My oldest child is nearly 7. She does great in reading. We do this subject first. Math is next. Once we get to math, she doesnt try at all. It is like she doesnt care 1 bit how she does because she just wants to be done already. Subjects are 20 min each, so it isnt an excessive amount of time spent on them. Usually as soon as we are done, she goes straight to her kindle or Nintendo ds. I honestly think the reason she is doing so badly in math is because she wants to get it over with to go get her screentime. We dont currently have screentime limits, but now I’m thinking it is necessary. I’ve tried an insane amount of math curriculums, videos explaining concepts, different manipulatives, no manipulatives, workbooks, oral work, ect. There isnt much change. I keep coming back to elementary arithmetic book 1 because I love that it is mostly oral, manipulatives are used, and there is no busywork. Have any of you gone through something similar? Am I right in thinking that I should take the screentime away completely during our school days? Should I search for yet another curriculum or does it not sound like that is the issue? I’m so stressed over this and constantly feel like I’m failing at homeschooling. It seems as though everyday is a bad school day, and I’m just so discouraged.
I would set screen limits and/or take it away entirely. We allow 1 hour/day but only after everything has been completed, as in school, chores, and anything else. I also limit myself, no phone or screen time for me as well until we have completed what needs to be done, it is hard for them to understand why I can be “playing on a screen” as they see it, but they are not allowed to. Since I set limits for myself my kids have done so much better about accepting their limits. Sometimes they don’t even get to screens and that is ok too. Lately it has worked as good incentive especially to my second child who needed motivation to get to some of his things, even brushing his teeth, and wow he is taking on his own things, being responsible because the reward works for him. I also set a timer and they know that they stick to that timer, if they complain when the timer goes off that they are not ready to be done, they loose access to the device for 3 days.
For us having very clear expectations and consequences has allowed for screen time but not a distracting amount.
I would also change up the days. Some days do math first, other days do other subjects first. Also 20 min might be a bit long depending on the lessons. At 7 my kids maxed out at about 10 minutes, we use MUS and a worksheet can easily be done in 10 min in the early levels so it worked. Had a worksheet been longer I would have either spread it out over a couple 10 min sessions or cut the problems down (you have the option to only do some of the problems, not all of them).
Also adding in movement. When my kids start getting grouchy I have them move around, doing jumping jacks or push ups, sometimes running a few laps outside, just around in the yard. I have one friend and she would make her son jump outside on the trampoline when he was getting frustrated, he would be hollering and shouting and then burn off all the frustration come in for water and be ready to get to work. Often movement is needed to get the brain awake and working again 🙂
Also 7 is young for lessons and also expectations to be clear and age/ability appropriate. Each of my kids have been different at what was appropriate and it was not just age, it was also maturity. At 7 school seat work took usually less than an hour. Then we would play a game or work on a puzzle while listening to a book on tape, or build with play dough and talk about things we learned in science. School does not have to be just sitting. My kids practice math facts jumping rope and saying the facts to the rhythm of jumping.
Those are great ideas! I’m going to get her more active and cut our time back on math a little to see if that helps. If we do reading then go straight to math, do you think that may be causing her to get overwhelmed too? I’ll flip flop the subjects like you suggested as well!
Math flash cards are awful too. I ordered math wrap ups for her to do every other day instead. Both my husband and I never remembered flashcards either, so no big deal. I’d always just quickly count up answers on my fingers, and I still do! I also have color by addition and subtraction for her since she loves coloring. Also, she asks for manipulatives even after doing the same math problems for months. Is it ok to give the manipulatives when she asks? How will I know that she is ready to do it without them?
I struggle with flash cards, many tears related to those when I was young. As an adult I now know my facts, haha. We use a computer game timzattack, I don’t think it is available any more as a free downlpad, but that makes practicing facts more fun. There are a lot of computer games that practice math facts though.
MUS uses malipulatives for a long time to help see the math, so I would suggest using them as long as needed. Some of my kids needed them more than others.
I would maybe do something between math and reading. Sonya has a video blog about scheduling, talks about the brain and splitting up subjects into what part of the brain and body they use. So maybe math to picture study to history to reading. Not doing too much writing, reading, listening… in a row but breaking them up.
I remember with my first when she was 7 I had an idea of how school should look, and by my youngest his 1st grade year as a 7 year old was so difderent, so much more relaxed but learning too. There is so much time to learn, a lifetime, I remind myself it does not have to fit in 12 years
I’ll definitely check out apps too for some math help. My child excels with manipulatives, but I guess it makes me nervous because I want her to be able to do the problems without an abacus one day. I keep forgetting that she has plenty of time for that.
I’m going to see if I can find the video blog you are talking about! I just want us to actually enjoy learning and have a good time doing school together. I know not all days will be good, but I want most days to be.
<p style=”text-align: left;”>This is the other one I was looking for :)</p>
It can take awhile to find a good fit with Math, especially when they are young. My guy likes The Good and the Beautiful Math K. Other levels are coming soon.Amy HarterParticipant
First, you are not a failure! You care and keep trying and that speaks volumes!!
Second, cut math time back to 10 minutes of diligent work in order to earn that hour (max per day) of screen time. If she’s not 100% diligent, no screen time that day. She’ll live. She’ll test your resolve, but she will get with the program. When it becomes smoother, increase your time by 5 minutes. Give her a visual on time- a Time Timer or a clock with hands so she will know. She can do this and so can you. You can also offer as a consequence besides no screen time that day, to sit down with dad when he comes home and do the 10 minutes then. Or on Saturday. It is absolutely acceptable to have dad involved in homeschool. And that way you don’t get frustrated with lost time on math.
Third, we live in a time where too many curriculum choices are a blessing and a curse. Use what curriculum makes YOU happy for a whole year. This way you get to practice consistency and she will go with the flow eventually. If she’s going to protest all of it, you might as well make it a little easier on yourself. 😉
Have Fun! It’s a long road:)
Thank you all for being so helpful!
Amy Harter, thanks for all of that. You’ve given me some really good ideas to work with. 🙂 I love the math that we currently use, but I think I was overwhelming her without even knowing it. I’m definitely cutting back on the amount of time for our subjects and sticking fun ones in there too between reading and math for a brain break.
And thanks for posting the links sarah2016!!
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