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    Attitude about school

    Hi all!

    I'm finally reaching out here for some advice because I feel like I'm almost at my wit's end with one of our kids during school. Our ds 10 strongly dislikes school, every subject, and his negative attitude is really affecting our whole day. He is very bright and doesn't struggle with very much of the content, but reacts strongly if he gets anything wrong. Trying to do things with him that require lots of interaction, such as asking grammar questions for Latin and flashcards, is like pulling teeth.

    I know this is a heart issue but am looking for any practical things I can put in place to help us through it. MPOA is not in our budget for now, although I'd love it! We have moved a lot recently and are planning on moving again in a few more months, and I know from talking to him that this is a part of what's going on. He misses friends, and we've just not had much success meeting people we connect with here. Knowing we're moving on soon also limits how involved we are. I can't change any of that right now, but can just do my best to help him cope.

    One thought I've had is that some of his work might be too challenging. I have him in 4NU but doing FFL and math 5. He does fine on all quizzes and tests, but I feel like the Latin is a struggle for him. I've thought about just re-doing the LC Review worksheets for the rest of the year and then starting FFL again next year (although this is also because I'd selfishly like to be more on-track with the CG). He really does fine in math.
    It's so hard to know exactly what is going on here. Is it all just attitude and behavior or have I pushed him beyond where he should be? Any insight or advice would be very welcome!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by Angela; 03-01-2018, 08:30 PM.

    #2
    Re: Attitude about school

    First, I send many hugs your way. Moving is hard on all of you, and trying to deal with logistics and attend to the everyday and emotional needs of your children all at the same time is really tough.

    We've moved many, many times over the years. One thing I've seen is that moving makes kids (and adults) feel out of control. We each try to regain control in our own individual ways. And some react more strongly than others. I know my daughter has reacted to feeling out of control during moves by acting out. In class, this takes the form of intense defiance in an attempt to get control of even one thing.

    A suggestion - perhaps there's a way to help your son to feel in control of something related to the move. For my daughter, we took some time out from class to create a custom bookbag (just a cheap blank canvas bag from Hobby Lobby decorated with markers) that was special "just for the move". I also turned over the curriculum guide to her to pick the order of classes and check them off as she completed them. It's a small thing, but it helped her to feel in charge and therefore regain some control in class. Is he creative? Is there a way to engage him in a "project" related to school and the coming move that you could engage him in? Could you offer him a special opportunity to take charge of something?

    Apologies if these aren't applicable to you. Perhaps all I can offer are my e-hugs and my prayers. So many of us on this board have moved many times and particularly as a parent, it's really hard! The fact that you are homeschooling will add so much comfort, however - even when things are chaotic, your kids know they can count of homeschooling being a constant when the dust settles. That's a big gift you're giving them!

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      #3
      Re: Attitude about school

      He is very bright and doesn't struggle with very much of the content, but reacts angrily if he gets anything wrong. Trying to do things with him that require lots of interaction, such as asking grammar questions for Latin and flashcards, is like pulling teeth.
      My older boys reached a point last year (ages 10-14) when they felt very oppressed/inconvenienced by oral recitations and drills. They wanted to do them on their own rather than recite them to me. I think it's part of them being ready for more independence (a good thing!) but for your son it could be that he feels it's one more thing he has no control over. Maybe let him take charge of his own flashcard/question reviews? He can use mastered/unmastered piles to self-monitor his progress and you'll know from his weekly quizzes whether he's getting it or not.

