Jump to content

Menu

I need the polar opposite of what I prefer to teach with


Recommended Posts

We added our foster girls’ two sisters in August, and the seven-year-old is going through a very difficult time.  After working to get permission to enroll them in my kids’ homeschooling charter rather than doing their unsatisfactory public school’s distance learning, and carefully preparing and planning to be able to manage homeschooling seven kids, I think I basically need to scrap everything for dfd7.  I like fun, interactive, rigorous curricula, but the more interactive the work is, the more opportunity she sees to fight me on it.  She is eating up huge chunks of my schooling time and ruining all the fun parts for the other kids.  And she honestly seems offended when I want her to do anything requiring thought, not just regurgitating words.  This is ridiculous and she shouldn’t just be allowed to regurgitate instead of think, but she is also working through her trauma and her anger in every area of her life right now, and it isn’t fair that the other kids’ learning be interrupted day in and day out because I am spending so much time in battles of wills trying to get her to do basic things like answer questions, hold a pencil the right way, and stop screaming at her sister for answering the question she refused to answer.
 

I need something I can give her and walk away so she doesn’t have as much opportunity to try to pit her will against mine over it.  A basic, “here’s your work, you know what to do, you will be welcome to play and do fun stuff with the rest of the kids once it’s complete, and not before” independent curriculum for a second-grader request.  We especially need this for language arts, but really for everything.  Does this even exist for such a young kid?

Link to post
Share on other sites

One of my kids was happy if kid could occupy my time all day and didn't much care how that happened - arguing over every math problem would suffice.  I ended up making some unexpected choices to avoid the sorts of fights you're describing.  Have you checked the Critical Thinking Company?  I know that we used some 3-4th grade materials so I don't know how young they go.  i've been happy with everything that we've used - Science Detective, Reading Detective, Inference Jones, Language Mechanic, Editor in Chief, Balance Benders. Would she be able to read a chapter of Story of the World each day on her own (or listen to an audiobook - we never did that, but it's worked for other people)?   We did that one year.  I had planned to use an assortment of short books with great pictures, but kid wanted to negotiate everything.  With my kid, I found that having things divided into obvious daily increments helped.  Kid seemed to buy that 1 SOTW chapter and 1 Singapore Math lesson was appropriate for daily work.  Language Arts was hard because kid complained about having to do multiple things for one subject each day, but on the other hand didn't want to do a whole week's worth of spelling work in one day, either.  

I'm sorry you're dealing with this.  It's hard to see your plans and methods have to change to deal with something when you're not sure how to 'get at' the root problems, not sure if the changes will help, and it's not just a 'we need to remediate 1 subject' thing that you can tell whether its helping or not.  It's hard to know what to do - I know that with mine, I'd try to make requested changes (let's do more hands on!  can we watch documentaries?  Can't we do a coloring page as part of history?) only to find that it was no longer fun (the subscription kit projects took too long, the documentaries were boring or too long, why would you think I want to color on top of doing other school work?).   Good luck - I hope you find something that works for your kiddo!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm on it!  I've got a kid (graduated now) who has what I thought was ODD but was Aspergers, ADHD, and SPD, and depression that manifested as anger. If he COULD pick a fight with me, he did. Most days. Most of his life. (he outgrwe that, than goodness! I wont' say what age, to avoid depressing you)

And before I get into specifics, please do remind yourself about that bit about dealing with trauma. If you had a kid with two broken arms, or a concussion, or a stroke, you'd modify and do just the basics to save her mental energy for healing. Same here. She's using up all her mental bandwith for learning about relationships, cause and effect, trust, routine, and then add in processing trauma and grief? That's enough to send grown adults into an inpatient facility!  If you frame it as not letting her get away with doing less, but as her "work" this year being working on mental and social health, with a light side of academics, that might help you feel better about it. 

As for things you can do that with - can they be religious, or I'm guessing need to be secular?

Math - Mathematical Reasoning is workbook based and lessons are fairly short. we did the ebook (works on windows, not mac) and I skipped some pages I knew would annoy my kid while in a flare of his pandas. Or saved them for a good day, and did one of the easier pages on a less good day. But they have a printed book too. some of the pages are a bit...tricky...in things like patterns and such...so might skip those mind bender ones for her this year. There is plenty else to do. 

Or, if she's fairly caught up in math, teaching textbooks 3 might work - my second grader is doing it, but he is pretty mathy. 

Or just Khan Academy - but only if she can read well enough to get the directions herself. 

CLE is designed so you teach the first part and they do the rest on their own, but lessons might be too long for her. 

Language Arts -

If she still needs phonics there are pages you can download and print from Fairy Poppins on Teachers Pay Teachers that I liked a lot. Very independent. 

Handwriting - Print Path from Teachers Pay Teachers is amazing. It is VERY developmentally appropriate, and designed by an Occupational Therapist. In the later levels it works phonics practice into the pages. 

There are also the old Growing with Grammar, Soaring with Spelling, and Winning With Writing books. I'v only used the grammar one and it was very independent. 

Can science and social studies be videos? Liberty's Kids and shows like Rock the Park, Design Squad, Ocean Mysteries, Sea Rescues, Weird but True, etc? Or picture books? Epic books has a ton on every subject. We do "documentary time" before bed - they can either go to sleep, or stay up and watch the show quietly on the couch. 

Also, for fostering independent work with grumpy kids, we used a daily work binder system. Basically, one divider per day of the week, each divider had a pocket on the front and the back. I put th work to be done in the front pocket, they moved it to the back pocket when they finished a page. To make it simple I printed things single sided, or photocopied, so that I never had two lessons on the same page . That way each pocket held only one day's work. 

