11yr DS, when to push, when to take a break?

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  • heatherma

    He is sweet, super smart, a voracious reader, hands on ever inventing and building things, wants to get lessons done as fast as possible to get on to his projects so they tend toward being super rushed, terrible at spelling and handwriting, good at math but working on facts still…

    Herein lies my problems. Narrations are dismal, single words, sometimes a picture on whiteboard. Just rec’d Story Starters which he hates and DS 8 loves. He just sits there the 2x we’ve tried in 2 wks, won’t engage, think, speak (I’m taking their dictation for it).  I had him do extra chores for draining my energy.

    When do you set something aside for awhile, and when can you tell to pick it up again or when to press in and require them to rise to the occasion? Maybe I’ve been too easy on him, not requiring enough.  He gets up early some days like today and does chores and individual work even before bkfst. Perhaps i should sit down with him and develop a schedule that is more self directed, but it really causes problems with ds 8 who has to work all alone while ds 11 is out playing, we lose the togetherness of doing lessons in the morning all together.  Plus if he refuses to narrate, how can I just assign books? Also, considering a typing program so he could use Word.

    I asked him yes/no Q.s yesterday just trying to understand what was going on in his head, to which he would nod.  Is this too hard, no.  Do you feel it is a waste of your time?no(smart guy, probably shouldn’t have asked that, but I was dumbfounded and so frustrated, trying to finish before baby woke from nap). Do you like writing.no. speaking? No.

    Oy vey. OK ladies that have gone thru this shut down phase..feel free to chime in:)


    Wow, our 11 year old son is so much like what you describe.  Wants to rise early and complete his work, great reader, good at math, not into writing, not great at spelling (but getting better).  He often has his independent work done very early.

    In relation to losing your “together” time in the morning, I would suggest a “morning time” routine, if you’re not already doing that.  I have been really inspired and encouraged by Mystie at SimplyConvivial and also Allison Burr at truthbeautygoodness.net.  They both have a video of their morning time, for reference.  Morning time can really bring you and your kids together and help you organize little bits of memory work and poetry and hymn singing, etc. that might get lost in the shuffle otherewise.

    Just a thought 🙂


    I had to push both of my children to give me detailed narrations. My son didn’t pay attention. My daughter felt the process was silly since I had just finished reading the book as well and already knew the content. I explained the purpose for narration to both of them. I gave my son the choice of oral narration or written narration, of which I would expect at least a nice size paragraph. His oral narrations improved dramatically. 🙂 I still required written narrations as well, but the threat was for every reading.

    My daughter only needed the explanation and she began giving very detailed oral narrations and written ones as well.

    The other thing I have noticed is that the quality of narrations improve or decline based on the quality of the book being narrated. If the book is not truly living and well written, it is not conducive to detailed narration. I noticed a huge difference in my daughter’s narrations about that age when we tried using a history book that was touted as CM. It didn’t work well at all. When I switched to Helen Guerber’s history books, my daughter’s narrations became very detailed and lengthy.

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