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Help! I'm making both of us miserable!


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My DD (5.5 yo) is so distracted all the time. We'll be in the middle of quoting a scripture passage - in the middle!- when she interrupts with a random thought about squirrels or something later in the day.

 

When drilling her phonograms, I had to say that if she didn't START to give me the answer in 5 seconds, it was going into the 'missed' pile. Her eyes would be somewhere else in the room, and she'll be talking about various random things.

 

What really gets me is - when I'm giving her spelling words - she forgets them! I'm frankly S&T (sick & tired) of having to repeat the word 2, 3 or 4 times before she starts to write it down. SCHOOL TAKES FOREVER when it really, really shouldn't! (and, most regrettably, I end up losing my cool over her lack of focus and she ends up in tears)

 

So - how in the world are we ever going to dictate sentences when she can't even remember 1 spelling word in enough time to write it down?

 

(I do want to give her credit - she does a pretty darn good job during reading lessons. Her body is all over the place, but I can tell her mind is focused and she works hard to sound out the words, and rereads the sentence if she didn't comprehend it the first time. But, between sentences or even in the middle of a sentence, I'm tapping the page to get her to read the NEXT word!)

 

So, I am also open to suggestions for

how do you gently get a distracted child to focus and complete work without being a broken record, cutting them off in the middle of a story (in other words, always disrespecting what they want to tell you) and/or loosing your cool?

 

In the back of my mind, I tell myself, "If she was in public school, she wouldn't be allowed to engage the teacher in any conversation she wanted during the middle of a lesson or to talk while the children are supposed to be working..."

 

So - need to enforce some focus/discipline, but desperately need a new method other than getting mad!

 

(Is it just lack of maturity? But #4 is due soon, and I'm SO dreaming of the day when she'll focus, get the subjects done one at a time with minimal oversight, and school will be over in 1 or 2 hrs rather than our short Kindergarten easy load taking sometimes 3 hrs to complete!)

 

Thanks in advance for all suggestions (and prayers!)

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I just want to remind you that she's five. The things that you are having problems with are typical five year old behaviours. My suggestion is to back off, and be more relaxed in your schooling. If you still feel like you really need to keep doing the school that you are doing, then keep each subject five or ten minutes at most. They have short attention spans. I don't think this is a discipline issue as it is a maturity/age issue. *hugs*

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My 8yo still can't stay focused. Maybe you could try giving her some thinking putty or something she can silently play with. Allow her to have it as long as she is listening. Make sure that if you want her to focus that you do it in short spurts. It will take time for to work up to focusing for a longer time.

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OK - I hope 20 more people tell me to relax, that she's only 5! (it'll probably take that many for it to sink in)

 

But I seriously fear that if I stick to 5, 10 or even 15 minutes a subject, we'll get nothing accomplished. She's a master at frittering away the time. Would you honestly pack away the page half-done and say that's all for the day? We'll finish it tomorrow?

 

And I know what she'll do - the moment I say we're putting it away, she'll come to herself and tell me she WANTS to do it - so then we're playing a game. If I say, no - time is up - she's in tears. If I allow her another 5 minutes, she'll probably fritter that away as well...

 

So when and how do I get off of THAT merry-go-round?

 

or what if she acts like she doesn't care and goes to play, and then it takes all week to finish one page, cuz everyday she plays away her 5 or 10 minutes? Do you think she'd eventually come around and say to herself, 'I want to do this?' and focus? She is sharp and does get bored if things are too easy.

 

Thanks for all replies!

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I agree. She's five. You are expecting too much of her. That dream you have probably won't come to fruition until she's maybe 12, so you might just want to shelve that for now.

 

Really?? <sigh>

 

My DD (5.5 yo) is so distracted all the time. We'll be in the middle of quoting a scripture passage - in the middle!- when she interrupts with a random thought about squirrels or something later in the day.

 

When drilling her phonograms, I had to say that if she didn't START to give me the answer in 5 seconds, it was going into the 'missed' pile. Her eyes would be somewhere else in the room, and she'll be talking about various random things.

 

What really gets me is - when I'm giving her spelling words - she forgets them! I'm frankly S&T (sick & tired) of having to repeat the word 2, 3 or 4 times before she starts to write it down. SCHOOL TAKES FOREVER when it really, really shouldn't! (and, most regrettably, I end up losing my cool over her lack of focus and she ends up in tears)

 

So - how in the world are we ever going to dictate sentences when she can't even remember 1 spelling word in enough time to write it down?

 

(I do want to give her credit - she does a pretty darn good job during reading lessons. Her body is all over the place, but I can tell her mind is focused and she works hard to sound out the words, and rereads the sentence if she didn't comprehend it the first time. But, between sentences or even in the middle of a sentence, I'm tapping the page to get her to read the NEXT word!)

 

So, I am also open to suggestions for

how do you gently get a distracted child to focus and complete work without being a broken record, cutting them off in the middle of a story (in other words, always disrespecting what they want to tell you) and/or loosing your cool?

 

In the back of my mind, I tell myself, "If she was in public school, she wouldn't be allowed to engage the teacher in any conversation she wanted during the middle of a lesson or to talk while the children are supposed to be working..."

 

So - need to enforce some focus/discipline, but desperately need a new method other than getting mad!

 

(Is it just lack of maturity? But #4 is due soon, and I'm SO dreaming of the day when she'll focus, get the subjects done one at a time with minimal oversight, and school will be over in 1 or 2 hrs rather than our short Kindergarten easy load taking sometimes 3 hrs to complete!)

 

Thanks in advance for all suggestions (and prayers!)

 

My 5-year-old is exactly the same way, and it drives me crazy as well. Here are some things I've tried:

 

--Put on a timer. She doesn't like it, but it really helps her stay focused.

--Tell her she has x number of minutes to complete something (I make sure it is more than adequate!). Whatever she doesn't finish, she has to do for "homework" after dinner. Although this seems like more of a punishment for you, it has actually been effective. I have younger kiddos too, so it is no fun to enforce, but Dad steps in to help, and it gives her a reason to stay on track during regular school time.

--Give her a reason to finish. (I think my DD likes to take a long time because she thinks she'll have to do less work that way.) I let her know, "After you finish reading to me, I will read to you."

