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Ordinary Shoes

Trouble Finding our Groove

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We're new to homeschooling. My daughter is 9.5. I've afterschooled her since she started kindergarten. 

We're having trouble finding what works for us. I started with Bravewriter because I wanted something fun. My daughter did not like the first Arrow we tried. She did not working with one passage during the week. It felt repetitive and became tedious for both of us. I think it started to ruin the enjoyment of the book. 

I tried WW3 next which is okay. My daughter dislikes the fairy tales but does not mind the dictation. She is getting better at summarizing the story in 3 short sentences. 

She complains about spelling but it's better now that we've moved to Sequential Spelling because we get done with it quickly and never discuss rules. 

We've struggled with grammar. She actually hid Sentence Island last night. It was a bit of a joke because I'd just promised her that we would never read it again. She enjoys listening to me read Grammarland. I think I will stop formal grammar study for now except for reading Grammarland. 

Math is going fine although she always says she does not like math. 

I asked her how she felt about homeschooling so far. She said it wasn't as much fun as she thought it would be. I reminded her that when we agreed to this we discussed that some subjects like math and spelling would have to be done. I don't think math and spelling are the problems, even though she does not like them. I asked her what she wanted to do and she complained about the grammar and said she just wanted to write. 

For a 4th grader, can we just read and write what she wants to write? Of course, along with minimal spelling and math. Is that enough? 

If that is what we do, what's my role as her teacher and her mother? I don't know how to be that hands off. 

 

 

 

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There's a lot to unpack here.  I think I'll just throw out ideas for you and see if anything piques your interest.

Do you think she would enjoy an integrated language arts?  With my oldest I tried Learning Language Arts Through Literature and that was an absolute bust because it felt too messy, but he really enjoyed Moving Beyond The Page units of books he was interested in.  My youngest asked to go back to English Lessons Through Literature after taking a year off to do other programs. I adore Grammar-land, but it will be a quick read for y'all. 

Are you guys doing science and history, or anything else because language arts and math?

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15 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:

There's a lot to unpack here.  I think I'll just throw out ideas for you and see if anything piques your interest.

Do you think she would enjoy an integrated language arts?  With my oldest I tried Learning Language Arts Through Literature and that was an absolute bust because it felt too messy, but he really enjoyed Moving Beyond The Page units of books he was interested in.  My youngest asked to go back to English Lessons Through Literature after taking a year off to do other programs. I adore Grammar-land, but it will be a quick read for y'all. 

Are you guys doing science and history, or anything else because language arts and math?

Yes, we are doing history at home and she does science at a hybrid school. She likes history and we're studying a topic that interests her. For history, we read books and discuss what we read. 

I'm not sure about integrated language arts. After our experience with the Arrow, I think she would having to study grammar while reading a book she enjoys. 

I'll look at Moving Beyond the Page. 

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1 minute ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Yes, we are doing history at home and she does science at a hybrid school. She likes history and we're studying a topic that interests her. For history, we read books and discuss what we read. 

I'm not sure about integrated language arts. After our experience with the Arrow, I think she would having to study grammar while reading a book she enjoys. 

I'll look at Moving Beyond the Page. 


Your day does seem lacking unless that is how your daughter prefers it.   No projects with history?  No art? No hands on learning? A good rhythm to the week is sometimes easier to find than a rhythm to the day.  The day will fall into place as you rotate through.

We start 4th grade next week.  I wrote out our work in an excel planner I made and bolded everything that I need supplies for or was active, participatory learning.  It makes our day longer, but hands on really enriches the lessons.  Even Grammar-land.  I made paper Montessori cut-outs to be the characters and slowly weaned my child from using miniatures of those to top his sentences to using the colors of each figure to underline/circle the parts of speech.  Doing grammar without writing, where mistakes could just be moved around as he thought things out, really helped solidify the lessons.

 

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I have only a moment, but wanted to toss out that it is very very normal for children to not like being schooled.  At all.  Perfectly natural if she'd rather being doing other stuff. 

My children have never liked their homeschooling, but I do find the most-palatable options for each subject that also meet my approval for them and drop materials that make them cry regularly or that never ever lead to even a spark of interest.  So for composition they can pick WWS or Classical Writing.  Math can one of a whole set of program.  Grammar is either Peace Hill Press or Michael Clay Thompson.  Spelling is Spelling Workout or All About Spelling.  And so on.  History and science at her age can be entirely interest-led, if you like, but you'll probably want to require her to work/read from some resource and not wait for her to just love doing history/science (though you don't have to start those until things are going more easily with the basics). 

Seconding suggestions for hand-on, adding that element to subjects can definitely sweeten them for many children (not my older, though, until this year).  😕 

... I'll try to look more at your specifics later.  Hugs!  it is usual to take some time to find your groove. 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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26 minutes ago, HomeAgain said:


Your day does seem lacking unless that is how your daughter prefers it.   No projects with history?  No art? No hands on learning? A good rhythm to the week is sometimes easier to find than a rhythm to the day.  The day will fall into place as you rotate through.

We start 4th grade next week.  I wrote out our work in an excel planner I made and bolded everything that I need supplies for or was active, participatory learning.  It makes our day longer, but hands on really enriches the lessons.  Even Grammar-land.  I made paper Montessori cut-outs to be the characters and slowly weaned my child from using miniatures of those to top his sentences to using the colors of each figure to underline/circle the parts of speech.  Doing grammar without writing, where mistakes could just be moved around as he thought things out, really helped solidify the lessons.

 

I'm sorry I should have given more detail. She attends a hybrid school two days a week. She takes project based electives including art and music there. We have lots of art supplies but she isn't that interested in them right now. Lately she's become interested in sewing and is working through several sewing kits. I didn't think of that as part of our homeschool because she's always done those things at home. 

I hadn't thought about projects for history. We read living books. I look for books about girls that aren't too boring. We're currently studying the Civil War and she's reading a book about a girl who pretended to be a boy to join the Union Army and then became a spy. She's very interested in spies right now so it's the perfect book for her. 

 

 

 

Edited by Ordinary Shoes

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1 minute ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I'm sorry I should have given more detail. She attends a hybrid school two days a week. She takes project based electives including art and music there. We have lots of art supplies but she isn't that interested in them right now. Lately she's become interested in sewing and is working through several sewing kits. I didn't think of that as part of our homeschool because she's always done those things at home.

In that case, I take back what I said about it lacking. 🙂 Do you still do school at home on hybrid days or is it a pattern of every other day working at home? 

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4 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

 

For a 4th grader, can we just read and write what she wants to write? Of course, along with minimal spelling and math. Is that enough? 

 

Yes, it is enough. Grammar can wait. I like to start Grammar in 5th or 6th grade. We use Rod and Staff English and I start with the 4th grade book and go through the 7th grade book. That pretty much covers all the grammar. After that we focus on high school writing. 

