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    Struggling hard, any suggestions appreciated.

    Hello all!

    We started September 6th and have barely started on the 4th week at this point (we've done Monday). I'm feeling so discouraged. I have a 5th and 6th grader. My 6th grader is doing wonderfully. Gets her work done and doesn't complain. My 5th grader, however, has behavioral issues related to conduct disorder. These are not issues that will get better in a school setting, in fact they may be exacerbated (until we pulled him out, it was a miracle he hadn't been expelled - he'd been in physical fights that he'd initiated). He has repeatedly lied about finishing his work. Takes 2-3 days to do work because he just doesn't want to do it (truly - he says this outright). He's perfectly capable and well and truly smart. So consequently, we have spent the total of 2-3 weeks of school having him do work he lied about doing because I cannot bring myself to move on without him being up to date.

    I have been doing the full core. And like I said, it's not a problem for me or my 6th grader (and without conduct disorder, I truly believe it wouldn't be a problem for him either). I cannot for the life of me think of something "unnecessary" that we can drop to lighten his load (in case it's too much). We live in OH and are required to teach all subjects unless we have a sincerely held religious belief prohibiting us from doing so - and I have no such beliefs making geography or spelling something we don't do (and in fact, they struggle with spelling, so that's a pass on eliminating it).

    We spend maybe 2-3 hours at the table during the day and he has work to do at his desk in his room after that. My 6th grader takes another 2-3 hours (which brings her to the 5-6 hours she should spend school). My son uses the bathroom every 20 minutes and doodles on his wall (or scratches things into his desk or his bed or his dresser) because he can't figure out how to add two digit numbers (He can and has been able to since 1st grade, this is an example of the type of lies he tells - when you call him on it, he stops and just complains that he doesn't want to do it).

    I know it sounds like I'm just dumping on my son, but when I say I have no idea how to make this better - I really don't. I have instituted nightly homework checks - I realize I was neglectful at first, pregnancy exhaustion is what I'm blaming. He has an assignment book that I make sure he writes everything down in, so having a checklist (a help for the neurodivergent brain) is something he has. He also doesn't have distractions in his room at the moment. No toys or anything that he would be doing otherwise. I do check on him as much as possible.

    I'm looking for any suggestions related to MP curriculum or instruction that will help. His sister and he share some subjects, so anytime he has to make up work, they don't do school. I could do them separately, but I .... don't want to if there's a better idea. I also have a 2 year old who just wants to be involved, so the less amount of time I spend on school at the table, the better.

    Thanks for just reading that. I'm sorry it's so negative. I love this curriculum, but I'm drowning with this setback.
    DD1 14/Grade 8 - Going to an online homeschool program
    DD2 12/Grade 6
    DS 11/Grade 5
    DD3 2/Cutest little distraction.

    #2
    Hi! Can you tell us more about what exactly the 5th/6th grader are doing? What cores are they doing? What subjects are you combining?

    So, in the MP cores there is:

    Math, Classical Comp, Spelling, Latin, EGR, Literature, Geography, Science, Classical Studies, Christian Studies - this might help streamline if we know exactly what you are using this year.

    Also, know that for new users to MP, especially at your kids age, you should expect it to take 2 weeks per week for about 2ish-3weeks. It takes a solid 6 weeks to find the rhythm. We are in our 7th year using MP and only just last week I figured out our rhythm enough to feel some relief. We are on week 7, but we started mid August! (if that helps you feel like maybe you aren't "behind")

    Also, I have a first born female and second born son and having them work together was not helpful for my son. He is doing better working with his younger sister though. I might suggest separating the two, but I'm curious what they are doing together. There still may be a way to have them doing the same thing (maybe they read together with you, but you do the questions/answers separately).

    Last question - is this your first year homeschooling? First year using MP?
    Christine

    (2021/2022)
    DD1 8/23/09 - Mix of MP5 and MP6 (SFL, Birds, R&S 6 Math, Language Arts with Grandma)
    DS2 9/1/11 - MP4M
    DD3 2/9/13 -MP2/MP3

    Previous Years
    DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, SC 5/6, MP4 + FFL and R&S Math 5, MPOA Fable
    DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2/AAR/Storytime Treasures), Traditional Spelling 1, SC5/6 Year 1
    DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1

    Comment


      #3
      howiecram Let me attempt to answer these questions:
      1. We use full 5th and 6th grade core with a few substitutions with regard to level. The subjects they do together are FFL, Fable, EGR, FMOR, and Christian Studies I. I also have them do the American Studies books and the read-alouds (but I have those on an MP3 player).

