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Please help me regain perspective here . . .


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Ok, I am going to come right out and say it. The L-word. My child is lazy. She does not want to do schoolwork. She wants to play outside, do craft projects, read a book, or anything besides mental work that requires effort. She is really smart, and she coasted through ps without much effort, she was never challenged and wasn't getting much out of it. I thought this was a bad thing, and knew I could do a better job giving her a thorough, complete, rigorous education.

 

But she doesn't want to do the work. If I am not either a) sitting with her while she works (i.e. math), or b) directly teaching her, she either dawdles & daydreams and gets nothing done, or she goes off to play and I have to constantly bring her back on task. This is really a big issue for me right now, because I own a business, and I have to work on Fridays (all day) and other hours during the week (around her school schedule) to keep it going. Juggling teaching and work is a huge ordeal, very worth it to give her a good education, but a lot of stress. I feel like I'm constantly shortchanging someone, either my clients or my daughter's education, and that feels awful. Not working at all is not an option financially, we have a mortgage.

 

So, I have been trying hard to assign her meaningful work - not busywork - that she can do on Fridays and at other times when I have to meet with clients, etc. Today was a disaster. She had a total meltdown in the morning when she needed to do math - it's TT, it is dead easy for her, it's just that she wanted to play and not work. Then again after lunch - I told her she needed to come in and do her history & writing, and she melted down again. Again, the work is not too hard - she just doesn't want to do it, she wants to play.

 

I'm so frustrated. I spent a big chunk of time today dealing with meltdowns. I am screaming inside, but I try and react very calmly and logically - if I come down on her hard, then she melts down over that, calling herself stupid for disappointing me, etc. and the whole dramatic ordeal just drags out longer. I give her the talk: writing is not negotiable, math is not negotiable, these are skills you must have to be a successful human being. You have to learn how to work hard in order to have anything good in life. You have developed the habit of avoiding hard work: I am trying to teach you more than just the facts, I am trying to teach you the work habits and life skills you will need to be a successful adult. Yadda yadda yadda.

 

So she's talked down, and sits down to do her work, I go off to a meeting, come home, she's at theater class, and I look at what she's written. It's crap. Excuse my French. Poorly spelled, lots of filler, no point, it is so beneath her ability level, I know she just did the minimum to fill the page. I feel like crying, I feel like yelling, I feel like giving up and sending her back to ps. What do I do? How do I address this with her? WWYD?

Edited by rroberts707
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I am not sure what the wisest path is for your situation, but here are a few ideas from our family and others I know.

 

There should be some kind of meaningful consequence if your dd does not do her work properly, meaning at the level she is capable of doing. For one family I know, if their son refused to do his work for mom during the week, he had do work with his dad on Saturday. They said they had to do two Saturdays, but then if never happened again.

 

I tell my kids that if they don't get their work done (because of dawdling), they must do it for "homework," meaning after school in the afternoon when they usually have free time and play with their friends. My kids have a mortal fear of "homework" for some reason, and this works at our house quite well.

 

Perhaps you could think of a consequence that would be mearningful for your daughter, something that would give her motivation to work (no crafts, no playing with friends, etc.).

 

When I have situations in which I don't know what to do (often), I always pray James 1:5 because that is a great promise of help:

"If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. "

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:grouphug:

 

She's not lazy, she's 9. Not only is she 9, but she's 9 and has never had to work at anything she's accomplished-it all comes easily to her. So you can't just expect her to. If it's hard, if she's going to get distracted, you need to be there, sitting with her until the habit forms that this is how the work gets done. Praise her immensely when she finishes it. Not in a patronizing way, but honestly, because at 9 that was hard work for her.

 

I would set up a reward system with her, one that works for her and that she's interested in, to help her pull out a few minutes more of effort each time until she just gets it done.

 

You cannot punish a stage away.

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I give my 8 year old a written list of assignments four days a week. At first he was overwhelmed. He was capable of finishing each list in less than an hour, but I guess he thought it would take "forever." I had him estimate how long it would take to do each thing on a list. Then he timed me as I did a math problem. He understood that if it took me 10 seconds, to do one problem, ten problems would take around 2 minutes, not 40 minutes. Because he is not as fast as I am, I wrote down that it would take him 5 minutes. We figured out how long it would really take to finish his list. I told him I hoped he would finish in less than an hour because I would rather see him play than waste his time making school work take all the livelong day. It worked!

 

The last thing on his list is "Bring me your notebook, and workbook for me to check it." I check it right then and there. He makes any corrections necessary and then he has free time.

 

I do teach him personally. I just save his seatwork for one chunk of time.

Edited by Caribbean Queen
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:grouphug:

 

She's not lazy, she's 9. Not only is she 9, but she's 9 and has never had to work at anything she's accomplished-it all comes easily to her. So you can't just expect her to. If it's hard, if she's going to get distracted, you need to be there, sitting with her until the habit forms that this is how the work gets done. Praise her immensely when she finishes it. Not in a patronizing way, but honestly, because at 9 that was hard work for her.

 

I would set up a reward system with her, one that works for her and that she's interested in, to help her pull out a few minutes more of effort each time until she just gets it done.

 

You cannot punish a stage away.

:grouphug::grouphug:

And :iagree:

 

It is not laziness, it is immaturity. There needs to be reward for a job well done and encouragement every step of the way. 9 is still a learner...a young learner...and they need minute, by minute guidance. It is hard work for the mom...and hard work for the kid. You both need a reward at the end of the week...ICE CREAM!!

