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Posted: 6/10/2003 12:01:36 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/10/2003 12:04:05 PM EDT by Offspring]
On Saturday I picked up my 9 year old daughter for our first long visit. She is going to spend the summer with me. We have never spent more than a few hours together alone, so this is something new. Why didn't I take a bigger part in her life before? Probably a bit of immaturity on my part mixed with some hostilities from my ex. Either way, I have her for the summer. I guess she is a good kid. She does throw pouting tantrums when she doesn't get her way, but she is 9. I have to keep reminding myself of that. Her living conditions at her mom's house aren't that great either. They are a classic Arkansas welfare family. The ex has 4 kids (only one is mine) and lives in a two bedroom house with her husband and mother. Nobody works and nobody has "time" for the kids. So my daughter is suffering in the "academics" department. I saw her report card and she is in remedial classes and doing well compared to the other kids in her class. However in her standardized tests she is below average in just about every subject. Her mom accredits her poor performance to genetic defects or disabilities. After only spending a few days with her I am seeing that her mind is wide open to learn. So, I think her poor test scores are a result of a disfunctional home life. She can read, but not as well as my 8 year old nephew. She isn't "stupid" by any means. She understands things that she has been exposed to and wants to learn new things. Anyway, to make a story that is already growing long shorter, what is the best way to boost her academic abilities (reading, math, and science) substantially within the next six weeks without burning her (or me) out? I was thinking computer games that teach would be good for both of us to work on together, trips to museums and zoos, and lots of reading together. Am I too far off target with my strategy?
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:04:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Offspring: I was thinking computer games that teach would be good for both of us to work on together, trips to museums and zoos, and lots of reading together. Am I too far off target with my strategy?
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Good plan. Take it from a homeschooler; if they don't [i]think[/i] they're learning, they'll learn a TON. Also it will be good for her just to be with someone who cares enough to spend time with her. Scott
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:11:02 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:16:50 PM EDT
Go to the library and play "did you know?" Challenge her with useless factoids and then go find the answer. Start easy and work your way up until she's using the analytical side of her mind to find stuff. Reading is a lot more fun when it's not for the sake of reading.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:17:52 PM EDT
You'll be amazed at how a young child's brain is like a sponge! soaking up all that information faster than you can feed it. Read to her! She will love the time you spend close together and the feeling of having a Daddy that loves her! (Why don't you just let her live with you if you know how bad her situation is with her mother?) Anyway, a few computer learning games will be sure to inspire and teach her. They have some good ones at ToysRus. My son learned to read using the computer and reads voraciously at the 5th grade level (he will be wrapping up 1st grade this week)! Please do all you can for your daughter!!!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:24:08 PM EDT
By all means, read to her. Teach her that reading is more exciting that TV or movies. Instill a love of learning and nothing will keep your daughter back. Also, start putting some cash away for her college now. Try going to all sorts of museums (Art, history, Natural history science) and see where her interests are and then really try to nudge her in those directions. Dont forget about the fun stuff either, once or twice, hit the amusement park. If I may be so bold, whats the chance you can get coustody?