Susan in TX

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Is there something in particular she wants to study that might be fun? It doesn't have to be a traditional subject. We've done calligraphy, cooking, things like that. Or you can do theme weeks where you read books, watch movies, art projects, etc about a topic, like Pirate or Greek Week. If she likes sewing, can you do stuff like that or maybe embroidery? It doesn't have to be super formal, just set time she can explore her interests.

Or, just changing up the schedule a bit, so that she has some creative time throughout the day, not just finish all the school together at once might be enough, too. Or maybe she was expecting more field trips? 

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How about putting away school type books and focus on just reading type books and writing across curriculum or using a unit study type approach?  For example, my 4th grade dd and I are reading the Chronicles of Narnia this yr.   We are going to read a chpt/day in whatever book we are on, read the history of England since CS Lewis was English, create writing assignments around the study (write stories connected to the novels that are happening in the periphery.....like a history of Charn from the Magician's Nephew or a story of Narnia between Digory/Polly and the beginning of the Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, etc). 

Science is reading whatever she is interested in. We add in videos/documentaries supplementing the topics in the books.  Every 3 weeks or so she will write a report on some topic from science.  

Similarly, every 3-4 weeks she will write a report on something to do with history/geography of what we are reading.

Other than that, her school day consists of a little grammar, spelling, math, and religion.

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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OrdinaryShoes, I was reflecting on your post and had planned to suggest you search out posts by 8FillTheHeart.  So glad she posted right on your thread!  From what I understand, her approach speaks to your goals/style. 

She also has a writing curriculum she's designed herself -- it is in her siggie. 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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Does she need explicit instruction on spelling? Not all children do, some pick it up naturally from reading. That's an easy one to discard if it is not necessary for your particular child.

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2 hours ago, maize said:

Does she need explicit instruction on spelling? Not all children do, some pick it up naturally from reading. That's an easy one to discard if it is not necessary for your particular child.

I'm not sure if she needs explicit instruction but I suspect that she does not. I choose Sequential Spelling because I thought she would benefit from seeing patterns in spelling without being taught the rules. She doesn't like spelling but has tolerated Sequential Spelling. It's pretty painless. I 

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I had an idea today. While waiting at the Jiffy Lube for an oil change, I watched a 60 Minutes episode about the wolves in Yellowstone. My daughter loves wolves. She's a huge Ashton Place fan. I thought my daughter might like to learn about the reintroduction of the wolves in Yellowstone. Later we watched a Youtube video about the controversy surrounding the reintroduction of the wolves in Yellow in the 1990's. My daughter is an animal lover so she felt very strongly about what we watched. She talked for at least 5 minutes straight about why the ecosystem needs predators. She was very passionate. 

I got the idea that maybe she could write about this topic. She feels strongly about it and already knows so much about wolves and predators. I suggested writing about this topic. She was resistant at first but about an hour later she told me that she wanted to do it. 

My thought is to start with outlining a few articles I found online about the wolves. She's never been introduced to outlining but I know it's a skill she needs. She knows so much about certain topics but struggles to write about them. I suspect that she needs some instruction in how to organize her thoughts. We'll see how it goes. 

ETA that I feel a little nervous going off the path and doing our own thing. I've been looking at the Progymnasmata curricula. I think she would benefit from re-writing stories but I know that she would not want to use Aesop's Fables. Can you take the method from the Progymnastama and apply it to other tales? Bravewriter was a bust which was really disappointing because I thought it would be fun. 

It's frustrating because she'a very articulate kid and I know she has it in her to be a good writer. But I don't know if I have the skills or ability to help her get where she needs to be. 

 

Edited by Ordinary Shoes
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I don't know how to explain this without sounding like I'm kind of a jerk, but I just don't care that much if my kids enjoy their schoolwork or not.  I am very honest with them:  I have high academic standards, and if they work at home, they will have more time for their own projects but I will ask more of them during school hours.  

After that, I expect all of us to work with cheerful efficiency, so that we can all be freed up to do our own personal work of choice, whether that is reading, art, games, imaginative play, cooking, sports...  

This has worked well for us, and I offer them the choice of school every year and they have zero interest.  I think they realize they are getting a good deal when they see their friends come home from a 6 hour day with another hour of homework to do.  

So my advice is to cover the material you think needs to be covered, in the way that makes you the best teacher- that can mean anything from writing your own lessons to using a workbook.  Encourage and require an atmosphere of cheerful efficiency, so that she sees that both your time and her time are valued and respected.  Then, put the books away and let her write or sew or whatever she wants to do.  As an aside, requiring school-time writing has not in any way stifled my natural writer from writing on her own time, so it doesn't have to be an either-or between mom-directed assignments and free writing.  I just encourage you not to treat her free writing as school wiring and try to correct it.  If she writes it in her free time, it is her personal property and not for you to edit or school-ify unless requested! 

 

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18 hours ago, Susan in TX said:

 

Yes, it is enough. Grammar can wait. I like to start Grammar in 5th or 6th grade. We use Rod and Staff English and I start with the 4th grade book and go through the 7th grade book. That pretty much covers all the grammar. After that we focus on high school writing. 

Susan in TX

I agree. We waited and did Analytical Grammar for two years during middle school. Personally, I thought having mediocre grammar instruction for twelve years during my public school education was a huge waste. I aimed for excellent instruction over a short time period and Analytical Grammar was perfect for us. And in case it matters to you, my ds always received top scores on standardized English tests. Personally, I think being exposed to a very language rich environment through talking, reading aloud, and audio books is the most important thing for young children. And if she likes to write and reads well, you’re already ahead of the game. We also didn’t do formal writing instruction until middle school, just lots of real, practical writing in elementary school and some dictation/copy work. But we did discuss and talk about writing, both his and others.

Are you spending lots of time reading together? I know that was always one of my son’s favorite parts of homeschoooling. 

Edited by Frances
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22 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

For a 4th grader, can we just read and write what she wants to write?

You can and you should. It's an awkward age and it sounds like she already has some solid skills. 

22 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

f that is what we do, what's my role as her teacher and her mother?

Facilitator. 

22 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I don't know how to be that hands off. 

I think maybe you're not considering her learner style, her temperament or personality. http://homeschoolspot.com/connect/index.php?threads/as-promised-you-and-your-childs-learning-styles.137/  This is the jist from Cathy Duffy. Apparently it's from another book but she uses it in much of her stuff. It might at least give you a sense of work style and why you're clashing. She may just wanna get to work. It seems like every. single. thing. on your list requires her to wait around for you. She may just want to sit down and work. She's used to school. She may value her free time and there may be some things she was looking forward to in homeschooling, like free time to read. Not everyone needs to be "taught" endlessly. 

You might pick two things, work out the kinks, then add two more the next week, ramping up slowly. Figure out how she likes to work. There will be plenty for you to do. Really, you should be a facilitator, not a lecturer. She may not need you to read lessons to her. She might like to work more quickly and then DISCUSS and debrief.

