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How to start pushing... Calling all Relaxed Homeschoolers...


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So we have always been very relaxed in our homeschool. We never had the desire to replicate school at home, turn learning into something tedious. Also, part of it was through necessity - our youngest had ASD and health issues, we were on the road a lot with doctor appointments, meltdowns were common etc... so we needed a relaxed, flexible approach for our lifestyle.  In fact, for our daughter we unschooled her for the first few years, and even now we keep it light 3Rs only, and she's thriving with that. However, she is a very driven personality, and is excellent at pursuing learning. Example: she had an interest in the Australian Outback after watching the Alexander movie. The very next day, she started her own project - she researched the landscape of the outback, native animals etc... and then set out to build a diorama, and wrote up a one paged fact summary. She is the absolute poster child for unschooling education.
 
But then there's our son, lol. He is a completely different personality. Very introverted, laid back... an absent minded professor if you will. He doesn't have a lot of natural drive/ambition for learning unless it involves his interests. A good chunk of that is due to learner type/challenges: he has SPD, Tourette Syndrome and probable ADD. No learning disorders, he's very smart in fact. Just the total opposite personality of his sister, he's an artist at heart (that's his goal, to be an artist, specifically working in animation, drawing).  He learns best when it can be approached and expressed artistically. Workbooks are torture for him.

At any rate, our son is now 13, in the wonderful throes of puberty, and honestly, has grown to be rather "lazy" about school. I assign a few sentences of writing and you'd think I asked for a 5 paged essay. He can't stand having to do more than about 3 subjects per day, that probably only take him maybe 90 minutes. Anything more than that and you'd think he was being chained to the table for the whole day. 

DH feels it may be time to start pushing him more, we both do honestly.  To be clear - we still don't want a school at home approach. We just want to start pushing him a bit more - to do bigger assignments, to expand his capacity, to take a little more initiative?

Currently for the year we had planned:
 
- Math
- LA (spelling, grammar, writing)
- History
- Science
- Literature
 
Typically we do Math, LA, Literature and his choice or History or Science per day. He seems to especially balk at having to read more than a couple things per day. And he doesn't like LA because it feels like "too many parts" to him - so spelling, then grammar, then writing.

Cross posting in the special needs section, too.
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Does he respond to incentives? Finish this week's school checklist and earn x reward?

Does he need all the "parts" of language arts? Most schools aren't having 13 year olds do spelling assignments. Most schools don't do much formal grammar instruction either, and I don't personally think it is something most kids need to study every year. Literature and writing may be enough for language arts.

How are you supporting his art and animation study?

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One of mine hates switching between subjects. She would rather, say, focus on science for three months and then do history for three months than work on both simultaneously. 

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I'm not sure your screen policy, but one thing I've noticed with my kids is that if I say, no screens til you're done with school they really rush and half a$$ it. It's better for me to pick a time in the afternoon when they ought to be done for at least an hour and set that as the time assuming their work is done. Just throwing that out there in case it's contributing, I know you didn't mention it so maybe not a problem for you.

Since he's already 13 maybe try to help him connect his work to long term goals. Does he want a car, to be able to move out, etc. All those things will be easier to attain if he's educated. Maybe even look up together the pay he could get without a high school diploma and compare it to COL. Help him understand work now leads to getting a high school diploma leads to etc etc.?  I had that talk with my dd a few years ago. You're not the bad guy making him do these things for your own amusement, you're trying to help him get a good life.

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1 hour ago, maize said:

One of mine hates switching between subjects. She would rather, say, focus on science for three months and then do history for three months than work on both simultaneously. 

I'm guessing this could be the case for him. He'd rather focus on one subject (book) at a time until it's done. So maybe do terms: history, geo, science? 

How do you deal with curriculum that's designed for a 36 week year, especially if it's designed to be done daily? Just skip some things? 

History is easier, we just use living books.

1 hour ago, maize said:

Does he respond to incentives? Finish this week's school checklist and earn x reward?

Does he need all the "parts" of language arts? Most schools aren't having 13 year olds do spelling assignments. Most schools don't do much formal grammar instruction either, and I don't personally think it is something most kids need to study every year. Literature and writing may be enough for language arts.

How are you supporting his art and animation study?

 

He might do incentives. 

