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Less time/More subjects or work until finished

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We have only been homeschooling a month or so, but I am having the hardest time getting my 6.5 yo twins to focus and actually finish an assignment in anything close to a timely manner.  We do have some ADD issues.

What do you think would be better?

Setting a time limit for an assignment and stopping and moving to the next subject whether finished or not?

or

Working until the assignment is finished even if that is all that gets done that day?

Experiences and comments welcome!

by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 12:04 AM
Replies (11-18):
jojo1974
by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 9:26 PM

I like the idea of setting the timer for most things, but if it is something they are doing well on, letting them keep going.  I need the limits more to just put a stop to doing nothing.  In other words, I was questioning whether if we are doing handwriting and they have written 2 words in 30 minutes, I should just stop there and move on, or insist they finish it whether is takes two more hours.

We are having trouble in nearly everything - unless it's reading a book.  They would read books all.day.long.  One of my daughters finished 3 Little House books in 4 days.  Then she read The Wizard of Oz (the real one, not a kid version) in two days.  She's in 1st grade.

At this point, I'd be happy to accomplish anything during the day:-)  In my perfect world, we would have:

~15 minutes of spelling (I'm running through a few lists just to see what they know - this would just be calling out 20 words or so and having them write them down to identify which words they need to practice.)

~ 15 minutes of handwriting

-break- 5 minutes (run around the house, jump on mini-trampoline)

~ 30 science (maybe working on a lap book)

~ 30 min math (I now have Math U See)

- break/snack- 15-20 minutes

~ 20 min writing assignment

~ 20 min grammar

- break- 5-10 minutes

more time would be spent reading, watching shows from the History Channel, Science Channel and finding corresponding books

I also use time in the car to review things.  I don't at all think all learning needs to take place at a table.

They also have art class, gymnastics, and we will start piano again soon.

I would like to spend at least 2 hours a day on the basics - math, handwriting, grammar, science, writing - and then another hour on "learning".  Past that, they read all the time and we can do history, geography and such according to their interests at the time.

Today, just mentioning starting school meant an explosion of tears and sobs. So, we had a come to Jesus meeting:-)  I had them write "What I don't like about HS", "What I like about HS", "What I wish school would be".  I also answered the questions.

In the end, we negotiated that we would have fewer worksheets except in some subjects where they are required (like handwriting) and we would use more books to read about things and make reports, oral or with notes.  They agreed to be more respectful and be more focused on their work.  We came up with a code word to signal they needed to refocus without me having to launch into a whole lecture.  We even signed a little contract.  They then did pretty well with their work today.

Feel free to comment if you think I am expecting too much from them.  I don't think I am, but maybe so...

jojo1974
by on Feb. 13, 2014 at 9:29 PM

Oh, I have already adjusted and changed things a lot from what I "thought" I would be doing:-)  I did a little reading and tested them, and they are both very visual learners - they love reading and "shows" (history channel, science, etc.).  I immediately switched away from the grind of math worksheets and into more tactile/visual things and ordered Math U See which they seem to really like. 

They do have really good comprehension of what they read and see, but I do also need a way to record or test their mastery of information so at some point, worksheets are involved.

bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Feb. 14, 2014 at 10:58 AM

Embed in blue for some ideas...

Quoting jojo1974:

I like the idea of setting the timer for most things, but if it is something they are doing well on, letting them keep going.  I need the limits more to just put a stop to doing nothing.  In other words, I was questioning whether if we are doing handwriting and they have written 2 words in 30 minutes, I should just stop there and move on, or insist they finish it whether is takes two more hours.

We are having trouble in nearly everything - unless it's reading a book.  They would read books all.day.long.  One of my daughters finished 3 Little House books in 4 days.  Then she read The Wizard of Oz (the real one, not a kid version) in two days.  She's in 1st grade.

At this point, I'd be happy to accomplish anything during the day:-)  In my perfect world, we would have:

~15 minutes of spelling (I'm running through a few lists just to see what they know - this would just be calling out 20 words or so and having them write them down to identify which words they need to practice.)

