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    Joined: Feb 2009
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    Thanks again to everyone, this is great!

    And Belle, thanks for the perspective... we actually had a difficult experience today, I kept him home and we had an argument (including tears from both of us) when he wouldn't do what I wanted to do when I wanted him to do it. I had this instinct that I needed to be in control of the situation (I'm still not sure I wasn't right), so obviously this led to a huge power struggle.

    Daily power struggle is not what I have in mind.

    His illness may be making him more defiant than usual... it's certainly making him more anxious.

    Hoping we will find our path...


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    DS9 and I have always had this very strong connection, and it is frequently represented by power struggles between us.

    I thought I could NEVER hs him - we would just butt heads all the time. He is a very self-directed learner (read obstinate, obsessive, focused - you get the picture)

    And for a while, this was true.

    BUT! I had an ephiphany a while back that I thought I'd share with you and that was that for US, my role is not that of the "teacher" but that of the "facilitator". When I "facilitate" what he is learning, it is EASY EASY EASY. In other words, provide him with the tools that HE needs to learn what he's learning.

    When I was the "teacher" and "telling him what to do" it was disaster.

    So, I had to back off and just let him learn what he wanted - with guidance from me in terms of materials.

    I hear you, mama...

    Last edited by Barbara; 03/11/09 10:54 AM.
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    Originally Posted by bronxmom
    And Belle, thanks for the perspective... we actually had a difficult experience today, I kept him home and we had an argument (including tears from both of us) when he wouldn't do what I wanted to do when I wanted him to do it. I had this instinct that I needed to be in control of the situation (I'm still not sure I wasn't right), so obviously this led to a huge power struggle.

    It took me a few weeks to learn to trust myself. Once I got there all was well. If I feel that today is not the right time for such and such thing that we won't do it. If things start going downhill in the middle then it's time to either stop for a break or to move onto something else. It doesn't mean that things won't get done at all. They just won't get done now.


    LMom
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    We had our share of power struggles a few years ago to the point that my son started asking me if I even liked him. He said I stopped smiling and I acted like I was upset with him all the time. Even when I told him I was sorry and that it wasn't him and that I just felt really stressed, I knew he sometimes he still wondered if it was his fault, especially those few times when I really lost it and threatened to send him back to public school when he didn't do what I asked him to do, when I asked him to do it.

    When I first started homeschooling I thought I had to do things closer to the way school did them because I was afraid my son might have to go back to public school at some point. My husband had cancer surgery only a few months before I was told by the principal and a teacher at our public school that I would need to homeschool my son. Co-pays and tests that insurance didn't pay for were adding up and I was afraid I might need to go back to work. As if that was not enough to deal with, my dad who lives next door to us really needed my help to look after my disabled mother. While trying to homeschool my son I was constantly going to the window to make sure my mother hadn't wandered out of her house wearing only her nightgown while my dad wasn't looking. I was often stressed out and distracted and there were no breaks at all from this stress. I was also worried because my son is twice exceptional and wasn't sure how to help him with handwriting issues. I just did the best I could and learned through trial and error.

    I also became more of a facilitator as time went on because what I was doing wasn't working for me or my son. Now my son and I learn a lot of things together. He says we are unschooling everything except math, which he admits is his least favorite subject and he probably wouldn't do much math if he didn't have to. I only have him do one or two worksheets 4 days a week and he does online math games to increase his mental math speed. Some things are better now and there isn't quite as much stress. My husband, who recently passed the 5-year anniversary of his surgery, is now considered a cancer survivor and things are little easier financially. For us, less stress equals more learning.


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    Wow, Lori, what a story... puts my stress in perspective. Thanks for sharing and I'm glad things are going better for your family.

    Just out of curiosity, did your son ever take up writing? This is our big issue--

    I definitely think the "backing off"-- facilitator-- model is the one that will work for us. Why take him out of school and then replicate the experience at home?

    Thanks again to everyone, this has really been very useful.

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    We're having similar struggles Lori H. Sigh..... In our case, the plan was to only HS for 3rd,4th and put him back in 5th grade. At the point, it was recommended to me, to insist/demand the school give him the end of year 6th grade test. IF he did well enough, he'd go into 7/8th grade math as a 6th grader as well put him on honors science track. So I do feel this need to stay on a school schedule. While I see posts about HSers who hated writing and DC did NO writing until college and did just fine....I'm not that confidant lol. I just don't know if my DS is a good unschooling candidate. I've seen posts by those who tried it for quite a long time and Dkids didn't thrive and really needed more structure. I like the idea of Bravewriter for instance that emphasizes narration, copywork, dictation once/twice per week at this age but I'd be fooling myself to think DS would voluntarily do those activities.