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:26:17 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 6/10/2003 12:27:20 PM EDT by Offspring]
Thanks for the input everyone. Redray & Belfry: I have thought about trying to get custody. I figured getting to know her and having her be comfortable around me was the first step. I have talked to my wife about it several times and she is ok with the idea. I don't want to rush things. However, at the same time it would benefit her to be with me... I think. Getting her away from her mother will be like pulling teeth (her mother's teeth), but I am sure a judge could quickly determine the best place for my daughter. That brings up another subject. I never realized the full potential of my wife. For the past 7 years I have seen her as smart, sexy, and fun to be around. Now I see the mother coming out in her and I am totally amazed by her and her patience and caring. She got into this marriage without any kids, now she is helping me with my responsiblity without even a second thought.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:28:24 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Belfry_Express: By all means, read to her
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Amen to that. Do it daily. Improving her reading and comprehension skills will do more for her in both the short and the long run.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:29:20 PM EDT
I know how you feel. My daughter(6years old) lives in a similar situation but she does well in the academic dept. She was named "most artistic" in her Kindergarden class this past year. I have been involved in her life since she was born, contrary to what my ex will tell you. Although there were times that I didn't see her much, being away at college, I remember giving her that first bottle the evening she was born and I was hooked on her for sure. First and formost tell her every day that you love her, that you are proud of her, and that she makes you happy and proud. Hug her and hold her hand when you walk together. Rememebr you are the blueprint for her future boyfriends so make good one! Kids want to please you, they look for your approval and guidance. Ride bikes together, take her shooting, fishing etc. At that age these things are fun even though they may not seem typical for little girls. Can she use a computer? Let her surf some of the kids sites. PBSKids.org is good as well as Nickelodeon's site. They have all the popular kids TV shows geared for learning. My daughter loves them. Don't over do it on the school work. But do answer ALL of her questions. Kids are curious. You will find that they become disinterested because parents don't take the time to pique their curiosity. Maybe buy her a small pet like a fish or a hamster. They nurture that curiosity and she will have something to focus on. She will be okay but in her situation you are the hero to her. At 9 she is becoming aware of her situation and it is your job to help her understand that she can do better and that she has the ability. Maybe you could even have her full time? I am in the beginning stages of a custody suit for my daughter as we speak. Good luck!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:31:19 PM EDT
Sounds like both the little one and the new wifey are keepers!!! Good Luck my friend.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:34:45 PM EDT
Maybe buy her a small pet like a fish or a hamster. They nurture that curiosity and she will have something to focus on
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A week before I went to get her I found a baby burd alongside the road. It was aprtially feathered but couldn't fly. She has been helping me handfeed it and raise it to be released. I also have a beared dragon (lizard) which she is very fond of. I plan on the fun stuff like canoeing, hiking, bike riding, the beach, and amusement parks. I wasn't sure about the shooting part, but I guess my wife's .22 and A LOT of supervision and attention could make it a good time.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:36:05 PM EDT
The only advice I can give you is this: Never raise your hand to a child! It leaves your groin unprotected! [:D] Sounds like you have the right idea. Start off with love and caring. Don't try to start her on remedial work, just let it happen.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:41:13 PM EDT
Originally Posted By TWIRE:
Originally Posted By Belfry_Express: By all means, read to her
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Amen to that. Do it daily. Improving her reading and comprehension skills will do more for her in both the short and the long run.
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This is some great advice read a page to her and have her read a page to you it works with my son and he is 9 also! Evan No w I tYpe Lika 2d greater[whacko] On a serious note have fun enjoy the time Minor league games are cheap fun [snoopy] If she is mature enough take her to the range with the ol 22. PG
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:47:36 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 12:58:45 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:04:21 PM EDT
Go easy on the shooting part, that could be used against you. Check with any groups in your area for "Special Kids" I think one is TASK "The Association for Special Kids" We got involved with one when it became apparent my oldest had some motivational issues at school. He was too old and past most of the "game" programs. They can probably give you advice on which learning programs are best. My oldest two (Jr High and High School) went straight to the strictly learning programs. My youngest really enjoyed some of the game programs especially the Math ones. Books and reading are definitely a way to go. If you have a Childrens Librarian available, talk with her first, let her know that your daughter isn't at grade level, and then get them together for some suggestions. Fiction series are good for general skills improvement. The kid wants to find out what happens next. But you want to hit the non-fiction too, the whys and hows of the world. Now your daughter not being at grade level shouldn't be a surprise to the Librarian, unfortunately thats far too common these days. On your part don't be surprised if your local library isn't too overstocked in appropriate materials. (Ma Danby is a Children's Librarian, her budget for book purchases is $25 a month. She could kill her annual budget by updating her State books, Country books, etc. A single library grade hardbound fiction is from $20-$35. I'll drag her over when she gets home to make some book suggestions.)
