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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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If he is a good speller, drop spelling. My kids were not doing formal spelling at this stage. 


I continued to read aloud some to my boys through middle school. Consider this approach for some of the lit or history. 
 

Keep most of the writing in Language arts and concentrate on preparing him for High school writing expectations.

Build his tolerance to school slowly. Add a bit to the daily schedule every week. Make it meaningful work. My ASD son (now away at college) had to be convinced that work “made sense” or he sat like a mule during the teen years. 
 

I have a serious artist homeschooling as well - now in 9th grade. I get it.
 

The teen years for my ASD kid were HARD. He is doing better now at almost 20. Better for him is measured differently than his peers. In the first three weeks of college, he has lost his wallet with his ID and debit card, let his new laptop fall off the top bunk and break, needed to drop a class for an easier one, and accidentally thrown away his math class online access card.  But he is not suicidal or so anxious he cannot function, he has figured out how to wash his clothes and go to class, and he has new friends and social activities.  It is a different ride with our SN kids. The outcomes are measured differently.
 

As much as you can, simplify his academics to what is vital and work on executive functioning skills. Also, he likely has Auditory Processing Disorder because it goes along with ASD. That, combined with ADD and ASD, impairs academic functioning quite significantly, raw IQ aside.


 

 

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My only addition to Texas' good advice is manual labor.

What's he doing when he's not doing those 90 minutes? And what are his interests? You said he's very into his things and doesn't like being taken from them. If he has primary interests and secondary interests, you could try chaining from or harnessing his secondary interests. You can also take a modality from him and stack things in that modality to reduce transitions.

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You are both describing my ds11 with ASD.  We get 2 hours of active school in a day, one of those hours is me reading aloud.  He refused to narrate even the shortest and simplest of passages for 6 years because he finds it pointless to tell me what I know he knows.  Workbooks and standard assignments are torture for him too.  I don’t have any suggestions for ramping up expectations because we’re struggling with it too and we’re behind you on this path age wise.  I have had more success when we can link assignments to his interests, but still it looks nothing like typical school. 
 

Ds has had a mental health crisis this year between COVID and simple expectations so I’ve dropped way back.  Our goals look like what texasmama described above.  If ds is emotionally healthy and has a passion for something intact by age 20 we’ll consider ourselves successful.  I have found that my ds fits the PDA profile, though it’s not diagnosed in the US, and some of those resources have been helpful.  
 

I’ll be following this with interest for any wisdom I can glean!

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Yes to the above. Physical activity prepares the brain for academic activity. My ASD kid was a serious high school athlete. I think that saved us all. It’s different with an artist but these kids need to move their bodies prior to schoolwork. 

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1 hour ago, texasmama said:

If he is a good speller, drop spelling. My kids were not doing formal spelling at this stage. 


I continued to read aloud some to my boys through middle school. Consider this approach for some of the lit or history. 
 

Keep most of the writing in Language arts and concentrate on preparing him for High school writing expectations.

Build his tolerance to school slowly. Add a bit to the daily schedule every week. Make it meaningful work. My ASD son (now away at college) had to be convinced that work “made sense” or he sat like a mule during the teen years. 
 

I have a serious artist homeschooling as well - now in 9th grade. I get it.
 

The teen years for my ASD kid were HARD. He is doing better now at almost 20. Better for him is measured differently than his peers. In the first three weeks of college, he has lost his wallet with his ID and debit card, let his new laptop fall off the top bunk and break, needed to drop a class for an easier one, and accidentally thrown away his math class online access card.  But he is not suicidal or so anxious he cannot function, he has figured out how to wash his clothes and go to class, and he has new friends and social activities.  It is a different ride with our SN kids. The outcomes are measured differently.
 

As much as you can, simplify his academics to what is vital and work on executive functioning skills. Also, he likely has Auditory Processing Disorder because it goes along with ASD. That, combined with ADD and ASD, impairs academic functioning quite significantly, raw IQ aside.


 

 

Just a little correction, my son doesn't have ASD 🙂 That was ADD (ADHD). He was tested for APD however and passed.

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39 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

My only addition to Texas' good advice is manual labor.

