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home/unschooling uninterested kids
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batwing
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 9:53 am    Post subject: home/unschooling uninterested kids Reply with quote

My daughter tried hs'ing her 7 & 9 yr old last year. It didn't go too well. Now she's planning on sending them back to public school so they won't fall further behind. The problem is that,besides being hard to handle,they don't seem to interested in ANYthing. They did capture caterpillars,put them in jars and watch them turn into moths. Other than that,they don't want to read,write,draw,discuss,research, or do anything that remotely resembles learning anything. Ask them what they're interested in and they might name dinosaurs,space,etc. but then they don't want to do anything further to LEARN anything about them. How do you deal with kids who just want to play,fight with each other, and watch tv?? No,she doesn't allow them to watch tv all day,but the fighting,arguing,etc. is very hard on her as she suffers from clinical depression and is mildly bipolar. BUT,public school just puts a different set of stresses in place.
Any suggestions would be SOOOOOO appreciated!!!!!!!!!!
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frogguruami
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 11:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing that really helped with my DS was to allow him to write his own curriculum. I set up basic guidelines like there had to be history, science, literature and math. He filled in the blanks. He chose three science topics to cover during the year, three periods of history and help select his math program. He also had to log 20 minutes each night reading. TV, computers, nothing was aloud until school work was done. We scheduled A LOT of field trips that related to the subjects he chose.

It really took a good year before he was excited about "school".

AM
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Calla_Dragon
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My son pulled that on me. He needed time to adjust to the fact that Mom was also his teacher. He told me he liked schoolwork and learning, but when the time came to do schoolwork, he balked at it. I tried all kinds of different approaches and curriculums and what it came down to was me telling him that he WILL sit down and do his schoolwork until I say it's time to be finished. After that I had few issues and the times I did, I stood firm in that we WERE going to do schoolwork and there WERE no other options....and then enforced that. There were quite a few days where he refused to do his schoolwork so I put him in a time out and when he was done, it was back at the schoolwork. He balked again, back into a time out. When he was done, it was back to schoolwork. Eventually he realized that he could either waste his entire day in this power struggle or he could do his schoolwork and move on to the rest of his day. Most kids are smart and will not continue the cycle of ruining their entire day trying to draw mom into a power struggle.

The biggest issue I think my son faced was that fact that I was his authority figure not only in the sense that I'm his mom, but in that I was also his teacher. Some kids have a hard time with authority - esp if they're already out of control. IMO, sending them to public school will do nothing to get them under control and may worsen the problems. The only potential problem I see is having to deal with it for 7 less hours a day. I think every homeschool mom has fantasized about sending their kids off to public school and some have even threatened it (I know I have) but in the end, if the kids are out of control, they will be whether they're at school or at home and mom still has to deal with them for at least part of the day. A much better way, IMO is to get them under control. That will make life easier for everyone involved and it will likely make homeschooling easier, or even possible altogether.

Just my two cents.
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Ramona
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 4:11 pm    Post subject: Re: home/unschooling uninterested kids Reply with quote

There's at least one great book on getting started that says to take 1 month off for each year the child has been in public school. Maybe she could let them start this year at home by spending Sept or even Oct just going to the library weekly, doing a few chores, and then getting some physical exercise daily. Then in Nov she could start with the younger one doing more academics, and add in the older one in Dec or Jan.

Pub Sch tends to deaden kids' natural sense of interest in things. If they have a nice long break, their interest may be able to be reawakened.

IMHO, fighting with siblings is an emergency that needs to be addressed immediately. Academics can wait until that has been stopped.

Every single jab or poke, every eye roll and every snide remark or name-calling incident or even disagreement needs to be dealt with as soon as it happens.

Does that child need some one-on-one time with mom? How about exercise or a drink? Do they know that there are house rules against fighting? Then every single time, they need to be asked, "Will you please not do that?" And maybe required to apologize and state, "I shouldn't have yelled at you. I won't yell at you any more." Or whatever.

HTH,
Ramona
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keptwoman
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2007 10:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a timely thread! I am going through absolute hell right now with my DS. We are managing to get the basics done most days but it is a battle of wills each and every time. I am finding it exhausting and distressing.
I have had to completely give up on history etc as the battle for the basics lasts all day, and like your grandchildren he is not interested in learning other stuff, I ask him what he is interested in and he will tell me, but when push comes to shove he is not remotely interested in learning about it.

