How do I start so late?

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  • Theresa_Ph

    My daughter is almost 15 and in the 9th grade. I also have a 3 1/2 year old son (who wants to read and write) and an 8 year old son (currently in a virtual school, which seems to suit him, so far, although CM has got me thinking). I am most concerned with my daughter. We have been homeschooling since 4th grade. The first couple of years went well. She seemed to enjoy it and learn. I based a lot of what we did on The Well Trained Mind but not by the book (no latin, for example, Spanish because of where we live and she wanted to speak to friends’ relatives). She hated outlining. Last year, I really started to lose her. She did less and less. This year, no real math (her most hated and challenging subject) or history or writing or much reading. She is an excellent reader and usually enjoys it. She is studying Japanese and horses. She wants to go to college to study equine business management — run a stables or such. She plans to dual enroll in a community college that offers that when she is a jr. If she does well there, I figure she can transfer to their sister college or another if that’s where God leads her. I am torn. I know there are “requirements” she should meet, but I don’t know how they really suit her. To me she should know U.S. history and 20th c. history and current events and gov’t. and be able to read and discuss such things intelligently.  I’m rambling because I don’t know where to begin with the questions?

    How do I start now? I have just realized CM would have suited her all along. I was doing what I found interesting instead of what was best for her. I have no doubt this will influence my sons’ educations as well. (All three are outdoors kids and love to listen to stories.) Can she still finish in just three years, having done so little this year? She still wants to graduate when her friends do. 

    How do I fix wrong habits in someone this age? All my fault, I realize. Disobedience is a big one. Every thing we ask becomes an argument of “whys”?

    In 6th and 7th grade, she asked me to give her a list of the week’s work to be done, and she would do it, making her own schedule. Last year, that seemed to fade. She I go back to giving her a schedule? She would rather sleep all day.

    I wish I’d had all this guidance when she was younger. She’s very smart and when little would devour all information and toys and then be done with that topic. Attention would have been wise to cultivate back then. She has attention for stuff she loves: horses, Japanese; but not for stuff she doesn’t. 

    I want her to love learning again. I wish for her to go out of this experience happy and loving heart.

    Any and all ideas PLEASE.

    By the way, we live in Florida.


    I do not have much advice, but my one suggestion is to see how she can see where math or science or history apply to what she is interested in.  Start with World War II and learn both how it affected the US, Europe, and Japanese peoples.  For Japanese, it not only affected those in Japan with fighting and the atomic bombs, but Japanese Americans had very real issues to deal with, including being put in interment camps (locked up!).  Something along the lines of justice/injustice usually strikes a chord with teens.  Wink


    Math can especially relate to horses:

    measurement, figuring feed for a stable of different sizes, rent/sales on animals and equipment, running imaginary business with mom coming up with setbacks and windfalls like she might experience in a real bsiness situation, interest on loans, money management and budgeting, etc.


    If your daughter wants to follow an equine business degree then she will need some math – business and stable management requires math, I know because my daughter is doing the horse thing as well, although more on the classical dressage side of things.  So perhaps you could encourage her by telling her how important math will be to the degree she wants.  Also how about having her do a study on the history of the horse, it could be an independent reading and writing study, but she would pick up a lot of history while doing that.  My daughter has been keeping a notebook on that subject for a few years now, and she has learned a tremendous amount of history along with horses.   She can finish really strong with CM if you can motivate her, start with her interests and build from there.  In regards to wanting to sleep all day, teens do need more sleep, but not that much lol, when she is in college she will be expected to make classes on time, this home school thing is no different, the habits for the future are important to build.  Also, perhaps going back to a schedule for her, may keep her on track, or at least checking each day to see she has done what she is supposed to.  I was lucky with my daughters, we started homeschool with them at 6th grade – had a lot of things to deal with along the way, including a hurricane and illness for my daughter – which caused a lot of missed school time, while we sorted everything out.  We all decided in agreement with each other that we would graduate a year or two later than average – better that than finish before they were ready.  They have always been strong readers, and so have be able to learn reams, just from that.  One of them loves to write, so that has also helped, I tend to plan to their strengths, andthat way we do not have too many issues. 

    For your younger children, read up on this site and read some of Sonya’s planning ebooks, then you will have a great start, and plenty of time for a CM education.


