Reading - Ideas for resistant children

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bethinga
Posts: 110
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by bethinga » Mon Nov 04, 2013 5:40 pm

I was considering it a discipline issue: Negative attitude which needed practice getting better.

Now, I'm considering it #2: not being challenged enough. I have been "around the world" in my head this year trying to get us "going". It still feels like we are in the awkward beginning stages. We fall into a comfortable routine for a week or so, and then we start to stumble again.

Should I consider moving him on up to 2nd grade? Has anyone done this before? He is advanced in every subject, and although I've always believed its best to stay at grade level and make that foundation strong, I can see now why parents of kids in public school get frustrated when their kids aren't being challenged enough. It makes school feel like a drag to him. I'm not sure it will get better when the Bible Reader portion starts because he's heard those stories so many times in his life. I want so badly to be able to hang in there and see if it gets better, but 10 weeks is a loooong time to be seeing this happen every day. Even on the good weeks, he's still bored, it's just easier for me at times to push through it, depending on the activities which come after it.

He's a visual learner and also likes spelling the words out loud to me. Maybe I could have him spell the words out to me, spelling-bee style? It would totally bug me that he's not completing the workbook, but he could easily get that handwriting practice in someplace else. He enjoys copying sentences from his favorite books.
Beth in GA
Mom to a boy and a girl
Using MFW since 2012

MuzzaBunny
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by MuzzaBunny » Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:12 am

If I remember right, your little man is just about 7, right? I was thinking about your situation and the real fears and concerns I read in your posts. First, let me just encourage you to keep pressing on. Homeschooling is a long race and things will balance as the years go by. You won't ruin him with one year that's a little easy. *hugs* But, I think I'm reading that you'd really like someone to say it's okay to skip to 2nd grade.

My dd is doing Adv right now and we love it. It takes a solid 3 hours, sometimes a bit more, with no extra additions and no other children to disrupt. Is your son ready for that? My dd can just make it and she was a young 7 when we started. (She's very wiggly and distractible by lunch time! ;) ) I wouldn't pack it in and toss 1st right now and march on to 2nd, but you could rush 1st. You could do the activities he does enjoy and the important parts that he doesn't, maybe taking two days or more at a time. (Even if he doesn't enjoy it and it's boring, it's still good for him and he can obey with a cheerful heart. You wouldn't let him stop brushing his teeth because it's boring.) You're doing fine. You might be feeling a little crazy, dealing with struggles each day, but he's still much better off than he would be in a big class without you. And, if you can swing it, you could even buy Adv and give it a little go, especially if you plan to use it next year. If it's too much now, you'd just have it early for next. ;)

ETA: This might not apply in your case at all, but with my dd, I sometimes find that it's all in how I present it. The math at the beginning of this year was so easy for her. I knew it could bring on some whining, so I'd act all phony exasperated and hand it to her, saying things like, "WELL, we know you'll finish THIS in about 4 and a half seconds....Go ahead and show me how you're smarter than the cat..." and she'd giggle and laugh and whiz through it and we were done. Done that way, she absolutely loved it. Once, we even had the cat teach the lesson because "it was stuff he understood". You know, just to make things fun. :)
Last edited by MuzzaBunny on Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
Bunny

Mom2theteam
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by Mom2theteam » Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:48 pm

My son HATED the word lists in the workbook. It should have taken 10-15 minutes, maybe 20. He was so miserable, constantly complaining about how hard it was, wiggling, falling out of his seat and making every excuse possible to drag it out. It was a character issue, and we have worked on that. But it doesn't change the fact that he really, truly hated it. I found out early on that he much preferred a white board to the book. So, as much as I didn't want to do it, we did the reading word list on the white board. I would write it there in black and he would mark it in red, on the board. We used a personal sized board. It bothered me that the book didn't "look" done. We were doing it, but you couldn't look back and see that. I decided to write on each page, "Done on whiteboard." That way, at least when I looked back, I could tell we had done it and it wasn't just skipped.

My son liked it better, but that doesn't mean he liked it. He still didn't, but it was better.

So, I would encourage you to keep going, but see if you can find a way for it to be slightly less miserable for him. And, if he knows the information well, I would feel free to move quickly through, doing 2 days in one until you get to the Bible reader, which I suspect he will enjoy a lot more. Maybe skip any review if he doesn't need it.