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1 hour ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

I don't know how to explain this without sounding like I'm kind of a jerk, but I just don't care that much if my kids enjoy their schoolwork or not.  I am very honest with them:  I have high academic standards, and if they work at home, they will have more time for their own projects but I will ask more of them during school hours.  

After that, I expect all of us to work with cheerful efficiency, so that we can all be freed up to do our own personal work of choice, whether that is reading, art, games, imaginative play, cooking, sports...  

This has worked well for us, and I offer them the choice of school every year and they have zero interest.  I think they realize they are getting a good deal when they see their friends come home from a 6 hour day with another hour of homework to do.  

So my advice is to cover the material you think needs to be covered, in the way that makes you the best teacher- that can mean anything from writing your own lessons to using a workbook.  Encourage and require an atmosphere of cheerful efficiency, so that she sees that both your time and her time are valued and respected.  Then, put the books away and let her write or sew or whatever she wants to do.  As an aside, requiring school-time writing has not in any way stifled my natural writer from writing on her own time, so it doesn't have to be an either-or between mom-directed assignments and free writing.  I just encourage you not to treat her free writing as school wiring and try to correct it.  If she writes it in her free time, it is her personal property and not for you to edit or school-ify unless requested! 

 

I know I lack confidence which makes it hard for me to be assertive here. I read the Tiger Mom a few years ago. It was not the book that I expected and I really enjoyed it. I came away thinking that I needed to be more confident that I know what is right for my child. That's one reason why we've embarked on this homeschooling adventure. 

But I still find myself bargaining with her; if you do this I'll let you do that. I know I need to be more assertive for my own sanity. 

I asked her the other day if she wanted to go back to school. She gave an emphatic no. 

Another thing that has undermined my confidence as we've started homeschooling is that I feel pulled in so many different directions. We've tried different curricula and every grammar and language curricula we've tried has been a bust. I think it would be easier for me to insist on on adhering to a program if I felt very confident that it was the right thing for her. 

Do most families use curricula like WWE, FLL, MCT, CC, or W&R as written? I feel like I can't do that and I don't know if my reservations about these methods/curricula is because I am ignorant or because I'm right that they are not right for our family. Do I suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect? Obviously I'm an overthinker which is a big part of my problem. 🙂 

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4 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

You can and you should. It's an awkward age and it sounds like she already has some solid skills. 

Facilitator. 

I think maybe you're not considering her learner style, her temperament or personality. http://homeschoolspot.com/connect/index.php?threads/as-promised-you-and-your-childs-learning-styles.137/  This is the jist from Cathy Duffy. Apparently it's from another book but she uses it in much of her stuff. It might at least give you a sense of work style and why you're clashing. She may just wanna get to work. It seems like every. single. thing. on your list requires her to wait around for you. She may just want to sit down and work. She's used to school. She may value her free time and there may be some things she was looking forward to in homeschooling, like free time to read. Not everyone needs to be "taught" endlessly. 

You might pick two things, work out the kinks, then add two more the next week, ramping up slowly. Figure out how she likes to work. There will be plenty for you to do. Really, you should be a facilitator, not a lecturer. She may not need you to read lessons to her. She might like to work more quickly and then DISCUSS and debrief.

I hadn't thought about that. Thanks. 

To clarify, she has independent reading so everything is not done with me. She actually does have a lot of free time when I'm working. 

It seemed to me like most homeschool parents spend a lot of one on one time with their kids so I was trying to model this. I'm beginning to realize that she does not need a lot of repetition and the curricula we've used, as written, keep spiraling back to what she already knows. 

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Quickly -- I have to get a lot done today for our school next week & have an ill child -- look around the forum for regentrude's posts on how she schooled.  (hey, @regentrude: interested in this conversation?)  She started homeschooling her kids when they'd been in brick-and-mortar school for a while and did a very rigorous + very flexible and individualized, independent program of study with them.

Extra benefit if regentrude stops by: any thread with posts by her AND 8FillTheHeart is a ton of fun and very informative.  🙂 

And one short thought RE writing: her school writing might be about training skills, not having a grand time.  If such a thought is palatable to you, here are a couple of possible approaches:

1.  Decide that it doesn't matter whether or not y'all LIKE Aesop's Fables, for instance, maybe you should just hold your noses, have as much fun as possible while doing the assignments, and know the child is stretching herself in ways she usually wouldn't so that she can be a better writer on the stuff she does care about.  You could hunt for different versions of the fables, maybe (huge variation in style is available) and I am only saying this b/c the fables are really classic and not a waste of time.  I made elder DS do Classical Writing's Aesop level & will do the same with younger in the coming year.  HUGE CAVEAT: I won't teach from stupid materials or materials that deeply offend me, or that make me long for alcohol/chocolate every.single.time. I get the book out.  Maybe Aesop's is like that for you.   No judgment, friend!

2.  Elder DS is working from The Creative Writer at the moment.  Your child is a bit young, but it might be a good fit in the next year or so?  I really do think there's phenomenal value in making oneself work through a set of well-designed writing exercises because you end up developing abilities you just wouldn't develop on your own.  We adapt Creative Writer freely as suits, shortening (usually) or lengthening (more rarely) word requirements, adjusting topics, &c. 

but many others don't find such value in exercises.  Just throwing this out there for consideration. 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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3 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

I don't know how to explain this without sounding like I'm kind of a jerk, but I just don't care that much if my kids enjoy their schoolwork or not.  I am very honest with them:  I have high academic standards, and if they work at home, they will have more time for their own projects but I will ask more of them during school hours.  

After that, I expect all of us to work with cheerful efficiency, so that we can all be freed up to do our own personal work of choice, whether that is reading, art, games, imaginative play, cooking, sports...  

This has worked well for us, and I offer them the choice of school every year and they have zero interest.  I think they realize they are getting a good deal when they see their friends come home from a 6 hour day with another hour of homework to do. 

...

🙂  This is how it runs here, too.  We started our term last Thursday and I was feeling a bit strange about how hard I'm working the boys.  But DH and I agree: we want them to work hard, we have high standards, and with no homework they still have tons of time for their own projects. 

Also, @Ordinary Shoes: in the bit of Monica's post that I elided (and now wish I hadn't!) she mentions not school-ifying their free writing.  100% agreement on this.  It is why I do schedule formal creative writing for my elder son especially: he is a gifted writer and occasionally produces bursts of really wonderful stuff, and honing those abilities is a value I have.  But I have to fit the formal training into our school time, and I never critique his own productions, I just enjoy them thoroughly.  As always, I know that this approach won't be fruitful for all families. 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I asked her the other day if she wanted to go back to school. She gave an emphatic no. 

It would be interesting to know what she wants out of it. You might ask her. 

