How do I keep my middle-schooler going and not fight me ALL THE TIME about doing school work?
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This question was foremost on my mind when we hit 6th and 7th grade. It was at the point that I saw School differently. Or thought my role as Teacher should change to be a bit more aggressive – direct. I started looking towards the end goal of College or possible High School classes – It was when I started looking at The World’s Goals, instead of the goals that I had written down, through prayer, for my precious son.
We knew in the Kindergarten Level that my oldest son would not follow what might be considered a “normal” path. He had Audio Memory Deficiency. Which meant – no amount of telling him that the phonogram e made such and such sounds, and expect him to remember it an hour or a day later. We spent an entire year in battle – trying to “school at home”. Battle? Aggressive? Direct? With a 5 year old? Praise the Lord that I had an amazing mentoring family who saw what was going on – and led me to read so many books on the learning styles and teaching styles of those who have gone before.
What we did then – and now – is to look at the strengths. What does my son like to do? What ways does he enjoy doing it? He’s a thinker/talker, not a writer. Most of our day is very verbal. He is a shar-er- not a listener of sorts. Conversation over Lecture. Math was manipulative – and not memorization. Stories. He needed to fully understand the why, the end result, to be interested in sorting out the how in the middle. Even now, at 13, I will feel the resistance, if I start blindly with a new topic introduction– without any build up.
I found that staying with one subject for a month – when he was younger – helped build the understanding and fire. Unit Studies, Lapbooks, A solid chunk.
This is the first year we are doing a new type of schedule – and honestly – I wasn’t sure he’d be able to flip. One topic for 2 days, One topic for 1 day, then One topic for 2 days. History, Composers, Science. In a 5 day rotation. So far, on the 4th day – he has done well.
Anytime I start to feel the “battle” I have to ask – where is the tension? Is it Character? Discipline? Interest? Nutrition? Rest? Outside Activities? – and look towards healing that area – first.
I like to make a fun breakfast, layout the path for his day with post it notes – giving him an idea of what the day will look like – and sometimes – I’ll sit at the table and actually start some of the lesson. Start Drawing – have fun pencils out – inviting. He’ll join me- and next thing ya know – its 11:30 and his core work is done.
My advice? A few Questions – Why isn’t learning fun or exciting in the home? What point of battle has drawn a line of having the two of you toe that line as opponents? What can be done to erase that line – putting you on the same team? Look at curriculum options. I learned that my son had Learning Differences – not Learning DIS abilities. Spend time learning how he learns. Look at his play, his games, his friends, his interests. How does he learn something new that is his interest? – and you will find your answers.