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help w/ motivating
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ksewell



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 101

Post help w/ motivating Reply with quote
We have been homeschooling for 11 years now and it seems like we are in a "rut" (not all, but some of my children). I think that part of the problem is that they aren't taking it seriously anymore...like it's not a "real school". I think part of the problem is that, never having been in a school, they are thinking they are missing out on something (esp. friends). We try to get together w/ friends when possible but aren't in a big area where there are lots of like-minded home schoolers, so that can be difficult. I don't think it's a discipline problem, as I have restricted many things until the work is done and also have given incentives for finishing and also having the proper attitude. But it seems like most days are met w/ me having to hound to get work done...frustration..."we never have any fun"...oops, i forgot to do that/I thought I did that...tears...etc. Perhaps there is nothing more we can do, but I would love to know what others do to motivate their children (without always punishing or setting up elaborate reward systems...I am already drowning in all I have to do). My 10th grader is doing well, and it seems like it is mostly my 7th (boy), 4th (boy) and sometimes 2nd (girl)...I also have a 4 year old and 10 month old (who is more like a toddler...very active). Thanks and God bless!
Karin
Tue Oct 07, 2008 5:08 pm View user's profile Send private message
sharonh



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 572

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I have a "pizza fund" The younger kids get money based upon the performance of timed math tests (one area my older kids were not motivated). The older kids get money for performance on daily math work when timed math test are no longer done.

I also pay by when they finish school. The quicker school is done, the more money they earn.

The amounts are small...25 cents is most earned for completing school then descending amounts...and 15 cents for the first time they pass a test with no errors and with the time goal met then descending amounts if not passed...10 cents for 99-100% on math papers then descending amounts.

I also give money for quarter grades...10 cents for A's, 5 cents for B's. I give my oldest who is taking a few college classes double amount for his college grades since they are done on a semester basis.

I have four kids...If all goes well they earn a Papa Murphy's pizza in 2 1/2 - 3 weeks.
Wed Oct 08, 2008 7:23 am View user's profile Send private message
Jenmom8



Joined: 18 Jun 2007
Posts: 56
Location: Illinois

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Karin,

I have very similar grades and sexes as your children.

10th-grade girl, 8th boy, 7th boy twins, 4th boy, five year old girl, three yo boy, and 18mos old girl. 8)

I can totally appreciate your predicament and relate to it. In the past, we have had lots of struggles with motivation - especially with our boys. There a few things that have helped greatly - more than all the punishments, tears, cajoling, etc. The first is to have a regular daily schedule and stick to it as well as you can. My kids know what time they are supposed to do which subjects and when they have free time and chore time and baby time. This was NOT an easy process, but there were two books that really helped. One - to give you perspective and a moral compass - was A Mother's Rule of Life by Holly Pierlot. Holly is way beyond me spiritually, but I tell you, she really helped me get perspective and plan what was most important in my life. The other is by protestant authors, but is very helpful in practical guidance in scheduling. It is Managers of Their Homes. That gives very practical guidance in creating a schedule for homeschoolers with lots of kids. Imagine that- protestants with lots of kids! Laughing I can also send you an email if you like with my schedule. It may really help since our kids are so similar in ages.

The other thing that has helped we tried to start last year and failed miserably. That is having weekly reviews with DAD!! Now, it has to be Dad or it doesn't work. My kids have no trouble telling ME all their excuses, but DAD doesn't accept any of them unless I say that it is a valid excuse. On Sunday night, we sit down at the kitchen table with one child and both parents and take about 5-10 minutes finding out where they are in their course plans. Knowing that this is going to happen, has been the best motivator ever! Dad doesn't even yell, but they just don't want to disappoint him! Razz You ought to see how my kids will work in order to catch up. The only consequence we have given is that they have to take all tests on time as they fall in their course plans. So, if they get behind, they have to catch up quick enough to be ready for the exam or they will fail it. We have had one get a D already, but since he is only in 7th grade, we figure it will have no impact on his future, except that he will be more motivated to get his work done on time. Now, we are not tyrants, I have had to change a few exams because of illness or family issues, but for the most part, I have tried to stay on track, because I dont' want to be finishing school in August again!!!!!!! Rolling Eyes I must say this has been our best school year ever and we have been at this the entire time also. This is the advice I got when I was in Seton and called to talk to their deacon about my son's lack of motivation. He recommended DAD. Unfortunately, Dad didn't jump right in there and help out until a few years later, but now that he has, we are running fairly smoothly around here.

