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Am I expecting too much of my 8 year old? Or am I doing the right thing?


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Thanks. He can stay on track, that's not the issue I don't think. It's more that he, in some way, likes it when I nag him, so that the responsibility is on me. I'd be more than happy to guide him in what needs to get done, but it ends with me nagging. Which I abhor. Hence the "outline".

 

We'll see, right?

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My just turned 9 year old has a weekly schedule of work that she works off of. But I look at it at noon and then afternoon to make sure she's on track. She would not do well being checked at the end of the week. She would get further and further behind until it was overwhelming to her and she did not know how to fix it.

 

Oh gosh no. I check in with him throughout the day, ask him "how's it going?" and then we go over what he's achieved each day when he says he's "done". I wouldn't just check in with him on Fridays LOL. That would be a recipe for disaster.

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Honestly, yes, I think you are expecting too much of an 8 year old. That sounds like something I MIGHT consider doing with a kid in middle school/Jr. High/high school. But not with an 8 year old.

 

Interesting! thanks Nance. Keep in mind, this is a kid who basically has done his own work for over a year, with little guidance and instruction from me. That said, he seems to like the 'nagging' to keep him on track--it's almost as though he doesn't want to be responsible for his schoolwork--he'd rather me nag him, which is what it often comes down to. How would you suggest I give him more hand-holding without resorting to nagging? Thanks :)

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My 8 year old could not handle this. I do the same thing in terms of a list - but it's daily, not weekly. All of my kids get a list of school to do at breakfast and they are somewhat free to take breaks as needed or play outside when they need to burn energy, but I keep the unit of time we are working with to a day at this point. My goal is to go weekly by the logic years.

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Oh gosh no. I check in with him throughout the day, ask him "how's it going?" and then we go over what he's achieved each day when he says he's "done". I wouldn't just check in with him on Fridays LOL. That would be a recipe for disaster.

 

Good! Then I guess I misread your blog post. I thought it said that you would only check it on Fridays.

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Interesting! thanks Nance. Keep in mind, this is a kid who basically has done his own work for over a year, with little guidance and instruction from me. That said, he seems to like the 'nagging' to keep him on track--it's almost as though he doesn't want to be responsible for his schoolwork--he'd rather me nag him, which is what it often comes down to. How would you suggest I give him more hand-holding without resorting to nagging? Thanks

 

I'm confused.

 

If he is finishing his work with little guidance and instruction from you where is the nagging coming in to place?

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LOL

 

I just have one question. Does he regularly read for 45 minutes daily? My son reads a lot, but I don't think he reads for 45 minute blocks of time. He probably does in bed where he is allowed to read anything he wants, but during the day I'm more likely to assign pages or chapters. I think if I said read for 45 minutes he would stare off into space for half of that. If I say read 2 chapters then he focuses on that and gets it done.

 

Glad I clarified that!

 

Re the reading-yes, he reads for 45 minutes a day-his assigned reading. He's alternating between The Black Stallion and Boys Rock by Naylor. Keep in mind, Boys Rock is "lighter" fare than he usually reads, but The Black Stallion is pretty heavy for him and he needed something a little lighter to break it up. Wednesday he actually read for about 90 minutes, but again, I think it's the lighter fare that's encouraging that. I think 45 min is the max he could read in The Black Stallion.

 

ETA: what's weird is that the Lexile Level for Boys Rock is 800, but for Black Stallion is 680. I never can figure those Lexiles out. Black Stallion seems "harder" to me.

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I'm confused.

 

If he is finishing his work with little guidance and instruction from you where is the nagging coming in to place?

 

Me:"it's time to move onto Math".

Him: "AWWWWW, really? Math? Okay. Wait, how much math? How many pages? Oh wait, we're doing IP today? Mom., that's HARDER than the Workbook......"

Me: "Please stop moaning, L. Just sit down and get to work."

Him: "okayy...let me just finish this Snap Circuit."

Me: "I mean, now."

Him: "o-KAY! Sheesh!!! You don't need to NAG!" :tongue_smilie:

 

Then he sits down and does the work without a problem, rarely getting up from his seat or getting distracted until the work is done.