What's he doing when he's not doing those 90 minutes? And what are his interests? You said he's very into his things and doesn't like being taken from them. If he has primary interests and secondary interests, you could try chaining from or harnessing his secondary interests. You can also take a modality from him and stack things in that modality to reduce transitions.

 

I'm thinking you must be confusing my post with someone else's as I didn't say that at all 🙂

When he's not doing those 90 minutes, we spend another hour or so as a family with a Morning Basket/Nature Study etc... Add in breakfast, lunch, snack time, chores, then playing, reading, drawing etc... Other days field trips etc... the time between 9-5 goes by pretty quick! 

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1 minute ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

I'm thinking you must be confusing my post with someone else's as I didn't say that at all

 

2 hours ago, mshanson3121 said:

He doesn't have a lot of natural drive/ambition for learning unless it involves his interests.

 

3 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

When he's not doing those 90 minutes, we spend another hour or so as a family with a Morning Basket/Nature Study etc... Add in breakfast, lunch, snack time, chores, then playing, reading, drawing etc... Other days field trips etc... the time between 9-5 goes by pretty quick! 

I'm confused. If he's busy 2 ½ hours per day with your required tasks and busy on task, productively the rest of the day (not gaming or something you might want to redirect) then what's the issue? Maybe he just needs menus and response requirements? That's what I did with my dd at that stage. Reading diversity lists, response journals. If he's not bored, then he's just not using his time productively.

He's 13. What about art history? Or vending what he creates? Taking a job in a frame shop? Learning a skill or working with a mentor?

To me, my commitment was always to make you do what you can't do for yourself, not what you can. Maybe just a nice job mowing, snow plowing, whatever. Start a business. 

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12 minutes ago, PeterPan said:

 

 

I'm confused. If he's busy 2 ½ hours per day with your required tasks and busy on task, productively the rest of the day (not gaming or something you might want to redirect) then what's the issue? Maybe he just needs menus and response requirements? That's what I did with my dd at that stage. Reading diversity lists, response journals. If he's not bored, then he's just not using his time productively.

He's 13. What about art history? Or vending what he creates? Taking a job in a frame shop? Learning a skill or working with a mentor?

To me, my commitment was always to make you do what you can't do for yourself, not what you can. Maybe just a nice job mowing, snow plowing, whatever. Start a business. 

 

All I said was he's not interested in school stuff if it doesn't involve his interests.  To me that's not even remotely the same thing as saying "He's very into his things and doesn't like being taken away from them".  He has no problem transitioning whatsoever and is perfectly compliant. Just not interested/motivated/whiny if he thinks the task is too big.  Anywho... I largely suspect this conversation is pointless since you're either not reading what I wrote, or adding to it (since I already answered your question in my original post.)

 

 

 

Edited by mshanson3121
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1 hour ago, mshanson3121 said:

Just a little correction, my son doesn't have ASD 🙂 That was ADD (ADHD). He was tested for APD however and passed.

I have a ten year old who sounds a bit like your ds, though with no diagnoses. I do plan on testing once Covid settles and suspect an ADHD diagnosis is not unlikely. My oldest has it, and started medication at 18. It made a tremendous difference for her, and I think high school might not have taken her all day every day if she had had access to medication earlier (we didn’t know she had adhd before 18, though, and I never would have guessed it was the issue. Unlike my ten year old, oldest is very studious and worked hard and long.) Anyway, I’m wondering if you’re thinking about whether to medicate or not. I understand it being a hard decision. I would have been resistant earlier with my oldest. I might consider it by middle school if my ten year old turns out to have it, though. She can’t handle a full school day right now, but at ten we’re able to work with that. 
 

I did want to add we found it worked really well to combine my oldest’s art skills with some other subjects. Ellen McHenry’s mapping and anatomy classes worked well. And Biology went much better when we switched to having her read the text and then make illustrated notes of what she read. She made some really beautiful pages that way. That sounds down the road a couple years for your son, though.

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Oops! That’s what I get for reading and responding before coffee. Hopefully some of what I suggested is still applicable because there is a fair amount of overlap between ADD and ASD.