      ETA: I'd be hesitant to make any changes to his current subjects other than maybe slowing the pace a little where needed. He has a lot of changes going on already and one more could make things worse. Unless you're 100% certain that a subject change is needed, don't do it.
      Last edited by jen1134; 03-01-2018, 01:04 PM.
      Jennifer
      Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

      Current

      DS19: MP grad; auto mechanic & business owner
      DS18: MP grad; college freshman
      DS16: MP except math
      DS14 & DD12: MP except history (CTP), science, and math
      DD11: SC4
      DD8: mix of MP K-2

      2023-2024 Plan
      DS17: Homeschool Connections and local MP Dante class
      DS15 & DD13: mix of MP, online providers using MP materials, and non-MP science
      DD11: MP/SC, online providers using MP materials
      DD8: mix of MP 1-3

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Attitude about school

        Angela,
        Well, it’s been a while since I had an 11 year old boy, but I remember this age - and NOT FONDLY. *insert grumpy, rolling eyes emoji*. I know you said your son is 10, but if he’s displaying these sorts of attitudes, he might as well be 11. First of all, my guess would be that yes, this is definitely a heart issue and not a school issue. So I would not worry about making any changes. We don’t back down from what is necessary and good just because our kids are growing up and they may not like it. I can say this in your case because from your description he’s doing fine in school. (If there were problems there as well, my advice might be different)

        Second, you know what it was like to go through these ages as a young girl, and most likely have been helping your daughter along - hitting 12 is no picnic for a girl either! But something about 11 seems to be a common time that we moms start seeing these difficult times for boys as well - and I personally thought it was harder to deal with because I never was an 11 year old boy! And dads don’t always remember what they were like at that age either!

        So another guess I am going to make is that a great deal of this is not entirely within his control either. He is changing a great deal inside, and combined with that, he has had a lot of external changes thrust upon him as well. Very difficult combination.

        Suggestions from me are to first of all, be firm and consistent in your expectations and in consequences for bad behavior but don’t let things build or escalate from one event to another. Deal with each situation individually, then forgive, and move on. I would not be expecting it to go away any time soon. Think big picture rather than getting dragged down by the day to day. Then find times that are good and calm to make yourself or your husband available to him to shoot the breeze. Have him come with you for errands so you can talk in the car, or simply walk into his room and “be there.” Feel him out - maybe he will talk to you about cars or legos, or maybe you will get even luckier and he will talk to you about life and how things are going. Hug him as often as you can. He is still a very young person dealing with a ton of emotions and changes. Remind him often that growing up is tough, but that you guys are in it together and you are never going to give up on him. This is not an overnight remedy, but it is a way of keeping your relationship intact as he goes through this stage.

        Because it is a stage - and they do get through it. Back then we had many nicknames for our son based on his behavior, and now we laugh about them because 13 and 14 are delightful by comparison!

        A last suggestion for you if you can manage it is to try arranging time for him to do “bigger boy” things with his dad and other strong male role models (if you don’t already). Things like a special fishing trip, overnight hikes, new project using lots of tools, etc. Think of anything that would be new and different to signal to him that this new stage is not just all hard work - there are new privileges that come with it (like getting to use anything that involves fire, propulsion, catching something, shooting something, hitting something, etc to tap into all that new testosterone!)

        That is what I have learned about this age, both from my own experience and the many wise mommas who walked me through it when we were “there” and completely frustrated!

        HTHs!
        AMDG,
        Sarah
        Last edited by KF2000; 03-01-2018, 03:38 PM.
        2020-2021
        16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
        DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
        DS, 17
        DD, 15
        DD, 13
        DD, 11
        DD, 9
        DD, 7
        +DS+
        DS, 2

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Attitude about school

          Mothers of public school kids often say to me, "I could never homeschool. My kids wouldn't work for me." I always explain that I refuse to argue with or beg my kids to do their work.

          On Mondays, I give my kids a list of exactly what I expect done each day that week. They are welcome to complete the day's work in any order they want, but Monday has to be done before Tuesday is started.

          I only work with kids who have good attitudes. If a kid doesn't want to participate, I skip right along to the next child, and Grumpy has to wait for their next turn in the rotation.

          I have something "fun" scheduled every single afternoon. It might be a park outing, it might be a basketball practice, we might meet friends for ice cream, some days we play with neighbor kids, whatever. Kids whose work is finished get to participate. Kids who don't sit on the bench / in the lobby / with me and continue to work.

