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X-posted: switching from "x min work" to "x amount of work"


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Right now, all of my kids' work is laid out by time: they work for a set period of time, and whatever gets done, gets done. The next day, we just start where we left off the day before. 

But my oldest is turning 12 this year, and I'm thinking that he needs to start to have more direction in his learning (beyond me just talking with him about what he wants to learn and how to schedule his school day). So I'm wondering how to make the transition from "Read for 1 hour a day and then give me a narration/paragraph/report at the end of the hour/week" or "Do 30 minutes of math each day" to "Read this book and write about this prompt / build a lego re-enactment / create [[insert project here]]; get it back to me in two weeks" or "Do chapter 3 in your math book over the next two weeks."

Three of my four kiddos are autistic, and all four have ADHD, so EF skills do not come naturally to them. I am already following the thread on teaching EF skill explicitly, but wondered if I could hear veteran advice on how you made this transition in a way that set your kids up for success. In particular, oldest DS would like to start learning how to self-manage over the next year so that he can start taking online classes independently when he turns 13 the year after next. But right now, the idea of spending Lego time to do school when his younger sisters are playing is just about horrifying. I don't know how to set him to succeed. 

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Very small steps that you transition together. And not all one way. So like one thing gets a delayed deadline so the dc learns how to work a delayed deadline. And on the chunking, do that *together* for a while, talking it through as you fill in the work plan that you print for the week.

2 hours ago, 4KookieKids said:

"Read this book and write about this prompt / build a lego re-enactment / create [[insert project here]]; get it back to me in two weeks"

So you start with a single small task that they already do well, something that doesn't require chunking, and you put a delayed timeline on it. So it might be something like "read 200 pages of the book of your choice by Saturday". So the skill is not new but doing it to a deadline is. And it's not a LONG deadline. Two weeks like longer than one. Small steps. For a multi week project, I would expect to be using a graphic organizer or some kind of written out plan.

2 hours ago, 4KookieKids said:

"Do chapter 3 in your math book over the next two weeks."

That's a huge leap, which means you're going to have to work together on how to chunk that and mentor him. If you've already done the work with a simple single step project with a delayed deadline, then doing it with chunks is a logical next step. So it's a REALLY GOOD GOAL!!! This is totally what you should be doing. But just expect to hold their hand a lot and fade as their skill improves.

So I don't think I did exactly that with my dd for math, because I wasn't htinking in terms of chapters. With her I would say something like do 5 lessons by the end of the week, kwim? So if a chapter has 10 lessons or 14 or whatever it's pretty consistent. And some lessons the dc might need extra time or repetition to complete. Is it a spiral curriculum that is very predictable or something like MUS where they have to rewind the video and rewatch if they didn't get it and are stuck? Kwim? If it's very predictable, it's easy to specify chunks. If it's more variable, you might need a more flexible requirement like get through 4 lessons by the end of the week.

But you can let them see your *thought process* no matter what you do, kwim? At that age we were collaborating and making those lists together. By the end of high school, she was doing her lists for herself. You're definitely on track with your goals here. Just chunk and mentor and you'll do great.

2 hours ago, 4KookieKids said:

In particular, oldest DS would like to start learning how to self-manage over the next year so that he can start taking online classes independently when he turns 13 the year after next. But right now, the idea of spending Lego time to do school when his younger sisters are playing is just about horrifying. I don't know how to set him to succeed. 

Hmm. Have you worked on Interoception yet? I harp on it, but it's a KEY way to help them get that self awareness and kick in their problem solving. You can also work with him on the language of problem solving. From this point on, he's going to have a LOT of problems, haha, and learning to use the language of problem solving and identifying the real problem and how he feels about it and what a list of possible options are can help. The problem is not that he has a problem, kwim? The challenge is to use it to learn how to solve his own problems. You're going to be doing a lot of problem solving over the next 10 years (ask me how I know, lol), so you can set him up for success with it.

As far as actual solutions to his concerns, I could think of some. He'll think of some. But don't solve for him, kwim? Teach him how to problem solve, because that process is more important than the actual solution.

 

Edited by PeterPan
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I stopped homeschooling all but one of my kids before they were middle school age, so I can't offer much advice about how to teach this.

But I will mention that my kids have all been in brick and mortar high school, and teachers don't assign work in big chunks like that. The teachers give daily lessons and daily homework. Sometimes they do have longer projects, but then during class time, the teacher is still right there in the room, checking in with the students as they work. If they have a longer paper, often they have to turn in a rough draft or outline, so there are checks along the way. High school teachers are not expecting kids to be learning independently, though they need to be able to study independently (if that distinction makes sense).

So, in my experience, this skill is something that doesn't really need to be fully developed until high school graduation, at which point, they need to be prepared to handle their own workload in larger chunks when in college. For kids with ASD and ADHD, I think the learning process will be slower and need more scaffolding, over the course of years.

 

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