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happysmileylady

When an assignment takes 2 to 3 times as long as it should..

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What do you do?  Especially if the reason it is taking so long has nothing to do with the assignment itself and everything to do with how many times the child goes potty, sharpens her pencil, drops her pencil, searches for a specific color of colored pencil, etc etc etc.

 

Do you stop them and make them finish another time?  Make them sit there till it's done?  

 

Honestly, it's just driving me crazy that it is taking her this long.  If she would quit dawdling, she would be done already.  Like 45 minutes ago lol.

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For one of my kids, I would assign it as homework when dad got home. I don’t think it would be effective with my other two kids. 

Sometimes I’ll ask my son, do you think you would focus better after some jumping jacks? He usually can. If this is an off day I might tell my child that we are going to finish early because we all need a break.

If it’s a habit, I’d figure out if the child is bored, over their head, just needs some tools in place so they aren’t tempted to get up. For instance I don’t let my kids pick up dropped pencils or sharpen them mid-lesson. I keep a ton of sharpened pencils in the middle of the table so they can keep going. 

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How old is she?  Does she have ADHD?

My oldest was like that until he was medicated for the ADHD and then he was able to work steadily and get things done in a reasonable timeframe.

The issue now that he’s in high school is that I’m realizing he probably has low processing speed.  So he works diligently, but is just slooow (Reading a chemistry text is sloooow.  Reading a novel is sloooow.  Calculating an equation is sloooow.).   I’m having him tested this year for it.

So...could just be very young.  Could be ADHD.  Could be the material is booooring to her.  Could be the matieral is too easy or too hard. Could be that she’s just not self-disciplined enough to do the work and with time and practice and gentle correction she’ll learn how to focus.  

My first step would be to figure out what all the distractions are and tell her ahead of time:  “Empty out your bladder, sharpen these 5 pencils, get your colored pencils on the table.  Once we start, there is no getting up at all.”  And then gently enforce your “no getting up” rule.

Edited by Garga
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6 minutes ago, Rachel said:

For one of my kids, I would assign it as homework when dad got home. I don’t think it would be effective with my other two kids. 

Sometimes I’ll ask my son, do you think you would focus better after some jumping jacks? He usually can. If this is an off day I might tell my child that we are going to finish early because we all need a break.

If it’s a habit, I’d figure out if the child is bored, over their head, just needs some tools in place so they aren’t tempted to get up. For instance I don’t let my kids pick up dropped pencils or sharpen them mid-lesson. I keep a ton of sharpened pencils in the middle of the table so they can keep going. 

It is a habit, but it's mostly that she just doesn't want to do the work.  If she wants to do it, she can fly through it, if she doesn't want to do it, she does whatever she can to avoid doing it-procrastinating.  

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3 minutes ago, Garga said:

How old is she?  Does she have ADHD?

 

My first step would be to figure out what all the distractions are and tell her ahead of time:  “Empty out your bladder, sharpen these 5 pencils, get your colored pencils on the table.  Once we start, there is no getting up at all.”  And then gently enforce your “no getting up” rule.

She is 9, does not have an adhd diagnosis.  

 

I think this is also a good place to start.  

 

 

We have been slowly easing into the start of school, adding a little more each week and this week is really truly full on every single subject.  Maybe  jumping in with both feet right in the beginning would have ripped the bandaid off faster ?

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I also wanted to say it's mostly math that she does this with.  

 

Math is funny for her.  She can often grasp the concept being taught right away, but then breaking down the details sometimes seems to confuse her.   An example from today, we were working through a 2 step story problem.  I could see on her face that she was working through the math in her head, but when I asked her to write down the math problem on the paper, she got all confused.  It was as if asking her to explain how she got to the right answer made her think there had to be more to the question than their actually was.  Does that make sense?

Edited by happysmileylady

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32 minutes ago, happysmileylady said:

I also wanted to say it's mostly math that she does this with.  

