can videotape songs and dances and stories and other fun things.  Just don't tell her that it is Language Arts. 

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6 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

She is going into the 4th grade next year. She'll be 10 in November. 

 

My kids had a very light year after we quit charter school. They were going into 5th (9yrs 8mths) and 4th (8yrs 8mths).

For English, my kids just read a lot off the library shelves in whatever interest them. They probably read more magazines (e.g. New Scientist, The New Yorker, Fortune) than fiction books. 

For Math, my kids just did the math books at their own pace. I kind of specify an hour per day but wasn’t rigid about the duration. 

All the other subjects were just reading, watching Crash Course, SciShow, PBS, NOVA, and other documentaries on YouTube, and going to whatever enrichment/outreach events that pop up locally.

The one year off formal academics didn’t hurt my kids in the long run. 

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13 minutes ago, serendipitous journey said:

Oh, sweet child.  She'll be in my prayers -- and you, too. 

Reading over your subsequent posts, it does sound like you might un-school right through the fall.  My older fellow just requires so much structure that I lean toward recommending too much for other folks. 

One thing to consider: what would make you, yourself, feel like your de-schooling was going well?  Do you know what you are wanting from it? 

Interesting question - I'm not sure. To be honest - I think it might bother me to de-school too much. I think I will feel self conscious about not doing formal academics. I'll feel like I'm being judged. 

 

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12 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

Do you have a learning rich home environment?  By that I mean, do you have lots of games, time to go places (not necessarily "educational"), normal read-alouds as part of nonschool life etc.?  Just let her be for the summer.  Reevaluate at the end of summer but perhaps you might take more of a purposeful unschooling approach.  Fourth grade is still a time when you can do real life math like that in the Simply Charlotte Mason Your Business Math books.  https://simplycharlottemason.com/store/your-business-math/

You can write letters to Grandma and cousins.  You can videotape songs and dances and stories and other fun things.  Just don't tell her that it is Language Arts. 

I like to think we have a learning rich home environment although I'm sure it doesn't always live up to what it could be. We do normal read alouds although we've slacked since returning from vacation in March. We try to play family games several evenings a week. 

I'm still going to be working some so field trips will not be easy for us. 

DD will be attending a homeschool enrichment program through a local school district several times a week where she will take classes in music, art, what they call "specials" in school. 

 

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46 minutes ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

 To be honest - I think it might bother me to de-school too much. I think I will feel self conscious about not doing formal academics. I'll feel like I'm being judged. 

 

When my kids enjoy learning in a childlike manner at your child’s age, I felt that the taking a light year approach has worked for my kids. I was looking back at old candid shots of my kids and the joy is there. My kids are now teens and it’s a different flavor of learning joy. 

My husband is very old school traditional so he did worry a little about traditional style of progress but he was supportive. He is the one who wanted to homeschool while to me homeschooling was the least bad choice for our kids.

I was judged/questioned for my ability to teach my kids math and comically people who questioned me did an about-turn when they realized my first degree is in engineering. Weirdly no one questioned my ability to teach my kids languages.

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I would pick a date in the fall--a week or two after the local schools start--to officially begin homeschooling.  I would not deschool longer than this because part of successful homeschooling is setting and maintaining expectations.  You have a child who has been socialized for several years to believe that "school" begins in the fall.  If you do otherwise, she may get the idea that homeschooling is deschooling and balk at your actual homeschooling plans when you get to them.  

So instead of a prolonged period of deschooling, I'd take a longish summer break and then start right up.  I wouldn't ease into anything--just do it.  Plan a light year so that you can be done in 4 hours or less (possibly a whole lot less) each day.  Homeschooling is so efficient, you'll be amazed at everything you can accomplish.

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4 hours ago, EKS said:

I would pick a date in the fall--a week or two after the local schools start--to officially begin homeschooling.  I would not deschool longer than this because part of successful homeschooling is setting and maintaining expectations.  You have a child who has been socialized for several years to believe that "school" begins in the fall.  If you do otherwise, she may get the idea that homeschooling is deschooling and balk at your actual homeschooling plans when you get to them.  