I do not believe that the answer is for him to go back to school but I do think that if something doesn't change it will get to that point for us, because this is not good for my mental health.

Last week we had a showdown where I made him remain in the schoolroom (which is an alcove of the kitchen) until he wrote the ONE sentence I required of him. It took two hours before he finally wrote it, then he had to clean up the mess he had made from trashing the room. That was Thursday, Friday and Monday were better but it's all been downhill from there until we are back at thursday and back at the showdown again.

What I have done today is removed all his toys from his room, every single one. I have removed computer, TV and xbox priviledges and he will have to earn his toys and priviledges back with good behaviour.

He would still be in the schoolroom but I got tired of the abuse being hurled so I sent him to his toyless bedroom where he can stay until he is prepared to come down and work.

I would love advice and encouragement, I am feeling very down about this as I truely do feel that home is the best place to be educating him.
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batwing
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 9:43 am    Post subject: more on hs'ing undisc. kids Reply with quote

Thanks for all your input. Yes, I most heartily agree that she needs to get the kids under control. BUT.....how do you do that when they "don't care" about anything???? They've been spanked,put in time out,had things and privileges taken away,etc.etc. and if doesn't seem to matter. They don't listen,won't mind and basically just ignore Mom,while they go about doing their own thing. How do you FORCE them to do something/anything when they just flat out refuse? TELL them not to fight? Might as well tell them to jump over the moon. Punish them when they do? Doesn't matter. The oldest is ADHD which doesn't help.
Our worry is that if she doesn't put them back in school,and they refuse to do any learning at home,they'll eventually get so far behind in everything that they'll grow up totally ignorant. Altho MY feeling is that if they continue to refuse to learn,at some point in time,they'll mature enough where they'll realize that they HAVE to learn to read,write,do basic math,etc. if they don't want to be totally embarrassed around their peers.
But getting them under control is the issue now.....
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Ramona
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

keptwoman wrote:
I am going through absolute hell right now with my DS. ...it is a battle of wills each and every time. I am finding it exhausting and distressing. ...the battle for the basics lasts all day...

...this is not good for my mental health.

...ONE sentence I required of him. It took two hours before he finally wrote it, then he had to clean up the mess he had made from trashing the room....

I would love advice and encouragement, I am feeling very down about this...


Has he ever taken a month off for each year (or part of a year) that he was in institutional school?

I'd start with that.

Ramona
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Ramona
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 11:09 am    Post subject: Re: more on hs'ing undisc. kids Reply with quote

batwing wrote:
I most heartily agree that she needs to get the kids under control. BUT.....how do you do that when they "don't care" about anything???? They've been spanked,put in time out,had things and privileges taken away,etc.etc. and if doesn't seem to matter. They don't listen,won't mind and basically just ignore Mom,while they go about doing their own thing. How do you FORCE them to do something/anything when they just flat out refuse? TELL them not to fight?


My life has been totally changed by Ross Campbell's parenting books. I'm recommending his methods. Don't force, don't react to behavior. Go way back beyond that to meeting kids' needs. Spend time with them listening to them talk about whatever they're in the mood to talk about, playing with them, hanging out and feeling close.

For more info, read Relational Parenting and How to Really Love Your Child.

After their needs to feel loved have been met, and after their physical needs have been met, only then can teaching and training of any kind begin, whether how to behave properly or academics.

Ramona
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Calla_Dragon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an ADHD/ODD child myself so I feel her pain and I know how easy it is for an ADHD child to get out of control and take siblings with - it happened in my house. I also know that the feel good, warm and fuzzy parenting techniques that get rammed down our throats don't work on ADHD kids either.