          All of today's work has to be done before tomorrow's is started. So if you don't finish today, the chances of getting to participate in tomorrow's afternoon outing definitely decrease!

          Each of my kids had to learn the hard way by missing out at least once, and each has tested a few times over the years to see if I really truly will make them miss out. I never ever EVER backdown on that one when a kid chose not to finish a reasonable amount of work. I let them chose, and they deal with the reward/consequence. (The outing is not usually pre-announced, and it becomes something wonderful if I know somebody has been purposely difficult.)
          Last edited by MeganW; 03-01-2018, 09:21 PM.
          Megan, wife to Chuck, mother to 12 year old triplets (2 girls & a boy), and an 11 year old girl

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Attitude about school

            Megan,
            This sounds like an amazing system! I have to hand it to you for having something fun every day - I am amazed by the level of planning and energy that requires!

            And Angela, I was telling my son about your son today on our drive home, and he was very kind. He remembers how hard that was - and echoed that he did not know what was going on inside him most of the time! He always felt badly when he would be difficult, but then would turn around and be just as difficult again the next day. He even said his new neighbor friend (who is almost two years younger) reminds him of a lot of things he used to do. Always helps with perspective!

            I can’t say I have a crystal ball into your life, but that is what it sounds like to me.

            AMDG,
            Sarah
            2020-2021
            16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
            DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
            DS, 17
            DD, 15
            DD, 13
            DD, 11
            DD, 9
            DD, 7
            +DS+
            DS, 2

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Attitude about school

              Thank you all for your encouraging and compassionate responses! I appreciate the wisdom shared by others with experience. It is so reassuring to just to know that we're not all alone in our experience, and it gives me hope that the next season can be better!

              Sarah, I really appreciate what you said about your own son. That reminded me that I have heard other moms talk about how this is an especially difficult age in boys. I had forgotten that, but I know others have said the same thing to me about their boys in previous years.

              The advice to not change any curriculum is pure gold. My first instinct when I get upset is to reassess, make changes, and usually end up buying something new hoping it will be the fix we need. This issue is not something that will go away by just making his schoolwork easier (and I don't think he even wants it to be easier).

              Anyways, thank you all again! I'm going to bed with a lighter heart than I had this afternoon.

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Attitude about school

                Angela,
                This is a small thing, but I love it and so I want to share. My beloved pediatrician gave me this advice in walking with my son through this transitioning years: draw him with cords of kindness. I need a lot of work as a mom and this is something that helps keep me in check (when I make the time to stop and think). As an extrovert mom with an introvert son, this has been so helpful to me.
                Festina lentē,
                Jessica P

                '22-'23 • 13th year HSing • 11th year MP
                DS Hillsdale College freshman
                DD 11th • HLN & Latin online
                DD 8th • HLN & Home
                DS 5th • HLN & Home
                Me • Latin online

                Teaching Third Form Latin and co-directing @
                Highlands Latin Nashville Cottage School, est. 2016
                "Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in one year and underestimate what they can accomplish in five." -Mrs. Cheryl Lowe

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Attitude about school

                  I feel so blessed to read all the wisdom in these amazing responses! A while back, I came across an old book written by a homeschool mom in the pioneering days of homeschooling (early 1980's, I think). She had mentioned having sympathy for your child, in whatever stage of life he/she happens to be in. That really struck a chord in me, and I felt a strong conviction to make a course correction. I 100% agree with sticking with the curriculum too! Prayers for you as you work through this stage.
                  Ora et labora,
                  Sandra

                  DD (17) - grade 12 (Divine Comedy, Precalculus, AP Latin, Senior Thesis, Fundamentals of the Faith, American Government, and Economics through MPOA Diploma Program)


                  DD (13) - grade 9 (Algebra ll, Fourth Form Latin, Logic l & ll, High School Comp. ll, through MPOA. Aeneid/ History of the Romans, Geography lll, and Biology at home)

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