I also understand about the friend thing. That is a tough one. We actually moved last year to be near a more active homeschooling group. I know that isn't practical for everyone, but getting involved in the group and church has really helped my kids. The other thing, though, is that our new church built a school that started this year. I have three friends who decided to put their kids in. This is a very conserrvative school with daily mass - not your typical CAtholic school. Anyway, out of three, two hate it! Their kids love it, but are tired all the time, have no time for fun, are always going, and just are having a hard time keeping up. They both did it to give themselves a break and they are not getting any kind of break at all. The two who don't like it have 5 and 8 kids. The one who does like it only has two kids. My friend with 8 and I were talking about it since I almost sent my kids also (for a break) and we decided that it is no wonder that people feel they can't have more than two kids when their kids are in school. So, seriously, try to hang in there. It will be soooooooo much better when that 10mo-old is 18mos!!!!! I thought I would lose my mind last year! Crying or Very sad

This has been a long post and I need to get back to my kids, but please email me privately and I can send you my schedule. If I could find a way to post it, I would, but anyone who wants a copy is welcome to one.

I will pray that this works out and let me know if I can be of any more help. God bless!

_________________
Jenny
Changing our world one diaper at a time!
Wed Oct 08, 2008 12:59 pm View user's profile Send private message
Megan Lengyel



Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 2443
Location: Alpharetta, GA; formerly, Napa, CA; originally St. Louis, MO

Post Reply with quote
Jenmom8 wrote:
If I could find a way to post it, I would, but anyone who wants a copy is welcome to one.


Jen- If you want me to post your schedule for public viewing, i am happy to do it. You would just need to email it to me (I think you have my email?)

Quote:
Unfortunately, Dad didn't jump right in there and help out until a few years later, but now that he has, we are running fairly smoothly around here.


I have often wanted to ask a parent at Kolbe to write a newsletter article on HOW to get Dad involved (any takers??). I realize that dads are usually working full time to support their family financially, and it can be very difficult to find time to fit in time for all the kids. But, I nearly fell off my seat last year when I had a mom at her wits end b/c her student was seriously struggling in physics, they couldn't afford a tutor, and then I find out that her husband had a PhD in physics!!!!

I'm sure it is that we, as wives, don't want to put the extra stress on our husbands by bringing up some of the struggles of our kids. But in the end, I think it is worth talking to them about the stresses in your homeschool. They are our partners in this homeschooling journey and they might even have some fresh ideas and perspective in how to make the scheduling work in your home which they know almost as well as you.

Just a few inexperienced thoughts on getting dad involved... right now I'm just getting my dh involved with my son's train track building so I still have a lot to learn in this dept!!!

_________________
Megan Lengyel
Kolbe Academy Home School
Online Academy Director
Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:20 pm View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
ksewell



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 101

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thanks for the replies thus far! Jenny, I have sent you my E-mail in a pm. Sharon, I love your pizza night idea, but have to admit that I tried something similar and couldn't even keep up w/ recording how much I owed them each day and the whole thing flopped Embarassed I admire people who can keep up w/ those fun things. I may try something maybe less elaborate when I have caught up on sleep. I, too, would be interested in how others get dads involved. As Megan said, it is hard for me to ask for help when he is already working so that I can stay home (and is currently in Sweden w/ his job for the week), involved in their sports and the boys scouts, and has so much he needs to do at home (maintaining the house and car, etc). But I really think dads do need to be involved. When children are in school, they come home and have a parent help them w/ things they didn't understand, help them prepare for tests, etc. I find it very difficult to be the teacher, and then the "parent" as well...and I really need time to be "just mom"! It is great that we have this forum to support each other...I look forward to hearing more...thanks again!
God bless,
Karin
Wed Oct 08, 2008 2:41 pm View user's profile Send private message
Almom



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 114
Location: Alabama

Post motivation Reply with quote
Karin:

Been there and still working on it. Megan, I do think communication with husband is the key to helpful involvment.

