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I have a 12, 9, and 7 year old. Literally everything takes so long, and the school day never ends.

From getting ready in the morning, to cursive practice, to writing a spelling sentence, this getting a pencil, everything takes longer than it should.

My 9 year old son (ASD) frequently spends an hour collapsed on the floor refusing to do whatever. Then when he decides to do it, does just fine.

The 7 year old got out of his chair after every single word in his spelling sentences. If I leave him alone with math  he makes no progress.

Everyone in this family could sit at a page of schoolwork for an hour doing nothing, and ignoring the person telling them to just start. 
 

Has anyone gone from this to getting things done? I need to know how.

Complicating the problem, my husband is stuck working from home and threatening to enroll them all in online public school unless we can change things very soon. (I think we’d just be stuck helping with homework til late, but nothing I can do about that.)

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When we have had issues like that, I've had some success with breaking the day into chunks, such that I expect math, spelling, and history to be done before lunch and then the remaining subjects before TV at 2 or ball practice at 3 or whatever.  Or I've said that if X, Y, and Z are done then kiddo can watch a documentary while eating lunch.  But, when I do that I have to help them set up a reasonable plan and then be willing to let them fail.  I have one who just needed help figuring out a plan and then they agreeably implemented it.  The other enjoyed the confrontation so I had to let that kid miss some things before they settled somewhat into mostly doing what was expected.  It's also not unusual to need to sit with the kids -  with youngers they may need it most days, and with olders it may help to see where the time is going so that you can redirect and help them learn to stay focused .  

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I sit with my kids (or at least stay in the same room) through at least 5th or 6th grade.  The older kids will come in when they have a question about something or if they need further instruction.

IME, younger kids generally aren't mature enough to work without direct supervision.  Also, I don't make them sit still.  If they want to spin in circles while they practice their spelling words or if they want to flop on the bed to do their assignments, I allow that as long as the work is done.  I have one child who has a very hard time staying still.

No screens are allowed until a student completes all of that day's work.  Even if it's days or weeks.

One thing that helps some of my kids is that they choose to do all of their Language assignments on one day, all of their Math on another.  It's not necessarily the best way to learn, but it does help get the day moving because there are no transitions.

In elementary and middle school, we do not do any formal schooling after lunch.  After lunch is the time that they do reading (both fiction and non-fiction), possibly watch Magic School Bus, sometimes watch a cartoon in a foreign language or do an art project.  It's very unstructured and they are allowed to do as much or as little as they want.

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I had to sit with my boys to get them to stay on task.  We had a table that we would do work at.  Each boy had an end and I was in the middle.  DD was always a more independent worker and didn't need me there most of the time.

We have a rule that there is no free time until schoolwork is done.  However, we did have "fifteen minutes of fun" where they could run around and do whatever twice a day or more if I felt it was needed.  Of course we had lunch break where they were (still are) allowed to choose one 30 minute show to watch.  I also found that not insisting that they sit the whole time helped.  We had an exercise ball that my middle would sit on while working that was a big help to him.

My youngest, who has OCD, was (and still is at times) a refuser.  First big help was setting up a routine (not schedule) for each day, always doing subjects in the same order so he knew what to expect.  If I needed to rearrange things, I would need to plan ahead and let him know so that he could adjust to the idea.  The routine wasn't perfect, but it did help a great deal.  There are days that I still have to wait him out until he is ready to do things, but they are getting less frequent.

There are also times I offered a treat once they got a subject done, like extra screen time, a small piece of candy, etc. 

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At various times, we have gone through something similar.  These are some things that helped for us:

1. Are we burnt out?  About every 6-8 weeks, the kids start to get squirrely (and I do too to be honest), and I know it's time for a break.  It usually results in a week off, but sometimes it's a week or a day of "fun" school activities.  Hikes in the woods, cooking/baking a meal together that the kids planned, a trip to a museum or the zoo, invite friends over for the day.  

2. Letting them choose which subjects to do in the order they want to do it in. 

3.  Playing outside for an hour before school starts.

4. Not expecting them to sit still.  My son likes to bounce on an exercise ball.  My middle daughter likes to lay on the floor or sit on the couch.

