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Need encouragement: First day disaster

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  • sfhargett
    replied
    First days are always hard. Some people do a staggered start, where they start school with the oldest child for a week or so, then the next, so on so forth. Some only start with a few subjects. Kids are naturally going to push back and have attitudes. With firm, but kind consistency on your part, that will fade some. Even two days off for a weekend, make Mondays so much worse than other days for my kids. After a vacation, it feels like we're almost back to the beginning.

    But I also echo Sarah's advice to not change your best laid plans, give you self a few weeks to work up to your schedule, then another few weeks to practice it. Then decide if it needs tweaking. Check out past year's Sodalitas videos. They are invaluable. I was watching this year's 3rd grade teacher training and in the intro, the teacher said she feels lucky if she gets through math, Latin, and maybe spelling on the first day. That was a master teacher with something like 14 years experience. So these first day (weeks) struggles are not only for us homeschoolers.

    Leave a comment:


  • KF2000
    replied
    Meg+3 ,


    Would love that!

    AMDG,
    Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • Meg+3
    replied
    Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
    VaScarlet ,

    Oh man, first days like that are indeed a beast, and can deal a deafening blow to the enthusiasm we have built up for a fresh, new beginning. But, they are not unheard of. Maybe not a lot of first days end up that way, but definitely enough "early" days do! It definitely sounds like you tried your best to prepare yourself. And judging from your post history, it does look as though you had started at least a few subjects with MP earlier this year (did you finish those? just wondering.) So to have such a frustrating beginning to the new year is - well, yeah. It's a tough one to take.

    But here's the thing. You learned something today. You learned right off the get-go that plans are just that - plans. We do our best to put together what we think is going to be good, right, and appropriate; but very often, those plans are mere guesses at these things. Trust me...I am a researcher at heart. I put A LOT of effort into my plans. I could probably be highly offended if someone claimed that my carefully crafted plans were a mere guess. But yet, if I reflected carefully about it, I would have to admit that no, I cannot actually predict the future, and that yes, most plans are indeed filled with a lot more hope than certainty that this is how things will actually go. In reality, we just don't know until we try.

    It could be tempting to think that the conclusion of this point - that you learned something today about your plans - would be that you necessarily have to change something. But no. Honestly, whole-heartedly, no. You probably don't need to change anything about what you have planned. At least, not yet. The one and only adjustment that I would make is to try to take each minute of the next day with a bit less intensity than you had today. I know I was not a fly on your wall; and my suggestion is going to come from my own memories of my very worst first days, my very worst sick days, and my very worst "I can't take it any more" days. For me, the worst thing about those days, when I look back on them now, the only only only thing I would change...is how I behaved. Kids are kids. There is so much that they don't know they "should" know yet, and there is so much that they want to do to please us...but they just don't know how yet.

    I love MP, and I love Classical education. One of the reasons that I love it is that there are so many on-paths. You can figure out where your child needs to be, according to what he or she is capable of doing, start there, and then try to make very slow, very incremental progress. Wherever your children are in their skills - whether they be academic skills, or character skills like cheerful cooperation - there is a place to begin, and there is progress that can be made. If today was too much, try to begin again tomorrow with a lighter touch. Acknowledge the difficulties of the previous day, talk about what went wrong, and what the expectations are to help things go better. Apologize if necessary, and determine a new system, if it seems necessary. For our kids who are capable of writing, they don't get sent to their rooms for disrespectful behavior during school. They have to write sentences that stress the good behavior that I expect. If it was just being moody, but not disrespectful, then they get a physical punishment to pop them out of the mood...such as climbing stairs, running in the backyard, or doing work for Mom. My explanation is, "If you are going to delay our work together, and waste my time, you can take over some of the work I was planning on doing today instead." None of this is done with a mean or angry tone of voice...just very matter-of-fact. I am not trying to teach them to fear me. I am trying to teach them that their choices have consequences, both at home, and in life. But even still, there have been calls made to do Dad on occasion....which has always proven to be an effective tactic too!