So instead of a prolonged period of deschooling, I'd take a longish summer break and then start right up.  I wouldn't ease into anything--just do it.  Plan a light year so that you can be done in 4 hours or less (possibly a whole lot less) each day.  Homeschooling is so efficient, you'll be amazed at everything you can accomplish.

See, I don't think it's an important  part of successful homeschooling to set and maintain expectations. And I would *totally* be fine with *not* starting in the fall when public schools start.

I don't think our goal needs to, in any way, emulate a classroom environment. Our goal is to help our children learn as much as they can, in all sorts of areas, so that they can be happy, productive adult people. Real life doesn't begin in the fall. Real jobs don't begin in the fall. In fact, nothing IRL begins in the fall (except for people who are employed by public and private schools).

At the point when Ordinary Shoe and her dc are ready to do more formal learning--because her dc will be learning all sorts of things before she every picks up a textbook--they can begin, whenever that is, even if it's in January, or May, or October. They'll be ready by then.

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I would make summer a long, relaxed break. In order to get excited about next school yr, I would let her choose subjects she wants to study and make it fun, light, and interest-driven. 

She is about the same age as my 3rd grader.  To give an idea of what I am contemplating for 4th---a yr designed around the Chronicles of Narnia. If we go that route, we'll read the series and study British history and WW2 (and whatever rabbit trails that come up along the way......)Science will be whatever books that chooses (right now she is into bugs, so we are reading https://www.amazon.com/Stink-Bugs-Stick-Insects-Beetles/dp/047135712X (she loves this book.)  Writing can be whatever you want it to be. It doesn't have to be a curriculum. It can be fiction writing or whatever she enjoys.

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11 hours ago, EKS said:

I would pick a date in the fall--a week or two after the local schools start--to officially begin homeschooling.  I would not deschool longer than this because part of successful homeschooling is setting and maintaining expectations.  You have a child who has been socialized for several years to believe that "school" begins in the fall.  If you do otherwise, she may get the idea that homeschooling is deschooling and balk at your actual homeschooling plans when you get to them.  

So instead of a prolonged period of deschooling, I'd take a longish summer break and then start right up.  I wouldn't ease into anything--just do it.  Plan a light year so that you can be done in 4 hours or less (possibly a whole lot less) each day.  Homeschooling is so efficient, you'll be amazed at everything you can accomplish.

I agree with this.  

14 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

We're pulling DD out of school after this year. There are 5 weeks left of school, counting this week. 

My daughter is bored with absolutely everything related to school. She doesn't want to do anything new. We have a subscription to Audible but all she wants to listen to are the Mysterious Benedict Society books...over and over and over again. I think we all have them memorized by now. We got our two new credits today and I put my foot down and said that we are going to listen to the new books instead of re-starting the Benedict Society AGAIN. 

She's going to sleep away camp right after school is out, followed by day camp and vacation church school. 

I know every kid is different but any advice how long we should de-school? How would you advise to ease into homeschooling for a burned out kid? I've already decided that we are going back a few years for literature. DD is a good reader and reads above a 4th grade level now but she does not have much experience reading challenging things. Her reading group at school just finished Wood Song which DD hated. She says that the book started with wolves eating a baby doe alive. DD is very sensitive about animals being hurt or killed so she is kind of traumatized now. 

With a burned out kid, is it better to give them more control over what they study or choose something for them that you know that they will enjoy and find easy? 

ETA - how long of a break would you recommend from writing? Writing is a sore spot for DD. She actually likes to write when she gets to choose what to write about and has enough time to finish. She rarely finishes her school writing assignments because she takes too much time to complete which I think is a source of stress for her. I considered doing only copywork during the fall or doing freewrites like in Bravewriter. 

 

Also, let yourself de-school too.  What I mean is, she's 9.  She's not behind in writing.  She's not behind in reading.  You have to stop feeling like people will judge you.  Who cares if they do?  If Mysterious Benedict Society is comforting to her, let her have it.  Comfort is what she needs, not mental stretching.  There's time enough for that.  The only schooling you should be thinking about right now is your own philosophy.  What resonates with you about education.  Read SWB's Rethinking School if you haven't already.  Read When Children Love to Learn.  Think about joy and peace and how you can bring that into the atmosphere of your home because that's what your dd has missed being at school.  (Wish I had thought more about that 10 years ago!!!).   