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I know I lack confidence which makes it hard for me to be assertive here. I read the Tiger Mom a few years ago. It was not the book that I expected and I really enjoyed it. I came away thinking that I needed to be more confident that I know what is right for my child. That's one reason why we've embarked on this homeschooling adventure. 

This is confusing me. Homeschooling is not about you. Your dc is blossoming and you watch them and nurture who they're becoming, what they're interested in, strengths they demonstrate. It can be about wanting more time together. The Tiger Mom thing has been discussed here. Just realize your dc is an individual, not a blank slate. All you need to do is get in the stream of who she's becoming and work with it.

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

But I still find myself bargaining with her; if you do this I'll let you do that. I know I need to be more assertive for my own sanity. 

I still find this confusing. If you wish you were more assertive, maybe go join Toastmasters?? This isn't about you. Now with my ds, who has ASD and issues telling himself to do what he needs to do, yes we have some techniques like that, where I'll say first this, then that. That's how you handle a kid with ASD 2 who might not be able to tell himself to do what he needs to do.

A dc who has been in school is used to structure. Give the dc STRUCTURE. Give her a list for the day with very clear tasks SHE CAN DO. A few of them should involve you. Some of them should be independent. Some should require her to consult with you to finish. One or two can be interactive. That is age-appropriate and developmentally appropriate. You expect to work with K5ers completely, Mom-driven, the entire time. The dc grows and learns to work on something while you make lunch, to finish up a page while you fold the laundry, etc. Eventually they are working more independently and you are a consultant to them.

You cannot go back and capture what is past. You have to meet her exactly where she is developmentally. I think if you give her a list of work and have some balance, with some independent work, some together (you at elbow) work, and some with you work, you'll figure it out.

The other thing to realize is that it's not like later developmental stages are less authentic homeschooling or less fun! I enjoy teaching K5, but reality is ALL the stages can be enjoyable. You just have to realize the developmentally appropriate way to work with her right now and embrace it. 

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

It seemed to me like most homeschool parents spend a lot of one on one time with their kids so I was trying to model this.

Nope, not for 4th. Start a thread and ask. Make sure you're asking outright or at least noticing whether the dc has SLDs, ADHD, ASD, or other SN. Is your dd very bright or gifted? That matters. I would expect them to push away harder, sooner, to have more things they want to do, their own interests. 

So by 4th, I would expect that mixture of some things they do independently, meaning you assign the tasks but they can just pick up the materials and do them. I would expect there to be a task with an extended due date, like at the beginning of the week you pick a book and by the end you have finished your book project before you can go out for Saturday fun. It should NOT be mom sitting with you all day for everything. That doesn't allow their executive function to mature. You want a mixture of varying stages of with you or you at elbow or you consultative so she can learn those skills and drive the process herself.

Did you make her a checklist for the week? Is it such that she can DO things on it? You do not want most of it to require you. Maybe 1/3 should be completely interactive. Try for that. 

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

She actually does have a lot of free time when I'm working. 

If you're working in the home, then you might like to set appointment slots. So she starts working on her list, does independent work for 45 minutes (using the list), takes a break for 15 minutes (exercise, craft, snack, whatever), then you're together and bang out things for 90. Then lunch, break, independent things that she logs and you check at the end of the day. That's a lot of how I worked with my dd once my life got really busy with ds. Apppointments, clear plans.

As far as her self-driven pursuits, my two cents is allow her to drive an area if she has exceptional interest in it. My dd LOVED history, so I was more hands-off there, facilitating. I'd bring her piles and guide her, but I let her pursue it herself. But history, math, she wasn't going to make those happen so I needed to bring more structure. So that's just the individual and what she's into. 

You might ask her what she'd like to do more of if she could. If she doesn't have anything, she really might be kind of Perfect Paula and just really like having a pile of do-able tasks. Kids just vary. Her education is what she does to herself, not what you do to her. The magic of homeschooling is her realizing her strengths and learning how to self-regulate and run her day. She is learning how to learn, how to organize, how to pursue things. You're there to facilitate, to provide her with things she doesn't realize, to give her structure, but it's her work to do.

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3 hours ago, Monica_in_Switzerland said:

 I have high academic standards

You probably also provide structure, clear expectations, and materials that allow them to get to work. If op had brought in high structure, challenging materials that the dc could just DO, she probably wouldn't be having this issue.

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2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:


Do most families use curricula like WWE, FLL, MCT, CC, or W&R as written? I feel like I can't do that and I don't know if my reservations about these methods/curricula is because I am ignorant or because I'm right that they are not right for our family. Do I suffer from the Dunning-Kruger effect? Obviously I'm an overthinker which is a big part of my problem. 🙂 

I have never seen a writing program that I would want to do as written. Take the info you find helpful, adapt it for your child, and ignore the rest.

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54 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

You probably also provide structure, clear expectations, and materials that allow them to get to work. If op had brought in high structure, challenging materials that the dc could just DO, she probably wouldn't be having this issue.

I'm sorry if I sound dense but what are these materials?

Thanks for listening to me ramble. This is very helpful to me. 

I started a response and as I was writing I had the epiphany that my daughter and I have some habits that we learned from 4 years of homework. Homework was always a fight. My daughter resented it and I resented being the homework police. I made her to do it because the punishment for not turning in the homework was losing recess. I believe very strongly that elementary school homework is worthless and my feelings about it colored how I approached it with my daughter. 

I think I've also misjudged her abilities. It was hard for me to know how she was doing academically when she was in school. We got grades and standardized test results but they were inconsistent. Her grades went down every year. Her Iowa Test results showed she was bright and above average in most subjects but they also declined year over year. We'd talk to the teacher to try to figure out why her grades were falling. I never cared about grades but wanted to know if there was a problem. The teachers said that she needed to work harder and do her work faster. She was often penalized for not finishing her assignments in class. I worried that something was wrong. All of the other kids could finish their paragraphs in class but not mine. Why? I knew the class was too big (29 kids in the 3rd grade) for the teacher to know whether my daughter was struggling. So I worried. 

When we started homeschooling, I thought she needed help in language arts (reading and writing) and math. Her LA grade was a C+ and she never read for fun. Her math grade was a C-. I'm realizing that she is more advanced in those subjects than her grades indicate. She reads much better than I thought she did. 

So we probably started out with me assuming she needed more hand-holding than she actually needs. But it's hard for me to step back without knowing what she can do independently and what she needs help with. 

 

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2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I started a response and as I was writing I had the epiphany that my daughter and I have some habits that we learned from 4 years of homework. Homework was always a fight. My daughter resented it and I resented being the homework police.

NOW you're getting somewhere. This is good stuff to sort through. I had water under the bridge with my dd like that, sigh. We didn't get her psych evals till she was 10/11, I forget, and by that point we had a bunch of years of frustration. So I will say something really positive: DO NOT BE AFRAID TO HAVE A GOOD WORKING DYNAMIC. Most kids want to do well. They want to succeed, and they want to PLEASE YOU. 