    Last point. MP is challenging. No doubt. And there are no apologies for that. Trying to cultivate wisdom and pursue virtue is not for the faint of heart. But whereas in a lot of homeschool curricula, these goals, mission statements, and tag lines get only lip service, MP actually means it. We do actually have to do the hard work of character training that is necessary for our children to be capable of this path. It's not out of reach for anyone; it's just not as much fun as a lot of what else is out there. But fun only gets you so far. Climbing a mountain isn't exactly fun either. But the experience is priceless.

    Hang in there, dear one. You got the wind knocked out of you today. Tomorrow is another day, fresh, with no mistakes in it. Stick with it; and trust that every little bit of progress you make is something your kids will probably thank you for one day.

    #wedohardthingshere

    AMDG,
    Sarah
    I need to be able to "like" posts. This one would get a big red heart!! <3 <3 <3 Also, I've decided we need to be friends KF2000. I need to bask in the overflow of your wisdom.

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    VaScarlet, this is what I wrote yesterday:


    I think we've all been there at some point or another... or even every year Hopefully you've figured out your transition to MP, but if you still have specific questions about certain books, feel free to ask. Since this is a time of transition and adapting, you have to expect some difficulties. You have been thinking about this change for a while, and have had time to understand how the work is done with your new resources, but it's all new for your children.

    If you haven't done so already, you could have a couple of days spending some one-on-one time with the children, going over their new books with them, talking about the new subjects, and explaining how the work is done. It is very important that they know what the expectations are, and that you're there to help them work towards being comfortable with them. Talk about the daily schedule too, and its various parts. In short, spend some time walking them through school before actually working on it. The goal is for them to become familiar with things and with a rhythm, because often unpredictability or uncertainty as to what is expected of them is a major driver of school time battles. Keep in mind that you're all in a process, and the desired results will be seen in the future - not quite at the end of the process, but certainly not on the first day!

    Another important thing is to manage your fears: isn't it interesting that we recognize bad school attitudes in our kids, but we, too, can carry inside some attitudes that work against our goals. You already know that it is normal to spread the initial week(s) over a longer period of time - remind yourself that there is a reason why this is a good idea. It takes time to get up to speed, and I've never met the kid who looks forward to working on school full time after summer. Your kids sound like they're behaving like a lot of other normal kids, dragging their feet, testing your resolve, trying to get out of their side of the school bargain. So you can tell yourself that things went in a pretty predictable way for a first day of school, especially a first day with so many novelties.

    There are some past forum threads that deal with kids battling work - I recently stumbled upon this one, and this follow-up. And there was this very interesting discussion. Maybe they will give you some good food for thought!

    Leave a comment:


  • Fireweed Prep
    replied
    I saw your post, twice, yesterday, and just couldn't comment with anything helpful because my entire brain was melting with life overload. So, I guess, know you aren't alone???? I was so thankful to have a frank discussion with my husband last night, and a solid night of sleep, and a stretchy yoga time this morning, and am feeling like there is hope in the world again. I pray that you are feeling that way, too!

    Leave a comment:


  • MBentley
    replied
    Something weird happens around day 16 - actual school day 16, not 16 days total - and you look around and things are just smoother, calmer, better, for both teacher and student. Until that time, I can't describe it as anything but a battle. Sometimes, the battle is ability driven, other times it's emotional, or stubbornness, or even just fatigue from the newness of all of it. I would say be gentle with yourself right now - more with yourself than with the kids.

    I'd echo others about taking a while to get through these early lessons. Get the structure in place, and the volume and content will start to pick up. I'd also say to go look at the Sodalitas videos where they "teach the teacher" - I just saw the 2020 live conference, and I learned so much. It's difficult when you have one kid at one grade, because you don't know what is typical of a larger group of the same grade. I've been shocked and surprised to learn that what I was thinking was typical, was actually only typical of very few students and everyone else needed scaffolding to get there. When you have a kid with challenges (my oldest), followed by an academic genius (2nd kid), it makes the picture for the challenged kid look more pessimistic - and the reality is that many of the struggles are normal for the vast majority of kids of the same age group in the same grade. That really helped me, and made me realize that the challenges can be met and the content mastered because most will face the same difficulties.

    You might even cut the classes in half or a third, until a general rhythm is in place. Hand strength could be an issue here too if the kiddo hasn't done a lot of writing in the past. The only way to get better at it is to do it, and that will take a bit...about 16+ days or so.