--Break up the work. I started this year trying to get the "hard work" out of the way first, usually math and reading...especially when the baby was sleeping! But sometimes that just bombs because it takes so much mental effort. So I might let her color after breakfast while we listen to classical music, do a reading lesson, continue to color while I read to her, then do math, etc.

 

HTH! :grouphug:

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--Put on a timer. She doesn't like it, but it really helps her stay focused.

--Tell her she has x number of minutes to complete something (I make sure it is more than adequate!). Whatever she doesn't finish, she has to do for "homework" after dinner. Although this seems like more of a punishment for you, it has actually been effective. I have younger kiddos too, so it is no fun to enforce, but Dad steps in to help, and it gives her a reason to stay on track during regular school time.

 

HTH! :grouphug:

 

Thanks so much for these ideas!

We do the timer sometimes for morning chores, and ...sometimes... it helps. The homework idea I really like! If we do get to school before lunch, then it can be homework for after lunch (which is normally her playtime) but if this is a day when school doesn't occur til afternoon, then it can be homework for after dinner... :)

 

That sounds like one of those "why didn't I think of that?" ideas!

 

... that got me thinking even more... her morning chores are on a 3x5 card everyday with the IDEA that if she does them before breakfast, she gets $0.03 per chore, if after breakfast she gets less. We collect each day's card and payout on Saturday. I made her a 3x5 printed card with school subjects to mark off so she can see how much she has to do and when she'll be done (hoping this will motivate her to get school done). So - she thinks she ought to get paid for doing school too, which I've resisted. But I added it up, it might be a whopping $0.70 more a week if I did - so why not? If she gets the subject done in the initial time - $0.03, if she has to finish it for homework - $0.01... that might work too... :)

Edited by Christie_P
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I feel your pain--5 is just too much fun to be interrupted by a few minutes of phonics. My sweet girl can concentrate if she wants to. If she does not want to, I can just hang up any expectations. I am beginning to think it is just silliness and not some defect of character or intellect. So I just try to keep the learning "age appropriate." Somehow she has learned everything I wanted for her to learn this year.

 

The biggest problem is the effect it has on older brother.

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OK - I hope 20 more people tell me to relax, that she's only 5! (it'll probably take that many for it to sink in) She is only five. Relax. I thought this to myself when you said you were drilling her on phonemes. Why are you drilling her? And for how long? I would just repeat a few to my five year old until he got it.

 

But I seriously fear that if I stick to 5, 10 or even 15 minutes a subject, we'll get nothing accomplished. She's a master at frittering away the time. Would you honestly pack away the page half-done and say that's all for the day? We'll finish it tomorrow? Yes, I would. And I have. Not to be mean, not to set an example, but because my son was five. He'd hit his limit and couldn't put that inarticulate idea into words, "mom, my brain has been hurting because of all this thinking, I think maybe now would be an ideal time to stop". He just stopped being able to process anymore. Trust me, the world will not end if you put that sheet away until tomorrow.

 

And I know what she'll do - the moment I say we're putting it away, she'll come to herself and tell me she WANTS to do it - so then we're playing a game. If I say, no - time is up - she's in tears. If I allow her another 5 minutes, she'll probably fritter that away as well...If you know what she'll do, might I gently suggest that it's because you've given into her before when she gives you those puppy dog eyes with tears. I don't doubt it's cute, but this is where you need to be disciplined yourself. Put it away, distract her by reading a book, playing a game, going outside. You can just tell her, "I think that's enough for today, we can finish tomorrow." Trust me, the world doesn't end.

 

So when and how do I get off of THAT merry-go-round? Tomorrow. See above.

 

or what if she acts like she doesn't care and goes to play, and then it takes all week to finish one page, cuz everyday she plays away her 5 or 10 minutes? Do you think she'd eventually come around and say to herself, 'I want to do this?' and focus? She is sharp and does get bored if things are too easy. If she "acts" like she doesn't care, it's probably because she doesn't. I don't think she's trying to manipulate you with her math. I would put it away and try again in a few weeks. If she still didn't like it, I might look into a new program. If that didn't work, I would build her interest with real life scenarios, "For lunch, you can have an apple and I can have an apple. That's one apple plus one more apple. How many apples does that equal?" Yes, we've done that too.

 

Thanks for all replies!

 

Also, it honestly sounds like you and she have different personalities, she might be more free-spirited and you like order and structure. If I am way off-base on that, please let me know, I'm not trying to be rude. But it may be that you have to find different ways of teaching her than ways you would like to be taught if it were you.

 

And please, please try to relax and take deep breaths and don't worry too much. I am a super perfectionist and worrier and am coming to realize, slowly but surely to just enjoy the ride. Homeschooling is supposed to be fun too. Remember to have fun.

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She really will get better as she gets older, and it really is totally normal. I think in K you are fine to stick to an hour or less. If one page from her reading program takes 30 minutes, then do half a page. Don't tell her you're timing her and if she doesn't finish, too bad. Watch her, figure out what you can get done in 20 minutes, then only schedule that much. Tell her ahead of time that you're going to do 1/2 a page today, or only do the first 5 math problems, or whatever. Then just do that.

 

I have a highly distractable daughter and have also lamented multiple times about how she can stretch an hour's worth of work into 3 hours. She's also the kind of kid who will complain (that's putting it mildly) if I tell her that she can't finish something because her time is up, then again refuse to do the work when given a second chance. :001_huh: It took me over a year (how pitiful is that? lol) to figure out that I needed to figure out how long something will take her and how long I want her lesson to be, then schedule only what will fit in that time slot. We still have crappy days here and there, but it's the thing that has worked best for me.

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OK - I hope 20 more people tell me to relax, that she's only 5! (it'll probably take that many for it to sink in)

 

But I seriously fear that if I stick to 5, 10 or even 15 minutes a subject, we'll get nothing accomplished. She's a master at frittering away the time. Would you honestly pack away the page half-done and say that's all for the day? We'll finish it tomorrow?

 

And I know what she'll do - the moment I say we're putting it away, she'll come to herself and tell me she WANTS to do it - so then we're playing a game. If I say, no - time is up - she's in tears. If I allow her another 5 minutes, she'll probably fritter that away as well...

 

So when and how do I get off of THAT merry-go-round?

