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Thread: Still a bit confused after 7 weeks and feeling discouraged...

  1. #1

    Still a bit confused after 7 weeks and feeling discouraged...

    Hello ladies,

    Let me first say that I'm still thinking ToG is an excellent curriculum and at the level I want my kids to be in their studies. Right now my two oldest are in 7th and 6th grades and mostly doing D, with my younger doing UG literature. I've already pared things down a bit, not requiring all the history reading for the younger nor the A/T questions. I'm scheduling everything daily for them to balance out their workload and they're not ready yet to schedule their own work. We're not doing much in the way of hands-on activities since we just don't have time (plus we did a couple of the Amazing Inventions and neither of them worked!). I've also set aside the meeting and discussion time for the D level both because we're having a hard time fitting it in during a quiet period of time, and also because oldest dd hasn't been finishing the questions in advance nor putting acceptable effort into her answers so that she can have a thoughtful discussion.

    My frustration is that when I finally have a chance to review their work, I am finding it checked off their list, but it's either undone or partially done (particularly the worksheets and questions). Both are distractible kids and they have two younger siblings running around, but I just don't have the ability or time to look over their shoulder all the time and check every thing they do. At this point, I'm pretty sure they are doing their assigned readings, but not sure they are retaining much.

    I'm not expecting everything to be perfect right off the bat, but they seem to have little care for a job well done. I just don't understand this attitude because I'm a finisher and always was a very good student. I've tried to add some peer accountability to motivate them (we do a co-op writing class) and this works for my older, who I am hoping to place in online ToG classes next year, but my younger one is easily overwhelmed and always wants to be "done" even if the job is not close to being done.

    They are repeatedly saying how much they hate this new curriculum because it's so much work, and I am repeatedly telling them how much work "regular" school would be in comparison, and that they need to step up to a higher level now that they're middle school level. I've even gone so far as to threaten to put them in the public school for a few weeks to appreciate what we have here (anyone else guilty of doing this? ) Anyway, I'm tired of lecturing and telling them the same things about stepping it up, just to be discouraged at the end of the week when their work is poorly done, or not done. Help! Any advice or suggestions?

    Tricia in the FL Keys
    Dd 13, dd 11, dd 6, ds 4

  2. #2
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    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    NC
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    I think one thing I would look at is how they are doing their scheduling. My youngest sounds a bit like them. He'd much rather do anything but school and especially read and write. However, I did find that he got much better when I began to work with him in looking at each day and deciding what work he would do on that day. And I would make time to make sure that you are looking at any written work they are supposed to produce on a given day. You don't have to check it for content, but you do want to check that it is done and there appears to be enough of it.
    Pat
    "Of two evils, choose neither."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

  3. #3
    First of all, Tricia, I sympathize with you in your sense of discouragement. :-/ I know how it can pull down the spirits to have students who just don't seem willing to put in the effort, and I am asking our Father right now to bless you with patience and hope for this situation! I know He is at work in it (because He says He always is), and I am asking Him to show you what He is doing in it for your good and the good of your kids. :-)

    Second, this may sound like a counter-intuitive suggestion (and there's a lot I don't know about the situation, so please take this with a big fat grain of salt!), but I wonder whether it would be helpful for you to see if you could make some time for discussion with your students? I suggest this even if the work that your student has done isn't (at first) acceptable for a good discussion, because I hope that as she goes forward she may find motivation to do her work better because she knows discussion (and hopefully discussion that increasingly interests her as she becomes a young adult with questions about culture, worldviews, and life) is coming later in the week.

    When I was a kid doing Tapestry, and for many of the kids whom I've known or taught who also do Tapestry, the main motivation for getting work done eventually became the reward of getting face time with Mom in which to talk about it. Work that we just did and that Mom "checked off" was of little value in our eyes, but work that we got to talk about---that was a whole different matter! When I was in high school, Mom just checked my geography maps, but my History reading we discussed. The History was far more interesting and important to me, and my work seemed much more meaningful, for that precise reason.

    So, just a thought. Maybe not helpful for your situation, but maybe part of the answer, so I wanted to be faithful to share! :-)

    In any case, I am praying for you this morning. God bless you!

    Christy Somerville
    Lampstand Press
    Last edited by cjsomerville; 02-24-2014 at 12:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    NC
    Posts
    283
    I'm glad Christy caught the part about the discussion I missed that! I agree with her that discussion time is intrinsically rewarding. I also found that it trained my children for writing when I really did do much with writing for years.
    Pat
    "Of two evils, choose neither."
    Charles H. Spurgeon
    http://www.spurgeon.org/mainpage.htm

  5. #5
    Your children seem like they are somewhat overwhelmed with their new curriculum and work. They might need a little “hand-holding” for a few weeks so that they can gradually gain some confidence and independence. Below, I’ve included some ideas that you might find helpful.
    For a week, daily go over one or more questions orally in order to demonstrate to your students how to find their answers.
    During the following week, daily work with them on one or more questions, discussing the questions and answers as you work on them, but have the student write the answers as you guide them.
    In the third week, have students work independently on one or more questions, giving them a set amount of time in which to complete them. To make sure they are completing their assignments, choose a couple of days to have some discussion.
    The fourth week, the students can work independently. Have one discussion day (perhaps Thursday so that you can correct any mistakes or guide them in the right direction).
    If you feel that they are genuinely trying to avoid work, I encourage you to pray with your husband, seeking God’s insight as to whether this is a situation of willful disobedience and how He wants you to respond. I know in my own experience with my daughter (she refused to do her handwriting) that it was difficult to discern if she was being stubborn or if she was having a genuine problem.
    If you need any more help, feel free to call me at (800) 705-7487. I am glad to help. Also, I would like to encourage you to make use of an advisor in your area. You can find one by going to our website, clicking on “Tapestry University,” and then clicking on “Advisor Directory.” You will find your state in the column on the left.

    Karen Quinn
    Product Support Representative
    Lampstand Press

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