Kinda refreshing to hear that. So many seem to preach grammar, grammar, grammar every year. I would rather work on his writing and spelling (it's not bad, but there some some words that could definitely be worked on. I prefer to focus on his personal misspellings than arbitrary lists). 

Art he doesn't need much support lol. He spends hours every day drawing, using Khan's Pixar in a Box, trying to turn every math and grammar lesson into doodles and pictures etc...  Narrations always end up with drawings. He pursues art relentlessly on his own. 

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43 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

I'm guessing this could be the case for him. He'd rather focus on one subject (book) at a time until it's done. So maybe do terms: history, geo, science? 

How do you deal with curriculum that's designed for a 36 week year, especially if it's designed to be done daily? Just skip some things? 

History is easier, we just use living books.

 

He might do incentives. 

Kinda refreshing to hear that. So many seem to preach grammar, grammar, grammar every year. I would rather work on his writing and spelling (it's not bad, but there some some words that could definitely be worked on. I prefer to focus on his personal misspellings than arbitrary lists). 

Art he doesn't need much support lol. He spends hours every day drawing, using Khan's Pixar in a Box, trying to turn every math and grammar lesson into doodles and pictures etc...  Narrations always end up with drawings. He pursues art relentlessly on his own. 

If they are only working on a couple of subjects at a time they can do multiple lessons each day. So if a curriculum is divided into 180 lessons and you want to complete it in 60 school days, they will need to average three lessons a day.

Or they could do two lessons a day and complete it in 90 days.

I've also heard of doing a week's worth in one topic in one day a week--so, science on Monday, Literature on Tuesday, History on Wednesday, etc.

The only subject I would hesitate to do this with is math.

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34 minutes ago, OKBud said:

I have to bounce so I just read the OP.

At 13, I would do a week or more of a VERY FULL, very rigorous, very tedious school load. And tell him he can either do that or he can adjust his attitude. 

BTDT

When expectations are appropriate both generally and specifically AND you give them the tools to do their own thing as often as possible, they need to just do what they are told for that short amount of time when you're like "I know you need to write more. Do it about your hobby or whatever, but it needs to be better than The Cat Sat On The Mat." etc 

Also, they need to move a lot at that age. So much. So intensely. 

And it's good your DH is on board. Let him drive it if that suits you better. 

 

Haha, that's basically just what DH suggested. I think his exact phrasing was, "I wish we could just enroll him in school for one week, so he could realize just how good he has it!" It's not a bad idea though. Though I suspect he would cave after only one day 🙂

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13 minutes ago, maize said:

If they are only working on a couple of subjects at a time they can do multiple lessons each day. So if a curriculum is divided into 180 lessons and you want to complete it in 60 school days, they will need to average three lessons a day.

Or they could do two lessons a day and complete it in 90 days.

I've also heard of doing a week's worth in one topic in one day a week--so, science on Monday, Literature on Tuesday, History on Wednesday, etc.

The only subject I would hesitate to do this with is math.

 

Yeah, math will definitely stay a daily thing. I talked to him and he likes the semesters idea. I think it'll be easy for history and geography as we just do living books for those. His science we're using Oak Meadow, but it's just written as 36 weekly lessons, not divided into days, so it should be okay. They'll just be heavier days. Which I suppose that in and of itself might be a way of achieving our goal of "increasing the load" a bit.

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35 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

Haha, that's basically just what DH suggested. I think his exact phrasing was, "I wish we could just enroll him in school for one week, so he could realize just how good he has it!" It's not a bad idea though. Though I suspect he would cave after only one day 🙂

Most of my kids have been in brick and mortar school at one point or another, and it does help with attitude issues when I remind them that sitting for hours at a desk every day and having homework to do when they get home is the alternative if they don't want to get their homeschool work done 🤣

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So I haven't had that age, and we have a different approach to school, but just from DH's experience as a boy who was home schooled at that age:

What if he had a major project that he had to do? If he's into art, and animation, taking a class or set of courses so that the end of semester/year project is a short film? Where he has to write the script, do the video, post production, etc. You said he's motivated if it's tied to his interests, this at least would get him producing something and learning /using skills such as writing, etc. You could give as many or as few specs as you want -- has to be 3 minutes, has to have dialogue, has to be in color, whatever. You could give deadlines for certain parts, but if you are using an outside course that may be easier in order to make sure progress is being made continuously (and in the best order possible. I wouldn't know if a script had to come before a storyboard, for example). 

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