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How to deal with cheating and other grievances


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This is an interesting thread... I feel like it's a good example of how we frame things and how hard it can be to really tease out when something is outside the bounds of normalcy or not. My teens still do things like leave the tops off the markers. Last year, during DI season, they ruined a bunch of paintbrushes by not washing them. I'm teaching a class locally with most of the same books I used with them last year and I twice now have had to dig around for them and have found them under their beds, which, ugh. Dh keeps getting angry because BalletBoy starts laundry and then doesn't finish it. All the time. And school. Ugh. BalletBoy is so disorganized. We've been having a lot of back and forth about following a daily plan and staying on task. So if I wanted to come here and post a long "my kids are deeply a mess" thread about them, I totally could.

On the other hand... I could come and post a totally different thread about how they love board game nights and how BalletBoy is so dedicated to ballet that he always washes his uniform himself and is always early to class and gets himself there on the bus and never complains, even on a day like today when he's dancing from 9am-7pm. And how he's so excited about his econ class that he spends extra time on it. And how he has been tackling difficult readings for history this year. And how he's doing well in math and figuring out how to navigate outside teachers, even if it's been a bit of a learning curve. So I could come and post a total brag thread too.

I guess what I'm saying is that it's all in the lenses we use and which set of information we lay out, what we emphasize. It sounds like your kids have a lot of good going on and some struggles and that you're really focused on the struggles. I can't really say from this thread whether they're outside the bounds of what's normal. I do echo what others are saying that it's common for kids to try to get out of things at this age, especially if the work is hard.

My impulse would be to change up the assignments so that they're not something he can cheat on, which seems especially good for writing. Maybe a pre-set curriculum just isn't in the cards for him right now.

Another thing that occurs to me is that this age was the most hands on for me as a homeschooler. The work was difficult enough that it took real time and yet they didn't have the skills to do it independently at all. I do think you should be able to leave the room briefly without worrying and all that, but I think maybe your expectations for independence at this stage are off.

Finally, it strikes me that the evaluation you had was through the school district. They're generally terrible. I don't know if you need an eval or not, but if you were able to have one done independently, it would be much more thorough. It might also not show anything. Or it might.

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I loved reading this thread. There are so many interesting opinions and some excellent ideas.

We've got ASD, anxiety, and ADHD in the mix, but the things your boys do sound a lot like what we see over here with my 7.5yo, newly-turned 10yo, and 11.5yo. I caught my 10yo cheating just this morning, in fact. He is in public school and does math as an independent study because he's accelerated, but he doesn't actually seem capable of self-studying for more than 15 minutes in a stretch. He hasn't been getting his work done at school and always seems to end up doing it sitting next to me in the evening. This week I didn't get a chance to do that for several days and I told him he had to have his work done today before he went to a friend's birthday party. His solution? He had his younger brother tell him the answers to all his math questions early this morning. It was impressive teamwork and probably 7yo DS was trying to be kind, but I was so MAD at my 10yo! Thinking about it objectively now that I've cooled off, he was probably really stressed and just trying to make it to his friend's party, so in a way, my own choices brought out the worst in him, and I really could have predicted his response.

A few months ago I started having my bigger boys pay for their own school supplies. (They can earn money doing extra chores around the house/yard and get $20 every time they get a dental check-up with no cavities.) It worked! Well, sort of. They take better care of their stuff. There is still some collateral damage, and one kid just cannot resist taking apart his pens to use the parts in non-standard ways, but it's going better than before. I also made a snack cabinet full of healthy snacks they are allowed to access any time. That has helped with the one that used to sneak food. 

Anyway, you're not alone. Kids do these things. More supervision, altered expectations, and more self-care for you seem like things that may help your situation. 

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Just to throw this out there, a lot of what you describe my oldest daughter did and she ended up diagnosed adhd.  Definitely the food issues (bowls under bed, wrappers shoved everywhere) and the attention to taking care of personal property as well as my own.  Cheated on things she didn't care about so she could get to the things she DID care about. I can tell you what DIDN'T work over the years.  Making it a personal and character flaw.  She is still struggling with self esteem issues over the fact that she always KNEW what she was doing wrong but couldn't control herself.  

Not saying that's what going on here -- just sharing my experience with my kid.  My other two never had those issues, yet I have parented them somewhat similarly.  

I have no words of advice other than maybe try another eval if you can! Because I feel like I literally did nothing right with my oldest over the years -- other than keeping lines of communication open and never letting anything reach an "ultimatum" stage. Consequences absolutely never worked with her.  She found ways to sneak anything past me.  But she's an extremely ethical and hard working young adult now, even though she struggles in a lot of other ways.  

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On 10/19/2019 at 9:41 PM, Cake and Pi said:

, and one kid just cannot resist taking apart his pens to use the parts in non-standard ways,

My 7 yr old son liked to take apart pens and play with the springs.  One day, the spring pierced the end of his thumb.  I couldn't get it out.  It was like a barbed fish hook.  I was going to make him wait until his dad came home to get it out because he was hollering whenever I touched the spring.  He calmed down and insisted that I remove it.  I did and it tore a hole in his thumb which was apparently better than the spring bouncing around vibrating into his thumb.  He quit taking pens apart and playing with the springs. 

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On 10/8/2019 at 12:10 PM, LolaT said:

My 9yo 4th grader is cheating. He paraphrased the outline in a lesson from Writing & Rhetoric Book 3.

He insists he didn’t. I think because he changed up some of the words, he literally thinks the cheating is unprovable!

What to do? I’ve been homeschooling for a long time. I’m a little bit in the disgruntled homeschooling mom phase at this point when the last two don’t do any work independently if I’m not sitting in the same room with them. And now this. Makes me not want to waste my time doing school with him anymore. But, while I am, what should I do about the cheating? There really are no consequences/punishments such as loss of privileges to do. Their days are full, they don’t watch tv or play video games. They also cannot be expected to accomplish anything independently. 


I think we probably ought to separate out cheating (an intentionally way to get over) from, "I don't know how to write, so I'm essentially re-writing the information and puking it back."  It's actually an acceptable way to learn to write, btw.  This is how many learned to write actually.

A 9yo?  I would not expect him to work out of my sight and I expect to guide and direct.  Independent work consists of what happens after I have actively taught and instructed, ensured he understands, and then still with supervision and in front of me in small chunks.

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