If a full week would be too much to trust her with (as in, not to take stuff out and move it around/lose it) you can modify to a single folder with two pockets. Put the work to be done in the left pocket. As she finishes it she moves it to the right pocket. When everything is in the right pocket, she's done. I printed out little sheets for things that wouldn't fit in the folder - so I had a sheet that said "Read Something" or "Do a typing lesson" or whatever. I made a video explaining it all here

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
12 minutes ago, ClemsonDana said:

 Have you checked the Critical Thinking Company?  I know that we used some 3-4th grade materials so I don't know how young they go. 

Yes! That's who makes the Mathematical Reasoning I mentioned above. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

If you need to use secular, I would get a big fat stack of Evan Moor books or Spectrum workbooks at whatever her grade level or ability is.

Rainbow Resource has a nice selection.  Evan Moor stuff     Spectrum stuff 

Let the plain, boring, predictable workbooks keep her going in a plain, boring, predictable way, and maybe add in fun movies, projects, and read alouds as time and circumstances permit.  You already know how to do the "fun," so do the fun when you BOTH can do it.

Given what you all are probably going through, I think it would be fine to "tread water" for a while.  You BOTH need to feel that school is doable on a daily basis, even if it is not everything it could be. 

Many years ago, I was given a big ol' stack of Spectrum workbooks by another family who wanted to help us with homeschooling.  I thanked them nicely, and then shoved the books away somewhere because I felt I was a better homeschooler than *those kinds of books*.  Then one of my kids had a long road with a chronic illness and that child spent over half the school year using those same Spectrum workbooks that I had previously deemed unworthy. 😉  A page or two in math daily.  A page or two in a couple LA books daily.  And I read aloud to him daily.  That was all we could both do. And some days, it wasn't even that.

He was fine academically.  Really. 🙂  His test scores were fine at the end of the year.  No great gains, but no great losses, either-- which was amazing, when you consider all that he had been through over the course of one year. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Calvert is an “independent”’workbook style curriculum. Life pac is the Christian version of Calvert. You can literally hand her the workbook, tell her what to do, and walk away. 
 

A cheaper option would be Evan Moor or Harcourt All in One curriculum workbooks. They won’t be as clear in their scope and sequence, but are essentially the same thing. 

Link to post
Share on other sites
33 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

And before I get into specifics, please do remind yourself about that bit about dealing with trauma. If you had a kid with two broken arms, or a concussion, or a stroke, you'd modify and do just the basics to save her mental energy for healing. Same here. She's using up all her mental bandwith for learning about relationships, cause and effect, trust, routine, and then add in processing trauma and grief? That's enough to send grown adults into an inpatient facility!  If you frame it as not letting her get away with doing less, but as her "work" this year being working on mental and social health, with a light side of academics, that might help you feel better about it. 

 

So much this.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Ktgrok said:

 

Handwriting - Print Path from Teachers Pay Teachers is amazing. It is VERY developmentally appropriate, and designed by an Occupational Therapist. In the later levels it works phonics practice into the pages. 

There are also the old Growing with Grammar, Soaring with Spelling, and Winning With Writing books. I'v only used the grammar one and it was very independent. 

Can science and social studies be videos? Liberty's Kids and shows like Rock the Park, Design Squad, Ocean Mysteries, Sea Rescues, Weird but True, etc? Or picture books? Epic books has a ton on every subject. We do "documentary time" before bed - they can either go to sleep, or stay up and watch the show quietly on the couch. 

Also, for fostering independent work with grumpy kids, we used a daily work binder system. Basically, one divider per day of the week, each divider had a pocket on the front and the back. I put th work to be done in the front pocket, they moved it to the back pocket when they finished a page. To make it simple I printed things single sided, or photocopied, so that I never had two lessons on the same page . That way each pocket held only one day's work. 

If a full week would be too much to trust her with (as in, not to take stuff out and move it around/lose it) you can modify to a single folder with two pockets. Put the work to be done in the left pocket. As she finishes it she moves it to the right pocket. When everything is in the right pocket, she's done. I printed out little sheets for things that wouldn't fit in the folder - so I had a sheet that said "Read Something" or "Do a typing lesson" or whatever. I made a video explaining it all here

This reminded me...we've used the soaring with spelling and it was similarly independent to the grammar, as are the Evan-Moor workbooks. Handwriting without Tears was also independent.  And, similar to Ktgrok's system, I had cards with each day's work (so, one index card said 'math' and another said 'spelling', etc) in a pocket or box, and kiddo could work through the subjects on the cards.  

This year we had some OK days and then kiddo decided to argue about schoolwork.  We decided to try something different  Husband has worked from home for several years (when he's not out of town, which he isn't right now).  He'd took kiddo downstairs to work in his office.  He wouldn't do actual instruction but it's a place with not much else to do, and then I could answer questions periodically.  It only took 2 partial days before kid decided that it was better to stay upstairs where interactive people and snacks were.  I don't know if something like this is possible for you or would be beneficial for your child - in some circumstances I could see it making things worse, but for my kid at this time, the idea that mom was not available for arguing, so school could just be done in a quiet place under somebody else's supervision - that seemed to be enough to help kid tone down the arguments.  Understandably, your kiddo might not be in a place where toning things down is manageable right now, but I thought I'd mention it to add to your list of 'things that might help' in the future.  

Edited by ClemsonDana
Link to post
Share on other sites

"Not thinking" doesn't sound like a great option for schoolwork, but I wonder if you can just sneak in some learning, since she doesn't seem like she's going to be able to learn whatever you do? So maybe videos, games, books, reading aloud, and then just call it quits and let her work on processing her trauma? 