Here are a few things that have helped us over the years:

I have a hard time thinking once the school year starts. It takes all I have to just run the house and try to function. I am mostly ovewhelmed. I have a 10th grader, an 8th grader, a 6th grader, a 2nd or 3rd grader, and a 6 year old, plus a relative's special needs 8th grader schooling at my house. I have therapy for the special needs, vision therapy for one of mine, plus some learning glitches with another of mine. (All of mine, except the 6 year old have been through vision therapy and thus a late start in reading. Some cannot deal with small print yet. I have to have reasonable expectations of myself and my children and then some easy way for everyone to be accountable. We have done some real soul searching over the last 2 years and made a few discoveries.

My children need to have curriculum that suits them and we need to adjust before the school year starts. It was very helpful to me to do a simple, free spot evaluation of learning styles in this house. I now know where a lot of the stress is coming from - I have a houseful of very strongly one style learners - and no one is my leaning, not my husband, not any of the children (well maybe the 6 yo but I dont' even school him yet). Most of them are either kinesthetic or visual. They need the big picture before the details make sense. I need the details in order to see the big picture. Yes, the goal is for us all to be able to tackle whatever way information is presented, but to be able to enjoy it and efficiently learn, we do have to work from our strengths. This also helped me see ways to improve efficiency of communications with my husband and the children. My kinesthetic learners need to wiggle and my visual learners are distracted by the wiggling. I am auditory and I have one child that has some auditory and sensory issues. Noise is more than just a distraction, it creates extreme stress - much like a pressure cooker and he must have a place to go for a few minutes of real quiet. Now, our house is not noisy, but I do have children with music lessons and .... These are normal things in terms of learning to be kind and considerate, thoughtful - but exacerbated by the intense differences in this one house. We are learning why group discussion led by mom was like pulling teeth. Knowing the natural needs and looking for creative solutions - therapy putty in hand for the kinesthetics (it is movement but discreet and non-distracting).

Communicating my needs in summary form to my husband in writing with a request to set aside sometime this week or next to hash out some of these things, is more likely to happen than me communicating orally (my natural tendency since it is the way I learn best). Being able to tell him, science is not working in this house and I cannot teach it - but knowing that dad is an engineer with lots of science background and skills but not home when the questions and meltdowns typically occur - nor does he have time to design from scratch and present wonderful lessons every day. But I need help. So, dad looked at hands on stuff to supplement the text, could decipher what was twaddle and what was worthwhile - and then he ends up doing a once per week demonstration and at least some explanations. He is a visual and kinesthetic and big picture learner so he more naturally connects with children's learning styles than I do. Case in point, trying to explain atoms to our highschooler, I had drawn beautiful illustrations, spoken to her in detail and all I got were glazed eyes. Dad comes home and hands her marbles: Here, the green are protons, the white are neutrons. It clicked in seconds. I was baffled. My husband laughed and said next time just leave out the words and hand her marbles.

Very specific plans - not something they have to modify but something already modified for the student. Dad is helpful as a voice. If there is an area not getting accountability, why isn't it working. Am I lazy or is it just unrealistic for me to try and achieve something. I had one child who really was avoiding literature, but Kolbe literature isn't at the appropriate level for this child at this time and I didn't have time to write a whole set of plans with other books. We decided that the accountability wasn't going to happen without help and for this year as a transition, stop gap, we actually signed him up for a single reading course with Seton. My in a hurry child is learning to slow down and read directions and he is taking it much more seriously just because he has to hand in the stuff. In a year, he will have gained enough confidence that we will probably transition back to Kolbe literature.

I need to go, but will come back with other ideas later. Basically we have found that motivation totally dies if the material is not working for them. It doesn't mean the material isn't good or cannot be tweaked. It helps to step back and ask yourself what the goals are and if this could be achieved more efficiently some other way.

Routine and organization have already been mentioned.

