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Homeschooling. Part rant part help


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#1 LenaK

Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:00 PM

So I'm in Europe where we have now been in quarantine and homeschooling for two and half weeks. We will be homeschooling until at least May and there is a probability that this will remain in place until the end of June. JUNE!!!!

DS9 is a good kid. He is clever. Has a very curious mind and loves science - always looking for the how and why.  

He works very very slowly and meticulously, often failing his tests at school for not finishing on time. That is not so much of a concern for me at the moment - what is a problem is that he is reluctant to try anything unless he is certain he can do it. Even in kindy he refused to sing along unless he was sure he knew every word of the song.

Now that we are homeschooling it is a disaster. He is incredibly stubborn and is literally falling apart at every.single.task.  This morning he started yelling and having a tantrum saying he didn't know all the capital letters. I'm sure he knows all the capital letters, but he wont even try.

I've been harnessing every ounce of patience and working slowly together through everything but I get the feeling that the more I support him the worse his behaviour gets?

He will literally not try anything on his own. He will not work independently even if you do the first question together, the second question becomes a meltdown and he finding reasons to try and argue with me about every single tiny little thing.  Apparently I don't know what capital letters are 🤨 I try as much as possible not to engage in these "discussions" but I am at my wits end.

I don't know where to go from here. Part of me says take a deep breath and continue to encourage him, and the other just wants to go ah $#@^%$ he can ^&$#@$%% and I don't care if he %#@#$#.

How do I get him to try?

June 😩

#2 *Spikey*

Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:08 PM

Rather than argue about the work - acknowledge that he is having big scary feelings and get those done and sorted. It's okay for him to be worried and scared, heck, we all are (or should be).

Then ask him to tell you a couple of ways you could do something - or your could suggest a couple of ways, including some that are obviously 'wrong' for him to correct you.

I'd be ignoring the behaviour you don't like - and remembering to positively interact with the behaviour you do like.

I've also used the line "you seem unusually upset, you must need more sleep, perhaps you want to go back to bed for a while".

You could ask what would happen if he made a mistake, or it wasn't right the first time - and use exaggeration as tool to make it clear that nothing seriously comes from making mistakes, other than learning.

As we say, it's a really good thing you didn't give up learning to wipe your bum after your first attempt. ;)

#3 Expelliarmus

Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:23 PM

After acknowledging the feelings etc per Spikey’s post there are a few strategies you can try.

One is ‘deliver and go’. Give a short, one step instruction and then walk away. Don’t engage with carry on or a tantrum, don’t respond at all even to reassure or repeat. Just give the instruction and go. Wait it out and then interact when an attempt is made.

Put a time limit on it and put a timer on. When the time is up, even if it isn’t done, remove the task, put it in a box marked ‘unfinished’ and say something like ‘we will try again tomorrow, now it is time for maths’ and get out a new task. Bring the undone task out the next day. You may need to repeat deliver and go.

Reward time is also something you could try. Set up x amount of work - in minutes - and then x amount of reward time - so something he likes doing. Or you could make a finished box and x number of finished tasks earns reward time.

#4 LenaK

Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:29 PM

lol. give up on wiping bum Thanks Spikey. I needed that.

For the most part ignoring doesn't work because then the work doesnt get done, but sending him for time out and suggesting he needs to go for a rest does work. in fact at the moment this is only thing that works, but it goes like this...

Me: perhaps you need a rest. Go and have a lie down or read quietly in your bed for a little while.
DS: *throws book* IM NOT TIRED I DONT WANT TO REST YOU DONT UNDERSTAND
Me: one.
DS: *stomps to room* AAAARRCHHH IM NOT TIRED
Me. sigh.
***15 minutes later***
DS: Im sorry mummy.
Me: OK. are we ready to try again.
DS: yeah.
Cuddle. Finish capitals. fruit snack/break
Me: Now lets do the 6 times tables
*repeat above scenario*

We've been focusing on making mistakes for several years. We have books about making mistakes. We model making mistakes. But none of that seems to translate into trying.

#5 Prancer is coming

Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:33 PM

I have no idea how it all works in Europe, but is a teacher overseeing the program that could give you advice?