So there's no need to make this oppositional. It's ok to like your kid, to listen to your kid, to work with your kid. There's some book Pudewa cites (and sorry, I don't remember the book, maybe it's by a dude Green? not sure) where the jist is kids do well if they can. Ooo, I was googling for it and found something! 4:33Kids Do Well if They Can Ross Greene #1  Try that. It's a really important concept to think about. It's very whole and healing. You do not need to FIGHT with your dc. You want to facilitate, to listen, to challenge, to help her do well and succeed, to have goals that help her take the next step.

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I think I've also misjudged her abilities.

Bingo. We can tell that and we aren't even there, lol. Just the way she's standing up for herself shows she's very bright. Seriously. You're describing the kind of shut down that occurs when bright kids get frustrated. Her continued desire to learn, to be home, to work with you is indicative that she's bright. And you have test scores saying it too.

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Her Iowa Test results showed she was bright and above average in most subjects but they also declined year over year.

Ok, so you have a couple paths here, some options. Like I said, I'm very pro eval, because evals gave me data to work with my dd better. But maybe the place to start for you is talking with her, asking her what's going well, asking her to tell you things SHE thinks are a problem. You both have data that you haven't fleshed out yet, and those information pieces could help you decide a good next step. You want something conservative. Psych evals are expensive, so you want to see what you need and find the best place to start.

What I think I would eliminate first, and this is just be, is developmental vision issues. Vision would be a common explanation for kids who start off well and seem to slump, who are bright but having problems. So you want to know if she notices anything odd, if she holds her pencil tightly or with an unusual grip, if she interacts with text strangely (close or with one eye), has vision complaints, get headaches when reading, has issues with catching a ball or running into things. Just talk about it, kwim? My dd was seeing double and didn't realize it wasn't NORMAL to have to resolve those images, lol. I didn't know that could happen, so I didn't know to ask.

The way you would screen for vision is to go to a developmental optometrist, which you find through COVD, and just have them do a normal annual visit but ask them to SCREEN her. If she's having any issues with reading, this is important. Is NOT an explanation for dyslexia but there's more to reading than just decoding. So getting her vision checked would be good. Just an annual visit but with a developmental optometrist to ask them to screen for more.

So then you'd like to talk with her about what else she notices. Attention issues? Lack of engagement? Problems with body like sensory seeking, having trouble sitting in her chair, etc.? Boredom??? Just talk with her. How is reading going? Most bright kids at that age, barring problems, are going to read 1-2 hours a day for pleasure. How is that going? What does she read for pleasure?

When you looked through the Cathy Duffy learner/worker styles, where did she seem to fall? Anything enlightening there? What would SHE say about how she wants to work if you showed her those? That might be an interesting collaboration and something to talk about, lol. That will help lead you into materials. You asked about materials, and I'd start by understanding her expectations and her work style.

Ok, so then we have the actual academic concerns. You said you've after schooled her for years. What did you do and how did that go? What has been tanking and going downhill? Where is she having difficulty? There are conservative ways to approach this and a bit less conservative but more informative ways. 

So I will tell you that you would NOT be out of line to call up a clinical psych who specializes in bright kids and just say hey, my dd has been underperforming, I'm not sure what's up, I want better data to be able to work with her, would you eval? That would be a totally normal, appropriate thing to do. I got the blow-off when my dd was in 1st grade, and all I had then was this hunch, a vague sense. You've got way more than a vague sense. You actually have legit questions, and if you can make evals happen, that's a way to do it.

https://www.hoagiesgifted.org/psychologists.htm  This is a list of psychs recommended on Hoagies Gifted. I don't know if your dd is gifted or bright or has SLDs or what. Did she have any developmental delays or need speech therapy? That could be playing into this. Just in general, you're wanting someone to talk strengths and how to work with her, and someone like this might be your person. And there are plenty of other psychs too, sure. Ed psychs, clinical psychs, neuropsychs. You haven't given us enough data to know, so I'm just making a very conservative suggestion. A clinical psych will bill at the lowest rate and someone from the Hoagies Gifted list could probably do what you need. But if you call around and talk with psychs, they'll tell you upfront what tests they'll do, how much it would cost, etc. You'll see if they're easy to talk with or helpful. Just see what your options are and see who might be helpful. A clinical psych eval is a normal thing to do in a situation like this and if you find the right person, they'll probably give you some good insights. Around here, that bill would be around $1000. A neuropsych doing the same thing would bill more hours and at a higher rate, so $2500. I'm not saying to do that, lol. I'm saying something conservative, a discussion, strengths and weaknesses, is there anything going on, how can we get this on track. 

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

When we started homeschooling, I thought she needed help in language arts (reading and writing) and math. Her LA grade was a C+ and she never read for fun. Her math grade was a C-. I'm realizing that she is more advanced in those subjects than her grades indicate. She reads much better than I thought she did. 

That is so interesting. Did you do any placement tests for math? There's a reading test that is inexpensive, but she's on the young end. https://serpmedia.org/rise/  It's $7 and done on  the computer. It has cut scores for intervention services, so the scores will tell you what mainstream classroom she could go into for each subsection and handle regular instruction. Hits a bunch of areas (vocabulary, decoding, etc.) and might be informative. Or look at the testing you already have. Also look at what she reads for pleasure, because that's going to tell you a LOT. We expect them to read for pleasure 2+ grades below instructional level. So what does she read for pleasure?

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

But it's hard for me to step back without knowing what she can do independently and what she needs help with. 

Isn't that the million dollar question? LOL So just me, but I would make a LONG LIST of all kinds of things you could do (together or independently) and talk with her and collaborate. She probably has some sense of what she'd like to do and how she'd want to do it. Don't just put academics on there, kwim? Also put some handicrafts, puzzles, dot to dots, logic games (Timberdoodle!!!), read alouds, that kind of thing. You need some positive stuff that goes well, and it's ok to bring these into your day and call them school. With my dd, sometimes ONE CHANGE made a big difference. Like sometimes one thing was amiss and we'd fix it and boom. Go figure, lol. 

My ds is 10 with a bunch of delays (ASD2) but very bright, and he can do mazes independently. I wanted him to do more complex dot to dots independnetly, but he's not there yet. But it's stuff to try, just anything like that. Kits from Hobby Lobby, paint by number, loom knitting, books with steps for drawing, just whatever floats her boat. 

She's 9.5? So around that age my dd enjoyed the Beautiful Feet Geography. It's got structure, is something she might be able to do independently. I'm not saying she has to, but it's something to look at. My dd enjoyed Wordsmith Apprentice at that age, same gig, where she could just work through it independently. She enjoyed writing from the prompts in Jump In (buy just the tm to get the prompts, hehe). I printed them and put each months' into a page protector, so she could write the prompt for that morning independently. She did editing and I would write the number of errors to find on the side of the strip so she'd know when she had found them. Then we could go over it in our meeting. Take Five Minutes: A History Fact a Day for Editing - TCR3051 ...https://www.teachercreated.com/.../take-five-minutes-a-history-fact-a-day-f...