Faithe

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Hm. When you go to your meeting while she does her writing, who is there with her? Can that person help out? Sometimes it's nice to have different people.

 

Also, my dd likes to earn a five minute break after each subject if she stays on task fairly well and cheerfully. She started by earning one between each subject and now she earns one about every 2-3 subjects.

 

Also, she has a checklist so she knows what is expected. Your dd might like Sue Patrick's Workbox system, if the checklist is hard for her.

 

Lastly, my dd loves working with me, and loves PLL, it's just such a natural sweet LA program. She Hates Kumon which has endless rows of the same thing. So I designed next year's curricula to take what I now know about her into consideration. She likes variety, hates repetitive stuff, and prefers working with people if at all possible. Knowing your dd can make your life easier. Analyze what she hates so much about TT.

 

My kids both took the TT demos and they both HATeD it! Why? Because it took way more time than reading a Lesson on their own and jumping into the problems. And they never felt that they could "see" their accomplishment, or how much work was left. So the graphics and cute penguin held no interest for them. Go figure.

 

Also, maybe she's not ready for rigor. My dd is a bright, sensible, girl- everything she touches turns to gold. But she will NOT be pushed! She freezes up and withdraws interest. Only gentle nudges, with social interaction mover her. She has still accomplished a lot and I'm ok with that.

 

Not every kid is a driven overachiever. If my dd wants to be an elementary art teacher even though her IQ is in the 130 range,(enough to study medicine or law or whatever) I'm ok with that.

 

God has a plan and a purpose for every child. Be in prayer that He will give you wisdom.

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I'm sorry. That isn't "lazy." That's a smart kid who doesn't want to do work that isn't challenging to her. You might think you're challenging her, but you aren't.

 

Or it could be that she does need discipline. That still doesn't mean that she's "lazy." It means that she's a child, and she needs to be directed, and instructed, and given ways to be accountable for her work, in ways that you are not doing it now.

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Suggestion for Fridays.

 

Since it is a day you have to work, why not give her either a free day, since it isn't a productive day anyway, and many families successfully school 4 days a week. Or, a fun day of activities. Puzzles, craft projects, free reading. Or a light school day, such as projects. I use a hectic mom day, for a day my youngest pulls together her projects. All the pieces for a poster board are fine tuned and assembled. Starting a new book for book report(book reports can be fun!).

 

She is 9. Some of it, i would agree is immaturity, but some of it may indeed be not wanting to try. You know your child best.

 

Try some physical activity before starting the school day. i have started this recently. DD8 loves it. DD12 more reluctant to get involved, but she can't resist all of it when dd8 and I are giggling like wild things at ourselves. She joins in. I find dd8 focuses much better after 30 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity. Let me tell ya, the ants are outta her pants after 3 sets of 60 hops and a game of tag. LOL. She's more willing to sit with a water bottle and do her lessons. I skipped our 'phys ed' today, she didn't do much work, and complained she couldn't concentrate.

 

Plan a reward for the end of the week. If it's a good consistent effort all week, then Friday after dinner it's a trip to the park, pool, for ice cream ________fill in the blank_____. If it's a bad week, then it's homework on the weekend. She'll figure what she likes best in a hurry.

 

It'll take time to retrain her behaviors. one of our homeschool boards here, has an assessment for families to use. I think it's pretty cool, as it's not all about grades. Assessment I thought it was really relevant to what I deal with with my crew, and you might find it interesting too.

 

She'll improve and regress. I struggle with that all the time, even the 17yo regresses, (heck, even dh does!). Just when you think you got it figured out, they return to old habits. I wish there was an operating manual for the kids, but I doubt they'd read it:glare:

 

This will pass, it will improve, it will regress, but in the long term, you'll all be better for it.

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I also think age/immaturity has a lot to do with it. Being able to work unsupervised takes training and practice and lots of mom-patience.

 

I would add that there is a difference in expectations--what she expects vs. what you expect. It sounds like your expectations are surprising and therefore frustrating to her. She finished a task, she goes to play, thinking perhaps her time is hers--only to have her time interrupted, her thoughts interrupted, her goals and desires interrupted... (I'm speaking from her perspective here--it can help if you think about how you feel when you have your time planned out and someone or something interrupts it and totally changes your day's schedule for you).

 

There are ways that you can make expectations very clear to her. A visual stack of the work to be done--though that can be overwhelming. A check-list of assignments--breaks things down more but is a little less concrete. Workboxes--of these 3 methods, this one worked the best here. Workboxes are like a 3-D schedule. You get the visual of what needs to be done and what you have accomplished already, broken down into bite-sized pieces (one thing at a time), plus everything that's needed for one subject is in that box--cuts down on distractions and lost items. When the boxes are done, then it's free-time to pursue her interests, play, desires, and so on. Workboxes concretely establish the goals and expectations, and after you work with her through the boxes, she'll get the hang of it and be able to do more on her own.

 

I agree that praise is going to work better than consequences for this age, other than the natural consequence of not being able to go play until the boxes are done. If she does go play while you meet with a client, then call her back and help her get back on track. This is going to be one of those "walk with her" types of things, and training won't happen overnight.

 

One more thought I'll add: laziness and distractible are not the same thing. The child who daydreams is actively using her mind, just not for school work. This could be a right brain vs. left brain type of response, or it could also be a form of ADHD. Workboxes can be a great strategy to employ for either.

