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Struggling/Reluctant Student

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    Struggling/Reluctant Student

    Hello. I had posted questions in the K-8 forum for where/how to start, initially regarding Latin, with my dd who will be 8th grade in the fall. It was recommended that I post the questions here as well. She's a very reluctant student and as if that's not enough, Mandarin is her first language. She was 4.5 when we adopted her and we have, over the years, dealt with what I think are ESL issues. She has a May birthday, and we did not start her in K when she was 5, but waited until she was 6 for several reasons; being newly adopted and having gone through open heart surgery were at the top of the list. She was in PS for K-2 and they didn't feel she needed ESL because she spoke exclusively English at that point. Hind sight being 20/20 as it is, I realized too late that I should have gone with my gut and fought for it. The bigger issue though is that she doesn't actually want to do school anywhere at all. To say we have struggled is an understatement. It isn't that she cannot do it. She is very bright and very smart - she just does not want to do it and therefore is less than cooperative. This is at least my perception. She hasn't seemed to have any issues learning ... except that at 14 she still will read a word that is just nonsense and it doesn't occur to her that it isn't actually a word. She is fluent in English and no longer speaks or understands Mandarin, but there are many times when things she says just don't make any sense and when she just looks blankly at me after I've explained things to her. I've tried several different curriculum styles and the style does not seem to make any difference she still responds with not wanting to do it at all. Obviously school in some form is a non-negotiable. I'm hoping that a completely new look and different subjects with MP will be something that is helpful as well as the "workbook" approach having a clear and definite "end" each day. I am thinking I am going to use the 7th grade core because I am concerned about overwhelming her and because her resistance to doing school has her just starting pre-algebra in the fall. I'm wondering if a somewhat "easier" year (at least by MP standards) would be helpful. I'd appreciate any thoughts from those of you who may have dealt with a similar situation.

    Classical studies - 7th core which is Famous Men of Greece, Horatius, & Greek Alphabet
    (it was suggested to read FMR & D'Aulaire's w/o using the workbooks over the summer)
    Latin - First & Second Form or Henle I
    (I'm leaning toward the Forms so that we can back it off and just do First Form if necessary)
    Composition - IEW student writing intensive OR Classical Comp. I
    Christian Studies - 7th Core which is Christian Studies IV + Catholic confirmation studies
    Mathematics - Either MP pre-algebra or Teaching Textbooks which I already have - though she hates the TT Math 7
    Science - Exploring Planet Earth or maybe the Exploring Astronomy (which I cannot seem choose in the core, but might just buy separate)
    Modern History - Geography I instead of what is in 7th Core
    Literature - 7th core which is Trojan War, Anne of Green Gables, Hobbit, & Bronze Bow

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or suggestions.
    Last edited by tehwrd; 07-11-2016, 07:14 PM.
    Blessings,
    Tammy (new to MP)
    ds, 20 (graduated)
    dd, 16
    ds, 9

    #2
    Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

    Just a few initial thoughts:

    First Form Latin is easy to follow with a predictable layout. This might work well for your daughter, especially because she still seems to need help understanding language.

    IEW is often successful with the "reluctant writer," so this might be a good place to start in writing.

    More than anything, now that she is approaching high school, she may need to understand that protests, feet-dragging, or other non-compliance will not achieve curriculum switching any more. You have given her sufficient opportunities, and now it is simply time to work.

    You can point to others who work (dad, mom, the mailman), as illustrations that working is part of being an adult. We work, even when we do not like the task or feel up to the task on a given day.

    She may want to assert her independence and be treated as a young adult. You can remind her that while she has choices within her work such as, perhaps, which homework subject to tackle first, being an adult means she will work hard every workday on the tasks set before her. No excuses, no negotiations, no more changes. Just perseverance.


    Make sure you select curriculum at (or only slightly above) her level of ability, understanding, and language skills, so she can truly succeed with your help. We created a vimeo about Evaluating & Teaching in the "Sweet Spot" and can share the link, if you think this would help you.

    You will also want to be sure you are still teaching, not merely assigning. Even at 7th/8th grade, she needs good teaching, especially because of her background.