 

Math is funny for her.  She can often grasp the concept being taught right away, but then breaking down the details sometimes seems to confuse her.   An example from today, we were working through a 2 step story problem.  I could see on her fact that she was working through the math in her head, but when I asked her to write down the math problem on the paper, she got all confused.  It was as if asking her to explain how she got to the right answer made her think there had to be more to the question than their actually was.  Does that make sense?

Yes that makes sense.  Sometimes the answers are so obvious that breaking them down seems like a waste of time.  You and I both know that when the problems get more complex, you need to understand the break down.  But when it’s obvious, then it confuses the child as to why you’re making it seem so difficult.

I have to pre-tell my kids when to expect things like this.  “Ok that problem was pretty obvious to you, I can tell.  But not too long from now, the problems will get more complicated.  When that happens, you’ll need to understand all the tiny steps that your brain did to figure out the problem.  So, even though it’s obvious, let’s look at it piece by piece.” 

Maybe have her do a super easy puzzle (if you have any—or maybe you can find a preschool puzzle app).  Talk about how it was pretty easy to figure out which piece went where.  Talk about how you could get all the edges and corners first, but you didn’t really need to.  You barely even needed to know what the picture was of.  Then show her a 1000 piece puzzle.  All of a sudden, it’s harder.  All of a sudden, getting the corners and edges first is really important, and it’s really important to look back and forth at the picture as you’re trying to solve the puzzle.

Math is like that.  You’re starting at the beginning and some of the problems will be super easy.  But it’s still good to learn the techniques, like finding edges and corners for when the problems get bigger.  Maybe don’t say “harder” so she doesn’t associate math with “hard”, but say “when the problems get bigger.”  

 

Also—when my sons can’t focus, I set a timer.  “We have 30 minutes for math.  Whatever doesn’t get done before the timer beeps has to be put away and done (at a time when she would rather be playing.)”.  That’s the stick.  Maybe use a carrot from time to time, too.  “We have 30 minutes for math.  Today is a special day and if you’re done when the timer beeps, you get X treat.”  The carrot can’t be used always, but it might help her realize that she can get the work done quickly.

Edited by Garga
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17 minutes ago, Garga said:

Yes that makes sense.  Sometimes the answers are so obvious that breaking them down seems like a waste of time.  You and I both know that when the problems get more complex, you need to understand the break down.  But when it’s obvious, then it confuses the child as to why you’re making it seem so difficult.

I have to pre-tell my kids when to expect things like this.  “Ok that problem was pretty obvious to you, I can tell.  But not too long from now, the problems will get more complicated.  When that happens, you’ll need to understand all the tiny steps that your brain did to figure out the problem.  So, even though it’s obvious, let’s look at it piece by piece.” 

Maybe have her do a super easy puzzle (if you have any—or maybe you can find a preschool puzzle app).  Talk about how it was pretty easy to figure out which piece went where.  Talk about how you could get all the edges and corners first, but you didn’t really need to.  You barely even needed to know what the picture was of.  Then show her a 1000 piece puzzle.  All of a sudden, it’s harder.  All of a sudden, getting the corners and edges first is really important, and it’s really important to look back and forth at the picture as you’re trying to solve the puzzle.

Math is like that.  You’re starting at the beginning and some of the problems will be super easy.  But it’s still good to learn the techniques, like finding edges and corners for when the problems get bigger.  Maybe don’t say “harder” so she doesn’t associate math with “hard”, but say “when the problems get bigger.”  

 

Also—when my sons can’t focus, I set a timer.  “We have 30 minutes for math.  Whatever doesn’t get done before the timer beeps has to be put away and done (at a time when she would rather be playing.)”.  That’s the stick.  Maybe use a carrot from time to time, too.  “We have 30 minutes for math.  Today is a special day and if you’re done when the timer beeps, you get X treat.”  The carrot can’t be used always, but it might help her realize that she can get the work done quickly.

I like all this.