The first thing I did with my son is I got him evaluated by a doctor and got him on supplements to address the issues going on in his body that were causing the problems with ADHD. Notice I didn't say I medicated him because I didn't. Medication never fixes the underlying problems and it often doesn't address the problems at hand. Sometimes it makes issues worse. My son had an imbalance in neurotransmitters causing erratic behavior, hyperactivity and severe impulse control. Once he got on a supplement and vitamin program to balance out his brain chemistry, we saw a ton of improvement. The doctor who pulled this off was a chiropractor/nutritionist. Your daughter may try searching for an alternative doctor to see if he/she can recommend help for your child that actually addresses the underlying metabolic issues of ADHD rather than simply medicating (no offense to medicating parents out there, but I feel medication is simply a band-aid and while it may help temporarily, it does nothing to address the actual whys of why a child is experiencing problems so it cannot do anything to fix it. I'm not a fan of our current medical philosophy which treats people symptomatically and keeps them on medications for life while nothing is done to address the root causes of health issues).

Another thing I did was implement a very structured day. Here is what we're going to do and when, so my son knew what to expect. If he didn't want to follow the schedule, he got a time out. When he was done with his time out, he could try again, if he still didn't want to follow the schedule, he went back into his time out. Yes, it takes many, many, many, many, many times before this gets into their heads, but you have to be firm and consistent with ADHD kids - it takes a lot of effort and it's very, very hard, both emotionally and physically. I've counted an average of 2-3 weeks of several times daily to get my son to change a particular behavior and unfortunately, once one is resolved, another is soon to take its place. These are not easy kids to parent and I do understand why parents turn to medication because these kids are so hard to handle, but it CAN be done. My son has spent a LOT of time in his room or has had other consequences doled out - many times for things he knows are wrong and still does anyway for whatever reason. It does get easier with time, they eventually get more under control and more discliplined My son is an awesome kid, as are most kids with ADHD, but he struggles with a few behaviors - mostly revolving around impulse control which is textbook of ADHD kids. Impulse control is not something that can be medicated into a child, they have to learn self-control and it takes time and patience.

I also implemented a sticker reward chart. EVERY child has something they care about and are willing to work for..EVERY child. Mom's job is to find it and get a sticker reward chart going. In our house, my son had to keep his room clean every day for 20 days to get a reward that he chose. We wrote the reward on his sticker chart and hung it on a bulletin board in his room. Each night, we looked around his room and if it was clean, he got to put a sticker on his chart. Now we're onto subsequent sticker charts and the current one is for a bigger bike. He needs to keep not only his room clean, but pick up his stuff from the entire upstairs in order to get a sticker. Each sticker chart begins and sets a habit so previous tasks are included in responsibilities needed to gain stickers on future charts, if that makes sense.

I also offer my son chores to do around the house that aren't part of what he needs to do to get stickers and I offer him a quarter for each job done.

This has helped considerably in his willingness to help out around the house without being asked, bribed or paid, but we had to start out the way we did in order to get there. Not that all families would have to do the same, but that's what we did.

One other thing we did with my son was for all of us to sit down and draw up a contract about actions and consequences for those actions. For example, one thing he struggles with is remembering to tell us when he's going to a friend's house. He will literally just vanish out of the driveway without asking if he can go or even telling us where he's going. He knows it's wrong and still does it, so we put it in the contract. He needs to ask to go over to a friends house or he cannot play outside and/or with his friends for the rest of the day. Hitting one of the dogs will get him poop patrol out in the yard (which he really thinks is terrible). He helped think of consequences of certain actions and he agreed to the contract so when he complains and tries to worm his way out of a consequence, I point to his signature and say "look, you agreed to this".

I have literally read and tried the techniques of every parenting book out there, including books meant for parenting ADHD kids and nothing worked. This is the only thing that worked for my son who is not only ADHD, but stubborn, strong-willed, very energetic and likes to run the show.

I would tell their mom to take heart. It does take some time for kids to get out of control so it will take time to get them back under control. It definately won't happen overnight. If they're used to running roughshod over Mom and she all of a sudden tries to stand up and make them obey, they're not going to just lay down and obey. They're going to put up a fight. I find that making the consequences unpleasant enough to the point where they don't want to risk any more time lost is enough to get them to come around, but it takes time and consistency. What kid won't eventually figure out that just doing what Mom asks and moving on to what you want to do is MUCH more fun than going through the power struggle with mom every day. My son used to do this to me a lot. If he didn't do what I asked, he got a consequence, after the consequence, we tried it again, if he still refused, back to the consequence and after that we tried again. Over and over again in a cycle. I do remember spending entire days like that and he would be upset at the end of the day because he didn't get to do anything fun until I explained to him that if he would have spent the 5 minutes it took to clean up his mess he would have been able to do all kinds of fun stuff that day. Instead, he chose to fight me and he wasted his entire day over a chore that would have taken him 5 minutes. I believe one of the books I read called kids "aggressive researchers", which means that they will test the waters over and over and push the limits over and over to see where the line is. It sounds to me like though they've been pushing and testing, they still have not found the line or don't believe that Mom is serious. Mom has to be serious, consistent and willing to dole out consequences for actions regardless of how loud they scream, cry, tantrum, say they hate you, etc. Kids will try it all to get their way seeing if they can push the line further and further back.