I will admit the beginning portion of 1st was tough for us. We didn't really care for it because my son hated the workbook so much and I couldn't see the whole picture. But, by the end of first I could see the whole picture and it was wonderful! It truly is a awesome program, but I think it can be hard to see that on the surface until you have actually gone through most of it. I think we were over halfway through before we both really came around. At the end, my son was very worried about 2nd living up to how great first was. He thought there was no way it can be as good and definitely not better. He kept asking over and over, "are you sure it is going to be just as good/fun? How can it be?" He still requests that we keep his MFW 1st timeline up indefinitely. Truth is I was worried too. ;)

First is such an amazing program. Keep with it. In the end when you can look back and see the whole picture, you will be so glad you did! :-)
Heather
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bethinga
Posts: 110
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by bethinga » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:28 pm

Thank you for the help. Yesterday, he and I and Dad discussed ways to make it more fun for him. Together, we came up with allowing him to spell the words out loud, as long as he agreed to write them after we finished the whole page. Because I really do think the writing is necessary practice (and I want to have the book finished. I think he will be proud in the end if its complete, and it keeps an easy record for me). He also requested I do the vowel marking with him. So, he will read the word and tell me whether the vowel is long or short and I will mark it. He'll also tell me other things to mark. I think the "together" part helps because when he's doing it himself, I'm usually trying to occupy little sis and he's a bit jealous of the "fun" stuff she gets to do (even though he will get to do those things as soon as he finishes up. She is a distraction, but what am I to do--she needs help and attention, too, even if I put her in a different area. But, I digress...)

Today and yesterday, we tried this. I even put the phonics page last, so we could do everything else first. He spelled the words beautifully. The first day, he wrote the words quickly after we were done with the page. Today...he went all "limp noodle" at that point and it took forever. So, I feel I'm back to square one.

I know it might seem like I'm hoping someone with tell me to skip up to 2nd grade, but I'd really rather not. I see the value in making this work, so that's what I'd prefer. Skipping up is a last resort.

Lucy in the MFW office emailed me and has graciously offered to give me a call. I'm very appreciative of the offer, and I plan to call her tomorrow. I'm very impressed that anyone from the office would be willing to do that.

It may very well be purely a discipline issue. If so, I am wholeheartedly trying. I have also tried telling him he is so smart he will finish it super-fast, and even offered to time him so he could try to beat his score the next day. Nope. He didn't want to do that. Too much pressure, I assume. Today was also an Art day, so ... Oi...it was quite a day for my reluctant perfectionist.
Last edited by bethinga on Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:20 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Beth in GA
Mom to a boy and a girl
Using MFW since 2012

bethinga
Posts: 110
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by bethinga » Wed Nov 06, 2013 5:45 pm

Thank you for the help. Yesterday, he and I and Dad discussed ways to make it more fun for him. Together, we came up with allowing him to spell the words out loud, as long as he agreed to write them after we finished the whole page. Because I really do think the writing is necessary practice (and I want to have the book finished. I think he will be proud in the end if its complete, and it keeps an easy record for me). He also requested I do the vowel marking with him. So, he will read the word and tell me whether the vowel is long or short and I will mark it. He'll also tell me other things to mark. I think the "together" part helps because when he's doing it himself, I'm usually trying to occupy little sis and he's a bit jealous of the "fun" stuff she gets to do (even though he will get to do those things as soon as he finishes up. She is a distraction, but what am I to do--she needs help and attention, too, even if I put her in a different area. But, I digress...)

Today and yesterday, we tried this. I even put the phonics page last, so we could do everything else first. He spelled the words beautifully. The first day, he wrote the words quickly after we were done with the page. Today...he went all "limp noodle" at that point and it took forever. So, I feel I'm back to square one.

I know it might seem like I'm hoping someone with tell me to skip up to 2nd grade, but I'd really rather not. I see the value in making this work, so that's what I'd prefer. Skipping up is a last resort.

Lucy in the MFW office emailed me and has graciously offered to give me a call. I'm very appreciative of the offer, and I plan to call her tomorrow. I'm very impressed that anyone from the office would be willing to do that.

It may very well be purely a discipline issue. If so, I am wholeheartedly trying. I have also tried telling him he is so smart he will finish it super-fast, and even offered to time him so he could try to beat his score the next day. Nope. He didn't want to do that. Too much pressure, I assume. Today was also an Art day, so ... Oi...it was quite a day for my reluctant perfectionist.