Janet
Fri Oct 10, 2008 5:41 pm View user's profile Send private message
Almom



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 114
Location: Alabama

Post more on motivation Reply with quote
You mentioned the rut and the need for interaction with peers. We went through this with our oldest and finding a passion and activities in that passion helped tons. We also discovered that she needed lots of interaction for learning to really click. A co-op class helped as did something to look forward to involving large groups of people (orchestra and music activities were her relief). We could never completely ease some things just because of the region and she was about the only homeschooled highschooler we knew at the time - she was very lonely.

Another child told me that having regular, expected breaks that we don't skip, helps a lot. We realized that if we school all year(and we were by default many years), then we still need a long month here and there. We've decided to take them when it makes sense for our family, not when the schools do. But knowing that we will be off at the end of October, everyone is trying to wrap things up. It is motivational to look forward to time off. We had gotten into such a bad rut of simply dragging school out forever and the kids gave up on ever getting breaks and that killed motivation. Now, if we are a little behind, we have a long break early enough when it is still easy enough to do some quick catch up. It is making a huge difference. My oldest said having some plans for the weekend or particular things to look forward to makes her more focused on her work during the week.

Enough sleep, and pay attention to eating habits. Some of our teens or preteens started slipping in what they were eating and plain didn't have the energy they needed early in the day or weren't taking enough breaks. Also we had to come down hard on those folks whose lights were on late - we had a few who spent hours reading in the evening but way too late so that morning which should have been prime, they were still trying to wake up. I have one who has to be told to take a break but being kinesthetic, if he doesn't take a break, he really is wasting his time. I have to teach them to pace themselves appropriately for their own best productivity. We set a timer for breaks so that we don't lose track of time and end up outside for 2 hours when we intended on a 30 minute break.

I have to focus on balance in this house. Schooling from 8 AM til 8 PM is not healthy. I cannot have the children so stressed that they feel they cannot do anything but school. They have to have a pace that is appropriate for good living. Once we were in a rut of never taking breaks and being perpetually under stress, nothing worked until we all knew that regardless, we were going to take a break and at a specific time. I have even spoken to children who seem to have trouble focusing. One child actually schools in our bedroom because there isn't anything there to distract whereas in her room there are too many projects that beckon and the other part of the house there is too much in and out. We enlisted this child's aid in coming up with a plan. She also does much better with movement so Herodotus gets read while riding the exercise bike. It has taken me so long to understand the different needs at least partially because I am so unkinesthetic and early I was often interpreting movement as inattentiveness. I want a good balance but it isn't all academics and when our life started getting out of whack that way, nothing will motivate because you aren't doing what needs to be done in other areas. I'm not saying tinker and make courses silly or not challenging - but we have to be realistic with our own children. A husband's non emotional input in this area means the difference between emotional knee jerking and prudent adjustment. I want our children to be academically well rounded, but I also want them to be sensitive, prayerful, have time to discover their own gifts and interests and interact with siblings and learn to cook and clean or build a fort or.... If one child is very non-science geared, they still need to learn science, but what are my goals here. Do I need in depth detailed knowledge that they memorize and forget or do I need a very deeply comprehended overview that is less detailed but retained forever. What will equip them best for continued learning. If this child is kinesthetic is it essential that we do a particular science program or do we branch out in method of presentation. When we discussed doing hands on chemistry next year, I could visibly see the relief. This child is not served by continuing in the same fashion with this subject and while we got to the point that she was doing what was required and forcing attentiveness long enough to pass tests, there wasn't a whole lot of real learning taking place - and though she learned to self motivate (even if it was all, I just want this course over with), it doesn't create the kind of foundation we are looking to create.

Janet
Sat Oct 11, 2008 9:18 am View user's profile Send private message
ksewell



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 101

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Thanks for your replies, Janet (and everyone else). I continue to pray about this...we have done/are doing many of the things that have been discussed (have somewhat of a schedule [not each course, but our school/chore time], are involved in extracurricular activities, have modified several of the subjects to better meet their needs and learning styles, are being careful about what they eat, especially for breakfast, and trying to find a balance between school time and other time). So I guess it comes down to the fact that perhaps I am doing what I need to and just need perseverance (and continued prayer).

