pre-schooler ASKING for school then doing poorly? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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my 4 yo will ASK to do school work .. he means work sheets ..then when we do it ...he goophs off and doesn't try, gets silly, and so on.

(he will not be kindy age till 2011 due to a late birthday)

i never suggest paper work or seat work.

we have freinds who homeschool so he is used to school at home, seat work and so on.

but i am stuck

my gut feeling is if he is going to ask to do it, and do it, then it needs to be done well and taken seriously. if he doesn't want to do it, then we certainly don't do it.

i don't feel like it is ok or right to let him 1/2a&& it and to gooph -- ie not try and not put forth effort or be silly and intentionally do it wrong.

i am not sure what i should do.

i normally say "ok you are not putting forth any effort / you are being silly about it. enough let's go _______" and remvoe it and put it away and go do soemthing else.

what are your thoughts?

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#2 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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My 4 year old does the same thing with reading...

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#3 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 06:03 PM
 
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I think it is a phase. I am having to withhold any T.V. without handwriting practice. I just say you have to practice. I try to focus them on a sticker they will get. I think it is scary when they act like they don't care. Don't worry too much. I made a mistake once of saying something was sloppy and she never forgot it. I try to quit if I ever feel myself even get slightly annoyed. I keep saying that everyone has to practice and it is just art of learning. I know how it gets frustrating.
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#4 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 06:13 PM
 
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Do you think he's really looking for some one-on-one playtime with you? My DD is younger, but she will make up things sometime to try to get my attention or company. I normally just ask her if she really means that she would like my company, or whatever, so that she will eventually realize that she can just ask straight out.

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#5 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 06:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post


my gut feeling is if he is going to ask to do it, and do it, then it needs to be done well and taken seriously. if he doesn't want to do it, then we certainly don't do it.
What types of things have you tried so far? Do you mean reading/writing worksheet? Four is awfully young--if he's gotten this idea from older kids, he might want to "do work" to be like them, or to get your 1:1 attention, but not yet be ready for the actual work, yk? Maybe he'd like some of those "complete the picture" types of activities (like in the anti-coloring book series) or simple dot-to-dots or mazes?

But also, if he wants to make a game of it and be goofy, what's the harm in that? One of my kids used to love filling out subscription forms, applications, crossword puzzles, anything with blank lines, really, before they were able to write. It was all gibberish, of course, but it was entertaining.

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#6 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 06:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Do you think he's really looking for some one-on-one playtime with you? My DD is younger, but she will make up things sometime to try to get my attention or company. I normally just ask her if she really means that she would like my company, or whatever, so that she will eventually realize that she can just ask straight out.
I don't think so -- he will also ask me to color with him, ask to do art or ask for book time, or even jsut 'momma cuddle time" so i don't think he is asking for school work to get me alone. Also some of the sheets he asks to do alone ... "you go and come back when i am done, to be surprised"

What he is doing:

simple sheets -- like:

count the items in a box and circle the number (from 3 or 4 choices) .. 0 to 6 ... where there are 3 "problems" on the page.

or

a sheet of 15 letters and he is supposed to cicrle the A's or whatever

nothing hard, and nothing he has not done and done well before. if he was reacting to new tasks then i would assume that it was hard or soemthing he just didn't get or wasn't ready for .....but these are sheets he has done before (the kind of problem, style of sheet, concept he has done before)

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#7 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 06:41 PM
 
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i'm wondering if he wants to "do school" like he might be want to "be the daddy" with a doll. You probably wouldn't be too concerned if he left the doll naked under a couch cushion, right?

Also, from your other posts, you're obviously putting a lot of thought into your homeschooling plans, evaluating curricula, etc. Kids notice what we're interested in, and want to be part of it, even if they're not ready to do it the conventional way. I think it could be that your ds is (so sweetly!) wanting to do the things you see as valuable and worthwhile (although then he isn't yet ready to do them "right").

Lisa , mom to Isaac (9/1/03), Violet (6/19/06), Simon (10/9/09); wife to Eric ; handservant to Grace :
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#8 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 07:07 PM - Thread Starter
 
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i'm wondering if he wants to "do school" like he might be want to "be the daddy" with a doll. You probably wouldn't be too concerned if he left the doll naked under a couch cushion, right?