But I tend to be a bit unschooly, anyway 🙂 .  

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, ClemsonDana said:

One of my kids was happy if kid could occupy my time all day and didn't much care how that happened - arguing over every math problem would suffice.  I ended up making some unexpected choices to avoid the sorts of fights you're describing.  Have you checked the Critical Thinking Company?  I know that we used some 3-4th grade materials so I don't know how young they go.  i've been happy with everything that we've used - Science Detective, Reading Detective, Inference Jones, Language Mechanic, Editor in Chief, Balance Benders. Would she be able to read a chapter of Story of the World each day on her own (or listen to an audiobook - we never did that, but it's worked for other people)?   We did that one year.  I had planned to use an assortment of short books with great pictures, but kid wanted to negotiate everything.  With my kid, I found that having things divided into obvious daily increments helped.  Kid seemed to buy that 1 SOTW chapter and 1 Singapore Math lesson was appropriate for daily work.  Language Arts was hard because kid complained about having to do multiple things for one subject each day, but on the other hand didn't want to do a whole week's worth of spelling work in one day, either.  

I'll second this.  I made up a weekly 'packet' for each of my kids from Critical Thinking Company books.  I actually photocopied one page from each book each week, and put them in a folder with a checkbox grid (I think I was the one who checked off when they were done, after I corrected them).  This was soooo much less overwhelming than handing them the books and telling them, say, to do a page in each one.  And they could 'lose' a sheet, but I had the book.  Bwahahaha.  I only checked once a week, then new ones got added and they also had to correct the ones with mistakes.  I copied them all onto 3-punch paper so the completed and corrected ones went into a binder.

I used them as supplements, but at 7 I think it's still okay to be somewhat loosey-goosey (and I'm not an unschooler!).  My defiant argue-about-everything kid, who was my youngest, I think learned most of what she did by eavesdropping on the lessons of her older siblings.  Which wasn't something she was 'supposed' to do, so that worked out...  Do you think she'd be at all amenable to something that's more 'snuggle on the sofa' style, like MCT Island level?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

I third or whatever the critical think work books.  Mathematical reasoning and Language smarts.  Should be approved for doing through any kind of charter.  If you get the physical books they are bright and colorful.

Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

We added our foster girls’ two sisters in August, and the seven-year-old is going through a very difficult time.  After working to get permission to enroll them in my kids’ homeschooling charter rather than doing their unsatisfactory public school’s distance learning, and carefully preparing and planning to be able to manage homeschooling seven kids, I think I basically need to scrap everything for dfd7.  I like fun, interactive, rigorous curricula, but the more interactive the work is, the more opportunity she sees to fight me on it.  She is eating up huge chunks of my schooling time and ruining all the fun parts for the other kids.  And she honestly seems offended when I want her to do anything requiring thought, not just regurgitating words.  This is ridiculous and she shouldn’t just be allowed to regurgitate instead of think, but she is also working through her trauma and her anger in every area of her life right now, and it isn’t fair that the other kids’ learning be interrupted day in and day out because I am spending so much time in battles of wills trying to get her to do basic things like answer questions, hold a pencil the right way, and stop screaming at her sister for answering the question she refused to answer.
 

I need something I can give her and walk away so she doesn’t have as much opportunity to try to pit her will against mine over it.  A basic, “here’s your work, you know what to do, you will be welcome to play and do fun stuff with the rest of the kids once it’s complete, and not before” independent curriculum for a second-grader request.  We especially need this for language arts, but really for everything.  Does this even exist for such a young kid?

So... at age 7, actually, yes, it's perfectly developmentally appropriate that she just "regurgitate" and not "think".  You're asking for logic-level stuff in grammar-stage. And considering what she has been through, she might be 7 chronologically, but likely isn't 7 developmentally. She's also probably completely mentally taxed given all she's been through.  She's been through trauma, then moved to your home, had to deal with Covid, trying to adjust to online learning, and now taken away from that and thrown into homeschooling, into a method that clearly does not match her learning style. That poor kid! Honestly, I would say try to be more understanding. Quite honestly, you are coming across here as very bitter and resentful, so I can only imagine how it must be coming across to her. Kids pick up on this stuff, especially kids like her.  You need to learn to LET GO of a lot of expectations, and learn to start picking your battles. And holding a pencil the right way, most definitely, is not one of them. 

I agree, that by the sounds of the dynamics between you two, which definitely don't sound healthy, it would be better for you to not be her teacher. I would either enroll her back in the virtual school (whether you think it's up to your standards or not), or look at online learning options (Reading Eggs, Math Seeds, Teaching Textbooks, Spelling City, ABC Mouse, Time 4 Learning are all resources that come to mind), or yes, give her an independent workbook program. The only one that really comes to mind that is truly independent/self teaching is CLE (Christian Light Education).  Of these, my recommendation would be the online programs, since they'll likely be more engaging and less overwhelming (CLE is a LOT of work). If you go the route of CLE, I would remember that it is an advanced program, and typically runs a grade level ahead. Definitely use the placement tests.

Regardless of what you use, given dynamics, you are going to want to place her below where you probably think she should be. You're going to want it to be bordering on easy/not too challenging, because otherwise, you're likely going to run into issues where she is struggling with the work, and needs your help, which probably won't end well. My guess is she is going to be a perfectionist who shuts down when presented with new/difficult concepts. It's a coping strategy to deal with anxiety. But regardless of that, she is after all only 7, which is too young for the majority of kids, to be expecting fully independent work. So you'll need to keep it at an easy enough level that she CAN be successful on her own. You should be aiming for about 90% review, 10% new material.

