This is my 3rd year doing hs w/my son who is 2nd grade (actually 4th if you count preschool)…
I am nearly in tears. My son will only work when I am right by his side, even if he already knows how to do the page. He is so smart, yet hates school. It took him an hour to do 1 little lesson of writing in the language lessons book. How do I do this??? Every year the same. But now this year we have added our Kindergarten son who doesn’t have as much work, but is a distraction to my second grader (I tell my second grader that in school he would be distracted by 30 kids). Plus I have house, appointments, & newborn.
(My son does love science & notebooking, but I have to read that to him….. when does it become him to read it?) Just wondering what I’m doing wrong…. I WANT to homeschool, but I am so upset because I feel I am not accomplishing anything. please help. Thank you.
…It sounds like you are dealing with either a motivation issue, a training issue, or most likely a combination of the two. As I mentioned to you earlier, this is a very common problem but thankfully not insurmountable in any way.
The first thing we would try here would be a system of carrots to reward his budding independence. There are lots of ways to do this, the important thing will be to determine what is compelling to him. Is he saving his money for something? Perhaps you could reward him with a penny for each page of school he does, but a nickel for each one he does without your help. Or perhaps he would like to earn screen time or playtime at the park or… In our family the big reward was a family night every Friday – only those with their schoolwork done could participate.
Once you’ve determined the reward make it really obvious to him what he gets and how. (Sticker charts work really well for some children.)
Also take time to consider what is a reasonable responsibility for him to start with. I wouldn’t necessarily expect him to work independently on all or even most of his subjects next week, but what one or two are within his immediate grasp? Then you’ll just build from there.
Once you’ve figured this out you’ll want to have a heart-to-heart chat with him and explain that he is ready to take on some adult responsibilities now, which means he also gets the benefits of these new rewards. Lay out for him exactly what you expect and what the rewards are. (And of course, by inverse, what exactly happens if he doesn’t get the work done on his own, on time or…)
Make sure the timeframe is a reasonable one for him, and then let him be responsible for managing it. In our case if we wanted to spend all week wasting time that was our choice, but of course we soon discovered that we really would miss out on family night. I don’t think any of us really learned that lesson without at least a few tearful Fridays as we tried to hurry and catch up, only to miss out altogether. It didn’t take long though to realize that this was really how it was going to work, and how to work with the standards.
Some people really balk at the idea of rewards, however, it really is the most natural of consequences. Children in school are rewarded/influenced by the peer pressure, gold stars, shame… Not only that but it is a rare adult who does their work purely out of love for the job. We expect to be rewarded for our work – whether it is the trucker working for his paycheck or the farmer sowing in order to reap a harvest. Children find it understandably difficult to grasp the rewards of their education so until he can fully get that it makes sense to find a way to make learning independently a privilege that is worth the effort.
I should mention one more thing. I’ve assumed throughout all this that the root issue is motivation. You may know that this isn’t the case. It could be a desire for perfection, lack of reading comprehension or something entirely different. By far the most common issue though is motivation, which is why I’ve focused on that.