    I agree with the advice you’ve received already.  Make her learning relavent to her interests as much as possible and who knows, she may find a new love in the process.  Gripping living history or science books can be all it takes to light a fire.  That’s what happened to my 19yo.  He read a book (actually I wouldn’t call it a living book but he certainly did…Starlight and Time by Dr. Russell Humphreys) and now he plans to pursue a PhD in Astrophysics.  Boy…talk about math!

    As far as habits go, Charlotte said that older children will have to be brought on board.  You may have to find a way to get her to see the wisdom of developing good habits now so she can have “smooth and easy days” later.  If she is resisting, it will be much more difficult to encourage her in that path, but if she can understand that this really benefits her future, she may be all for the changes.

    Blessings to you…


    Your statement “she would rather sleep all day” caught my eye.

    5 years ago, I had mono but didn’t know it. I just thought I turned into a lazy jerk! I never felt sick. I was just not interested–in anything. When my little kids hurt themselves, I just didn’t seem to care. I didn’t care if we ever did school (this put the younger ones a year behind!) I just didn’t care. Finally after 4 months, I decided to go to the doctor and tell him I must be depressed or something because I didn’t care. He said we needed to test for mono. That really surprised me. I wasn’t sick. So I had had it for 4 months. I’ve never been the same.

    So I wonder if your daughter has something physical that has worn her out. Sometimes it doesn’t look like something physical, but it is.

    Good luck!


    I’ll check on the mono thing with the dr. today. They ran tests last fall, but I don’t know whether they tested for that. She has also had joint pain and swelling. They tested for different things, but didn’t come up with anything.

    Math question: If she is going to do business-type math, must she do algebra? I’ve been told algebra is more about a way of thinking. Wouldn’t it be more productive to do some sort of business math? But I do I deal with college requirements and that?

    She has on her own studied horse anatomy and psychology. I’ve never really thought about the “history” of horses. Do you mean how they have been used over time?

    For Japanese, I once tried the WWII angle but did not get far. She is interested in the language, writing and fashion culture. (Home ec fits into the Lolita-style.)

    Hi Theresa, to get my daughter involved in history, I had her research the origins and history of the horse, going back to Xenophon – I had her research the creationist view of horses and Answers in Genesis had some great articles ont that.  She traced the origins of the horse and how they were used throughout history – she read about the Mongols and how they became such great horsemen, she studied the history of the Lipizzaners and how General Patton rescued them during the 2nd World War, and how Baroque horses were used in war.  By doing this, she studied a lot of geography and history that she would otherwise not have been particularly interested in.  Now she really likes history, so that is why I thought it a good starting point for her.  If your daughter is also into competition, then she could study that, and how all the different disciplines came into being, she could write essays comparing and contrasting different ideas in the horse world.  You sometimes just have to give them an idea to run with, Unless there is a medical issue with her which makes it difficult, I would also set her goals to accomplish and hold her to them, that is a discipline we all need in life – keep her to a schedule, with her input of course, and start rebuilding the habits that have gone to the wayside.  Working with horses in any capacity is very hard work as I am sure she knows, and getting a good work ethic now, will pay dividends in the future.  My daughter has been and is not at all well, but within her limitations I keep her on track and she accomplishes a grea deal daily.  So don’t despair, just start goal setting and work toward those goals.

    Most colleges require Algebra and Geometry and there is a great benefit to both –  I would not let her shortchange herself on the math – my daughters do no enjoy it, but they know it is necessary even for community college.  A good grounding in high school math is important for business math and that includes a minimum of algebra and geometry.  Like mine, your daughter may not become a math lover, but she will have skills which will serve her well in the future.  You are on the right track, now you just need to look into the medical issue and I wish you well with that – then start the goal setting.  Good luck.  Linda


    just a random thought as I read your post…. make sure they test for Lyme disease…or at least ask about it.. joint pain/swelling, and tiredness are classic symptoms!! My 17 year old sleeps constantly, and for the past 1.5 years has been a BEAR to live with….but we measured him last month…and in the past 1.5 years he has grown over a foot… yes, over a foot…and he has the stretch marks on his back to prove it… lol… so I’m being a lot more forgiving… and letting him get caught up slowly…. probly not the case with your daughter, but just some thoughts I had…

    Take care..



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