 



 

 

 

Edited by mshanson3121
  • Like 6
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, mshanson3121 said:

, I would say try to be more understanding. Quite honestly, you are coming across here as very bitter and resentful, so I can only imagine how it must be coming across to her. Kids pick up on this stuff, especially kids like her.  
I agree, that by the sounds of the dynamics between you two, which definitely don't sound healthy, it would be better for you to not be her teacher. 

 

Her other posts on here show that she's an amazing, loving, fantastic mom to these kids. I wouldn't let one post lead you judge her relationship with these kids. 

  • Like 8
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Her other posts on here show that she's an amazing, loving, fantastic mom to these kids. I wouldn't let one post lead you judge her relationship with these kids. 

Perhaps so. But I've only seen this post, and in this post, it definitely isn't painting a great picture of their homeschool. So, my comment is based on what is presented. She can take what might be helpful (curriculum suggestions, learn to let go of unrealistic expectations), and leave what isn't.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with many of the pp who suggested various workbooks and "get 'er done" curriculum for LA.  I think you should trust your instincts on that in relation to dealing with trauma etc.  You might also look for some of @Hunter's old posts about trauma and what type of work is grounding.  Maybe the Draw Write Now books could combine copywork and drawing for her.  Maybe that and a spelling workbook is all you need for written LA right now.  Add in some audio books or tales (Jim Weiss?) for literature and then have her do some reading practice.  Or, if you think reading needs to be a workbook with questions, do that instead of spelling temporarily.  I'm just throwing out ideas. 

  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
27 minutes ago, df3121 said:

So... at age 7, actually, yes, it's perfectly developmentally appropriate that she just "regurgitate" and not "think".  You're asking for logic-level stuff in grammar-stage. And considering what she has been through, she might be 7 chronologically, but likely isn't 7 developmentally. 


Regardless of what you use, given dynamics, you are going to want to place her below where you probably think she should be. You're going to want it to be bordering on easy/not too challenging, because otherwise, you're likely going to run into issues where she is struggling with the work, and needs your help, which probably won't end well. My guess is she is going to be a perfectionist who shuts down when presented with new/difficult concepts. It's a coping strategy to deal with anxiety. But regardless of that, she is after all only 7, which is too young for the majority of kids, to be expecting fully independent work. So you'll need to keep it at an easy enough level that she CAN be successful on her own. You should be aiming for about 90% review, 10% new material.

I have a 9 year old son who is very resistant to doing any schoolwork. I have figured out that his resistance is driven by anxiety. If he gets it into his head that something is too hard he will shut down. It doesn't matter if it really isn't too hard. So I keep his work easy. He is still learning, but at a slower pace which is ok with me. Making progress slowly is better that making no progress, which is what would happen if I pushed him to do more. 

Also, 7 is young. I don't even begin formal academics until age 7. I don't do "language arts" with 2nd graders. We do phonics, math, penmanship, and reading practice. We start spelling when they are done with phonics.

If you want easy to implement curriculum that can be done mostly independently I would use Developmental Math, Explode the Code, and Pentime. If you are ready for spelling Soaring with Spelling is good.

Susan in TX

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Some combination of Soaring With Spelling / Winning With Writing / Growing With Grammar

Stack of library books to read or look through

Math workbook - I agree with CLE (I always wish there was a secular alternative I could recommend for those that need it)           or Math Mammoth 

Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, df3121 said:

So... at age 7, actually, yes, it's perfectly developmentally appropriate that she just "regurgitate" and not "think".  You're asking for logic-level stuff in grammar-stage.

I haven't found that 7 year olds can't think on average. And I'd guess the OP has lots of experience with 7 year old thinking. 

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The worst part of trauma is what a person did NOT receive and learn, not what DID happen to them. This vacuum of "normal" experiences means that they cannot answer simple question as expected. I am an adult and I am 14 years out and I still frustrate the hell out of people.

Yes it is a relief to just regurgitate what other people say. I often don't believe what I am regurgitating, but it is safe at least. Being real with people isn't safe, because they have no imagination to understand the vacuum that I am trying to pull answers from.

About two years ago a professor told me that I had no critical thinking skills. Horse poop! Just because I could not think "critically" the way that she thinks critically, does not mean I am not thinking critically. 

And some days, yeah, I am not well enough to think at all. When I am triggered, parts of my brain shut themselves off. The more overwhelmed that I am, the more my brain is cut into pieces that do not interact with each other. It gets so bad that I lose my speech ability. The day I took my oral exam in Spanish, I could speak Spanish better than English. The professor asked me things that required repeating Spanish words that were  just said to me by a Spanish friend that had just been hugging me. I even said that my name was the Spanish equivalent, not the English form. She did not know what was going on, because I was crying so hard and could not speak English, but when I said my name like that she just passed me.

I had professors that only yelled at one student in the class the entire semester, and it was me, and it was multiple times. And other professors said I was their best student and "brilliant".

I'm a mess and I cannot always complete "easy" assignments. I'm accused of all sorts of things that I am not. I am not "normal", but I am not what I am accused of.

I'm not trying to argue with them. I am not lazy!!!!! I am just different and I am missing all sorts of normal experiences that others take for granted. Sometimes people demand that I admit that I am certain things, and I do, because it the easiest thing to do ion the moment. All I have to do is nod and say yes, and take the punishment. I have a lot of practice in being punished;, that is easier than getting a normie to understand me.

