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A question for parents of distractable boys?


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:glare: I sorta asked this question a little bit ago, but I really need some concrete ideas!!!! At least I think I do :001_huh: This really goes out to those homeschooling multiple grammar stage kids.

 

The moment I turn my focus from one child to a different child...my boys stop focusing. Truthfully, it's more one than the other, but it's getting really bad! I can't sit on him every moment of the day!!!! I realize I'm going to have "teach" him some skills, but I don't even know where to start...

 

Would he benefit from his own personal checklist? If I give them to the other kids they would LOVE IT, but then he would feel discouraged:glare: I need to find something for HIM.

 

HELP!!!!

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Have you read How to get your child off the refrigerator and onto learning by Carol Barnier? Her son ADHD but she wrote it with a focus on helping any child who struggles with focus. It's been awhile but I remember that she had very specific ideas/suggestions. I also heard her speak at a conference and she had some excellent, practical suggestions.

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Have you read How to get your child off the refrigerator and onto learning by Carol Barnier? Her son ADHD but she wrote it with a focus on helping any child who struggles with focus. It's been awhile but I remember that she had very specific ideas/suggestions. I also heard her speak at a conference and she had some excellent, practical suggestions.

 

 

I actually spoke with her at a conference a few months ago! How could I forget!!! Thanks!

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I'm not homeschooling several grammar stage kids. I do have a 11 yr old son, whose attention can, shall we say, wander.

 

He does more work in less time after physical exercise/work. Period. Exclamation point! He'll come in after work or play, drink water, and get down to work. I'm telling you: more gets done in 20 minutes than in 2 hours w/o the exercise.

 

That said, charts, incentives, motivation work, as long as you don't overuse them. (Heck, bribes work too! OK, so I don't consider a piece of gum after a long music practice session a bribe, but some might.)

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gum chewing during math

 

instead of a checklist, give him cards to move from one envelope (To do) to another (completed) (laminate or cover in clear contact paper), the movement helps

 

exercise ball as chair

 

timer, timer, timer Set a schedule and require "homework" time for what he doesn't finish. This teaches him you will not allow for distraction to "your time" or the time you spend on others. If his work doesn't get finished, he loses afternoon play time

 

short lessons

 

musical chairs....do a lesson in a different spot each time

 

block teach, i.e. spend a ton of time with one dc, then a ton with the other

 

rewards like "snack time when you finish your math" etc that he's gonna get anyways, but you use as enticement

 

time in his bed for quiet time b/c he's not focusing or interrupting.

 

I have a VERY wiggly 8yo, so I feel your pain :) for him, losing playtime in the afternoon is terrible, horrible, and no good -- very bad, so it's working for now!

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I have twin 7 yr olds...I feel your distraction pain. Movement works.

 

Not sure if you are familiar with the Cupid Shuffle dance but we play that stupid song after each subject and they wiggle, giggle and "dance" for 3 minutes then back to work. I guess the Hokey Pokey or anything would work. I also second the book suggestion.

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I have twin 7 yr olds...I feel your distraction pain. Movement works.

 

Not sure if you are familiar with the Cupid Shuffle dance but we play that stupid song after each subject and they wiggle, giggle and "dance" for 3 minutes then back to work. I guess the Hokey Pokey or anything would work. I also second the book suggestion.

 

My twins are blonde and have mohawks right now too! How funny!!!

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Well...I learned my lesson today. It was our first day for the new year. Last year we went to a modified/simplified workbox system for ds(now 12.) Mostly I just put everything in individual drawers. Today I thought since it was the first day of school I would just work with him all day, introduce the new stuff, etc. Oh my gosh. I am exhausted and it was a disappointing start. Of course, part of it is just getting back into routine, etc. but it was so bad that, in spite of the fact that I had planned to work with him step by step tomorrow again before going back to the workboxes for next week, I have filled his drawers tonight!

 

I think the biggest difference is that he likes to see what he has in front of him. He pulls out every drawer, works them (I don't care what order) and then he pushes them in as he finishes them. There is something about that simple procedure that keeps him on track and keeps me from having to tell him over and over to focus, finish his work, etc. He also woke up in a bad mood (end of summer disappointment) and I think because he didn't know how much was in front of him he was just overwhelmed and didn't handle it well.