 

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Is this child in general handwriting resistant? I  have one I literally have to sit through with math or it would take 2 hours for 30 minutes worth of work.  It drives me crazy because I feel like he should be able to do the problems independently after I go over the work, but he just dawdles and avoids like you wouldn't believe.  

I didn't like having to still do math together but that has been my solution. A dry erase board and we knock it out together.  I finally figured out it was all the writing vs the actual math that is the problem with my kid. We had to do buddy math for most of elementary school, and we still do that in middle school if there is a bad day here and there.   When I act as scribe or we use a dry erase board, there is much less wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the work gets done much more quickly.   Keyboarding has solved the problem in so many other classes but so much of math still involves writing.

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17 minutes ago, CaliforniaDreamin said:

Is this child in general handwriting resistant? I  have one I literally have to sit through with math or it would take 2 hours for 30 minutes worth of work.  It drives me crazy because I feel like he should be able to do the problems independently after I go over the work, but he just dawdles and avoids like you wouldn't believe.  

I didn't like having to still do math together but that has been my solution. A dry erase board and we knock it out together.  I finally figured out it was all the writing vs the actual math that is the problem with my kid. We had to do buddy math for most of elementary school, and we still do that in middle school if there is a bad day here and there.   When I act as scribe or we use a dry erase board, there is much less wailing and gnashing of teeth, and the work gets done much more quickly.   Keyboarding has solved the problem in so many other classes but so much of math still involves writing.

No, not usually.  Spelling, copywork, etc, that's not usually as much of a problem.  

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Maybe it is a focus problem then, if you feel like the content is not too easy or to hard.  So I agree with the others in eliminating distractions and reasons to procrastinate, but would also add it may help if math is one subject done at your elbow.  In other words, I wouldn't send this child off with a workbook to do math.  Even if i wasn't scribing or helping, I would have the child sit right beside me during math.

Possibly a break or some hard exercise or play right before math may help. Try to find her best time in the day to do math.  Right after breakfast when she is fresh and not tired?  Midmorning after she wakes her brain a little more?  After a lunch and recess break?  

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3 hours ago, happysmileylady said:

I also wanted to say it's mostly math that she does this with. 

Math is funny for her.  She can often grasp the concept being taught right away, but then breaking down the details sometimes seems to confuse her.   An example from today, we were working through a 2 step story problem.  I could see on her face that she was working through the math in her head, but when I asked her to write down the math problem on the paper, she got all confused.  It was as if asking her to explain how she got to the right answer made her think there had to be more to the question than their actually was.  Does that make sense?

What math are you using?

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Math In Focus.  

 

ETA:  we have homeschooled for 2 yrs, this is the start of our third.  The first year, I put my own curriculum together and as far as teaching her what I wanted her to learn, it worked fine.  But MIF worked better for me, as the teacher.  DD9 attended a public school her first year, and that school used Saxon and that just didn't work for her.  

Edited by happysmileylady

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1 hour ago, happysmileylady said:

But MIF worked better for me, as the teacher.  

You need to find something that works for both you and her.

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12 hours ago, EKS said:

You need to find something that works for both you and her.

I don't disagree but I am also not of the mind that the math curriculum is really the issue.  My statement about MIF working better for me was more about it working better than me cobbling my own stuff together.  I do believe MIF works better for her than Saxon did, but I think it works at least as well when I was putting things together myself.  What it does best for me is ensure that I don't miss something important.  

 

 

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Just wanted to say that age seems to be peak dawdling age around here.  It seems to improve the next year as they start getting motivation to just get finished.  It’s frustrating.  I don’t think there’s a single solution to it.  Sometimes switching gears helps other times you just have to power through.  Sometimes we set time limits for the subject.  I say stuff like “we are only doing 30 minutes of math whether we finish or not but I expect them to be a good engaged 30 minutes.  Sometimes I do the Charlotte Mason breaking the habit of dawdling technique of literally standing there and redirecting every single time.