I only have two kinds of grades. A class is either a 4.0 or a failure/withdrawal. I have nothing in-between the extremes. It matters whether a professor can imagine the vacuum or not.

 

  • Like 3
  • Sad 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you all for your suggestions.  I am sorry I haven’t had time to answer in detail.  I am working my way through all the suggestions, and I’m currently leaning towards Growing With Grammar, but haven’t compared them all yet.  A religious curriculum is allowed, but we would have to pay for it out of pocket, so I would prefer to go that way only if there isn’t a secular option that would work as well for her.  

 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

We added our foster girls’ two sisters in August, and the seven-year-old is going through a very difficult time.  After working to get permission to enroll them in my kids’ homeschooling charter rather than doing their unsatisfactory public school’s distance learning, and carefully preparing and planning to be able to manage homeschooling seven kids, I think I basically need to scrap everything for dfd7.  I like fun, interactive, rigorous curricula, but the more interactive the work is, the more opportunity she sees to fight me on it.  She is eating up huge chunks of my schooling time and ruining all the fun parts for the other kids.  And she honestly seems offended when I want her to do anything requiring thought, not just regurgitating words.  This is ridiculous and she shouldn’t just be allowed to regurgitate instead of think, but she is also working through her trauma and her anger in every area of her life right now, and it isn’t fair that the other kids’ learning be interrupted day in and day out because I am spending so much time in battles of wills trying to get her to do basic things like answer questions, hold a pencil the right way, and stop screaming at her sister for answering the question she refused to answer.
 

I need something I can give her and walk away so she doesn’t have as much opportunity to try to pit her will against mine over it.  A basic, “here’s your work, you know what to do, you will be welcome to play and do fun stuff with the rest of the kids once it’s complete, and not before” independent curriculum for a second-grader request.  We especially need this for language arts, but really for everything.  Does this even exist for such a young kid?

I haven't read any responses.

 I would strongly recommend that you gave her work that is at least a year below her level. something she can do easily . then gradually make the work get close to her level. I wouldn't require anything that needs any thought. just get a routine established and her complying. 

 

 She is new to your house, is doing major adjustments and it will take at least 12 months for her to calm down . Working at grade level in schoolwork would be the least thing to focus on. self regulation, working through trauma, starting to feel safe are all way more essential.

There is only so much a child can cope with and it will build her confidence if she finds work easy and she can get satisfaction in completing it herself.

 

 

some curriculum suggestions may be something form Critical Thinking co. or Abeka well  below her grade level.

  • Like 9
Link to post
Share on other sites

I would make her schoolwork as minimal and simple as possible--she's got more important stuff to work through and brains do not function well when coping with trauma.

For language arts, how about something to read, something to listen to (either a read aloud or an audiobook) and copywork? There are a variety of copywork workbooks available through Rainbow Resource; if you got one of the ones focused on history or science topics you could count that for two subjects.

If she is on grade level with math she might be able to do teaching Textbooks 3 (the first grade available I think; many use TT a year ahead of the labeled grade); TT has been kind of amazing for my high anxiety kids who do not function well working with a real live tutor.

I would also suggest giving her lots of opportunities for physical activity.

 

Edited by maize
  • Like 5
Link to post
Share on other sites
19 hours ago, OKBud said:

I'd say CLE but I assume you need secular because of the charter? 

My kids' charter doesn't care if the kids use religious materials, they just can't pay for them.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Critical Thinking Company's language arts workbooks are called Language Smarts; I do like them.

I always use language arts stuff behind grade level with my kids; I think our educational system in general pushes too much writing too early, and I'm not a big fan of formal grammar instruction beyond very basic parts of speech in early elementary years. Read alouds and audiobooks are what I consider most important at that age.

Edited by maize
Corrected the name of the workbook series
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, maize said:

My kids' charter doesn't care if the kids use religious materials, they just can't pay for them.

CLE is inexpensive, so easy to implement and has such a constant, thorough review that I would definitely go with that if you can!  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

To be clear, when I said think vs. regurgitate words, I am not talking about complicated, logic level stuff.  I am talking about answering a review question of things she was doing handily a few weeks ago before the defiance set in vs. just repeating the words of the other kids while refusing to look at the paper.  For example, “Read this sentence and look for a word that is a thing” and she is refusing to actually turn her head towards  the sentence, and instead repeats whatever word the others say.  Or if she’s answering alone so there’s no one to repeat after, she will throw out random grammar-related things that are inapplicable to what she’s been asked (“the, a, and an!”, or words from another kid’s prior sentence, or “adjective!”, all while refusing to look at the sentence.  

The only things that are going okay right now are the things that require zero output other than repeating memory work.  Memory work, listening to audiobooks while she plays during reading time, listening to me read SOTW (if it doesn’t take too long), watching a bit of a science documentary with the other kids before wandering off, and doing a MEL science kit together.  I am also having her read the AAR reader stories to me, to see if she still needs phonics instruction.  Right now the stories are still very easy for her and that is going okay.  But anything asking her to think and respond at all (math facts, grammar, math mammoth, even spelling which is her favorite subject) is causing huge defiance issues.  
.  

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

The fact that you are asking indicates that you do understand that academic output is a not priority for this child right now. 

Just keep that at the front of your mind, limit school to whatever does work for her and is low-stress, and focus on helping her through her trauma and on building relationships.

I'd look for ways to build emotional intelligence and emotional regulation skills. I just can't see academic rigor being a high priority for any kid in a new home and coming from a background of trauma. If you have a kid who draws comfort from academics that would be one thing, but this doesn't seem to be such a child.