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:05:23 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:31:50 PM EDT
After all of these great posts I can't add much more. I concur with the points made by your friends above. - Work on building your relationship with her. Reassure her of how much she means to you. I have two daughters and they know full well how precious they are to me. - Read to her. This helps instill a love of reading. Also, many public schools are using "whole Language" reading methods that don't work. A possibility could be working with her in phonics if you think this to be the case with her. Phonics makes reading easy. Reading is the key that opens up all of the other subjects. - Hug her and tell her you love her. Keep in mind that loving her doesn't mean giving her everything that she pouts for (Kids will try!). I commend you for what you're doing here. The nation could use more men like you.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 1:33:37 PM EDT
[Bernie Mack] I hate kids!! Set the little bastards on fire!!! [Bernie Mack/]
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 2:20:12 PM EDT
Anyway, to make a story that is already growing long shorter, what is the best way to boost her academic abilities (reading, math, and science) substantially within the next six weeks without burning her (or me) out? I was thinking computer games that teach would be good for both of us to work on together, trips to museums and zoos, and lots of reading together. Am I too far off target with my strategy?
View Quote
Sounds like you are on the right track to me. Reading and educational adventures are great ideas. Encourage her to read anything - not just books. Reading and following simple directions are a great way to assess reading comprehension. When she succeeds, praise her. It is great for self-esteem. If she doesn't succeed, give her lots of encouragement. If there is a kids museum nearby, take her there. The hands on experience is a fun and educational experience. The most important thing is to spend quality time with her. It is amazing what a little attention can do, especially if she has been neglected. I am happy that your wife is taking a part in this as well. This is extremely important to your child. With the love, encouragement, and attention she receives from you and your wife, I think you will be amazed at the change in your daughter at the end of six weeks. If there is anything I can help you with, let me know. I have four children (all well-behaved and honor students). I am also a child-care provider.
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 5:43:52 PM EDT
Originally Posted By buffalo-soldier: [Bernie Mack] I hate kids!! Set the little bastards on fire!!! [Bernie Mack/]
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There's one in every bunch. AB
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 6:00:04 PM EDT
SNIP Probably some hostilities from my ex. Her living conditions at her mom's house aren't that great either. They are a classic Arkansas welfare family. The ex has 4 kids (only one is mine) and lives in a two bedroom house with her husband and mother. Nobody works and nobody has "time" for the kids. So my daughter is suffering in the "academics" department. Her mom accredits her poor performance to genetic defects or disabilities. So, I think her poor test scores are a result of a disfunctional home life. Anyway, to make a story that is already growing long shorter, what is the best way to boost her academic abilities (reading, math, and science) substantially within the next six weeks without burning her (or me) out? Am I too far off target with my strategy? SNIP
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After reviewing the above list, the only thing that I would add to your offspring-quality-of-life-improvement strategy would be to DX [s]her mom[/s] the egg donor from her life ASAP! This is the only way to ensure that she no longer suffers under the burden off a piss poor provider. You could always report the egg donor to the state child welfare service dept., but that is always a two-edged sword type of proposition to say the very least. I wish you luck my firend and hope that all works out for you and your daughter!
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 6:13:51 PM EDT
Link Posted: 6/10/2003 7:14:27 PM EDT
Another suggestion would be to find something she would like to learn how to do and register her for a summer class (swimming lessons, dance, etc) or a day class. This should be fun and motivational for her also. Crafts would be another learning tool to use and can incorporate most subjects.
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 11:11:59 PM EDT
Per the resident Childrens Librarian. The "Little House" Series should be good. Judy Blum has some good age appropriate books. Check first, some of hers are for OLDER kids. Tamara Moore also, but they may also be a little advanced. Most kids can pick up reading level relatively quickly if they like the material, but you need to be ready to answer questions about new words.
Link Posted: 6/13/2003 11:41:35 PM EDT
You've got a good handle on things for 6 weeks of learning. Can't really do much else in that time. As for the behavior, which is my specialty, try to reinforce the good behaviors and ignore the pouting. When she is reading or helping or just being sweet, remember to tell her that you like it when she does those things. Make sure to tell her that you like it and what you like, such as: I really like the way you helped set the table, or I like it when you are polite because it makes me happy. Make life as predictible as possible for the time she is with you. Set meal times and bed times. Stick to them as well as possible. Tough to do when you haven't had to before. She may complain but it is really what she wants/needs. When the tantrums come tell her you will talk to her when she is polite and walk away, give her a couple options such as: you can come help me or sit there by yourself, or if she is pouting because she wants something, tell her when and how she can earn/get it. [Important] Don't just spoil her because you haven't been in her life as much as you would have liked. She will respect you more and be more comfortable when given limits.[/Important] Good luck and have a fun summer.
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