Also, from your other posts, you're obviously putting a lot of thought into your homeschooling plans, evaluating curricula, etc. Kids notice what we're interested in, and want to be part of it, even if they're not ready to do it the conventional way. I think it could be that your ds is (so sweetly!) wanting to do the things you see as valuable and worthwhile (although then he isn't yet ready to do them "right").
good point.

i guess i jsut worry when the time comes for school work -- be that a long time from now -- i don't want the habit of "i can gooph and not do this and it won't matter" ... yk?

hummmm more to think about

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#9 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 07:10 PM
 
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I give my little guy a worksheet or two to hold onto. This way he can do them whenever he wants. When he's into he'll get several worksheets one right after the other. Or the worksheets can just lay around half-done or forgotten for a few days. I'm not on a schedule. Not like he's going to fall behind. This way he can't scribble up a whole book "just goofing off". He has much cheaper coloring books for that.

I get what you're saying about wasting people's time asking for something and then not using though. Mine does that with his computer games. He turns them on, there's nothing new. He's done with them but doesn't want to admit it. So he gets off the chair and wanders off to another room, but if I turn off the computer, "I was playing computer. My game. Wah."

And I've told every time, if you're not going to play it I'm going to turn it off. One time recently he put his Teddy bear in the chair so I'd think the game was being used. I know in my case it's because he wants to play computer, but the game is several months old so really he's already done everything there is to do on it. Maybe your guy needs a different worksheet. Color by #, dot-to-dot, word search. Hey I'm doing a word search book right now to boost my spanish.
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#10 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 07:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by hablame_today View Post
I give my little guy a worksheet or two to hold onto. This way he can do them whenever he wants. When he's into he'll get several worksheets one right after the other. Or the worksheets can just lay around half-done or forgotten for a few days. I'm not on a schedule. Not like he's going to fall behind. This way he can't scribble up a whole book "just goofing off". He has much cheaper coloring books for that.

I get what you're saying about wasting people's time asking for something and then not using though. Mine does that with his computer games. He turns them on, there's nothing new. He's done with them but doesn't want to admit it. So he gets off the chair and wanders off to another room, but if I turn off the computer, "I was playing computer. My game. Wah."

And I've told every time, if you're not going to play it I'm going to turn it off. One time recently he put his Teddy bear in the chair so I'd think the game was being used. I know in my case it's because he wants to play computer, but the game is several months old so really he's already done everything there is to do on it. Maybe your guy needs a different worksheet. Color by #, dot-to-dot, word search. Hey I'm doing a word search book right now to boost my spanish.
i looooooooooooooooooove the Teddy bear thing!!!
a
nd Yes he has color books and color pages 9he helps pick them off the computer) and a ton of free paper ....so he has aceess to that stuff all the time.

i am not psuhing him and would be glad for him not to ask. ... my real concern is letting him think that school work can be messed around with and not done ... i don't want any bad habits in 2011 or 2012 when we do start trying to actaully accomplish something.

good suggestion for looking for something new for him. I think simple dot to dots (1 to 10) might be next up for him.

I will also make him a small try of "seat work" he can choose to do for himself -- free access ....

good ideas.

like i said i jsut worry about creating poor habits,

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#11 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 08:51 PM
 
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I don't think there's a pressing reason for him to take it seriously or do it right at that age. It seems like it's just his imaginative play of how it will be some day. If you give him the sheets and then just occupy yourself with something else so that you don't have to see what he's doing, he might enjoy it in his own way. You probably wouldn't require him to take it seriously or do it right if he were just drawing or painting, and it seems to me that doing worksheets at this point should be able to be as easy going and imaginative. What he's doing now with worksheets won't affect how he does them when they have more meaning for him, but worksheets may not be a big part of the homeschooling experience anyway. You could lean to other methods by then. Lillian
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#12 of 30 Old 03-03-2010, 11:58 PM
 
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Our 4 yo has just started asking to "do school". He says happily "I'm ready Mommy !" But then I let him tell me exactly what he wants to do, and that's what we do, and when he's done, or changes his mind about how he wants to "do school", I just go with it. Each time, he has some idea in his mind about what he wants "doing school" to be. At this age I simply want it to be fun for him, so I have no reason not to go along with his mental idea. And his idea is usually something fun but with a component that feels just a little serious and "big kid" to him. He's getting what he wants out of it so I'm .