My dd enjoyed the Veritas Press self-paced history, which was on the computer and something she could do independently. I don't know that I'd start her with an online latin class or an aggressive curriculum right now. WHY was the homework hard? Seriously, you've got a lot of data there, stuff you've seen. Maybe just need some help to piece that together. Why was the homework hard? 

I don't think I would go with *hard* until you figure out what was going on there. I would go with diligent, works the plan, moving forward, successful. So if you do geography websites/apps, editing, things she can really do, you're building work habits and a positive vibe. Then get those evals and figure out what's up. I don't know what's up. You can tell us more and we might be able to prognosticate, lol. 

You're going to figure it out. Just takes time, willingness to talk and ask for help and collaborate. But don't fight. Homeschool her in integrity. That's what I've learned. I only have to teach one child, my child. 

Christian Light Publications Diagnostic Testshttps://www.clp.org/diagnostictests  Here are some placement tests. Saxon, MUS, TT, etc. have them also. I like them, even if you don't want to use their curriculum, because you start to see how she's gelling with different thought processes and approaches. It will become more obvious what would be a good fit. 

And if I could say, just in general, math is the one I would LEAST be likely to make independent. You saw I was giving you a list of independent work and it was editing, journal prompts, puzzles, geography apps, all sorts of other stuff. At that age I was doing origami, logic puzzles, etc. with my dd each morning as our together time warm-up. We read operas from                                             At the Opera by Ann Fiery (2003-10-02)                                       and then once a week she'd get a morning to watch one of the operas. You can do the same thing with Shakespeare retellings or Gilbert & Sullivan musics, sure. She might like opera!! If you haven't done Shakespeare, maybe start there, lol. 

For the origami, we had this like origami of the day calendar, you know those $10 things at the mall, lol.                                             Origami Page-A-Day Calendar 2019                                     

It's not that I'm fun. It's just that's the age where they want to be more independent, so I was doing things with her that maybe went better together. Come to think of it, I think she read the Fiery book of opera independently? I had another one I read with her. And for a while I had this book of scary short stories I read her each morning, haha. I must have bad character. She just hit this age where scary and all the doomsday stuff was all the rage. There's a word for it, slipping my mind. Hunger Games, dystopian, yeah.

So that's what I mean by don't be oppositional. Find some things that will work and have a mix of ways you work together. If you think evals could help, get evals. If your gut says something is up, get evals. Information is your friend in this. When I had my ds evaled ,I didn't know if he was going to turn out to have ID or be gifted or what. He was just such a complete quandry, lol. That's what evals are for, to help you sort it out.

Edited by PeterPan
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Thanks. You've given me a lot to think about. 

We actually had her vision tested a couple of years ago. She was in 1st grade and I noticed that she wasn't reading much. The developmental optometrist recommended vision therapy. We asked the 1st grade teacher and the reading specialist at school for advice. Both of them advised against vision therapy. My daughter was seeing the reading specialist by this time because I questioned the 1st grade teacher about her reading progress. I'm not sure if the teacher thought my daughter really needed it or only agreed to it because I asked. She worked with the reading specialist for the second half of 1st grade. I think it helped her. It was painful because she had to work with an online phonics program every night plus do her normal homework. They told us she didn't need to go to the reading specialist in 2nd and 3rd grades. 

We decided against vision therapy because the school cautioned us about it. We were also concerned how we would do the vision therapy exercises (I think they were going to daily?) when she still had her regular amount of homework. 

The homework wasn't hard. It was just painful because she didn't want to do it. For example, she had a different spelling activity every night, e.g. alphabetize the list, write the word in a sentence, write the word 3 times, etc. She never wanted to do any writing after school. I think she was just worn out after being in school all day. 

My husband is responsible for math. He was a math major and he knows it much better than I do. He gave her a few of the Math Mammoth evaluations and she did fine. She tested at grade level. My husband thinks she needs to focus on her multiplication and division facts before starting MM4. 

She went to speech therapy at school 1st through 3rd grade. The speech therapist recommended it but her teachers told us that they didn't understand why she needed it. I don't hear any issues with her speech. The speech therapist said she had issues with s and z. We were going to stop speech therapy in 3rd grade because it required that my daughter miss part of class. My daughter got upset about because she really liked speech class and the therapist so we agreed to it again last year. The teacher suggested that our daughter liked speech class because it was a very small group and she got a lot of attention. 

She didn't read much for enjoyment when she was in school. In 2nd, she was starting to enjoy the Wrembly series and Dragon Masters. In 3rd grade, the teacher said she had to read from one bin in the classroom which only had the Boxcar Children books. They did AR so reading became about earning points. She didn't earn enough points to attend the special pizza party at the end of 3rd grade. Grr... 

She has started reading for enjoyment again a little bit. Lately, she's been reading Judy B. Jones. I am assigning reading at her grade level. She gets to choose the book. She is starting to enjoy these books even though they are more complicated than what she's read before. 

I think she wasn't living up to her potential in school because she was bored. She wasn't allowed to read what she wanted or write about what she wanted. Her low math grade shocked me because I saw the papers that came home every week and she had done well on everything I saw. She admitted to us this summer that she had stopped turning in all of her math assignments so she must have been marked down for having zeros. 3rd grade was a bad year overall. She started the year with lots of stomach issues. We saw the pediatrician, urgent care, and even had an ER visit. One of the doctors finally asked about school which I suspect played a part in her issues. We never got a definitive diagnosis but the problems stopped. Then in the last few months of school, there were lots of tears about homework and how she didn't want to go back to that school again. There was no way we could have pulled her out of school last year so we were all stuck. I think that's when she stopped turning in some of her work. This was a Catholic school, btw. 

Sorry - long answer. Maybe we should see the developmental optometrist again. 

ETA - it's hard to put her into the 4 categories. She's somewhat of a Perfect Paula because she is somewhat of a perfectionist. She was always slow to her work in school which was always a problem. She had a hard time doing work quickly because she wanted it to be right. She's also a Competent Carla because she's very curious and thorough. 

ETA - During Kinder and 1st, I afterschooled math (Singapore and other supplements using c-rods), history, and literature. I dropped math in 2nd grade. Afterschooling became too difficult in 3rd grade because of the homework load. I did a lot of reading aloud. We watched documentaries and movies about the historical period we were studying. We read poetry. We studied composers and artists. We visited Italy last year so we read about the famous Italian artists and ancient Rome. We took a guided tour of the Colosseum and the Palatine Hill. My daughter impressed the tour guide because she knew so much about ancient Rome. That knowledge came from afterschooling. 

