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How to get 6 yr olds into their lessons??


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I understand the idea of "keep it short and sweet." And I'm trying to do that. I'm keeping lessons to about 10 mins. each of math, writing etc.

 

They're twins -- so it's 2 against one. They fight me (one especially) on getting started with whatever. "We haven't had enough time to play!!" Oh, please. They do Legos for a good hour before we start.

 

And when I say I keep it short and sweet -- I do! Ten mins. on writing and back to play. Much later, 10 mins. on math and then back to play.

 

One morning we take a Spanish class. Twice they do a morning karate. There's a temporary afternoon pottery class once a week. I'm not overwhelming them.

 

Any advice? One son is pretty good about sitting down and getting started, but he's way more academic. The other son is the louder and more verbal of the two.

 

Any advice would be soooo appreciated.

 

Alley

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I would have them work first and then play later. So right after breakfast, get out your school work. Show them a little schedule of what you are going to do (not with times) so that they can see the order in which you are doing things. Let them cross things off when they are done. Some people like to let them choose what to do first but with my kids that caused more problems than it helped. When they are all done, they will have a big long playtime with no interruptions!

 

If you added all the ten minutes together how much time would you get? After 20 min. of work, I would have them do five jumping jacks or five stretches just for a break and to get some wiggles out. Then it's back to work.

 

Even my 12 year old has a hard time switching from academics to play and then back again.

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I agree with Jean. Work first, play later. And a checklist has worked wonders for my 6 y.o. He likes seeing what's next and knowing that he won't be doing school f----o----r----e----v----e----r.

 

My boys now get some morning play time so that I can get a shower, but if they fuss about starting at our start time, they know they will not get the play time the next morning.

 

I start with a fun or snuggle activity to transition into more academic learning time. Stories on the couch, a drawing activity, a math game...then move on to reading/writing/'rithmetic. I try to incorporate some play-like learning into school time so that it's still fun.

 

I'd also suggest that maybe play--work--play--work might be difficult. Transitioning from free time to concentration is a challenge for many active kiddos. Maybe a sequence like read stories on the couch--academics--hands-on activity----wiggle (I too ask my kids to do jumping jacks)--academics--play.

 

Cat

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I also notice that if I let morning play time go on too long it's harder to get started. We start with reading on the couch then go to the table work. I think that helps the transition. We do short lessons too but I try to mix up the lessons rather than have it be constant breaks that interrupt things. So, we will do a lesson that is sitting at the table writing followed by one that is more verbal or interactive (using math manipulatives or doing a poem recitation where he can jump around while doing it) followed by one that he has to sit and write, etc. I give him short breaks to run up and down the stairs or something if he needs it.

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I have a slightly different perspective.

 

Instead of changing how you do things, I would encourage you to change your expectations a bit.

 

If, ultimately, they get an adequate amount of work done, accept that (one of them especially) has a limited capacity for formal academics at this very young age.

 

While some kids *can* indeed sit down and focus sooner and longer at age 6, many others can not. You can spend months trying to find the right combination of techniques to change that OR you can wait those months and they will slowly mature into a greater capacity for focused, formal work.

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I think a lot of it might just be age, gender, and personality. My dd loved doing anything that involved writing, drawing, coloring, doing projects, reading stories, etc. She taught herself to write at age 3, so at age 6 she asked me to teach her cursive. She learned to read at age 4, so at age 6 she was reading Charlotte's Web and other similar children's novels for fun. It was never an issue to get her to do her schoolwork.

 

Ds6 is much more science and nature-oriented. He thrives on being in the outdoors, exploring, observing animals and plants, interacting with the environment, etc. He loves to be active outside, or to be working on something with his hands (like making his own fishing pole, knapping flint, making useful tools out of chicken bones, etc.) He recently made an awesome shelter outside against a tree with sticks, plant stalks and leaves. He has a long attention span for learning about scienctific topics (weather, animals, insects, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeology, etc.) through books or documentaries. *But* he really has no interest in learning to read or write. He likes math, but he simply endures phonics and handwriting.

 

I have found that for now I have to be happy with the short lessons, seeing progress everyday, and trying to incorporate some activity in phonics lessons. Interestingly, I find that he is often much more cooperative and productive if I let him play outside for awhile first. So, most days he gets to play for a long stretch while his sister works with me, and then I do his work with him.

Edited by gandpsmommy
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is a fidgety age ... I posted elsewhere that I make sure my six year old is well fed, has an empty bladder, has a glass of water, does 50 jumping jacks before and between subjects, and if he is still unfocused works standing at a counter. These help but he is still a wiggly worm!

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I don't have twins so maybe this is really bad advice, but even if my 6 & 9 year-old boys were learning the exact same things I would have a difficult time teaching them at the together. My six-year-old sits down with me for an hour or so, then it's his brother's turn. When they are both at the table at the same time they are fidgety, have difficulty concentrating, and bother each other and me. Maybe you could try to teach them together for some things (like history or science), but have them sit with you separately for the more teacher-intensive things like math and reading. It would probably mean more time for you, but it may be easier in the long run. Just a thought . . .

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Another vote for cutting play out until after the work is done. I would tell them something like "Okay, guys, from 8:00-9:00 we'll be doing school work. But this means that if you work hard, you'll have the rest of the day after Karate/Spanish to play."

 

My guys play for a bit before school, but not during school hours (the 5 & 4 year old excepted). If they play, they see school as an interruption to their fun. The days and their attitudes are so much better when they know I expect them to complete their work before they get to do what they'd like. They also know I work at leaving them free time so they can play and do what they'd like.

 

It doesn't sound like you are requiring too much of them, and I think you can expect a 6 year old to not fight you and have a good attitude for school for an hour.

Edited by JudoMom
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I have a 6 year old son who is fidgety. I would recommend the work first, play later as well. I will let him watch a little tv if he is done with breakfast before we are all ready to start, but he knows when it's time to start school, he has to come and do it. I use workboxes. I think the visual of putting the cards on the grid helps because he can see how much more he has to do. He is very motivated to fill up his grid because he knows he can play once it is full.

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If it's hard to get them ready to sit and do a lesson, I would lump all of the lessons into a single block rather than spread them out throughout the day with lots of playtime in between. Then you only have to get them to the table and ready to focus one time per day rather than multiple times.

 

If they are wiggly and need to move and can't sit at the table/designated area for 30-45 minutes straight, let them get up and jump, exercise, have a snack or drink etc. but make sure they stay with you and don't start playing again. Then they can sit back down and finish their lessons.

 

I like the idea of short lessons but the way your schedule is set up it might be making them feel as if you are interrupting their playtime to make them do school, rather than have designated times for school and play.

 

Hope you find a solution that works! :001_smile:

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I have 5 & 6 year old boys. My 6 year old likes structure, he likes to know what is coming next, and next, and next. A Beka is very structured, and I just make sure our day is very structured and very much the same day in and day out, so he knows what's coming. That seems to help him a lot. I wouldn't take too many breaks if I were you. We take one break for about 45 minutes and then finish our lessons. That tends to keep things from dragging on and on and then they know they're done and the rest of the day is theirs. My boys are addicted to play, too. Duh, they're little boys. And I think play is good, so I"m not too strict with them regarding length of lessons.

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