    Feel free to follow up --

    Cheryl

    Comment


      #3
      Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

      Chiming in here to add:
      MP is very "language rich" and the systematic way that Classical Education is built will greatly enhance your daughter's language skills -- expressive and receptive. Recitation is going to be a big part of that (if recitation is new to you, you will find it challenging at first, but one of the most rewarding aspects of her education). Hang in there.

      I agree with Cheryl (of course): no more curricula-switching. The rubber has to meet the road. This is the age at which kids start to push their boundaries harder. Reinforce that boundary, mom! The beauty here is that the Memoria material is so engaging and so appropriately challenging that even if she resists at first, eventually she will be won over and start to love it -- in spite of herself. It might be a rough go at first, but stick with it and you'll have a new student. You can do it!
      Boy Wonder: 10, MP2/SC4 (Special Needs)
      Joy Bubble: 8, MP2 (Special Needs)
      Snuggly Cowboy: 6, MPK
      Sweet Lightness: 2, Reverse-Engineering Specialist

      “Have no fear of moving into the unknown. Simply step out fearlessly knowing that I am with you, therefore no harm can befall you; all is very, very well. Do this in complete faith and confidence.”
      ~Pope St John Paul II

      Comment


        #4
        Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

        Hi Tammy!

        You mentioned that your daughter doesn't have any learning issues, other than some possible ESL issues. I agree with Anita that recitation will likely have a great effect there.

        Does your gut tell you that her resistance is just a behavioral issue? If so, I also agree that consistency and firmness on your part will take care of it over time.

        I'm just wondering if you feel like there's anything else going on. My first cousin is adopted, and at your daughter's age the full implications of that began to hit home, and those difficulties were directed at her parents. I've also seen the same with my adopted nephew. I say that not to create problems where there aren't any, but just to encourage you to follow your gut!
        Catherine

        2019-20
        DS16, 10th with MPOA
        DS14, 7th
        DS13, 6th
        DD13, 6th
        DS7, MP1 with Barton Reading & Spelling
        DD4, JrK
        DS 23 mos

        Homeschooling 4 with MP
        2 in classical school

        Comment


          #5
          Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

          Originally posted by CatherineS View Post
          Hi Tammy!

          You mentioned that your daughter doesn't have any learning issues, other than some possible ESL issues. I agree with Anita that recitation will likely have a great effect there.

          Does your gut tell you that her resistance is just a behavioral issue? If so, I also agree that consistency and firmness on your part will take care of it over time.

          I'm just wondering if you feel like there's anything else going on. My first cousin is adopted, and at your daughter's age the full implications of that began to hit home, and those difficulties were directed at her parents. I've also seen the same with my adopted nephew. I say that not to create problems where there aren't any, but just to encourage you to follow your gut!
          We are absolutely dealing with many adoption issues... It is hard, but I knew they were coming. There are times when I struggle to determine if it's typical teenage stuff (she's very different from my bio ds, who is now 17) or adoption stuff, but it seems as though the adoption stuff manifests mostly as anger. I acknowledge though, that that could just be the height of her frustration/struggles with adoption. Thank you for that reminder.
          Blessings,
          Tammy (new to MP)
          ds, 20 (graduated)
          dd, 16
          ds, 9

          Comment


            #6
            Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

            Originally posted by Anita View Post
            Chiming in here to add:
            MP is very "language rich" and the systematic way that Classical Education is built will greatly enhance your daughter's language skills -- expressive and receptive. Recitation is going to be a big part of that (if recitation is new to you, you will find it challenging at first, but one of the most rewarding aspects of her education). Hang in there.

            I agree with Cheryl (of course): no more curricula-switching. The rubber has to meet the road. This is the age at which kids start to push their boundaries harder. Reinforce that boundary, mom! The beauty here is that the Memoria material is so engaging and so appropriately challenging that even if she resists at first, eventually she will be won over and start to love it -- in spite of herself. It might be a rough go at first, but stick with it and you'll have a new student. You can do it!
            Thanks for the insight regarding recitation. I had intended to skip that part - thinking it might not be of much value to us at this point. After reading this though, I think I will go ahead and do that portion. I think my curriculum changes were as much for me as for her. I was hopeful to find something that "fit" her personality and that she would enjoy doing. I have always been drawn to the classical model (my eldest went K-2 to a classical school) and looked at MP every year when we buy curriculum - and thought it would be too workbook-y. This year though I have made the switch for the youngest two and plan to stick with it. Thanks so much for your
            Blessings,
            Tammy (new to MP)
            ds, 20 (graduated)
            dd, 16
            ds, 9

            Comment


              #7
              Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

              Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
              Just a few initial thoughts:

              First Form Latin is easy to follow with a predictable layout. This might work well for your daughter, especially because she still seems to need help understanding language.