      2. It is not my first year homeschooling, but my first year with MP.

      My son genuinely just doesn't want to do school - he didn't do his work when in public school either, but his teachers had far lower expectations and would let him turn in ALL of his work at the end of the quarter for full credit. He thinks his future is bright with a 4th grade education and that anything else is unnecessary (he has visions of buying his own island and getting a job that pays enough for that with such an education). I would love to hear how I can do them separately - this isn't fair to my daughter at all.

      I want to do best for them, but I'm just.... floundering.
      DD1 14/Grade 8 - Going to an online homeschool program
      DD2 12/Grade 6
      DS 11/Grade 5
      DD3 2/Cutest little distraction.

      Comment


        #4
        First, I don't have it all figured out here myself, actually! It's a constant battle struggle with my 4th grade son as well. I do think you should consider separating them for almost everything. I might suggest keeping them together for FMOR and CS. How are you currently working through these subjects? If it were me, in your situation, I would have us all share in the reading (so 3 books). I would go over the drill questions/flashcards and orally discuss the comprehension questions. I would choose 2 questions for your son to write the answer to and 3-4 for your daughter (she is older). The 2 questions you choose, you write their answer (through discussion) on the board, a piece of paper or something and he copies it. As the year progresses, write key words from the discussion on the board and your son has to compose the answer...maybe by the end of the year he answers 2 questions mostly on his own.. Your daughter's expectations might be totally different.

        Think of Latin like math. FFL with no latin background is a tough course for a 5th grader. I might consider slowing him down. I would also be sitting next to him, helping him through the workbook. I am taking the adult latin classes (currently in Second Form) and the instructor mentioned that the assignments should be guided. (in our home my daughter is able to do the workbook on her own, but my son is not (he is doing Latina Christina)) In teaching your daughter Latin, she can probably watch the DVD with you and do a lot of the workbook on her own. If she keeps up with the vocabulary drill (flashcards) I suspect she'll be fine working fairly independently after watching the DVD. I did find with my daughter that having her memorize the vocabulary a week ahead of the lesson was very helpful. She does flashcards for 5-10 min everyday. She has a M, T, W, Th, F and (new) stack..so that old words get reviewed. (new words are everyday) She is in second form and she still has the FFL cards in the stack.

        They might need each other for Fable, so I might not make a change there.

        I would consider also sitting by him while he does his math as well, but we actually mostly use a whiteboard. My daughter (in 6th grade r&S), since the 4th grade R&S book, and I have been working together for almost the whole time. She sits at the white board and does the work. Sometimes I go to the board and demonstrate if she needs help to begin. I sit at my chair and go through the teacher's review as listed in the book and then we start working through her text. If the answer is easily done in her head, she answers orally. I assign her a few problem to do on her own, but only a few, otherwise we do that subject almost entirely together.

        Literature, I could only do 2 chapters a week. I alternate my kids. So, one day they read, the next we do the guide. (So my son reads on Monday, and Wed and "meets with me" on Tu/Th, my daughter reads on Tues/Th and "meets with me" on Wed/Fri) It means that we don't always finish all the books. The final book might just get read with the guide done orally. Last year was the first year my daughter finished all the books!
        Christine

        (2021/2022)
        DD1 8/23/09 - Mix of MP5 and MP6 (SFL, Birds, R&S 6 Math, Language Arts with Grandma)
        DS2 9/1/11 - MP4M
        DD3 2/9/13 -MP2/MP3

        Previous Years
        DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, SC 5/6, MP4 + FFL and R&S Math 5, MPOA Fable
        DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2/AAR/Storytime Treasures), Traditional Spelling 1, SC5/6 Year 1
        DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR), MP1

        Comment


          #5
          howiecram Thank you! I am truly surprised at how well my 6th grader is doing. I thought it'd be a struggle for her, too, but she's winning at school. (Trust me, this was a HUGE jump for them in terms of expectations).

          We do FMOR and CS1 together - I play the FMOR recording from Librivox that is appropriate for the day (or I'd lose my voice), and they underline the answers in their text for use later. We do the facts to know, vocabulary together and I have them read the questions out loud before listening to the recording. I do write the vocabulary definitions on the board for them. For CS1, I have them take turns reading paragraphs in the Bible reading, and then we do the left page in the guide together, along with the map work and highlighting the important things to know for later. They do the comprehension questions on their own.

          Latin they do well together. I have been doing one or two of each section with them and then letting them do the rest on their own once I am sure they can do it. I teach the lesson to them myself, and we do the suggested "chalk talk" activities in their notebooks.

          We do the Fable lesson together, but I have them do some of the assignment on their own. Retelling a fable is not as hard as having to come up with entirely your own ideas. Thankfully!

