Monday, March 18, 2013

Homeschooling The Reluctant Teen

The challenges of homeschooling are manifold.

Some examples: 

Getting the children up in the morning.

Trying to entice a positive attitude from recalcitrant children.

Helping a 10 year old with her history curriculum (currently the spread of Islam) whilst keeping a suspicious eye on the 14 year old who is attempting to convince you she is, indeed, doing that General Science Study Guide, when in fact you know darn well she is watching You-Tube videos. 

Persuading the 10 year old that it is possible to write more than 2 sentences in a birthday thank you letter. (“Thank you.” “and Goodbye.” are not sentences).

This morning I introduced a new curriculum to the 14 year old.
Recently diagnosed as being on the Autism Spectrum, she has not been an easy student for some time. Her mind wanders in distracting ever increasing circles and her ability to keep on track with any given task is practically non-existent.

I have to confess that I have not been a good teacher.
It is far easier to concentrate on #4 child, who, though ADD and mildly dyslexic, at least is young enough to train. 
#2 child is the homeschool mothers delight. She does her work well. She gets good grades.

I have been convicted, though, of my need to spend more hands on time with #3 child.

#3 child is not similarly convicted.

Why suddenly do I want to see what she is doing? A new curriculum?? “But I don’t WANT to write”. “But I CAN’T write!”

The phrases ‘getting blood out of a stone’, and ‘it’s like pulling teeth’ were reverberating around the house this morning.

The new curriculum is called “Jump In ~ A Workbook for Reluctant and Eager Writers.”
It is actually very good. I am excited about using it.
The thing I like best is that is has something called “10 minute Writing Plunges”. Every day there is a leading sentence that the student has to complete and expand on, or a subject she has to write about. And she has to do it in only 10 minutes.
The writing is not graded, but on Friday, she has to look through what she has written, choose one of the 10 minute exercises, expand it, proof read it and hand it in to be graded.
Needless to say, #3 child was not happy. At all.
But we did it. 
After 15 minutes (5 minutes were added to make up for the tears, screams and tantrums) something that correlated to what she had been asked to do was completed.

And tomorrow she will be asked to do it again. And the next day. And the next. The overall objective is, obviously, that at some time in the future (how long in the future is yet to be determined), she will be comfortable writing for 10 minutes on given subjects. It will become easier. Maybe she will even think it is fun. 

Until that time, there will be sounds of a child being tortured emanating from our house. Rest assured she is not having her teeth extracted. Just the contents of her mind.

1 comment:

kathryn evans said...

I sympathise. I have this problem just with homework!

About Me

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I have been married to Andy since 1991, we have 4 daughters, 2 dogs, 2 cat, 4 rabbits (and various baby rabbits) and a hamster (not dead). We have lived in the U.S.A since 2000, and are citizens of the U.K. I miss many things about the U.K.(pubs, old buildings, red post boxes, church bells,narrow roads, a good joint of roast lamb with mint sauce, to name but a few) but I have grown to love the U.S.