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Given that my 7 yo. tends to give me less attitude about the chores and "homework" I assign for her to do in the mornings while I'm at work than she does about doing the lessons we do together (or any chore I ask her to do when I'm here with her), I can see how this would work much more peacably than nagging. I don't like nagging, either.

 

My 2nd grader will agreeably do copy work, a handwriting worksheet, some math problems (though admittedly sometimes she rushes through them), and 2-3 chores I put on a "to do" list for her each day. She also likes being the one to check things off in my lesson planner. I can see by middle of next year her going along with a list like you've given your son.

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Mine have been following a printed checklist for 3 years now and are lost without it. Even if all I do is jot down do a math page and read something, they want the list. They also like the freedom to work ahead if they have something that they want to do on Friday, like play video games or have a playdate. Ds14 has experimented with doing history all on one day, science all on another, and then English on yet another day. Now he has gone back to doing a bit of each each day.

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I think it depends on the child. My 8 year old could probably do that, but he is naturally responsible as seen in doing his chores, etc. Schooling at our house is more like cooperative learning so giving him a list isn't really a workable option for us right now.

 

I think giving a list is a reasonable thing to expect of most 5th-6th graders though.

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Mine have been following a printed checklist for 3 years now and are lost without it. Even if all I do is jot down do a math page and read something, they want the list. They also like the freedom to work ahead if they have something that they want to do on Friday, like play video games or have a playdate. Ds14 has experimented with doing history all on one day, science all on another, and then English on yet another day. Now he has gone back to doing a bit of each each day.

 

Thanks for responding. I feel like I read somewhere that some kids respond better to written requests (ie. chore lists, etc) than being TOLD what to do verbally. Can't remember where I read this.

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I wish my son was as motivated as that! It is frightening when we realize that ultimately, no one can force us to learn, that in the end we are responsible for our own education. Some of us learn that later rather than sooner, and I think understanding that fact early helps a person a lot in life. I stood around far too long waiting for people to tell me what I needed to learn.

 

My DH recently had to hire assistants to help him with his work load. What he found was that the job pool was full of "educated" people who have absolutely no drive. If no one tells them what to do, they stare in confusion and wait for someone to prod them. Being self-motivated is greatly in your ds's favor, in work and in life. While 8 is young, if *you* think he is ready to start, than good for you and for him. Moms know their kids. You are giving him instruction, direction and support, so I say keep at it. But absolutely don't wait til Friday to check the work...:D.

 

It may be that the lack of nagging could be perceived by a young child as lack of caring however, so I would do everything i could to reassure Ds that I still cared about him and his work. Keep him close, assure him that you love him, even if you aren't nagging and forge ahead. IMHO:tongue_smilie:

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Oh gosh no. I check in with him throughout the day, ask him "how's it going?" and then we go over what he's achieved each day when he says he's "done". I wouldn't just check in with him on Fridays LOL. That would be a recipe for disaster.

 

Okay.. I'm still a little confused by how this is working, too. What you are saying is that he gets his work done with minimal instruction/guidance, but he tends to complain when you tell him what he needs to do next. So you figured instead of you telling him, and him complaining, you'd just give him a list, right?

 

Okay..

 

I, too, thought that you were just checking in with him at the end of the week initially. But now I see you're saying that you do check in with him throughout the day and go over with him what he achieved each day.

 

So how does having to finish on a weekend come into play, then? It would seem if you're still checking in daily and going over what he's accomplished and available to help as needed, that's not as much of an issue as "here, it's your responsibility to complete this by Friday." You're still being involved daily. That's good.

 

Where I think you're still expecting too much of an eight year old though is in the way you are processing his mindset. You think he likes when you nag because he wants schoolwork to be your responsibility, not his. But I think it's just kind of normal for an eight year old to want company and guidance and knowing that someone is still "in charge" and that he's accountable and has some hand-holding as needed and so on. I still just think that telling an eight year old "you have to learn to be responsible, I'm not going to be on top of you, you just have to get it done and if you don't, you're working over the weekend" and so on... I can see that getting kind of lonely and overwhelming for a kid that young.

 

Nagging just kind of comes with the territory lol.