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7 hours ago, Ellie said:

See, I don't think it's an important  part of successful homeschooling to set and maintain expectations. And I would *totally* be fine with *not* starting in the fall when public schools start.

I don't think our goal needs to, in any way, emulate a classroom environment. Our goal is to help our children learn as much as they can, in all sorts of areas, so that they can be happy, productive adult people. Real life doesn't begin in the fall. Real jobs don't begin in the fall. In fact, nothing IRL begins in the fall (except for people who are employed by public and private schools).

At the point when Ordinary Shoe and her dc are ready to do more formal learning--because her dc will be learning all sorts of things before she every picks up a textbook--they can begin, whenever that is, even if it's in January, or May, or October. They'll be ready by then.

I absolutely do not think that the goal should be to emulate a classroom environment.  However, if the OP plans to do things like math and writing that might be considered distasteful to her daughter, my experience is that it is better to start out with it rather than call it "homeschooling" without it and then add it in later on.  That's what I mean by expectations.  In other words, if the actual homeschooling plan includes things the kid isn't going to want to do, I think it's better to begin the homeschooling journey doing them.

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I'd take the summer off, then ease into the fall.

I'd let her do writing the way she wants all next year. That would be my version of deschooling writing. (And, probably have her keep a spelling notebook- writing down words she misspelled in her regular work but not doing a program this year or spelling tests).

I'd mix literature for her where she can read either one of her own picks for each one of mine or go two of hers for one of mine twice & then switch to one-for-one.

Math would be my official "school" subject. 

Science, history, music, art (one per day?) would be interest led at least through Christmas.

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21 minutes ago, RootAnn said:

I'd take the summer off, then ease into the fall.

I'd let her do writing the way she wants all next year. That would be my version of deschooling writing. (And, probably have her keep a spelling notebook- writing down words she misspelled in her regular work but not doing a program this year or spelling tests).

I'd mix literature for her where she can read either one of her own picks for each one of mine or go two of hers for one of mine twice & then switch to one-for-one.

Math would be my official "school" subject. 

Science, history, music, art (one per day?) would be interest led at least through Christmas.

I would do similar.
I think my only change would be that around October I'd introduce one of the books by the lady who wrote Wreck This Journal.  She has at least a few out that are interesting and similar.  Or I'd get the No Rules Journal by Steve Turner and just use that to introduce fun with words again.  You can pick up formal writing instruction later, but I would try to cultivate an idea that writing isn't just about formal rules.  It's about learning how to express yourself and make yourself immortal.

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I agree with EKS and 8, I would not 'deschool' next year. I would take a long break and make her studies next year interest led in history and science. I'd start talking to her now trying to pump up homeschool, let her know at home can study the things she wants. I'd also start getting her input on what things she does like. Bravewriter might be a good choice for this child, maybe even Jot it Down, it has fun projects that don't seem like writing. For reading, I'd start with reading her challenging books instead of expecting her to read them and just have her read, I have a big shelf for my girls to choose from that way they get some choice but it is still somewhat directed.

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18 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

...Writing is a sore spot for DD. She actually likes to write when she gets to choose what to write about and has enough time to finish...

When you get around to writing, I would let her choose what to write about and give her as much time as she wants since you said she likes to write when this is the case.

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21 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

ETA - how long of a break would you recommend from writing?

There are so many *other* ways to write that might also let you work on pairing, reclaiming her joy. At that age my dd enjoyed Wordsmith Apprentice. She also might enjoy prompts like in 

                                            Unjournaling: Daily Writing Exercises That Are Not Personal, Not Introspective, Not Boring!                                     

                                            Listography Journal: Your Life in Lists                                     

We outlined articles from Muse magazine, though you could certainly use anything that interests her. 

You can do paired writing, where you write together or parallel write (both of you writing for the prompt) and then trade and offer feedback. 

