Another Newbie

Having problems figuring out where to start? Let other homeschoolers offer you some advice!

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Another Newbie

Postby Azcrabcakes » Sat Jan 18, 2014 1:21 pm

Hello, I'm a grandmother who is homeschooling (and car-schooling:lol:) grandkids. Their mom decided to ask me to do this for many reasons - poor education, bullying/being bullied, repeated half days and days off, and far too many Disney-movie days, etc.

Since I love to learn, I accepted the challenge. We started with the online school. I loved the curriculum, but with 4 different grades, children who do not want to learn, having the online school's digital time clock and check boxes watching over us, and answering the multitude of daily emails from the online school - I came to DETEST it.

We do not have funds to purchase pre-made curricula. Armed with the Common Core requirements, and hundreds of pre-made lesson plans shared by generous people online,lectures and lesson plans of my own, I have cobbled together a curriculum that we have started with. We are BROKE. Really BROKE. It costs a bundle to raise 4 kids, and we are retired!

We started, slowly, last week, but put the most resistant and disruptive child back in public school, for third grade.

My largest hurdle is getting the kid to want to learn. I think to myself daily that public school teachers must be closet alcoholics. The blank stares I get, the rushing through work just to get it done, no pride in the work, getting up from the work space and wandering around, and just how embarrassingly behind they are in vocabulary, reading, spelling, math, and general knowledge make me want to throw up my hands in despair.

I know it will take time to catch up, if it can happen, and if I can endure that long. One child is in 10th grade, one in 6th, and one in 1st. The first grader has ADHD and still can't master 5 sight words, much less read and write. The 6th grader reads at what I would say a second grade level, and the high schooler reads at what I would say is a 4th grade level.

They come from a troubled background, and I have been unsuccessful at motivating them. I have always heard example is the best teacher, but it has not worked for me. I have these children 44 to 60 hour a week. They see me read, look up words, do further research on something we may see in a movie. They see my bookshelves with a multitude of topics, along with dictionaries, thesauri, and reference books. They see my college diploma. They see me correct grammar errors in the newspaper and signs. I take them weekly to the library. Little interests them, preferring to watch TV, movies or video games to anything.

Since using my own curricula, our days are more relaxed, but the kids just seem to be zombies, and shocked when I give them an assignment. My high-schooler was aghast that I gave her a weekly vocabulary list. She said they do not do vocabulary in high school! When I asked her what "copious" and "voracious" meant, and she could not answer, I said "I rest my case."

I came here hoping to find inspiration, tips, and read of other success stories. The kids do try to make me seem like an ogre when I give them work to do. I try hard to swallow, get tough, and continue on. When they were in public school, and not doing so well, they would argue with me over homework, and would not do it. They did not want me to help them (they didn't want me to see how poorly they were doing) and resisted ANYTHING and everything educational. They would get an attitude if I pointed out a misspelling! They would say that the teacher did not care, and maybe not, but I do! They would say "No one else cares about our schoolwork, why do you?" Tough to answer. They refused to even tell me what topics they were studying!

Whew. Yes, I feel discouraged. How do you teach kids who do NOT want to learn, and who are only passing time. I feel they have not done well for so long, they think they can't do it, yet I know better. When I praise their work, they somehow think that means they can stop then, as that was good enough.

I am so discouraged, yet committed to seeing this through. I am tenacious enough not to give up, even when I want to. Maybe I've seen too many movies, where the teacher is able to reach the inner-city kid with no self-esteem, and she/he ends up being valedictorian, or becoming a neurosurgeon. :roll:

Off to read the posts here. Looking forward....[/b]
My bed is a magical place where each night I remember everything I was
supposed to have done that day.

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Postby SuperGiaJ » Wed Jan 22, 2014 2:52 pm

Just like adults, kids have different motivations. I have a few years of experience with assisting students with school (and coaching youth sports) so you learn quickly that work needs to be disguised as fun :oops:

A few of my personal tips:
-Try to stay upbeat+smile. The kids see your response/reaction and respond to that with their own effort/lack of effort.
-Find a way to make it fun. I learned this from coaching sports - of making a 'game' out of a drill that would normally elicit whining.
-Reward for attaining goals. Look to each child to see what they want, and see if there's a way to do stepped rewards based on achievement.

They're lucky to have a person with your tenacity. They'll thank you for it when they're adults :D Hopefully I've provided some help...
Gia Johansen - IT & Education MatchMaker :-) Reading Comprehension Worksheets

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Postby Theodore » Thu Jan 30, 2014 7:05 pm

Yes. For math, there are a variety of games you can play (depending on their level), such as Muggins. For science, put more focus on interesting experiments, like using a cardboard box and steam to make a mini twister, sugar water drips to make sugar crystals, mixing baking soda and vinegar (or baking soda solution and vinegar, you can explain why the reaction is more violent), or any number of other things. You can get a butterfly kit, ant farm, lift up rocks and look underneath, go to the local aquarium or science museum. For history, there are loads of good movies. Reading and writing are rather linked - find some books they enjoy reading and just let them go ahead and read. This builds good brain patterns for language arts and writing even if they write relatively little. Have them read a selection of daily news stories you choose and discuss the issues involved. Maybe write essays taking one side or the other. Etc.

Also, are you homeschooling year round? If you are, the number of hours of studying required per day drops to 2-3 (not counting phys ed or home ec, which you can add on to hit the required hours). Even up through high school. This means less strain on all of you.

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