I think this is an age where the workload expectations increase quite a bit and it takes a while for them to adjust to it.

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Alcohol. That probably wasn't the answer you were looking for but I'm being honest. It is less painful than banging my head against a wall and has a similarly numbing effect.

In addition... Some people learn math by absorbing big ideas slowly, not by repeating algorithms. So perhaps it is going as quickly as it needs to. It is hard to watch so walk away.

 

At work if we told the engineers and data scientists to finish in 30 minutes and that's all they get so FOCUS you all would be so sorry. So, so sorry. You think your computer doesn't work now? I can tell you how much worse it would work of it all had to be done on some lady's problem solving timeline. Even in HS and college I was allowed to think through things slowly or walk away. I know that is not how public school works but of all the parts of public school to keep... Rigid math timelines seem like the worst one. Right up there with cutting recess.

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9 hours ago, Tsuga said:

Alcohol. That probably wasn't the answer you were looking for but I'm being honest. It is less painful than banging my head against a wall and has a similarly numbing effect.

In addition... Some people learn math by absorbing big ideas slowly, not by repeating algorithms. So perhaps it is going as quickly as it needs to. It is hard to watch so walk away.

 

At work if we told the engineers and data scientists to finish in 30 minutes and that's all they get so FOCUS you all would be so sorry. So, so sorry. You think your computer doesn't work now? I can tell you how much worse it would work of it all had to be done on some lady's problem solving timeline. Even in HS and college I was allowed to think through things slowly or walk away. I know that is not how public school works but of all the parts of public school to keep... Rigid math timelines seem like the worst one. Right up there with cutting recess.

My son works on his math slowly.  He takes a long time.  But he's working the entire time and in the end, he usually gets them all right.  I do not put limits on him when he's slowly working through his problems.  He's staying on task.

But I don't think that's what's going on with the OP's daughter.  Her daughter is looking at the problem and then popping up out of her chair to find a colored pencil.  Then sitting back down and popping up for something else.  She's being a wiggly little kid.  She's not being an adult engineer who has chosen math as her line of work and is on a job.  It really sounds like she needs some help learning how to focus her mind, which is a very normal thing at her developmental stage.  

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3 hours ago, Garga said:

My son works on his math slowly.  He takes a long time.  But he's working the entire time and in the end, he usually gets them all right.  I do not put limits on him when he's slowly working through his problems.  He's staying on task.

But I don't think that's what's going on with the OP's daughter.  Her daughter is looking at the problem and then popping up out of her chair to find a colored pencil.  Then sitting back down and popping up for something else.  She's being a wiggly little kid.  She's not being an adult engineer who has chosen math as her line of work and is on a job.  It really sounds like she needs some help learning how to focus her mind, which is a very normal thing at her developmental stage.  

But some people's minds work in the background while they do other tasks.

It's not nothing to go on a walk. That is important. It is why we have places to walk and play at work. Math should be creative problem solving and sometimes you need to spurt, rest, spurt, rest.

You NEED the down time. I guess some people work slow and steady but that is not the only way to work. I solve problems in sprints with lots of distraction in rest periods. Maybe that isn't acceptable to a teacher but I get it done.

It is a valid working style. Sitting down and pushing through is too but that is not IMO a goal in and of itself.

Tests are different. You have adrenaline.

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On 8/28/2018 at 12:52 PM, happysmileylady said:

It is a habit, but it's mostly that she just doesn't want to do the work.  If she wants to do it, she can fly through it, if she doesn't want to do it, she does whatever she can to avoid doing it-procrastinating.  

 

DS12 can really dawdle at times but for him it is regardless of subjects. What helps was sitting next to him with a pile of clean laundry to redirect as needed.  

The nice part is that even if he dawdles, he ends up sorting, folding and hanging the laundry as nice as a retail person working at for example Nordstrom. If he doesn’t dawdle, I just have neat piles of sorted laundry because I am not as perfectionist as DS12 in the area of folding  and hanging clothing. 