Thank you, Heather. It's encouraging to know someone else's child hated the phonics page but still loved the year.

And, thank you, MuzzaBunny, for the encouragement to move him up if that's what it comes to. He just turned 7. You are right, I am feeling a little crazy with the struggles these days. :-/

Also, in regards to him having an easy year, which MuzzaBunny mentioned, I'm really not opposed to that. I'd prefer it, for both he and myself. I know years ahead will be far more intense and I'm a true believer in keeping things childlike for as long as possible, not too many heavy academics at this age, etc. I only try to change or add things when he seems so bored (and not just "unimpressed" but really struggling through because of it). I certainly don't want to just skip it because he doesn't like it. I'd much rather find a way to make it better.

It HAS helped to separate this part from the rest of the day. Thanks for that tip, Julie. The last 2 days, we put phonics at the end, so we got to enjoy everything else before we got there.

Here's a question for all of you, Do you consider yourselves very structured homeschoolers or relaxed homeschoolers? I thrive on being structured yet the creative side of me cannot survive with some flexibility. My son is the same way. Therefore, we tend to struggle with each other a lot, because while I'm trying to enforce some structure, he is struggling to get some creative flexibility. And when I try to spice things up for him, he bucks against it because it's not our normal routine. We do this little crazy "dance" all year, and last year both ended exhausted, but overall proud of our accomplishments. I look back at that and know God will bring us through another year and we'll both be glad for the accomplishments at the end. But the day-to-day struggle is something I'm constantly praying for God to help me iron out. Can anyone else relate?
Beth in GA
Mom to a boy and a girl
Using MFW since 2012

TriciaMR
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by TriciaMR » Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:40 pm

I am pretty structured. But, I have found that if one of my kids wants to change up the order of the day, that if I'm flexible about it, they respond well. There are days I say, "You know, we can't today. We have .... this afternoon and really need to get done." But, other days I say, "Sure, we can do that first." I have relaxed a lot more that when we first started. My oldest is 8th grade now... I still need an order to my day, but I can adjust to make things more fun.
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kw4blessings
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by kw4blessings » Thu Nov 07, 2013 7:35 am

I'd say I'm right in there with Trish. I enjoy structure and my kids seem to thrive when structure is there. I tend to be a "box checker" and want to get it all in. But, I also like to change it up when we get in a rut. My dd likes to do one favorite subject, then one she doesn't care for and alternate through the morning. Some days it works fine, others I just have to say "This is how it's going to be." Also a character issue we're working through with her. :)
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Mom2theteam
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by Mom2theteam » Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:56 am

We have a relaxed structure. LOL!! Basically, yes we have a routine that we follow, but it is definitely not set in stone at all. We do what works that day. I have 6 kids all 8 and under including twin 3 year olds and a 12 month old. Things can get derailed very quickly around here. My 8 year old can get very distracted if there is something he is really focusing on. If I try to pull him away, he has a really tough time focusing on school until he finishes what he was doing. So, sometimes I give in to that if it's reasonable. I just roll with the punches. But, we do have a basic routine that we follow most days. :-)

Oh, what I don't have is a clear order of the school day...meaning, we don't always do our school subjects in the same order. We always start with Bible. After that, we usually do LA's first, then history, then math, then science and whatever else. But if we are behind in something or just feel like going another direction, I change it up without even a thought. Usually, I'm trying to do whatever my oldest can do independently while I work with the K'ers first...but not always.

So...we have a relaxed structure. :-)
Heather
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bethinga
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by bethinga » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:04 am

Thanks, that gives me some perspective that how we're doing things is pretty typical.

Today was AWESOME again, you guys! He did his phonics page FAST, and we were able to move on. I didn't even try to put it last today because I was trying to keep the structure and just see if I could press him to stay focused. I think it was easy today because the page was different than usual. There was no space to write 6 random words. He was filling in the blanks of sentences with "do" and "do not". I don't think everyday will be this easy.

But, after moving on so quickly, the same math he had complained over the day before was easy and fast, too. I gave him 2 m&ms in his "Catch Me Doing Good" jar because his compliance directly influenced his attitude about the rest of the work.

