Motivating kids to do schoolwork - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 3 Old 01-20-2013, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm having a hard time with ds, getting him to do any schoolwork.    I feel like I've tried everything and I'm so frustrated!    When he actually concentrates, he does excellent work, understands things very quickly, and  his handwriting is better than mine!   He takes literally hours to do a few pages of work.  When he actually concentrates without fooling around, he can do the exact same work in 10min.     Every day its a battle, and I feel like I've tried everything!



I babysit 2.5 days a week, and have a 2yr old all of that time, and a 5yr old for 2 hours each of those days.   We also have 2 activities during the week - one is gymnastics, and the other is a homeschool group that meets at the park for the kids to play, or do nature activities or crafts.   He has plenty of time to do his work and I don't ask that much of him, but it is so stressful to spend so much time doing something that could be done quickly - and it means we have less time to do 'fun work' like science experiments and art and outside stuff.  


I am SO TIRED of telling him to get back to work!



Here are some things I've tried:


  • taking a break from ANY school work for a period of time (we took 3 weeks off)
  • making the work easier
  • making it more challenging (he is VERY smart so I think a challenge is good!)
  • staying right by him and helping him the whole time
  • leaving him to work on his own
  • being in the same room while he works, but across the room so he can ask for help when needed
  • working in different locations (at a desk, table, on the floor, outside, different rooms in the house, the library)
  • working at different times of the day (first thing when he wakes up to right before bed and everything in between!)
  • working for a short time and then taking break
  • working all at once
  • using a timer to keep track of how long he can work or how long a break is
  • using a reward system (sticker for each finished assignment, get X stickers and get Y prize, something like going out for ice cream, he picks the reward in advance to work for)
  • taking away things when he messes around (1 warning, you do it again and I get to donate on of your toy cars)
  • working every single day
  • working just on week days
  • working every other day
  • having music on, or having it quiet
  • letting him sit on an exercise ball (he is a wiggly kid)
  • getting him smelly pencils to use
  • trying a whole bunch of different methods for teaching the material - different workbooks and text books, worksheets, hands on stuff, manipulatives, oral learning, audio learning, stuff on the computer, lapbooks, homeschool classes (he does well at these but I can't afford them and they are only specific topics), etc.  All different kinds of things!  
  • letting him pick which activity to do
  • me picking
  • scheduling everything
  • no schedule
  • check lists of things he needs to do



There is more too I'm sure, I've tried it all and nothing works!


So what do I do?   I can't do this any more!  

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#2 of 3 Old 01-20-2013, 03:23 PM
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How old is he?  Can you give some examples of the type of work you're asking him to do? 


What do you want him to learn this year?  (You don't have to list every single thing in detail, just give us a general idea what your main goals for him are.) 

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#3 of 3 Old 01-20-2013, 04:56 PM
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The one thing you haven't mentioned trying is changing your curricular approach. You've mentioned letting him choose which activity, but I'm thinking you're probably talking about giving him choice between options that are part of your current approach. 


Have you tried a hands-on, project-oriented, interest-led approach? Unschooling? Working aurally? Literature, or unit-study based approaches? An outdoor education focus?


Also wondering how old he is.



Mountain mama to three great kids and one great grown-up

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