I am new to home schooling - at least officially:-) I have 6.5 year old twin girls in the 1st grade. We just pulled out of school in early December.
I am really struggling finding what motivates them to get their work done. It is taking absolutely forever. We spend an hour on something that should take 20 minutes - and that's with constant attention and prompting.
When they aren't in "school", they are playing with each other, playing with their animals, reading, reading some more, and then reading again. They don't play video games and tv comes and goes. There are days they don't watch any at all - sometimes for days in a row. Then there are some days they will watch a couple of "kid's shows". We do sometimes watch things together during lunch (like an animal show) and sometimes I pick shows deliberately (like History's What the Ancient's Knew). But, bottom line, they aren't trying to get out of work so they can stare at the tv or play video games. They just want to play - indoors or out if it's nice - and read and read and read.
So, how do you find their school currency? About the only thing we can take away that seems to seriously motivate them is taking away reading at bedtime which I really don't like to do.
What kind of incentives or positive rewards or whatever do you use to get your kids going? I need all the help I can get!
ps - We are pretty sure Natalie has ADD if that informs your comments at all.
Capitalize on their love of reading. Create book boxes from the library that are based around your current science and/or your social studies subjects.
They also sound like they would learn more through play and active work right now.
Work on tracing pictures, playdoh, stringing beads, cutting paper and simple origami projects to develop their fine motor control and reinforce your handwriting practice.
Have them doodle while you read aloud to them and give them a chance to share what they remember.
Break up subjects with active games, freeze dance celebrations, etc.
Basically... get thrilled and excited and let them catch the excitement.
Create a twister type board out of felt or something and have them play twister to learn to spell their sight words.
Cut out the center of clean flyswatters so they make a frame and ask questions with answers hanging on the wall and have them race to slap the answers or letters or words or math problems with the flyswatters.
Play with madlibs... have them finish stories orally and illustrate their ending. If they are writing, have them write it down.
Put on short plays, skits, puppet shows based on events you are learning about.
I would try to find a curriuclum that fits their style. If they are heavily into reading, search for a curriculum that is very book-heavy (Sonlight, Heart of Dakota, Moving Beyond the Page, etc.) and see if any of them 'feel' like a good fit for them.
Sometimes what you initially thought would be best for them isn't what they actually thrive on. I never thought I would be a workbook-type homeschooling mom. I thought I would be a unit-studies and hands-on kind of mom but my 5 year old led me to what works best for her and she is totally thriving on it (Christian Light). It is not something I would have looked for on my own. She is a very kinesthetic learner with a very high activity level and she does have ADHD. I thought she would need something more active and involved to hold her attention. In reality, she needed the exaxt opposite. :-) It was really following her that led me to it.
I agree with the others. It doesn't sound like you need to set up a punnishment system, that's usually only if they kids want to do brainless things. Honestly, I'd analyze how long you are spending on those things that take a long time. At that age you don't need to be doing more than an hour. Then let them read their little heart out! What a great problem to have! I'd say back off and let them do their thing. It's so hard as many of us start HS with a visual of school that greatly resembles ps in the structure of the day, but HS can come in a million variety of ways.
My 5 1/2 yo needs to have something in her hands that she can fidget with....or she can't seem to focus. It can take us ALL day to get through her work because she gets so distracted and needs breaks. She will even ask for a break when she knows that she needs to burn off energy.