pieceofclay

Press on or take a break?

Recommended Posts

pieceofclay

I am down to homeschooling our youngest son (11 yo) who struggles with ADHD and anxiety.  He is taking medication now, but he still really dislikes all things that require effort, require writing, or seem boring to him. We are half way thru Core E.  He doesn't dislike the readings, but he's not really engaged into them either.  He has stopped putting effort into narrating back. He seems to take pride in giving the vaguest answer the also proves he was listening. With these responses, I feel like I may be reading to a brick wall; however, if something a few days or weeks later trigger something for him, he will mention the history reading a manner that clearly indicated that he had been listening. Our days feel more like we go through the motions to say it is done.  There is no curiosity or real interest as he just wants to get done and have some screen-time or play with legos or read a book of his own choosing.

So how do we get life back into our days?

Yesterday, I set school-time for 3 hours.  I told him that as long as he was doing what I asked and working with me (not against), I would count the time as school.  He reluctantly agreed and throughout the time asked me how much longer; however, at the end of our time, he told me it was the best school day he'd had in a long time and apologized for asking about the time so much.  In fact he came back to me three times to tell me how much fun he had had.

So what did we do?

1. I started with our read aloud - Little Britches (it was a great chapter - it was Ralph's first weekend home after starting to work on the ranch).  

2. Then we played checkers - he wanted to quit at least 4 times because he didn't know where to move or he thought the game was taking too long.  I wouldn't let him quit and we discussed my options for my next move and why each would be a good or not-so-good option. Then I moved and we discussed his possible moves before he chose his move.  We did this about 4 different times, but his biggest complaint was it was taking too long.  I don't know how long it took, but we finished the game.

3. I had him read to me from a Minecraft handbook while I took notes.  After 15 minutes, I asked him to read my notes to see if I was understanding and if I wrote down the things he considered most important.  He threw himself into this activity.  He loved correcting my mistakes and realized that some of the things he told me were really unimportant for someone who did not know how to play the game.  After 45 minutes of this, I asked him what his favorite character was.  He said the Wither boss.  I wrote down WITHER on a blank page.  He was to give me one adjective for each letter that described this character. He balked - I pressed - every time he said an adjective that started with one of the letters, I wrote it down (He was stuck on W, but he had quickly given me 3 that worked for other letters).  I now had his attention.  We were stuck on R, so I had him look through a Student Thesaurus for words beginning with R.  He found one quickly and I had him write this word.  Then I asked him to draw a Wither.  He balked, so I tried to draw one.  He said it wasn't correct and took the chalk I was using and fixed it, then added to it until he felt it was a good representation.

4. We made a big snack together, talked and ate together.

4. I read some science to him and we worked for about 10 minutes on creating an alien for his science project.

5. We then stretched and exercised for 20 minutes, followed by a 25 minute walk in the snow.

6. He showed me how to play Minecraft on the computer for 30 minutes

END of school

Should I drop Core E for awhile?  I love the books and material, but I dread doing school with this child.  It also doesn't feel right to drop history.  For math we are only working on his multiplication facts orally.

If you have read all this, thank you.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Karen P.

Just wanted to say "wow!" I loved reading about your day.  Sounds like you are a great mom really encouraging your son to persevere.  I'm homeschooling my last child as well. It's definitely a strange and challenging time for both my daughter and I. But we are learning to enjoy the quiet and she is finally opening up to me. She always just chatted with her older sister. It's been hard but good. I guess I never realized how much my youngest and I had never really connected.  When I read all those things you did with him one-on-one, it really made me think on how much of that is so often overlooked in the busy of life.

You asked should you quit history. That's a tough one. I personally tend to not quit entirely on subjects but just modify.  I once overheard my girls talking one day. They were saying, "Yeah I can tell Mom is getting tired of teaching "xyz." If we act bored and give her a hard time, she always quits." They then giggled.  Talk about a slap in the face.  Since then, I realized those little cuties were pretty smart and cunning. I no longer quit and give up. I do alter and adjust as needed.  Wish I had some fabulous advice to offer. I can offer you encouragement though! All that time you are spending with him is wonderful!

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pieceofclay

Thank you Karen.  I think you are right, that I should just modify the history.  We had a long talk about school today. He is still not happy about it, but he does understand why we are doing it.  I need to celebrate each positive (not to him, but for myself to keep on persevering).  While our Monday was a "fun" school day, I quickly realized that I cannot do that everyday.  Tuesday, he composed a poem, but today, I let writing be part of spelling.

