Homeschooling Moms

Featured Posts
Jilectan
How to deal with a child who won't concentrate?
January 28 at 7:09 PM

I have a very sensitive child, 7, who can concentrate and work on her assignments, some days. Then, other days, she's very flighty and won't work on anything for more than a few seconds before messing around and wandering off, sometimes literally.

How would you handle this? Because I'm getting very frustrated with her. I was having her work on her writing (our school day is very simple, math, writing and reading, in that order) and she would start the assignment, then just turn it into a doodle. She also only got through half of her math (two pages of Math Mammoth first grade) before she started working on some art project she came up with, which she spent the last hour working on. I sent her outside to play and told her that she wasn't going to be playing any computer games (my kids are really in to Minecraft, that's all she plays) until she'd finished her school work. So, then she was wandering around outside crying because she wasn't going to be allowed to work on her ponies on minecraft today.

Replies

  • ElaineJenkins
    January 28 at 7:24 PM

    Try breaking her activities into shorter chunks of time.  Younger children have a very short attention span, especially when learning something new.  When she starts to doodle/art tell her that she can work on it after she completes x # of math problems.  Then use the doodle/art project as a springboard for her writing.  By incorporating what she likes to do with what she needs to do wil help her to stay on task.

  • ablackdolphin
    January 28 at 9:42 PM

    My DD4 is like this.  Sometimes I have to get her input on what she wants to do.  It seems that when I give her choices she's better. 

    Also, ever consider looking at her diet? Gluten, sugar, dyes, etc can sometimes do that to kids.  I just mention it because you said it's not always consistent.  Might be worth watching what she's eating or keeping a food diary to see if that is affecting her.

  • usmom3
    by usmom3
    BJ
    January 28 at 10:16 PM

     I would use her love of Minecraft as a tool to help keep her interested. Have her do her writing about her minecrafting. Make her math & reading about it!  I know there are lots of homeschoolers that count Minecraftas part of their schooling because it has educational properties to it.

  • maggiemom2000
    January 28 at 10:18 PM

    I set up workboxes for my kids and they have to finish their work before they can have free computer time. I found it really helped. I no longer needed to "nag" them to do things.

    http://tadpolestrailsandtrees.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-workboxes-work-in-our-house.html

    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
    Workboxables

    More on using workboxes with a child with ADHD/Aspergers, or similar challenges:
    Get Creative!
    Fun Workboxes
    Workboxes and Power Struggles
  • maggiemom2000
    January 28 at 10:18 PM

    Have you looked into/considered trying some Minecraft Homeschool? http://minecrafthomeschool.com

  • Mandallyn
    January 28 at 11:05 PM
    My oldest is VERY wilful and has trouble concentrating on one task at a time. I'm definitely going to give this try! I'm sure he'll complete his work in order to gain game time.

    Quoting maggiemom2000:

    I set up workboxes for my kids and they have to finish their work before they can have free computer time. I found it really helped. I no longer needed to "nag" them to do things.

    http://tadpolestrailsandtrees.blogspot.com/2010/09/how-workboxes-work-in-our-house.html

    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
    Workboxables

    More on using workboxes with a child with ADHD/Aspergers, or similar challenges:
    Get Creative!
    Fun Workboxes
    Workboxes and Power Struggles
  • Boobah
    by Boobah
    January 29 at 7:58 AM
    I would break it up a little, probably. Like do math, have a snack break, reading, then sit back down and do writing. Or do two in the morning and one in the afternoon. 7 is still very young
  • SamMom912
    January 29 at 8:12 AM

    I have a sensory kid, and although Im not homeschooling yet (am still on the fence about tryingnit for 3rd grade) i know alot about kids who have difficuly sitting still and persisting through hard tasks.. And lets face it... Anything that they find the least bit challenging that doesnt interest them, isnt getting a lot of attention... Lol.. (I was the SAME way.. And still am when it comes to directions, or books that read like instruction manuals. ) 

    What I think you may want to make sure is that your Little one has good sensory input before she gets going. Some kids with sensory issues and inner disregulation or attention problems becaus etheir internal enginer isnt running at a good speed. Its running too fast so they bounce around and crash into things to calm down... Or if its running too low, they sometimes wander endlessly or just cant concentrate (and will take on silly behaviors, like pretending to fall out of a chair, or that their hands wont work or little avoidance tactics since they know the attention isnt there cause their engine is "low". 

    The book raising a sensory smart child by beil and their website www.sensorysmart.com (or org, not sure) has some great tips on getting kids with attnetional issues better "running engines" by exercises or short sensory activities to do before times when attention will be required. 

  • coala
    by coala
    January 29 at 10:19 AM

    I know I may have an off the wall suggestion, but she may have undiagnosed food allergies.  My youngest was like that.  They did new blood work over the summer and discovered food allergies we had NO idea she had.  We pulled a specific food from her diet and if we keep it out....she is a very cooperative child.  I grew up with a child like the one you are describing....he also had this same food allergy and again once eliminated he became a super cooperative child.  Those are just my thoughts. 

    Otherwise, try asking her which papers she wants to do first and getting some input from her in the way she wants her day to go.  Remind her that all schoolwork must be complete in order to play minecraft.

  • KickButtMama
    January 29 at 10:33 AM

    Honestly, some of it is the age. Both my boys went through a period where they did the same.

Homeschooling Moms

Active Posts in All Groups
More Active Posts
Featured Posts in All Groups
More Featured Posts