And maybe someone else will glean something, as well.

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57 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

 

All I said was he's not interested in school stuff if it doesn't involve his interests.  To me that's not even remotely the same thing as saying "He's very into his things and doesn't like being taken away from them".  He has no problem transitioning whatsoever and is perfectly compliant. Just not interested/motivated/whiny if he thinks the task is too big.  Anywho... I largely suspect this conversation is pointless since you're either not reading what I wrote, or adding to it (since I already answered your question in my original post.)

 

 

 


 

I think the confusion is coming in from saying you’re comfortable with unschooling and following interests and it sounds like your son is doing that really well.  I think it’s ok to go deep with output in his interest area and to just check the box in other areas.  I noticed on your other thread that he works in Khan’s Pixar in a Box and he’s pursuing art, so that sounds like learning and meaningful output are occurring.  I guess I don’t really see that any differently than your daughter’s diorama and research project.  If he’s generally compliant, not struggling with transitions and completes his assignments I’d call that good.  I wouldn’t expect enthusiasm for larger assignments across the curriculum.  
 

Now if he’s struggling with a particular academic skill like writing, I wouldn’t hesitate to target that and ramp it up in a way that works for him.  If the issue is work ethic in general, I think it’s easier to tackle that outside of academics sometimes.  It might help to enroll him in class just to see if an outside teacher would motivate him.
 

I don’t know if that’s helpful at all.  I know I’m frequently looking for reassurance that what we’re doing is “enough” and the solutions that I hear often won’t work for my particular kid at all, so I thought I’d offer some encouragement if I could.  

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I have a boy who sounds similar, but mine did have some reading issues as well. Can you harness onto the things he like and build that into academics? When my DS had to do writing assignment he did much better when it could be tweaked to include a topic he was interested in. Here are some examples: doing a compare and contrast essay about different video game systems, a biographical writing about a professional wrestler, a descriptive essay about his fictional  D&D character, a research paper about the history/development video games, there was even a paper for economics on Vince MacMahon who is the business man who created the largest segment of the Industry of professional wrestling.

For literature, he preferred sci-fi/horror genre such as Edgar Allen Poe, Ray Bradbury (mostly short stories). His favorite Shakespeare play is Hamlet because of the ghosts and how everyone dies. He says he liked The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. His favorite required reading ever is the play The Importance of Being Earnest. He liked short stories, play, and poetry including epic poetry over novels. Grammar and vocabulary activities came from what he was reading rather than a separate workbook.
He like the book Boy In The Striped Pajamas for a history tie in.

I wish I could remember more examples, but DS wants me to tell you that he wrote an essay about why Romeo and Juliet were “stupid”. That is not the word he used in his essay, but that gets you the idea. 
 

Now, my DS still would not have done any of this if it was not required, but once he understood that not doing work was not an option activities were more successful when the topic could be adjusted to his interested. If left to his own devices, nothing would have been accomplished. I spent many, many hours sitting right next to him requiring that work be completed. 
 

I will add that my DS has a great work ethic for anything physical no matter how difficult or disgusting it may be as long as he is not working by himself. If he had lived 150 years ago, he would have been great in an apprenticeship for a blacksmith or something like that. 

Edited by City Mouse
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Wow, we’re definitely not all reading the same thread, lol! 

On 9/4/2020 at 8:07 AM, mshanson3121 said:
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.

Have you heard of Rooted in Language? Their products and philosophy sound tailor made for him! They are speech therapists that really, really get this demographic, including art. They are into streamlining language arts and lit while going deeper and building stamina. They are local to me and have an excellent reputation. They offer products, online parent training seminars, and online parent coaching in addition to actual therapeutic services. I strongly recommend you check them out.

On 9/4/2020 at 12:13 PM, kand said:

I did want to add we found it worked really well to combine my oldest’s art skills with some other subjects. Ellen McHenry’s mapping and anatomy classes worked well. And Biology went much better when we switched to having her read the text and then make illustrated notes of what she read. She made some really beautiful pages that way. That sounds down the road a couple years for your son, though.

Ditto

And I would consider meds. They are life changing here, and well accepted. Better living through chemistry, lol!

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