          I am concerned about writing for him - but I do provide sentence starters. And we talk about how to rephrase the question in our answers. I may consider lessening his math assignment and being more understanding. It is just hard for me to understand how a gifted in math child suddenly has no idea how to add.

          Literature - he LOVES to read. He just despises having to answer questions about what he read. He has a bit of an eidetic (not sure if that's quite the right word) memory (I thought he was cheating/plagiarizing at several points last year until I realized it wasn't possible. He had just remembered the exact wording of an entire passage). I guess if that's how your memory works, having to answer questions would seem pointless.

          I have a lot to think about :-)
          DD1 14/Grade 8 - Going to an online homeschool program
          DD2 12/Grade 6
          DS 11/Grade 5
          DD3 2/Cutest little distraction.

          Comment


            #6
            You have received some great advice here.

            I have a son and a daughter both with ODD. My son also has ADHD and several other learning disabilities, and his behaviour around school sounds an awful lot like your son.

            As much as my son wants to be independent, he cannot be. Most of my day is still spent "at elbow" even though he is now 13. I know that you say your son has no distractions in his room, but I think if someone really has that kind of an attitude to school, they don't need distractions to not get it done. Is it possible for him to do his independent work at the table? That way you can check in and encourage and refocus him more often. (This is probably an euphamistic expression of what actually ends up happening.) I know it is very difficult when there are other children requiring your attention, too.

            You also mention that your state requires all the subjects. However, they probably don't require all the subjects every term. Perhaps you can do science for half a semester, then geography for half a semester and so on. (Our school is in 4 ten week blocks, so we alternate some things around them.) You may have difficulty finishing the whole core in a year, but you may have a better chance of finishing work each day or each week.

            With literature, I have found it better with my tribe to concentrate not so much on the comprehension questions, but to put more effort into making assignments around the discussion questions and the extension activities.

            First Form Latin is a lot of work for someone who has done no Latin before, especially if they have no motivation. Even though it puts them behind the schedule, I have had all of mine do Latina Christiana first, which has helped. You may not wish to do this, but you might want to slow FFL down a bit if he is having trouble with it. For me personally, and also for my eldest (the only two here who have done FFL) the vocabulary lists at the back of the book have worked better than the flash cards. My younger kids have found the flash cards helpful in LC. I have tried to teach Latin to two children at once, but invariably they work at different paces. I think it just worked better in the end to do it at their own rates... but then, I usually have to teach them one on one, anyway.

            I just want to acknowledge, teaching kids with behavioural problems is downright HARD. I find it so discouraging - all that we read about the opportunities to teach our children virtue and so on and yet our days are - well, nothing like the homeschooling posters. Like you, I know it is better for my kids at home than at school, but the constant contrast between my dreams and reality is tough to swallow each day. Hang in there!

            Comment


              #7
              Naxi Thank you so much for your encouragement. It is so hard to find those who relate to significant behavioral issues (or can even wrap their heads around a child having such issues without it being a result of bad or neglectful parenting). Your response was so empathetic it made me tear up. It is precisely the dissonance between what could be and what is that is SO discouraging. I also have to remember Ohio only requires 900 hours of instruction. And I'm pretty sure they wouldn't know if I didn't do all subjects as we can use a standardized assessment that doesn't test science or social studies for our end of year requirement. But I affirmed that I would and I like to keep my word. At the rate we are going, that's only 30 weeks. If we don't finish the core - it will be okay. (Now to convince my very ornery, "need to get things done according to the book" brain of that).

              Once we get our home a bit more unpacked, I think having him work at the table will be more doable. I also have a daughter who has to work at the table because she does school online and cannot be trusted to not do things she's not supposed to otherwise. Unfortunately they also don't get along AT ALL (he's violated her privacy and space more than once and she's been way too bossy with him more than once). We moved recently and half of my living room is still boxes (being pregnant doesn't help me get things done like I'd like to). The kitchen is set up, but not in its permanent formation - and we need a bigger table with another kiddo on the way (bigger table means more space, less snipping between children).

              All of my children have issues - my oldest has ASD, oldest two have ADHD, and he has conduct disorder. I often feel like I'm parenting more children than I actually have (I'm not even sure that makes sense, but I hope it does). But we turned a corner on school with the oldest two. :-) I really hope he can turn that same corner. It's late, I hope this reply makes sense and I haven't gone on too much. Again, thank you. I really appreciate you taking the time to respond with empathy and kindness. (You, too, @howiecram).
              DD1 14/Grade 8 - Going to an online homeschool program
              DD2 12/Grade 6
              DS 11/Grade 5
              DD3 2/Cutest little distraction.

