attention span of a squished pea - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 11 Old 08-24-2011, 08:12 AM - Thread Starter
 
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And an impatient momma. OMG, 6yo DS is distracted by EVERYTHING. He has homework for the 1st time this year. It is all simple stuff, he knows it. For example fill in the numbers, basic addition, writing the alphabet. He has no problems writing. But literally if he has to write 20 numbers, it takes 15 minutes. He knows the number, but either writes it and does not like it (perfectly legible but not "perfect") so he erases and rewrites it. Next number he starts having a conversation. Next number he is picking up crumbs from the table. Next number he is asking DD to go in and tell him what time it is. Next number he makes in tiny dots and then connects the dots...

 

Yes, it is bothering me. Why? Because he does have a long attention span, if he wants to. Earlier he drew a connect the dots drawing with all the numbers on it - it was a whale. If he can sit and do that for half an hour, then he can do this in 5 minutes. I tell him if he hurries up he can get it done faster and then go do something else. No, it does not help. I also understand it is boring work, and no one likes boring work. But it is not like he has to boring work all day long. Almost the whole day is free time playing, and field trips and sports.

 

Help! Either with tips on how to help his attention, or how to get my blood pressure down! winky.gif

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#2 of 11 Old 08-24-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AllisonR View Post

Yes, it is bothering me. Why? Because he does have a long attention span, if he wants to. Earlier he drew a connect the dots drawing with all the numbers on it - it was a whale. If he can sit and do that for half an hour, then he can do this in 5 minutes. I tell him if he hurries up he can get it done faster and then go do something else. No, it does not help. I also understand it is boring work, and no one likes boring work. But it is not like he has to boring work all day long. Almost the whole day is free time playing, and field trips and sports.

 

Help! Either with tips on how to help his attention, or how to get my blood pressure down! winky.gif

 

I don't want to jump to conclusions over this single issue, but this caught my attention "he does have a long attention span, if he wants to" -- this can be a symptom of ADHD. My ds is ADHD and he used to do the same things, particularly in Kindergarten. It got a lot better in 1st grade.

 

Is he having problems in school? Does he complete his work in school? Is this only an issue at home?

 

 

 


 

 


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#3 of 11 Old 08-24-2011, 09:10 AM
 
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For starters, once school has been in session a couple weeks, I'd see about getting him more appropriate homework. Homework is supposed to reinforce new material you are working on in class. Yes, the beginning of school is always lots of repetition but if a month from now, he's still getting work that he can do in his sleep, seek accomodations for more challenging and engaging work. Better him spend 15 minutes on work that makes him think than 15 minutes dawdling or repetitive material he could finish in 2.

 

Some ideas about the homework...

 

If it frustrates you, don't watch him do it. Set him up at the table when you make dinner or are otherwise engaged. If it takes him the whole time, well, it's not taking any time from what you need to be doing. Don't fall into the trap of sitting next to him and watching him work.

 

Be mindful of when you time homework. Doing it right afterschool doesn't work for all kids. Many do better after a snack, some running around time and/or a bath.

 

Perfectionism is a tricky beast. My eldest has it in spades. Challenging work can be helpful. If your DS's mind is concentrating on getting the problems right, he may not worry so much about whether the letters are perfect.

 

Break-up the homework time into 5 or 10 minute segments throughout the day. It may seem more disruptive but it can lesson the actual amount of time your child is sitting at the table doing homework.

 

Find out what the reccomended homework times are per grade for your district. Ask the teacher how much time she expects kids to be doing homework each night. If your DS is spending more time than is suggested or required find a compromise with the teacher. Like I said, my eldest is a perfectionist and in elementary, tended to make little assignments into HUGE ones (like writing 3 pages on a topic instead of the half-page required.) Some ideas I got from her teachers was to have her only do every other math problem (they allowed this if I signed her paper because she was a fast learner and didn't need the amount of repetition most kids needed.) One teacher had me give her time limits on certain projects. Instead of her spending 2 hours on a paper that should have taken 15, I'd give her 30 minutes to complete. It was frustrating to her in the beginning but she did learn to budget her homework time better. This is a lesson that has served her well even now in high school. Just send a note to the teacher that time spent on homework has been an issue and you are trying some things at home to remedy it. This means he may come in with incomplete work for a bit.

 

I think more appropriate work is the priority though I wouldn't approach it with the teacher until the kids have been in school a few weeks.

 

 


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#4 of 11 Old 08-26-2011, 09:03 AM
 
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My ds is 9yo and will be geting homework for the first time. It must be hard for a 6yo to do work especially if it is boring. I would not watch either.He needs to understand that if he wants to attend that school he will need to do the work the teacher requires of him.Can not attend unless you follow the rules. I have had to tell my dd that often when she complained about her weekly homework.

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#5 of 11 Old 08-27-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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My dd was like this when she had homework and when I was homeschooling her.  I finally found that if I told her what the work was then walked off she would do it quickly on her own.  If I hung around she took her time and it became a real power struggle.  The first few days she took an hour to do just a few problems but after she realized I she had freedom in doing her work she finished in half her  usual amount of time.

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#6 of 11 Old 08-28-2011, 12:06 PM
 
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Homework is completely inappropriate for first grade.  It causes stress for the whole family, burns out kids, and fosters bad attitudes toward school, while accomplishing nothing.  When you say "it's all simple stuff, he knows it", you're telling us that it's unnecessary busywork.  Don't make your son do it -- you'll just cause him to hate school, which he's only just begun.  Talk to the teacher and tell her you won't make your son do work that doesn't teach him anything.