Singapore Math which is similar to Math in Focus was too slow for DS12 and he complained about the slowness. We supplemented with Numberphile on YouTube.

Sometimes solving the math questions come so easily to the child that the child has to reverse engineer (break down into smaller steps) the working for the other person. It is like I am used to walking from Point A to Point B but when I give directions to my husband, I have to give all the intermediate steps just like a GPS would and so I have to slow down mentally and think. 

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On 8/30/2018 at 1:15 PM, Tsuga said:

But some people's minds work in the background while they do other tasks.

It's not nothing to go on a walk. That is important. It is why we have places to walk and play at work. Math should be creative problem solving and sometimes you need to spurt, rest, spurt, rest.

You NEED the down time. I guess some people work slow and steady but that is not the only way to work. I solve problems in sprints with lots of distraction in rest periods. Maybe that isn't acceptable to a teacher but I get it done.

It is a valid working style. Sitting down and pushing through is too but that is not IMO a goal in and of itself.

Tests are different. You have adrenaline.

I agree with this. Our brains work out challenging problems during down time. 

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I have two kids that outwardly looked similar during math - both looked distracted, sharpened pencils, lay on the floor, paced, etc. But what was going on in their heads was very different! My oldest (18) is in the process of getting diagnosed ADHD - when younger her ability to focus of subjects that were uninteresting OR NOT CHALLENGING ENOUGH was basically non-existent. So she wasn't actually doing the work in her head, she was writing novels. My son, on the other hand, loves math and does Aops so when he lies down he is working out a problem. However if I were to send him away with history work it just literally wouldn't get done. He would try but he can't focus on history to save his life. So that subject we do together with lots of discussion to keep him on track. I'm hoping by high school he will be able to focus on things that aren't necessarily his favorite, but for now I know what subjects can be down independently and which can't. 

 

My oldest who was always public schooled took two hours to do one easy sheet of math at night. I even chronicled everything she did during that time (I thought it was more a discipline issue at the time and now I see it as probably ADHD.)  There was a lot of pencil sharpening, going outside to get dandelions, getting snacks, getting water, giving the dog/sister/brother a hug... all adding up to two hours for 10 easy math problems. Poor kid. But ask her to write a short story for an assignment and you would have gotten 10 pages! 

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We generally treat dawdling as a habit to be worked on.  I usually start with behaviors I want to encourage, namely focusing on the problems.  Sometimes just setting a short term goal with a timer can help (e.g., set a timer for 2 minutes and say by the time it is done one row of problems should be done, then reset it for each additional goal). Other times we use monetary rewards for short term goals (e.g., flashcards used to drag on and on, so we started paying one cent per flashcard completed in the first two minutes and, to penalize sloppy work, took away two cents for any flashcard that was wrong the first time).  By setting up very small goals that can be met with diligence, you give each little success an immediate reward, and the child learns that by working diligently he gets done faster and better, as opposed to going into nagging mode for the entire lesson, which is unsatisfying for everyone involved.

For stop behaviors, like pencil sharpening and going to the bathroom five minutes into each lesson, you can penalize it in some way.  First, giving a five minute warning prior to starting math, perhaps with a checklist to make sure they are ready to go [two sharpened pencils, bathroom, water, for example] will help.  Then you can either say they are not allowed to get up for any reason until the lesson is done, or charge them from the money you just gave them for flashcards or timers every time they need to get up (we do 10 cents).

I find that a couple of months of close attention to this sort of habit problem pays off a lot down the road, despite the fact that when you are standing there watching over their shoulder to keep them on task and keeping a running total of how much money they have made... you feel you might lose your mind.

One final point... for a long time I was uncomfortable with schemes like the one I just described, because I thought it was bribery.  Another mom pointed out that it is only bribery if you give them the money or candy or whatever before they perform.  When you give it to them after for their performance, it is a reward ?  

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