Instead of having them write the answers how about have them buzz in or swat with a flyswatter and call out the letters.  Make it like a game.

~ 15 minutes of handwriting

-break- 5 minutes (run around the house, jump on mini-trampoline)

~ 30 science (maybe working on a lap book)

~ 30 min math (I now have Math U See)

- break/snack- 15-20 minutes



~ 20 min writing assignment

~ 20 min grammar

- break- 5-10 minutes


Do you expect handwriting, writing assignment, AND grammar each day?  for 6.5, that seems like a lot of writing.  Is the handwriting copy work?  Why not have them dictate their writing assignment to you and then have them use their own words (some days) as their handwriting.  Killing 2 birds with 1 stone. 

more time would be spent reading, watching shows from the History Channel, Science Channel and finding corresponding books

I also use time in the car to review things.  I don't at all think all learning needs to take place at a table.

They also have art class, gymnastics, and we will start piano again soon.

I would like to spend at least 2 hours a day on the basics - math, handwriting, grammar, science, writing - and then another hour on "learning".  Past that, they read all the time and we can do history, geography and such according to their interests at the time.

Today, just mentioning starting school meant an explosion of tears and sobs. So, we had a come to Jesus meeting:-)  I had them write "What I don't like about HS", "What I like about HS", "What I wish school would be".  I also answered the questions.


Having them write a list like this is very difficult for this age group.  Truly they are just learning that words have symbols, learning to verbally express themselves and then convert that to writing.  It is very difficult for a child that age to do all of those things together.  Plus many children at that age are not ready to express their emotions into words, especially when they are frustrated (tears and sobs).  So to take a child who is already feeling overwhelmed and frustrated and adding handwriting can be a recipe for disaster.  Possibly moving a child from frustration over the work to an all out block about school.

In the end, we negotiated that we would have fewer worksheets except in some subjects where they are required (like handwriting) and we would use more books to read about things and make reports, oral or with notes.  They agreed to be more respectful and be more focused on their work.  We came up with a code word to signal they needed to refocus without me having to launch into a whole lecture.  We even signed a little contract.  They then did pretty well with their work today.

Moving to oral work sounds like a great idea!  I think your kids are trying to tell you that the handwriting and writing out their thoughts are taking a toll on them.

Feel free to comment if you think I am expecting too much from them.  I don't think I am, but maybe so...


bluerooffarm
by Gold Member on Feb. 14, 2014 at 11:02 AM


Quoting jojo1974:

Oh, I have already adjusted and changed things a lot from what I "thought" I would be doing:-)  I did a little reading and tested them, and they are both very visual learners - they love reading and "shows" (history channel, science, etc.).  I immediately switched away from the grind of math worksheets and into more tactile/visual things and ordered Math U See which they seem to really like. 

They do have really good comprehension of what they read and see, but I do also need a way to record or test their mastery of information so at some point, worksheets are involved.

My now 5 yo is not ready for handwriting.  He only practices copywork 5-10 minutes each day.  Instead I record him reading his sight words, Bob books, letter sounds, etc.  It is a good way to record and orally test his mastery. We need to keep a portfolio and my evaluator had no problem watching little youtube videos we made of his tests to show his improvement.

Pukalani79
by Kristin on Feb. 14, 2014 at 11:56 AM

 I would go for a set time and then move on. You can always come back to it if necessary.  We do regular/frequent breaks too

jojo1974
by on Feb. 15, 2014 at 9:41 PM

I really appreciate all your responses.  I'm having a little trouble finding the right path though.  Although, I understand the arguments that all that writing is too much for a 6.5 year old, my experience has been really different.

They did attend school for K and half of 1st grade.  What I am asking them to do is actually less than what they were required in school, especially in first grade.  Abby easily sat and did a 15-20 minute writing assignment in school.  Nat struggled, but I think it's a combination of ADD and low strength in her hands.