Edited by Ordinary Shoes
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1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

We actually had her vision tested a couple of years ago. She was in 1st grade and I noticed that she wasn't reading much. The developmental optometrist recommended vision therapy. We asked the 1st grade teacher and the reading specialist at school for advice. Both of them advised against vision therapy. My daughter was seeing the reading specialist by this time because I questioned the 1st grade teacher about her reading progress. I'm not sure if the teacher thought my daughter really needed it or only agreed to it because I asked. She worked with the reading specialist for the second half of 1st grade. I think it helped her. It was painful because she had to work with an online phonics program every night plus do her normal homework. They told us she didn't need to go to the reading specialist in 2nd and 3rd grades. 

We decided against vision therapy because the school cautioned us about it. We were also concerned how we would do the vision therapy exercises (I think they were going to daily?) when she still had her regular amount of homework. 

You know, I really love it when people give advice outside of their specialization. It really gives the best results. Like when our SLP was so adamant for years that ds COULD NOT BE on the spectrum and that boys were over-diagnosed and please please don't eval, go to some weird therapist, blah blah. Well now he has an ASD2 diagnosis (not 1, not low support but SIGNIFICANT SUPPORT). 

So an SLP should not be telling you there's not ASD and a reading teacher is not an optometrist.

So there you go. Go back and do the vision intervention that she needed two years ago. The vision problems didn't go away. Did the school do OT?? If they did an OT eval and did OT, the results might change, yes. THAT is actually a reasonable thing. My dd did OT late, starting after her VT. My ds has had several years of OT and his developmental vision is wonderful. We've had other people say they did OT after being told they needed VT and they got enough progress they were fine. That would have been reasonable. But to say do NOTHING??? That's absurd.

So what was the developmental optometrist telling you was going on?

What you need to do is two-fold. One, update your vision evals. The school gave you bad advice, medical advice. You *are* correct that doing VT on top of school work would have been rough. Now that you're homeschooling, you have more flexibility and can make it work. People with kids in school will often wait till summer, but you don't need to now. And really, for most people it's 3 months. You start now and by Christmas it's over. That's a terrific trade-off.

The other thing you can consider is an OT eval. Does she have anything else odd going on? Pain writing, how she sits, sensory issues, rejecting certain foods, fatigue with things other people do easily, discomfort sitting, ants in the pants, discomfort with clothing, unexpected slouching or lack of coordination, etc. etc? That's not an exhaustive list, just things. The reason OT can help vision (or cause the vision problems) is because the vision reflexes and visual development follow after integration of the primitive/neonatal reflexes. These are the reflexes that help the infant go through the birth canal, suckle, learn to crawl and walk, etc. Was anything unusual about her crawling? 

So if someone has retained reflexes, that will often affect vision as the cascade. https://www.brmtusa.com/what-are-reflexes  This site has a list and you can look them up on youtube to find videos. If a VT doc is worth their salt, they'll test for them and give integration exercises as part of the therapy. It's something you can do for free. 

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

The homework wasn't hard. It was just painful because she didn't want to do it. For example, she had a different spelling activity every night, e.g. alphabetize the list, write the word in a sentence, write the word 3 times, etc. She never wanted to do any writing after school. I think she was just worn out after being in school all day. 

Well yeah, if her vision was a problem and she was having to use it so much, that would explain a lot. And when you let developmental vision problems (convergence, etc.) go untreated, the visual processing and visual memory doesn't develop. So then spelling, etc. isn't working right because you need your EYES to do it. 

1 hour ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

We were going to stop speech therapy in 3rd grade because it required that my daughter miss part of class. My daughter got upset about because she really liked speech class and the therapist so we agreed to it again last year. The teacher suggested that our daughter liked speech class because it was a very small group and she got a lot of attention. 

That teacher sounds like a nasty piece of work. It could be the SLP was working on more than articulation and that the language issues she was addressing are being the reading difficulties. I would suggest you get a private eval by an SLP who specializes in literacy. It will take a little work to find one, so call around. They have some really good testing they can do, like the TILLS (gets at a lot of the issues affecting reading), the TNL (test of narrative language), etc. It should be covered by your insurance, since you've already had articulation goals and had the recommendation to continue speech. If you get the eval privately, you'll get objective, 3rd party evaluation to know what is happening and whether there is anything with language affecting her reading. And they can check the articulation, vocabulary, word retrieval, pragmatics, etc. as well. Since you don't know what all the SLP was working on, it would be wise. And bonus is, the language testing the SLP does will be MORE THOROUGH than if you pay a $$$$ neuropsych. You'll need a psych eventually if there are SLDs, but the SLP might turn up actionable stuff. And if it's covered by your insurance, that's a win-win.

Oh, the other thing about SLP testing that can be good for you is that it's not saying you have to do the intervention with them. The materials the SLP would use are widely available, so once you have the testing you could do it yourself. If you'd be stuck paying for it, that can help. You'd just come over to LC and we could direct you. 

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Dragon Masters.

If you search these on a lexile finder, they're under 600 lexile. Land of the Spring Dragon is lexile 560. That's weird because Boxcar is coming in at 580. Who knows. Not too worrisome yet. When my hit a plateau, right about that age btw, like literally that age, it was because of her vision. She was choosing books based on font size. Like I'll bet if you look at those two books, the font is larger on the Dragon Masters/Branches books and much smaller on the Boxcar. And if she's having convergence issues, the font size matters. Once you have the VT, that goes away as an issue. But by the numbers, she should be fine with both.

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

One of the doctors finally asked about school which I suspect played a part in her issues.

So if her vision is making everything hard and she's wanting out of school, then maybe work on the vision??

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

she's been reading Judy B. Jones

So on a lexile finder these are running 380 to 530, making them a lower reading level than what she was reading before. Not on average much, but lower. And the font is LARGE on these books. Compare them to Boxcar. I haven't looked at them in years, haha. So on amazon, the newest edition of boxcar isn't that bad, but it's still larger than those Scholastic Branches books. It's at least a question to ask.

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

My husband is responsible for math. He was a math major and he knows it much better than I do. He gave her a few of the Math Mammoth evaluations and she did fine. She tested at grade level. My husband thinks she needs to focus on her multiplication and division facts before starting MM4. 

That's fabulous!!! And she'll probably have so much more fun this way.

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

I think she wasn't living up to her potential in school because she was bored. She wasn't allowed to read what she wanted or write about what she wanted.

Ok, so just my advice, but I think roll with that and don't think it explains everything. She sounds like she was more frustrated than bored. She was having behaviors to clue you in to how frustrated she was. You definitely want to be finding things that work, things that are engaging and positive, while you sort out this other stuff. Does she have any hobbies?

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

it's hard to put her into the 4 categories. She's somewhat of a Perfect Paula because she is somewhat of a perfectionist.

LOL I'm having a laugh here, because that's what I would have guessed. So look at what Cathy Duffy is recommending for Perfect Paula's. Stuff they can just make happen. 

