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Homeschooling and motivating the competitive child?


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My 8 yo is VERY competitive. The best way to get him to do something is to make it a competition.  He is not very interested in school, so games and competition are needed to accomplish anything significant.   I have a 19 yo who was the same way. Because of family circumstances at the time, he ended up in public school at 5th grade and has thrived with the competition and social element, and so  he stayed in school when the others came home 2 years later. So here I am looking ahead at my 8 yo seeing he would probably also thrive in a school setting (though the school is horrible), but I want to try to push that off till high school if possible. We do some school with another boy 3-4 days a week that is 1 year younger and the competition is really becoming a problem.   So looking for ideas on how to make homeschooling with a social, competitive boy work. 

How do you make school work fun and competitive but not make it a race to the finish??  I say every day "Handwriting is not a race!"  I can motivate  with " if we get all our work done by noon, we can do this"  But then the focus is on finishing and not on learning... I need to figure out how to make the competition learning more...., or on the quality ,but have no idea how to do that. 

He does wrestling and cub scouts to give more options for competition and achievement. How much more do i add? 

I dont really want  to squelch the competition. It seems to me that used well it could really be a benefit to him, but I just dont know how to harness it now, and it is creating quite a bit of friction with other boy when working together and he is fairly unmotivated when it is just him and me. 

any thoughts? 

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 some things I did with my competitive older boys when they were that age

quick math facts with a timer- seeing if they can beat their last score. Saxon has some great math fact sheets for use with a timer

seeing how many Latin flashcards he can get through in a time limit

racing me to see if they can get their grammar lesson (or whatever) completed correctly before I finish hanging out the laundry ( or clean the toilet or whatever) - winner gets to tickle the other - this was a very big hit with my older boys and I got some housework done as well

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Mathletics, Spellodrome and IntoScience are all online programs with a head to head component. My daughter also enjoyed things like the Continental Math league, Exploratory Latin Exam, National Mythology Exam, National Science League, National Language Arts League, etc. All allow homeschoolers to register as individuals. 

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New American Cursive has a penmanship competition! About accuracy and beauty. 

Quizlet, Prodigy and other review games that keep score.

First Lego League or Destination Imagination team? 

Rewards/prizes for work done well and thoroughly? 

 

Edited by ScoutTN
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The Addition/Subtraction/Multiplication/Division Facts the Stick series has short lessons followed by a week of games.   You can play against your child because, while the games require using the math facts, they all have elements of chance that make it just as likely for you or your child to win.

I've listed some other educational games I like.   You could get together with other homeschoolers at his age or level to play these.

Silly Sentences

Kingdominoes (when he gets to multiplication).

Zeus on the Loose (mythology and math)

Monopoly (it's long, but very competitive, and good for money math).

Race to a Dollar (free game) https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Race-to-a-Dollar-a-Coin-Exchange-Game-Freebie-1162939

Prince Padania has a lot of fun learning games, many free (https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Prince-Padania)

Pokemon card games have a lot of addition/subtraction in them. 

 

And of course anything can be made into a game.   I use dice and gameboards like the ones below and I put tic-tacks and small coins (pennies, nickles, dimes) on some of the spaces.   Then I made cards for all my kids (each kid has a different color of cards, and the cards have questions that are at their level, so they can compete against each other but it's not unfair).   The kids can only move on by answering the cards correctly (so they answer a question before moving).   If they land on a candy or coin they get to keep it, and then there's a slightly bigger prize for the first one to reach the end (maybe a quarter, or two candies in stead of one...but everyone who reaches the end gets something).   My kids love it.  I got them to play it in summer before we were even homeschooling. 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/FREEBIE-Blank-BW-Game-Boards-2604845

 

 

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My competitive boys like Quizlet.

Another thing is to get him to internalize his competitiveness...compete with himself...his best. So, for example, let's see if this handwriting exercise can be better than your last where better means neater, not faster. ... You made a 90 on the last spelling test, now shoot for a 100. ... Can you get 2 in a row ... How long can this 100 streak last ... Let's see if you can finish this spelling test with a 100 and its neat and within 3 minutes. 

So just keep adding layers of him competing with his prior efforts.

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14 hours ago, RenaInTexas said:

My competitive boys like Quizlet.

Another thing is to get him to internalize his competitiveness...compete with himself...his best. So, for example, let's see if this handwriting exercise can be better than your last where better means neater, not faster. ... You made a 90 on the last spelling test, now shoot for a 100. ... Can you get 2 in a row ... How long can this 100 streak last ... Let's see if you can finish this spelling test with a 100 and its neat and within 3 minutes. 

So just keep adding layers of him competing with his prior efforts.

Ooo that’s good. I mean, we do that once in a while but I’ve never put it in my tool box of school strategies!

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