 

or what if she acts like she doesn't care and goes to play, and then it takes all week to finish one page, cuz everyday she plays away her 5 or 10 minutes? Do you think she'd eventually come around and say to herself, 'I want to do this?' and focus? She is sharp and does get bored if things are too easy.

 

Thanks for all replies!

SHE'S JUST 5!!!! And it's SPRING!!! I say put it all away and mean it.

 

She might not ever *want* to do a workbook page. I mean, really...would you? Seriously?? Children want to learn things. They just don't always want to learn things at the same time we want them to, or in the same order, and certainly not always from workbook pages.

 

You might give her some goof-off time for awhile, and maybe reconsider what you're doing, so that when you start again there aren't any workbooks pages. :-)

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Really, she's 5.

Let her be 5. She has a short attention span. If she were an adult, she'd be frittering away her day, but she's not. She is young and the young learn through play. To counter you argument about what she'd be doing "if she were in school", consider that in many countries she would not have started school yet.

 

Just for perspective, my ds is teaching kindergarten part-time in Japan. The kids sing songs, play games, and run and move their bodies. They learn many of their lessons through games, songs and activities.

 

Let her be young.

 

Fine and gross motor skills are very important at this age. Kids also learn very well through song and movement.

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Also, it honestly sounds like you and she have different personalities, she might be more free-spirited and you like order and structure. If I am way off-base on that, please let me know, I'm not trying to be rude. But it may be that you have to find different ways of teaching her than ways you would like to be taught if it were you.

 

And please, please try to relax and take deep breaths and don't worry too much. I am a super perfectionist and worrier and am coming to realize, slowly but surely to just enjoy the ride. Homeschooling is supposed to be fun too. Remember to have fun.

 

Your comments are MOST appreciated and welcome! The funny thing is - this daughter is a MINI-ME is most respects and that is normally why she drives me up a wall. All my negativity, whininess, lack of focus, is bottled up in her! I remember MY mother getting SO frustrated with my inability to accomplish things (I made her late to work more days than not!) And yes, I am a perfectionist who likes order and structure, but is unable to create it for myself due to my own lack of discipline. So I almost need to find help for ME before I can be in a position to help her with these things. (need prayer, much, much, much more prayer!)

 

I also appreciate your line-by-line comments that I WILL be rereading! THANKS SO MUCH!!

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Spelling words? At 5? My dd is at the end of K and we are just enjoying school. We read, she practices writing, we do some math, she plays with little brother, but I wouldn't dream of putting a timer on. If she isn't focused, I close up shop and let her play grocery store, or princeses, or mommy and daddy. Honestly, K should just be FUN! I didn't do spelling in K, I didn't learn to read until 1st grade. I could write my name in K, but my S was always the wrong direction, and I went only half a day. I'd like to think I turned out fine!

 

Relax and enjoy your time together! Look into FIAR. Read some books. Go to the library. Maybe she just needs some time to explore what SHE is really interested in! ;)

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Spelling words? At 5? My dd is at the end of K and we are just enjoying school. We read, she practices writing, we do some math, she plays with little brother, but I wouldn't dream of putting a timer on. If she isn't focused, I close up shop and let her play grocery store, or princeses, or mommy and daddy. Honestly, K should just be FUN! I didn't do spelling in K, I didn't learn to read until 1st grade. I could write my name in K, but my S was always the wrong direction, and I went only half a day. I'd like to think I turned out fine!

 

Relax and enjoy your time together! Look into FIAR. Read some books. Go to the library. Maybe she just needs some time to explore what SHE is really interested in! ;)

:iagree: She's only 5, have fun!

My dd and I loved FIAR. We have fond memories of "The Rag Coat".

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I'll echo "she's 5". :D

 

Maybe cull the curriculum to what you can do in an hour or less. Write on a board her 3 (or so) things for the day. They like to know what they need to do and when they'll be done. For DD#1 I glued a 3x5 card to an ad magnet (kind comes on the phone book), cut it into strips and wrote each subject. Had a little magnetic board with "to do" on one side and "done" on the other. SHe LOVED getting to move them over and if she was focussed, the next day she could pick the order. I also set start times for subjects (about an hour for 15min work). When they are done with the work, they get the rest of the time as play time. Did wonders for helping DD#2 focus.

 

Above all kindie is about teaching them the ropes and to LOVE learning. Keep it fun and light and as she matures her focus will grow. THEN you can add more academic content, but not the other way around.

 

GOod luck!

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My daughter is also in Kindergarten this year, but she's 6.5, so about a year older than your daughter.

 

I agree with everyone else -- don't worry about her lack of focus. She is five.

 

My daughter sometimes exhibits a lack of focus, and I don't stretch lessons out longer than usual because of it. She's not doing it on purpose, she's just young. I do have fun stuff for her to do if she finishes more quickly than planned, though. I make a list in the morning of the stuff we have to do, making sure that list can be reasonably accomplished by a set time. If she finishes by that time, she picks something from the list I put on the bottom of the board.

 

Oh, and if I had tried to do formal, required lessons with my daughter at 5.5, I expect it would have gone badly.

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My daughter is also in Kindergarten this year, but she's 6.5, so about a year older than your daughter.

 

I agree with everyone else -- don't worry about her lack of focus. She is five.

 

My daughter sometimes exhibits a lack of focus, and I don't stretch lessons out longer than usual because of it. She's not doing it on purpose, she's just young. I do have fun stuff for her to do if she finishes more quickly than planned, though. I make a list in the morning of the stuff we have to do, making sure that list can be reasonably accomplished by a set time. If she finishes by that time, she picks something from the list I put on the bottom of the board.

 

Oh, and if I had tried to do formal, required lessons with my daughter at 5.5, I expect it would have gone badly.

 

 

:iagree: Yes that is us also! Ds is 6.5 and in K. Will be 7 Oct 1. He is wiggly also. I fully believe its the age. I would recommend school for her be more discovery based. Nature walks, living books, handwriting and LIGHT phonics at best. Right now if I tried to drill ds in phonograms--- lets just say it wouldn't be a good thing! You can find living books for everything!