I don't know how old her kids are, but one of the things I did with my son (who is 6 btw) was personally enforce consequences. If he was in a time out in bed, I sat out in the hallway and made sure he stayed in his bed for the allotted time. Getting out of bed meant that he got another time out on top of it (my time outs are 5 min, so getting out of bed meant he got another 5 min). If he was to clean up a mess, I stood there and watched over him as he cleaned giving directions if necessary. It isn't as easy as "go clean your room" and expecting that the child will do that. These kids aren't like that - they need direction, sometimes down to the step by step. The main thing is that they know that they WILL do <x> before anything else gets done and that Mom will personally see to it that it's done. If you don't see to it that it's done, you can't be exasperated when you walk in and find your kids missing and the chore undone.
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Ramona
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calla_Dragon wrote:
I...know that the feel good, warm and fuzzy parenting techniques that get rammed down our throats don't work on ADHD kids....

I have literally read and tried the techniques of every parenting book out there...and nothing worked.


I'm so sorry.

I hope that you don't feel that I'm trying to ram feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy techniques down anyone's throat.

I know that I do most of the things you describe with all my kids, and we are not a perfect family, but Campbell's approach has just been such a huge blessing for us!

I never take anybody's method all by itself, but use bits and pieces of everything in the way that it helps us the most.

Since my kids have never been to any type of institutional school and rarely to doctors, I have no idea whether any of them might have been diagnosed ADHD or not. (I've often wondered about some of their signs and symtpoms!)

But I know for a fact that when I give my kids abundant eye contact, physical contact and focused attention they become more able to pay attention, settle down, learn, behave properly, respond to requests, and generally act like good kids, whether in terms of schoolwork, getting along with each other, obeying me, housework, or other aspects of life.

Take care,
Ramona
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Calla_Dragon
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ramona wrote:
Calla_Dragon wrote:
I...know that the feel good, warm and fuzzy parenting techniques that get rammed down our throats don't work on ADHD kids....

I have literally read and tried the techniques of every parenting book out there...and nothing worked.


I'm so sorry.

I hope that you don't feel that I'm trying to ram feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy techniques down anyone's throat.


No, my post wasn't directed at any poster here - it was more directed at the parenting techniques out there do absolutely nothing for kids who are as hard to handle as ADHD kids are. They work with kids that are more compliant and calm than these kids are, like they'd work on my younger son if he was an only child. But they don't work on my older son and the presence and energy of my older son rubs off onto my younger and he takes on a lot of the traits that my older son has - only he doesn't struggle with ADHD and ODD problems.

Quote:
I know that I do most of the things you describe with all my kids, and we are not a perfect family, but Campbell's approach has just been such a huge blessing for us!


That's great! I'm glad you found something that worked for your family. Unfortunately, I also read that book and the techniques in it did nothing for my son. Just gotta find what works for your family and that'll differ from family to family.

Quote:
Since my kids have never been to any type of institutional school and rarely to doctors, I have no idea whether any of them might have been diagnosed ADHD or not. (I've often wondered about some of their signs and symtpoms!)


We're quite lucky. My son's issues could be a lot worse as he used to be autistic. He lost his autism diagnosis (the PDD-NOS one) and he's improved into the ADHD/ODD realm. I like where we're at a LOT better compared to Autism-land. We don't have an official ADHD/ODD diagnosis either since we don't see MDs at all anymore (but he did have an official autism diagnosis), but he's about as textbook as you can get. I really hate to even call him ADHD with the public school completely horking up what used to be an actual condition (still is for some kids) "diagnosing" every child that doesn't fit neatly into the nice little mold now everyone and their brother has ADD or ADHD, BUT that's an entirely different thread.