 

You might try this. I knew it really helped us last year but until today I didn't realize how much! I told my husband that the only bad part is that when he gets to college he's going to have to drag along those drawers for his teachers to fill. :)

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Have you read How to get your child off the refrigerator and onto learning by Carol Barnier? Her son ADHD but she wrote it with a focus on helping any child who struggles with focus. It's been awhile but I remember that she had very specific ideas/suggestions. I also heard her speak at a conference and she had some excellent, practical suggestions.

 

One of the reviews on Amazon state that she is an unabashed Christian. Does that mean that the book relies heavily on bible verses and prayer or that she just mentions her faith as a tool once in awhile? I am a have faith in God but row toward shore type of person, so I am looking for more concrete solutions than just prayer.

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As for concrete solutions.....I found that my DS does better away from distractions when he has to do put the pencil to the paper type of work. It sounds drab but a clean desk against a plain wall work for him. Maps, posters, and visual clutter get him off track.

 

I also separate the boys when they are doing independent work so that they can't feed off each other and DS doesn't feel like he is being punished.

 

I think the most important change was in me though. It used to, and sometimes still can make me crazy when he is reading to me upside down, or fiddling with stuff while I am reading or explaining something. I believe it is rude.....but most of the time if I ask him to narrate it back, or an in depth question and he can do it no problem. Our learning styles are so different but it works for him and I have to adjust me not him. Easier said then done sometimes.

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Have you read How to get your child off the refrigerator and onto learning by Carol Barnier? Her son ADHD but she wrote it with a focus on helping any child who struggles with focus. It's been awhile but I remember that she had very specific ideas/suggestions. I also heard her speak at a conference and she had some excellent, practical suggestions.

 

 

I absolutely LOVE that book! I love all 3 of her books, in fact, and that was the first one I read.

 

She doesn't bang you over the head with Christianity. She does have a chapter where she talks about how she helped her ds not be so distracted in church, but her solutions to everything are concrete solutions. She has many ideas on how to reach our wiggly kiddos. And trust me, my middle child is very, very wiggly! He actually thrives on just pick-pick-picking at everyone around him.

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gum chewing during math

 

 

 

timer, timer, timer Set a schedule and require "homework" time for what he doesn't finish. This teaches him you will not allow for distraction to "your time" or the time you spend on others. If his work doesn't get finished, he loses afternoon play time

 

 

 

Yes, this! Indy HATES the timer but if I use it, he'll finish up before it goes off because if not it cuts into his play time which is very important to him (especially since his ps friends are still out of school).

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I have an son with ADD, and some things I've learned over the years that have helped with him are putting him in his own room to do his seatwork, having a rigid schedule every day and sticking to it, minimizing outside distractions (phones turned OFF during school, 'no solicitors' sign on the door, etc.), giving him cards for chores in the morning (MOTH system, basically), and giving him an assignment list every day.

 

Basically, I have to impose order from without, because he can't do it from within. He needs lists and schedules to function effectively, and maybe he always will. He needs to know how long his day is going to be and what it's going to consist of, or else his brain will spend half its time wondering when his next break is, how long something is going to take, etc. He needs to be ALONE for any sustained seatwork. His sister can't be anywhere near him, and he can't be in the kitchen, or in any room where I'm likely to be puttering around and working. He usually does his work in our schoolroom (which is in our "formal" living room area) and that keeps him far enough from household distractions while still being close enough for me to help him if he needs it.

 

And yes, even though he's now 12 and as tall as I am (!!) when we're doing read-alouds, or even during teaching time, I still let him wiggle, wallow on the ground, hang upside down off the couch, fiddle with small toys and gadgets... whatever. So long as his brain is engaged - and I've found that it usually is - I try to ignore whatever gymnastics his body is doing. I also encourage him to get some physical exercise during lunch break. Now that we're doing middle school, we really don't have time for exercise breaks after every subject, but when he was younger, I'd send him out to jump on the trampoline for ten minutes or so every hour, and that helped.

 

Good luck to you :)

 

SBP

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We have an actual routine to help my 9yo. He runs first thing in the morning. I make him eat a bite of protein and we do math. We have a squeezy ball he can fiddle with and he can chew gum. After math he jumps on the tramp or swings or whatever for 10 minutes. We do LA. He rides his bike for 10min. We do history. He can build legos, puzzles or draw. We have a snack and tackle science. Sometimes we do memory work or read history while he's on the tramp. It drove me crazy but he actually remembers better than when I tried to make him stand still. He does his "seat work" on a ball or standing. I also play music often and bite my tongue if he dances while he works.