One thing I am wondering is if I am trying to do too much...so I am praying and continue to make adjustments in their course work (sometimes I find it hard to know where the "line" is between doing too much and not doing enough). I'd be curious to know how other Kolbe families use the course plans...do you use them exactly as they are laid out (w/o changing assignments and tests) or modify..and if you do modify, how? I know that every family is different and every child has different needs, so ultimately I need to seek guidance from the Holy Spirit...but I'd love to hear what others are doing.

Thanks again and God bless!!
Karin
Sat Oct 11, 2008 6:57 pm View user's profile Send private message
8latinfans



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 384
Location: Indiana

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Karin,

I can definitely relate to your issues. This is our 9th year homeschooling and I am burnt out too. We have an 11th grader, a 9th grader, a 6th grade, a 5th grader, a 1st grader and an 8 month old baby. We, also, do not live near very many Catholics who homeschool, as our parish has a successful (albeit NOT very strongly Catholic) school. Most people in our parish do not understand why we homeschool. The only friends I had when we started have children who, for the most part, are all near graduation.

The other isssue is that in order to get our school work finished, there is little time left for socialization, esp. since there are still things to be done such as laundry, cleaning, shopping, etc.! My high schoolers and my daughter (the only girl with five brothers) seem to be impacted the most. Our 5th grade boy and 1st grade boy have neighbors from our parish whom they are friends with, so they don't notice it as much. We have talked before about moving to the city so there are more people to be friends with and my husband has a shorter commute, but we love small-town life and are not ready yet to make that change.

One thing that has helped a little (and I hope will help a lot as the children become adults) is to get them to realize that 1) my husband and I don't have a great number of friends either because of our lifestyle choices -- we don't have the money to socialize a lot and like to spend our free time mostly as a family trying to instill in the children the right values; and 2) many of the people they see who have so many "friends" really have a lot of acquaintances. Friends are people who would drop everything if you were sick or in a jam --- acquaintances would call or send a card. Very few people have a large number of real friends. It is difficult for kids to understand this (even as an adult, I feel lonely sometimes too) but hopefully they will find others like themselves as they get older and go to college. I wish we had more friends but for now, that is our cross to bear.

As far as school is concerned, I do make out a schedule for the children who are below high school age at the beginning of the school year and we try to stick to that. With a baby in the mix this year, I had to do that in order to find time for nursing, etc. It has worked pretty well but is pretty loose so it can be adjusted as necessary. The high schoolers are on their own, as I figure they need to be able to master time management on their own before going to college. I do have breaks built in and try to remind the older boys to take those breaks to give their brains a rest. We also have a schedule of which days are for which chores and it pretty much works like clockwork --- they know what has to be done that day. I could never do this if the kids did not help. We do laundry during the school day and take turns folding, etc. All other chores happen after school is finished, and usually no one can play computer, etc. until everyone's big chores are finished.

I am a choleric-type temperament by nature and so when I first started homeschooling, I followed the lessons plans by the book. Now I am a little more flexible, but save a death in the family or a long illness, we seldom fall behind. I would rather keep the kids on a 9-week quarter schedule and finish in mid-May than to keep going on through the summer. For the most part, I still follow the lesson plans. I find it difficult to alter them too much, as then I have a problem when it comes to exam time, as I have to do too much work changing the provided exams to fit what they did or did not do. What I have found is that in a subject such as grammar, if the lesson seems like busy work to them, they can come to me and ask, and if I agree, they skip it or do it orally. I also might strike a question on a quarterly exam if I think it is too difficult for that particular child. I also struggle with not knowing where the "line" is --- I want them to learn what they need, but at what point is it too much? Here's where I bounce ideas off my husband and see what he thinks. If I am not sure and if he also thinks it is too much, then we modify.

I will also try to see if my husband would be willing to post here about how he helps me. If it weren't for my husband, I would have had a nervous breakdown years ago when it came to homeschooling. It is SO hard to be the teacher and the parent, and many days I am beaten down. But from the beginning, he has been the "principal" of our school and really steps in when I need him to.

