Opinion Saturday

Last week’s Opinion Saturday question sparked a bunch of great comments. I think I tend to be so busy with my own kids that adding someone else’s kid into the mix feels like it will take more energy than I have. But I appreciated the gentle reminders that we as a family can be a light in the world and an encouragement to children in need. The comment that I liked most, because of the concrete suggestions it offered, was from love, laughter & laundry. Thanks– you’re the Golden Keyboard winner this week.

Now, on to a new question: how do you encourage the reluctant learner to get through his homework (or homeschooling) in a timely manner?

I’ll be looking forward to your answers. I think I’ll just leave this question open all week, and announce the Golden Keyboard winner next Saturday. So come on, hit me with your best thought!

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  1. My daughter is not a reluctant learner exactly but to actually do the paperwork….another matter entirely!

    I look forward to reading these answers!

  2. Me, too. My son hats to do his homework, no matter what. He usually never makes it in time, mostly with a lot of tears and (sorry) cursing. So I am really looking forward to some nice uns practicable solutions. And … thanks in advance … 🙂

  3. We have the same issue at home. I try to do a few things. If I have things I can do, I sit down and work beside him. I try to show him that Mommy has work to do too. It’s usually a thank you card, paperwork for school, etc that I work on. It’s hard to have this sit down time though, esp when it falls around dinner time.

    I usually have to hold something over his head and use it for a reward when he is done. He loves to go to our neighborhood pool and we do that when he is done with his work. Electronics are held until work is done. This is a good one.

    If it’s really bad, I pull out an ice cream cone treat for after dinner. We have special cones – even colored which is a huge hit – for these special nights when the work is very boring and challenging.

    Good luck! I know it can be rough.

    If you are interested, check out my blog. Jump Start is running a promotion for free software for the next few weeks. It’s for K, 1st, and 2nd. Pretty neat and it’s free! What more could you want!?!?

  4. Well, since I don’t see a lot of comments so far, I’ll tell you what really works well for me. I was holding out in case something better came along…

    We home school and my “problem child” is in third grade. I have found that she has the same personality as I did at her age: social, very, very social! So, what works really well for us is if I sit down with her and we do her work “together” which often in math, for instance, is her telling me the answers and I write them down–but only if she knows them fast enough (her competitive nature makes her love to race anything. She also gets that from me). If not, we skip it and go back after a few other problems are solved.

    We don’t do the whole page this way, but we get about halfway or so and that gives her the social involvement she needs so that she doesn’t feel like homework is isolation. This seems to be the root of her reluctance. I don’t think she is purposefully reluctant. She just looks at that paper and feels bogged down and isolated.

    Like I said, this works really well, but I do wonder how it will pan out when we have six kids instead of three. Anyway, it really only takes us about 15-20 minutes to do her math and Language work which are where she has the most paperwork (and therefore, the most problems). Then she is able to finish much more happily.

    My other daughter likes to work by herself so long as she can come to me every so often and show me her work. She just likes a pat on the back and an “atta girl” once in a while.

    My advice is to find out what causes the reluctance in YOUR child. Is it social, like mine? Is is a control issue? Is it on purpose or is your child just as frustrated as you? Or whatever. Figure that out and go from there.

  5. Woo— sorry! That was long, wasn’t it?!
    By the way, Amy, I think that what you do would work well for us, too. Good Idea.

  6. I’m with you, Melissa. I have to work with my oldest, who is my social, ADHD child. If I put him at the table and walk away, he feels very isolated and seeks out someone. So I sit with him and keep him company. If it’s hard, we plow through it together. Sometimes just sitting there, reading what has come home from school is enough. Yesterday I wrote a thank you card that was overdue. Just something to keep me at the table with him for a few minutes is important.
    Sometimes I will give the other kids something to do and we will all sit together and do homework, color, etc. That works really well. Having another sibling at the table, working, really helps.
    I can’t imagine what it’s going to be like when work in every subject starts to come home in middle school. Good night!

  7. In our home both boys (2nd grade and kindergarten) are VERY slow at doing anything that could be considered school work and likely to make excuses as to wanting to do other things.
    I work outside of the home as does my husband and going to work isn’t always fun, but we are rewarded with a paycheck. My kids doing school work isn’t always fun either, so I look at it like me going to work, if you work hard and do what needs to be done, there is something to look forward to, like maybe making popcorn in a kettle (in our house that would be a treat, because I don’t make it very often) and then watching a tv show or having a sock fight, playing a board game etc. They know that if they move very slowly or don’t get started on time, there won’t be time at the end of the day because they will have to get ready for bed.
    I believe this is a hard topic because we as parents know how important it is, but kids just think yuck. I try to focus on setting a good example too, by sitting at the table with them and finding something for me to do, such as making a grocery list or paying bills.
    Julie

  8. I totally missed this one last week, but I have something I just started using that seems to be working. We use a timer. I set it for 15 minutes. If my son finishes it in 15 minutes he gets a 15 minute break, if he’s not finished, he gets a 5 minute break and then it’s back to his work. When he finishes he gets 15 minutes before we go on to the next thing. I think this helps him to break it down and not be so overwhelmed that he can’t begin because it feels like too much work. I know it helps me when I have things to do so I tried it one him. Having the timer right there and the idea of a race has him working very quickly.

    Also, I’ve realized he’s a perfectionist, so I understand when he’s not doing something just because he feels as though it ought to be done a different way and it seems to help if I point it out and say, don’t let that stop you. Just choose to do it this way today, even if you think the numbers should be all on one line instead of stacked in columns.

    Hope that helps.