So, we've been homeschooling for about 6 months. My sons are almost 7 and 4. I'm having trouble with my oldest and I don't want this to be drudgery! We started out using Oak Meadow, which was okay but I felt like I had no direction. Not to mention the lack of nature here (unfortunately). So, I moved on to Math U See (which he likes and does well with), Explode the Code (which he's okay with, not excited though) and I have him read a book everyday (one of the first readers suited to his reading level). We just finished a unit on fish and went to the local aquarium. Problem is, he digs in his heels at every chance he gets, even though I know he can do the work. He's smart. He doesn't like to do new, more challenging things I think because he thinks he's going to get it wrong. I don't know why he thinks this, I really try to encourage and explain things in a way he'll understand.
I'm thinking about trying Moving Beyond the Page, maybe he'll enjoy that more?
I try to keep our connection strong, we play Legos together, he tells me all about Star Wars, he helps me bake (because he wants to work for the Cake Boss one day!)..
Maybe this is just more of a vent, but I read all these things about homeschoolers and their kids singing songs and just having a good ol' time, and that's just not the case here. I almost dread speaking the "S" word in the mornings.
I really don't know what to do to make this enjoyable for all of us. My 4 year old is all about it and ASKS to do school. The older one is totally opposite.
Let your oldest have more control over what he learns. He likes to bake! He is learning fractions from that so start there (don't make it like a lesson) just show him the measuring cups & spoons tell him that you only want to make half the amount or double it dose not matter & have him help figure out what you need to do that! Have him help research new recipes to try (that will use reading, typing, computer skills, table of content skills). There is so much more that you could go into budgeting for supplies uses math, use problem solving, baking alone is science, you could learn the history of what he likes to bake. You just have to get creative & think outside of the box!
The best way to make it fun is to do more things that are fun!
Sounds like my 9 y/o. We are in our 3rd year, have switched curriculum many times, and still looking for the right fit. We are leaning more heavily towards a Charlotte Mason style, I know you mentioned lack of nature where you live but there are a ton of books and websites that can bring nature right to you. We have adapted our idea of what learning should be and have just found that mine does need to be challenged even though he complains about it (he also has signs of low-spectrum asperger's) but I have found that letting him pick certain subjects and letting him go, so to speak, has worked wonders for us. I have two younger boys who like school and we still require 9 y/o to do his writing and math daily but we mix up the math (sometimes on line, sometimes on Kindle and sometimes written); we require history & science a couple times a week and we use textbooks but I also supplement with living books and videos.
One thing that has worked great for us lately is writing the school work down on our chalk or whiteboard and they can see what work needs to be done that day, they can mark it off as they get work done. I try to start after breakfast but a lot of times, having all boys, they need to burn energy constantly so I will give them breaks after short lessons even if it takes us all day to get through school.
Hang in there, keep trying different things until you find the right fit!
Hugs! First let me say I'm no help with curricula as we unschool. But I wanted to say that even the most adjusted homeschool family has days when they want to pull their hair out. It will be frustrating and depressing to compare when you can't see the bad days they might have.
My youngest sounds like your son - he's a perfectionist so he is wary of learning anything new. He was soooo excited about learning guitar. He made us promise that if he practiced for at least an hour a day that after 6 months he could get an electric guitar. Then he took one lesson and burst into tears saying he stunk. He didn't seem to realize it takes more than 20 minutes to sound perfect. But after forcing him a little for a few weeks, he began to improve. He was in a group class and by week 10 the instructor pulled my DS and I aside to say he was the best in class, that he was the only one who always came in prepared and focused on learning. Now I can't pry the guitar out of his hands! Lol
So it takes work. Also, even the most creative and experienced of us probably stunk our first year or two. I know I was.We were all miserable here for about the first 18 months. That's how long it took me to throw out my beautifully designed curriculum in favor of a child-led learning style (which made my type A, OCD, organized soul cringe!) you'll get there. The key is to relax. Ask your son for his opinion on how he would like to learn new things. I was amazed that even the youngest kids give insightful advice on their own education.
I have to agree with the above posters! Great advice and great ideas. Maybe there is more learning going on than you think. Try looking at the situation a bit differently. I think BJ has a good idea about using your son's passion for baking as a starting point. My 12 yr old went thus direction and she can new write her own lesson plans for herself. I rarely have to supplement her work. And all from her desire to be in the kitchen.
Thank you for the encouragement and support, I really needed that today! That's awesome to hear about the guitar lessons and baking. I like teaching him to bake, but he has such grandiose ideas that I'm almost afraid to let him try things because I fear he'll get so frustrated and give up completely. We made some red velvet cupcakes the other day, and his face lit up when I was telling him about the baking soda and vinegar and what they do inside the cake. Maybe we'll just have to give a shot anyway.
I'll have to try asking him how he would like to learn. I've asked him before WHAT he would like to learn about, and he's told me numberous times, "I hate to learn!" This is partly why he's not in PS anymore.
I was also thinking about writing out a schedule for him to see, I think that might help too.
I completely understand my boys are 18 months apart and I had the same problem. Eventually I became a unschooler because of the ways my boys learn. I am not suggesting you become a unschooler. It is just the path we took. I think most people take at least couple of years to find what works for them. I was an eclectic homeschooler long before I became an unschooler. I suggest you read Einstein never used flash cards. It is all about how child learn. Remember he learns through play the most especially at this age. You can use a host of hands on activities. If your boys are like mine they are very hands on and very active. My sons learned to skip count by jumping on the trampoline. Flexibility is the key to homeschooling. What kind of things is he interested in?