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#13 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 01:20 AM
 
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If you are going to homeschool and want him to view worksheets as serious work material then I think you should tell him he can't have them until you start homeschooling him and offer him blank paper to make his own instead. This may make it easier once you do feel that you need to insist that he do actual schoolwork without scribbling.
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#14 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 10:13 AM
 
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I don't think I would worry to much. He will grow a lot before kindy. Look at it like coloring, many young kids just scribble all over a page, but at some point they do color in the lines (well most do ).
I think if you are super worried about it, then I would buy a few different books (dot to dots, mazes, kumon cutting, etc) and tell him here are your preschool books. With the emphasis on preschool. Then when he starts kindergarten or first grade, you can let him know what is now expected of him.
Another thing to consider, is making him some preschool file folder or bag games. When he asks to do school take those out instead. There are tons of neat ideas for these, you can work on anything from fine motor skills, to patterning, to letters. They are also much more hands on, for this age group, too. They do take a little while to make, but you do have another child who will use them.
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#15 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 10:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think I would worry to much. He will grow a lot before kindy. Look at it like coloring, many young kids just scribble all over a page, but at some point they do color in the lines (well most do ).
I think if you are super worried about it, then I would buy a few different books (dot to dots, mazes, kumon cutting, etc) and tell him here are your preschool books. With the emphasis on preschool. Then when he starts kindergarten or first grade, you can let him know what is now expected of him.
Another thing to consider, is making him some preschool file folder or bag games. When he asks to do school take those out instead. There are tons of neat ideas for these, you can work on anything from fine motor skills, to patterning, to letters. They are also much more hands on, for this age group, too. They do take a little while to make, but you do have another child who will use them.

thanks

I am working on some - i got a lamanator for Christmas.

Odd thing is he does a ton of "school like things" (matching ABC games, and so on ....and loooves them and pays as much attention as any 4 yo all boy does ...

thanks for all the advice

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#16 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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I was also going to suggest trying different kinds of worksheets, like matching and sorting or gluing (DD looooooooves her gluing workbook)... But reading some of the other replies, I think it's on the money to suggest he's just "playing school" rather than really wanting to do a worksheet, KWIM?

My DD is 3, and wants to "do math" like her older brother does. Now we actually have recently started doing "formal" math with her (very very gently, very slowly, following her lead, stopping when she's bored, etc, but right now she is keen and seems 'advanced' so we're trying it). But before that -- and even sometimes now when she's obviously not REALLY in the mood to 'do math', I recognized that she just wanted to be like her older brother. So I'd give her a sheet of paper, some pencils, maybe some of his math tools, and say "okay, go ahead, do math!" and she'd happily scribble away for awhile. Daddy would get home, she'd show him the sheet of scribbles and proudly announce "look, I did math!"

It's all about the idea of sitting and doing something, even if it's not the thing the sheet is asking to do... yet. Heh.

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#17 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 04:05 PM
 
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what are your thoughts?
If he asked for playdoh and didn't play with it seriously enough for your tastes, would you take it away from him? How about if he didn't race his cars along the right path? If he decided to imitate you baking, would you dictate how he did that?

Your son is imitating the homeschoolers he knows. He's playing. Let him play or risk turning him off to the school he will do when he's developmentally ready.

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#18 of 30 Old 03-04-2010, 04:35 PM
 
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I agree with those who said not to worry about it.

I do have a rule here that if it requires MY involvement, then it needs to be done in an orderly way. I am not interested in assisting with worksheets and things that are being done in a silly way. We also have some materials that may only be used under my direct supervision, and if things get crazy, they get put away.

My daughter knows we're starting Kindergarten in the fall, and she seems to be entirely aware that the expectations for that work will be different from the expectations there have been so far.

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#19 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 10:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with those who said not to worry about it.

I do have a rule here that if it requires MY involvement, then it needs to be done in an orderly way. I am not interested in assisting with worksheets and things that are being done in a silly way. We also have some materials that may only be used under my direct supervision, and if things get crazy, they get put away.