 

Anyway...hang in there! You might consider going to a 4-day schedule, or only doing half-days on Friday, and not assigning the subjects that she struggles with more on those days. Keep those subjects for days when you are more available.

 

Merry :-)

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Oh another thought. DD8 loves being able to do the 'corrections' of her work. I give her the answer key and a red pen. On the subjects I let her correct, I notice she does much better work. She is honest and marks things wrong. Then she can correct and circle the 'x' to show me she's revised it. I think we learned this with the CLE workbooks. It works well.

 

You said it's below her level, perhaps it's time accelerate and find where her level IS, so she can be challenged or 'dared' to do better work.

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She sounds a lot like my 10 yo dd. I am still learning how to deal with my dd. She's very bright, but not particularly motivated or driven.

 

She freezes up with writing assignments. If things are not broken up into manageable chunks, she gets overwhelmed, feels like she can't do it, and turns in inferior work (when she doesn't just wander off to do something less overwhelming). She is perfectly capable of writing stories that are several pages long, but only when she is confident in her abilities. Most of the time she feels insecure and perfectionistic, and it's a struggle to get 2 paragraphs out of her. If I need to have her complete a rough daft on her own, I try to make it very clear that it will be just a rough draft, and that we will be revising it together later. I am also learning how to be positive during the revision process, remembering that this is a learning process for her, and that she has years to learn how to be a consistently good writer.

 

Sometimes, I've found that fewer, but more challenging problems are better for her. We've been using TT6 for a few months now, and she has realized that underneath all the bells and whistles, it's still math--and rather tedious easy-to-do math at that. At the beginning when everything was still review, I told her to skip the assignments and just do chapter tests until she got to something she didn't already know how to do. (If she had scored less than 90% on any of those chapter tests, I would have asked her to go back and do at least some of the lessons in the chapter). Some days I let her do a page (3 problems) of Singapore's Challenging Word Problems instead of TT. I have to work through most of them with her (they really are difficult), but it's a nice break from doing lots of easy problems.

 

If she likes to read, can you let Fridays be a reading day? Hand her a stack of books and a checklist of chapters to read, and then let her narrate to you when you come home at the end of the day. You could also assign other "fun" work that she will complete reliably. My dd loves logic puzzles, history pockets, and Life of Fred, and she will happily work on them for hours.

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I disagree with the people who think it's not laziness. I think it is.

 

Full disclosure: I am a very lazy person.

 

I get a lot done. I work, I grocery shop, I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I teach my kids, I do paperwork and drive kids around and go to doctor appointments and generally keep my family going in the right direction.

 

I would much rather lie around reading a book, play on the computer, or take a nap. I have to consciously fight the urge to blow off my responsibilities. I am not someone who thrives on being busy and productive. I'd prefer to be lazy.

 

Some people are lazy. Some are better at fighting it than others.

 

Your dd may be too immature to work on her own, but she is certainly not too immature to behave herself. I would probably stop assigning work for her if you're not there to supervise. Then I would talk with her and set out your behavioral expectations (no meltdowns ... that's four year old territory) and the consequences for failing to meet them.

 

You don't have to be a completely rigid hard@$$, but I would make plain to my child that privileges depend on taking care of responsibilities. My kids know that sometimes they just have to suck it up and do it (whatever "it" is) because it's what's expected of them and their responsibility. Even if they don't like it.

 

I don't think we do our kids any favors when we let them use obnoxious behavior to drive the bus (figuratively speaking).

 

Oh, and cut the explanations. Your dd knows why.

 

Tara

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That sounds so familiar. Lately dd has gotten really bad when I ask her to do something- tears, foot stomping and "I don't want to!". Same kind of deal, she was in ps and never challenged at all and now balks every time I ask her to think rather than spoon-feeding her. Unfortunately I don't have any good solutions yet.

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Right now, I'm just going to say thank you all, every one of you, so much for the thoughtful answers. I read through them all, some made me tear up, some made me laugh, but altogether it makes me think I can do this thing . . . so thank you. Now, I'm going to go put my girls to bed and cry on my dh's shoulder. . . tomorrow, I am going to read through all these again, carefully, and take notes, and make some plans. But for tonight, thank you for helping me get through a rough day! I love you all!!!

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My 9-year-old is like this, too, and I've tried lots of different plans, but we still struggle. I know that it is a phase, but I also know that there is some character development that needs to happen at this time. :grouphug: I'm going to focus on reading some stories (at our devotional) with main characters who work hard... I believe that 9-year-olds are capable of working hard, as long as there is plenty of time for play, too. It just can't be playtime all the time!

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I disagree with the people who think it's not laziness. I think it is.

 

Full disclosure: I am a very lazy person.

 

I get a lot done. I work, I grocery shop, I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I teach my kids, I do paperwork and drive kids around and go to doctor appointments and generally keep my family going in the right direction.

 

I would much rather lie around reading a book, play on the computer, or take a nap. I have to consciously fight the urge to blow off my responsibilities. I am not someone who thrives on being busy and productive. I'd prefer to be lazy.

 

Some people are lazy. Some are better at fighting it than others.

 

Your dd may be too immature to work on her own, but she is certainly not too immature to behave herself. I would probably stop assigning work for her if you're not there to supervise. Then I would talk with her and set out your behavioral expectations (no meltdowns ... that's four year old territory) and the consequences for failing to meet them.

