I'm losing my mind and need some advice!

Discuss unschooling, eclectic, the unit study approach, or any other "unusual" homeschooling method.

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treshay
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I'm losing my mind and need some advice!

Postby treshay » Thu Sep 20, 2007 12:56 pm

Hello all. This is the first year I've decided to homeschool. I KNOW that it's whats best for my kids. My oldest is 8yrs old and would be in the third grade. For her entire school life she was very far ahead of her peers, but they never fed that they would just compliment her at conferences. Anyways, last year halfway through the year she started getting 64%'s and 50's on tests and I was concerned so I asked the teacher and she said "Oh, don't worry that's great compared to the other students most of the kids are getting 19%'s or 20%'s so shes at least doing better than they are. That just wasn't enough for me. We struggled for the remainder of the year and a week before school was to start this year I took matters into my own hands and decided to homeschool. Leaping in head first without even an idea as to how many options were available for how I would homeschool her. I am finding that my head spins from morning until night and I haven't been getting to bed until usually around 2:30am because I'm up looking up information and tips or ways to do this. I have two other children, a 4year old and a 5month old so I am also up very early. Probably not helping much in the way of my sanity but I can't sleep. My husband is gone for quite a while out of state earning his CDL then off to drive over the road for a year so Im really doing this on my own with noone to bounce ideas off of.

I do have a homeschool group that I get together with. A wonderful group of ladies and they all do their own thing. It's being strongly recommended that I try unschooling, since I'm so overwhelmed with it all but I don't even know where to begin with that. I am extremely sad to say that I haven't a clue as to what my daughters interests are. Well - I know she likes workbooks and puzzles. She likes to challenge herself. But as for her favorite animals or hobbies I just don't know.

I'm to the point of tears now, worrying that I'm failing my daughter. I know I shouldn't feel that way because it's only technically the third week of school but I can't help it. I know she could soar through this curriculum and I know her potential is unlimited I just don't know where to go with that. When I ask her what she's interested in she gets stressed out. I really think she's afraid she has to have the right answer - she's lost the ability to come up with her own opinion - something I once lost as a child after years of being suppressed and I want her to know she's so important and that her opinion is valued in this family.

(deep sigh) I guess I just need to vent. I need advice and probably some therapy LOL. Sorry I rambled on so long I just felt the need to give some background as well. I know there are tons of books out there adn tons of styles as well. We all want what's best for our children and that is different for each one. I just need some encouragement. Has anyone ever let their child just go through the curriculum workbooks on their own for fun? My daughter could probably finish an entire lifepac math book in a week if I let her but I worry that she might not be grasping things that way. But thats what she wants so should I just let her do it??? Aghh....see still so many questions.

Thanks for letting me vent. Can't wait to hear from you!
Teresa, mother to Mackenzie (8 ), Breanna (4) and Emmalee (5months)

Lily
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Postby Lily » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:04 pm

Breathe! :lol:

Why not unschool for a bit? I mean, you don't have to make it a permanent thing, but a sort of deschooling/exploration time while you read more, observe, and find out ways to teach her. You can give it a month or so.

Interests change so much for little ones so fast. Spend this time watching and interacting with her so that you can anticipate better. My oldest (8yo, too) just got really excited about watercolors. This kid used to hate art, and now that's what he wants to do all day. So we incorporate it into as many subjects as possible - Geography, paint a map for our fake brochure. History, paint a picture of early Britain and describe it on the back. Writing, paint a series of pictures so your book/story has illustrations. Art - play Art Auction Detective, spot the fakes!

The more you understand and get in tune with your daughter, the easier hs'ing will be.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."
- M. Montessori
Proud non-member of the HSLDA

treshay
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Postby treshay » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:13 pm

Thank you. I have so many questions though. Deschooling - I understand that it's about interacting and finding what your child is interested in and I'm all about that. I think I accidentally unschooled her for the first 5 years of her life because we love exploring our world - then school happened. :x

Here is my question though - you say your son(?) is into watercalls so you are incorporating it into each subject. Are you following a curriculum for each subject but letting him choose how he'd like to go about exploring it? For instance you said that he is painting a picture of early Britain - is this also because he just happened to be interested in Britain or were you prompted by something else to study that? Do you know what I mean? I just need a little guidance so I don't mess this up LOL.
Teresa, mother to Mackenzie (8 ), Breanna (4) and Emmalee (5months)

Lily
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Postby Lily » Thu Sep 20, 2007 3:32 pm

treshay wrote:
Here is my question though - you say your son(?) is into watercalls so you are incorporating it into each subject. Are you following a curriculum for each subject but letting him choose how he'd like to go about exploring it? For instance you said that he is painting a picture of early Britain - is this also because he just happened to be interested in Britain or were you prompted by something else to study that? Do you know what I mean? I just need a little guidance so I don't mess this up LOL.