Today was also Bible Times Costume day. They've both taken off with this idea and I'm taking lots of pictures. ;)

I can't say for sure why today is good, and others are so, so bad. Two theories: 1-the page was faster, and was different from usual. 2-It's the end of the week, so the habits are finally sticking.

Number 2 leads me to a new question: Do any of you do school on the weekends? I wonder if they're not losing mementum by taking a break every weekend, and perhaps that's why he seems to have to re-learn these "stick-to-it" habits at the beginning of every week?
Beth in GA
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Using MFW since 2012

Yodergoat
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by Yodergoat » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:36 am

Glad your school day was better again.

We do have school on Saturdays. This is because of my husband's work schedule... he is usually off on Tuesday (sometimes it is a different weekday) and always off on Sunday, but he works every Saturday unless we are taking a vacation. Our days off from school are the same days as he has off. Usually we do: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Very rarely do we have two consecutive days off from school, and I think that helps with keeping in routine.

We aren't very structured here. I might decide at the last minute to do school outside, for example, and I don't feel bound to checking boxes in the manual as long as we get the subjects done. I feel this keeps us from getting too monotonous or into a proverbial rut. Thankfully though, my daughter is not of a nature to complain about something being boring. If she thinks something is "too easy" for her she delights in being able to do it quickly and easily so she can be finished that much sooner and resume playing. So it is a little hard to relate to children who take forever to do something that they say is boring or too easy... although I can certainly imagine it happening and know that it must because so many others mention it in posts. But all that is to say that when something is so much too easy that it would not benefit but would be just plain busywork (like the handwriting practice would have been at the beginning of Adventures in our case), I am fine with just skipping it.

I guess we all have our different homeschool battles.... ours is dealing with perfectionistic tendencies and so when something is done incorrectly it leads to dramatic emotional turmoil!
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MelissaB
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by MelissaB » Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:52 am

bethinga wrote:Thank you for the help. Yesterday, he and I and Dad discussed ways to make it more fun for him. Together, we came up with allowing him to spell the words out loud, as long as he agreed to write them after we finished the whole page.
Love it when Dad helps! ;)
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Mom2theteam
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by Mom2theteam » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:37 pm

We do school on Saturdays too, but it isn't because of not wanting a break. I think breaks are good to prevent burn out. My husband works 6 days a week most days, including Saturdays. When he doesn't, we don't school on Saturday. But, we usually have at least one day off during the week for something else, an appt or visit with my mom. Sometimes we do just do school 6 days. We often don't get everything done each day anyway.

I did not take a light Friday. I just keep going. My kids get a lot of outdoor exploration time outside of school. So, we don't take a light day to do that. We just move to the next week. It works for us. :-)

Oh, and I've never been able to figure out the rhyme or reason to good days and bad days. I think often it has to do with attitudes and sleep...for both my kids and I. If we all get enough sleep, we have better attitudes and school goes better. Other than that...it does seem to be somewhat random. Though, I agree that doing something slightly different will often have a good affect.
Heather
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TriciaMR
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by TriciaMR » Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:38 pm

We only school 5 days a week, but I do "school lite" over the summer - math, reading, & spelling. Two dyslexic kids, so I need for them not to lose ground.
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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bethinga
Posts: 110
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by bethinga » Mon Nov 11, 2013 2:17 pm

Monday, Wk 11- He did the phonics page quickly. Another good day. :)

I decided not to do school on weekends. Hoping he can just learn to "get to it" quicker than Wed/Thurs each week.

Postby bethinga » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:30 pm
Just wanted to pop in and say we are still doing well. Just started the Bible Reader yesterday. I think he's finally realizing he has so much more extra time if he will do the page and get it done. It has also taken some time for me to realize *I* don't need to change anything. If he seems draggy, sometimes we skip on to the next thing and come back to it. If we do it last, I remind him he's free to play when he's done. I has helped to allow him to spell the words out loud to me first. Somehow, this makes writing them not so bad. Thank you all for helping me hang in there!
Beth in GA
Mom to a boy and a girl
Using MFW since 2012

Mom2theteam
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Re: First Grade Phonics

Unread post by Mom2theteam » Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:15 pm

Great update! Glad to hear things are going better. :-)
Heather
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Mom to 6, ages 10, 7, 7, 5, 5, 3
Zack, 10 CtG
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