 

You don't have to be a completely rigid hard@$$, but I would make plain to my child that privileges depend on taking care of responsibilities. My kids know that sometimes they just have to suck it up and do it (whatever "it" is) because it's what's expected of them and their responsibility. Even if they don't like it.

 

I don't think we do our kids any favors when we let them use obnoxious behavior to drive the bus (figuratively speaking).

 

Oh, and cut the explanations. Your dd knows why.

 

Tara

 

I think this is a lot of good advice, especially the bolded part. It sounds like the problem has a little to do with lack of stamina to sit at a desk and do independent work (which she will be able do at her age with training over time), but it is more of a behavioral issue. You could try to deal with the behavioral issue through rewards, but personally I think that is unlikely to work. Taking away a privilege(s) would be more effective IMO.

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My 8yo is exactly like you describe, only we've homeschooled the whole time. Maybe it's age, maybe it's a lack of habits, maybe it's laziness. I don't know.

 

Here's what works for my daughter:

(1) Bribes. Totally works. I know it's not the best parenting tactic, but she learned to read on bribes. She loves that she earned the money to buy her own bike. She was 5. She earned it by reading. :D She also likes stickers, dark chocolate, and ice cream.

(2) Army-sergeant style support. After we've explained and coaxed our way into oblivion, if we do some good, supportive, loud "coaxing" she gets a lot of work done. Think of a yelling-style volume, but the words are "You can do it!"

(3) Electronics. Her French gets done if it's a movie/tv show or on the iPad. Her math gets done fairly well on the iPad. We're not using TT, but MEP, and while there aren't cute penguins it's a good program. A lot of the time it's a challenge, which is good for her.

(4) Assigning readings for when I'm busy. I don't do paid work but I have a couple time-consuming volunteer gigs, and on those days I try to be sure she's got most of her reading stacked up for that time. She enjoys reading, so it's a pretty sure way of getting her to actually get work done when I'm not available.

(5) Clear associations between her getting her work done and playing with friends. Sweetie is very very very people-oriented, so when she decided to play legos all morning, when we walked over to a friend's house and she couldn't play (but her little sister could) she could see what she was missing. I'll also make her pack her school work with us when we go to the homeschool parkday if she hasn't finished it yet, and make her do it while everyone else plays. I know it seems kinda mean, but it is one of the few ways I've found to both show her the consequences of not doing her work while meeting her sister's social/play needs (and mine!)

(6) If I've explained something several times before, I will tell her to just do it, that I'm not explaining anymore.

 

I feel for you. I really do. It's not a fun job sometimes. I've also started telling my daughter about that. I'll point out to her how her behavior has changed my attitude negatively. I'll also try to give her other possible (positive) behaviors she could have expressed, because I know that sometimes when she's feeling upset about something it helps if I give her a "picture" of other possible responses.

 

Good luck!

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Glad you got a lot of helpful replies.

 

Just adding a thought - if Fridays are challenging for you due to your work, maybe you could declare Friday as the weekly day off and move Friday's schedule to Saturday, when you can work with your dd?

 

Hope you figure out the solutions for your family.

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Ok, I am going to come right out and say it. The L-word. My child is lazy. She does not want to do schoolwork. She wants to play outside, do craft projects, read a book, or anything besides mental work that requires effort.

 

But she doesn't want to do the work. If I am not either a) sitting with her while she works (i.e. math), or b) directly teaching her, she either dawdles & daydreams and gets nothing done, or she goes off to play and I have to constantly bring her back on task.

 

I agree that you have a training & maturity issue. Up until 2 weeks ago, my 9yo sounded exactly like your description. Exactly. I paired down my requirements and started training her to work - work with effort, apply herself, and work independently. My 9yo turns 10 next month. In the past 2 weeks we have had a dramatic change of course. My dd is starting to have fun being smart. She is staying on task, even when I leave to change a diaper. With the changes I am seeing now, I have high hopes for 5th grade.

 

So, anyway, I encourage you to work with your dd. Step back with schoolwork and work on training her how to work. A little training combined with additional maturity may change course for you too.

 

Oh...training, punishment, lectures, etc didn't budge my 9yo. I changed my focus from punitive to nurturing, and it is working! I don't give rewards, but extra play time and a happy mom are natural rewards. You can do it too!

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Your dd sounds very much like my dd8: very smart, on the lazy side, needs me next to her, doodler, lost in thought (or something), wants to play and not work. Ahhhh.....

 

So, I've tried 3 marks and you lose something. I've tried rewards (immediate and end of the week). And the most recent (this week) is checklists. Evaluation: :) punishment, when given immediately, causes a meltdown and loss of any possible productivity. Delayed punishment hasn't been very effective either because I either forget or she redeems herself to some degree. Rewards: VERY effective but it bothers me to have to offer a reward for everything. DD8 is very motivated by rewards. I should probably plan more rewards than I do but she then begins to expect them, ask for them and pout when I say "no" to rewards. She does need to learn to work because it must be done and not because she's winning candy or something else that costs me money.