Edited by maize
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I learned in my foster training that A child who is highly stressed and not feeling safe CANNOT learn. They will either withdraw into themselves or fight everything, or from my experiance do both at the same time. 

She may be safe now, but being safe and feeling safe are 2 quite different things. 

My twins still have times of feeling not safe. They have been with us 5 years. In fact our whole focus is helping them feel safe and assisting them with self regulation. These are the very essential skills that they will need to function independant from us when adults. 

I would suggest that she is in a state of mind that may make academic skills just about impossible at the moment. 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Melissa in Australia said:

She may be safe now, but being safe and feeling safe are 2 quite different things. 

I have been yelled at for acting like I don't feel safe, when the person yelling was demanding that I was safe and that I better start acting that way.

Needless to say, I started acting even more afraid and stressed and did not produce the output being demanded. Output, yeh, I suck at producing the demanded output. I can produce "brilliant" output, but not "easy" output.

I was horribly disruptive first semester. Professors were actually threatening each other over me, and that made me feel less safe instead of more safe. And I felt sooooo guilty that I was making such waves.

Those of us who have never known safety, especially as children, don't know what we are missing or that we are missing anything at all. We only know what we know. When people demand things that we don't know, we do not even always know what they are asking for. Or as I said, information is not always accessible if we are dissociating, and our brain is fragmented and compartmentalized. Sometimes I cannot even retrieve the word "shoe" or "cup", the same as a stroke victim.

I have short-term memory loss when overwhelmed. You can say a word and ask me what it was immediately and I might not remember it. I have found left over take-out food in the fridge and had to call friends to ask how old it was and where it came from. I did not remember going out to eat. 

What overwhelms me? Loud noises. A scene in a video or book. Weird crap like bagpipe players. That is a tough phobia to have in northeast cities. And Pokemon video game has freaking bagpipes. I piss onlookers off. All. The. Time. I have been yelled at for not paying attention as a funeral march passed by with the bagpipes. And then yelled at again for overreacting to being yelled at. And then for being moody an hour later. And then for walking away.

I don't mean to be "bad". We are social creatures. We are designed to believe what onlookers say about us, and to try and conform to their expectations. When we cannot conform, we have to come to a conclusion about that. Often be believe that we ARE bad as part of our identity, especially because we know what conforming was impossible. And it reinforces what we were told by our abusers to condone their abuse of us.

Yup, output: I suck at that. And my teachers got in trouble for that. Which made them dislike me even more. And made me dislike myself even more. A few other professors calling me "brilliant", didn't relieve my guilt.

Go easy on her and go easy on YOURSELF. You are just human. You are not going to understand. You are going to muck this up, but that doesn't make you bad, just like she isn't bad. We are all human. Human is good. I have lived parts of my life in robot mode and I don't want to be a machine. I want to be real. Real is the goal, even if it hurts. And even if it means we produce less output.

Edited by Hunter
  • Like 3
  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

To be clear, when I said think vs. regurgitate words, I am not talking about complicated, logic level stuff.  I am talking about answering a review question of things she was doing handily a few weeks ago before the defiance set in vs. just repeating the words of the other kids while refusing to look at the paper.  For example, “Read this sentence and look for a word that is a thing” and she is refusing to actually turn her head towards  the sentence, and instead repeats whatever word the others say.  Or if she’s answering alone so there’s no one to repeat after, she will throw out random grammar-related things that are inapplicable to what she’s been asked (“the, a, and an!”, or words from another kid’s prior sentence, or “adjective!”, all while refusing to look at the sentence.  

The only things that are going okay right now are the things that require zero output other than repeating memory work.  Memory work, listening to audiobooks while she plays during reading time, listening to me read SOTW (if it doesn’t take too long), watching a bit of a science documentary with the other kids before wandering off, and doing a MEL science kit together.  I am also having her read the AAR reader stories to me, to see if she still needs phonics instruction.  Right now the stories are still very easy for her and that is going okay.  But anything asking her to think and respond at all (math facts, grammar, math mammoth, even spelling which is her favorite subject) is causing huge defiance issues.  
.  

So, two thoughts. Either she really can't pay attention right now, and is acting defiant rather than admit she just doesn't know, or, she doesn't like being put on the spot and asked directly, especially orally? Even more so when there are other kids around? She might be afraid to be wrong, so hiding that by just refusing to do the work. You can't get it wrong if you don't try, right?

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

I honestly really, really like Time4Learning's first and second grade programs, although I don't really like it for teaching them to read.  Can she read on a second grade level?  If she can, I'd just do Time4Learning.  If she can't, I'd do Time4Learning and either Headsprout and/ or Explode the Code.  I might have her do a page of handwriting.  I'd offer lots of experiences with listening to books and watching educational tv, and I'd call it good.  

I agree about trauma completely shutting down your brain, keeping things as absolutely easy academically as you can and keep your social workers happy for education, and that academics is seriously the very last thing on the plate.  And I'd completely avoid putting her on the spot with asking her questions.  

Trauma physically changes the brain.  It sucks.  

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, Hunter said:

I have been yelled at for acting like I don't feel safe, when the person yelling was demanding that I was safe and that I better start acting that way.

Needless to say, I started acting even more afraid and stressed and did not produce the output being demanded. Output, yeh, I suck at producing the demanded output. I can produce "brilliant" output, but not "easy" output.

I was horribly disruptive first semester. Professors were actually threatening each other over me, and that made me feel less safe instead of more safe. And I felt sooooo guilty that I was making such waves.

Those of us who have never known safety, especially as children, don't know what we are missing or that we are missing anything at all. We only know what we know. When people demand things that we don't know, we do not even always know what they are asking for. Or as I said, information is not always accessible if we are dissociating, and our brain is fragmented and compartmentalized. Sometimes I cannot even retrieve the word "shoe" or "cup", the same as a stroke victim.