Also consider working on typing. It's a lot easier to enjoy writing when it doesn't hurt to get it out.

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With regard to her reading/listening choices--kids this age LOVE to hear the same stories over and over, and it is indeed comforting. I used to tell my kids I'd read one book of their choice and then one of mine--that way they got something new but also something familiar. You could let her listen to something of her choice on her time, and something new when you are together, as an example. There are so many great series books, I'd try to help her get hooked on some other series so that she can enjoy those characters too. (My dd loved Boxcar Children for years for this reason!). Here are reviews of Chapter Book series that might give you ideas of some to look for on Audible. I hope you have a good year with her next year. I agree, try to let go of what any outsiders may or may not think or say, and just proceed with what you see is helping your daughter. 

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11 hours ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

She sounds like she has anxiety. She might need help beyond just deschooling and interest led studies. 

It's possible that there is some school related anxiety. 

About a month ago, she got very upset in the morning before school. She was worried that her spelling packet was due that day. If children do not turn in their homework, they miss part of their recess to walk laps. She was very upset that she might have to walk laps and immediately started trying to finish her spelling. I tried to get her to stop worrying about the homework because I didn't think she could complete her spelling packet in 15 minutes before school. That made her more upset so I left her alone to finish her work. She did complete her spelling but the spelling packet was not actually due that day. 

I've never noticed that kind of anxiety about anything that is not related to homework. 

 

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My dd's anxiety like that improved with ADHD meds. She was having trouble staying organized and feeling on top of things, so as the meds improved her competency she could feel more calm. You can also do strategies like mindfulness and periodic body scans, which give you a 30% bump in EF (executive function) and will reduce anxiety.

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4 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

It's possible that there is some school related anxiety. 

About a month ago, she got very upset in the morning before school. She was worried that her spelling packet was due that day. If children do not turn in their homework, they miss part of their recess to walk laps. She was very upset that she might have to walk laps and immediately started trying to finish her spelling. I tried to get her to stop worrying about the homework because I didn't think she could complete her spelling packet in 15 minutes before school. That made her more upset so I left her alone to finish her work. She did complete her spelling but the spelling packet was not actually due that day. 

I've never noticed that kind of anxiety about anything that is not related to homework. 

 

Why do schools come up with such insane and damaging ideas.

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One idea is from how SWB's mom.   ( I think)     The kids were taken to the library and told to select a library book in each of certain categories.   So, they each had to get a biography, science, etc.  One of the categories was open.   Since she only is interested in that one series, this might allow her to select her own books, but still be forced to broaden her selections. 

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You could also try to see if she would be interested in learning some of the science and history in the MBS books. Things like how do radio waves produce sound; why does lemon juice change color when heated; how do steam engines work on ships; the geography/culture of (Netherlands? Denmark? Can't remember exactly where they went in book 2), history of falconry, etc.  Maybe learning what Kate, Renie, Sticky, and Constance know would be a fun diversion approach school work.

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On April 22, 2019 at 6:17 PM, Ordinary Shoes said:

Interesting question - I'm not sure. To be honest - I think it might bother me to de-school too much. I think I will feel self conscious about not doing formal academics. I'll feel like I'm being judged. 

 

Lori D had a marvelous how to unschool and still do school plan she used to post. Maybe she'll see this? LOL Was it her or someone else? Maybe it was someone else? Oh my, the elephants here will remember. It was a really BASIC PLAN, like write something, read something, math something, make something. Kwim? And then you go ok every day we're going to WRITE something, but what we write doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it's recipes (my dd did this a lot at that age!!) or creative stories or poems or with writing prompts or narrations or playing silly oral writing games like Dixit (yes, yes!!!). It's all good, because you hit writing. 

11 hours ago, shawthorne44 said:

One idea is from how SWB's mom.   ( I think)     The kids were taken to the library and told to select a library book in each of certain categories.   So, they each had to get a biography, science, etc.  One of the categories was open.   Since she only is interested in that one series, this might allow her to select her own books, but still be forced to broaden her selections. 