              Comment


                #8
                {{hugs}} I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

                I also encourage you to check out the Simply Classical for Special Needs and Struggling Students Forum. You are not alone đź’ś

                Comment


                  #9
                  Hello! First, when I see that you just moved and are currently pregnant, plus the number of children you have, it's no wonder that homeschooling is difficult. Add behavioral problems into the mix, and it's quite apparent that you are carrying a huge load right now!

                  Your curriculum plan sounds good to me. I will say that my oldest son took to Latin very slowly and required 2 years to complete First Form. So it may be a good idea to slow your son down to a two-weeks-per-lesson pace.

                  As far as teaching techniques...I find it works well to give each older student a list of assignments for the week, with a column for each day. They need to work down the list in order. I jump in for teaching on the subjects that require it. (For example, I teach the math lesson from the R&S manual to my 4th grader, then he works the problems in his notebook, puts it on my desk, and then he can check off the math box and move on to spelling, which he can do independently). All work is completed at their desks, and I am in the same room, moving from one kid to another, and keeping things quiet and orderly as well as I can. We work steadily from 9-12 and 1ish to 3, and I am supervising/teaching during that whole time. Anyone who finishes their morning work early early can go play in another room or outside. Same goes for the afternoon. If one of my kids does not finish the work asigned for the day, it is folded into the next day. If we get to the end of the week and things are not completed, that is weekend homework, and I will make them report to Dad when they get it done.

                  Which brings me to another question: Is your son's dad involved in the homeschooling at all? Checking on progress? Asking questions about what they are learning? Providing discipline/consequences for poor behavior? This can make a huge difference! Also, does your son get plenty of outdoor play/sports? All my kids, but especially my sons, can learn better when they have vigorous play at some point during the day.

                  As far as "only" being on week 4...we started when you did, and are on week 6, so you are not really that far off. I think completing the core is a good goal and still doable.

                  Literature: I think it's normal for kids to prefer reading over answering questions. Answering questions, especially in written form, is hard. But if you are concerned about his writing skills, this is definitely an important activity. Explain the importance of answering questions: it helps you remember important parts of the story, it helps you notice things you might not have noticed when you read, it helps you organize your thoughts, it helps you become a good writer. Then take some of the struggle out of the process by working through the questions together, modeling a good answer and letting him copy it down word for word.

                  Math: One of my sons likes to keep himself on track by timing each row of problems. He has his own timer and sets it for a couple minutes at the beginning of each row and then tries to beat the timer. If your son truly understands what to do and is just dragging his feet, maybe playing beat the timer would help. Also, maybe do some parts of the lesson orally. I will alow my kids to do this sometimes, just to speed things up.

                  Hope some of this is helpful! Hang in there...I know it can be hard ❤
                  Amy

                  DS 13 MP8
                  DD 11 MP6
                  DS 9 MP4
                  DD 6 MP1
                  DS 4 R&S Pre-k books
                  DS 1

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I think you have received a lot of good advice so far. I can’t speak to a kid who has any diagnosed conflict disorders, the recommendation to get feedback your difficulties on the special needs board is a good one. As a mom of a girl and then three boys I have a few comments based on using MP for many (10ish) years….these are not in any order.

                    1. Ditch working together. I never had any success especially with the girl being the oldest. It just invites the comparisons that she is the perfect student and he is always behind.

                    2. Very few people do a whole core - many do parts, do things orally, etc. You said OH makes you do all subjects, is there a list? Very little of the core is covered in PS. Spelling can be covered during writing, writing can be copybook or classical composition or the literature guides, but doesn’t have to be all three. I was about ready at one point with my third child to give up MP when I went to the summer conference and realized that even at Highlands Latin they don’t write out or even do every question in every guide. That was a game changer for me. Consider letting him pick a couple to do so he thinks he has a bit of say in the matter or cross out a few math problems if he did something else well. Rod and Staff has enough review to sink a ship so skipping 5 probably isn’t going to make a difference to his math skills, but it might make a difference to his attitude.

                    3. Remember that long time MP users have spent the equivalent of two years completing the 4th for new users core as a work up to the skills needed fifth grade core your son is using. Even without behavior issues he will need some time to develop skills and stamina.

                    4. You really aren’t behind. My 3rd grader is mostly finished with week six and I am pretty geeked that I am only a week behind where our start date says we should be. It is the best I have EVER done. Experience, sending a kid to college, not having a toddler, youngest being a compliant kid, not having a toddler (big enough to mention twice) have all helped.

