Christy mom of 4 wrote:
Hi! We just finished unit 14 Horse with our 5.5 year old Kindergartner. He's learning to read well with the K curriculum and starting to understand the numbers in the 100 chart a lot better, but he's very easily distracted and I question whether he has the emotional maturity to keep plugging away with the material or if we should just take a break for awhile.
We have 4 kids all 21 months apart and our K'er is our oldest, so there is a lot going on while we are trying to get school work done!! He gets the material and some of it we skip since he's known letter sounds for a long time, just so he doesn't have as much work to do. I break it up for him so it's about 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off, but just getting him to write his name without getting distracted is a challenge!! We even do school work most days while our 2 year old is napping and the almost 3 months old isn't ever a distraction. Our 3.5 year old boy stays in with us and does his "schoolwork" (coloring, puzzles, etc.) and whatever he is doing our older one is very distracted by.
He has a bad attitude sometimes during school time or just gets silly. I called the office and talked to someone about this a few months ago, and she said to stay with it since he's learning to read. I'm hestitant to stop because we are so far into and he is learning, but when I read things about Charlotte Mason and starting at 6 and then talking to other HS moms and they say to not worry about academics and focus on character, that seems like a good idea too. I guess I just need some encouragement that things are going to be ok
Thank you for reading all of this and for any encouragement you can give!!!!! God put homeschooling on our hearts when our oldest was a newborn and we KNOW this is what we should do, but it's hard!!!
God bless and Happy Thanksgiving!
Welcome along! Happy Thanksgiving to you as well. Yes, homeschooling in hard in these early years and I think you are doing great to follow God’s lead. Wow! I’m enjoying your journey that homeschooling has been part of your child’s life from birth. Just exciting!
I have too much to share. (((hugs))
He may be needing a few weeks break with major holidays. It is common in early years in homeschooling to do Christmas studies and fun stuff instead of trying to keep up with all subjects. It may be the break everyone needs. You’re still in school and learning, but taking the stress off.
For discussion of ideas and strategies with wiggly young learners, I have some ideas and know others will share. I’d start off by encouraging you to listen to one of David Hazell’s workshops about Occupying Preschoolers while Teaching Olders. The CD can be ordered from MFW, or you can hear an online stream version here
Lots of good strategies in there for handling it all.
Oh, wait a minute. We had a reality check bonding thread on the forum a few days ago. You’ll find that we all struggle at some point with realities of one room school house in the midst of just being a family. All of your experiences on the normal side with normal solutions. Isn’t that nice to know? It’s normal stuff you are dealing with. Here is that recent bonding let’s keep it real thread
The good thing is: Not all days are always like that. Sometimes it’s keeping a sense of humor about you. Some days, it’s eating sandwiches on paper plates at supper that keeps it real. You’re normal. One of my favorite quotes from MFW’s David Hazell on this stage of homeschool parenting is centered around the idea of: when you look at families who have homeschooled for 10 years or more and they seem to have it so easy, just remember, it took them 10 years of working hard to make it happen that easy. They’ve long forgotten how they got it done back then.
So, we keep pressing on. You can do this.
a bit about me. I have 3 children (all girls). 10th grade, 7th grade and the 9 y.o we say 3rd grade. been homeschooling, well since oldest was either 4 or 5. I don't have a pretty decorated house. Unlike the image projected on MFW catalog or any of these catalogs from any company, I do not get dressed up in make up and jewelry to teach. On a good day, I'm dressed in my work clothes (I'm a part time fitness instructor) and have a cup of coffee in hand.
When oldest was 6-7, I had a preschooler and an infant/toddler. My youngest is autistic and was a handful and miserable for the first 3 years of her life. Poor kid. She’s happy camper these days. But, the only way I could get stuff done was if she was in a high chair with either ice cubes on the tray, or her face covered with mashed potatoes. Other times, I had her in a sling style carrier, upside down, right side up, upside down, right side up. You get the idea.
That way I could read out loud to my oldest for about 2 minutes at a time. So, in spite of all of that, my oldest managed to learn something. But she was willing to sit for a little while. and she went to 2 group schools in preschool (one was private speech therapy preschool, the other was a church based program). it's ok to do what your family needs. God provides.
that's enough about me.
Wiggly kids who are easily distracted. My youngest is on the autism spectrum. We had to work slowly to build her ability to do seat work in the midst of distractions of her own mind.
From that experience, something popped out at me with your seat work to break schedule that you mentioned. I think 15 minutes of break is too long to jump back into seat work for some children. Their brains are just getting into the new activity and probably not ready to sit back down.
with that said..... In my daughter’s case, we worked hard for 15 minutes. She had a much longer break to go play. Then again, she was youngest child and I was teaching older students so longer break work in our family. That way she was ready to sit again. But, I know if I gave her 15 minutes break, then it would have been too long to go back to sitting down right away. The various therapists who worked with her got her for 45 minutes once a week. In those 45 minutes, she had maybe 2 or 3 breaks to do active tasks for about 2 minutes or so. Then she was expected to get back in her chair or table. It was more like shaking the cobwebs out of your brain kind of breaks and then right back. They had a picture schedule for her to follow. First we do writing, then we do game, Take a break to swing. Work on story time.
She was 6 when we did K with her. At home her typical day in MFW K was that the “math” routines were part of her wake up and breakfast routines. I splurged and bought pre made fancy classroom calendars. She’d wake up and help change the calendar every day. It had a spot for “yesterday was” today is, tomorrow will be. She changed the numbers and words, and even weather report. We’d then go from that calendar over to the kitchen and do the popsicle stick in container and I’d write on the 100 chart. Now time for breakfast where I’d incorporate lots of math. (set the table, I have 2 forks. I need 2 more forks.). How many cups?
So math got done. Check it off. Eat something. (the eating was her break time without her realizing it)
Then, she’d sit down for 10-15 minutes on handwriting, language arts homework from therapy, do the Lauri letters. She went to each station. After the set time, she was done.
Now, I have math and language arts done. And it’s not that late in the morning either. Later in the day, we’d do some of the science activities. 15 minutes of work and never to the extent of what I see on blogs. More power to them.
Our badges were back in the old days when we made them. But she loved to tape them on a door going to the basement. That door was near the kitchen table. So, there was constant reinforcement at meal times.
Another idea is to have it so certain fixed hours of the day are “school time” and that you let your oldest know what kinds of play is considered school. Even if it is active play it can be educational based or something that holds his attention. With my autistic child, it was computer games, and specific preschool shows. Learning was happening. Handwriting practice was on the shower wall with shaving cream. Cleans easy.
But I would look at how often he is switching between tasks of seat work, break, seat work.
Of course there will be times when you have to stop in mid thought and care for a baby. During those times, it is helpful to have a quick list of things that your oldest can do for “independently” learning. It could be as simple as
Johnny, I have to change Mary’s diaper again! You can work in the Cuisenaire Rod book with the blocks for 10 minutes. See if you can find the Letter X (or whatever letter you are on) and work hard on designing the pattern with different colors. Give it a try for a bit, and remember to clean up.
That way he has a specific task to try to do.
Just a few things that have worked for me over time. And yes, I’ve been doing this so long that like David said, it becomes part of who we are.
I am not made for reality TV homeschooling mom. I don’t even think the teenager is awake yet.