    I also have a 2yr old so I'm constantly being pulled between the two. I also have a Ker in PS who is having issues. It's not exactly a relaxing, stress-free household. frown

    Edited to add: I don't mean to compare my stress to yours Lori H. I don't even think I would have attempted HSing under those conditions! I'm glad things are going so much better and that your DH is a survivor!

    Last edited by Dazed&Confuzed; 03/11/09 04:03 PM.
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    I'm late to the party, but I see lots of great information has been offered. I'll try not to be redundant. I have just a few additional comments.

    1. Terrie Lynn Bittner has a great book for parents who are not sure if they can handle homeschooling. She's a fellow editor at bellaonline, and I am ashamed to say that I hadn't read her book until recently. It's really well written and has tons of suggestions. Terrie is so kind and gentle; she really understands newbie fears and how to combat them. Her kids are quite gifted too.

    2. Many libraries have homeschooling books on the shelves, where parent resources are located. Don't go spending a fortune before you know which books resonate with you.

    3. I homeschooled one child into college and another is dabbling in it now. We're not clear on when he'll go full time, but if money wasn't an issue, it would probably be sooner rather than later. Homeschoolers are absolutely getting into good colleges and succeeding. The MIT website even has a special blurb for homeschoolers.

    4. Homeschooling is a blast. There are bad days, to be sure, but they are far outnumbered by the good days. I tell my kids often that I feel so privileged to be able to be home with them like this. When our oldest was in public school, we had the worst part of him most days.

    5. Today my four year old was begging for me to read more of The Aeneid. How cool is that?

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    Originally Posted by Belle
    I guess we are a little different - we were thrown into homeschooling because there were no real choices for my DS6 for kindergarten - so we started homeschooling in August this year. We started out with Singapore math and I-Science, Handwriting without Tears along with Core Knowledge curriculum for Science and Social Studies. We battled every day to get work done and neither one of us was enjoying it and we are miserable.....the more I tried to push to do any work, the more he resisted....so after the holidays we began unschooling...which basically means he picks what he would like to pursue during the day and talk about a complete reversal! He is doing more math, science, social studies, art, reading than when I was trying to do a curriculum with him.


    Good, Belle! I'm so glad you found something that works for you!

    You are a perfect example of why I think that reading up on types of homeschooling available is a good idea. smile If you know that unschooling makes sense for your child and your family, then you can practice it. If not, you keep slogging away with "school at home" or Classical HSing, until you're all miserable and wondering why it doesn't work for you.

    If you're all miserable, it may mean you're doing it wrong. (For you, I mean. Not wrong in general. LOL!)


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    Originally Posted by bronxmom
    Just out of curiosity, did your son ever take up writing? This is our big issue--

    The last time I got to compare his writing with kids his age was at Cub Scouts last fall. He was supposed to write answers to questions on a citizens badge worksheet. The other kids wrote a lot more than my son wrote and writing seemed so effortless for them. My son was hunched over his paper trying to hide it so nobody could see it, just like he does if he is asked to draw something. He didn't write compete sentences, some words that should have been capitalized were not, and his words ran together. At home, where he is allowed to type, he can get his thoughts on paper easily and there are no grammar or capitalization errors, in fact he is very careful about this and he notices other people's grammar and punctuation errors. He just can't put it all together if he has to write by hand. He will type ten times more words than he will write.

    I don't make him do book reports or essays or anything like that at home. He does send emails to his sister and types thank you notes. His sentence composition and paragraph composition skills are good, but you would never know it if you looked at something he had to write by hand.

    It is really sad that there are teachers in our public school who don't understand dysgraphia and dyspraxia, won't make any attempt to learn about it, and think in my son's case, that making him practice coloring in the lines without learning anything new for an entire year is appropriate education and that he didn't need help for this because he was above grade level in everything else in kindergarten.

    I can't imagine what it would be like for him in our public school.


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    I really enjoyed the homeschool time I had with my kids. I fully expect that in another year or two, we will be back to it as there is no way i'm sending a 7yo to middle school! The part that's hard for me is just trying to keep up. But I've already decided that I'll just line up a tutor or 3 and take it from there.


    Shari
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    Ability doesn't make us, Choices do!
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