 

If he was comfortable with this experiment, I'd say cool, go for it then. But he's not. So I'd find another way. Maybe even some sort of small compromise system where you tell him if he doesn't complain about what has to be done, you'll let him pick the order in which he does things or give him some extra free time or something or other that might motivate him. But I wouldn't give him the impression that I was leaving him to sink or swim on his own because school is his responsibility at eight.

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It may be that the lack of nagging could be perceived by a young child as lack of caring however, so I would do everything i could to reassure Ds that I still cared about him and his work. Keep him close, assure him that you love him, even if you aren't nagging and forge ahead. IMHO:tongue_smilie:

 

:iagree:Maybe its just an attention thing. He wants you around. Even my 6th grader is still like that...just wants you next to them sometimes:)

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At 8yrs my dd was doing much of her work independently, so I don't see a problem with that. And I did give her a sheet to work through each day. I am not sure that at 8yrs she would deal with a week's worth of work in front of her - I think she would have found it overwhelming and demotivating. I'd be more likely to attach the "not nagging" to a single day's work, with the penalties applying on a day-to-day basis, e.g. if the work isn't finished, no playing, TV, electronic media, something like that.

 

Nikki

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So how does having to finish on a weekend come into play, then? It would seem if you're still checking in daily and going over what he's accomplished and available to help as needed, that's not as much of an issue as "here, it's your responsibility to complete this by Friday." You're still being involved daily. That's good.

 

Re the weekend-basically, if I say to him "hmm, it looks like you haven't gotten to writing yet. Why don't we sit down and do that?" and he says "I don't want to.", then I say "well, okay then. That's your decision. And remember, you can do it now, or you can do it later. Again, that's your choice." And then he might say (hypothetically) "I am not going to do it now. I am going to do it this weekend." then that will be the end of it. I won't nag him to "get it done". I explained the options, I told him what MY choice would be (that is, to not procrastinate) but I left the final decision up to him. In that scenario, he'd be doing work on the weekend.

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At 8yrs my dd was doing much of her work independently, so I don't see a problem with that. And I did give her a sheet to work through each day. I am not sure that at 8yrs she would deal with a week's worth of work in front of her - I think she would have found it overwhelming and demotivating. I'd be more likely to attach the "not nagging" to a single day's work, with the penalties applying on a day-to-day basis, e.g. if the work isn't finished, no playing, TV, electronic media, something like that.

 

Nikki

 

Well, but aren't those "consequences" just another form of nagging? Don't think I haven't resorted to doing exactly this, because I have. But I don't actually think it's effective. I think he needs my guidance about what DH and I believe to be the best way to approach his work (and we apply this in our day-to-day life too) and then he needs to BEGIN to make choices about how to use his time. I didn't mean to imply I am leaving him floundering, all alone, without my support all week. I am there for him, I assist him and guide him when he needs it. But I think he is ready to step up and take responsibility, at least some responsibility, for his work. I do know this wouldn't work for some kids; he has a friend, same age, who in no way would be ready or able to do this AT ALL. And just because he's resisting a little doesn't, to me, necessarily mean I am doing to wrong thing (I think in some ways he wants to do it this way, but he's afraid because he's so used to being TOLD what to do--I remember when I left college, I was so utterly lost because I no longer had a teacher or a parent to tell me what to do with my day. And I remember thinking "if only someone had let me find my way earlier, let me fail, I wouldn't have such a big problem now.")

 

Change is hard. It's hard to take responsibility for yourself, your work. And yes, he's young, so it's a gradual thing. We talk a lot about how his life is in HIS hands: his father and I are merely his guides along the way. In no way do I ever want to feel like I am "forcing" him to do his work, and it had begun to tilt that way...what with the nagging and all.

 

I don't necessarily think nagging needs to come with the territory, Nance. Maybe I'm wrong, though. It's been known to happen a couple of times ;)

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I'm interested to hear how this goes. I have an 8 year old that I nag all day to get through his work. And, I would say it is the same thing. I know he likes it. He is very bright and very spacey. I think he could handle your approach! I think he needs it. He hates being told what to do and wants his own control. I would be a little worried about the weekend thing though. I think I would use the Wii as a reward of accomplishment each day. Keep us posted for the next couple of weeks.