 

Finally, this week I tried something different. I created a checklist for the work I wanted her to do on her own (independent work). I made a cute checklist (clip art) with two columns. The first is the "Must Do" and the second is "Optional." She has a certain amount of time (1 hour) and, when she finishes the first column, she can choose from the second column. Her must do list includes: cursive, geography (doing an assignment with a map) alternated with history vocabulary, coop homework, and a math page (I make this with 6-8 questions to get her brain started and add math to our day - I've found word problems bring meltdowns so I'll have to work up to those). She's been finishing in 45 minutes and then picks something from the computer (Mark Kistler art, Reading Eggspress, Timez Attack, or Dance Mat Typing). This seemed to be enough "reward" for her this week. She really wanted to get to the optional items. I then give her 15-20 minutes on her optional choice.

 

I do sit with her for nearly all of her subjects. Honestly, the curriculum we use is teacher-intensive so I have to be with her. I'm hoping that my checklist will begin to teach her to work independently. She just doesn't do it naturally (my dd5 does). She wants me to hold her hand and I guess I'm coming to the realization that that is ok at 8yo.

 

We school 4 days each week because we have a coop. I'm with the recommendation that you don't school on Fridays unless it's the supplemental or supportive assignments that don't require you (in her mind). Maybe for the rest of the week you could try putting all her subjects on a checklist and optional fun things on another. You could give her your expectations (time, attitude, etc.) and, if she does those things then she can choose from the optional items. That would mean that you could sit with her at the beginning of the school day, work through the items on the checklist, and then go do your work when she hits the optional items. That may feel like a reward to her. Maybe you could throw in a couple independent work items before the optional to see if it can help her work without you. I also like the idea of rewarding with ice cream (or something she really likes) at the end of a full successful week.

 

FWIW, you're not alone. I agree that this sounds like lazy behavior. It may be common in children this age but not all children resist work so adamantly. I'm trying to be more patient and teach my dd independence. It's not easy. :001_smile:

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Just another word to say that bribes and incentives are different.

 

The usual practice of offering bribes to get a certain behavior usually backfires in the end. An example would be something like telling your toddler that if he doesn't scream and yell in the grocery store today, you are going to buy him a lollipop.

 

On the other hand incentives can be very good and motivating. An incentive is when the parent offers the child a reward for doing the hard work of learning a new skill. An example could be that the parent tells the child that if he can learn to swim all the way across the pool, he will be rewarded with a snorkel mask. Another example in the OP's case would be to offer an incentive for dd to learn to sit at her desk/table for one hour and do good, quality, independent work. This sounds like it would be new skill for her to learn since it as not yet been required of her. Offering an incentive for working up to this may be an effecitve strategy. However, I would warn not to get into the situation where the only way to get the child to work independently is to offer rewards, which would ending up being bribes.

 

Anther idea of the previous poster was along the line of good incentives. Giving a list of required work and optional fun work is a good idea. Dd then has an incentive to get the hard, required work done so that she can have time to do the fun activity.

 

Just some thoughts. We also have one kid who is very smart and tough. It takes a lot of thinking and strategy to find the best way to deal with some of these situations.

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:grouphug:

 

She's not lazy, she's 9. Not only is she 9, but she's 9 and has never had to work at anything she's accomplished-it all comes easily to her. So you can't just expect her to. If it's hard, if she's going to get distracted, you need to be there, sitting with her until the habit forms that this is how the work gets done. Praise her immensely when she finishes it. Not in a patronizing way, but honestly, because at 9 that was hard work for her.

 

I would set up a reward system with her, one that works for her and that she's interested in, to help her pull out a few minutes more of effort each time until she just gets it done.

 

You cannot punish a stage away.

 

:iagree:

 

And I have a really smart nine year old. I'm finding that looking At other kids his age I think "wow, they are so young!", but not mine. So I'm giving more direction. I'm mentoring more. I'm cherishing the time.

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Your daughter seems so very much like my oldest 9 year old boy. At first, your experience was very much my experience with homeschooling my kiddos. I then have made some adaptations to how we do our day, when we do our day, and other areas of our household chores, etc.

 

Each child is assigned a chore that assists me with the overload of mess they create. When I get up in the morning, we all have our leisurely morning time with watching a bit of news and tv, eating breakfast and just waking up. We then turn off all tv, get dressed and complete our assigned chores. We may not start our actual schooling until 9:30 or 10 but by the time we start, the house is somewhat decent so I am not distracted by chores myself.

 

I have also stopped giving them an "amount" of work to complete but I use an old-fashioned "ticking" kitchen timer per subject that they do independently. So for TT3, my oldest will sit down, turn the timer to 30 minutes and work. The ticking somehow makes him focus and get busy. He knows if he doesn't work at all, he will have to reset his timer and start again after other subjects are completed. If its a harder lesson, he finishes less, if its easier he finishes more but its no longer looking at a huge amount of information to cover but just looking at a time frame and that doesn't make him as upset.

 

He then gets a break for five minutes for legos, free reading or indoor play time. I don't send them outside in the midst of lessons or the others indoor are distracted and wanting to go out and it's harder to reel him back in after he "escaped".

 

We break for lunch and eat it outside if it is nice. They can play as a group for about ten minutes before we "start" our timers again. I also save our "group" lessons of SOTW, Science or MCT as last lessons of the day.

 

Even after our day is complete, there is still no tv or gaming on xbox, etc. until after 5pm. If they finish at 2pm and want to play outside the entire evening, so be it.

 

I also use many of the Love and Logic techniques such as when there is a struggle or meltdown, I say "awe, bummer. Stinks to have to do school work when its so pretty outside?"

 

My oldest also knows that fridays are easy days of Math and Reading only. IF he doesn't work well throughout the week, Friday will end up being a full day and he definitely doesn't want that.