I will say that one thing we started to do which is very helpful is that our kids put all of their completed graded school work every day in a folder marked with their name on a table for Dad to look through when he gets home. That way, he keeps up with how everyone is doing, and it gives him a great grasp of who needs his extra help. He doesn't always get to go through the papers due to his work schedule, but the kids know that he might be looking. (BTW, I try to grade papers as they come across my desk throughout the day, using those pockets of 3 - 4 minutes at a time when no one needs me to grade. Sometimes I fall behind, but mostly I can get it done. That way, everything is graded by the end of the afternoon.)

Anne
Sun Oct 12, 2008 6:31 am View user's profile Send private message
introibo



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 155
Location: Oxford, CT

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I've said this elsewhere, but I'll say it again....for the younger grades, I don 't enroll in a program. For K-2, I concentrate on getting them to do math, reading, some writing, and catechism (usually preparing to receive FHC in second grade). In second grade I introduce spelling and science, too. I do start the reading in K, using Engelmann's book. History starts in 3rd grade. And so on. By seventh grade, the workload is much heavier, in preparation for being enrolled in the high school program.

Motivation...of course always a problem. I don't have them do every subject every day, as this becomes redundant and busy work. I usually lighten up on Fridays, so if they finish the work assigned earlier in the week, they have a light day then (spelling/vocab quiz, catechism quiz, etc). This year for the first time I made up a little lesson plan book for my 7th grader as I do for the high schoolers, and this helps her to see the total week, and it's up to her to get it done, with me helping when necessary.

Motivation for the highschoolers means just plodding along and getting stuff done so it's not hanging over into the weekend. So far, my three high schoolers have gotten in to a rhythm, despite what I put in the lesson plans, that they do math everyday, but do another subject or two each day only. I.e. they will do all of theology on Monday, Literature on Tuesday, etc. Sometimes it's not possible to do all of , say, Science in one day, but you get the idea.

As far as getting Dad involved - he does Latin as he had it in high school and I didn't! And he does Physics for the same reason. Otherwise, he is the teacher of last resort...if I can't explain something to them, it's up to him. Ditto with discipline - I know most people say not to threaten with "when your father gets home....." but for me, the phone call to Dad ( who usually issues an edict on the phone) usually works.

Christina
Sun Oct 12, 2008 12:37 pm View user's profile Send private message
Almom



Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 114
Location: Alabama

Post motivation - how we break up or follow Reply with quote
I am much like the other mom in that I generally do not enroll my younger children in any full curriculum. I begin enrolling in Kolbe in upper middle school or high school, depending on the child and what I need at the time. I did enroll one of mine earlier than that - but mostly for the science help. I don't follow the program very closely with him at all. My highschooler is closer but still not completely. I have been home teaching for over 17 years and my oldest is currently in college. I can look back and see plenty of mistakes, but our children learn. I realized at some point that my children seemed to learn most when we have downtime so I like to make sure that my plans allow for enough downtime. We do not allow TV viewing and rarely watch videos or use the computer (outside of school or research) and we don't own any of those electronic games, so downtime for my children means curling up with a book, or being outside building a hydroelectric dam. This is my chance to step back and try and observe what fires them up, what works, how they chose to learn and then I try to incorporate as much of this as possible (or use it to inspire in areas they tend to avoid).