 

Two basic reads:

 

The Homework Myth, by Alfie Kohn

 

http://www.amazon.com/Homework-Myth-Kids-Much-Thing/dp/0738211117/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314558165&sr=8-1

 

The Case Against Homework, by Bennett and Kalish

 

http://www.amazon.com/Case-Against-Homework-Hurting-Children/dp/030734018X/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1314558208&sr=1-1

 

and two useful websites:

 

Stop Homework:

 

http://stophomework.com/

 

The Coalition for Kid-Friendly Schools:

 

http://kidfriendlyschools.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

 

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#7 of 11 Old 08-29-2011, 08:29 AM
 
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after school has been going on for a month, go talk to the teacher. explain ur situation. ask if she can give more challenging hw. see how open she is. i did that with dd and it made a big difference.

 

here is what i did with dd. i was DONE. we had been fighting since K. mind you i'd take her out to eat to do hw, at the park to do hw so she'd work for 2 mins and then play and then work, play. by mid 1st i was done. i spoke to the teacher and informed her i was going to give dd the choice. and i told dd honestly i didnt care if she did her hw or not. and so i was no longer going to insist she do her hw. i told her i am not sure how the school is going to react coz when we signed up to go there, part of the agreement was that she also has to do hw and i have to do parent hours. so first day she was THRILLED. mom i had to do my hw during break so i did it in 5 mins eyesroll.gif and then i got my fav. book to read. second day enthu. by the end of the week - 'ma just remind me by 6 pm if i havent done my hw'. dd is in 4th grade and i have not had a problem with hw. dd learnt a new life lesson which she applies to certain situations. sometimes to do something you enjoy there is a not nice component to it. but you have agreed to do it, so you do it. its not a matter of like or dislike. its a matter of just get it out of the way. after that incident dd started a hw club which polished off their hw in groups as they waited for the parents to come pick them up.  

 

 


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#8 of 11 Old 08-31-2011, 08:11 AM
 
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u have a helped me im going to try to do the 10 - 15 mins at a time for my 5 yr old son. the last 2 days doing homework has been a nightmare but yesterday was the worst him and i were both crying. his teacher has a schedule of what pages to do daily out of his packet . well he wants to do what he wants and when i dont let him he have a screamen fit and then he doesnt want to do it . im so frustrated !! URG!! i dont want homework to be a bad exsperience for him.

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#9 of 11 Old 08-31-2011, 08:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by titus2wife View Post

u have a helped me im going to try to do the 10 - 15 mins at a time for my 5 yr old son. the last 2 days doing homework has been a nightmare but yesterday was the worst him and i were both crying. his teacher has a schedule of what pages to do daily out of his packet . well he wants to do what he wants and when i dont let him he have a screamen fit and then he doesnt want to do it . im so frustrated !! URG!! i dont want homework to be a bad exsperience for him.


Is it a packet that he has to take to school everyday or is it one he turns in once a week. If it's not something he turns in daily, don't stress about what pages he does when. A little control can make all the differences.

 


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#10 of 11 Old 09-04-2011, 03:26 AM
 
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Well...

 

I'd rather be out playing in the green grass, or building with Lego too, than do mindless, boring work that I can't see the use off. Growing up is about learning enough discipline to finish work before you allow yourself to play. So personally, since this is his first experience of homework, I think his reaction is perfectly normal when being forced to do something mind numbingly boring.

 

As the others have already said, I would talk to his teacher. See if she has some more challenging work for him, since he already knows what they are learning at the moment. Perhaps skipping a class ahead in the subjects he already knows. Now, I don't know how classes are taught in the U.S. but for example mathematics here in Sweden is very much centred around workbooks with very few actual lectures/lessons. This means that when a teacher experience that a child is too advanced for the workbook they are working with, or perhaps needs something easier to be able to grasp it, they can adjust the workbook accordingly. See if that is an option for your ds.

 

I would also consider talking to the headmaster about possibly preparing your son for skipping a grade if the problem truly is your son being bored because the tasks are too easy for his level of knowledge, and not bored simply because he would rather do something else. Of course, this would mean you would probably have to spend more time tutoring him in writing and reading and things like that in the evenings but might be worth it to not end up with a son stomping with frustration because school is too easy.

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#11 of 11 Old 09-06-2011, 08:16 AM
 
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You know, this sounds absolutely normal to me for that age. Frustrating (believe me, I've been there too), but normal.

 

In our case, I used 3 tricks to manage it - one that was already mentioned - I have to leave the room physically when DS is working on his homework, or I get agitated and naggy and the whole process becomes long and painful. We'll go over the instructions together before I go, so he knows exactly what to do. Second, I have to give him something to motivate him. Think of something your son likes to do more than anything else...maybe it is taking a bike ride together, or playing a game, or playing video games, and then say, "Come and get me as soon as your homework is done, and we'll do x." The last trick was finding a place for him to do his homework that was distraction free. When he first started school, I expected him to be able to do his homework in the kitchen while I made dinner. That's where I'd always done my homework as a kid and it worked great, but it just did not work for him. We ended up putting a child's desk in our guest room, and he does his homework there. The guest room is a pretty boring place to be otherwise, so he isn't distracted and isn't motivated to linger.

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