 

I have a 5 year old ds (turned 5 in Feb) and there is no way he would do formal school. There are times when he wants to do school like the other kids, but that lasts a whole 5 or so minutes and he is off to something else. We have workbooks when he wants to do "school books" other wise for him right now its just a ton of read alouds and discovery based learning

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A few things.

 

She's five. Relax.

 

She has younger siblings. Are they loud and distracting?

 

If you put the book/game away because of bad behavior and she starts crying, don't get it back out. Actions have consequences.

 

Don't turn her off to math/reading by forcing her to do more than she can handle. Turn on the timer for 5-15 minutes and stop when it rings. (That's what I did when my now 6.25 ds was 5. Now our "timer" is longer.)

 

Enjoy the park!

 

Emily

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Your comments are MOST appreciated and welcome! The funny thing is - this daughter is a MINI-ME is most respects and that is normally why she drives me up a wall. All my negativity, whininess, lack of focus, is bottled up in her! I remember MY mother getting SO frustrated with my inability to accomplish things (I made her late to work more days than not!) And yes, I am a perfectionist who likes order and structure, but is unable to create it for myself due to my own lack of discipline. So I almost need to find help for ME before I can be in a position to help her with these things. (need prayer, much, much, much more prayer!)

 

I also appreciate your line-by-line comments that I WILL be rereading! THANKS SO MUCH!!

 

I think most of us struggle in the beginning. I was worried just yesterday because my son was saying he wanted to go to PS. It was devastating to me. But I learned I wasn't alone. On these boards, you aren't alone either.

 

As a recovering (sorta) perfectionist, just try to start small. Start with read alouds. Then after a week or two you can add math. And just keep going with that. And I have found that a routine is more useful than a schedule. I know when we'll be eating our meals and work around that. Then there's nothing we HAVE TO be doing at a certain time, we just get to it when we get to it.

 

And for me, it was hard with my oldest. Everywhere we looked, I saw all these options and fun things and wanted to dive in and do everything RIGHT NOW. Slow and steady wins the race. She will get there eventually.

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I hate to join a pile on, but she IS only 5.

 

She doesn't need to do all this stuff this minute.

 

Read to her. A lot. Science, poetry, chapter books, picture books, Bible, mythology, history, everything.

 

Talk about things. A lot. Talk about what you're doing. Talk about what you're reading and how fascinating it is.

 

Sing to her. She will join in! Teach her the Star Spangled Banner. All the verses--did you know that there are at least 3? Teach her one folk song or hymn for every season. This is the very best age to memorize songs.

 

Spend just a little time, when she is at her freshest, probably around 10 or so, teaching one major skill--either reading acquisition or math. Give her a little copywork. Write notes to her, or if she is not at that point yet, make flashcards of the most commonly used English words, and put them on the fridge with magnets to make sentences. This will drive her crazy--what is the secret message today?

 

Don't spend more than 1/2 hour to 1 hour on the skill work and copywork. She is still going to learn a ton of other stuff. She is only 5. It's fine.

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Do less. :) She's only 5, I'd keep her lessons to no more then 15 or 20 minutes each. I'd leave plenty of time for exploring!

 

And, if you really want to hate me.. Answer those questions about squirrels. Encourage her to investigate them. Say something like, "You know, I don't know, what if we get a book to read about...." If you're having a short and quick lesson and she brings this up you could say, "I don't know! Let's quickly finish this up and go get a book about..."

 

It it mandatory that she be officially schooling by age 5? I know some place {like where I live} that do. So for our 5 year old we were really slow and simple. We counted, we sang our ABC's, we did left and right. We played outside on the swing while Mum asked all kinds of nutty questions like, "Why do you think the sky is blue?" "What do we call a female sheep?" "If today is Monday what day will tomorrow be?"

 

We skip counted by 10's, 5's, & 2's when we took walks or put things in the grocery trolly. I mean we kept it really simple because our 5 year old wasn't into sitting still and being forced into lessons. When we did finally do more "official" school we went with a super gentle programme too.

 

I know it's irritating at times, but I've found they are so much more open if we just take their questions as they come!

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If you look at my signature, I'm an expert at this age group. :biggrinjester:

 

I had a rule with my 5 yro for K. When she said she was finished or didn't feel like doing school, we set it aside until she wanted to work on it. Surprisingly, she wanted to do school a LOT. I would be cooking dinner at 6pm and she would drag the kindergarten box over to me. She finished K back in March and she's reading pretty well for end of K.

 

My son went to a public school K where it was sit down work, reading, etc all day. It ended badly. I pulled him out of school at the beginning of 1st grade and he didn't even know his letter sounds. He was so lost. He thought he was "stupid", he hated school...I asked him to write a sentence and he threw his pencil across the room, threw himself up against a wall, ran out of the room, ran into his bedroom and screamed.

 

He's 8 now. He and his sister competed in a science jeopardy competition this year and in a room full of 30 kids, he answered the first 3 or 4 questions as soon as the lady asked them. He doesn't throw his pencil and scream anymore. :tongue_smilie: He's actually one Singapore workbook away from his older sister (which is disturbing) and he's starting to have some interests (besides Legos and Webkinz). :coolgleamA:

 

Just trying to say...if you take it easy at 5, it doesn't mean you're going to get behind.

 

Also, I tend to add lots of hands-on projects and read-alouds. Unit studies are awesome, too.

 

Edited to say: It seemed like when my kids hit about 7-8, there is a HUGE leap, developmentally. Mine are still very preschoolish at 5.

Edited by starrbuck12
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My DD (5.5 yo) is so distracted all the time. We'll be in the middle of quoting a scripture passage - in the middle!- when she interrupts with a random thought about squirrels or something later in the day.

 

When drilling her phonograms, I had to say that if she didn't START to give me the answer in 5 seconds, it was going into the 'missed' pile. Her eyes would be somewhere else in the room, and she'll be talking about various random things.

 

What really gets me is - when I'm giving her spelling words - she forgets them! I'm frankly S&T (sick & tired) of having to repeat the word 2, 3 or 4 times before she starts to write it down. SCHOOL TAKES FOREVER when it really, really shouldn't! (and, most regrettably, I end up losing my cool over her lack of focus and she ends up in tears)

 

So - how in the world are we ever going to dictate sentences when she can't even remember 1 spelling word in enough time to write it down?

