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Am I putting to much on him?? LOTS of info and questions (sorry)

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So this is year #2 homeschooling! Last year I pretty much ONLY homeschooled my oldest (2nd grade) but fiddled around a little with my second son (Kindergarten) this year my oldest is in 3rd, my second son is officially Kindergarten. And we have knock on wood, thus far gotten off to a much better, more organized start! We get done with my second son's work quickly of coarse. After discussing colors, letters, sounds, and doing a bit of math, he is done! My oldest has about 2 1/2 hrs of work depending on how well he works. He has ADHD along with some other undiagnosable issues and we finally decided to start him on a med to see if it will help because I felt he was falling behind! So we are 3 wks into the new med, and I am still not sure if I like it or not, notice a difference good or bad, or not, etc. But anyway back to my initial oldest is doing Math, Reading, English, Health, Science, and History every day! And I am gonna have him start doing a writing task as his creative writing is horrific! Is that too much for him?? Is having History, Science, and Health every day too much. Thus far he is doing well with it, but then I was thinking will he be able to take in all the information from all the subjects, or will he struggle with it? What are your thoughts?

Also he is awesome at Math, does really well at English! History, Science, and Health (I read those books to him or with him) he is fine with. But he struggles terrible in reading, spelling, and writing! He hates it #1 so its always a challenge. I am asking more of him because of that fact, and he isn't fighting me too bad. But I am so worried he is gonna never know how to read well, spell well, etc.

Some examples of reading : He will add words that aren't there, use The in place of A, or There in place of Here, or What in place of Went. When I notice this I tell him to take a deep breathe and start the sentence over and then he normally does fine. And then he will get some very large hard words right off the bat, and stuggle with smaller words or compound words that should be easy to sound out!

He absolutely can not put words together correctly for spelling. For example: He knows CH makes the CHA-sound. But when asking him to write a word like beach, would write beack! So I am working on getting him to focus on sounds, but of coarse by 3rd grade they are using lots of words you can't spell by sound! So that is a struggle!

And as far as writing, he can not creative write. I mean asking him to write a sentence is like pulling teeth. In English he has learned and is great at fixing punctuation and using capitalization. But in his own writing doesn't, he turns letters backwards still, and he will ask me how to spell every word he writes, and if I dont majority of his words aren't spelled correctly. And I personally dont think its because he doesn't know it but more because he is just not in the mood, wants it done, and doesn't want to put forth the effort or really think and concentrate on it!

Any advice for bettering his reading, writing, and spelling??

We have joined the library and started checking out books in hopes that he will find books HE wants to read. But he doesn't want to read them, he wants to look at them, and have me read them. We have started reading every night as a family (something we haven't done in a year or more) and I have started reading chapter books to them so they don't ask for pictures, but use their imaginations. Hoping it will help him enjoy reading more!

Thanks for any advice ladies!

by on Aug. 6, 2013 at 10:23 PM
Replies (11-18):
by Sonja on Aug. 7, 2013 at 2:19 PM
1 mom liked this
Hi Nora. Nice to see you in here again. :)
First off, I didn't read all of everyone's post. So, I may or may not repeat something someone else has already said. Forgive me for that.
Secondly, I can tell you from personal first hand experience that ADD and ADHD children generally love to learn by their instinctual natures. So, if you have one that is an active child, they will learn the same way, actively learning. If you have a child that is quiet and laid back, they learn the same way. For both, they need to be kept on their toes so they do not become bored too quickly and lose interest in learning altogether.
For the creative writing, you might try combing some of your subjects into one creative writing project. For instance, try combing math with history and have the writing project start with how math first started. (History) who started what type of math and what kind of math would there have been if someone hadn't come up with our math system of today? This way he is doing both subjects but con jointly instead of seperately.
As long as the kids are doing fine and are still interested in learning, you are doing just fine. Only you know where your kids are at educationally. Your gut instincts tell you. Trust yourself. :)
by on Aug. 7, 2013 at 7:44 PM
I have a 5th grader that does a lot of what you are saying. She is not diagnosed with anything but I am fairly certain she is dyslexic. She confuses the same words you said your son confuses and still switches letters and sounds when writing. She is easily frustrated if we ask her to go back to reread something out loud that she read wrong the first time.

For spelling, I wanted to get her All About Spelling but it was not in our budget. The next I found was Apples and Pears Spelling which is supposed to be great as well and a little more affordable. What we will be using is Spell by Color because the first year is free. I had to print it, but it was free lol. The thing I like most is that it teaches rules rather than word lists. And I am adding in my own hands on activities for her to help reiterate the rules.

We will also do a quiet required reading time for an hour most afternoons and my kids read for 30 min before bed typically, this is all reading that they choose. I am building much of their writing work into their history curriculum to reduce the amount writing as I don't want them to hate it.

I think the amount of work is ok, I am personally alternating to have history 2x per week and science 2x per week, art and music once a week, and every day they will do math, grammar, sign language, some writing, logic and I feel like I am forgetting things and don't have the schedule right in front of me...