Highschooler - we decided to do an extra year of high school (science had really bogged her down and we didn't want to feel rushed). We are following Religion very closely - but I have her outline certain paper topics - or make charts if it is a topic that lends itself to that. I pick a few each quarter that I want her to do to perfection and a few that I want rough drafts. The ones she perfects, I expect her to send to Kolbe for grading. For Literature, we don't do the study guides much - these end up really making her slow waaay down and seem to keep her from retaining (I was surprised by this as they are quite good, but for this child it makes her become too hung up on small stuff that she loses the big picture). We take at least 2 of the literature tests. I select the books we will read - we have several things from 10th and 11th. She writes at least one paper topic on each book to hand in to Kolbe. We also add in a thing or two from Hillside that involves a paper topic or two. Others in Kolbe, she either jots notes, outlines or we discuss (discussion is rare - but we try to pick a way that is helpful to her)if it is a book I have assigned. History, I do a combination of Kolbe 10th and 11th plus some ideas from RChistory and use a lot of my own resources. She is an avid history person, very good at independent research. I have gotten several audio versions (not the same exact edition but a complete text) from audible and allow her to listen to many of the original sources to give us time for some of our projects. I pick about 1 paper topic per quarter, sometimes more, depending on which books we have selected. She does a number of things for me that are not in Kolbe plans but that are more in keeping with her style of learning. She researched Roman military structure and made a chart and illustrated it. She maintains a history notebook, a timeline and reads additional materials on the time period. We integrate secular history with the church history and I generally assign some sort of papers (either my topic or one from rc history) that pulls these things together. She will read Josephus and make connections between the various Jewish groups, the destruction of the temple and the Roman wars with the various provinces. She is doing the oral presentation material this year and the vocabulary workbook. We are using the composition book as reference and to read. I generally have her apply what she has learned to her particular paper topics rather than doing a whole bunch of the individual book exercises, but occassionally I see something we haven't really presented and I'll assign some of that. She really is liking the auditory portion of the vocabulary as she hasn't always pronounced words properly. We are following the math and science plans fairly closely, but I will say the science is not working super well for her. Next year we will switch from Prentice Hall and allow her to do a hands on chemistry program that we found. We try to supplement with dad making them get their hands on our homescience tool kits at least once per week.

My other two signed up with Kolbe, I don't follow a lot of Kolbe's plans. I always use their theology, but I have older faith and life books so we skip the workbook and I substitute hands on projects that we do. They always take the religion test. We make flashcards from the ST. Joseph Baltimore catechism (or during confirmation year, from the material our diocese requests - I like our diocese's definition for a sacrament as it is much fuller and we learn that one by confirmation year). We use the vocabulary and sometimes the composition book, though these seem to bog us down a bit. I try to look at concepts taught and use it to teach as they try to write. My children have had eye-hand delays, so we are still working on cursive and I use whichever book is most appropriate. I cannot use CNR as the print is too small for us. We use Winston grammar for these two, The Writing Road to Reading for Spelling. My 8th grader is reading Christ the King, but I have sequenced it with other books and use a lot of material from RChistory. My 6th did the Holling C Holling books as intro and the textbook project history text with supplemental reading. I use the Hillside guides for literature and writing for now. One child is doing Saxon 8/7 and will be in Algebra shortly (probably just use Jacobs). The other is using Singapore math. They are both doing Prentice Hall Physical Science. The younger, science fan, this is working very well. My older needs something different but for now we are trying to make it work using the homescience tools and dad.

For my children that I don't sign up - we use Singapore math and supplement with abacus work, Montessori materials, and extra drill. We read whatever works for print size and is of good quality. I follow a bit with CHC but use Kolbe's first grade grammar book (couldn't use the 2nd grade one yet due to print size but will probably pull it back out later this year), we use lots of reading in lots of areas, don't use a science text at all which seems to work better for mine and lots of montessori 3 part cards. I use Faith and Life and some montessori style Catechesis of the Good Shepherd which is all hands on. We read real books, biographies, whatever of interest in science, history. With science, they do lots of experimentation. With history, we make timelines from whatever trail we are on. I have some great Montessori puzzle maps and we use this for geography, adding in features, animals, saints of the region. We draw in major rivers, desserts, mountain ranges. I have land and water forms that we fill with colored water and identify followed by 3 part cards for the vocabulary. I have lots of supplemental hands on reading, science, math and we use this for a lot of things. I follow CHC theology in the younger grades and we make various books - a Mass book, prayer book, charts, liturgical calendars and wheels, etc.