 

(I do want to give her credit - she does a pretty darn good job during reading lessons. Her body is all over the place, but I can tell her mind is focused and she works hard to sound out the words, and rereads the sentence if she didn't comprehend it the first time. But, between sentences or even in the middle of a sentence, I'm tapping the page to get her to read the NEXT word!)

 

So, I am also open to suggestions for

how do you gently get a distracted child to focus and complete work without being a broken record, cutting them off in the middle of a story (in other words, always disrespecting what they want to tell you) and/or loosing your cool?

 

In the back of my mind, I tell myself, "If she was in public school, she wouldn't be allowed to engage the teacher in any conversation she wanted during the middle of a lesson or to talk while the children are supposed to be working..."

 

So - need to enforce some focus/discipline, but desperately need a new method other than getting mad!

 

(Is it just lack of maturity? But #4 is due soon, and I'm SO dreaming of the day when she'll focus, get the subjects done one at a time with minimal oversight, and school will be over in 1 or 2 hrs rather than our short Kindergarten easy load taking sometimes 3 hrs to complete!)

 

Thanks in advance for all suggestions (and prayers!)

 

:001_smile: yup. she's 5. You want a student. She wants to think about squirrels. So go outside and watch the squirrels for a while. Then ask her if she wants to try drawing a picture of a squirrel and write a few words about it. Count how many squirrels you see. Make up word problems about how many nuts the squirrel hid last winter. This summer he can only find 2. How many are missing? ya know? She's not going to college next year.

 

Red flag word for me--kindergarten "load"--I wonder if you should just limit yourself to 1.5 hours a day max and what gets done in that time gets done. She is probably distracted because it is too much for her. Set the timer for 15 minutes at a time and say, "let's see how much of this page we can read before the timer goes off!" When you get to the end the book goes away...done. Then it becomes a game for every day...stuff like that.

 

I had similar issues with ds9. I finally let go and let him wiggle and be, and he is now a very serious, curious student who gets frustrated if he feels I didn't do enough school with him. There is hope.

Edited by Hedgehogs4
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Oh, definitely relax :) My 7-year-old still has problems focusing, but I see a big improvement from 5. If you dig up threads from 2008 and 2009, I was the one stressing a bit with my 5-year-old. I had researched Homeschooling since ds was 2, and couldn't wait to implement everything. Reality set in, and I learned to take it easy.

 

Math Mammoth at age 5? I thought it didn't have a K part? If so, I want to know! I have the LightBlue Series. When we did K we had one goal: to get ds to read and love reading. We did that. With ds we did:

 

Peak with Books

MCP Math

My World and Globe (geography)

KidSpeak Spanish fun computer game

Tanglewood Phonics (gentle phonics)

Art projects with Daddy

Starfall

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I have one of those. The only things that have helped are patience, constant reinforcement and consistency. He's now about to turn eleven and things have improved. He can mostly remember to stay on task and not interrupt with random thought. I agree with the others - age five is not the time to be stressing about this. You'll be certifiable by sixth grade. FWIW, I think we did about an hour of seat work at that age. Lots of exercise helps to concentrate the mind.

 

Best wishes

 

Laura

Edited by Laura Corin
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Add me to the RELAX! SHE'S ONLY 5!!! group. :)

 

She doesn't need drills and worksheets. It should be fun, especially at this stage. You should both be enjoying it and enjoying each other.

 

She's got an entire lifetime ahead of her for more formal learning, for paying attention, and so on. Right now her world is just too big to be narrowed down to a worksheet or a drill or keeping her attention off of the squirrels.

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:grouphug::grouphug:

 

I would just enjoy this time before the new baby comes. If your DD wants to learn about squirrels, then do it. Ask her what she would like to learn about, go get some library books, and go from there. And I will second (or third or fourth...) Five in a Row. I think your DD would prefer that to workbooks.

 

You can still work on phonics and reading with her, just keep it to 10 minutes or so. I think if you follow her cues on when is a good time to do a more formal lesson, you will get further.

 

And have the baby be the lessons in the coming months (weeks). Read lots of books about big sisters, babies, etc. Lots of age appropriate biology you can get in there. Once the baby arrives there is even more to learn! Take advantage of this and it will be easier on you and you will be amazed at what your DD will learn about life, family, mothering, etc. My DD was 4 when my youngest was born, and it was a great experience for us, and I think she was not jealous of the new baby because she was so involved.

 

At this age, kids learn more by doing, so I wouldn't worry about what you get on paper. There is plenty of time for that, believe me. Hang in there, you have lots of fun ahead. :001_smile:

 

:grouphug::grouphug:

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I will say that my daughter turns 5 this month and she actually doesn't do this much until it has become too much. She is capable of completing one lesson in Funnix 2 before she starts to decompose or whatever. It's a total of 20 minutes (and that includes doing a page or two in her handwriting workbook....which she loves). So, we do 20 minutes in the morning, and then 20-30 minutes in the afternoon with Five in a Row (which she doesn't even think of as "school").

 

My current goal is also to get her reading and to LOVE reading.

 

So, my thought is...can you break it up? Do a lesson or two in the morning, and then a few hours later do another one?

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I too have a distracted child who will interrupt me with random stuff. I am also struggling with keeping my temper under-wraps on the worst days.

 

I have a friend who has 2 tools she uses.

 

#1 the kitchen timer. For some reason the child respects the kitchen timer's authority. When it dings, she knows she better be done. Alternatively she places a post-it note on her clock to indicate the end of the time period.

 

#2 Daddy School. School days are much less fun and easy when the child's Dad teaches. He is stricter and harder on her than Mommy. So all Mommy has to do is threaten to let Daddy teach that subject, and then the child becomes more compliant. Her Dad is like a drill instructor, but a very loving father!

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When drilling her phonograms, I had to say that if she didn't START to give me the answer in 5 seconds, it was going into the 'missed' pile. Her eyes would be somewhere else in the room, and she'll be talking about various random things.

 

What really gets me is - when I'm giving her spelling words - she forgets them! I'm frankly S&T (sick & tired) of having to repeat the word 2, 3 or 4 times before she starts to write it down.

 

In the back of my mind, I tell myself, "If she was in public school, she wouldn't be allowed to engage the teacher in any conversation she wanted during the middle of a lesson or to talk while the children are supposed to be working..."