Education is extremely important to me.  At the same time though, I have no desire to have a constant battle at home and have home schooling affect my relationship with my child.  Particularly when we are in the middle of a crisis.  I would ease back and just focus on some reading and maths, either fun on line programs or incidental stuff like cooking.   But again, talk to who is in charge.  My kid’s teacher was telling me today that they will still need to revise everything in the online packages just in case people did not do them or understand them.  So just focus on staying sane!

With the not trying unless he knows how to do it stuff, I read some good advice about how to encourage them to have a go.  It was about asking them a question that had no right answer and just encourage them to guess.  Stuff like how many peop.e in our suburb have dogs, how many people in your class are having sausages for tea tonight, how many people do you think were in the supermarket.  Helps to show it is okay to have a go and there may not be a right answer needed.

#6 LenaK

Posted 26 March 2020 - 08:39 PM

View PostExpelliarmus, on 26 March 2020 - 08:23 PM, said:

After acknowledging the feelings etc per Spikey’s post there are a few strategies you can try.

One is ‘deliver and go’. Give a short, one step instruction and then walk away. Don’t engage with carry on or a tantrum, don’t respond at all even to reassure or repeat. Just give the instruction and go. Wait it out and then interact when an attempt is made.

Put a time limit on it and put a timer on. When the time is up, even if it isn’t done, remove the task, put it in a box marked ‘unfinished’ and say something like ‘we will try again tomorrow, now it is time for maths’ and get out a new task. Bring the undone task out the next day. You may need to repeat deliver and go.

Reward time is also something you could try. Set up x amount of work - in minutes - and then x amount of reward time - so something he likes doing. Or you could make a finished box and x number of finished tasks earns reward time.

I like the sound of deliver and go! I think this might help with the attention seeking element of the behaviour. I'm going to try this!

Time limits stress him out because he works very carefully so I have been reluctant to use them but maybe if reframe it?  You only have to do this for 15 minutes? Instead of 'must finish in 15 minutes'. Actually... I could use Dev sprints! ooh, that might be good!

We have reward time but so far nothing really seems to motivate effectively. We will continue to try different things until we find his 'currency',

#7 22Fruitmincepies

Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:11 PM

This is my 5.5yo DD. Very bright and inquisitive, but will not do something until she knows she can do it. At 2.5yo she surprised us by knowing the numbers 1-10, we knew she could count but had no idea she had any number recognition.

She’s year 1 (WA, and young) and there is so much yelling of “but you don’t understand!”, insistence that she can’t read (she can read a lot more than she thinks) and refusal to try stuff. So I’m going to give Expelli’s suggestions a go. We are only on day 2 of homeschooling, but she was playing so nicely with 2yo DS that I didn’t bother with school work until mid-afternoon when we did some reading eggs and mathletics. She was very reluctant to start reading eggs, but I said she only had to do 10 minutes and she ended up doing 30.

#8 kirtyw

Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:23 PM

My favourite song ever is 'the power of yet' ... its on sesame st.

Try it.  I use it with my preppies all the time.  


Having said that ..... I can't teach my own children... it just ends in tears.


Be strong.  Take a day off and start a new
....


Oh.. try and NOW and THEN chart....

NOW - we are doing maths THEN we are watching BLUEY.

NOW - we are watching BLUEY THEN we will have a drink....

I use this for keeping on track with some of my more colourful characters.

#9 Blue Shoe

Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:24 PM

I can empathise OP. My DD7 is so stressed about making mistakes and doesn’t want to even start a task if she thinks she might get any part of it wrong. We’re only a few days into homeschooling and I’m yet to find the right approach. A timer definitely wouldn’t work - she would get so worked up by that. Sometimes getting her to get a few done with me beside her, so that she realises she can actually do the task, works. But unfortunately in general she wants to check that she’s getting it right, every single step of the way, so I can’t just get her started and then let her work independently on it. I think my best approach will be setting a minimal amount she must complete - like with dinner “you have to eat at least 5 pieces of x then you can go” and hoping that once she’s done that amount she realises it’s not so terrible and is able to continue with the rest of the task.
Good luck! You’re not alone!!

