Friday, January 11, 2013

Book Report Blues

Okay, home schooling has officially tested my patience and confidence to teach my children this year. I'm actually only referring to Declan and his 4th grade curriculum. We use Seton's Catholic Curriculum, for those who didn't know, and this is the first year it's been a challenge for Declan. The work load is bigger, a couple more classes, and the lessons are more challenging. Math, English and Reading in particular, are his problem areas, however Reading is my biggest challenge with him. Particularly book reviews.

Declan loves to read. He's read Huck Finn, Tom Sawyer, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and a bunch of fun kids books. Getting him to read is not the problem. It's getting him to think about what he's reading and putting it on paper. He's lazy that way. Last term, his book report was on The War of Sergeant Donkey. It's a Catholic fictional novel that takes place during WWII in Italy. Each night, he is required to read a certain number of pages and then answer 2-5 questions in a notebook. This is where his problems begin. Though he reads the set pages, he hates doing the questions and will either, (excuse my French) half-ass the answers or flat out get them wrong. I then have to go back through the pages and find the correct answer for him. I know I'm not suppose to do this, but he gets frustrated and throws a fit when he has to go back and correct them himself. He complains that it's too hard and that he has too much work to do.

I've contacted a counselor at the school and they suggested he read the story aloud to us, and we work the questions out together. We tried that, but it seemed like it was me answering all the questions for him. It is me that comes up with the complete sentences. Doing this, I realized I have a very lazy child when it comes to book reports. He says he can't think, or he doesn't know what to write. It's like he's baiting me to write the report for him. For a class that should only take 45-60 per day, becomes more like 2 hours. This put us behind in everything else and we never finish school before 5pm. (The older kids usually start at 10am.) On top of that, he will usually have homework in Math or some other subject. I am at a loss and don't know what to do.

We are currently reading Black Beauty and starting chapter 6. Again, he has 2-4 questions per chapter and usually gets 2-3 of them wrong. I'm not talking mildly wrong, it's like he is making up things that didn't even happen in the story. My guess is just to get the work done? But then he gets mad when he has to go back and correct them and says, "The book is wrong, not me." I am at a loss on what to do. I know I have to stop writing and finding the answers for him, but If I don't, he will never get it done. Does anyone else have this problem (Homeschooling Moms)? I could really use some advice.



  1. My son (7th grade) has a hard time with Reading Comp...We finally started a couple months ago, doing the questions together. I let him figure out "his" answer then, I tell him what they are looking for. Not sure if it's helping, but he's so black and white...he has a hard time seeing between the words in the poems, etc...

  2. (I forgot to say we are doing Seton too)

  3. So you know exactly what I'm referring to. Declan has that problem as well, like not being able to read between the lines. He also has a hard time writing good, solid sentences. They are usually off the topic or written poorly.


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