 

I found that when I took the enormous checklists away that seemed overwhelming and impossible and replaced it with the notion of "just 30 minutes" and when I put the responsibility to complete their work in their hands; the struggles deminish. I also found that structured breaks made it easier to reel them back in for studies.

 

I am also ever present with all four of them throughout the "school day". I can't do chores while they work independently or they day dream or slow down but if my presence is there; they do better. The only independent work my 9 year old is doing at the moment is TT, Reading and Handwriting. All other subjects are group discussions and activities together.

 

ETA: WOW, sorry for the novel :p

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I would make fridays a reading, art, craft day. She isn't lazy she has preferences. someone who is lazy doesn't want to read or do art, they want to do nothing. At her age you could easily do everything in 4 days a week, then do projects/art/reading/documentaries on friday.

 

Also listen to Susan Wise Bauer's lecture on fostering independence in learning.

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I just noticed you have you 9 year old in 3 math, 3 grammar and 2 science programs. Perhaps it would be better for you and your daughter to streamline things and assign less seatwork.

 

True dat. I hadn't noticed that. Maybe she's overwhelmed by the amount of work she has to do. You do have her doing 13 different programs. That seems like overkill to me. My dd9 does seven programs total, plus memory work.

 

Tara

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How many hrs/day are you working? How many hrs/day do you expect her to do school?

 

Perhaps what is needed is a creative solution. For example, for 2 yrs my kids had outside activities that consumed hrs every day (non-school related). In order to meet our educational objectives, we got up a 5 and worked non-stop until 10 and resumed when we returned late in the afternoon. When I have interrupting toddlers, we use early hrs to have quiet, interrupted school time while the little one is still sleeping, etc.

 

FWIW, 4 hrs for a 4th grader would be on target. You could split it into 2 targeted hrs in the morning and 2 targeted hrs in the evening. She could have the hrs that you work for doing projects, reading, or just playing. THe hrs that she is doing school, you are physically present beside her.

 

Since you have to work all day on Friday, don't do school on Fridays. You can do focused math/LA on the weekend.

 

If you really want homeschooling to work, I think the answer lies in stepping outside the standard school hrs scenario and finding something that fits for your family. I don't think the problem falls on the inability of a 9 yr old to stay focused when unsupervised. :grouphug:

Edited by 8FillTheHeart
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I'm posting her curricula that you listed in your sig:

 

DD9: MM4, TT5 & LOF Edgewood; FLL4, Grammar Land, MCT-Sentence Island & WWE3/4; Lively Latin 1; Mind Benders, Building Thinking Skills 2; SOTW 3; BFSU II, RS4K-Biology. Read-Aloud: The Wind in the Willows

 

Are you interested in hearing how others might streamline this?

 

For a bright but reluctant 9yo, I might pare it down to:

 

Math: MM4

Grammar: FLL4

Writing: WWE3/4

Latin: Lively Latin 1

History and Geography: SOTW 3

Science: RS4K-Biology

Literature Read-Aloud

 

Drop all but one math, all but one grammar, and all but one science. Drop thinking skills programs, because if you could get her to think about her grammar and Latin she would be getting more thinking skills than she is right now. What you are left with is still quite rigorous, I promise.

 

:grouphug: It is so hard when we homeschool Moms have to focus on responsibilities other than homeschooling. I hope things get easier for you and your dd, very soon.

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I'm posting her curricula that you listed in your sig:

 

DD9: MM4, TT5 & LOF Edgewood; FLL4, Grammar Land, MCT-Sentence Island & WWE3/4; Lively Latin 1; Mind Benders, Building Thinking Skills 2; SOTW 3; BFSU II, RS4K-Biology. Read-Aloud: The Wind in the Willows

 

Are you interested in hearing how others might streamline this?

 

For a bright but reluctant 9yo, I might pare it down to:

 

Math: MM4

Grammar: FLL4

Writing: WWE3/4

Latin: Lively Latin 1

History and Geography: SOTW 3

Science: RS4K-Biology

Literature Read-Aloud

 

Drop all but one math, all but one grammar, and all but one science. Drop thinking skills programs, because if you could get her to think about her grammar and Latin she would be getting more thinking skills than she is right now. What you are left with is still quite rigorous, I promise.

 

:grouphug: It is so hard when we homeschool Moms have to focus on responsibilities other than homeschooling. I hope things get easier for you and your dd, very soon.

:iagree::iagree: And I am one who uses a fair amount of curricula! But I have been trying this semester to pare it down for my 9 year old, and I think it's working. He is able to drill down in a more focused manner on the particular topics we're using. I wouldn't say we're schooling less, but....

 

I work on Thursday and Monday afternoons, and I recognize that those days are going to be a bit lighter in content. I have to schedule that in, and it's been hard to accept that we can't get to everything, every day. But it's okay. My boys are still learning.