    The attitude battles are sometimes the most difficult. I've used these as opportunities to bring on more adult knowledge of the world, what life expects, what the consequences of failures of character are, and even opportunities to share how I had the same struggles. One son became so frustrated with me for correcting his behavior that he put his head down and said he'd never get it right. I spent half a day digging out my own elementary school records to show my own report cards - where my grades were okay, but my character needed some...or a lot...of work. We had a real opportunity to bond and I could show how learning to be a good student is one of practice, not innate skill. Correcting behavior isn't about telling where we failed, but putting us back on track to practice the right behavior - like a math problem. I showed how it took years - like 10 of them - before teachers started commenting that I was a good student. It helped me too, to remember being that kid who struggled to have the right attitude about the work and effort of learning.

    Hang in there Mama.

    Leave a comment:


  • KF2000
    replied
    VaScarlet ,

    Oh man, first days like that are indeed a beast, and can deal a deafening blow to the enthusiasm we have built up for a fresh, new beginning. But, they are not unheard of. Maybe not a lot of first days end up that way, but definitely enough "early" days do! It definitely sounds like you tried your best to prepare yourself. And judging from your post history, it does look as though you had started at least a few subjects with MP earlier this year (did you finish those? just wondering.) So to have such a frustrating beginning to the new year is - well, yeah. It's a tough one to take.

    But here's the thing. You learned something today. You learned right off the get-go that plans are just that - plans. We do our best to put together what we think is going to be good, right, and appropriate; but very often, those plans are mere guesses at these things. Trust me...I am a researcher at heart. I put A LOT of effort into my plans. I could probably be highly offended if someone claimed that my carefully crafted plans were a mere guess. But yet, if I reflected carefully about it, I would have to admit that no, I cannot actually predict the future, and that yes, most plans are indeed filled with a lot more hope than certainty that this is how things will actually go. In reality, we just don't know until we try.

    It could be tempting to think that the conclusion of this point - that you learned something today about your plans - would be that you necessarily have to change something. But no. Honestly, whole-heartedly, no. You probably don't need to change anything about what you have planned. At least, not yet. The one and only adjustment that I would make is to try to take each minute of the next day with a bit less intensity than you had today. I know I was not a fly on your wall; and my suggestion is going to come from my own memories of my very worst first days, my very worst sick days, and my very worst "I can't take it any more" days. For me, the worst thing about those days, when I look back on them now, the only only only thing I would change...is how I behaved. Kids are kids. There is so much that they don't know they "should" know yet, and there is so much that they want to do to please us...but they just don't know how yet.

    I love MP, and I love Classical education. One of the reasons that I love it is that there are so many on-paths. You can figure out where your child needs to be, according to what he or she is capable of doing, start there, and then try to make very slow, very incremental progress. Wherever your children are in their skills - whether they be academic skills, or character skills like cheerful cooperation - there is a place to begin, and there is progress that can be made. If today was too much, try to begin again tomorrow with a lighter touch. Acknowledge the difficulties of the previous day, talk about what went wrong, and what the expectations are to help things go better. Apologize if necessary, and determine a new system, if it seems necessary. For our kids who are capable of writing, they don't get sent to their rooms for disrespectful behavior during school. They have to write sentences that stress the good behavior that I expect. If it was just being moody, but not disrespectful, then they get a physical punishment to pop them out of the mood...such as climbing stairs, running in the backyard, or doing work for Mom. My explanation is, "If you are going to delay our work together, and waste my time, you can take over some of the work I was planning on doing today instead." None of this is done with a mean or angry tone of voice...just very matter-of-fact. I am not trying to teach them to fear me. I am trying to teach them that their choices have consequences, both at home, and in life. But even still, there have been calls made to do Dad on occasion....which has always proven to be an effective tactic too!

    Last point. MP is challenging. No doubt. And there are no apologies for that. Trying to cultivate wisdom and pursue virtue is not for the faint of heart. But whereas in a lot of homeschool curricula, these goals, mission statements, and tag lines get only lip service, MP actually means it. We do actually have to do the hard work of character training that is necessary for our children to be capable of this path. It's not out of reach for anyone; it's just not as much fun as a lot of what else is out there. But fun only gets you so far. Climbing a mountain isn't exactly fun either. But the experience is priceless.

