Encouragement - Resistant to "school"

Using MFW Preschool & Pre-K Packages, as well as occupying babies and toddlers while teaching
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Encouragement - Resistant to "school"

Unread post by cbollin »

karlafoisy wrote:I have been doing preschool with my three kids (four-year-old triplets) since September. I've been trying to make it very fun for them. Simple color by number. Games. Songs. Finger plays. Crafts.

And my daughter hates all of it. She will sometimes humor me and try to participate, but she does everything half-heartedly. She constantly asks her brothers (who love school) if they want to be done so they can go play house. Today, we were playing Hi-Ho-Cherry-o, in order to learn numbers and counting, (that's fun, isn't it?!), and she slumped on the floor, and said, "I HATE school. I don't want to do this stuff!"

My question: My preschool methods are pretty lax. I try to help them to learn through games and play. What happens next year when we actually start school? I hate thinking that she will despise school. I want the kids to enjoy it. You can't force learning anyway; but what are my alternatives?
here's one person's opinion.

Sounds like she is just not ready for any kind of school. Let her sit back and watch for a while, invite her to join you. But don't make it mandatory at 4 years old. and if she isn't legally required to start school at age 5, it's ok to wait extra time. It might work in your house to stagger the start times of your kids.

If she is calling playing games "school time" then you need to stop "school" with her and just call it a game, and be willing to help her play a game. Don't quiz her on information pieces like "name this letter" or "name this symbol". she's not ready even if her brothers are. she needs more help. She might feel dumb already. (((((Hugs))))) to her Not all children that age are ready for all of those symbols.

Go to your library and look for preschool activity books that tell parents/teachers how to do large motor games and stuff like that
Sing songs to her like Bible songs
Read books to her.
Let her lace things with strings and play with playdough (good for strength in little hands)
Help her with everything that she needs help on.

also, just tell her the stuff that you want her to be learning, or let one of her siblings get to answer it first and let her answer second or third. That's ok. she needs the help. no big deal.

Instead of asking a question along the lines of "what letter/color/share is this?" Just make sure she can point to or bring you the shape that you ask her to bring. In other words, whisper to her "bring me the number 7." or "Let's all stand on a circle for the next song" and if she needs to have it in multiple choice form, that's ok (hold out a 9 and a 7 and let her make the selection). That way you are more focused on having her follow instructions and doing what you ask, instead of focusing on whether or not she has learned the names of everything. It really makes a big difference in later years with our kids when we work in fun ways to get them to follow instructions even if they don't know the factual knowledge just yet.

"preschool" time doesn't need to be more than 15-30 minutes a day.
Sing a song
read a book
do something fun from the Preschool Box (like the stuff MFW sells)
then cook and clean together!! math time can be while cooking and setting the table and folding laundry --- but without the quiz of abstract things.

It is about readiness, not about already knowing the stuff before you start school. The game you mentioned, it for ages 3-6, right? Not all 3 year olds will like it. and some kids will really like it at age 6. Tell her that she doesn't have to play at all. But that she has to sit with everyone and let them finish so that everyone can go play house. (she probably learns some numbers by setting the table while playing house.)

Set your kitchen timer while playing a game so she can watch the timer to learn numbers and know that the game will end. Encourage her to cheer for the other players. That way she is involved, and watching and learning through watching and knows that it will be time to play house soon. but she doesn't have to play that game with them. side note. I hate playing games that are hard when I'm with my husband's family. they are highly competitive. maybe your little girl feels like me in those situations.

In a group setting preschool, children don't always do the same activity at the same time. maybe she'd prefer to play the board game with you or just with dad.

well, I'm in my 40's and teaching Kindy to my youngest. so, I have a different perspective.. I hope my words sound friendly on your side of the screen. hang in there...... there will be lots of growing in the next calendar year.


Re: Encouragement - Attitude about "school"

Unread post by cbollin »

karlafoisy wrote: I think she just doesn't want to do school, because it means she'd be doing what I want. And she knows I can't force her to learn. Maybe I am off, but how do I determine the difference?
I think you are wanting her to do things that she is developmentally NOT ready to do. She knows it. So she doesn't want to do it yet. So she changes her answer after understanding the question better. She's 4, that's normal. You might be concerned that she will never ever do it right. But stop worrying, it's preschool.

Does she sit at the table to eat supper when called? Then she's willing to do what you want.

one crazy idea. Tell her she doesn't have to do school until whatever the legal day in your state is that she is required to be in school. Anything before that is not school unless she is ready to start early.