Yes!! I did this around that age with my dd, partly because I had my ds and was distracted and partly because she was SO stuck on comics. I made a reading diversity checklist and it had genres, and the goal was by the end of the week to have read 1 or 2 (I forget0 in each genre. And we made it kind of fun, like including poetry and science fiction... Obviously that took a little work to make that happen. 

So the diversity of genres would work well under the "read something" part of the unschooling schooling plan, yes. Another way, if you like, would be to use a lexile index book finder like this. https://fab.lexile.com  I use this with my ds CONSTANTLY, love, love, love. So I can punch in a lexile (right now for him it's 530 because he has language issues) and it will crank out books +/-50 of that lexile and then let me narrow them by topic. It's way cool, because we're reading over so many topics and genres and categories we NEVER would have gotten to on our own!! We've read through books on families, holidays, animals. Now we're starting humor, and I just selected a bunch of books on art. So, so rich, so, so fun.

If you get a teacher card from your library, they may increase your limit on books and remove fines. So from our library, well I haven't even asked my limit, lol. I went over 100 and they still let me check out, whew! And I can put 100 books on hold. So right now we're plowing through maybe 10-15 books a day, and I can request 100 more at a time using that lexile index search engine. It's SO much fun and would be really relaxed, low stress, rich. It leads really naturally into narration, history, geography, rabbit trailing things. We were reading about children in Mexico yesterday, so we were looking at maps, talking about immigration and education. LOVE this and it's free and easy.

Math you could go a couple directions. There are books like Family Math, and they'd be fine for a while. Or just get a curriculum and be done with it. Almost anything that suits her will be fine if you just work at it 20 minutes a day.

Beyond that, you can do anything you want that is hands-on. Like make a little rotation of 3-4 things. (art, handicrafts, science, history) and do a different project each day. On the 5th day take a field trip or explore, eating at a new restaurant or trying a new park. 

I think the anxiety, if present, is going to be something to talk with your ped about. You may want evals, medication, or some coping strategies like mindfulness.

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22 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

You could also try to see if she would be interested in learning some of the science and history in the MBS books. Things like how do radio waves produce sound; why does lemon juice change color when heated; how do steam engines work on ships; the geography/culture of (Netherlands? Denmark? Can't remember exactly where they went in book 2), history of falconry, etc.  Maybe learning what Kate, Renie, Sticky, and Constance know would be a fun diversion approach school work.

What are MBS books?

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1 hour ago, Genevieve said:

What are MBS books?

The Mysterious Benedict Society series that the OP's dd loves.

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8 hours ago, 8FillTheHeart said:

The Mysterious Benedict Society series that the OP's dd loves.

Ahhhh... 

My kids love those books and it has influenced at least one to read books he wouldn’t have necessarily have picked up... gotta love all those literary allusions!

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On 4/24/2019 at 1:00 AM, kiwik said:

Why do schools come up with such insane and damaging ideas.

I completely agree. And why do they still use ridiculous things like spelling packets? What an an incredible waste of time.

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Thanks for the advice everyone. 

I had a long discussion with DD about what she is interested in. She is interested in learning more about Native Americans and the pioneer times. I've begun creating a booklist. We'll have a long summer with nothing but read-alouds. 

We just have to make it through the next 4 weeks. Torture...

DD had to walk laps one day last week because she did the wrong grammar exercise but she didn't seem too upset about it. It's so annoying. These kids don't have enough free time to begin with and the teachers are so quick away what little they have. I've complained to the teachers but it falls on deaf ears. The other parents don't seem to care. There are a couple of little boys in DD's class who are constantly in trouble and they miss their recess almost every day. It's sad. Those boys probably behave worse because they don't have free play time which leads to more bad behavior and more punishment. It's a vicious cycle. I'm not friends with those families so I don't know why they continue to leave their kids in this school. If my daughter was missing recess everyday, I would have pulled her long before now. 

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On 4/23/2019 at 6:42 AM, Ordinary Shoes said:

We're pulling DD out of school after this year. There are 5 weeks left of school, counting this week. 