              IEW is often successful with the "reluctant writer," so this might be a good place to start in writing.

              More than anything, now that she is approaching high school, she may need to understand that protests, feet-dragging, or other non-compliance will not achieve curriculum switching any more. You have given her sufficient opportunities, and now it is simply time to work.

              You can point to others who work (dad, mom, the mailman), as illustrations that working is part of being an adult. We work, even when we do not like the task or feel up to the task on a given day.

              She may want to assert her independence and be treated as a young adult. You can remind her that while she has choices within her work such as, perhaps, which homework subject to tackle first, being an adult means she will work hard every workday on the tasks set before her. No excuses, no negotiations, no more changes. Just perseverance.


              Make sure you select curriculum at (or only slightly above) her level of ability, understanding, and language skills, so she can truly succeed with your help. We created a vimeo about Evaluating & Teaching in the "Sweet Spot" and can share the link, if you think this would help you.

              You will also want to be sure you are still teaching, not merely assigning. Even at 7th/8th grade, she needs good teaching, especially because of her background.



              Feel free to follow up --

              Cheryl
              Thank you, Cheryl. I am done switching. I mentioned to someone else that I've always been drawn to the classical model and I plan to stick with MP until my kiddos are all done. I did notice that I was doing more assigning than teaching last year and have realized over this summer that that was a mistake. She isn't ready for it, despite her chronological age suggesting she "should" be a Freshman in the fall. She is neither academically nor emotionally ready for high school level work.

              I would love the link to the video regarding teaching in the "sweet spot." My dd is a struggling/reluctant student and my rising 2nd grader is the polar opposite. Very quick and constantly looking for more. I struggle a little bit knowing where her level is with MP, but I think that the 7th grade will be okay though I did briefly consider 6th grade MP materials.
              Blessings,
              Tammy (new to MP)
              ds, 20 (graduated)
              dd, 16
              ds, 9

              Comment


                #8
                Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

                Originally posted by tehwrd View Post
                We are absolutely dealing with many adoption issues... It is hard, but I knew they were coming. There are times when I struggle to determine if it's typical teenage stuff (she's very different from my bio ds, who is now 17) or adoption stuff, but it seems as though the adoption stuff manifests mostly as anger. I acknowledge though, that that could just be the height of her frustration/struggles with adoption. Thank you for that reminder.
                That's hard, Tammy! My family member came out on the other side with a pretty good relationship with her parents as a young adult. God will bless your faithfulness.
                Catherine

                2019-20
                DS16, 10th with MPOA
                DS14, 7th
                DS13, 6th
                DD13, 6th
                DS7, MP1 with Barton Reading & Spelling
                DD4, JrK
                DS 23 mos

                Homeschooling 4 with MP
                2 in classical school

                Comment


                  #9
                  Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

                  Originally posted by tehwrd View Post
                  Thank you, Cheryl. I am done switching. I mentioned to someone else that I've always been drawn to the classical model and I plan to stick with MP until my kiddos are all done. I did notice that I was doing more assigning than teaching last year and have realized over this summer that that was a mistake. She isn't ready for it, despite her chronological age suggesting she "should" be a Freshman in the fall. She is neither academically nor emotionally ready for high school level work.

                  I would love the link to the video regarding teaching in the "sweet spot." My dd is a struggling/reluctant student and my rising 2nd grader is the polar opposite. Very quick and constantly looking for more. I struggle a little bit knowing where her level is with MP, but I think that the 7th grade will be okay though I did briefly consider 6th grade MP materials.

                  Here you go: You can start at the beginning for background, or move directly to Week 3 : How to Evaluate and Teach Your Challenged Child.


