As with any curriculum you’ll choose for your child(ren), you will occasionally experience *issues* or problems. It might be that you can’t quite find a good place for your son to complete his work. It might be that you find its too easy for your daughter to cheat as she checks her work. It might be that the work is taking your child too long to do.
Whatever the issue, rest assured that you are not alone! With as long as ACE has been around, I am quite sure that someone somewhere has experienced (and overcome) the exact issue you are dealing with!
That being said, I wanted to give you a look at some of the issues we have dealt with in the past and how we overcame them.
We haven’t dealt with this issue up to this point, but we were sharply warned about it. So, right from the very beginning, we put some checks and balances in place in order to avoid the situation altogether.
- Answer Key? You don’t need no answer key! I am your answer key!! – Periodically, throughout the PACE, your student will see spots where they are supposed to go to the answer key, check their work, go back to their desk and make the corrections and then re-check it. My son follows the same procedure except that he comes to me instead of the answer key. If I happen to be really really busy at the moment, I’ll scan it over and send him back to his seat. I always make a point of correcting any leftover pages every evening.
- Testing Table– When it comes time for a self-test or a test, my son goes to the kitchen table to complete those items. He can only bring a pencil, an eraser and his test. This makes it much more obvious if he ever tried to bring a cheatsheet or get the answers in some other way.
- Read Aloud – Usually, each PACE has a page of reading and then questions based on the reading. In the younger grades and especially with very smart children, it is easy for them to skip reading and just answer the questions by scanning through the text. In order to avoid this, I used to have my son read each extended text aloud to me.
- Question and Answer – This year, (5th grade) is the first year we have not been using the “read aloud” procedure. Instead, I take 45 minutes every afternoon and review the information with him. Usually, I ask him questions and he answers without looking at the PACE. If he were just scanning, he would not be able to answer many of my questions.
Sometimes, it has nothing to do with the schoolwork in front of them. Kids can have turmoil inside for any number of reasons, but many times it interferes with their desire to complete the work set before them. Attitude problems aren’t always just bad attitude that cause them to sulk and have that hard face. Sometimes, it’s lack of self-confidence, worry, envy of others and on and on.
- Pray – The Bible tells us that the Lord will give wisdom to those that ask for it, and liberally!! ASK the Lord each and every day to show you what your children need. At any moment that your child displays a bad attitude, pray first, then deal with the child. The Lord sees what you are going through and He is ready to help.
- Open and Honest Communication – This is an obvious tool for any relationship, but especially for the relationship between homeschooled child and homeschooling parent. Talk to your kids – about their interests, about their thoughts, about their fears. If they know they can come to you because you’ve never stopped up a conversation in the past, they will talk to you when something is bothering them. It is much easier to deal with an attitude problem if you know what is causing it.
- Tie Strings of Attachment – Do things with them that they find fun and interesting. Find something you can do together that will build memories to look back on. My son loves to go to the mini-golf place! He also loves to talk about the history of different wars. He really enjoys playing video games together or sitting down with a bowl of kettle corn (that he popped!), the whole family and a good movie. Some of these ideas cost money, some of them don’t. Just talk to your kids and find out what they like and then do it. Save up some money – skip something that you enjoy doing and put that money away to fund an outing. Sometimes, it costs money to ensure that you have your children’s hearts.
- More Breaks – I found that my son had a MUCH better attitude when I gave him more breaks. My husband was the one who worked this out in our schedule – you might need someone else to take a look at your schedule in order to see how to rearrange it. We looked at all our “on” time and our “off” time and then spread them out a little better.
- Exercise – I know exercise works for my attitude and it does for my son as well! He doesn’t have any brothers or sisters his own age to play with during the day so I have to get creative in order to get his blood flowing. On break times, he would rather sit down on the couch and read a book than to go outside and run around! I have to make him do it! We have a pogo stick that I make him bounce on up to 50, or run around the house 5 times, or ride his bike up and down the driveway, etc. If you have kids near the same age, it would be even easier to have them go outside and kick a ball around or play catch for a few minutes. Every little bit helps.