This son thinks he wants to attend a boarding high school like his brothers.  I do not want to discourage him from doing this, but right now I cannot see him in a traditional classroom.  Anyway, I had him figure out how many years he and I had left to learn together.  I saw on his face that he was surprised that it could be in just a few years.  We'll see if it gives him any motivation to work on his attitude.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SewWhat?

Sonlight is probably not the curriculum for a kid with ADHD who doesn't like to read. Probably not what you wanted to hear, but Sonlight as you know is VERY heavy in reading. There are lots of other programs out there that aren't. My Father's World is set up like SL but isn't as heavy. 

I have a child with ADHD so I understand. I didn't homeschool that child but I don't think SL would have ever worked for him with the heavy reading schedule. 

I also have a child with severe anxiety. I encourage you to keep on top of that. Homeschooling can be great for it, or negative. Well, both really. That child was hs'ed 4th-10th then tried a Christian school in 11th. It didn't go well at all due to his anxiety so he came home for 12th. Now he's a college freshman who flunked 2 of his 4 classes first semester because his anxiety was SO high that he skipped many classes at the beginning of the semester. Now we've got him on medication and he's looking good to begin this new semester right. He's super smart, and that's not just me being biased. The teachers at the Christian school said he's bored there because he's so far above the other kids, that if they taught to his level the other kids would be in the dust. He'd always been one who things came easily to, no or not much studying. College was a whole new world which required his being around a whole lot of new people, to study, and it requires you ask for help. He doesn't know how to do any of that despite his being in Civil Air Patrol for 5y, volunteering at the library and being in praise band (piano) at church. He dropped it all around 10th grade. I should have taken him in for anxiety meds then, but hindsight being 20/20 I can see it now while I couldn't then. It was his anxiety kicking into a higher gear.

I'd test to see if your son likes workbook school. If so, I'd go that direction rather than literature school. Or just go with a less heavy literature curriculum. ADHD is a dx docs like to throw around these days, but if a child really has it a heavy literature program is probably not the best fit. Add to that anxiety which makes them think nothing is ever going to end or be good enough and they just don't even want to start if they dont' think they can finish, or finish well, it's a recipe for disaster. 

Not saying the child shouldn't do any school of course! But read the signs now and adjust school accordingly. My high anxiety doesn't have ADHD but I should have been seeing the signs of withdrawal and gotten him on meds earlier. Or not let him drop out of everything. I do wonder if that would have helped too. But, I can't change the past, I can only deal with the future. My current 11th grader is also high anxiety mixed with slight OCD and perfectionism. I'm reading the signs better in her now and am encouraging her to do MORE outside of the house rather than drop things. So far so good though she has had 2 fullblown panic attacks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pieceofclay

Thanks for sharing your story, Rebecca.  It helps to hear how others are dealing with similar stuff (or have dealt with stuff).

I have tried workbooks for this kid.  He liked the first few and now hates all worksheets.  He hates crafts too, so his "create and alien" project is coming along very slowly.  He isn't a middle of the road kind of kid either - things are great or terrible, not a whole lot in between.  We do have him a meds now for his ADHD.  It has brought his anxiety down to a manageable level.  He's also on his third med, which seems to be the best right now.  I think he's a perfectionist and assumes he can't do things if they don't come easily.  He is also a pessimist.  I used the think I was a bit of a pessimist until this son.  I think I am more of a realist that often sees how a plan won't work.

You are so right about feeling like stuff with never end for kids with anxiety.  I do my best to be clear on things that go one for a long time - usually I set a timer - no more than 15, 20, or 30 minutes on math.  We think he has slow processing as well.  It is hard to figure out as he finds the tests tiring and frustrating. 

As for Sonlight, we've tried a few different curriculum, but none keep his interest.  We already own SL through Core G.  He took 2 years to get through D with one writing assignment a month. LA was more more like once a week and very gentle.  I don't follow the SL LA anymore.  Now all his writing is interest-based and I am his scribe most of the time.  He has been reading about half of the readers for this core.  He could read them all, but he does not stay engaged into the books very well unless I am reading them.  So, I am modifying the core in a big way.  I only use the schedule to determine the history readings now. I am also doing the 4-day schedule and still cutting a few things out.

I wish he didn't fight me so much, but it seems to be his nature (I personally find it exhausting).  I have challenged him to not tell me what he doesn't like until the end of the day.  So far, he has been making it through breakfast before he complains.  I am trying to be thankful for that and encourage him to keep it up.  Our new memory verse is Phil. 2:14-15 "Do everything without complaining or arguing..."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
SewWhat?
1 hour ago, pieceofclay said:

Thanks for sharing your story, Rebecca.  It helps to hear how others are dealing with similar stuff (or have dealt with stuff).

