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Ausmumof3

Input versus output

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Anyone else have kids whose input is way above the output level.  As in DS is reading through the school books for the year in record times, reading at or above where he needs to be with seemingly reasonable comprehension.  However when it comes to writing or typing anything to do with the reading the writing style still seems quite childish.  (He’s capable of writing pretty decent narrative or instructional e texts about stuff he’s interested in.  Just not stuff that’s school).  Similar with answers to science questions /labs etc.  always minimal one or two word answers.  When I question he mostly has a deeper understanding but is not making the effort to put that on paper.  And of course in math trying to simply work out and write down the answer instead of writing out the steps.  We are slowly improving on that.

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Lego Lass was like that, very much so 6-7th grade.  We ended up doing a lot of oral narration and discussion for content subjects and a challenging writing program (WWs). It helped that it had very precise rubrics. Trying to get high quality written output those years was like pulling teeth, but it’s gotten better. 

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Whenever I begin to worry about “output,” I go back and reread this quote by @Corraleno which I have copied into my teacher’s binder:

Discussion is output! And IMHO it's the most important kind of output — far more effective and enlightening than filling in worksheets or doing "projects" that the kids have little interest in. I think that output-for-the-sake-of-output is a waste of time and one of the things that kills kids' love of learning. A really lively discussion not only allows the parent to assess what kids have learned, it shows them that the parent is genuinely interested in their thought process and what they have to say, not just checking off a worksheet. 

The whole thread is worth reading and encouraging:

 

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18 minutes ago, mms said:

Whenever I begin to worry about “output,” I go back and reread this quote by @Corraleno which I have copied into my teacher’s binder:

Discussion is output! And IMHO it's the most important kind of output — far more effective and enlightening than filling in worksheets or doing "projects" that the kids have little interest in. I think that output-for-the-sake-of-output is a waste of time and one of the things that kills kids' love of learning. A really lively discussion not only allows the parent to assess what kids have learned, it shows them that the parent is genuinely interested in their thought process and what they have to say, not just checking off a worksheet. 

The whole thread is worth reading and encouraging:

 

Very much this. Discussion IS output. And worksheets are often not engaging at all, and they do NOT show mastery of the subject or much of anything else at all. 

I have an accelerated almost 8 year old, and the things she reads are many years above the level of output she's able to produce. That doesn't mean that what she reads doesn't teach her things! 

For math, though, you may want to provide questions where writing down the steps is important to keeping track things of things. However, another thing I did with DD7 that helped with math output is to make her verbalize what and why she's doing in math... that has allowed her to transition very seamlessly to writing down explanations for her work, which means she now writes down proofs better than most of my college students did. 

Edited by square_25
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6 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Anyone else have kids whose input is way above the output level.  As in DS is reading through the school books for the year in record times, reading at or above where he needs to be with seemingly reasonable comprehension.  However when it comes to writing or typing anything to do with the reading the writing style still seems quite childish.  (He’s capable of writing pretty decent narrative or instructional e texts about stuff he’s interested in.  Just not stuff that’s school).  Similar with answers to science questions /labs etc.  always minimal one or two word answers.  When I question he mostly has a deeper understanding but is not making the effort to put that on paper.  And of course in math trying to simply work out and write down the answer instead of writing out the steps.  We are slowly improving on that.

I would make assignments like this count for school, if possible. If you want to have more polished work, it could get contentious and maybe kill the love of the fun stuff, so you might have to tread carefully. If he's able to do this for fun, it's a lot less worrisome than if he couldn't write coherently at all. 

Would he find it more enjoyable to turn some of his schoolish questions into a how-to or more instructive text vs. just monologuing on paper? For instance, could he create an FAQ page about a school topic rather than writing a paragraph? Could he make a brochure? Would he enjoy answering questions like, "How would you explain the difference between This and That to a friend who was having a hard time learning Y?" Those kinds of things often supply a purpose and audience to an otherwise nebulous task (writing a paragraph, etc.). They help envision how the information could be useful and purposeful.

For labs and such, is there a way to do more with bullet points and lists? Could he dictate answers? Does he do better if he types or does speech to text? 

Math is hard because until kids hit their challenge point and start to get more questions wrong, they often don't write things down. Could you require him to write out steps for one or two of the harder problems per kind of problem and let the rest go? I make my younger son write out some problems but not all, and if he gets problems wrong, then he has to write them out.

