It is becoming more obvious that our 7 year old son is not really that happy at school. He is gifted but according to the new wonderful national standards achieving just about where he should be in 2 of the areas and below at maths. He is totally de-motivated - thinks it is all boring. I have such a fight to get him to do his homework, which is done so sloppily that I may as well not bother. He attends one day school which in the main he loves.
he complains that he has no friends at school and that no one wants to play with him. He says that he is bullied by older kids alot of the time. I am not sure if this is true or if it is his perception of what happens. I can imagine that he can be very irriating to older kids as he would like their attention but goes about it all the wrong way. He is very sensitive. He has an amazing imagination where he plays fantasy games, which do not interest most kids. It breaks my heart to hear him crying at night. He loves being at home. He is worried about college already, saying that kids with glasses get beaten up and he will be called geek.
I am starting to look into home education as I feel that he is losing alot of his confidence at school as he is a perfectionist and compares his performance to his peers. He has not moved up a spelling group all year and last year he was at the top of his class for maths and this year at the bottom.
As he is so dis-interested in writing, maths, spelling etc and I cannot get him to do his homework , how on earth will I manage to get him to do any home-schooling? Will he end up totally uneducated? He only wants to design and do scientific experiments.
I am not gfted and have not interest in what interests my son. How will I be able to do what is best for him?
We cannot afford to pay for extra tuition at this stage. He would still attend ODS. I also have a daughter who I believe really suits the school system.
I feel confused and would love to hear about any of your experiences especially how to motivate a very unmotivated child.
You have just described our 5yr old son, even as far as the worrying about college! We also have another child who seems (at this stage ) well suited for the school system.
I looked into homeschooling in our area and was really impressed with the interesting 'things' that they do. In my opinion far more interesting than the standard school curriculum. I felt really motivated after looking in to it and could see how it would work. Of course our son then came home from school saying he had a great day so we haven't taken him out yet but will if and when we feel we need to.
One way for writing that seems to have worked is writing down some of the imaginary/fantasy games/stories. He writes it down we then look at it together work out spelling etc then 'publish' it (email to dad who prints it out) and have kept them in a book.
He will often make us all act out his stories or watch as he does.
You could also do writing and maths with science experiments. He could keep a journal on his experiments, measure out ingredients, tally results etc
I believe that gaining back his self esteem and confidence will probably help his motivation??
All the best,
I homeschooled my 8 and 6 year old boys this year after homeschooling in the holidays and weekends since my eldest was 4 years old.
Its a long story, but sort of the same as yours. My son was loosing interest in school, worried about things, was bored with the work at school etc. So we homeschooled, very slowly to start with, just half an hour a few times per day, something he liked. We slowly increased the time we spend on 'school work', but really incorporated it into normal every day life. having a strong interest helps, because I was able to build lessons for nearly everything around this interest (in my son's case it was the ocean, sharks, jellyfish etc).. maths we'd measure sharks, which is bigger, which weight more, shapes etc, make up math stories; 23 jellyfish, 2 sharks eat 5 each, 3 jellyfish got caught by fisherman, how many left? etc. Writing/handwriting - something about oceans, a passage or dictation. Reading - obviously about sharks... and so on. Geography was a breeze and a favorite subject.... you can do so much, you have to be creative and search on line, there are lots and lots of ideas, lesson plans that are complete for each learning level, you just got to know where to look. It probably took a good 3 months before my eldest found his enthusiasm for learning again and at one point I thought it would be gone forever, but I just did little bits often and it worked. Email me if you want websites with lesson plans and ideas, nearly all are free and easy to use... I can mail you what I used/have. I did lots of field trips and build lessons around them. Library days, museum days... we had a ball. It's not for everyone, you spend a lot of time preparing, but once you got the hang of it and are organized it's a great way to live, but you got to have the TIME to do it. It can consume your life, but it can also become the best time of your life. Saying that my lads are now at regular school and doing really well. My eldest was becoming lazy at home, not completing the little 'work' we had to get through per day (which I set and I wasn't strict by any means), and my youngest gets more access to the extra funding he needs for his vision and hearing disabilities, but I'd homeschool again in a heartbeat if that is what is needed. I must say I'm enjoying being a 'mum' again, instead of 'teacher/mum/sergeant' and let someone else take charge of the 'paper war'... because, yeah, you will need to keep some sort of record what you've taught/going to teach/how they did/how many learning days or hours attended etc in case you get reviewed.
but good luck if this is the way you choose to go, you will have fun, but it will be a complete change of life.
sending you smiles.
