It’s good to be back here in this amazing community!! Been a while So, in a nutshell, 6th grade son(right now) pulled out mid year last school year, just put back in a charter school a few months ago…failed across the board with online homeschooling and still failing at charter school. Has been lying to me about homework and assignments…I’m lost and feel done! I can’t force him to learn or like to learn…we’ve tried almost every tip in the book…he genuinely doesn’t like school/academics at all. What does a parent do at this point!!! I keep telling myself at this point just focus on character building & real life stuff!! But with the recent progress report sent home & teachers saying they’re going to email me…too hard to just ignore all that…ANYTHING would help me at this point!!! Books, real tips that have been tested and ended with AMAZING results, seminars…magic potion!! Kidding there!! Thanks awesome homeschool families!!!
What does he like? Homeschooling can be tailored to fit (which I’m sure you know). I’d start with what he likes. Outdoors? Start with some basic nature studies. Reading? Start with some good literature. Sports? Start looking at physics, or even engineering of different sports equipment. You can find good unit studies for almost anything online.
Of course, you will eventually have to get around to Algebra But start with building an inquisitive mind and a love of learning, (and perhaps a good work ethic :)), and then move on from there.
@HSintheCity I truly feel for you!
I asked two very wise individuals, my 14yr old daughter and 9yr old son what they thought about your situation and they gave me some thoughtful answers.
I’m also wondering about what you have tried in the past. I know that you’ve posted other questions about your son and curriculum choices, but what have you actually tried. Was your homeschooling public school online or was it curriculum of your choice? Have you sat your son down and really talked with him? Does he understand that he needs to have an education of some kind? What does he want in life? What does he want in the near future? I don’t really like reward systems but I did tell my daughter that if she learned all the vocabulary words in her IEW book, and was able to use the majority (not just define) them, then I would teach her to drive this summer. I’m hearing new words daily!!! She has at least 4 other vocabulary books/online items that have basically been failures.
I pulled my kids out near the beginning of last year and it took them quite awhile to adjust. It has also taken us quite awhile to find a groove (not sure that we’ve actually found it, but we are on our way) that works for all three of us.
My kids suggestions for you and your son
- Join a homeschool co-op.
- Slow down, if the assignment is 4 pages but he’s frustrated after 2, stop, finish the lesson the next day.
- Get outside! Either do lessons outside or make your lessons about nature…nature studies.
- Read-A-Loud. At his age you may have some convincing to do, but we read quite a bit out loud and they really enjoy it.
This can be so frustrating, hang in there. My suggestion would be if you return to homeschooling to start slow. Maybe use IEW’s theory of easy+1. So do one subject for a few days or a few weeks, whatever. Then add another subject, do it for a time, then add something else. Or what about just starting your son out by helping younger siblings and working his way into his own studies?
Hope someone has something that will help you both.
Have you sat down with your son and talked with him? What does he want? How does he want to learn? It sounds to me like he is kind of crying out for attention. Did he want to do online schooling? I don’t believe that is a good fit for everyone. There must be something that gets his attention as PP have said. I would start with talking to your son, and finding out what he wants to know. What does he want to study and then build a curriculum off of that. Was your son involved in any activities outside the home? Maybe he is bored? Good luck. I hope you find something that works for you and your son!
I agree that you need to find out what’s going on–why doesn’t he do his work, what gets in the way? Is the work too hard, too easy, boring (why is it boring? What about it is boring?), not a good match in some way, does he have undiagnosed learning struggles, etc… Sit down over a snack and do this to really listen to him–not to lecture or offer solutions at this point, but just to find out what’s going on. I always told my son that things like math are not optional, but how we do it is optional, and I’m willing to work with him to find a good way for him–but he has to be willing to work with me also.
I think you need to find out why he won’t do the online assignments or the charter school assignments before you just keep trying other things. It sounds like he has made it “optional” which of course can’t continue–but it’s a habit right now and lying about it is a habit, and those will take some time, diligence, and accountability to break. I would work with him to come up with a workable plan that will help him be successful, and help him to establish better habits for his own good and future success. Really let him know that you are on his side, and that you want to help him succeed. You can do a lot of different things–be more interest led, do literature-based studies, do unit studies etc… but the method that will “work” is going to again depend on why he doesn’t work now. Maybe he needs more one on one interaction. Maybe he’s struggling with reading or writing but it’s gone under the radar so far.
Some kids get really good at compensating, but as they near junior high, their strategies don’t work as well and things start to fall apart. It’s not uncommon for a child to try to hide the fact that he or she is struggling–I wouldn’t first approach this as a character issue, but would approach with grace and understanding that you see something needs to change–and find out what that something is. Often kids use “laziness” as a way of hiding their struggles, because it’s easier for them to be called “lazy” than what they really fear–that they’re stupid. Of course, kids with learning differences or learning struggles are not stupid (and many are even gifted), but they just don’t understand.
