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Would appreciate some advice on scheduling and motivation!

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 2:38 pm
by mommyimpact
We pulled our 7th grade daughter out of school at the end of August. She was NOT pleased with the situation. I would have liked to have given her the 7 months deschooling that most people recommend, but it was only possible to give her a couple of weeks. Her father and I are divorced, and he is continually threatening to take me to court. If I were to keep her without educating her for a long period of time, I'm not sure that I could justify that to a court.

Anyway, we had some rough times initially because she really balked at being homeschooled. My reasons for bringing her home were long and varied, but I really feel that it is the best decision for her wellbeing and her education.

At this time, we are in a bit of a good spot, where she's willing to work for me but only so far. She typically has five subjects per day, with a one hour lunch. She starts with English and then Math, but almost NEVER gets anything else done. She takes so long to do those two subjects that it's impossible for her to get to any science or history. I had initially planned on her taking Latin, but we've had so much trouble getting her to perform in the core subjects that Latin seems like a dream right now.

I initiated a point system, wherein I award her points for each completed subject, for a good attitude, coming to "school" on time in the morning prepared to work, etc. She has points taken off for insuficiently completing assiginments (she was doing about 1/2 the work in the beginning and then claiming to be "done"), bad attitudes, etc. This has improved the situation somewhat, and she's even been willing to do chores around the house with a cheerful spirit now that the point system is running and she's rewarded. She's required to get a certain number of points at the end of the day for leisure computer use, and at the end of the week for time with friends, sleepovers, etc.

My problem is that I can't get her to do any more than the first two subjects of the day, which she really CRAWLS at. She is so very smart, and is completely capable of doing the work - she's just being lazy and taking her time for some reason.

Not only that, but I've found that we've been so busy lately that some days I just can't push her to do more! We have doctor appointments, or trips we need to run into town for groceries or errands, etc. Also, on Mondays & Wednesdays she has band class at the PS from 10:45 to 11:40. This ALWAYS turns into a lounge period from 10 AM to 1, because she's always "getting ready to go". UGH! I'm so frustrated by her lack of movement!

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 3:03 pm
by rhi
The first year is so tough. My oldest was going into the 7th grade when we started and it took all of the whole year to get her going in the right direction. I've had to start taking stuff away, her video game privileges, her cell phone..ect. The list goes on. But until she got use to being home schooled and it was something she wanted it took a while to get into the groove of things.

The first time that she got her school work done within 4 hours I made a huge stink about it. For the rest of the day we got our pjs on and watched movies and munched on popcorn. The rest of the stuff was laid aside for the day. She still talks about that day.

Is there a way you can schedule all your appointments on one day with your errands? Or during a certain part of the day after when you would do school work? That might help not break up her school day. How about if you bring her school work with her on these events?

And if she can't get ready in time for band at a reasonable time line for you then she won't be able to go.

Our schedule

Monday: Charter school from 8:45 am until 2:30 pm
Wednesday: Charter school from 10 am until 2:30 pm.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Up by 8:30 am, breakfast done and over with by 9:30 am and then onto their school work....I don't care which subject they choose first as long as they do it..if they need help with something or it's a project we're working on we sit down and do it together with each child (while one watches and keeps my 3 year old entertained.) I try and have everything done by 3, so they can do P.E when my dh comes home. We have lunch whenever and it's about an hour long, sometimes shorter if they want to finish up faster. During the day to break up the monotony of sitting we do our chores in between assignments. Sometimes it's running the dishwasher sometimes it's starting the laundry, but it gets us up and moving and then we sit down again and start on something new.

I hope I helped. I'm not in your shoes so I don't know, but good luck!

Re: Would appreciate some advice on scheduling and motivatio

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 4:01 pm
by Lily
How much imput does your daughter have in her schooling? Personally, I would drop the point system. It doesn't get you what you need her to have - responsibility and doing because it needs to be done. You're having her work for a system that punishes as much as it rewards, and it's not helping her grow.

To put things into perspective, my 9yo and I sit down at the end of the school year and discuss what he wants to learn the next year, if he's happy with this program, would prefer a different one...and those remarks are taken into consideration when choosing curriculum. I pick a few that meet both our standards, he picks from those.

During the year, he sets his schedule and I assist him in helping him see what he needs to accomplish each day to get through it. We use an excel planner so he can pull it up each morning and get started on his own. Every 6 weeks or so we sit down and rehash - what are you having trouble in, what do you feel you're doing the best in, what do you have in mind to change this, where do you need my help...and so forth.

The point I'm trying to make is that education belongs to the child. We're here to assist, but the child needs to realize that s/he alone is responsible for learning the information and retaining it. She realizes she has power over her work for you - why do you think it's crawling?

Ask her what she plans to do about it. Put the problem in her hands and wait for her to come up with ideas. Help her decide on a viable plan and help her stick to it. If she sets a schedule where from 8-8:45 is English, then at 8:45 put away the English books and bring out the next subject; it is her responsibility to finish it later. It is the contract she decided on.