We do not homeschool although have seriously considered it in the past and are still keeping an open-mind. (Our child wants to be in school and coming across a fabulous teacher has helped things). From what I understand there are great support networks for home educators.
I have to comment on you wondering how to do what is best for him. Surely teaching a 7 yr old requires understanding him and being responsive to his needs. What better person is there to understand him and respond to his needs than a loving parent?? You know him far better than any teacher does or could do.
Our umotivated child became more motivated when more challenge was offered. It seems a simple solution but in reality getting that in the school system is difficult.
Hi!My husband and I have started homeschooling master six this year;we have a much happier boy,and family!Stress levels have dropped in everyone,considerably.There is great support for homeschoolers;we have joined our local homeschool network.There are heaps of ideas,"methods",etc to look into.And we also fretted into our ability to 'TEACH' our son.However,looking over the past term,he has got stuck into learning (and experiencing learning) with more zest,as his passions lead the way for learning.Our boy is also dyslexic/dyspraxic,alongside his giftedness,and was having a very stressful time in school(on many levels).We are fortunate to have employment which suits our decision to homeschool.Good luck!
Hi Sam, I logged in this morning to see what new messages had been posted and you could have been describing my son. He's 7 and enjoys ODS but hates regular school and it is soooo hard to get him to school. Worries about no friends ( I learn't this morning that the boy we've had over to play on a regular basis for the past term no longer wants to play with my son while at school and joins other kids in calling names etc). He shows anxiety just like you mentioned. Have started to seriously consider homeschooling (but like you wonder how exactly it would work) as the school is not meeting his needs no matter that they were the ones who first raised his being "different" (their words) over a year ago and we've had many discussions with them since. My son is pulling his weight but complains of boredom etc. Is often ill and to be honest learns more at home in the weekends (following his own research) than he does during the school week. Would rather be learning about ancient civilisations or how exactly skyscrapers are built. He also has handwriting difficulties so finds any written work extremely frustrating. And why have we left him there so long? because he has had happy moments and he is so worried in new situations that the idea of sending him to a new and larger school worries us. Especially as chances are they won't be any better at providing for him.
Bit off topic but just wanted to say to BJ that we moved our DS7.9 when he was 6 from a small local school where they pointed out he was 'different' then refused to accept why, to a 'big' (over 500 role) school in town where he was immediately acelerated and where apart from initial settling in problems he has been having a great time. He now behaves more on a par with his cognitive abilities and is accepted by his peers, unlike at his previous school where as much as he tried he simply did not fit in.
I'm sure from other comments on this forum there are other 'good' schools out there. We were fortunate and have found that it was better to take a chance than do nothing at all, as he would surely have 'wasted away'.
We have been homeschooling for 2 1/2 years now. My daughter is now 10 and my son now 8. C had 2 1/2 yrs at school and J 6mths. Our school was pretty accomodating - obviously some teachers more than others! However it still wasn't the best environment for them. It hasn't been easy and at times I'll tell them they can go back to school. But to be honest, my soul shrinks when I think of putting them back in, and I won't do it until they want to - which at this stage will be college.
We have grown much closer as a family, the children are respectful and genuinely nice kids. They have way more friends outside of school than they ever did while at school - a mix of school and home schooled friends. They socialise extremely well with adults, they are happy and confident. It certainly isn't all plain sailing and it isn't all love and happiness either! Some days I seem to spend simply dampening down emotional outbursts the whole time! I don't have a huge amount of support as my husbands and my families don't live in Auckland, so it's not like I can have regular days to myself. We have quite a few families in our area that home educate so we can swap kids, plus of course they go and play with their friends. During school hols I book them to a hol programme for a day or 2 so I can have some 'me' time. I'm not the most patient person however you do find patience most of the time!
Anyway - gotta go homeschool! Feel free to contact me directly - I'm always happy to chat! firstname.lastname@example.org
Which part of NZ are you in?
Homeschooling is wonderful and unschooling is even better but a big mental leap for parents. Read 'Putting the joy back into Egypt' by Jean Hendy Harris - Auckland City Library have it.
My son is a different child .
I'll be at winter camp if anyone wants to talk there.
Hi, thanks for the feedback. I take your point about school size S - larger schools often can provide more variety and extension. Food for thought.
