Hi there, I’m not new just never posted. I started homeschooling in 2012 with an 8, 6 and 3 year old. We were mainly Charlotte Mason and used SCM and Ambleside for our curriculum. Things went well, we had a handful of not great days, but it was a great experience. For various reasons, we put them back in public school last year. Now we have decided to full educate at home indefinitely.
Now the girls are 10, 8 and 5. I’ve never taught anyone to read before, and I’m trying to challenge the other two in their reading and learning in general. Not a lot, just trying to stretch their abilities a little. I have found that the older two are just not interested in any of the books I’ve picked out for them, even though I try to find things they are interested in, have very little interest in history and overall are in a rush to be done with school each day. This is not how I had envisioned it!! I find myself getting a little upset because no one is taking much interest in what I’ve prepared for them, or we have a HARD time focusing, or they get hyped up and I’m trying to get everyone to settle down…I just thought that by the time they got a little older it would be easier. I will say, I don’t have a support group. I don’t know anyone that homeschools, so I’m pretty much alone in my community. (everyone moves here for the good public school)
All that to say: How can I get more cooperation during school time?
How can I get them more interested in what we are learning?
How can I motivate them to do their BEST work?
What to do when they don’t want to read?
Thank you! It’s been one of those days…suzukimomParticipant
Did you deschool them after taking yhem out of school? These ‘symptoms’ are common for Homeschool kids just recently taken out of PS.
I am not sure I can answer your exact questions, but first will conclude with Suzukimom that a debriefing is a must.
Now I will share with you some things I have had to incur in our homeschool journey. When I began over 25 yrs ago , my two at that time were already in p.s. we then began hs’ing when they were in 3&5 th gr. it went real well on the whole , but by the middle of the following yr. I was ready to put them back into p.s. what I realised is I was duplicating p.s. at home. Enter CM philosophy., via magazine articles ( mind you 25 yrs ago) from someone who had discovered this and was implementing with their family, however her children were much younger than mine. I lived rural, no support group, but HS’ ing became a conviction and CM fit like a glove lin a hand. Keep in mind , this was before there was any CM designated curr. So I totally soloed it. We would just select good books the children were interested in and yes I added some I wanted them to be interested in. When we read a biography of George W. Carver, we just mapped the states as they came up in the book. So not only was I going against the tide so to speak by hs’ing, I was not using anything traditional. In time we adopted a sibling group, the youngest an infant and the other two school age. The only constant those two had was their school family. They didnt do well in school but the school didnt want to hurt their self esteem with evertpything else they were dealing with. Once we adopted them, they finished the school year out and we began hs’ing them, it was difficult b/c they never had expectations placed on them, but in time they rose to the bar we raised for them. Our best memory (theirs and ours) was reading aloud to them to the point of getting laryngitis. Granted their circumstances made them starving for familial relations and love, but that is what we did just read read read and then I taught them narration, first oral, the written, that is how we did school. They also went on to college and have done well. Now their infant sis , who is now 18 was my first child I taught to read and write, this was as I was 12 yrs into my hs’ing exp. but nonetheless my first time at doing this. It was relatively painless for us both, and she has grown with CM methods, but it wasn’t until high school before we did latch onto an actual CM curr. It proved to be disastrous for her and I both. Very cumbersome to say the least. She is in her final semester of school , and can write well, lacks in math arena, but had tenacity to take on some higher math this year, even though she has fulfilled state regs, just b/c she wants to see if she can do it. Her gifts are in the music and arts area, so she is pursuing her future towards that. We also adopted another child in 2003, he is now 11 and is very hyperactive and other things going on. So now I’ve had the exp. of teaching reading /writing, but never with a multifaceted child, , well we had to delay school for him, we did not begin till he was 8 ,but i would just sit and read , read, read . He is reading and writing quite well, is great at math, but his biggest roadblocks are his ability to focus and attention. I’ve said all this to say, I am finding I need to have something for him , to direct his attention towards something, by using SCM , he responds to the confines of its authority, and I have 5 grown children out of the house, one who was in a crisis preg and had very premature triplets and lots of bumps in the road that I had to and still have to bethere for. So I found I too needed to have something. SCM seems to contain the right amount of everything that we are in need of, without stifling him. Time is a must for this journey and I suspect that after you have allowed for their debriefing , that you have this in your heart, you will display that confidence to your children and walk with them step by step allowing yourself to eventually get out of the way as the ideas envelop their hearts and minds.
I agree with the advice to deschool. Feel free to ask what that looks like because I have never done it and am just now allowing more interest-driven topics for some subjects. I have a couple of non typical learners and learning to change my plans to fit them. “The Right Side of Normal” is a book and website that is giving me a lot of insight and ideas.
