Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Resistant Students

This past Monday, we started up with our full load for this school year. I had already started the full load with my younger two a couple weeks ago. But now we're doing the full load with my 4th grader too. And it has been a difficult week. Is it only Wednesday still?

I have 2 rather resistant students - my youngest and my oldest. They both would really rather just play. We have had a number of talks these past few days, about the rules for when we're doing school (like no electronics, no talking or sound effects while I'm reading aloud, no pestering me with questions about what time we eat lunch while I'm in the middle of a lesson with another child, etc.), about the value of education, about the value of persistence, about obeying your parents....

My youngest is having adjustment issues since this is his first year of homeschooling. He went to preschool 3 days a week last year (and loved it), but has been very insistent that he wants to be homeschooled for kindergarten. I'm not sure he understood that this involves doing actual work at home, and not just perpetual playtime. We are mostly working on learning to read this year, but he struggles with blending. I've tried (over the summer and up til now) All About Reading (not quite ready for level 1, I don't think), and A Beka (not sure the consonant-vowel blend ladders are as intuitive as word families for him), and now we're taking a break and trying Reading Eggs, with him sitting on my lap in front of the computer as he does the lessons. He is ok with this, though not too happy. We'll see. The only other main things I'm doing with him are math (using MathSeeds for that right now, again sitting on my lap), and Sonlight Core A for Bible/literature/history/science. He likes the Sonlight stuff best, and it only takes 15-20 minutes, but he still has to be scolded almost every time for playing (noisily) with his toys while I read. His full load is not that long - maybe an hour altogether - so hopefully he'll settle into it soon. Once reading starts to "click," I think it will be better too.

My oldest is having adjustment issues since 4th grade is requiring a bit more work than 3rd grade. I'm trying to push things a bit more this year. She's way ahead in reading ability, history, science - but still struggles with handwriting, writing, spelling, and math. So, that's the work she resists doing, of course. In the past, I have let her drop some things that she struggled with, thinking that at her grade level, it wasn't that much of a big deal. But this year, I'm not planning on letting her drop much at all. So, our days are rather long (due to all the scolding and "pep talks" I'm having to give, and having to re-do some things when she wasn't paying attention). But I am hopeful that once we get into the schedule a few more days, she will get used to it, and things will go more smoothly. Today was already quite a bit better.

So, it's been a tough few days, but we're still going, despite my threats of packing them off to "big school." My middle child is my inspiration. She is eager, happy, and determined to do whatever I ask her to do. She loves worksheets, she loves reading, she loves math - she just loves school. She is a joy to teach. Of course, she's not perfect either, but she is an encouragement. And the other two have their moments of teaching joy too - my youngest's giggles of happiness when he recognizes a rhyme, and my oldest's amazing inventions she comes up with, with intricate detail and surprising links to what we've been studying (when I didn't think she was listening).

Your new school year may be starting out tough too, but try to find the high points, no matter how rare. It will get better. Just keep at it.

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