I would really suggest letting him choose his own books, even if he chooses simple ones at first. He is more likely to read things he likes. My brother is dyslexic and I remember my mom counting magazines and comic books as reading for him because it was so hard to get him to read anything!
by on Aug. 8, 2013 at 3:04 PM
My son, who is almost nine now, was a struggle to homeschool at the age of six too. I got very frustrated because he could read but didn't want to (and I am a voracious reader!), he struggled with spelling, and getting him to actually write anything, answers to questions, spelling words, or creative stories was sure to bring on tears from both of us. It was awful! For our sanity, relationship, and to preserve a love of learning in him, I backed way off and researched other curriculum options like crazy that would work for him. He liked computer type learning games so we used ClicknKids for phonics (it took the writing part he was fighting out and allowed him to focus on learning his sounds). This year we are using All About Spelling, which he enjoys doing and has less writing involved. When I wanted him to read, we would alternate. I would read a paragraph then he would read one. I let him dictate stories to me (he has an awesome imagination, just hated writing). I switched to Handwriting Without Tears for penmanship and he loved it! We do just one page a day so he is not overwhelmed.

We do History every day (it is my son's favorite subject - I made a really big deal that it is so cool to learn because you are hearing stories about what happened in the past.) Up until this year, we have focused on people and what they did. We used the non-teacher led k12 the first year for History (which he did enjoy but was too much computer time for him) then switched to Abeka. We both love Abeka history!! Last year we studied so many cool people and he learned all about the American Revolution and Civil War, to include the dates, while having fun. We do science 2-3 days a week, Apologia, though he would do it every day if I wanted to because he loves it. I let him choose which science area we would focus on first. We started with Botany (and grew so many cool things!), then did Astronomy, and are now halfway through Flying Creatures. He cheers when I say, Okay, science next!" Health is done on the days we don't do science.

We do math (Math U See - which he loves), language arts, spelling, and history every day. The other subjects we rotate in. That has allowed us to do more subjects and not get overwhelmed.

I allow my son to bounce on our mini-trampoline, walk around within the room, or do Legos quietly while I read History, science, or whatever to him. He actually retains more when I don't make him sit still. We also only do 20 minutes at a time, at most, then take a short break while I transition subjects.

I spent the first two years (of our four) totally stressing out. Then I decided to back off some and see what happened. Well, last year and this have been so much better. He actually volunteers to read an entire chapter on his own now. He will write when I ask him (though I pick and choose when it's important. History comprehension questions? Answer orally. Language Arts where the focus is on learning how to write - he has to do it. I also had a long talk with him, explaining that I will never make him do busy work and that if I ask him/tell him to do something, there is a reason behind it. I also told him how I had researched and really looked for curriculum that he would enjoy because I want him to love learning. It seems to have helped.

I guess I just wanted to encourage you to find what works for your son and to know that for boys, something tends to click around the age of 8 or 9. Many people had told me this, both homeschool parents who had been there and my public school teacher friends, but until I saw it, I didn't believe it. School has definitely gotten easier this year (and last) with my son. And, now that his sister is starting kindergarten, he has become her school cheerleader!

It will get better! Spread out the subjects, allow him to move around as needed, give lots of breaks (and make sure he gets the energy out during them), give him some say in subjects, and discover what is worth battling at this age and what can wait. Kids WILL learn, just not at the pace we always expect.

Good luck!
by on Aug. 8, 2013 at 3:05 PM
P.S. Sorry for the typos - I am on my iPhone.
by on Aug. 8, 2013 at 3:39 PM

I think part of it may be that he has a 2nd X chromosome and you do not. ;) That is what our ENT surgeon told us when I was concerned my son's hearing loss was getting worse - he tested fine - and essentially, "BOYS ARE DIFFERENT."

It seems to be true with my own boy vs my girls (and me!) and I've also heard it from homeschooling friends. Not all boys of course, but as a general rule it seems to be that they get interested in reading later, and enjoy reading less, than girls do. It's not to say they can't or that all boys are bad at reading, writing, and other language arts, but just... different.

The exchanging of incorrect words wouldn't worry me too much.  Those words are very similar. Even you, in your original post, being an obviously well-educated woman, mistakenly wrote "breathe" instead of "breath." Pobody's nerfect!

I personally don't worry about the # of subjects covered in a day or the # of hours, but the quality of the work. If they are very interested in something, we might spend an hour or two on it in a single day - other subjects or topics, they are totally Zzzzz about, so we get through it as fast as we can. The key is to keep them engaged and take breaks as needed. 

by on Aug. 8, 2013 at 10:30 PM
by on Aug. 9, 2013 at 12:00 AM

You have to remember that writing is a skill that develops over time with use.   It also develops in stages... for example, they need to be able to read fluently, write words fluently, form sentences well enough, etc... before they can really pull it all together with their own ideas and actually write their own stuff.   It's something that cumulates and culminates with practice.

Also, regarding health, science, and social studies.   It depends.   Are you doing a full "class" worth of stuff every day, then yeah, it's probably way too much.   If you are just doing short snippets of each and changing up the way you do them (activities and such)... then it's fine.   Is he enjoying them?   That's the biggest thing.   These three subjects should be some of their favorites, in my humble opinion... and if not, then they are too much work.

Focus on developing his language arts skills and slowly building on his math skills little by little, and the other things should be exciting.   

by Silver Member on Aug. 9, 2013 at 12:22 AM


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