Janet
Mon Oct 13, 2008 6:31 am View user's profile Send private message
ksewell



Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 101

Post Reply with quote
Anne, I would love to have your husband share his role (and I'm sure others would as well if he'd be able to post)...and also how he finds the time. Fortunately, my high schooler is doing very well this year, so I don't worry so much about holding her accountable and having to motivate her (I wish I could spend more time w/ her, though, as I love what she is doing!). I do have my others enrolled as well, but don't think that is a problem for them...if anything, it helps, as they know that some of their work is sent in. One thing I love about Kolbe is that they can have the benefits of enrollment, but I still have the flexibility (I don't think I'd do anything different as far as course work/workload if they weren't enrolled)...and they love it when they get their reports back w/ an advisor's encouraging comments (we don't do the EES, and find just the little bit of encouragement on the quarterly report to be good for them). I think being enrolled also helps them to feel like they are part of a "school". As I prepare to begin second quarter, I am relying heavily on the Holy Spirit to guide me in deciding what their workload should be (ie: what gets written and what can be done orally). I have also altered our schedule to allow me to work w/ them when the baby is asleep (either very early before he wakes, or during his nap). Thanks again for all the thoughts and ideas...and let's all pray for each other as we continue to form the precious souls we have been blessed with!
God bless,
Karin
Mon Oct 13, 2008 5:38 pm View user's profile Send private message
8latinfans



Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 384
Location: Indiana

Post Anne's husband Jeff gives his thoughts Reply with quote
Karin,

FROM ANNE'S HUSBAND JEFF:

While my wife overestimates my role in homeschooling, I will attempt to explain what I do --- and more importantly WHY I do what I do. First, an admission. It was my idea to homeschool in the first place, so I have always felt it was my duty to be involved. In the earlier grades, we decided that I would act in the role of principal. This means that I receive updates on the children's behavior and progress during the week. That way, I can be the disciplinarian when needed, but more importantly, give my wife a different perspective on learning issues as well as behavioral issues. As we have different learning styles, this helps my wife understand some of the children better. This also means that I must be willing to accept those rare phone calls in the middle of the day when the children are acting up. It usually only takes a stern talking to over the phone and presenting the child with a clear but stark choice as to which behavior they wish to pursue the rest of the day to get them back on track. I also review the children's work most every night right after dinner. This is "dead" time anyway as the children are doing the dishes and cleaning up the kitchen and not enough time for me to do any chores of my own and while one child is doing their part of the kitchen duties I can talk to the others about their day's school work. This really doesn't take much time -- usually only 2 to 3 minutes per child, and it helps me to stay connected to them and them to me. From studies I've read, this minor involvement of the father can make all of the difference, both to the children and more importantly, to the wife, who is teaching them all day long.

In addition, from the very beginning, I have always taken a subject and taught all of the children that subject. In the beginning, I taught Religion and Science. Religion, because Church teaching indicates that it is the father's role to bring their children up in the faith and studies bear out the Church's wisdom in that children are most likely to learn the faith and stay in the Catholic faith if the father is active in the faith. Now that we have older high schoolers, given my Science background, I am the one teaching Science. It does take a little time to prepare -- I usually spend a lunch hour or 2 studying their book in preparation for our "class." Then on Sunday afternoon, I will spend about one half-hour to 45 minutes giving a "lecture" on the topics they will cover in their Science.

Throughout our homeschooling, if a child is having problems with a particular subject, I may sit down with them for 15 minutes at night and go over the subject. Usually, we have found that due to our differences in temperament, learning and communication styles, on the rare occasion when my wife is unable to communicate with the child on the subject matter, that my different approach often works.

While it looks like a lot of time, it's really not. By using little bits of time during my day, I can stay active and involved in one of the most important aspects of my children's lives. The men shouldn't be afraid of this challenge. I have a busy job (I am a lawyer) and I commute one hour each way to work. But most importantly, I am doing what is necessary for my wife's sanity and helping with the most important job I will ever do --- helping rear my children.
Sun Oct 19, 2008 9:09 am View user's profile Send private message
slhallford



Joined: 05 Nov 2008
Posts: 68

Post Reply with quote
This would be a fantastic sticky post.

S
Mon Sep 13, 2010 6:37 pm View user's profile Send private message
Megan Lengyel



Joined: 08 Aug 2006
Posts: 2443
Location: Alpharetta, GA; formerly, Napa, CA; originally St. Louis, MO

Post Reply with quote
Will do Smile.

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Megan Lengyel
Kolbe Academy Home School
Online Academy Director
Tue Sep 14, 2010 3:33 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
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