My head might explode right now.
$400 and she hates it.
I’m having to resist the urge to tell her that the problem is that she is being lazy.
I wouldn’t dare say that out loud. She’s my baby girl. Not the youngest, but still my baby. Even in the 5th grade.
The curriculum is not hard, or over her head. It just requires effort. A different kind of effort than she is used to putting forth, yes, but not something she isn’t capable of doing.
We’re both in tears and now she thinks I’m mad at her.
I’m not. I tell her I’m not. I tell her to go take a break so Momma can think.
There has to be a way to make this work.
Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever found yourself two weeks into the school year with a curriculum that just isn’t working for your child?
I don’t have all the answers, but I can share with you what I plan to do for my daughter.
Finding Middle Ground
Step One: Listen – Take a deep breath and try to really hear what she is saying. Ask questions about what she doesn’t like, or what she is having trouble with and try (this is the hard part for me) to listen to her answers objectively.
Step Two: Consider what worked last year – I know, if it worked last year I wouldn’t have switched things up right? I’m wondering if the things I changed were the wrong things. Maybe I was wrong in my assumptions about exactly what didn’t work last year, and tried “fixing” the things that were working.
Step Three: Consider what really didn’t work last year – Here is where I need to think about what she said she didn’t like last year, and be open to the possibility that her maturity level has moved up, and what didn’t work then might work now. I also need to get to the bottom of why it didn’t work. Too much reading? Trouble with comprehension? Not enough hands on time? Did my new choice in curriculum eliminate those obstacles? Is it even an obstacle that needs eliminating, or is it something she really needs to just work through?
Step Four: Meet in the Middle – I listened, and what I heard was she wanted me to teach her like I did last year. Last year was more one on one, sitting on the couch, less computerized. Our new curriculum is completely on the computer. I considered last year, what worked and what didn’t and realized, with a heavy heart, that my decision to switch was mostly based on her older sister’s needs, not hers. Dad wanted more grades (or at least a more obvious method of determining retention of material), because their annual evaluations haven’t gone well. The new curriculum fixed that as it records their progress and assignments making it easier for me to show him how we are progressing. But my girl wants more one on one learning and less computer. So, I’m negotiating for a bit.
I printed out her lesson text and the chapter reviews. Tomorrow, we will sit on our couch, and read the lesson together. She can do the review questions with pen and paper, the way she is accustomed to doing them, and then she can key her answers into the software. If after two more weeks, she still just doesn’t like it, I’ll break out our other books (I’m not the only one that hoards homeschooling stuff, am I?) and let her go back to the way it used to be.
It’s a kick in the tail to have to stop, two weeks in, and accept that you may have made the wrong decision. This, however, is one of the blessings I find in homeschooling. I can change. I can adjust her lessons. I can adapt the style to better fit my baby girl. While I do not enjoy wasting money, I have two others that will eventually enter the fifth grade, so if we end up dropping the curriculum it won’t be a total loss.
Do you ever find yourself having to change it up before it even gets going? What did you do to adapt?
What was the biggest learning obstacle for your children?