My daughter knows we're starting Kindergarten in the fall, and she seems to be entirely aware that the expectations for that work will be different from the expectations there have been so far.
snag!!!! I think that is what i am going to implement here.

If you want to do it with momma we will do it to the best of our ablity. if you want momma and silly -- we can play, color, etc ...

I do have some stuff i want him to take "care with" if he is going to "do" .. if he continues to be silly wiht it i will jsut keep putting it away like i have.

i started a small try of 'school work" (his name to copy so far is all i have in there) that he can access alone (in addition ot the color pages, and free paper for coloring and sticker that are always on the table for free access with crayons) -- to let him "expereimnet" with it.

Thanks eveyone i am blessed to have such wise moms around.

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#20 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 06:07 PM
 
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what about the kumon work books? the 'easy' ones might work for him to 'do school' they dont require too much direction and are nice and look fancy.

it might also be the type of orkbooks your using? my ds has recently been very anti coloring / painting so i found a preschool workbook that uses stickers which is fantastic. it has all the normal workbook stuff in it like make a pattern, matching, shapes, counting but you just paste on the stickers.

its been fantastic! and again he may need a little help but it is nothing stressful

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#21 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 06:59 PM
 
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I think at 4 years old, it's ok for him to do it and play around. For me, a preschooler learning to LIKE schoolwork is a higher priority than them doing a good job.

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#22 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 07:12 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Momma Aimee View Post
good point.

i guess i jsut worry when the time comes for school work -- be that a long time from now -- i don't want the habit of "i can gooph and not do this and it won't matter" ... yk?

hummmm more to think about
I think he just wants to "play school" and it's 100% age appropriate. Your concerns about taking school seriously sound a lot like the excuses people have for not co-sleeping, wanting to get baby onto solid food ASAP, etc. Kids grow at their own pace, and he wont' be any more or less ready to do 1st grade work in 2 years because of the way he's playing with worksheets right now. 5yos are different creatures than 4yo, 6yos are different from 5yos, etc etc.

It's certainly fine to limit your own time and participation, something like "I can help you if you take it seriously, but if you just want to play then I have to go get work done" is fine.

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#23 of 30 Old 03-05-2010, 08:12 PM
 
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I agree with everyone else. I am on my third 4yo now, and she is acking me constantly to "do homeschool" like her two big sisters. We have been satisfying her so far with dollar store workbooks to scribble in, she likes to circle things randomly in the workbooks and color in some of the stuff on occassion. We also enjoy cutting and pasting a lot at times, the Kumon cutting book is great for teaching that skill.

She is just now starting to get more interested in actually trying to do some stuff, so we are planning on ordering her very first REAL school workbooks here soon. We'll be doing Handwriting Without Tears pre-k and Horizons preschool. I plan on just taking it slowly at first about a week after we get our materials, and then working up to doing full lessons daily with her.

Have you looked at HWT pre-k yet by chance? It may be a perfect way to introduce him to doing school seriously. Its gentle, lots of hands-on activities and games, and he'll get his workbook fix also. I would totally recommend it (at minimum you need the workbook, teacher guide, and wood pieces unless you make your own pieces from cardboard like I did the first time through this level with my first child)

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#24 of 30 Old 03-07-2010, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I think at 4 years old, it's ok for him to do it and play around. For me, a preschooler learning to LIKE schoolwork is a higher priority than them doing a good job.
good point!! I do want a POSITIVE feelign about "school"

Ruthla --- thinks you put it in perspective -- it is a lot like not wanting to co-sleep cuz they woll never sleep alone (uhhhh they do sleep alone someday right -- i have a 4 yo and a 2 yo in my bed right now ). that makes it so much more clear to me, thanks.....

kittie313 -- i will be intrested to hear how your DD takes to the "real" school stuff -- if she is able to take it serouly and not randomly circle and so on (Theo does that too -- i assume he must have a internal logic in his head i jsut don't see) ..

thnks ladies you all really helped me sort this out in my head

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#25 of 30 Old 03-07-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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Do you think he's really looking for some one-on-one playtime with you? My DD is younger, but she will make up things sometime to try to get my attention or company. I normally just ask her if she really means that she would like my company, or whatever, so that she will eventually realize that she can just ask straight out.
This was my 1st thought.