Edited by joyofsix
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We have been using a timer this year, and it has been working wonders. I set it for very small increments of time. Instead of saying, "you have 20 minutes to finish your math," I say, "you have 3 minutes to this row of problems." Then, if dd finishes before the buzzer, she gets really excited. Having the timer going keeps her focused on her work. And using it for short times gives her a chance to stop and have my attention for a minute before she gets back to work. I hope to be able to work up to longer increments of time, but this is a start.

BTW, I didn't have a timer, but my computer is right behind me in the school room, so I use the online stopwatch here:

http://www.online-stopwatch.com/

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I have an exercise ball, but now I have another question. Our house has an extremely open floor plan. All of the main living areas flow into each other. So...he could go to his bedroom, but then he's pretty far from me :(

I do have a relatively large laundry room on the main floor that I could fit a small desk into...I just feel bad about it. What do you think?

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My twins are blonde and have mohawks right now too! How funny!!!

 

My oldest is my problem, and a she. ;)

 

Put it this way, when she first bought her Nintendo DS she was able to get all her work done by noon so she could play. Now that she has finished her game and lost interest she is back to literally doing hs all day long till 9:30 at night (in bed) at which time I allow her to have 30 mins DS time.

 

We take Fridays off, and she spends all morning doing hs, other than the 2 30 min. shows I allowed them to watch. She still isn't done for the week, and will be wrapping things up this afternoon. :001_huh:

 

With her I can't rider her either, because she is old enough to decide to just be difficult despite the fact that it hurts her more than me. I just will remind her a couple times that if she doesn't get moving her siblings will be playing without her.

 

BTW I also have her time how long it takes her to do each subject just to be sure that her work load isn't too much, and the math doesn't lie. She just wastes a lot of time. She can buckle down and do it, she just doesn't. I figure there will come a time in real life when she does because she has to. In the mean time I am not going to change her, so I just try to make it as livable as possible.

 

My ds loves the exercise ball, and almost lives on the thing. He just seems to be a kinsthetic learner, and doesn't have the focus problems...yet.

 

Heather

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One of the reviews on Amazon state that she is an unabashed Christian. Does that mean that the book relies heavily on bible verses and prayer or that she just mentions her faith as a tool once in awhile? I am a have faith in God but row toward shore type of person, so I am looking for more concrete solutions than just prayer.

 

I would feel comfortable recommending her to you...she was really down to earth and funny!!!! Like sarcastic...she reminded my of Kathy Griffin. I am very sensitive to anything that comes across as "controlling" or "dogmatic" Christiany type stuff, and she never gave me that impression. She also talks about how she was an Aethist for a long time, but again not in a "I'm so ashamed" kind a way.

 

Honestly, when I went to the conference she spoke at...she was one of the only speaker I could handle...and when she made fun of the homeschooler uniform, saying we just needed to go buy our denim jumpers now and get it over with...I snorted my coffee all over myself! :lol:

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I would feel comfortable recommending her to you...she was really down to earth and funny!!!! Like sarcastic...she reminded my of Kathy Griffin. I am very sensitive to anything that comes across as "controlling" or "dogmatic" Christiany type stuff, and she never gave me that impression. She also talks about how she was an Aethist for a long time, but again not in a "I'm so ashamed" kind a way.

 

Honestly, when I went to the conference she spoke at...she was one of the only speaker I could handle...and when she made fun of the homeschooler uniform, saying we just needed to go buy our denim jumpers now and get it over with...I snorted my coffee all over myself! :lol:

 

 

Thanks for letting me know. I just ordered her book. I saw her other title about the baby and the melon and it reminds me of Erma Bombeck one of my favorite humorists ever.

 

As for the laundry room, as long as that isn't the only place he does school I think it is fine. I think the tools work as long as they are used in a way that the kids understand it is to help them do better not because there is something wrong with them. I have older kids too and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. My son 26 was the most ADD impulsive child I have ever experienced or even heard about.

He jumped out of the second story window onto the trampoline to see what it felt like at age 11. He mashed my foot on the accelerator when he was 5 to see what would happen (no I didn't kill him) I had poison control on speed dial because if there was a plant that he didn't recognize, he ate it 2-6. He also was off the charts academically and bored out of his mind in public school. Yet his teachers loved him because he had a great personality and never did anything malicious and could make them laugh. We went the Ritalin route for a few years and it changed his life. By 10th grade he weaned himself off because he wanted a military career and they must be off Ritalin for 2 years before enlisting. Today he has self taught skills and tools that he uses and is quite successful. He has made as much rank as possible in his time served, was sailor of the quarter, is earning his BA, and has a wonderful girlfriend, and is an amazing son. But I won't lie.....when he was young I despaired that he would never live to see adulthood, and wondered if we would survive it. Now we can laugh.....and just like my Mother told me; someday he will have a child of his own. <Evil laugh>

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Some of these examples sound like my son (granted he is only 3.5) but he really was on top of the refrigerator today. He still cannot go to the grocery store without being *buckled* in a shopping cart.