You may end up deciding that there are character issues involved–but again, really try to get to the root of why, and then decide what will help him develop better patterns. Getting materials that work with his needs may be part of that solution. Testing may be part of that solution. One on one with mom or a tutor, and some daily accountability may be part of it. Pray about it, think through and talk with him, and come up with a plan together. Once you know how to proceed, then you can come up with accountability plans that involve some kind of daily checking so that you can stay on top of his needs.
Hang in there!
Thank you everyone for your responses and advice! Appreciate very much! After a couple of days to try and think things through during all this season chaos I’m just feeling it’s really me that takes place in that root of his problem. Expectations too high, me still trying to figure my gift/calling in life, bored with being home all the time but don’t want a boss, husband & I not on the same page with parenting stuff, wanting to work on myself but kids are growing & changing so fast that I can’t concentrate on me for more than a minute without having to stop on me & get back to the kids…LOL!!! I sure sound upbeat here! But you guys get what I mean I’m not great so why should I expect my son to be great?? I don’t have it all together right now, why should he?? Lots to think & consider here my friends…
I don’t know if this is of any help but it could potentially be good for your son to read this Boyhood and Beyond by Bob Schultz. It’s really great!
I just want you to know you are not alone. My 5 th grade son is becoming very rude, trying to pick and choose what he does as far as school goes. It takes him forever to complete anything unless he is given my full attention and then it still takes a long time. He has a diagnosis of ADHD, mild Aspergers, OCD, and ODD. He was on medication last year ( our first year hsing) but due to a new orthodontic appliance he cannot take his pill, we have tried EVERYTHING as far as administering it and other meds don’t work the specific way this one did on his brain, long story short even with extra support (ST, OT, counseling, parent training, tons of classes focusing on these areas, behavioral, all the tools we can think of) he is still struggling so very much. Our days don’t follow a schedule like last year and I’m so exhasted before I leave for work I am ready to be done with HSing.
One tool that we used when he was at a private school prior to this was a contract. If you google homework contract it will bring you samples. We actually do this daily with him, I write out what is expected for the day so there are no surprises , it outlines what I will help him with and for how much time, that once his work and chores are complete what activities he can choose to do ( like screen time, etc) , and how his behavior is linked to fun things. Daily he signs it as do I with the understanding he will not fuss about work. He does get to control what subjects he wants to do regarding order so he has some choice. This has gotten us through the last week and a half. Maybe it would help you?
I pray for your family , it is so tough to want so much for a child and do so much for them only to get fussing in return. I will be watching this post hoping to see more ideas for mamas who are ready to give up.
Thank you!! I will look in to that…he is in a charter school right now but this homework contract would be a good try!! I seriously don’t know how all the home school parents out there do it!!! Teach their kids, home majority of the time, repetitive routine…I feel like it’s ground hog day around here lately I want to look in to doing something from home business wise but just can’t seem to fit that in my daily schedule and night hits and I’m exhausted!! So hard being selfless huh?
Hi! I agree with all of these lovely responses, everyone has great ideas. And I also think that homeschooling is probably a better option for you at this point. There are all things we don’t want to have to do, unfortunately sometimes they’re required. That has been different for each of my kiddos, for some they don’t like math. Others love it. But either way they all need to do it so that they can get a good education, and hopefully have a bright future ahead of them as well.
I would also try to soften the blow with the things he doesn’t like to do with things that he does like to do. Make sure you have a good mix of activities. School is required, but if he’s doing it without too much resistance, then he can also get to do something he enjoys like sports, or some type of co-op group, activity, etc. Reward his diligence with maybe a special art class, or music lessons, you know, whatever he’s interested in.
You can also tailor the curriculum to fit his style and needs better too. If he’s more hands-on then I would search for curriculum that isn’t so sit-down-worksheet oriented. But something that can get him up and experiencing things. There are a ton of great hands-on science curriculum out there, as well as like the snap circuits, robotics, electronics etc. (Those are all things that our son loves.) Our son is much more likely to blaze through his work if he knows he’s got something to look forward to at the end too.
Some days it’s something fun like a robotics experiment, some days it’s just getting out of the house for a playdate, or today we’re going ice skating after school.
Online homeschool might not be the best choice for him if he’s not doing well. It could be for a variety of reasons, maybe he’s not as good with the computer, or sitting at a computer all day might also not be his best way of learning. I would probably try something that is led by you instead of online. We do a mix here with a couple of things online and the rest are teacher led by me. I think mixing it up is also a nice variety as well and can help. It will also curb the lying that is going on as well because if you’re checking everything daily he won’t be able to lie. While I like to use positive reinforcements whenever possible, unfortunately he might also need some consequences for that action until he figures out that it’s easier to just do his work than to lie about it.
All this will take diligence on both your part to get him back into a learning environment that he can thrive in and on his part to actually comply with what’s being asked of him.
Thank you Erica for taking time to respond! Appreciate your suggestions and tips
I’m sorry that you are both having such a hard time. I’ll keep you guys in my prayers