Quote:
But I know for a fact that when I give my kids abundant eye contact, physical contact and focused attention they become more able to pay attention, settle down, learn, behave properly, respond to requests, and generally act like good kids, whether in terms of schoolwork, getting along with each other, obeying me, housework, or other aspects of life.


I agree I do the same with my son. There are many times when he cannot calm down unless I gently take his face in my hands, look him in the eye, tell him to stop what he's doing and calm down. If I don't do that, he will fly off the handle, but something about that gets him to stop, think about what he's doing and calm down. Eye and physical contact as well as one-on-one attention are some of the most important things a parent can give a child!
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Ceres
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2007 6:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow! You guys have posted some great info. I intend to try some out on my young-uns.

Thanks for being so willing to share what has worked for each of you with all of us.

Very Happy
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Ramona
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Calla_Dragon wrote:
Quote:
Campbell's approach has just been such a huge blessing for us!
Unfortunately, I also read that book and the techniques in it did nothing for my son. ...There are many times when he cannot calm down unless I gently take his face in my hands, look him in the eye, tell him to stop what he's doing and calm down. ...Eye and physical contact as well as one-on-one attention are some of the most important things a parent can give a child!


I'm confused. Eye contact, physical contact and one-on-one attention is pretty much all Campbell talks about. What techniques in his book did nothing for your son?

Just trying to understand,
Ramona
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Calla_Dragon
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2007 3:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ramona wrote:
Calla_Dragon wrote:
Quote:
Campbell's approach has just been such a huge blessing for us!
Unfortunately, I also read that book and the techniques in it did nothing for my son. ...There are many times when he cannot calm down unless I gently take his face in my hands, look him in the eye, tell him to stop what he's doing and calm down. ...Eye and physical contact as well as one-on-one attention are some of the most important things a parent can give a child!


I'm confused. Eye contact, physical contact and one-on-one attention is pretty much all Campbell talks about. What techniques in his book did nothing for your son?

Just trying to understand,
Ramona


It's not the tenents the book was written on, it was the perspective from which it was written that didn't work for my son.
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keptwoman
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 21, 2007 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ramona wrote:
keptwoman wrote:
I am going through absolute hell right now with my DS. ...it is a battle of wills each and every time. I am finding it exhausting and distressing. ...the battle for the basics lasts all day...

...this is not good for my mental health.

...ONE sentence I required of him. It took two hours before he finally wrote it, then he had to clean up the mess he had made from trashing the room....

I would love advice and encouragement, I am feeling very down about this...


Has he ever taken a month off for each year (or part of a year) that he was in institutional school?

I'd start with that.

Ramona


Sure has.

We are not dealing with ADHD like Calla, but with learning disabilities which make life very difficult and I suspect many of the issues that we deal with are similar to ADHD.

Like Calla the warm fuzzy way doesn't work. Eye contact doesn't work either, it freaks him out. That used to worry me but I've since found out that it's his LDs.
I find that I have to back completely off until he calms some and never ever loose my cool in the slightest as that is like a red rag to a bull, so no matter how extreme his behaviour, I have to stay totally calm and in control. And believe me it gets extreme!! When he is calmed we can hug and discuss.

We have come to a better place now. I have instigated reward system for good behaviour and diligence and we talk a lot about our expectations for the next day.
I am also very careful to never let him go to bed late as that writes off the next day (makes the LDs worse) and if it does happen for an unavoidable reason (like a family occasion) I seriously relax my expectations of the following day.
He has earnt his toys back slowly as well.
I have also relaxed somewhat in my expectations BUT that which I do expect I stand tough on until it's done, he is a child that needs very strong boundaries and I wasn't being stringent enough with upholding them. So there have been a couple more school room standoffs, but they last a lot less time these days.
The other thing I am doing with good success is using a timer, 10 mins work, 10 mins break if you worked hard. It's working a treat!

Every kid is different, and I'm sure my way wouldn't suit some, but it has certainly helped us get back to a better place. The house is a lot more peaceful and my relationship with DS much less strained.
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