Study your children and find out what they need. Each one is different and they can change with the seasons at times.
Hang in there!
Wow, thanks so much for the input! My girls finished the school year last year and had June-end of August for summer break. I didn’t try to do anything educational, just let them play, swim, visit friends and watch TV some. I don’t know if that’s long enough for deschooling. I can definitely say that the public school did a great job of killing whatever desire to read that the girls had. The reading was merely a vehicle to teach the correct way to take state tests and was dry and terrible, or if you read the book you had to take the AR tests over and over again. I admit that I’m all over the place as far as reading because I’m not sure what level of reading they can comfortably do on their own. I am also trying to adjust to teaching three children, one of which is just turned 5 and needs lots of ME. It’s great to hear from MeadowWay’s experience- wow, amazing that you did that with no concrete plans to go by! I admit, that I have not read Charlotte Mason’s books much, and maybe that would help me understand more, but…that takes time 🙂
Another interesting twist is I do have an older daughter that’s in the special needs program at the public school, which I am happy with, and that’s part of why we’re not in a group. Most of the activities seem to take place at a time that’s not good for us with me needing to be in two places at once.
. It’s great to hear from MeadowWay’s experience- wow, amazing that you did that with no concrete plans to go by! I admit, that I have not read Charlotte Mason’s books much, and maybe that would help me understand more, but…that takes time 🙂
There were gaps or holes in my children’s Ed, for sure, such as in college they found out they didnt know how to format their writing, so they solved that by searching the Internet to find out how to, BUT they never lacked in content to write due to their years of written narrations. My one adopted son who went to college as a bio-chem major just drowned in the textbooks, so when he called home to say he heard an awesome lecturer in one of his classes and wished he could be like that, we discover she possessed what she knew, she didnt memorize facts. So he tackled his textbooks differently and read paragraphs and then narrated them back to himself and voila he continued on. Of course even the best students in college had gaps as well b/c in the end many diffent opinions as to what constitutes an education. But I love CMs take : education is the science of relationships. I think Common Core is grossly mistaken in their approach to deal with it all.
My be you will find winter season a good time of repose to take up reading CM again.
Can certainly understand your frustrations. HS-ing should be different from p.s. in that we all feel our children should enjoy learning more with this approach. From the other great advice you recieved, I would just add that I think letting your girls learn more about topics that interest them is a great way to make “school” more engaging. They’re young enough I wouldn’t worry too much about covering the big core subjects like Ancient or Medieval history. If they love a particular subject (science, art, geography, music) then run with that. You can turn any of these subjects into a curriculum where you cover science, history, geography, literature, writing, notebooking, etc. Have them do science experiments, write essays on famous scientists, have them do geography on where the most famous scientists were born, learn vocabulary associated with science, color pictures of scientists, etc. If they have initial interest in a subject then the battle is already won. It’s just up to you to find good books or curriculum to feed this interest. I would recommend reading this article on CM and Susan Schaeffer Macaulay : http://bfbooks.com/Mason-and-Schaeffer. It might give you some ideas for making your girls readings more inspired, interesting, and engaging.
Hope this helps!
Thanks for the advice everyone. I like what you said Joshua, about doing more interest led learning. I have been doing that a little, but it kind of makes me nervous because it’s more…winging it from the hip, which I can totally do because that’s the way I am. But, with regard to school,I feel like I gotta have strurcture or I lose track of what we’ve done. Obviously I can do interest led learning and structure it, but it kind of overwhelms me.I will definitely read the link you posted and think about this. I know my girls are really interested in science, which is something that I like but it’s not my favorite nor is it a “core subject” so it’s non-existent right now since I’m trying to ease back into homeschooling. Ok, I need to rethink what I’m doing. THanks!!
I’m with you on the interest led learning as far as winging it from the hip. And with my son who is infamous for traveling rabbit trails it becomes a recipe for disaster. That is why I finally broke down and selected SCM this year I feel it will give us the balance of both worlds. In his free time he can embark upon his interests.
I am currently rereading CMs vol 3 and just yesterday read this : education isn’t aimless, CM believed children needed lots of free time alongside . She went on to write about Sir Walt Scott’s , Waverly, where Waverly was allowed to pretty much learn whatever he wanted, when he wanted, if he wanted. He seemed to want to learn, and he was able to grasp things unusually quick, so this kind of approach to education seems justified. But he was allowed to grow up wavering, so he remained like his name: Waverly. His life was marked with instability and ineffectiveness. Etc…. I thought that and what followed was a good ruminating point for me. My son needs me to raise the bar for him, respecting his potential and abilities along the way. So each year I spend much time reflecting and contemplating and praying where we need to aim next year.
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