2 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

she is somewhat of a perfectionist. She was always slow to her work in school which was always a problem. She had a hard time doing work quickly because she wanted it to be right.

So two (or three) things. One, she might be perfectionist, as you're saying. Two, she could have low processing speed. Very bright people can have low processing speed relative to IQ. It is considered a disability, and it will show up in the psych testing. She'll then get accommodations. My dd uses them even in college, because she has significantly low processing speed relative to IQ. Three, she may have some anxiety. It's something to think through, and just know that it's a chemical thing, not something you're doing wrong or causing or sin or whatever. And the three can kind of intertwine, with some kids having all of them going on. So then you end up using a combo of approaches to deal with them. You don't want to assume one thing and miss the rest, kwim?

So at this point, if you can get the coverage (and that's just if, but just saying), you could consider updating those SLP evals with an SLP who specializes in literacy. And reconnect with the developmental optometrist and get that VT done. Screen for the retained reflexes. And get a psych eval. And the order I would do those is:

-screen for retained reflexes and OT issues (you can do this with that link and some youtube searching)

-developmental optometrist

-SLP eval

-psych eval

If you want to speed it up, you could do the SLP eval after she has been with the optometrist doing VT at least a month. I'm only saying this because SLPs will have some testing they can do that involves writing and possibly reading, and you'd like her eyes to be in good shape. If you go at it, you'll see a little improvement in a month and maybe be finished in 3-4. Docs vary with how they roll, but hopefully we're not talking a year. Depends on what was going on. 

So it will probably take you a month to find an SLP specializing in literacy and a while to get an appointment and get funding anyway. Sometimes you'll find a psych who is partnering with SLPs for these literacy evals. Just see what your options are. So I'm saying while you research on that, bang out the VT. That way you can feel really, really confident that NOTHING the psych or SLP are saying is because of the VT. Most of the testing the SLP does does not have to involve vision. But it's a thing people wonder, like would my kid have tested that way (with the psych or SLP) if I had done the VT first. So to clear that off the table, do the VT while you search for the SLP and psych.

If the funding is not there for all this, write back here and let people help you triage. But it sounds right now like vision is definitely holding back stuff. If you get that out of the way, you'll see what's left. If you have insurance coverage for the SLP, it's an obvious thing to do. And usually psychs have the longest wait (sometimes 3-6 months, depending), so that's why it can be last, all things considered.

And if the world comes together and the angels sing, then you stop with just the VT, hehe. But I don't think so. You're probably going to have more questions and need more evals. But it's all good. Information is your friend.

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10 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Thanks. I'll admit that I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I have a lot to think through. 

Ordinary Shoes, I wanted to send a little encouragement (homeschooling can be intense!) and also say that it sounds like so much is going right in your home and in your homeschool.  Your daughter is clearly doing better -- she is a happier human -- than when she was in traditional school.  You've learned that she has strong language arts skills; you have a math program that works and that she's willing to do; your husband is on board with this whole project; you have identified some specific interests you can pursue.   If you do nothing else this year besides have her write as much as she's writing now, keep going in math, read good stories & nonfiction, do a co-op she likes okay -- well, I reckon that at the end of the year you'll be in good shape with a little girl who is not burned out and who is enjoying her life. 

There is no hurry to adjust what seems to need adjusting.  Everyone here has adapted strategies to help them work with their particular children.  My children, for example, really thrive on structure and my oldest would be a sulky puddle if he had a 4th grade year of minimal writing, lots of reading, and math.  So if your child turns into a sulky puddle then you can troubleshoot that.  But -- even if she doesn't "like" homeschooling -- if she is a happier human, you are doing wonderful work here. 

Edited by serendipitous journey
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20 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

So we probably started out with me assuming she needed more hand-holding than she actually needs. But it's hard for me to step back without knowing what she can do independently and what she needs help with.

In that case, you could do some data collection. Give her a math test, a writing prompt (write a paragraph about X - does she use a topic sentence, details, concluding sentence?), give her some reading comprehension worksheets, etc. It sounds like you could use some baseline data so you know where you should go 🙂 

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16 hours ago, Ordinary Shoes said:

Thanks. I'll admit that I'm a little overwhelmed right now. I have a lot to think through. 

Sorry, I wasn't meaning to overwhelm you!! I think Serendipitous is right here that you're going to work it out, that you've got a lot of good things going. It sounds like you have *1* step you want to take, and that's enough. And I agree with her that the calm you've got, that she wants to be home, that she's making suggestions on what she'd like to do, all this portends well that you're going to work it out. 

Remember, no regrets on the past. We all make the best decisions we can with the information we have. Now you have her home and have some more information and you'll sort it out and move forward, one step at a time. People here who seem to know a lot started right where you are, overwhelmed and thinking it through, one step at a time. You've got this. :)

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6 hours ago, Mainer said:

In that case, you could do some data collection. Give her a math test, a writing prompt (write a paragraph about X - does she use a topic sentence, details, concluding sentence?), give her some reading comprehension worksheets, etc. It sounds like you could use some baseline data so you know where you should go 🙂 

Yes, I think that you do need some more data of your own like this. Especially given the following comment.

On 8/17/2019 at 1:24 PM, Ordinary Shoes said:

 I'm beginning to realize that she does not need a lot of repetition and the curricula we've used, as written, keep spiraling back to what she already knows. 

I do think you should seriously consider the vision picture--it was life-changing to get VT for our kids. My kids actually looked decent on the vision testing, but when the COVD would fatigue them, their vision fell totally apart and comments came out like, "I don't know how he learned to read with vision like this--he must have been working really hard to compensate." 

Given the vision issues, I suggest that when you do your own data gathering, you might use methods that don't rely a great deal on vision. For instance, if you want your DD to summarize a reading, you might have her read a passage and give the summary. Then, choose another passage that you read aloud. See if there are differences in quality of her summaries or if there is a point where she can tell back something you read but reading the same level herself would be too fatiguing.

But yeah, it sounds like the teacher didn't really understand why your DD was getting the help she was getting or visual development, and she was just saying whatever occurred to her. I think professionals who do that are really doing a disservice a lot of the time. If they don't know, they shouldn't guess. If they have seen someone have a bad experience, they should tell you that's where they are coming from--not everyone is going to have the same experience.

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Did you deschool?  It really sounds like you both need to take a break.  Watch documentaries and talk but don't require written output.  Do crafts, go for walks. Drop everything formal except maths.  Then add in a few things.  Decide what you want from writing.  Ds12 is probably only home half a year then going to high school. His weakest subject is writing but it is getting organised to write that seems to be the problem and I can't get through to him.  He is doing a time4writing 8 week course and it is going well.  After that we may do another or keep practicing while working on outlining.  Ds10 is probably not going back to school and is doing something more classical. So is able to bang out an essay your goal or loving to write or something in between.  It really won't hurt for her to just do her own writing for the rest of the year though.

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