Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Home school update, November 09

*If you follow both mine and Hana's blog then this is a repeat from what already appeared on her blog*

Home schooling is going so well. She really loves it and she is learning so much! She has THREE memory verses that she can easily recite now and we start a new one tomorrow. She has the days of the week and the months of the year totally memorized. This has REALLY helped her with understanding time like today, tomorrow, next week, next month. She is very excited about January coming because it is Kai's birthday AND she can start chewing gum again (she got gum in her hair once and then spit it directly at me once all within a couple days, and is now grounded from gum until January). So she often talks about how this is November and next month is December and then comes January!

Learning to write has been our biggest challenge. She is ready for it and wants to do it but sometimes gets very frustrated with it. I am trying to figure out if she is a perfectionist or just lazy. When she can't write one correctly, she quickly gets very upset. Sometimes she gets upset before even TRYING to write it. Before we left for Hokkaido she knew how to write 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 9 and 10. She LOVED writing these numbers. As we fill in her calendar each day she would proudly write these without wanting any help from me. After we got back from Hokkaido, the first day back in home school she had to write a 3 and she just dug her heels in the ground and refused to even try. For at least 20 minutes she would NOT try it. She wanted me to write it first and let her trace it. So I would do that and then tell her she had to write on herself and she would get livid. It was a major stand off. I knew she could do it and was determined to make her. She insisted she could not. Then she began to cry and wail about how she had forgotten it. I am still trying to figure out if she was embarrassed because she HAD forgotten or if that was an excuse or what. But after an hour of letting her trace it after I wrote it. Guiding her hand while she wrote it. Making her draw one in the air for me (which she could do with no problem). Making her trace it with her finger. She still insisted she could not do it without help and WOULD not write a three all by herself. I think the entire stand off lasted almost 2 hours. For the last hour she would draw the top of the three and then just let her pencil drag down the paper in a line or make the lower part of the three the opposite way (making a backwards s). It was crazy because I knew she knew HOW to do it, she just WOULDN'T. We had to quit because it was dinner time by then, but I told her the very first thing she would have to do the next day is write a 3. The next day it was about a 30 minute stand off but she finally wrote one. Then after that for about 3 days every time writing a number came up, she would fall apart again. But I kept talking to her about how we don't just give up because something is hard and we don't quit. She was doing this happily and without any problems just a few weeks before. It was really throwing me for a loop, WHY was she doing this all of the sudden.

And now, just a week later, she is happily bringing me papers all day long proudly showing me how she can write the number 3. The first day that she did this so proudly all on her own during play time, she came to me so excited and showed me and then said, "Mommy, I'm sorry." I asked her why she was sorry and she said she was sorry that she cried about writing the number 3.

I don't know if I will ever understand what that was all about. And I am still wondering if I handled it the right way or not since I don't know exactly where those actions were coming from. I am sure every teacher out there reading this is shaking their head at me. I bet that most instruction on teaching would totally tear my actions to shreds and have all kinds of research to show me that it was wrong to MAKE her do something. But I feel like she was testing me, to see if I would let her off the hook and not make her do something she just didn't WANT to do. Up until this point in home schooling I have babied her a little. I learned early on that to push her too much resulted in a fit that would promptly end our day of school. SHE learned that too. The only thing is I knew she COULD do what I was asking her to do this time. And I also knew that if I set up a standard for backing down when she doesn't want to do something, she will use that to her advantage in the future. She'll use that little tactic when something is a little challenging, when she just doesn't FEEL like doing something, or when she just wants to see who is in control. I think she was already using that little tactic some of the time. I am still learning what she does and doesn't know and what she can and can not do, so I was letting her get away with it so far. But I decided it was time to draw the line on being lazy and not trying! So far, we are doing MUCH better in the writing department. I think that the fact she is doing well now means I did the right thing.

What is awesome though is that through all that, she still WANTED to do home school everyday and she still loves it. Writing all that out like that makes it seems like it was a big HUGE deal, but it was only one day that the huge stand off occurred. and all other areas of home school were greeted with lots of enthusiasm and fun. It really is amazing.

So here you can see Hana's writing! (Kai's name I wrote first and she traced it, and same with "Rocky" and "Marla" too) but the rest she wrote all by herself! And the drawing is of Kai!


Kim said...

Interestingly I just read in Boundaries for Kids, that kids can't differentiate between not wanting to do something and not being able to do something. So, I have been "helping" Jun understand that when she says, "I can't" she really means, "I don't want to", and that that isn't always acceptable.

And, what is it with writing, anyway? Jun is NOT into it much at all, either! Perhaps I'm not taking the right approach!

I would love to hear other Moms/teachers comment on this post! I'd like to learn from them too!!

Marla said...

Me too Kim! I really want some more feedback on this from experienced parents/teachers.

I'm with you, what is WITH the writing thing!? I know many children who begin to love writing their numbers at 3 or 4. I kept waiting and waiting for her to show interest, and now that she finally shows interest she still has these panic issues with it. YET in her playtime she loves to practice doing it and she begs for home school and if we don't write during a lesson she ASKS for it!? I think you are so right about the not knowing the difference between can't and doesn't want to. Hana also doesn't know the difference between "I forgot" and "I don't know". She "I forgot"s everything, even information she couldn't possibly have known before! LOL!

Thanks for your comment and I love Junes 7,5,3 pictures!!!

Kim said...

Hi Marla! I wrote a post about homeschooling today. If you'd like people to check out your post, please leave the link in the comments!

I have a number of homeschoolers and teachers who read my blog, so...hopefully they will be able to shed some light on kid's hearts? minds? wills?

Sue said...

Oh, my! I felt like I was reliving a scene with my daughter as I read that!!! She was just like that at your daughter's age.

I think that you did fine. It really can be tricky to figure out whether you are being tested or not, and I don't think anyone else can really tell you - you know your daughter best, after all. I went through many scenes like that with my daughter, and was clueless for years about what the root problem was. I'm still not 100% sure, but I can tell you that I have learned that she hates to make mistakes (I think it's an oldest girl child thing), and she is NOT good under pressure. She also says, "I forgot" all the time (still).

I also now firmly believe that there is no decided age when a child "should" be able to write consistently well. My daughter is very artistic. She could draw very well from a young age, so I just "knew" that she should be able to write just fine at age 5. I think I was wrong. Drawing pictures from the imagination and copying letters properly are two different things. I think that maybe she really wasn't quite ready, and that I should have just let her continue to do her work orally for a bit longer.

Anyway, she has absolutely beautiful handwriting now at almost twelve years old, and she almost never cries over school work now (especially since we found the right math curriculum for her, which is a different story).

I think the most important ingredient for any homeschool is prayer, and I'm not sure how anyone manages without it! I pray daily that God will show me each child's needs, and that He will help me to meet each of those unique needs (and then cover all my mistakes!). Sometimes it doesn't feel like those prayers are being answered. But, when I step back and look at how far we've come, I know that they are.

You are doing a great thing for your daughter. God will show you how to teach her best. Be encouraged!