5. Doing certain subjects in a creative way.  For example, doing spelling words outside with chalk.  Or creating an alphabet grid in the living room and letting them jump to spell their words.

6.  Allow reasonable breaks if it's doing something physical.  My middle daughter likes to go out and swing between subjects or if she is having a difficult time with something.  A 5-15min break can work wonders.

7. Allowing them to listen to music while working.  I need quiet, but my oldest works better having a little music as it blocks out little sounds that distract her.

8.  Having a plethora of pencils and other supplies right on hand.  Oh, you dropped your pencil.  Here is one, you can pick them all up when you're done.

 

Hopefully this give you a few ideas and it will get better.   

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I am not there with boots on the ground, so forgive me if what I say is incorrect or unwelcome in any way. And I am a fruitloop by modern standards so ... first I will list my crazy fruitloop beliefs that would underlie any specific advice.

I believe in HOMEschooling, not homeSCHOOLING, and found that most problems that I encountered homeschooling were rooted in PARENTING issues and best solved with non-academic correction and training.

I think young children are not designed for the academic style and volume of work that is the current fashion. It is only self-defense when they begin to pace themselves with passive-aggressive responses to painful and impossible demands that unfortunately become habits that they use even when not needed.

I think some "disabilities" are only a stumbling block in our current society, and would not be a stumbling block in another. I had a child unofficially diagnosed as being on the spectrum, but ... things were complicated and ... as far as I know things were never followed up on, and that was probably for the better. Spectrum traits run in both my and my exH's family, and the level of deviation from the norm is NOT reflective of anyone's ability to function. The environment's RESPONSE to us is the most reflective criteria for how well we are able to function in it.

I believe that some disabilities cannot be cured and that alternative expectations are required for that child that have NOTHING to do with the currently published expectations. I believe that very few student are proficient in the current published expectations and that authorities are quite creative in how they cover that up. I do not believe that homeschooled children, disabled or otherwise, should be measured by those published expectations that their schooled peers are not truly being measured by. I do not believe that human worth is measured by a person's ability to earn money and be independent.

I believe that children require the opportunity to work physically more hours per day than to work academically to mature properly. I believe that children are best socialized by adults than by other children. Children with the opportunity to work side by side with adults develop skill sets that can be applied to academics and socializing with their peers. Academics are completed more efficiently later and in less time. The ultimate goal is that children will grow into adults that can socialize primarily with adults and also with mixed-age groups. Why not prioritize that now within the family unit?

I believe that humans are spiritual beings and character training is almost impossible outside a family belief system that includes daily instruction and ritual. 

I told you that I am a fruit loop. Anything I would advise would be in context of that weirdness. LOL. 

Edited by Hunter
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Well, switching to online school is just going to result in the same problems, but leave you with no power to control the assignments or time spent, so there's that 😉

I also have to spend time with my 12 and 8 year olds doing school right with them most of the time. I tell them they are welcome to waste their own time, but they aren't going to waste mine and I need them to focus while we work together. I work right there with them until I'm satisfied they understand the lesson and what is expected of them, then I leave them to the assignment. There's usually not much to do on her own for my 8 year old, but my 12 year old does have some she can complete after going over things with me.

If they want to goof off and make the rest of the work take all day, that's on them and will just eat into their play time. I am not above making a big point out of that if I think they need it - "Oh, what a beautiful afternoon outside! Too bad you still have schoolwork to do, or you could go out and jump on the trampoline." And then I sit down and read my book while they sit at the table and stare at their paper until they decide to go ahead and get it over with.

Obviously, this tactic will *not* work if your kids really don't know what's expected of them or if they are truly not understanding the lesson. But if you're sitting right there with them to teach and then only leaving them to work independently after that crucial step, then it is very effective 🙂

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Yes unless your husband is going to supervise school on line he needs to butt out as it will make it even harder for you.  My ASD kid is 11.5 and very academically able.  He is just starting to do work by himself without it being more trouble than it is worth.  I signed up to accellus and he does 4 non core subjects, music practice and coding by himself.  I find 30 minutes on the trampoline before we start makes s big difference too.

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