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Getting started on the second one

Posted by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:02 AM
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I'm having a hard time doing school with my second son.  He's just about to turn 5 (in a couple days) and I feel like I've just finished teaching my older son the basics (counting, reading, etc.) and now I have to start all over again with the youngest.  My older son is only 8 so there's not a huge difference in ages but big enough that they're not doing the same stuff.  We do try to work on the same things in science and social studies, but the little one can't or won't sit still for a whole lesson and I know I'm just going to have to go over it with him again in a year or two anyway.  We play alot of games, and he pretty much already reads at a 1st grade level, but I feel like I'm not giving him the same time and attention I gave my older son.  Maybe it's because thus far everything for my youngest has come so easily (except his speech but that's a different topic), he's known his letters and their sounds since he was 3, has been counting to 10 for a while but can't get past 12 yet, pretty much taught himself to read (the speech issue makes phonetic reading difficult), and has learned other things along side his big brother.

How do you tackle the "UGH, I gotta do this all over again!" feeling?

 teacherHomeschooling mom and reading Southern Vampire Mysteries and Twilight addict

 To repeat what others have said requires education; to challenge it, requires brains. -Mary Pettibone Poole

by on Jul. 12, 2010 at 1:02 AM
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by Helping Hands on Jul. 12, 2010 at 8:35 AM

Let me first say I know what you mean.  My boys are 18 months apart.  I am now teaching my 6 year to read and it is going a little slower.  At first it was a little upsetting he wasn't catching on as fast.  My youngest is very bright and is actually ahead for his age but he didn't come close to learning as quickly as his brother did.  He moves at a much slower pace.  You just have to realize each child is different and look at it like an adventure.  It is all about attitude.  Take a breath, step back and just put as much fun in it for both of you as you can.  Let me also say that my oldest is gifted and has a photographic mind so he learns really fast.  So he learned to read really fast.  My youngest looks at his brother and get discouraged a lot so I have to encourage him more.  Little brothers tend to compare and try and follow older brothers a lot.  As far as science goes there will a lot he picks up you will more than likely have to go over things again.  I would try looking at it as a blessing.  Before you know these years will be gone and they will be able to do more on their own more and more.  My youngest is always surprising me with things he has picked up when I didn't even realize he was listening that much.

As far as attention span goes I would work on it with him a little at a time.  You know when his threshold has been reached and he needs a break.  It will develop over time.  He won't sit there like his brother will.  When my youngest was in preschool and kindergarten I would let him come and go for Science and History.  He was allowed to sit and listen for as little or as much as he wanted.  He just had to be polite and quiet as he listened.  I would try and include him when he did come and listen.  In kindergarten you don't have to do a lot of science and History.  Just a little here and there is all that is necessary.  If he loves to be read to there are a lot of books to read to kids on Science and History.  Mostly just make it fun and he will learn lots.  

by Helping Hands on Jul. 12, 2010 at 9:16 AM

 My last four kids are each three and a half to four years apart, so I can relate. I don't know how you get past the 'not again!' feeling, But at least you have the confidence that you know what you are doing, right?

My youngest is three now, and his next oldest sister is six. I admit I am not exactly looking forward to doing another stint of intense one-to-one with the basics. My six year old is just getting past that point now. But hey, I already have one heck of a collection of early reading books and a ton of worksheets!

by Helping Hands on Jul. 12, 2010 at 11:56 AM

Thank you both for your responses.  Yesterday in the car while going to the grocery store with just my 5yo, we were working on counting past 10 and that's when this "not again" thought popped into my head.  It was like I was looking back at my oldest when he was 5 and we were doing exactly the same thing.  I have to say though, it's not that I'm not looking forward to more learning time spent with my 5yo, I just wish I could do more with them together as that seems to be how they like it.  My 8yo has decided to "teach" my 5yo some of the things he knows, like counting past 10, adding & subtracting, and how to make mom forget about doing school today! lol

by Welcome Squad on Aug. 1, 2010 at 12:50 AM

I have five kids and have home schooled them all. I do know what it is like to repeat lessons. However, I have a different perspective. I don't see learning as something that can be easily divided into grade levels. Years ago, I was given another home school mom's perspective of teaching and it has stuck. She compared the teaching process to hanging a shelf. First you prepare the wall and put in the hooks. Then you hang the shelves. When a shelf is sturdy and firm, you can begin to place more things on that shelf. That little picture always reminds me that kids do not mind hearning things repeated. The first time they hear things, it is like the hook that is hung on the wall. When they come across that information a year or two later, they are just a little bit more mature and ready to soak in a bit more. That is like when we hang the shelf. An even more mature child can add more understanding to the concepts he learned when you first hung those hooks. Kids do not mind it when we go back to science concepts they heard while studying with an older sibling, for example. They absorb what they can the first time, but this is how the brain works. I was going to suggest that you allow your older son to have fun reviewing concepts by "teaching" them to his younger brother. It is wonderful that he already suggested that. SO why don't you schedule a short time each for your older son to be your "assistant teacher"? It could be at the kitchen table while you prepare the family meal. Remember that a 5 yo boy will often learn so much by actively exploring his world. You don't need to feel guilty that you are not doing enough if you expose him to new things. They are not new to you, but they are often new for him. Not only that, but your older son will benefit from review. I am not suggeting that the older boy should always join the younger boy, but the younger one can join the older one. Would you allow me one more word picture? Imagine a school bus. Not every child gets off at the same stop. Some will stay on the bus longer than others. Teaching more than one student is something like a bus ride. Expect the younger student to be done eariler than an older student. Let the 5 yo join with the 8 yo when you discuss science topics or do experiments, for example. However, expect the 5 yo to wander off a little sooner. Therefore, explain simple concepts first so that the younger one can learn something new and the older one can have a review. Then dismiss the younger child and let him do something on his own while you teach more advanced concepts or vocabulary words to the older child. Give yourself permission to repeat things and allow for natural review. That may help to lesson your own feelings of boredom. The kids need the review and the time together. Besides, your younger son is getting more than a math lesson; he is getting some precious time with you! Sharon

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