 

 

:grouphug: Try to remember that if she were in PS, she wouldn't have spelling lists and phonogram drills, either. That's a lot for a five year old.

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While I do agree that five years old is a hard age to master the art of focusing, I don't think it is unreasonable to start to teach the art of focusing.

You might start with the squirrels. If you go out to watch birds or squirrels or any wild animal she will find that being still and quiet is important. This takes practice. Take your timer to the park with her. Have her practice being a patient cat for one minute (full crouch, tail up in the air, crouch down in the grass, whatever) then start to extend that time in the patient cat pose, focusing intently on a bird, squirrel, blade of grass, pine-cone, whatever she is supposed to pounce that day. Allow pouncing when she has been still and quiet. If she breaks the pose or starts warbling the bird, pine-cone, etc flies away.

It is active play, but it is teaching patience and quietness.

 

You might also consider other physical activities that reward focus and stillness, like ballet, karate, etc, as they involve plenty of movement but focused movement.

 

You might also find areas where she doesn't mind sitting down and focusing for awhile. I have two very, very active ds7 boys, but one of them will sit in complete absorption while he is drawing, and the other will build with his tinker-toys or construct elaborate road systems outside in the garden without stopping until he is done. At five, they were doing the same thing, only for shorter periods of time and with less elaboration. So, they are capable of staying on task at five, although for shorter periods of time. But no one wants to focus on something that they don't really want to do. Since it is not possible or even desirable to coax a child (or a grown person) into doing what they don't want to do, be it homework, or housework, it seems reasonable to me that one would have to teach it.

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She's a rather young kindergartner, no? My ds is also in kindergarten and is about a full year older (he has an October birthday.) If she was in traditional school would she have already started kindergarten or would she have waited until this fall?

 

I ask because if we had tried what it sounds like you're doing a full year earlier it would've been a miserable time for everyone! Now, with an extra year of life under his belt, doing more structured/academic things isn't a problem (within reason, of course.) That one year really has made a ton of difference with regard to his maturity and attention span.

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I think if you are going to do school at all, you need curriculum that is more developmentally appropriate for a typical 5 year old. There is no reason why you need to do spelling in kindergarten. We don't do spelling until phonics has been mastered, usually around 3rd grade.

 

This is what I do for kindergarten:

 

Letter recognition with Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code workbooks

Rod and Staff pre-school workbooks

 

 

Susan in TX

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I was recently reading a book called Your Competent Child by Jesper Juul. He maintains that children are intrinsically wired to cooperate, so if they appear not to be cooperating, they are either cooperating with the wrong thing, or they are incapable of cooperating at the level that is being expected. While I don't agree with every assertion Juul makes, this book really helped me to appreciate how hard children work to do what adults expect of them.

 

I was having similar issues with my dd6 when we were doing spelling. First, I had to pare down my expectations of her, so I stripped down the program to the bare essentials. For example, part of our dictation of spelling includes using the word in a sentence. But this part was very, very distracting to her. If I used the sentence in the book, she wanted to talk about them and what they meant. She also wanted to come up with sentences on her. It helped a little to use my own simpler sentences, but she still wanted to come up with alternate sentences on her own. Dictating 10 words was taking 40 minutes!

 

So I determined that the sentences were not a necessary part of the program, unless it was a homonym. And I made a rule that she could not talk while she was writing a word. These two things have helped immensely--enough that I am happy with the results. If this had not been enough, I would have divided the 10 words into two days of dictation.

 

As for the phonogram cards, I haven't had trouble with those. But we only do a few of them every day, maybe 8-10. If you are doing a very small number and still having trouble, then you could try making a game of it, like having a race. You might also try doing it over a meal or snack.

 

I have also tried putting away a lesson before it is finished. This is very upsetting to dd, because she sees it as a failure, so I use it judiciously. This has actually helped her to focus more, because she knows if she doesn't, we will not finish it.

 

Ultimately, if you have pared down the whole program to bare essentials and still are getting the kinds of behaviors that you mentioned, you may need to just put it away for a while. It may be more than your dc can handle. There is nothing wrong with that. She may just need to mature a little, and perhaps in a few months, you can come back to it fresh and ready to start over.

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You said in another post that she turned 5 in October. In my state, we have a September 1 cutoff date, so she'd still be preK here. But either way, I think you're doing too much. 3 hours? My first grader doesn't usually do 3 hours! And he has a "full load" of reading, writing, math, grammar, spelling, history, science, and art. A K'er needs reading, handwriting, and math. That shouldn't take more than an hour, and likely can be done in 45 minutes.

 

Definitely relax! :D

 

I see she's doing some first grade things (like Math Mammoth). That's fine... My kids do some things ahead of grade level too, but one thing to remember is that she is still 5. She is not a first grader. She is not 6. Her attention span is not that of a first grader. Her attention span is that of a very young K'er. In fact, if you were putting her in school, it'd probably even be advisable to red shirt her (if your school cutoff is after October), because she sounds like she's not really ready for much formal school. You have to keep her maturity in mind when giving her accelerated work. Here's a good example... My son can read books at a 5th grade level. He cannot, however, do literary analysis at that level. He's not a 5th grader yet. He's not in the logic stage yet. He still thinks like a first grader. I have first grade output expectations (he can give an oral narration on a book that he reads at 5th grade level). I don't expect a written 3 paragraph essay on a book that he reads. ;)

 

I have a 4 year old doing some K level work (and he was 4 in November, so he's considered preK3 by state grade levels - supposed to start K in fall of 2012). He is very much a young 4 year old. His attention span is very teeny tiny. We do about 10 minutes a day of school. He wants to do school and loves school, and he's starting to read and add/subtract, etc. - all K level things. But he is still a young 4 year old maturity wise, and I have to have expectations that match his maturity. For him, 45 minutes to an hour of work would be WAY too much, even if he can read and do math at the level of a K'er. He's not ready for that much school. So we do 10 minutes a day on either reading or math. Sometimes we might do 2 sessions - math in the morning and reading in the afternoon, so that's 20 minutes. But it's still a very small amount, and when I see that he's "done", I stop. I have learned how much he can handle in a sitting, and I plan for him to do just that amount, so we don't have issues with him wanting to go on.