Also, Robyn I understand exactly what you mean. ODS was yesterday - he loved it while it's slightly out of his comfort zone he relishes the challenge and all evening was racing around telling us facts he'd learn't and what he'd done. Thankfully that wore him out because often he won't sleep so well thinking of the normal school day ahead. Wakes up this morning and does not want to go. He shows a lot less anxiety now than he did a year ago. But whereas I think the school is convinced its because he's immature infact I've realised its more likely because he's bored and frustrated and while he isn't a kid to hit others he'll internalise his feelings and they come out in anxiety. He definitely shows the anxiety around handwriting and new situations and of course with his current problems with his friend not wanting to play with him it brings up all his ėveryone hates me" feelings. What does your school do about your childs anxiety? I would never have realised the situation was so bad (last year) except they called me in for a conference and suggested he be assessed. They really didn't expect it to come back that he's highly gifted and that the reason hes often anxious is they aren't extending him enough. They're a good school and mean well but just don't know how to cater to some children. It's really hard somedays to get him to school - and what's fantastic about this forum is that suddenly we aren't alone dealing with these issues. Many others are experiencing them or have discovered techniques to help. Does you 6.5 yr old often get sick (often genuine) inorder to escape school? Is the anxiety general or is it related to certain situations?
Please would you be able to email me some websites that may help with lesson plans etc?We have started homeschooling our 7 y/o gifted boy just a term ago,and I appreciated reading your letter.Thank you!
My boy was frustrated and disengaged and can't write well. We've had help through the Kari Centre to help identify and deal with his anxiety - that has been an ENORMOUS help. He's given it a name, he has tools to cope (once we identify he is feeling anxious) and he's become a champion at calming himself down (with the occasional slip up).
He is asthmatic so he is sick anyway quite a bit. The anxiety is solely with school. He starts back to school in 3 days and the anxious behaviour started yesterday. Sigh.
He's now starting work with an OT, which he loves to bits and who has identified so much we can do to make life easier for him. We hope this will make school a happier place for him in the longer term.
My boy is class clown, which helps him avoid writing, even if it gets him in trouble - and then he gets anxious because he's been in trouble....and the cycle continues....
My warmest thoughts for all of us with kids who just find school an unhappy place.
I had a gut feel that homeschooling would be good for my oldest boy as soon as he started school, but I plugged on, scared for him to miss out on what school offers. He was at a great school, and it did offer a lot. I finally pulled him out in term 4 last year, after more than 5 years at school, and I wish I had done so earlier. Homeschooling has been brilliant already, even though the de-schooling process will probably take another 6 months or so.
If you're still considering homeschooling, these are thoughts that come to mind:
The best book I read was "How Children Learn at Home", which details research into families that homeschool informally. It's incredibly eye-opening. I got it from the Auckland Public Library.
The biggest surprise I found was how much more of a social time my son has had since he stopped school. School was over-whelming, and took so much time out of his day, that if friends came over, he couldn't put his heart into playing with them. Now, he's satisfied his interests during the day. If a friend or neighbour comes around, he now plays, really plays, with them. Before it was skimming the surface so he could escape back to his book as soon as possible. At playgrounds now he connects with children and has a ball, instead of trying to just be with me and minimise his involvement with others. It just seems a whole lot more natural.
Another surprise has been how much easier my life is. I spent so much of life before trying to keep everyone happy, cheering two boys up who didn't want to go to school or kindy; rushing through the jobs so that when my boys came home everything was as stress-free as possible, because I knew the explosions that would result otherwise. Now, my day starts as soon as I get up. I go and do the jobs I need to do and the boys are both happy to go and follow their interests. The boys help with the chores way more than they did before. I don't waste my evenings worrying and reading and crying and discussing options. Again, it all seems more natural. Definitely more respectful and we're all on more of an even keel.
The quality of my sons' learning at home wasn't even vaguely approached at school. Here they can spend hours, days, weeks, and really get into things. At school the attention span expected was 10 minutes - never enough to get into anything, and not long enough for deep thinkers to even start to "produce", resulting in a feeling of incompetence.
I also enjoyed the book "Putting the Joy Back Into Egypt" and yes it is the same Jean Hendy Harris.
Your email stirs up a lot of emotions.
My gut feeling is that our 7yr old daughter would be better suited to home education. Things were so bad last year that we told her we would homeschool her (big step to offer her), only to have her think seriously about it, and then say No, because she would miss her friends, GaTe class & kiwican.
She has been great over the holidays, enjoyed the first couple of weeks at school, and now the honeymoon is over!! Back to saying "School is Hard". (Tummy aches haven't started yet.....but I'm expecting them).
I mentioned homeschooling to her again last week, but she's adament she wants to be with her friends (she likes morning tea & lunch time :-) ).
Your comment about the attention span expected at school was 10mins, and never having enough time to get into anything......so hits the nail on the head. Our daughter really struggles with that.
Has anyone reading this pulled their child out of school even if the child wanted to be there with their friends? And if so, how did homeschooling pan out????