                  Yes, we need to inch them along to greater independence, but it will come. (I once thought I would need to sit next to my adopted son his entire life, but now he independently reads and researches loftier books than I do!) We just cannot compare children in temperament or achievement. And, as the saying goes, "We must teach the child we have, rather than the child we thought we would have."

                  Success helps in their own quest for independence, so the "sweet spot" of curriculum selection is important.


                  One somewhat related thought:

                  I know of adoptive moms who, like myself, created family scrapbooks to reinforce the bonds of adoption. Sometimes the visual reminder of family life helps reinforce those relationships. (Other times, for whatever reason, the child seems to resist the love we provide in any form.) Whenever our family struggled with forging these bonds, I left our photo memories on the coffee table for anyone who "happened" to glance down at the pages. If nothing else, the photos reminded me of good times we shared together and inspired me to keep going.

                  Thanks-
                  Cheryl

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

                    Originally posted by tehwrd View Post
                    Thanks for the insight regarding recitation. I had intended to skip that part - thinking it might not be of much value to us at this point. After reading this though, I think I will go ahead and do that portion. I think my curriculum changes were as much for me as for her. I was hopeful to find something that "fit" her personality and that she would enjoy doing....

                    Yes! I'm working my way backwards here, but your experience is a common pitfall among homeschoolers. We're encouraged to match our children's "education" to their personalities! You might also appreciate the vimeo in Week 2, because we address this very issue.

                    As for recitations, yes! This is such an efficient use of your time. You can accomplish gains in working memory, a general fund of knowledge, expressive language, poise, public speaking skills, and confidence in just minutes every day. Do not skip this. You will see cumulative gains, as you progress. Just remember to mark items differently, as you go. Fully mastered, easy items can be marked (W) for weekly review. Shaky items can be marked (D) for daily review, until they become (W). Just create your own system when the recitations become too long to cover in a single period.


                    We're excited for you. You have two very different children in your daughters, but both (all) of your children will benefit from your efforts.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

                      Hmmm... I had a reply and it disappeared when I hit submit...

                      Thank you all so much for your replies. I appreciate everyone's time.

                      Cheryl, thank you for the vimeo links. I am looking forward to watching those while my kiddos are in their summer ballet intensive. I'll have from 10-5 with minimal interruptions. I think I will also feel more confident in my level placements when I hit the "check out" button with MP once I go through them. I will definitely do the recitation with dd. Would you recommend the ERG 4 that is scheduled with the 7M core or starting her with EGR 1 and possibly moving faster?

                      This is the first year I'm actually excited about our curriculum choice and to top it off, my eldest who is a compliant student, but really just there to get it done and move on, admitted a little jealousy over dd's curriculum.
                      Blessings,
                      Tammy (new to MP)
                      ds, 20 (graduated)
                      dd, 16
                      ds, 9

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

                        I think you'll feel more comfortable covering EGR I and beyond at a faster pace. Then you will KNOW you covered everything.

                        We often speak about how satisfying mastery can be for a student, but a student's mastery is also satisfying for the teacher!

                        Enjoy --

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

                          Hi there,
                          A couple things in your post jump out at me.
                          It has been my experience that ' blank stare ' could really be an auditory processing disorder. I have adopted kids too (domestic) . just because she spoke a different language does not mean that was the sole issue .

                          I see this gets missed alot with friends who adopt international lly.

                          The second thing is the sense I get that maybe you are thinking , behavioral issues. Of course, cgeyrl is right. The other part to add I believe , being a mom of an kids , is never assume our adopted kids have what we think they have lol.
                          Meaning, I thought ...behavioral, well. Wound up? Severe auditory processing that the professionals missed . even though he was evaluated.

                          It won't hurt to get her evaluated. This is good to do for her and you and the family cohesiveness.

                          I suspect you have more going on there. I would start the evaluations route.
                          You could call your pediatrician and ask who they recommend .
                          Hugs , I know , this is a hard boat to be in.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Re: Struggling/Reluctant Student

                            H, I just saw the eval part. I'm on an old very slow phone. It didn't load the other comments until after u commented. :/

                            Comment

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