 

I also would say ditch the spelling. You are doing OPGTR, so why do you need the other phonics/spelling program? Just do OPGTR. It's plenty. You can add the other one in later. OPGTR is fairly quick and easy to do, and should only take you 10-15 minutes max. For math, I would just do half a page or at most 1 page... no more than that (really I'd lean toward half a page). Just do it for 10 minutes and stop. Figure out how much she is capable of doing in that amount of time. If she's resisting, it's probably too much. I love Math Mammoth, but 1A is a lot of drill on math facts, so not the most fun thing for a young K'er. I know when we get there, we'll probably do some on the white board or something to break it up, as I'm sure we'll also be hitting it before first grade.

 

So we'll say again... RELAX, RELAX, RELAX. :D

 

:grouphug:

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I have a 5 year old with what sounds like the exact same personality. They could quite possibly be BFF's. ;) Sometimes it just takes a while for them to be ready for all you're asking her to do. Yes, I do pack it away when it is just too much to keep her focus and we do something else. This was harder for me to do with my first than it is doing now with the third, but I assure you it will work out. Even if you have to repeat much of the "Kindergarten" principles in the 1st grade she will be better off than if you force her to do what she physically cannot do. Bella cannot sit still for 10-15 minute periods, but yet she has progressed this year. Just this morning SHE brought her Bob books to me and started to read them out of enjoyment. That is my desire for her. I am often praying that I don't break her sweet spirit, b/c it is hard sometimes to deal with!!! Trust me, I KNOW!

 

You don't need another person telling you to "relax, she's 5", so I won't say that...I'm just saying relax for your own sanity ;) It will get easier. :hug:

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Take a deep breath! :grouphug: Everyone has mentioned her age, she is young. My DD is 5 1/2 and we have just barely started anything. She is also very distracted. We have been down this road with her older brother so I am not new to it. I have a well worn path. :)

 

Honestly, I would first pray for wisdom. Pray that God will show you what is enough, when to quit, and what is too much. Also pray for discernment if something is not meshing well with her style.

 

Next back off some. I am not in favor of homework at this age. I think that strategy would be great in a few years, but not now. Please work hard to make sure she loves to learn. These are those years of read alouds and gentle instruction that you will always treasure.

 

Honestly, my DS could not even concentrate enough to begin to learn to read until first grade. Then it took us two years because of his ADDish type personality. Now at second grade he is reading well and catching up well. I have learned not to worry about the year we didn't accomplish what I had hoped.

 

The timer does not work for my son BTW. That idea for me backfired as then he was obsessed with how much time was left and could do nothing for worrying about that. :001_huh:

 

I certainly did envision school life and where we would be right now differently. For me it has been humbling.

 

Your experience with your DD will most likely be different than ours. At any rate, what you need most is peace and joy in what you are doing. It is such a lovely journey!

 

~Laurie

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Change up the routine:) My almost five does

Circle time (we pray, sing 2-3 songs, recite a memorized scripture or poem), dance and sing, and play instruments for about 5 mintes

Phonics (review phonogram cards, read her current spelling list, sing rule tunes -we use phonics road, and for prek we do a week worth of lessons in one month)

Show and Tell (the reward for school time) she gets out a toy she loves we play together for a bit, then I get out my show and tell item (usually an educational game or activity ;)) 10-15 minutes

Math 10-15 minutes of MUS Primer

Outside time and snack

enrichment (music, art, science, history whatever works)

then read alouds

I quit at lunch. Some days we just finish the morning outside and we don't do an 'enrichment' thing at all and it works fine.

 

It's really kind of her prefered task, my prefered task and we alternate.

When we have a rough time I just put it up for the day and we play:) Afterall play is how children learn.

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Hang in there! :grouphug:

 

I'm in the thick of it, as my youngest is about to turn 5, so we'll be starting up K all over again (my oldest is about to turn 7). I can SO relate to the squirrel stuff! Seriously! I get that from both girls, and half the time I feel like I'm at a tennis match, trying to keep up with where both of their brains are going AND what we're trying to do.

 

It sounds to me like you have at least an accelerated child, if not a gifted, bright child. That's wonderful! Please try to keep in my that (as, ahem, numerous others have pointed out) she is 5. Her ability to do spelling and sit through drills at a higher-than-kindergarten-level does not mean she should be doing it in a way meant for a 7- or 8-year-old. Does that make sense? My daughter adores spelling. She's a natural speller and a voracious reader, so we did indeed start spelling and grammar in K. She had finished OPG, though, and she was obsessed with spelling. I'm not saying you have to finish OPG before doing the spelling, and spelling can complement phonics well. However, I just want to point out that you probably should be cautious with too much spelling and such, given her age and the fact that you're still working through phonics. A program like All About Spelling or Explode the Code can be a nice complement to OPG if you want to cement those phonics basics as you go along, and many use those in K very gently. First Language Lessons is another very gentle way to reinforce language arts. But even that is aimed at 1st grade and for students who've made it past lesson 140ish in OPG.

 

I know you're not asking for a curriculum critique. So I hope I'm sounding as gentle as I intend. It's just so, so easy to have really high standards for our first borns, especially if they show some ability and focus. It's hard to remember how young 5 is! I know it, believe me!

 

It's also hard to have young ones and be pregnant! More hugs for that! :grouphug:

 

For just a little more perspective, we do some preschool, including OPG, with my youngest, and 1st grade with my oldest, and we're done by lunch time. That includes a break of 30-45 minutes (at least) for both together as well as breaks for my 1st grader when I'm working with her sister. Kindergarten was maybe an hour, not counting reading books, art, music, and field trips.

 

Some gentle redirecting is probably in order. When she's not answering, before you repeat 3-5 times, ask her if she's just thinking. Try to just wait her out a bit. If you have to repeat for more than one question, I agree--put it away. If that makes her sad, remind her that she didn't seem to be interested/ready/willing, and you'll try again tomorrow. If it really bothers her, she'll come around quickly. If it doesn't bother her, maybe it really is time to reevaluate your materials. Learning should be fun, even for grammar and spelling, and especially at 5. Hang in there!

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Heck my 8 year old interrupts constantly with irrelevant comments or starts talking to his brother WHILE I'm teaching him...it drives me crazy and he'd never do it at school but I don't know what to do about it.