As far as the reward situation, Yes.....when statements tend to work better. YES, you may play on the computer WHEN your work is done. YES, you may have friends over WHEN your work is done. Give permission and a way to get there. Give a positive reinforcement. Rewards/punishments tend to work on If....then statements, and the difference is astounding in how we respond. IF you finish your work, THEN you may play on the computer sounds negative and doubtful. And it's really a punishment - you didn't finish your work so you don't get computer time. You're just saying it nicer. You don't have confidence in her and her abilities and it shows when you're holding out the carrot on the stick. Give her the push that tells her you know she can do it and you'll be with her as a cheerleader, not a ringmaster.

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 7:33 pm
by rhi
I agree with Lily about the schoolwork, if my kids don't like it I expect them to say something. I can't improve them liking what they are doing until they tell me. Recently both my kids are fed up with Math-u-See and so we've changed to Saxon math. They are both a whole lot happier and so far assignments are not drawn out and done rather quick. My youngest dd decided on doing two math assignments a day which is fine, it doesn't take her that long to get them done.

When it comes to book reports I let them choose a book, as long as it's one they have never read before.

I sit down and plan all assignments once a week projects and bigger assignments are done a month in advance so I can tweak or make changes before we start.

And we did sit down as well and discuss what we wanted to learn. Both of my girls wanted to do reports on other countries, and learn about their culture. I've tied that in with home ec as well. We make recipes from that country that would be considered a local dish that they have maybe never heard of. Right now we are working on Italy and they have to find recipes and make a full meal, they have to know the history of the dish, what region it comes from and what the ingredients are and how they are different from ingredients in the U.S. That's just part of the assignment.

We just started doing what works for us and it really helped a whole lot.

Posted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:23 am
by Ophelia
My children are much younger, so I may not be the best person to give advice about someone your daughter's age. However, here is my 2 cents anyway.

She is old enough to understand that she must attend school, be it government school or homeschool, and that she must get the work done. I like your point system. That sounds like a good idea. I would stress that subjects/work not done, earns you 0 points, and could result in failing the grade and having to do the same work all over next year. Also, if not all subjects are completed for the day, you don't get your privileges. This may stop her from doing the bare minimum amount of points to get to her privileges.

I would also try setting up some sort of reward system for when she does do a good job. Like Rhi did, when she has a good day and gets everything done, plan something special that she will enjoy. This *should* motivate her.

Would letting her choose what order the subjects are done help the situation any? Maybe English in the morning doesn't work for her? Strangely, something as simple as that could be the problem.

I would also check over her work and make sure it really is all done before letting on the computer, phone, with friends, etc.

I think once you establish firm boundaries and expectations, and be consistent with them she will learn to do what is expected of her so that she can move on to the fun things. Since this is all fairly new she may be, as all teenages like to do, testing you and the limits.

Honestly, at that age I was miserable in school. I would have been so delighted to be homeschooled and not have to go to that awful place. I can't understand why any child would not see this as a great privilege and embrace it.

Posted: Thu Jan 29, 2009 9:18 pm
by MadameSosostris
Well, if you look at it from her perspective, you are taking her from a safe, productive, and familiar environment and bringing her into a system that you created without asking her what is best. Perhaps homeschool was not the best option here? Instead of plowing forward, completely convinced that you are correct, you could stop for a moment of reflection on the choice that you made. The problem may not lie with her.

Posted: Sat Jan 31, 2009 4:02 pm
by jennm2203
We are all each very different, but I would like to add a couple pennies to the pot if I may.

I agree with many here, your child needs to be allowed to have some input into the situation. An open dialog must be formed so you can talk together and really listen to her desires, feelings and what she thinks of the situation at hand. You must allow her to express her feeling and what she wants and how she wants to do it... it is her life too.

We each have varried reasons for home schooling our children, but one thing was certain for our family, our daughter's desires were the driving force behind our decision. We wanted what we felt was best for her, but ultimately if she was dead set against it, we would not have done it but found an alternative and worked harder with the school.

To force a child into something that causes them stress and overwhelming negativity is not a good thing. When thinking of education, you want them to be modivated and excited to learn, willing to do the work because their future is at hand.
But for a child to hate it to the point they refuse to do the work and in short waste everyone's time, they are short changing their own future and their ability to succeed in life.

If she was fine in school, got ok or good grades, you know she is smart then maybe this is not the right decision for her. Maybe allowing her to speak her mind may help. Also remember during puberty we all got to the point where our parents felt we were uncooperative, lazy and filled with bad attitudes, she may have those issues as well that need to be aired.

Good luck! I do hope you can find an answer together.

We've had a period of rethinking

Posted: Mon Feb 09, 2009 5:07 pm
by mommyimpact
Thanks to councelling, we've come a long way. My daughter is beginning to realize that her dad has made some poor decisions that hurt her, and that none of them are her fault. I'm learning that pulling her out of school may not have been the best decision for her, even if I thought it was right at the time. We've found a great school nearby that has better opportunities for her, and she's really looking forward to attending there. Things are finally looking up for her and she's beginning to have hope and joy in her life, something she's been missing for the past several months.

I do appreciate all your comments above. Thank you all so very much for your opinions! I read them all, and mulled each and every one of them over, trying to make decisions that were in her best interest and also to involve her in those decisions. I'm so very thankful for my drive to be a better parent...and hers to grow to be a strong, beautiful young woman.