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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This question is for those of you who use curriculum/worksheets or copywork with your dc. My ds is 6, and we are using workbooks for math, and copywork for LA. Ds stays home with my husband, and for the most part, he works independently. When I get home from work I'll usually glance through what he's done, and if it looks to me that he had trouble understanding a particular lesson, then I'll make sure he and DH spend some time on the concept the next day. I never "grade" his work, or point out his mistakes to him after the fact.

Ok. But lately it seems that he's making some sloppy errors - not having trouble with the concepts, but just not being fully focused on the work. For instance, he'll read '3x4' as '3+4', and wind up with 7 instead of 12 as the answer. Likewise on the copywork - his handwriting is much sloppier now than it was at the beginning of the year!

Occassionally I am able to sit with him in the morning (before work) while he does his math, and once or twice I've "caught" him making a mistake and called his attention to it. He flipped! Screaming and crying! "Don't tell me I made a mistake! I don't want you to tell me that!"

I'm sure that part of the problem is that I'm *not* the one that normally "teaches" him - I'm the one that comes home and oohs & ahhs over his work. He's a little better with dh, but he still really does not like to have errors pointed out.

Part of me feels like just letting the errors go - he knows the difference between 3+4 and 3X4, and he knows that a lower-case 'p' should extend below the baseline on his copy paper, so what's the point in nit-picking? But another part of me worries that he's getting bad habits - that he's getting lazy, not working up to his potential, getting used to doing the bare minimum, losing his work ethic, headed for a life on the streets!


Any ideas? I'm thinking for some of the math stuff I might give him the answer keys, and let him check his own papers. For the copywork, I don't know.... He likes doing it, or I think I would just chuck it and introduce a "real" handwriting curr later (like HWT). Help?
 

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We double check every problem here now that he's getting into more math. After he's done, we go over each problem, with me saying it and us reading it together. It seems to click when he can hear and see it. And by going over each problem, each letter (learning cursive), we get to talk about how it's right, what went wrong...without making the mistakes glaringly obvious. It also sets him up for checking his own work steps - which he will need as he gets into geometry, algebra, etc.
 

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If you know that his mistakes are just because he's not paying attention, try turning it into a positive change, and offer a prize for getting all the answers correct. Chart, stickers, reward, etc. You can have him grade his own papers to this end.

Another thing to do, long term, is to model the behavior you want to see him exhibit when a mistake is pointed out to him. If there's something you're learning to do yourself, make sure he sees you mess up, figure out where you went wrong, and fix it.
 

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For math, when we saw an increase in sloppy errors but were certain the concepts were solid, it meant time for us to move ahead a little faster. If we moved on to new material, her interest and attention were higher and if the work involved more steps it reinforced the idea of checking your work. She will still make careless errors, but over time we have noticed her catching her own mistakes much more often. She absolutely beams and is so proud of herself for finding her own mistakes.

We also would change sources for math. If using Singapore, we would do sections of book 5B while still on 5A, for example. We'd take days to play with Zome geometry or The Number Devil, for a change as well. Keep it fun, and try to make mistake finding a fun challenge. I'd worry more about his distress than his math errors. Solve the distress, the math will take care of itself.
 

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And besides modeling, you also might drop little nuggets of insight at other times about the value of learning from mistakes. Warren Buffett, for example, the billionaire investor and philanthropist who's in the news so much these days, named his investment company Berkshire Hatheway after a stock he lost a lot of money over long ago when he was just starting out - he's found that your mistakes are often your best learning assets.
Lillian
 

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I have perfectionists who flip out when they're corrected. I've always found it helpful to predict and pre-empt before the fact rather than to criticize and correct afterwards. In other words, if I notice my child isn't attending to certain little details, I won't say anything about today's work, but tomorrow I'll say "I noticed yesterday that sometimes you're forgetting to pay attention to ______. Today when you're working, see if you can really notice that. I think your accuracy will get much better."