I have short-term memory loss when overwhelmed. You can say a word and ask me what it was immediately and I might not remember it. I have found left over take-out food in the fridge and had to call friends to ask how old it was and where it came from. I did not remember going out to eat. 

What overwhelms me? Loud noises. A scene in a video or book. Weird crap like bagpipe players. That is a tough phobia to have in northeast cities. And Pokemon video game has freaking bagpipes. I piss onlookers off. All. The. Time. I have been yelled at for not paying attention as a funeral march passed by with the bagpipes. And then yelled at again for overreacting to being yelled at. And then for being moody an hour later. And then for walking away.

I don't mean to be "bad". We are social creatures. We are designed to believe what onlookers say about us, and to try and conform to their expectations. When we cannot conform, we have to come to a conclusion about that. Often be believe that we ARE bad as part of our identity, especially because we know what conforming was impossible. And it reinforces what we were told by our abusers to condone their abuse of us.

Yup, output: I suck at that. And my teachers got in trouble for that. Which made them dislike me even more. And made me dislike myself even more. A few other professors calling me "brilliant", didn't relieve my guilt.

Go easy on her and go easy on YOURSELF. You are just human. You are not going to understand. You are going to muck this up, but that doesn't make you bad, just like she isn't bad. We are all human. Human is good. I have lived parts of my life in robot mode and I don't want to be a machine. I want to be real. Real is the goal, even if it hurts. And even if it means we produce less output.

Thank you so so much. This gives me great insight  into my boys 

Edited by Melissa in Australia
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

The best and worst moments seem to be linked.  It’s like a part of her wants to be close to us, and a part of her feels threatened by that desire and wants to drive us off because of it.  So the other day when she was wanting to be held and cuddled and play, and called us Mom and Dad for the first times, was during other parts of the day the worst day we have ever had with her.  As in, I couldn’t leave the room she was in without her finding another child to go after.  And her defiance towards me seems to swing with her desire to be close to me, too.  

I do think it is defiance, not a disguise for being unable, because it stretches to everything I tell her, not just school.  But I could be wrong.

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

 But I could be wrong.

No matter how hard you try, you are going to be wrong sometimes. You are not a mind reader. And your mind developed completely differently than hers. COMPLETELY. Her brain even looks different physically; the effects of trauma are that profound.

It is not failure to fail at impossible. That is something I have had to tell myself over and over and over. We ARE a hero sometimes, even when we fail.

In World War 2, a group of school children needed to be flown out of a war zone that was being overrun. There was not time to finish fueling the plane, and the pilot was ordered to take off with the children after he initially refused. He made it close to the intended landing site, to only find that it was also unsafe to land and he was ordered to fly to another site. The tank was already on empty. He flew hours on an empty tank, unable to land anywhere safe. His choices were to keep flying as long as the plane stayed in the air, or to choose to crash it. He kept flying. The fuel ran out, he landed with the engines stalled. Or rather he crashed with the engines stalled. The children had been literally tossed into the hold and were not in seats. On landing/crash they were thrown around and injured, and some even died. As dead children were pulled off the plane, the bleeding pilot was on his knees vomiting and crying. All he could see was his failure, while those around him only saw how many children were alive. The pilot was a hero, but he never believed that.

You will be like that hero. Some people will see that you are a hero that is not to blame for being unable to do the impossible, and others are going to blame you for what is not your fault. Just don't blame yourself. It is not failure to fail the impossible.

Keep the freaking plane in the air. Crash land it the best you can. Rest in saving what can be saved. It is not failure to fail the impossible.

Big hugs.

 

  • Like 11
  • Thanks 1
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
8 hours ago, Michelle Conde said:

The best and worst moments seem to be linked.  It’s like a part of her wants to be close to us, and a part of her feels threatened by that desire and wants to drive us off because of it.  So the other day when she was wanting to be held and cuddled and play, and called us Mom and Dad for the first times, was during other parts of the day the worst day we have ever had with her.  As in, I couldn’t leave the room she was in without her finding another child to go after.  And her defiance towards me seems to swing with her desire to be close to me, too.  

I do think it is defiance, not a disguise for being unable, because it stretches to everything I tell her, not just school.  But I could be wrong.

I think what you are referring to as defiance may in fact be a different kind of unable--emotionally unable is still unable. 

Our brain isn't a bunch of separately compartmentalized functions.

A minor anecdote: when I was thirteen my family was at a time of transition--living in one country, knowing we were going to be moving soon, but uncertain where. Lots of possibilities and entirely out of my control. 

I remember sitting in school completely unable to pay attention to what was being taught and discussed because my mind was taken up with the uncertainty of my own future. 

Stress, uncertainty, trauma, transitions--these will overwhelm every other brain function.

Edited by maize
  • Like 7
  • Sad 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
2 hours ago, Hunter said:

No matter how hard you try, you are going to be wrong sometimes. You are not a mind reader. And your mind developed completely differently than hers. COMPLETELY. Her brain even looks different physically; the effects of trauma are that profound.

It is not failure to fail at impossible. That is something I have had to tell myself over and over and over. We ARE a hero sometimes, even when we fail.