He sounds like he's maybe not quite being as challenged as he could be. Do you feel that his work is appropriately challenging?

My kids have various reasons for output issues--some are benign and some are concerning. For instance, my older son can dialog pretty well, but writing is much harder. Dialog provides more structure and support than you might realize, and in my son's case, it was masking a MAJOR expressive language deficit. This is obviously not the case for all kids that dialog better than they write, so I wouldn't panic, but you should know that sometimes and input/output discrepancy is maturity or interest, and sometimes it's a disability. 

Other signs of expressive language difficulties my son showed were being unable to make generalized statements, so introductions and conclusions were a big problem with paragraphs. Knowing what might be relevant to include was a problem sometimes. He could tell you everything or give a very short summary, but he could not do any other size of summary (and the short summaries were hard to get out of him also). He could not subordinate one idea to another or connect them with causal ties. Open-ended questions, especially wh- questions were incredibly hard for him to answer. 

It sounds like your son is simply not that interested in applying effort to things outside his realm of interest. 

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DS15 🤣

He survived AP English Language in 10th grade and is now doing AP English Literature in summer with a teacher through Zoom/Canvas. 

When he was in public elementary school, he handed in blanks for writing and only answers for maths. He was also “silent” as he does not like to talk unless he has something important to say. Then the public school admin asked for written work proof for him to take algebra in 4th grade and he turned in a ream of written work. His teacher who helped put in the acceleration request was highly amused. 

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My middle kid is an extreme example of this, due to physical issues that prevent him from holding a pencil, and really limit his ability to talk or type.  But he clearly understands, and can do math and science, far above his grade level.  In his case, while we work on output, academic output isn't really the priority, so we work on figuring out how he can engage with academics with lots of yes/no answers and forced choice.

My youngest is probably more like your son though.  He has age appropriate academic skills, for the most part, but doesn't always choose to apply them to tasks that someone else chooses, and they're clearly below his comprehension.  For him, engagement is pretty critical to his education, and part of that is helping him see purpose in what he does.  He also needs a balance between a few activities that I think are important enough that I just don't let him escape, a lot of time for self selected activities, and some higher level content and discussion with no written output.  

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We do very little writing until 5th-6th grade.  Occasionally I'd have my kids do a chart - tri-fold a piece of paper, or fold into quarters, eighths, etc - and compare/contrast something.  Or sometimes my younger would draw the steps to something.  My 9th grader is doing a required personal finance credit right now, and we're doing all of the questions for one book orally - it's led to some good discussions with learning beyond what the book is talking about.  Our talks definitely exceed what he'd be likely to write if the answeres were on paper.  

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8 hours ago, square_25 said:

Very much this. Discussion IS output. And worksheets are often not engaging at all, and they do NOT show mastery of the subject or much of anything else at all. 

I have an accelerated almost 8 year old, and the things she reads are many years above the level of output she's able to produce. That doesn't mean that what she reads doesn't teach her things! 

For math, though, you may want to provide questions where writing down the steps is important to keeping track things of things. However, another thing I did with DD7 that helped with math output is to make her verbalize what and why she's doing in math... that has allowed her to transition very seamlessly to writing down explanations for her work, which means she now writes down proofs better than most of my college students did. 

Oh yeah I’m doing this with my younger kids.  Also having them narrate what they learn Charlotte mason style.  I just wasn’t aware of this when ds was younger.

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16 hours ago, Ausmumof3 said:

Anyone else have kids whose input is way above the output level.  As in DS is reading through the school books for the year in record times, reading at or above where he needs to be with seemingly reasonable comprehension.  However when it comes to writing or typing anything to do with the reading the writing style still seems quite childish.  (He’s capable of writing pretty decent narrative or instructional e texts about stuff he’s interested in.  Just not stuff that’s school).  Similar with answers to science questions /labs etc.  always minimal one or two word answers.  When I question he mostly has a deeper understanding but is not making the effort to put that on paper.  And of course in math trying to simply work out and write down the answer instead of writing out the steps.  We are slowly improving on that.

This describes my soon to be 7th grade DD to a T. She has matured a lot over the past year, so I am crossing my fingers that trend continues.

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🙋‍♀️

Dysgraphia. We've mostly read and discussed science and social studies, and I've often scribed for math and English.

I'm glad I didn't take the advice that some teachers give to only do the three Rs to a certain level before adding content, because DS still wouldn't necessarily be there, and he's always been curious and interested in content.

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