We follow a classical curriculum. My youngest is very detail oriented and needs to have things follow in sequence - my oldest is very hands on and loves excitement in his lessons - it doesn't matter on what. This was the one way I could keep both their needs met. Well, almost. The 5yo is now in a day school that better suits his needs (Montessori). We combined the two approaches at home last year and it wasn't enough for him.
But daily life plays a HUGE part in what we study! Early this month it was alligators and crocodiles, after the oldest was invited to be part of an alligator show at the fair. Right now, Portugal. His dad just got orders to the Azores, a Portuguese territory. (Which ties into Roman territory/early Europe, too) There's an apple festival this weekend so guess what that will spark next week.

It seems disorganized sometimes, but by keeping a general outline and weaving life into it, we stay more involved and the subjects don't just seem like........well, school.
"The greatest sign of success for a teacher... is to be able to say, "The children are now working as if I did not exist."

- M. Montessori

Proud non-member of the HSLDA

treshay
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Postby treshay » Fri Sep 21, 2007 7:53 am

Thank you again. I think I just needed to vent and get those thought outside of my head so that I could really grasp them. Anyone know what I mean? I have so many thoughts at once sometimes that I need to talk about them to someone so that I can hear them and they can become real. But I was unable to do that with these because the minute I start questioning my decisions (not even my decision to homeschool, just my curriculum choices) my friends jump all over me with their own concerns and try to talk me into sending them back to school. SO thank you to everyone for being here so I have a place to vent.

Yesterday we went and got The Story of the World with the activity book. We read the first page and we're all very excited about it! We also watched the Princess Bride, a wonderful adventure movie. I loved my day yesterday. I've decided, for now, that I will have an outline of what my curriculum will be and let that guide us in the direction we choose for learning that day. I'm excited again, I feel like the wind is back in my sail! I'm not going to worry if we don't cover all subjects in one day, because I really do believe that if we are actively involved in our children then we WILL cover all subjects whether we want to or not. THrough games, reading together, puzzles, hobbies such as sewing and baking. SO that will be a part of our school day but we will have the books as well. My daughter loves the books and I think I do to so we'll start there and see where it takes us.

Thanks again!! I'd still appreciate any and all suggestions of course. I can't wait to have some spare time to actually sit and read other posts on here for different ideas.
Teresa, mother to Mackenzie (8 ), Breanna (4) and Emmalee (5months)

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elliemaejune
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Postby elliemaejune » Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:52 pm

treshay wrote:
Here is my question though - you say your son(?) is into watercalls so you are incorporating it into each subject. Are you following a curriculum for each subject but letting him choose how.


Well, what we did was just learn about waterfalls until we're finished learning about it, and not worry about trying to make it all into subjects.

We did have something specific for arithmetic and English-related skills, but when my dc were young, we mostly didn't follow a specific path for science and history. We did lots of field trips, worked on badges for Camp Fire (and later, 4-H), and went to the library weekly.
Last edited by elliemaejune on Mon Oct 01, 2007 5:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

keptwoman
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Postby keptwoman » Mon Oct 01, 2007 6:40 am

Glad you are feeling more relaxed about it Teresa! I remember that "need to know everything, NOW" phase, thankfully for me it wasn't such a panic as we decided ahead of time.
It sounds like you are doing great, and I totally understand about needing somewhere where you can be honest about your home school journey, because with non-homeschoolers you often can't.

I found with my DS that after being in school for a couple of years I couldn't unschool him. He had lost that burning desire to just know stuff, it had been driven out of him by school :( So we are classical homeschooling, it suits me better too I think, but we are relaxed classical schoolers and I suspect that as he gets that drive to know back we will slide slightly further down the scale from the very formal.
Sandra, Homeschooling Mum in Australia


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