The only thing they do do quickly is the spelling:-)  I call them out and they write them down.  They do sometimes get distracted but they are able to get it done because I am constantly calling new words.

They love to read - and actually love to write.  They write little stories all the time.  They are reading anywhere from a 4-7/8th grade level and writing well above grade level.  I once leveled one of Nat's stories in Word and it was a 4th grade level.  Because they read so much, they have a good understanding of how sentences work, conversation and dialogue.  The will write things like, "The princess said gently, "Don't worry, Little Deer.  It will be ok.""  They even started using the quotation marks and the comma once we showed them.

The "What I hate about HS" activity actually went beautifully.  They are really good at verbalizing their feeling and each wrote very clear and concrete objections. 

I do think maybe I am expecting too much too soon.  I guess we are still really early in this journey in terms of adjustment.  I think the idea that this is still the "play place" is probably really true.  They truly enjoy playing with each other and can play for hours and hours without tv or electronics.  They make up all kinds of stories with their barbies and stuffed animals and all sorts of things.  It's hard to get them to stop.

I think I feel like I'm under a time crunch which is why it bothers me so.  We have been accepted into one charter school and are waiting to hear from a number of others.  We will have to make a final decision around June/July.  Actually, I'd have to register as a homeschool in April.  Right now, I'm not seeing enough learning to justify keeping them out of school.

*sigh*  I guess I'm just really nervous about how we are doing compared to others and how to get them to focus for even 20 minutes at a time.

jojo1974
by on Feb. 15, 2014 at 9:43 PM

Oh, the handwriting we do is for letter formation.  In K, the school never focused on correct formation or even how to hold the pencil, which drives me nuts.  So, they have pencil gribs and we work on letter tracing and then writing the letter correctly.  Their biggest problem is they start a lot of letter from the ground up instead of top down.

I want them to learn it correctly or curvise will be really difficult.

KickButtMama
by Shannon on Feb. 15, 2014 at 10:32 PM

That's awesome, and should help. I remember banging my head against a wall with my visual learner and math worksheets. The lapbooks should help for science, I suggest putting the book together first then the kids can fill them out as they do have lesson. My eldest got frustrated with the glueing and waiting for the glue to dry and lost interest, but if I prepped the book then they would fill them out and rush to show dad what they did that day. 

I suggest starting a Reading Journal. Since they love books so much, center the majority of their learning on that love. No need to stifle it any. Each day they start their journal with the header of the book of the day, the author, etc. When it comes to spelling and grammar and such, maybe you could start by giving them a list of words, have them spell them in the morning and write out the definition in the journal. Then, when they are reading their books of choice, they have to mark down in their journal, how many times those words were used. Just to see who gets more marks at the end of the day. Like a scavenger hunt. The same can go for grammar rules. You can start the week with a very brief lesson on idioms, metaphor, etc. Then the kids could read whatever they wanted and if they came across that grammatical tool they wrote a brief note on how it was used and whether they felt it added to or took away from the plot. Once they get used to journaling, you can even add inFan  Fiction. Once they finish their book for the day, they can write a story using the same characters, locations, etc. Like a sequal to the story or an alternative - if they didn't like the plot twist they can write a new one. Then you can both go over their story editing spelling & grammar. That's what I did w/ my eldest. He would not do regular curriculum but he did great with fan fiction and he learned tons through editing. Eventually he wrote full books for fan fiction and we worked on the full process - outlines, planning plot twists, etc.  

Quoting jojo1974:

Oh, I have already adjusted and changed things a lot from what I "thought" I would be doing:-)  I did a little reading and tested them, and they are both very visual learners - they love reading and "shows" (history channel, science, etc.).  I immediately switched away from the grind of math worksheets and into more tactile/visual things and ordered Math U See which they seem to really like. 

They do have really good comprehension of what they read and see, but I do also need a way to record or test their mastery of information so at some point, worksheets are involved.


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