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I wish my son was as motivated as that! It is frightening when we realize that ultimately, no one can force us to learn, that in the end we are responsible for our own education. Some of us learn that later rather than sooner, and I think understanding that fact early helps a person a lot in life. I stood around far too long waiting for people to tell me what I needed to learn.

 

My DH recently had to hire assistants to help him with his work load. What he found was that the job pool was full of "educated" people who have absolutely no drive. If no one tells them what to do, they stare in confusion and wait for someone to prod them. Being self-motivated is greatly in your ds's favor, in work and in life. While 8 is young, if *you* think he is ready to start, than good for you and for him. Moms know their kids. You are giving him instruction, direction and support, so I say keep at it. But absolutely don't wait til Friday to check the work...:D.

 

It may be that the lack of nagging could be perceived by a young child as lack of caring however, so I would do everything i could to reassure Ds that I still cared about him and his work. Keep him close, assure him that you love him, even if you aren't nagging and forge ahead. IMHO:tongue_smilie:

 

Yes, we've seen that too. My DH has an assistant who comes in on occasion to help in his office, and if you don't tel him exactly what to do every moment, he can't do anything. And I think it will help my son to learn about himself at a younger age--what he loves, what he wants to "let slide" a little, what he has a passion for.

 

And you're absolutely right about the "lack of caring" part. I absolutely want him to know that we care, we're there for him in every way and that we want (and expect!) him to do well.

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Interesting! thanks Nance. Keep in mind, this is a kid who basically has done his own work for over a year, with little guidance and instruction from me. That said, he seems to like the 'nagging' to keep him on track--it's almost as though he doesn't want to be responsible for his schoolwork--he'd rather me nag him, which is what it often comes down to. How would you suggest I give him more hand-holding without resorting to nagging? Thanks :)

 

I've only read to this post, but it made me wonder if he is "asking" for more interaction with you via his actions (because no kid truly likes nagging). The nagging might be filling an interaction need and he doesn't realize it. Just a random thought.

 

You are much more rigorous than I, not that there is anything wrong with that.;) My eight year old is a very organized child who loves schedules. If I explained this well and it was not an increase in the workload, he would probably do fine with it. He is a highly unusual 8 year, though, and it sounds like you have one of those. My 8 year old is akin to an adult in many ways. He's a ton of fun for me because of it.:001_smile:

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I've only read to this post, but it made me wonder if he is "asking" for more interaction with you via his actions (because no kid truly likes nagging). The nagging might be filling an interaction need and he doesn't realize it. Just a random thought.

 

 

Thank you. I think you might be right--I am going to continue to work on demonstrating my love and caring for him so he knows and "feels" that we really do care. And yes, he loves interaction-snuggling on the bed reading SOTW is one of his favorite times of the day. He's a funny bird: I think most 8 yo's are.

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As long as you're still available and hands-on with all of the lessons where he needs your help (not putting him off or clearly distracted when he needs you), I think that's totally fine and reasonable. Maybe he needs some transitional time where you help him talk through his assignment sheet when you first give it to him, then once or twice a day through the week for a few weeks as he adjusts. You just say, "Hey, Sweetie, here's your new assignment sheet. Let's take a look, okay? So what do you see? Yeah? What about history? So what's going to be your plan for today?" and periodically, "How's it going? Do you want to show me what you've checked off so far? Okay, looks like you're making good progress. Do you want to do memory with me next or what?"

 

Yes, he gets to be responsible. No, you don't nag. But you make sure you check in with him regularly so he doesn't feel like he's been abandoned. (Which I *know* you haven't done -- but that might be the way he perceives it at first.)

 

You might also let him know that not only will he be "stuck" with work on the weekend if he doesn't finish during the week, but he'll also be "free" when he finishes. So if he gets ahead and finishes on Thursday, he'll have Friday free. Or there may be some fun activities through the week that are possibilities if he's all caught up. Maybe next week it's, "Hey, if you're completely caught up and done with your work through Wednesday on Wednesday at 1pm, we could go to that new exhibit at the Natural History Museum." Don't hang it over him, but let him know that's the deal -- if he's gotten everything done, there'll be time for something extra.