My daughter is bored with absolutely everything related to school. She doesn't want to do anything new. We have a subscription to Audible but all she wants to listen to are the Mysterious Benedict Society books...over and over and over again. I think we all have them memorized by now. We got our two new credits today and I put my foot down and said that we are going to listen to the new books instead of re-starting the Benedict Society AGAIN. 

She's going to sleep away camp right after school is out, followed by day camp and vacation church school. 

I know every kid is different but any advice how long we should de-school? How would you advise to ease into homeschooling for a burned out kid? I've already decided that we are going back a few years for literature. DD is a good reader and reads above a 4th grade level now but she does not have much experience reading challenging things. Her reading group at school just finished Wood Song which DD hated. She says that the book started with wolves eating a baby doe alive. DD is very sensitive about animals being hurt or killed so she is kind of traumatized now. 

With a burned out kid, is it better to give them more control over what they study or choose something for them that you know that they will enjoy and find easy? 

ETA - how long of a break would you recommend from writing? Writing is a sore spot for DD. She actually likes to write when she gets to choose what to write about and has enough time to finish. She rarely finishes her school writing assignments because she takes too much time to complete which I think is a source of stress for her. I considered doing only copywork during the fall or doing freewrites like in Bravewriter. 

 

No advice on the school situation but have you had the secret keepers?  It’s written by the same author as MBS and it’s really good.  There’s an audio version around and we love the narrator.  Might be a good strategy for daisy chaining into some other books. 

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18 minutes ago, Ausmumof3 said:

No advice on the school situation but have you had the secret keepers?  It’s written by the same author as MBS and it’s really good.  There’s an audio version around and we love the narrator.  Might be a good strategy for daisy chaining into some other books. 

Thanks but my DD got a little scared by the Secret Keepers. She didn't make it all the way through the audio book. 

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On 4/27/2019 at 8:46 AM, Ordinary Shoes said:

....

We just have to make it through the next 4 weeks. Torture...

..... If my daughter was missing recess everyday, I would have pulled her long before now. 

I'm sure you've thought through this -- maybe I even missed it upthread -- you don't want to keep her home for the rest of the year? 

(Absolutely no pressure/judgment here!  I know these things are high-dimensional, complex situations.)

Edited by serendipitous journey

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43 minutes ago, serendipitous journey said:

I'm sure you've thought through this -- maybe I even missed it upthread -- you don't want to keep her home for the rest of the year? 

(Absolutely no pressure/judgment here!  I know these things are high-dimensional, complex situations.)

That can't happen. I have a job and don't have childcare right now so she has to go to school. We've worked something out for next year but nothing can be done about the rest of this year. Plus, there is an upcoming field trip. There are class parties. 

4 more weeks...

 

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3 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

That can't happen. I have a job and don't have childcare right now so she has to go to school. We've worked something out for next year but nothing can be done about the rest of this year. Plus, there is an upcoming field trip. There are class parties. 

4 more weeks...

 

Hugs while you hang in there!  4 and counting, then ... 🙂 

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On 4/23/2019 at 7:46 AM, EKS said:

I absolutely do not think that the goal should be to emulate a classroom environment.  However, if the OP plans to do things like math and writing that might be considered distasteful to her daughter, my experience is that it is better to start out with it rather than call it "homeschooling" without it and then add it in later on.  That's what I mean by expectations.  In other words, if the actual homeschooling plan includes things the kid isn't going to want to do, I think it's better to begin the homeschooling journey doing them.

 

We never had a problem with this, my kids never had a problem understanding that expectations change depending on time and circumstance. This held true as homeschoolers, as participants in camps or other activities, and as college students. 

We were homeschooling regardless of whether we were doing formal grammar, writing, or science (a few things we started late or skipped for years at a time). My kids didn't do book reports in elementary and they didn't do research reports or literature analysis papers in high school, but they transitioned to college writing and formal literature analysis just fine. Before high school, we sometimes did a formal science, sometimes not. I think young children, and certainly 4th-graders, can easily comprehend "this is what we're doing this semester" or month or year or whatever. Or "you can do this writing assignment however you like." 

I would never pass up the pleasure of doing something I like simply because I won't have that pleasure forever, kwim? All the more reason to treasure it! 

 

 

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