Also when my son was that age I found myself getting overly invested in the outcome and would end up pointing out where he wasn't doing something correctly. Big mistake on my part at that age because then he would get squirmy and less interested. I realized that I needed to let my own expectations go until he was a bit older (now at 6 I maintain high expectations for the quality of his work but even then have figured out when to back off because it is counterproductive). At 4, focus on open ended learning activities where there does not need to be a set outcome. I would just get rid of "worksheets". Maybe have some colorful flashcards and let him makeup up ways to use them, some fun mazes where he can use any method or material to complete them, lots of games, art, etc.

Kris wife to Stew and mom to Joey 8/03 who cares for , 2 frogs and a worm
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#26 of 30 Old 03-07-2010, 11:12 AM
 
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I think at 4 years old, it's ok for him to do it and play around. For me, a preschooler learning to LIKE schoolwork is a higher priority than them doing a good job.
I agree. The whole Swedish preschool/kindergarten system is based on this theory. No serious academics until age 7-- not even teaching phonics or basic addition. No drilling the ABCs. It's all just fun and games. And by age 10 their students lead the literacy tables in Europe.

http://www.teachers.tv/video/12090

BTW, I let my son just play and have fun and be a goofball at age 4, and I still allow it at age 5 . . . but now he sits down on his own for a few minutes and applies himself to learning reading and mathematics-- not because I want him to or ask him to, honestly, if it were up to me, I'd like him to wait another year-- but because he wants that himself. And now he can read quite a bit himself and do first grade math. Oh, and I have never made him work through his math workbooks or phonics books in the "correct order". We just do whatever we feel like.

♥ blogger astrologer mom to three cool kiddos, and trying to figure out this divorce thing-- Blossom and Glow ♥

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#27 of 30 Old 03-07-2010, 11:13 AM
 
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i'm wondering if he wants to "do school" like he might be want to "be the daddy" with a doll. You probably wouldn't be too concerned if he left the doll naked under a couch cushion, right?
My grandmother and I often "played school" because she was a teacher and I really wanted to go to school like my older cousin. We never actually learned anything - we got school supplies together, we mimed having to raise our hand and being called on, we had "snack time", we put things in backpacks... she would give me really hard math problems and I'd pretend to answer them, that kind of thing. We never really learned anything.

My younger cousin and I often played storekeepers too where we would pretend the swing was a scale and we'd pick grass and rocks to be the produce. Same thing, different setting.

mama of DS(3) & DD(2)
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#28 of 30 Old 03-07-2010, 11:27 AM
 
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Do you think he's really looking for some one-on-one playtime with you? My DD is younger, but she will make up things sometime to try to get my attention or company. I normally just ask her if she really means that she would like my company, or whatever, so that she will eventually realize that she can just ask straight out.
My ds did that kind of thing, too, and I handled it the same way once I realized it. He used to say he was hungry because he wanted me to come be with him and knew I wouldn't put him off if he asked for food.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
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#29 of 30 Old 03-07-2010, 01:08 PM
 
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If at 4 he wasnt playing around then I would be worried. I think thats normal behavior for a 4 yr old. Honestly, why push? they're so young it seems like if it causes a problem then maybe something needs to be reevaluated there kwim? I know that many homeschoolers start so early but I guess I dont understand the rush to making them students so soon they have so much time to do that stuff later. Relax, and let him be himself. Its probably more of an attention span thing than anything, like at first he wants to then when the novelty wears off or he gets bored then he's done and thats when he plays around. I let my 4 yr old do things the way she wants to when she wants to, if she doesnt complete them I dont really care either way. I just let her go off and play or whatever it is she wants to do...there is no pressure and I feel better not stressing it

 Jess mom to 5!!! 3 boys 2 girls and another girl on the way edd jan 31st! I have a Disabled veteran husband
breastfeeding,cosleeping, non vax,no circ,and nature loving family!

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#30 of 30 Old 03-08-2010, 01:41 AM
 
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LiontigerBear, That video was excellent. I would love to show it a neighboring school district here as the Principal is now taking away art and music. It doesn't of course affect my kids but I feel for those 5 year olds sitting and learning to read and write but having no music or art release. It's a shame.

The first rule of homeschooling: water the plants! :
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