 

My kids are in 3rd and 7th grade. They both have weekly assignment sheets and are largely (though not solely) responsible for getting through their work. I say, "Hey, it's time for us to get started" each morning, but the order of assignments is largely up to them. Some assignments are listed by day, some by week (so dd might be required to read two books this week, but I don't tell her how to break them up over days -- but I'll list WWE and math assignments on the individual days)... And when there's a matinee of a play we'd like to go see, or when we can go ice skating, that's motivating to finish more quickly.

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Where I think you're still expecting too much of an eight year old though is in the way you are processing his mindset. You think he likes when you nag because he wants schoolwork to be your responsibility, not his. But I think it's just kind of normal for an eight year old to want company and guidance and knowing that someone is still "in charge" and that he's accountable and has some hand-holding as needed and so on. I still just think that telling an eight year old "you have to learn to be responsible, I'm not going to be on top of you, you just have to get it done and if you don't, you're working over the weekend" and so on... I can see that getting kind of lonely and overwhelming for a kid that young.

 

Nagging just kind of comes with the territory lol.

 

If he was comfortable with this experiment, I'd say cool, go for it then. But he's not. So I'd find another way. Maybe even some sort of small compromise system where you tell him if he doesn't complain about what has to be done, you'll let him pick the order in which he does things or give him some extra free time or something or other that might motivate him. But I wouldn't give him the impression that I was leaving him to sink or swim on his own because school is his responsibility at eight.

 

Yes, that is pretty much what I was thinking.

It's not that an 8yo is not capable. Its that they need the company and the guidance. No, not all, but probably most. Its lonely doing schoolwork at home on your own, at 8. The desire for your nagging is just wanting your company, your attention, your love and your guidance.

 

My son at 8 wouldnt not have been capapble of even focusing that long or doing without me for long at all...my daughter at that age could handle a lot more independent time. In fact, she had to, because her brother needed me so much. But we would break up independent work with group work (read alouds, history, projects, hands on stuff) so that there were no long blocks of time where a child had to sit alone. Not until they were teens did they get solid blocks of independent time - and eventhen we did "together work" in the middle.

 

I miss Ria on these boards. One thing she always used to say is that kids need teaching. They need to be taught, not to be left alone with their books. They do learn to learn independently, over time, but she used to literally teach even her teenagers (and she had 4 I think). She would sit with them and go over their lessons, making sure they understood, before sending them off to do the work. Her approach affected me a lot and made me much more patient with my needy son.

 

I also remember coming to these boards many times asking when my son would be ready to work more independently, since even at 12 I often had to sit with him, and many times I was encouraged to be patient, and remember that I am homeschooling, and that I have the privelege of being able to help my son as much as he needs it.

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Thanks, Peela :) We do break up the day with "together" subjects like Memory Work, History and Latin...but thank you for pointing out that I need to be sure not to simply leave him to his own devices! I don't, but I can see how one might be tempted to do that with a child who was mature for his age. We do work together for most subjects, in fact. It's just that I want him to be responsible for deciding to initiate and complete his work. I am there for him 100%. I just don't see that nagging is the right approach for my son.

 

Wonderful input, everyone. Thank you.

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My DS10 still can't be handed a schedule and stay on track. Heck, he can't be handed one sheet of math problems and stay on track. DS7 is like me - give him a list and he thrives on checking off the boxes.

 

You probably need to evaluate your child and see if this will work. If the week-long list doesn't work, maybe try smaller chunks at first. A one-day list, even a half-day list.

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It's an interesting experiment. I know for sure that my 8 yo couldn't (wouldn't?) do it. I can barely keep my 15 yo on track with independent assignments. But that could just be my family. None of mine are really self-motivated, enthusiastic scholars.

 

I tend to go the opposite direction and spend a lot of time with each kid. I read almost all of their school books aloud to them. They are responsible for their workbooks and writing assignments and I check them. I know this is coddling them to a point, but it's the only way for me to make sure their work is done. If I leave it up to them, it won't get done, not without a lot of threats and punishments.

 

I love the idea of your experiment though, and if your child can do it without a lot of external motivation, it's great.