    Hang in there, dear one. You got the wind knocked out of you today. Tomorrow is another day, fresh, with no mistakes in it. Stick with it; and trust that every little bit of progress you make is something your kids will probably thank you for one day.

    #wedohardthingshere

    AMDG,
    Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    Uh oh, my answer went into limbo - hopefully you can read it soon, VaScarlet!

    Leave a comment:


  • Mrs Bee
    replied
    I think we've all been there at some point or another... or even every year Hopefully you've figured out your transition to MP, but if you still have specific questions about certain books, feel free to ask. Since this is a time of transition and adapting, you have to expect some difficulties. You have been thinking about this change for a while, and have had time to understand how the work is done with your new resources, but it's all new for your children.

    If you haven't done so already, you could have a couple of days spending some one-on-one time with the children, going over their new books with them, talking about the new subjects, and explaining how the work is done. It is very important that they know what the expectations are, and that you're there to help them work towards being comfortable with them. Talk about the daily schedule too, and its various parts. In short, spend some time walking them through school before actually working on it. The goal is for them to become familiar with things and with a rhythm, because often unpredictability or uncertainty as to what is expected of them is a major driver of school time battles. Keep in mind that you're all in a process, and the desired results will be seen in the future - not quite at the end of the process, but certainly not on the first day!

    Another important thing is to manage your fears: isn't it interesting that we recognize bad school attitudes in our kids, but we, too, can carry inside some attitudes that work against our goals. You already know that it is normal to spread the initial week(s) over a longer period of time - remind yourself that there is a reason why this is a good idea. It takes time to get up to speed, and I've never met the kid who looks forward to working on school full time after summer. Your kids sound like they're behaving like a lot of other normal kids, dragging their feet, testing your resolve, trying to get out of their side of the school bargain. So you can tell yourself that things went in a pretty predictable way for a first day of school, especially a first day with so many novelties.

    There are some past forum threads that deal with kids battling work - I recently stumbled upon this one, and this follow-up. And there was this very interesting discussion. Maybe they will give you some good food for thought!

    Leave a comment:


  • dlwright12
    replied
    We are brand new to MP, too, and our first few days were a real challenge for all of us! My oldest is in 2nd this year. We've been homeschooling from the beginning of his education, but with a much less rigorous program, and much less structure. We are now in our 4th week, and we absolutely love this curriculum! We are settling into a routine, and we both enjoy the predictable order of our days and weeks. The coursework is being completed more quickly now that I am more efficient at teaching it and he is more familiar with the expectations. My son has even commented on how much he is learning, and how much he enjoys the structure of the curriculum. That was definitely not the attitude he had in our first couple of days! Hang in there....it will get easier

    Also, I will add, I am making accomodations as needed. My son has some learning challenges, so this isn't new to us, but I often assist him, depending on his needs each day. He doesn't write every answer in his guides.... sometimes he answers them orally and I write out a model for him to copy down, or sometimes I will help with writing as he dictates his answers.

    One of my favorite resources has been the Sodalitas videos from previous years that can be found here on the website. "The Well Ordered Homeschool" is one of my favorites. You should be able to find it here: https://www.memoriapress.com/2015-so...hering-videos/

    Hope this helps!

    Leave a comment:


  • VaScarlet
    started a topic Need encouragement: First day disaster

    Need encouragement: First day disaster

    Hi all,
    I need some encouragement and advice. Today was our first day using full curriculum for my three. DS 1 (5th grader), DD (3rd grader), DS 2 (K). I made up a detailed schedule and began with such high hopes. I ended up sending the two oldest to their rooms because of attitudes. DS 1 accomplished First Form Latin, half of grammar, and some math. I am so discouraged with him. I realized that I fear he is behind his peers. The Memoria Press work is a huge step up for him. He freaks out about writing the answers to just three of the questions in a workbook. I know that you guys say to expect for the first 10 days to take the first five days of assignments but it feels like we are moving even slower than that. We didn't even attempt recitation. He dislikes school and getting him to do anything is a battle. Have you been where I am? What did you do?
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