Homeschooling Moms

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Ideas for getting them to do their work!
September 3, 2013 at 7:12 PM

We are new to homeschooling, just started this year. They are both in the 5th grade. I have a system in which we go over instruction time for  Math,Language,and Spelling in the morning, I make a list of schoolwork for them to do, then they Skype with my mom who lives out of state for Science,History,and Reading. I am a nurse that visits patients where they live, so when they start Skype time, I leave and I'm gone anywhere from 2 to 4 hours.The problem is that they are not doing their work when I'm gone. Currently,we are going on 7.5 hours and they are still not done with their work. They called me at 3 and said they were starting Math and Language, which should not have taken anymore than about an hour and a half. That was 3 hours ago,and they are both only done with one subject. I know that they are absolulty just not doing the work when I'm not home. I have talked to them about the importance of this many times. We've talked about how they don't get to play with their friends at night because they are doing schoolwork that they could have done during the day. I know that they need breaks, but this is riduculous. Anybody have any ideas?


  • TJandKarasMom
    September 3, 2013 at 7:28 PM
    I don't know!
    I have to say the skyping with your mom for some subjects is awesome! I may consider something like that myself, but my mom works more than I do so I'm not sure that would work, lol.
    My kids have to be done their work before they get to have the tv or iPods or pretty much anything besides maybe reading. They have been finishing around 1:30 and I leave between 2-2:30. I am only gone for a few hours as well (I work with kids with Autism in their homes, just one kid a day)...and I imagine my kids would do nothing while I'm gone if they had schoolwork to do.

    What time are you usually gone? Could you instruct 1-2 subjects, then have them do that work while you are still home...then Skype with your mom for a little bit while you're gone, then they can have a break, then you instruct the other subject or two when you get home then they do that work? Maybe you could get some other things done while they do the work, but you would be home so they would maybe get it done better?

    Or a rewards system? If they finish their work before you get home then a special dessert and movie? Or finish it so many days in a certain period and they earn a fun day out, or a day off, fun field trip?
  • oredeb
    by oredeb
    September 3, 2013 at 7:55 PM

     yea that skyping thing sounds so neat!!!!! what a great idea!

    is there any other things they like to do more than playing with friends? could you take that away?

    did they tell you why they dont do their work? maybe they need a person there with them to keep them on track, for some 5th graders they need encouragment to get it done!

  • hipmomto3
    September 3, 2013 at 9:23 PM

    Are you leaving fifth graders home alone for 2-4 hours a day? Or is there another adult at home who is asleep or otherwise involved in something else where they can't be on top of the kids?

    I think leaving a 10-11 year old child home alone for that long is a bad idea, personally, and probably why you are having issues (plus it is likely illegal - I know here, you can't leave a child under 12 home alone). Are you having them do too much in a single day? 

    I just don't think you can leave your children alone and expect them to do their schoolwork on their own for that period of time. They need an adult there, in person.  It's not about motivating them to complete their work; it's about giving them realistic expectations and responsibility for their age. (I have a very responsible fifth grader but I'd never leave her home alone for more than a few minutes, and in any case would never expect her to do her school work on her own or with her siblings while I was out.)

  • Jinx-Troublex3
    September 3, 2013 at 9:26 PM
    5th grade is young for them to be that independent and responsible for the majority of their schooling. Even if skyping with grandma, she isn't THERE.

    Im not sure what advice to offer. Maybe call in hourly and get status reports? Put locks and passwords on any and all electronics until you get home.
  • BlessedMoments
    September 3, 2013 at 9:34 PM
    I'm sorry but I can't help! I don't believe that fifth grade is old enough to be left alone for hours at a time and to, also, expect them to get work done while they're alone. I don't know. Just my opinion. Good luck!
  • kirbymom
    September 3, 2013 at 10:17 PM
    Can they do their work on the weekends where you are more home maybe? They sound like they need more supervision than they are getting now. I know my own kids pull the same thing even when I AM home, more than not.
  • KrissyKC
    September 4, 2013 at 3:30 AM

    It's actually legal in most states.   There are a FEW that specify 12 yrs old, but most let you leave kids home alone at 9, 10... 11...   

    That doesn't mean it's wise.   I tried having an overnight job at a scholastic plant.  In the morning, I'd come home and doze on couch until kids woke up (dh would have snuck out at some point)... when they got up, I would homeschool them a bit and take a nap on the couch for 2-3 hours.   However, this backfired big time.   They started "playing doctor" while I was sleeping among other things.   We've been working HARD at undoing the damage that the unsupervised time every day did.

  • Leissaintexas
    September 4, 2013 at 9:36 AM

    I don't think its realistic to expect 5th graders to be that self-motivating. My 7th grader is now to that point where I could leave all day and the work would still get done, but not my 5th grader. The maturity is just not there yet. I would save the other stuff for when you can be there. The skyping thing sounds good in theory, but I don't think they are old enough for that kind of freedom yet.

  • hipmomto3
    September 4, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I have heard of children as old as ten being removed from parents and taken into foster care because the parents left them unattended for long periods of time. So even if it's not technically illegal, there is an issue of logic and reason to be applied. 

  • celticdragon77
    September 4, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    You don't have state laws prohibiting this? I think a parent has to be present during recorded "attendance" here in Pa. 

    I wish I knew what to say to help, but unfortunately, my best tip is that you be there to supervise. I work ft but I made sure our schedule was so that school was during a time when they had my full attention. It is only 4hrs a day. They can do independent work outside of that time.

    Is there a better time in the day to set aside just a few hrs to teach them and then allow that time while you are gone to do additional work - independent work. In 5th grade, they should be capable to do some independent work without a chaperone. However, I don't think they should do ALL their work without one.

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