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Once again, thank you all for taking the time to give such thoughtful and helpful replies & suggestions. I went through all of the replies with a pad and paper, and took notes. I also listened to SWB's lecture on fostering independent learning. Preliminary conclusions:

  • Ok, she isn't lazy. She is 9. However, without appropriate training in how to work, hard, independently, even when she doesn't feel like it, she *will* be lazy when she is 19! ;) So training is in order.
  • I have had unrealistic expectations about the ability of a child this age to work independently *without training.* As I read these replies, and listened to SWB, I realize that I am a "parent at elbow" 4 days a week, and then expecting to be a "start & end of day parent" on Fridays. Without going through the slow, incremental steps of training that it requires to get from point A to point B. Y'all had great suggestions about how to start implementing that training, and ideas of how to restructure Fridays in the meanwhile.
  • Oh, and the paper wasn't actually crap, when I read it again. It wasn't great, and there were a *ton* of words misspelled that should not have been (yes, this I think is laziness), but it was "bad" only in that she was trying to do something that she doesn't know how (read: hasn't been taught) to do yet. I want her to focus on writing summaries, a la WWE, but she wanted to write more of an idea-based analysis (she had read about Roanoke, and was really fascinated by what happened to the colonists, and wanted to write about that. She did an untrained-4th-graders version of that, not a great summary like I know she is capable of). I'm not sure what to do about this - the desire to jump ahead without mastering the steps that come before - and suggestions are welcome. In the short term, I will go over her paper with her on Monday, and talk about how you do what she was trying to do in a supportive and helpful way, and help her revise it and turn it into a solid, stage-appropriate piece of writing. I will also make her copy the misspelled words 10x, or something, because that level of inattention to details she *should* have mastered is unacceptable, I think.

BTW, I am not actually *doing* 9 or 13 or whatever programs all at once :D. I do use parts of multiple programs for different purposes (i.e. MM is our main math program, TT is for review/independent work, and Fred is for fun & giggles), or for reinforcement (we recently decided to take a break from FLL to do Grammar-Land, for a fun & pleasant reinforcement of the grammar concepts), or as spin-offs (BFSU is our science, and we are incorporating some RS4K activities during B-thread). We haven't been at this for long, and I am really working hard to find the right style, level, and presentation of materials to best engage DD, so there is some experimentation going on, for sure. I'm not rigidly attached to anything I'm using, I'm trying very hard to figure out how to appropriately challenge a very smart girl who has ps-gaps in some areas, but who is also very accelerated in others. And who developed a lot of bad habits after 4 years of ps-work that was so easy that she was *never* challenged.

 

Anyway, thanks again to everyone, and any more ideas would be really welcome. Part of my problem is recognizing dd's asynchrony: she is so bright, so articulate, so mature, such a great vocabulary, etc. that sometimes it is hard to realize that she is *just 9* and that she doesn't always immediately, intuitively understand my expectations. And, that I am naturally really lazy, too, and I don't want her to fall into that trap, so maybe there is some projection & overreaction on my part. It is really all about me improving: being a better teacher, a better parent, a better psychologist, etc., and I'm committed to doing it. Thanks again.

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I disagree with the people who think it's not laziness. I think it is.

 

Full disclosure: I am a very lazy person. Me too!:D

 

I get a lot done. I work, I grocery shop, I cook, I clean, I do laundry, I teach my kids, I do paperwork and drive kids around and go to doctor appointments and generally keep my family going in the right direction.

 

I would much rather lie around reading a book, play on the computer, or take a nap. I have to consciously fight the urge to blow off my responsibilities. I am not someone who thrives on being busy and productive. I'd prefer to be lazy.

 

Some people are lazy. Some are better at fighting it than others.

 

Your dd may be too immature to work on her own, but she is certainly not too immature to behave herself. I would probably stop assigning work for her if you're not there to supervise. Then I would talk with her and set out your behavioral expectations (no meltdowns ... that's four year old territory) and the consequences for failing to meet them.

 

Just to be fair to DD - when I say "meltdown" I don't mean tantrum. I agree, that is completely unacceptable 4-year-old territory. She does more of an emotional collapse: I'm an idiot, I disappointed you, I'm worthless, What's wrong with me . . . I actually find this even harder to deal with. I try not to go into reassurrance mode, which deflects the point I'm trying to get across, which I suspect is part of the unconcious strategy on her part . . . :glare:. I try and just be very matter of fact about it, as in You aren't an idiot, you just haven't learned how to work hard and exercise your brain. You need to do that because yadda yadda yadda. But it is exhausting (and time consuming) to go through this repeatedly. Like you said below, maybe unecessary. She knows . . .

 

You don't have to be a completely rigid hard@$$, but I would make plain to my child that privileges depend on taking care of responsibilities. My kids know that sometimes they just have to suck it up and do it (whatever "it" is) because it's what's expected of them and their responsibility. Even if they don't like it.

 

I don't think we do our kids any favors when we let them use obnoxious behavior to drive the bus (figuratively speaking). I agree completely.

 

Oh, and cut the explanations. Your dd knows why.

 

Tara

 

Thanks for this!

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How many hrs/day are you working? How many hrs/day do you expect her to do school?

 

If you really want homeschooling to work, I think the answer lies in stepping outside the standard school hrs scenario and finding something that fits for your family. I don't think the problem falls on the inability of a 9 yr old to stay focused when unsupervised. :grouphug:

 

I hear that. I will continue to play with the schedule. We do about 4-5 hours, 4 days a week, together and then I usually assign her about 2 hours worth of work on Friday - a TT lesson, a reading/summary writing assignment, and some other reading. It doesn't seem excessive to me . . . but there may be a better way to use Fridays.

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Thanks for this!