In World War 2, a group of school children needed to be flown out of a war zone that was being overrun. There was not time to finish fueling the plane, and the pilot was ordered to take off with the children after he initially refused. He made it close to the intended landing site, to only find that it was also unsafe to land and he was ordered to fly to another site. The tank was already on empty. He flew hours on an empty tank, unable to land anywhere safe. His choices were to keep flying as long as the plane stayed in the air, or to choose to crash it. He kept flying. The fuel ran out, he landed with the engines stalled. Or rather he crashed with the engines stalled. The children had been literally tossed into the hold and were not in seats. On landing/crash they were thrown around and injured, and some even died. As dead children were pulled off the plane, the bleeding pilot was on his knees vomiting and crying. All he could see was his failure, while those around him only saw how many children were alive. The pilot was a hero, but he never believed that.

You will be like that hero. Some people will see that you are a hero that is not to blame for being unable to do the impossible, and others are going to blame you for what is not your fault. Just don't blame yourself. It is not failure to fail the impossible.

Keep the freaking plane in the air. Crash land it the best you can. Rest in saving what can be saved. It is not failure to fail the impossible.

Big hugs.

 

This is beautiful. Can I share it?

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, vonfirmath said:

This is beautiful. Can I share it?

Of course you can! I am only retelling a story that I read years ago. It is not mine even though it is part of who I have become. Reading that story has had a profound affect on my life.. 

  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/24/2020 at 12:29 PM, Michelle Conde said:

To be clear, when I said think vs. regurgitate words, I am not talking about complicated, logic level stuff.  I am talking about answering a review question of things she was doing handily a few weeks ago before the defiance set in vs. just repeating the words of the other kids while refusing to look at the paper.  For example, “Read this sentence and look for a word that is a thing” and she is refusing to actually turn her head towards  the sentence, and instead repeats whatever word the others say.  Or if she’s answering alone so there’s no one to repeat after, she will throw out random grammar-related things that are inapplicable to what she’s been asked (“the, a, and an!”, or words from another kid’s prior sentence, or “adjective!”, all while refusing to look at the sentence.  

The only things that are going okay right now are the things that require zero output other than repeating memory work.  Memory work, listening to audiobooks while she plays during reading time, listening to me read SOTW (if it doesn’t take too long), watching a bit of a science documentary with the other kids before wandering off, and doing a MEL science kit together.  I am also having her read the AAR reader stories to me, to see if she still needs phonics instruction.  Right now the stories are still very easy for her and that is going okay.  But anything asking her to think and respond at all (math facts, grammar, math mammoth, even spelling which is her favorite subject) is causing huge defiance issues.  
.  

So....listen to what she is telling you ♥️

Do what she is capable of and leave what she's not. Whether she is academically able matters not one iota right now. The only thing that matters is what she is emotionally able to do - and she is NOT able to do what you're asking right now. 

 

Whether she was able to do it a few weeks ago, doesn't matter either. Abilities wax and wane, especially as she processes the trauma she has been through. Some times she'll be capable of more, sometimes far less.  It will vary week to week, day to day at times. Not just school, but around the home, in life.

Is she in counseling? And have you read The Explosive Child? If not, you really need to. I think you'll find it very helpful. There's also a Facebook group based on the book called The B Team that you may find helpful.

Edited by df3121
Add something
  • Like 3
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/25/2020 at 3:42 AM, Michelle Conde said:

The best and worst moments seem to be linked.  It’s like a part of her wants to be close to us, and a part of her feels threatened by that desire and wants to drive us off because of it.  So the other day when she was wanting to be held and cuddled and play, and called us Mom and Dad for the first times, was during other parts of the day the worst day we have ever had with her.  As in, I couldn’t leave the room she was in without her finding another child to go after.  And her defiance towards me seems to swing with her desire to be close to me, too.  

I do think it is defiance, not a disguise for being unable, because it stretches to everything I tell her, not just school.  But I could be wrong.

Change defiance to defensive, and then you'll have it right. 

She is traumatized. She is scared. She feels completely out of control. She has high anxiety. She wants your security, but she doesn't trust you. It scares her. Her feelings scare her. She's terrified of being hurt, of being let down. 

She's not being defiant, but rather, she's being defensive. She's just trying to have some semblance of control over her life. It's the only way she can have any amount of security. You are not able to provide that for her. Not yet. 

Ultimately, right now, you're going to have to accept she is NOT capable of much in the way of demands being placed on her - whether it's school, chores around the home, participating the in the family etc...  She needs no demands right now. She needs time to process and heal from her trauma. That's almost impossible to do when also being asked to meet external demands - no matter how small they may seem to us. 

Again, that book and that group are really going to help. It's going to take an insane amount of understanding, empathy, compassion and patience on your part. And a total lens change in parenting - and that will probably be the hardest part. The group is a great support for that part of it. 

 

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites

Evan Moor used to have a subscription service called teacher file box, where you could print pages from pretty much any book they had. It was great for situations like this, where you want small bite sized chunks that a child can be successful at without obvious grade labeling, but then might want to be able to increase difficulty down the road without necessarily needing to finish a book. Themailbox.com is similar, but less comprehensive (it's designed for teachers to use for additional support). I use it a lot for tutoring because it has a lot of cute activities, and particularly if she could use fine motor practice, or finds coloring, cutting, crafty kind of stuff calming might be a good choice. 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/26/2020 at 4:45 PM, df3121 said:

 Is she in counseling? And have you read The Explosive Child? If not, you really need to. I think you'll find it very helpful. There's also a Facebook group based on the book called The B Team that you may find helpful.

I have been trying and trying to get her assigned (by DHS) counselor to set up appointments with her.  She finally set an appointment for her family counseling she is supposed to have with her bio mom.  Which is all well and good, but why won’t they make time for the individual counseling she needs?

I will look into that group and book, thank you.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 3
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×
×
  • Create New...