#10 Expelliarmus

Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:38 PM

Bear in mind the timer is not for getting it done in that length of time. It’s is ‘this is how long I want you to do it for and when the time is up you can stop’. Do not be stressed about getting things finished at this point. Put a timer on it so you aren’t sitting there getting angry with each other all day. A 9yo I would start with 15 minutes. A 5-6yo 5 minutes and a 7-8yo 10 minutes.

Another thing to look at is how much is on the task sheet? It may help to fold it in half and only show one section at a time. Children can get overwhelmed if they can see all the work but if they can see only two questions it is less overwhelming. Cutting the sheet up or folding it so only 1-2 questions are visible can help.

Have the child set the reward. ‘First you will do 5 minutes of learning from the pack/box/tasks, Then you can have ten minutes your choice. What will it be?’ And yes. Give them more reward time than work time to start with. Ask then what reward they want. They may surprise you.

#11 DM. 2012

Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:41 PM

I am dreading the full closure of schools here in Qld, which I expect to happen after our school holidays, for the same reasons.

My DS8 at homework time is always claiming that he doesn’t know how to do things and needs help.  The homework he gets is pretty straight forward.  Even in his recent parent teacher interviews his teacher said he seems to wants someone with him a lot.  It  gets pretty stressful at home because I really try to encourage him to be more independent but he gets upset and whines.  I sometimes feel like If I gave him any more help with some things I’d be giving him the answers.

#12 amdirel

Posted 26 March 2020 - 09:50 PM

Sounds like my child. He has anxiety.
It's soooooo painful.

#13 ekbaby

Posted 26 March 2020 - 10:13 PM

Wow these are great tips thank you ! Can tell who the teachers are !
My 8yo is like this....ugh

#14 Acidulous Osprey

Posted 26 March 2020 - 10:41 PM

I was a home educator with two very anxious resistant kids.    I early on decided that I valued a close relationship with them with mutual respect over bullying and nagging them into doing schoolwork.

It has to be acknowledged that teachers have a very different relationship with their students than parents do.  A lot of those techniques are not going to work for you as a parent with anxious kids in a time of pretty universal fear.

I'd back off, do fun learning activities like baking or drawing or designing lego.  Anything but fighting over capital letters.  Let's face it they will learn those sooner or later whether or not you make them do that exercise.  I learned my alphabet when I got a job as a file clerk.  I was 18.  How I got through school never knowing it is beyond me.

#15 g_uzica

Posted 27 March 2020 - 07:52 AM

DD11 is the same and to a lesser extent so is DS.  I found that one on one learning time amplifies the issue as they can't hide from doing the work or answering the questions like they can at school.

At school they can watch the other children around them, overhear the teacher talking to another child, not put their hand up when they're unsure, but at home they are in the spot light.

DD is A LOT better now, but it has taken a lot of time using many of the strategies mentioned above.

#16 Hypnic Jerk

Posted 27 March 2020 - 08:06 AM

View Post*Spikey*, on 26 March 2020 - 08:08 PM, said:


As we say, it's a really good thing you didn't give up learning to wipe your bum after your first attempt. ;)

I did not know that we said that.  EB teaches me something every day.



OP, just another tip, swap 'if' for 'when'.

Instead of "If you get this sheet finished we can go on the Xbox"  it becomes
"When you get this finished we can go on the  XBox"

It's a small change but a big difference.  It shows him you have confidence he will do it, it puts the reward in closer reach.  It also removes the idea that he has choice in the matter.  "If" implies he has the option.  "When" tells him it's expected to be done.

#17 *Marty*

Posted 27 March 2020 - 08:11 AM

not much time to reply but have a look at Emotion Coaching.


Acknowledge his frustrations but you dont need to fix it.  Just by acknowledging him, he is being heard and given time he will come up with his own solutions - sounds like he does.

You sound really frustrated that you dont know all of your capitals

You sound really angry

Sounds like you are a bit unsure of how to do xwz

Sounds like you dont want to sit alone when you are doing your work.

See what he comes back with...

Also, not sure if you are following an Australian sylabus but you can download your stat's handwriting font.  just type in google: (state) handwriting font.

Not homeschooling here yet but guess we might after the holidays.




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