*Too Much* Work
Are you finding that your student is not getting all the work done each day? I know there have been times that I feel like my son is just sitting at that desk all day long when there are SO many other things I have on the schedule for him to do, FUN things!! I love the structure of ACE but sometimes, I want him to do piano practice (which really is fun for him) or take a break outside or read to one of the younger kids. If he isn’t getting his work done, we skip the extras in order to get the work done. But, I also try to figure out WHY the work isn’t getting done. Sometimes, it isn’t that there is *too much* work, it’s the attitude with which the work is being done!
- Not Enough Breaks – I know I used this option already, but it really has cured a multitude of issues for us. It seems a bit counter intuitive but this really made a difference in the amount of work my son was able to get done each day. Even if it’s just a 5 minute break, it’ll do wonders for his productivity.
- Standing Up – Surprisingly, my son did not like this approach, so it certainly is not for everyone. I read a news bit on the idea of having kids stand while working instead of sitting all day and thought it was worth a try. The idea is to create an area where your student has the option to stand while doing schoolwork. It made a lot of sense to me and it may very well help in the area of not getting enough schoolwork done each day.
- Changing Up The Subjects – Usually, the ACE student does every subject every day to the tune of 4 pages in each subject each day. I spoke to my (wonderfully intelligent and very helpful) husband about our son not getting all his work done each day. He suggested restructuring the workday so that we did a few subjects one day and the other subjects the next day. This meant we would have to do 8 pages in each subject instead of 4! (8 pages in Math, Science and Literature on Mondays and Wednesdays and 8 pages in English, Social Studies and Word Building on Tuesdays and Thursdays.) I really did not think this would work since our boy absolutely detests Math. But, we tried it and it actually worked so well that we’ve stuck with it. He knows that, even though he has to do 8 pages today, he gets a whole day off from Math tomorrow. It’s motivation enough to help get his work done MUCH more quickly than ever before. He’s even been doing piano practice every day!!
Not Enough Work
Maybe you are having the opposite problem – your student is getting the work done so quickly that she is getting bored. This is a really fun problem to overcome, in my opinion! The possibilities are endless.
- Supplement – You could really help your student deepen his understanding of the subjects he is learning through the PACEs. Go to the library and check out some books about the same subjects he’s studying. Do some hands-on science experiments. Go on a field trip. See a historic event that coincides with a Social Studies topic.
- More Help For You – If you have little ones, your student could read to them or do a craft with them which frees you up for chores or study time with another child. Depending on their age, they may be able to prepare an easy breakfast or lunch. You don’t want to make their extra time completely full of extra chores that they hate or they may figure out the connection and start taking longer on their work. Let the things you add to their schedule be a good mix of work and fun.
- Get Ahead – Not everyone agrees with this idea, but why not let them work ahead a little bit, if that what your student would like to do? She can work ahead in the PACEs themselves or you can start to dig in to another subject such as advanced Geography or Geometry. You don’t have to go into all kinds of heavy topics, but just start introducing them to the different shapes in Geometry or Trigonometry. Try doing 6 pages per day instead of 4 in each PACE – but try to gage how she’s dealing with the extra work. You don’t want to stress her out!
- What Do They Love? – Find out a topic that really interests your student and really dig into it! Do reports, crafts, and experiments based in that area. Talk to a professional already working in that area and see what kind of field trips or hands-on activities you can come up with. If you don’t know what the extra special interest is and your studnet can’t really put it into words when you ask, watch what books they check out at the library. If they are only checking out comic books, you might tell them that for every comic they have to check out one or two non-fiction books. If you regularly, you should start to see some kind of pattern in what books they are checking out.
I am quite sure there are some problems and some solutions that I have left out! You veterans – jump on in here and tell me how you have overcome different problems that have come up. Newbi? Please post an issue that you are currently dealing with and we’ll do our best to help you along!
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