I have seen classroom teachers approach it in another way. You might consider this or not.
Susie will be sitting and playing and watching other kids.
Teacher puts out a place at the craft table (not worksheet) for Susie.
She invites Susie to join
Teacher encourages Process over Product!!!! (in other words, wise and experienced teachers understand that scribbling is a pre writing stage to go through.)
Teacher assesses in other ways if student knows the material
(Oh, Susie, I see that you colored in the bigger bird. What do you want to do with the smaller one? Johnny put a triangle around his. I left my blank. What about you?)

Perhaps from her perspective her brother was getting to have fun with markers and crayons and paper. He likes to do worksheets.
That is what she was saying yes to -- she wanted to do fun with paper and markers.

There really is no good reason that she “must” follow the rules on that paper. (she is only 4) Here’s why. At age 4, worksheets have no real value for things like “circle the bigger one”. Even in my daughter’s group preschools, they never did that stuff. Instead you assess that stuff out loud by asking her to bring you the bigger teddy bear to the tea party.

Instead, look at process of materials over product. She is only 4. Scribbling is an important step in the PRE Writing stage. She will not scribble forever. She is not ready for all of the forms yet. Instead, get out some playdough and you start to make Big snakes and little snakes and very very casually say "cool! I made a letter C" cool.

but don't ask her to make one.

She wanted the markers, crayons, and paper and to have a chance to do something fun.

I think she heard "do you want to play with the paper and markers too? and have fun? Your brother has fun with this." And she said yes to that because she wanted to scribble and that meant to say yes.

I honestly believe she changed her answer because she better understood the question after you gave more instruction. She just changed her mind and decided not to want to scribble.

I think you need to put away the worksheets.
She's not ready and they are not useful tool at her stage of development.

just one opinion.

Julie in MN
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Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Encouragement - Attitude about "school"

Unread post by Julie in MN »

I just want to add my better-late-than-early standard soapbox opinion to the mix.

Your daughter is learning. Children are learning machines. However, there are many things for them to learn besides symbolic representations of sounds and amounts.

My kids didn't start K (in public school) until they were 6 or nearly so. They did not spend any preschool time on letters or numbers or pencils. That made starting K something new and fresh for them. With their firm home foundation of enjoying learning and figuring things out (just using playthings and real life experiences), they took off. My oldest is a working engineer, so I know it didn't hurt him :o)

I firmly believe that earlier does not mean better. Even if it was difficult for my kids at 6, I would not conclude that it would have been easier if they had started at 4. JMHO.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
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Re: Attitude about school

Unread post by Lucy »

HI Karla,

I just wanted to encourage you since I once had a little 4 year old girl who thought she wanted to do school and I tried with the best that I knew, but I made it too school-ly even though I thought I was not. In the end she really was not that interested in school, she just wanted to "go to school" since her friend did. She also did not learn to read well until the end of first grade and really did not take off until 4th grade. She is now 15 and a sophomore in high school.

I did not have twins or triplets and I can only imagine the challenge that is. You can not compare her to her brothers anymore than to other kids her age. All kids mature at such different rates. When you start them in K next year it will be time consuming, but best to teach reading and math to each child separately so that they can work at their pace. Teaching them together in those skilled subjects will form comparisons.

I have to agree with Crystal and Julie and until the fall I would invite her and play games, but let them be just that games. Read books together and let her pick some of the books at the library. Let her play and help you cook and do the laundry. She will learn a lot through these activities too. There is 7 months between now and September and that is a lot of time for her to grow in readiness for more structured learning.

I do not think her disinterest now will necessarily mean she will be behind her brothers in even a year. The MFW K program assumes a child does not know letter sounds yet so if she does not know them then it will be fine.

wife to Lee and mom to Twila 18 (girl) and Noel 16(boy). Happy MFW user since 2002.
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Re: Attitude about school

Unread post by karlafoisy »

I've been thinking and praying about this alot. Which always leads to self-evaluation. I realized that I have been really frustrated at my daughter for not wanting to learn. For not liking the "fun" activities that I have planned for her. I'm realizing now why I am so frustrated:
I think, when parents decide to homeschool, they are taking on a huge responsibility. That is good, if their kids benefit from it, but if their kids do not benefit...if they actually end up being hindered....that is the fault of the parent.
And while I have read all of the statistics in the world that say that homeschooling is better for kids, I still feel that burden of being responsible for their education.
Now, when my daughter is not interested in school and does not learn whatever society thinks she should know, it seems to fall on me. I can just hear people saying, in hushed voices, "S can't read yet. And she's 7. (Well, her mom is homeschooling)." And then the two woman give knowing glances like, "Oh, NOW I see the problem..."
I guess I feel so much pressure to make sure she is doing as good or better than she would do in public education, and I am having a hard time not getting frustrated at her for not making it easy for me.
I KNOW I sound non-empathetic and uncaring. I really am not. I just want what is best for my kids, and I don't want others (or myself) to feel like I am not able or not willing (by not sending her to "a normal school") to provide that.
I know I need to talk to God about my desire to please others or to meet others' expectations. I know that I need to really listen to Him, and allow Him to give me peace to focus on my daughter's needs. How have you responded and how have you encouraged yourselves or each other when your kids ARE having a hard time in school? How have you actually lived out the principle of going at each kid's pace without feeling defeated or without getting down on yourselves or your kids?
Julie in MN
Posts: 2906
Joined: Mon Jun 28, 2004 3:44 pm
Location: Minnesota