 

Do these distractible/ ADHD/ high energy children who have experienced both public/private and homeschool do better homeschooled? I don't have experience yet so I'm curious. :confused: I wonder if the home environment, while allowing more kinesthetic freedom, also has more distraction?

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We have just started our school year. I am trying to use a list of daily tasks for my ds (6.5) to help him see what all has to be accomplished each day. I liked the idea of workboxes. But, I am so ADD myself that the thought of being that organized is just too much of a fairy tale. It couldn't have a happy ending around here. So, I made a basic list of tasks that I know are daily and left blank lines to add to it each night when I am looking to see what the next day holds. I hope that in a few weeks I will have a better idea of how things are going to flow. All of that being said, the lists are actually working for him (as best as one could expect). He and his sister have a thin folder and the first page is thier list for the day followed by any work that should be independent. The things that should need my help clearly say "with mom" beside them. So, they know that the faster they do the independent work in the am (after chores and while I am cleaning kitchen/starting laundry) the faster it will be time to play. He does take breaks after each subject that is "with mom" to help get the wiggles out. I read somewhere that someone had made "need help" cards but controlled the number of cards that they had. So, when the cards were used up the child couldn't ask for mom all day long. That gave the child a sense that they could ask for help but they better not just ask for the sake of getting attention. Hope some of these ideas help. Goodness knows I need all the advice I can get here!!

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Well, I brought in the exercise ball, and that did wonders!!! Next, I let all the kids take a walk around the neihborhood block after each subject completed, which helped a bit as well. I haven't set up the desk in the laundry room yet, but I think I will use it as a quite place on the really rough days :( I am going to draw up a checklist too, and see if that helps as well.

 

Here's hopeing for a better week!

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Can I make a weird suggestion? My son has Auditory Processing Delay and can't stay focused on a lot of things I'd like him to focus on. We had him tested for food sensitivities and the homeopathic doctor we went to said that kids with Auditory Processing Delay, as well as ADD & ADHD, generally have sensitivities to Red & Yellow Dyes in food (Yellow #5, Red #40 - I think. I can't remember but they are the dyes listed at the end of the ingredient list) They also are sensitive to milk. The doctor showed me a homework assignment of a 8 yo boy that had severe ADD. It was a mess and it took the child 3 hours to complete. For one month his mom kept milk and dyes out of his diet. The homework assignment he did after that month was neat and tidy and took 10 minutes for the child to do. I'm afraid I can't speak from personal experience yet. I am starting a diet change in my own sons life. I hope it helps him. He is a very intelligent little boy and I see so much potential in him. Anyway, I'm kind of rambling, but I wonder if there are things in our kids' food that affect them in ways we don't realize. I would never have thought of this option, except my sister-in-laws' kids are going through some similar things. I hope you find some solutions too.

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exercise ball as chair

 

 

Well, I brought in the exercise ball, and that did wonders!!!

The exercise ball quickly became a projectile in our house. :banghead:

 

My favorite boy author, Michael Gurian, says "boys are hard-wired to put an inanimate object through space". I see it over and over and over again here.

 

Be forewarned.

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I let my boys do a certain amount of work on the floor. I even do some stuff when they are playing with legos. They only sit at a table/desk when they need to write.

 

You might ask... how do you know they are listening? Well, I ask them questions , we discuss different things, and I have noticed that they seem to pay more attention than usual. Be forewarned... I have done this for a few years and they are used to it, I don't know if it would work right off the bat. My husband does a reading lesson after breakfast and a bike ride.. then I do our family reading while they do legos and that is the way we get into our "school day". I usually also do it when we are doing a reading heavy (ME reading) subject/assignment. It really keeps that wandering part of their brain occupied so that the other part listens.

 

I doubt this would work for everyone.

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The exercise ball quickly became a projectile in our house. :banghead:

 

My favorite boy author, Michael Gurian, says "boys are hard-wired to put an inanimate object through space". I see it over and over and over again here.

 

Be forewarned.

 

Yes, they have tried this!!! It is now stored under the table, under penalty of DEATH should they get it out without permission!!!! We shall see :glare:

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