                    5. Don’t let your son work in his room. My kids don’t have much there either, but it really doesn’t matter. My 16yo can still day dream his day away if left alone.

                    As I said, I don’t have experience with your son’s difficulties or the best way to address them, but I have yet to find a self motivated kid his age. You need some help on effective strategies for him, but you would do well to set some goals for the year that you feel are achievable for both of you. Checking every box your first year probably isn’t the most realistic goal. I have ditched the manual many years because it made me too anxious. My feeling is you need to be able to supervise what you expect him to do and help him find a way to have a stake in completion be it rewards or something else and help him feel successful. Remember…it is a marathon, not a sprint.

                    Prayers, for sure.
                    Dorinda

                    Plans for 2021-2022
                    15th year homeschooling, 12th year with Memoria Press
                    DD College Freshman
                    DS 10th grade - Lukeion Latin and Greek, Vita Beata Greek Dramas
                    DS 8th grade - Vita Beata Literature
                    DS 3rd grade - Vita Beata Literature, Right Start F, First Form Latin

                    Comment


                      #11
                      smithamykat Thank you for all of your suggestions and for the encouragement (and simply just understanding). I moved him to the kitchen table today and it was working while my husband was awake, but my husband has to sleep because he works nights. And then my son... lost his mind. I won't go into detail.

                      Mom2mthj Thank you for your suggestions and for the encouragement. We are trudging ahead. I am trying to let go of being a box checker, need to get everything done kind of gal. Type A personality here.
                      DD1 14/Grade 8 - Going to an online homeschool program
                      DD2 12/Grade 6
                      DS 11/Grade 5
                      DD3 2/Cutest little distraction.

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Just wanted to chime in with some encouragement -- I am adapting my youngest children to their first MP core and while we started in late August, we are still on the "official" week One. It's not that they haven't been doing school (we're in Ohio, too, and I try to keep a record of the hours), but that it's several books and subjects with new expectations and they're at different levels. Even my oldest kids are still adapting to much this year.

                        Be patient with yourself; I completely hear your struggle with checking off the boxes. We also homeschool more year-round so we have more margin built-in. The boxes do get checked, but not always lined up as written. My oldest has learning issues, too, and it's taken many years for us to find her "sweet spot." As a result, we've always opted for the Portfolio option in Ohio instead of standardized tests. You might not want to change that, but as you transition this year, it's still an option you can consider.

                        Laura
                        Laura H.

                        DD: 15, special-needs: language processing issues (modified 7/8M Core), aspiring illustrator, our "Meg"
                        DD: 13 (8M with SFL & NBO Fall 2021), aspiring pediatric nurse, our "Jo"
                        DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Beth"
                        DD: 8 (SC4 Fall 2021) our "Amy"

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I, too, am going to chime in with encouragement. On the most recent MP podcast Martin Cothran shared the question he asked his wife when she felt down about the day, “did you do math, Latin and literature? Yes…Good job!” After a wacky week and feelings of inadequacy, I have been repeating that to myself. I hope it encourages you too!
                          Heidi

                          For 2021-22
                          dd- 6th
                          ds- 3rd
                          dd- 1st
                          ds- adding smiles and distractions

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Hi there,

                            Big hugs, really. I have four children, ages 4-9, and my oldest is quite the challenge. He is in the 4th grade. The negativity was nearly debilitating to me a couple of weeks ago. We ended up dropping classical composition, and I have been looking at Charlotte Mason style methods for spelling, narration, and written narration. Some things have improved, but I don't feel I should have to drop things due to his negativity. Around the time of the lockdowns when they were still in public school, I was beginning to get phone calls about his behavior--just saying outlandish and inappropriate things. I will say that he was lead poisoned heavily through his first year of life due to contaminated drinking water. He is still very smart, but he is unruly. I still feel lost. I spent a lot of money on this curriculum, but then I wonder if we should go to something more gentle--but is that really the answer here? He likes some of the content, but if he doesn't want to do something, it is going to be painful for me. Anyway, I am of no help, but know that you are not alone.

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Oh I want to add... the dream to purchase an island... Yes, my son thinks he should go to a "outdoor survival" school, perhaps have a YouTube channel. He would see nothing wrong with NOT doing school for weeks at a time. I think at that age, even I would have known something was wrong. There are frequent moments I want him to go to a school and be gone for the day. I have folders of information from private schools. I am scared to send him to our public school because our worst day here is probably better than there... But I honestly do not enjoy homeschooling him. It sounds terrible, but I am not enjoying a lot of my time with him. Selfishly, I don't want to feel so miserable all the time.

                              Comment

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