Re: Attitude about school

Unread post by Julie in MN »

karlafoisy wrote: I can just hear people saying, in hushed voices, "S can't read yet. And she's 7. (Well, her mom is homeschooling)."
You're right about this, of course. Just like when you start to parent that precious baby, people will not trust you until you "prove" yourself. But you still go ahead and bring that baby home from the hospital :o)
karlafoisy wrote:I guess I feel so much pressure to make sure she is doing as good or better than she would do in public education
This is where I have an advantage. I had kids in public or other group education. I also worked very closely with lots of other kids who had a group education -- as their Girl Scout leader and as a neighborhood mom with a lot of kids at my house for many years. Would it help to hear stories about how "professional" education failed my kids and others? It happens a lot. I don't blame anyone in particular, but a huge machine like public education is just going to have more fallout than a private tutor like you. Sending kids to the "professionals" doesn't guarantee that even, for instance, after 10 years of schooling, 6 hours a day, they will even know how to read. I've seen it. Maybe if you hang around families who've had a couple of older kids, you'll find more acceptance :o) At some point in life, most people's idealistic dreams meet the reality of this imperfect world.
karlafoisy wrote:allow Him to give me peace
You are so wise.
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
Reid (21) college student; used MFW 3rd-12th grades (2004-2014)
Alexandra (29) mother; hs from 10th grade (2002+)
Travis (32) engineer; never hs
MJ in IL
Posts: 119
Joined: Sun Jul 17, 2005 5:23 pm

Re: Attitude about school

Unread post by MJ in IL »

karlafoisy wrote:How have you responded and how have you encouraged yourselves or each other when your kids ARE having a hard time in school?
I struggled with these issues starting out too. I pushed dd(14) in the preschool years. Thankfully, she loves learning now, but that is due to God's grace and not any of my encouragement early on. My best advice is to pray and pray more. I still have those in my life who do not approve of our homeschooling. For many of those, if the issue isn't learning, it will be football, the prom, socialization, computer training or a proper graduation ceremony! Thankfully, others have learned to accept (or at least not argue about) our chocies for our family. Thank you Julie in MN for your great and simple response in an earlier post--that helped me a lot!

I am so glad ds12 came along after I was getting over my pride issues. (God has really used homeschooling to bring my issues to light!) Anyway, he had, what I call a "learning step" vs a learning curve. His fine motor skills, language and speech were below age expectations (and I'm a SLP,) he liked math, but did not understand blending sounds...at all. We prayed about his schooling and I came away with the idea that he just needed time. I was asked if he had learning disabilities (I simply responded that he was performing just fine in his class-of one-and hoped that my gut feeling was right.) We kept plugging away.

We celebrated small successes and 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade each started with improvement, but no real positive outlook regarding the reading issues. Then in 3rd grade, something clicked! He went from sounding out words to reading chapter books! He, at 6th grade, is right on track (well, aside from other 12 yo boy issues--his lefty handwriting is quite messy and grammar is still really difficult.) He just finished reading the Eragon series!

This is not to say that all kids will come around with time. I am definitely in the better late camp though. "School" is much easier for my next ds, who is wired totally different. However, at 10, still doesn't choose to read. I occasionally get comments, but I am probably a bit too OK with responding. I am loving K with my youngest dd! I am so much more relaxed and it shows in her behavior and excitement.

BTW, I met the Hazells right before his (ds12) K year and we switched to MFW with him at that point...still here!
I know I need to talk to God about my desire to please others or to meet others' expectations. I know that I need to really listen to Him, and allow Him to give me peace to focus on my daughter's needs.
It sounds like you are right on track. I think it just takes a bit of practice doing and the peace will follow.

Hope you can find peace with your dd. My children are older, but last year I learned so much about them while walking alone with each of them 1/4 mile to the end of the road and back. I made a promise not to discuss beh, etc. but to listen. I know so much more about Legos that I ever wanted to, but it really helped me see who my children better.
dd14 enjoying AHL; ds12 & ds10 in RtR & dd5 working through K!
have done K (2X), 1 (2X), ECC, CtG, & 1850MT
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