Well my sister and I discussed Wednesday how Scholar Owl is doing this year with homeschooling. Honestly I discussed it with my therapist on Tuesday as well.
We had a good start this year but things have slid down the way side since November with the move. I find myself questioning if homeschooling truly is a good fit for him. My concern is that I know for a fact what he’ll do in public school: nothing. It’s why I chose to homeschool him in the first place but now I feel inadequate and ineffective in getting him to meet deadlines with the assignments.
I don’t want to micromanage him. I wanted him to be self-directed, but it looks like I need to take more of a hands on approach in motivating him to stick with the work. He does all the reading he’s supposed to, but then fluffs off the assignments. I had expected him to assemble his portfolio this year where he’s in high school now, but that appears to be a mistake.
If he can’t make up the work and get caught up then he’ll be repeating his Freshman year. I don’t know what else to do other than to make him take the hit and face the consequences for repeatedly ignoring the work.
You can talk to him all day and KNOW that he KNOWS the material. Hell, my sister is teaching him Health at college level right now straight from her old college text books. He’s understanding the material, keeping up, and actively participating in the discussion. Every subject except Math and Writing is like that for him.
I suck at Algebra so I don’t know if the math part is my lack of familiarity or if he struggles with it naturally like I do. Just because you struggle doesn’t mean you’re not learning but that can’t happen if you’re wasting the day away staring at the workbook.
Trying to get a writing assignment out of him – for any subject – is like pulling teeth and when you do get it one from him it doesn’t show his understanding at the same level in verbal discussion. He knows the material but hates writing. It breaks my heart. The writing skill he demonstrates right now doesn’t meet high school standards. It’s a stark contrast between reading his work versus speaking with him.
It seems he learns best by talking and doing but how the hell do you put that in a portfolio? Not to mention he’s going to need good writing skills for the rest of his life. I’m hoping that by getting him interested in creative writing that it will make writing fun for him. The art of writing is the same, to some extent, no matter what you write. You need to be able to figure out how to organize your thoughts onto paper in such a way it conveys what you intend. After that it’s a matter of format.
So him and I already talked about it and he’ll be writing short stories for Camp NaNo in April. No book for him, just short pieces to learn plot, setting, and characters.
I need to start collecting and organizing material now to go over the short story format with him no later than March so he’ll be ready to write in April. Technically he’s supposed to pick his word count for Camp NaNo but I’m not sure if that’s a good idea. I’m thinking instead that I need to decide how many stories I expect and roughly how long they should be – no less than one short story per week I should think given how right now writing is a chore for him. Then in May we can cover the revision process and he can polish the pieces he wrote.
Overall, just like last year around this time, I’m having doubts that I can handle homeschooling. We did well with our portfolio last year so maybe it’s just I have high expectations of him where I know he’s smart and capable.
Public school didn’t push him. At all. They let him fluff off and do nothing in class while he aced their standardized tests. “Oh he’s just really good at taking tests,” the assistant principle said to me once. That may be true but the knowledge had to have come from somewhere in order for him to use those ‘test taking skills’ well in the first place. You can’t be ignorant of a subject only to turn around and ace a damn test. Either you have the knowledge or you don’t. He has the knowledge. He picks up new knowledge quickly. It’s just getting him to do the damn work.
My sister suggested that since he understands at college level that maybe I need to handle it more like college by giving him a syllabus for each subject. Like each month give him a list of what needs to be done with due dates and hold him accountable for those deadlines.
I don’t know what else to do. I had wanted to put together his portfolio together as we went this year so I wouldn’t have the stress I had last year doing it at the end. But right now I feel like there is nothing to put into it. True we only need 2 assignments per quarter per subject, but I feel like right now he’s trying to get away with doing only what’s needed for the portfolio. The portfolio is supposed to be a sample of the student’s performance, not their entire school year.
So yes, I’m stressing any time I think about it. I hate it when I waffle like this on a decision I’ve made. It’s just once again I feel like I bit off more than I can chew.