Miranda
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by bigeyes View Post
Talk to the teacher about your concerns and take it from there. We got lucky and she has a really good teacher this year, so it worked for us. Do you feel like your ds has a good teacher who can help with this?
Um, this is the homeschooling forum.

Miranda
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
Um, this is the homeschooling forum.

Miranda
duh. sorry, I thought she said it was homework. Just clicked on new posts.


Must drink more coffee...
 

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He's 6 and a perfectionist....hmmm....have you read up on "gifted" characteristics at hoagies?

At 6, I'm not sure I see a reason to correct mistakes unless he asks you to....

Unless it's like, hmmm, I see one answer that doesn't look right. Do you want me to show it to you?
 

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you might be able to work the correcting thing...put a spin on it, you know? My kids go through worksheet phases and always turn them in and want me to correct them. They really enjoy go back over the mistakes and correcting things until they have everything just right...when they're in worksheet phases at least. lol Ds brings me a red pen and everything! lol
 

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We do corrections with my 7 yr old, and did last year, too. Lots of times they are silly mistakes and so lots of times I will remind her to check over her work and so now she often catches things herself. But sometimes she will write something down, I think, just because she doesn't get it, but figures she has to have something down. I've not figured this one out, as I've always stressed to her to ask if she doesn't understand, but she is also somewhat of a perfectionist.

The main reason I do corrections and point things out (I'm a big stickler for neatness) is because I know she can do better, but that she needs to be held to that higher standard. I have seen so many kids who weren't held to a higher standard when they were young and it was such a struggle for them to correct things when they were older. I also do it because I think it helps her focus, which is something she struggles with, having ADHD. I've noticed since I've started making her re-do things that I can't read and when I have her re-do math problems, she tends to be more careful about taking her time and doing it correctly the first time.

It's not always about whether or not the child has the math concept or whatever. Sometimes it's about life, and she needs to know how to do things neatly and correctly the first time through.

Crystal
 

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For whatever it's worth, I didn't systematically correct things my son worked on - although I know I pointed things out from time to time, and helped when he asked for input. He didn't have assignments or any special standards to live up to with things he was learning at home, but when he took classes in the community and got into college classes, it never would have occurred to him not to do his very best. He's done very well in college, and was a tireless and dedicated worker when he was a full time volunteer in a soup kitchen as a young adult, and even in group work efforts as a teen. I really think there are a lot of kids who naturally match their effort to the importance of the project without having grown up with a lot of correction and supervision of their projects - at least I've known quite a number of them.


- Lillian
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks for all the great ideas, and the reassurance!

I spoke to him today about the handwriting (math is his "thing", so I decided to attack the sloppiness in the writing first), and asked him if he wanted to quit doing it for a while, since "I noticed that you seemed to be rushing through it." He looked surprised, and then said, "No, I don't want to stop doing it, but I didn't know you were looking at it!"
: Ok, I guess I can give up my worry of putting too much pressure on the boy!

So we agreed that when I come home from work he will show me his work, and if he feels proud of it we will tack it up on the bulletin board. If he doesn't feel proud of it, then he'll redo it the next day. Then I brought up the math - asking him if he wanted to show me his workbook there, too. He said no.
I think I might throw some puzzle-type stuff at him that we can figure out together, and use that as an opportunity to work on getting things "wrong"...

Anyway, thanks so much for helping me think this through!
 

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I was wondering about the following....but it sounds like you've got it figured out!
--take a break for a while (which you said already)
--ask if he needs harder problems or needs to go back and do some easier ones for a while.

jenny
 

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I haven't read the replies....sorry if this was said already.

What about trying a revolving approach? Having him submit "for revision marking" and then you circle/note what needs revision and turn back to him for him to re-do? That kind of approach would not only end laziness/sloppiness/hurriedness/etc. (because he'll know he's just going to have to do it anyway), but also emphasizes the process of doing something until it's mastered (as opposed to doing something just to get it done).
 
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