 

You're welcome! I have a dd17 whom we adopted as a pre-teen. I spent years (literally, years) explaining myself and re-explaining myself and re-re-explaining myself, because once never seemed to be enough. When we finally got into post-adoption counseling, the FIRST thing that the counselor asked was, "Do you think your dd is a) too cognitively impaired or b) not proficient enough in English to understand you?" (At the time dd was still learning English.) When I said no, she said, "Then stop the multiple explanations. They are her tool to deflect the focus of the conversation. Say it once."

 

I told dd she would now get one explanation and one chance to ask questions. That was all. And it did help.

 

Tara

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I'm posting her curricula that you listed in your sig:

 

DD9: MM4, TT5 & LOF Edgewood; FLL4, Grammar Land, MCT-Sentence Island & WWE3/4; Lively Latin 1; Mind Benders, Building Thinking Skills 2; SOTW 3; BFSU II, RS4K-Biology. Read-Aloud: The Wind in the Willows

 

Are you interested in hearing how others might streamline this?

 

For a bright but reluctant 9yo, I might pare it down to:

 

Math: MM4

Grammar: FLL4

Writing: WWE3/4

Latin: Lively Latin 1

History and Geography: SOTW 3

Science: RS4K-Biology

Literature Read-Aloud

 

Drop all but one math, all but one grammar, and all but one science. Drop thinking skills programs, because if you could get her to think about her grammar and Latin she would be getting more thinking skills than she is right now. What you are left with is still quite rigorous, I promise.

 

:grouphug: It is so hard when we homeschool Moms have to focus on responsibilities other than homeschooling. I hope things get easier for you and your dd, very soon.

 

Thank you for the suggestions. I am interested in hearing anything people think might be helpful! One of the perils of the Hive is that you keep learning about new programs, new curricula, and new gotta-haves. I probably have some newbie-syndrome mixed in with an honest desire to experiment and try different things, searching for the best fit for dd in all the different areas.

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I just noticed you have you 9 year old in 3 math, 3 grammar and 2 science programs. Perhaps it would be better for you and your daughter to streamline things and assign less seatwork.

Yikes that's what I was thinking. There is no way I would ask my 11 year old to do all that, none the less a 9 year old. Seems a bit overkill. I would for sure scale back and just hit the basics before I add in other stuff. I just dropped latin b/c...well.....it's an extra they will get down the line with Latin Road. Classical and rigorous sound really good but do not mesh well with all kids and all families.

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Some kids are more social leraners than others. My 8th grader does his math independently, but he gains greater understanding when he discusses it with the family. Talking about it helps solidify the concepts. When we don't talk about it, he says he feels as though he is just going through the motions.

 

I agree with pps about dropping academics on Friday. I think it would be a great time for arts/music and listening to audio books.

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I would make fridays a reading, art, craft day. She isn't lazy she has preferences. someone who is lazy doesn't want to read or do art, they want to do nothing. At her age you could easily do everything in 4 days a week, then do projects/art/reading/documentaries on friday.

:iagree:

and maybe make part of that as a reward for having done other things well on previous days. But also letting it be things she can do on her own on a day you cannot easily help her seems to make sense. And if that is just reading, well, some of us don't have children who can read without our help, so feel glad you do, IMO. Maybe what is read could be by agreement.

 

We have spill overs of work to weekend if things do not get done on weekdays. And some days it is a deliberate and allowed deferral because, say, it is wonderful weather and makes sense to be out playing when able to be...and then to be in working when not able to be out. In fact, come to think of it, it is almost always deliberate when things are left...if it starts looking like there is going to be too much for the weekend the answer is "no". But, regular school has snow days and such, and we have snow play and sun play time too. That is okay so long as the basics that need to be done do get done.

 

 

Also listen to Susan Wise Bauer's lecture on fostering independence in learning.

 

This sounds good. Where is this?

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How many hrs/day are you working? How many hrs/day do you expect her to do school?

 

Perhaps what is needed is a creative solution. For example, for 2 yrs my kids had outside activities that consumed hrs every day (non-school related). In order to meet our educational objectives, we got up a 5 and worked non-stop until 10 and resumed when we returned late in the afternoon. When I have interrupting toddlers, we use early hrs to have quiet, interrupted school time while the little one is still sleeping, etc.

 

FWIW, 4 hrs for a 4th grader would be on target. You could split it into 2 targeted hrs in the morning and 2 targeted hrs in the evening. She could have the hrs that you work for doing projects, reading, or just playing. THe hrs that she is doing school, you are physically present beside her.

 

Since you have to work all day on Friday, don't do school on Fridays. You can do focused math/LA on the weekend.

 

If you really want homeschooling to work, I think the answer lies in stepping outside the standard school hrs scenario and finding something that fits for your family. I don't think the problem falls on the inability of a 9 yr old to stay focused when unsupervised. :grouphug:

 

Yes, this makes sense. A family I know who does hs and also is starting a home business found that what worked for them was to do school with the child in morning, and then send her out to play and do the home business 5 days per week in the afternoons.

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I don't have time to read all the responses but I was thinking maybe it would help to have your dd provide some input into topics of interest or activities that could still be considered learning to do on Friday...maybe some topics she'd like to read something short about, watching a neat science or history video, craft projects, or other thing she might consider "fun."

 

We school 4 days a week Monday through Thursday and our Fridays are mostly taken up with music activities from about noon on...so in the mornings I allow dd time to pursue her own interests like these. Sometimes the things she does have to do with what we are studying, rabbit trails she wants to follow, and sometimes they are completely "off topic" but often the best learning comes from learning things she is motivated to learn on her own.

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