Saturday, October 20, 2012

Learning Academic Skills

I am exhausted by "homeschooling" my 7th grader with the "not-a-co-op" we are in.

One of the frustrating things is that my son lacks certain academic skills and although they are required by the "not a school and not a co-op" he does not want to learn or do them.

At present I am teaching him to:

take notes on readings of every kind (fiction books, history books, website articles, and articles)

do a summary statement of something such as a field trip taken

write creative fiction

do research for reports

write research reports

write nonfiction factual pieces of writing

memorize facts for tests

test taking

use special writing formats and rules for papers (double spaced, how to write his name per the requirements, use a title, underline the title, etc.)

follow the procedures for turning the homework in

follow the rules for organizing the paperwork in his folders and binders

writing legibly by hand

Frankly this is such a hard task to do all at once when also doing above grade level work as assigned by the teachers that I am starting to wonder if homeschooling in the past was worth it. Maybe it really is easier to just put them in school early and let the teachers slowly introduce these skills over many year's time.

I am trying to remind myself of why the alternative education was worthwhile because this transition to traditional academics is so painful that I ask myself what did we do all those years and why did I shy away from a gentle introduction to these school skills that are required for success in college?


Deborah said...

"Frankly this is such a hard task to do all at once when also doing above grade level work as assigned by the teachers that I am starting to wonder if homeschooling in the past was worth it."

The problem could be the HUGE workload, plus the "above grade level" expectations. From what you've written in your blog, the "co-op that is not a co-op" seems to be styled on some made up pedagogical methods that have no connection with the way kids actually learn.

So, when were y'all happier: when you were homeschooling in the past, or now? Maybe your original track was the better one???


ChristineMM said...

We were all happier when I homeschooled my way and allowed time for some outside classes that were a good match plus had good kids for friendships attending.

But when they both stopped cooperating with me it all started ,to sour. This was when we moved and left the established network and left the kid's friends. It happened at the moment of the move for older son and was there a little then for younger but really popped out this fall w younger son when we refused to enroll him into public school as he suddenly requested. That kid goes back and forth all the time.

Now for the courses I am now supposed to teach at home w 10th grader bc he dropped 3 online classes, he is not cooperating w me so the old successful ways are no longer working.

Ideally my older son wants 3 hours of schoolwork a day and fun time for the rest. Ha ha ha! That is what I am working with here!

After the challenge w older son I am cracking the whip on younger to learn basic school ways now. He wavers now to homeschool leniently w me or to go to school for a bigger social experience than he has now. This move really messed my kid's social lives up! Younger son probably will attend public high school so this hard experience now will prep him well to do well in public school especially bc the courses will be easier! So says 2 families I know who quit this thing!

Deborah said...

After we moved, I sometimes thought it would be nice to have enough money that I could go on a "road trip" (or train) with my daughters at will. Instead I kept an eagle eye on the Southwest Airlines sales and arranged for them to make trips "back home"...and convinced the parents of their best friends (sisters) to make return trips to our new home. (dd18 spent almost a quarter of that first year "back home".) Maybe because we live in such a remote place, it was hard to build new friendships at first, but after five years we are fairly well connected...that is, we know everyone! (It seems that way sometimes. I even belong to my town's Facebook chat.) Some things we tried didn't work out that didn't work out because the regional organizer is a pleasant enough person but with such a thirst for a win for his town that he puts all the biggest and strongest players on one team...that completely steamrolls any other team that has to play against it! dd14 loves playing on the homeschool Ultimate (frisbee) team, but has gone for long periods without wanting to go. She was very lonely when we first moved, and felt it was very unfair that her sister got to spend so much time away. Both of them have become quite attached to our new home, but neither of the two oldest want us to sell our old house, which is not as much of a problem as it might seen because a small sound well maintained house in our old neighborhood will buy a) a tiny termite infested lead trap or b) a parched desert lot where we live now. So I grit my teeth and pay the taxes and wish I could magically whisk our old house to our new area!

You make excellent points and I cannot argue with their logic. It's just that...we've already been there and it didn't work for us, and it doesn't look like it's working all that well for you either. I wish I hadn't sent my son to public school (that had been our plan all along and it seemed ideal because ninth grade coincided with some real teen defiance and cluelessness) because he apparently thought of school (as did his friends) as some sort of social club, where classes were a necessary evil, grades were not that important, only stupid people did homework...he did not get any of that attitude from home!

No matter which path you choose, I think you'll look back in five years or so and realize that things weren't as dire as they looked at the time...


Rachel said...

My oldest is going back and forth about public high school next year. She hasn't been to public school since 3rd grade and is conflicted.

She didn't adjust to our move last year very well. She did okay academically, but was very depressed. This year she is coming out of it, but isn't as into her schooling. Its also harder for her to adapt to more independent work, as in she does all her science except labs, and I just grade them all. I'd love to do more with her, but I also have a 4th grader who needs 1 on 1, and a 1st grader who needs me and 2 preschoolers!

I'm also conflicted, because I really don't know if I can homeschool her through high school. I feel like I just don't know enough. I can't even do Algebra!
I hate when the attitude rears its ugly head, because all learning stops. This is such a difficult age, and no matter what we do as parents, they are going to see it as wrong. Ugh