I have tried workbooks for this kid.  He liked the first few and now hates all worksheets.  He hates crafts too, so his "create and alien" project is coming along very slowly.  He isn't a middle of the road kind of kid either - things are great or terrible, not a whole lot in between.  We do have him a meds now for his ADHD.  It has brought his anxiety down to a manageable level.  He's also on his third med, which seems to be the best right now.  I think he's a perfectionist and assumes he can't do things if they don't come easily.  He is also a pessimist.  I used the think I was a bit of a pessimist until this son.  I think I am more of a realist that often sees how a plan won't work.

You are so right about feeling like stuff with never end for kids with anxiety.  I do my best to be clear on things that go one for a long time - usually I set a timer - no more than 15, 20, or 30 minutes on math.  We think he has slow processing as well.  It is hard to figure out as he finds the tests tiring and frustrating. 

As for Sonlight, we've tried a few different curriculum, but none keep his interest.  We already own SL through Core G.  He took 2 years to get through D with one writing assignment a month. LA was more more like once a week and very gentle.  I don't follow the SL LA anymore.  Now all his writing is interest-based and I am his scribe most of the time.  He has been reading about half of the readers for this core.  He could read them all, but he does not stay engaged into the books very well unless I am reading them.  So, I am modifying the core in a big way.  I only use the schedule to determine the history readings now. I am also doing the 4-day schedule and still cutting a few things out.

I wish he didn't fight me so much, but it seems to be his nature (I personally find it exhausting).  I have challenged him to not tell me what he doesn't like until the end of the day.  So far, he has been making it through breakfast before he complains.  I am trying to be thankful for that and encourage him to keep it up.  Our new memory verse is Phil. 2:14-15 "Do everything without complaining or arguing..."

I'd think taking 2y to get through one Core, and that you didn't even complete it as written, is your sign that SL is too much for this child. I have purchased things I ended up not being able to use so I get the money issue. But, I have learned that it's better to waste a little money than to make the kid suffer through some things just because I already purchased it. It taught me to never buy ahead. I encourage you to reevaluate using it just because you already have it, rather than finding something else that would work better without totally ripping it apart and only using 1/2 of.

 

My son came home from a meeting with his adviser and found out he didn't fail one of the classes he thought he did so that's good. He doesn't need to repeat anything because the one failed class was an elective. He has learned a lot through this process. 

That's all life is, a process that we learn through.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Hunny

I have taken a long time to do cores with my children, so I wouldn't say that determines that SL is not working for them.  My middle son and I took two and a half years doing Core D, and will probably do Core E over two.  I am not in a hurry to get through the core material.  I know this is the right curriculum for my middle son who is an audio learner. 

All boys at this age complain about school work, imo.  I do what I can to accommodate and adapt if possible, but there are things that they just have to do because they have to do it no matter what. 

For history, I just ask the questions in the IG and that's it.  No narrating, no writing, nothing.  I may point out a location on the map and mark it but I don't ask him to do it.  I do have him put the timeline stickers into his timeline book once a month.  He does a map skills workbook by Modern Curriculum Press at least 1-2 times a week.  Sometimes I will ask him what he thinks about the topic we are studying, which is currently slavery and the Underground Railroad. 

He is doing Essentials In Writing to prepare him for high school writing.  Even though he hates writing, he is doing the work anyway because he wants to start high school next year.  He is using Khan Academy for math.

I think what you are doing is fine.  It is ok to take a break from certain subjects for a while and come back to them later.  History is definitely one of those types of subjects.  I recommend continuing to work on the basics of math, writing, and reading comprehension to the extent that you can with him.  You can just read aloud history but don't ask him to do anything but listen.  Or you can do a month of science and then a month of history, focusing on doing them in a unit study type format instead using the SL IG schedule as your topic guide. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
pieceofclay

Thanks Tracy - I agree that it is okay to go slower.  This son has processing issues that require a slower pace. He is open to discuss the material, but projects, crafts, or writing meet with resistance or they take him a long time (much longer than neuro-typical kids).

For the last few days, I have told him what is expected and reminded him that when he takes the time to complain, it only extends that total time he will spend on the assignment.  I have been firm with as few words as possible on my part.  I also added that poor attitude will result in an extra chore and an extra hour of free time with no screen.  This the extra stuff has proven to be quite effective right now. I am working hard to not respond to his attitude.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites