Homeschooling Moms

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disciplining my wiggle butts
July 14, 2013 at 1:49 AM

So I am looking for tips on getting my 5 and 7 year old used to accepting me as teacher and paying attention to lessons. I don't plan to sit them at the table all day or drill them on dry facts, but sometimes just getting them to listen...! So what do y'all do to help keep their focus? And kudos to you if you're the parent whose children know not to blink without checking in with you first...please no bashing or cutting remarks...I'm not looking for punishment, just something to remind them this is school without dampening the mood and getting further away from what we're here to do. Thanks


  • debramommyof4
    July 14, 2013 at 2:35 AM

     My 3 and 4 year olds are my wiggle butts but some days my 6 and 7 year olds can be too.

    We take breaks when they get wiggley and do jumping jacks or dance or some activity that requires movement.  Then we go back.  If it continues for and hour we are done for the day and they are banished outside to play.

    If they are just being defiant and refusing to work not because they have the wiggles or are bored (they all have that stuburn I am not going to listen day) they go to time out.  I try not to do that to often though because then the kids start hating school.

  • lucsch
    by lucsch
    July 14, 2013 at 3:08 AM

    Just gradually lengthen the time. When you are reading something, give them something to do with their hands, like playdough or a coloring page. I've heard of moms having their kid sit on top of a ball--the balancing uses all those busy muscles!

    Believe me, when I started with my 4-1/2yo daughter, she had fewer preschool skills than most--it was embarrassing--but she wouldn't sit still and she had no interest in anything that looked like learning. We started with one picture book a day. At first, she couldn't even sit there through a whole book. Now, as a 5th grader, she is schooling for probably 5 hours a day and is actually advanced in most subjects. Whew!

    Oh, and when we started, I just explained to her that we HAD to do school now that she was 4-1/2yo (her brothers all went to K4). I made a big deal out of the first day of school. We interspersed some fun activities between the bookwork. I focused on teaching her skills without unduly frustrating her.

  • celticdragon77
    July 14, 2013 at 3:11 AM

    5 and 7 ... I homeschooled at those ages. Oh my gosh, great ages!! It should not be "school". But that is just my opinion. At that age, I was just exposing them to "life". We went to farms, the courthouse, fire stations, museums, parks, the library... we did Montessori activities ... we did art at the ark, read books, did letter of the week, did some fun map and geography classes, oh and "traveled" the 7 continents, "Muffin tin mondays", and had TONS of math manipulatives and games ... they helped cook, do laundry, grocery shop... I miss those days. They were SO much fun!!! I learned to be wiggly right with them. BUT we DID always FINISH whatever we started!!! I also focused on good habits, routines, healthy habits, nutrition, good character habits. social graces... 

  • maggiemom2000
    July 14, 2013 at 10:43 PM

    Workboxes really helps me with that. I can break the work up into little pieces and mix in games and hands on activities that keep them engaged:

    How Workboxes Work in our House

    We are a couple of weeks into our second year of homeschool at our house. One thing that we have found works well for us is the Workboxes system. I must admit I never read "the book", Sue Patrick's Workbox System. I read a lot of blogs, looked at a lot of photos and came up with our own version of the system.
    For the first time this year the boys are enrolled in the California Virtual Academy (CAVA) which uses the K12 curriculum. I find it is easy to use the Workboxes with this curriculum. (EDIT: We left CAVA/K12 after 6 weeks)
    I have one child who is easy to homeschool. He is organized, and will sit quietly and do "seatwork". If I were just working with him I wouldn't need any kind of "system".
    My other child is not that way. He has been diagnosed with ADHD and OCD. I know some people don't like labels for their kids. For me, it helps to remind me that I didn't do, or not do anything to cause the way he goes through life. I can't change him, but I can help to try and give him tools to make it easier to get through life. With this child, I needed a "system'!
    While I try and make the kids assignments not to "schooly" and avoid worksheets and generally boring busy work, there still needs to be a way to get through the curriculum. The Workboxes help with this. I find that it does several things that are particularly helpful for a child with ADHD:
    • It helps with organization.
    • It is visual and tactile. He can see how much work (how many boxes) need to get done. He physically moves the tag off the box and onto the chart when he is finished with it.
    • It is self rewarding in that he can see the number of tags increase on his chart and feel a sense of accomplishment.
    • It is not so overwhelming to have one task in a box. It doles things out in small enough chunks for him.
    • It takes away me being the one telling him to do each assignment. Instead he just takes a box off the shelf. I find this leads to fewer power struggles.
    • It gives him a sense of control. I allow him to choose which box to do next, he doesn't need to do them in any specific order.
    • It helps me to insert more fun stuff and games. When I put the game in the box the night before I'm not overwhelmed and ready to quit for the day! Before, by the time I got through math, writing, science, etc. I was too tired to say "Let's play Scrabble!" But when it is on one of the boxes it is different.
    • It promotes independence. He chooses a box and starts working on it on his own (unless it is a "MOM" box, then he brings it to me for us to do together).
    With my first child, I just had to tell him how the system works, once. With my second child it took a bit more work. The first week with the workboxes there were boxes and tags and supplies EVERYWHERE! It took some time, and lots of one on one to teach him to take down one box, finish it, move the tag, put it away, then take the next box. I think just learning a routine like that is valuable in itself.

    This is what it looks like:
    I was able to use some shelves that we already had for the workboxes. Each child has 12 boxes, and I usually "fill" 9-12 boxes each day. At first I thought, how will I ever fill 12 boxes, that is WAY too much! When I started doing it I quickly realized that it wasn't too much, because many of the boxes have short activities. Plus, I needed lots of boxes so that I could add lots of "fun" stuff. My kids love the Active Activity Cards. I downloaded those and made more of my own.

    I was amazed at first to find that if I put it into a Workbox, they just did it. It was that easy.

    When they finish a box, they pull off the tag and and place it on their chart.

    I have one child who always carefully places each tag on his chart in numerical order. My other child is a bit less orderly with how he gets his number tags onto his chart. I'll leave you to figure out who does it which way.

    This system also keeps ME organized and on track. 
    I'm much less likely to get too tired at some point and just put something off until the next day (and the next). I keep things on hand to add to the boxes to keep things interesting and "hand on". In addition to my shelves full of supplies I have this little cart with little games, math manipulatives, hands on science equipment and other supplies. I find that if it is within reach I'm much more likely to take advantage of it.

    It is a lot of organization up front, but not too difficult to maintain!

    Added January, 2013

    More resources:
    Workbox Tags
    More Workbox Tags

    More on using workboxes with a child with ADHD/Aspergers, or similar challenges:
    Get Creative!
    Fun Workboxes
    Workboxes and Power Struggles
  • maggiemom2000
    July 14, 2013 at 10:45 PM

    Another thing to look at is what can you change so that they are engaged and learning but don't need to be paying attention to a teacher (they will usually learn more this way!)

    Lots of hands on engaging activities that really get kids reading/writing:

    Growing Readers

    Are you Growing a Reader? Homeschooling your early reader? No need to buy an expensive curriculum to get your child off to a great start at reading. Do you want to avoid tedious, boring worksheets and instead learn through engaging hands on activities and play? Here are a collection of links on teaching your child to read and write for free:

    Sight Words or Phonics? How about a balanced approach?

    Read some background on using a balanced literacy approach to teach your child to read. What does your Kindergartner need to learn in reading? See the list of Common Core Kindergarten Standards and links to activities to teach those skills to your emergent reader.

    What do I need to Buy?

    The short answer: nothing. You can do all of the lessons and activities here using books from the library and things you already have around the house like paper, pens, chalk, and index cards. In this post I suggest some possible things you can buy to enhance the activities. These are supplies that you will be able to use for years, not just for a couple of lessons. Manipulatives like a good set of magnetic letters can be used from preschool into elementary school, beginning with basic letter identification, on to phonics, building sight words, word families and complex multisyllabic spelling words.

    Shared Literature

    Read, read, read to your child. Reading aloud to your child is the best thing you can do to grow a reader. Go beyond reading aloud and teach your child reading skills while enjoying great literature! (Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten)

    Early Alphabet Learning and the Name Game

    How to begin teaching the alphabet and other early literacy skills to your preschooler or Kindergartner. (Preschool, Pre-K, Kindergarten)

    Kindergarten Sight Words and Early Reading Skills

    What you need to know to get started teaching your Kindergartner to read including a look at some of the Common Core Standards for Kindergarten reading. (Kindergarten)

    Kindergarten Sight Word Sentences

    After you know about teaching sight words to your Kindergartner you are ready to move on to sentences. (Kindergarten)

    Kindergarten Sight Words Reading Books

    Once you start introducing your child to the sight words he is ready for his first emergent-reader book. (Kindergarten)

    Beginning Phonics for Emergent Readers

    Once your child knows most of the letters of the alphabet and their sounds he is ready to learn to "sound out" simple CVC words. This post shows you lots of hands on multi-sensory ways to practice early phonics. (Kindergarten, First Grade)

    Learn 37 Words and Know how to Read and Write Over 500 Words!

    Your child can learn more phonics "rules" by learning several words with common letter patterns. When your child learns to make analogies and manipulate onset and rime they can quickly read and write hundreds of new words. These are better known as word families. (Kindergarten, First Grade, Second Grade)
  • bluerooffarm
    July 15, 2013 at 8:49 AM

     I have 3 wiggle butts.  I just use those wiggles.  Count butt bounces on my exercise ball or a trampoline.  Skip count skips down the sidewalk.  When they are tired enough to sit, you can get a story and some discussion in before you need to get them tired again.

  • oredeb
    by oredeb
    July 15, 2013 at 10:02 AM

     hi puma, i found with my kids that being consistant in what we do each day helps us,

    setting a time for the learning/focus  time each day helped, cuz they know they gotta be listening and paying attention at that certain time for 15 min. or so. and prizes at the end hellps!!! but only if they do it. it might seem like at first it wont work, but being consistant each day and explaining to them what we are doing helped us


  • Pumamama
    July 29, 2013 at 2:13 AM

    Oh I've been off for a bit and just found these great responses. Thank you for these great ideas. Just hearing what is age appropriate helps me not feel overwhelmed.

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