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LOL

 

I just have one question. Does he regularly read for 45 minutes daily? My son reads a lot, but I don't think he reads for 45 minute blocks of time. He probably does in bed where he is allowed to read anything he wants, but during the day I'm more likely to assign pages or chapters. I think if I said read for 45 minutes he would stare off into space for half of that. If I say read 2 chapters then he focuses on that and gets it done.

 

My kids both (ages 8 and 9) read for a 1 hour block of time in the afternoon. At first, yes, there was goofing off and talking and playing, but I kept enforcing a quiet hour of reading and now they do it with no problem. It's quite relaxing actually. At noon, we take an hour off for lunch. They have time during that hour to run around and play, then at 1 we have an hour for reading.

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Thanks. He can stay on track, that's not the issue I don't think. It's more that he, in some way, likes it when I nag him, so that the responsibility is on me. I'd be more than happy to guide him in what needs to get done, but it ends with me nagging. Which I abhor. Hence the "outline".

 

 

I think kiddo will do anything just to have company. I get far too many "oh, I don't get this"s if I stray. Our compromise is that I put the books out, teach what I need to teach, and then I clean lightly in the room, or scan through the next subject. Sometimes he puts his bare foot on my foot, a sort of "don't get up and move away".

 

So, no, kiddo could not do this. We cover this much territory (over 7 days) but not without a hand holding his.

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I'm with NanceXToo.

 

I have 2 boys I've managed to school through that age, and now I teach a bunch in my high school classes.

 

I don't necessarily think the amount of work is too much. I think it's the expectation that he can be sufficiently and consistently self-determining at his age.

 

I've observed that what a child does academically at 8 does not move in a linear fashion into what they do at 10, 12, 14 or 16. In other words, I would encourage you to not hang on "it's time" he learn to manage this on his own right now.

 

He's your oldest, right? I think it's very, very common to expect a higher maturity of our oldest as we pass through ages for the first time.

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I don't think it is too much work although the block scheduling wouldn't work in my house. We prefer to have more variety in our day and shorter periods of time on them.

 

I could hand my son one day's worth at a time (which is what I do) and he would be okay getting it done. He actually likes having a check list. It lets him know how close he is to be DONE. There is no way he would want to do it alone though. He wants the interaction with everyone.

 

If I left him alone to complete his work, he'd be building Legos, picking at his toes, or staring off into space in about 10 minutes.

 

It isn't so much about nagging in my house as it is just interaction. My kids want to talk about everything. They enjoy engaging with the material, but we are hands-on and living book learners so we are always talking. LOL. I can't shut up either.

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I think this is a good idea. It's like the workbox system, without the workboxes :) Maybe a full weeks work in front of him might be too much, but I think that's your call, knowing your ds. It also gives him the freedom to work really hard and earn himself a full day off, and I think by his accomplishment in his math lesson, he might be seeing that advantage. I might, perhaps, offer a small reward for getting all done by the end of the week without you having to nag, so there is a positive consequence rather than only a negative for not getting it done.

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...as the twig is bent, so the tree inclined. Tis habit forms the common mind...

 

I think if you look at this as a goal to work towards, a habit of self-discipline, it could be a very good thing for all.

 

Theoretically, you could sit at the table with him working on your own thing while he does his. Responsible for own self. Check. Mom near. Check. You would just have to keep a tight reign on your impulse to nag. (nothing burns me more than seeing good time wasted:iagree:)

 

What you are describing is very much in line with Love and Logic. Give the child enough freedom to make poor choices, and let the child learn from those poor choices. One weekend of writing instead of playing might be enough to keep procrastination at bay for years...

 

Let us know how the experiment goes.:bigear:

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I say give him choices. Say "Ok, you can do math, english, or science next. Which one do you want to do?" He knows the subject he doesn't want to do is coming, but he gets to choose when that is. This works great with my dds.

 

I think your plan might work for a little while. However, after a few weeks it is going to back fire. There will be a pile of work each weekend that you will have to nag him to finish imo.

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...as the twig is bent, so the tree inclined. Tis habit forms the common mind...

 

I think if you look at this as a goal to work towards, a habit of self-discipline, it could be a very good thing for all.

 

That's what I'm thinking too. But I am keeping in mind all the others' comments as well. TY.

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