 

On the other hand, my just turned 6 year old only does 2 pages of Miquon math, a HWOT page, a FLL lesson and a page in HOP on a really good day. This all takes about an hour maybe? If we have a read aloud or memory work at snack time he joins in...that's it and he's quite bright and content to do his work. I like to tease him when he says he wants to do extra...then he grins and forges ahead. But if I had him working 3 hours a day he would totally rebel. I feel like we are setting a positive stage for learning (nonetheless he may not be too happy next year when he hits 1st grade and the workload increases).

 

Also, in reality kindergarteners at our very strong ps only really get in 1/2 hour of academics a day anyhow.

 

Brownie

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You're expecting too much of her. Waaaay too much. Pull back. No spelling at this age. None. Any and all other "work" should be fun....not workbook pages. Do unit studies and find a "fun" kindy program. Everything should be easy and light. If you push her hard now, she will push back later. School should be something she enjoys doing. Not constant drill with her mother nagging her to focus the entire time. If she wants to talk about squirrels, study squirrels. If you want a full program, get something like WinterPromise's "Animals and Their World" (my 5 year old loved this). Just don't push academics heavily now.....it'll leave a bad taste in her mouth and you'll always be fighting her in the future to engage her in schoolwork.

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If you read the bits in the Well Trained Mind about KG and 1st grade, you see that the actual WTM curriculum starts at 1st grade. They even quote a 1st teacher who says, "I can always tell who the kids are that attended kindergarten from those who didn't...the ones who went to KG know how to get in line." Phonics/reading and math in a gentle, everyday context are the main suggestions.

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I started kiddo at 4 with 5 minutes of sitting in his desk while we looked at math pictures, or funny letter pictures. By age 5 we had worked up to 3 five-minute periods a day, plus some very long read alouds (no interruptions). By age 6 we could do 15 minutes in a single stretch for about 30 minutes a day. Plus printing practice. I believe he was well into 7 before we got to two hours a day (with a meal in the middle).

 

He still sometimes interrupts, but I tell him he may speak to me at the end of the this section or at the end of spelling, etc. He is getting much better. It is a long, slow haul. Now his little game is looking around. I have said "Eyes on the Prize, Sir" more times than I ever dreamed I would. Sigh.

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Another.....she is 5 lol. My littlest just turned 5 and he is very bright and soaks up knowledge like a sponge, but I don't worry about wanting him to focus. I am not even sure it is possible for him to do more than 15 minutes of table work at a time. You might actually need to deschool for a few months before slowly introducing seat work back into the day so that she can relax and enjoy learning again instead of thinking of it as a chore.

If it were me I would do more fun read alouds, count while playing hopscotch or jumping rope, have her find the Green beans at the store, the yellow can that starts with the letter "G" type of learning. Put her in the tub with a can of shaving cream so she can learn to write her letters, draw in a nature journal and then narrate to you a story to go with it. That type of thing for a couple of months and then ask her if she wants to play school with you and slowly add in more seat work. I am guessing that she is already reading if you are dictating spelling words so I would keep up with reading but when she gets tired let her stop. Their eyes can't focus for as long as ours can.

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You've received lots of great input, and I do agree that your dd is on the youngish side, and that a slower, more gentle approach to beginning her education would benefit you both in the long run. I have held each of my kiddos back from starting school until they were a full 6 years old, and even then, several of them were 7 before they began to read. When they'd start to buck, lose focus, etc, I'd finish the day's lesson so it wouldn't seem as if their bucking caused me to back off, but I'd put that reading lesson away for a few weeks and shift my attention to something else for a while. We read a lot about nature, explored the outdoors, baked together, took walks, drew, you get the picture.

 

My ds13 was a terribly wiggly, fidgety guy who had no interest in learning his letters at age 5, which distressed me because he was so very bright. However, with the approach I described above, he flourished, and was reading way beyond grade level by second grade, and continues to blow me away with his motivation and love of learning.

 

Ambleside Online has a lovely list of suggestions for what they call Year 0, which is a pre-first or even first grade sort of year.

http://www.amblesideonline.org/00.shtml

On that page, scroll down, and you will find "A Formidable List of Attainments for a Child of Six." These might be some nice things to focus on as the school year draws to a close and into the next school year as well.

 

I also second the suggestion of Get Ready, Get Set, Go for the Code, as well as the Rod and Staff workbook set, we loved those and used them several times over.

 

Enjoy your time with your sweetie, I know it sounds so cliche, but it goes so fast!

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Heck my 8 year old interrupts constantly with irrelevant comments or starts talking to his brother WHILE I'm teaching him...it drives me crazy and he'd never do it at school but I don't know what to do about it.

 

I'm teaching ds7 boys who are devoted to each other and constantly trying to "help" each other. The younger of them struggles with listening and comprehension, so I've had to institute some policy on how we answer questions. Granted, exuberance sometimes causes forgetfulness, but now I get an apology when someone answers out of turn or interrupts a private phonics or reading lesson. The punishment for interrupting a lesson out of turn is to go sit on their beds in their rooms alone, instead of getting to continue to play quietly inside (or loudly, outside). So far this has been about eighty percent effective, as I say, exuberance accounts for the remaining twenty.

I also require that if either one of them wants to ask a question when I am reading out loud (for a word meaning or a comment) that they should raise their hand to get my attention. I will gladly stop at the end of the sentence I am reading to answer the question. There is no punishment for these interruptions, only a reminder, and so far I have not needed to make a consequence for this.

 

Both these boys are about to finish first grade, so you can see I started kindergarten when they were late five going on six. I do think they were more mature for sitting and doing work, but I deeply regret not pushing them harder in reading when they were younger. I don't know if they would be further along now than they are, however. I just think it would have helped ME to be a better teacher of it.

 

I also would agree with stopping formal spelling, but, it never, never hurts to have a child spell an unfamiliar word when they come across it in reading.

 

As far as time goes--we are doing about five to six hours all told, and getting close to second grade work, which seems about right to me. Of course, we still take plenty of ten to twenty minute breaks between tough subjects when we need them, but it amazes me to see how they will buckle down and charge through the material if there is a cherished activity on the other end of the school day.

Edited by Critterfixer
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