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    Dawdling; school takes forever...we will be in fourth grade forever!

    I would really love some ideas for how to keep my fourth grader on track and moving along with her schoolwork during the day. She currently takes an hour to complete her R&S lesson, and a solid thirty minutes on Latin, when I KNOW she could do it all in half that time. She claims that it is so boring and so she gets distracted. She doodles designs on her math book, she draws cartoons in her Latin workbook, she stares out the window and clucks for the kittens to come sit in her lap...most days all we manage to complete is math and Latin and Literature. I admit I have some personal discipline issues to work on, too. Should I set up a desk for her in an quiet room? Should I not allow her to go to swim team unless she's done her work? (hesitant about that one since she desperately needs the activity and the social outlet).

    It's hard, though, when it's not like there are any real consequences if we start school thirty minutes "late"...sometimes I think I should send them to school just so that they actually DO school! But I am such a pushover on beautiful days and when they play well together I am hesitant to interrupt them...
    Ora et Labora!
    Emily

    Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
    DD (age 9): 4NU
    DD (age 7): MP 1
    DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
    "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

    #2
    My son is only in 1st, so I’m not experienced. But I wouldn’t allow her after swim practice play or whatever she does after that if school isn’t complete. If math takes an hour, I’d be saying, “Your day is going to be really long at this pace.” Some homeschoolers want that more laid back, playful kind of style. I don’t think those of us who have chosen MP want that. I keep telling people if you have a routine, your kid will crave that routine, but no one believes me. Maybe I’m wrong. 🤷🏻‍♀️

    Comment


      #3
      My children definitely focus better when they are separated into quiet rooms with their own workspaces. I'm pretty hardcore about starting everyday at the same time. Frankly this is for me as well as for them. They are not allowed to have any play time until everything is crossed off their list. I will say, however, that exercise and getting outside is really important. Walks, bike rides, 100 basketball shots are included in our schedule and are counted as exercise not free play. Could you allow your daughter a reasonable amount of time per subject and then whatever is unfinished goes into the "homework" pile to be completed after swim? I'd be hesitant to take that away for the reasons you mentioned. Does she like checklists? My girls LOVE crossing their work off a list.
      DS 7th grade
      DD 5th grade
      DD 3rd grade
      DS 1st grade

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Fireweed Prep View Post
        I would really love some ideas for how to keep my fourth grader on track and moving along with her schoolwork during the day. She currently takes an hour to complete her R&S lesson, and a solid thirty minutes on Latin, when I KNOW she could do it all in half that time. She claims that it is so boring and so she gets distracted. She doodles designs on her math book, she draws cartoons in her Latin workbook, she stares out the window and clucks for the kittens to come sit in her lap...most days all we manage to complete is math and Latin and Literature. I admit I have some personal discipline issues to work on, too. Should I set up a desk for her in an quiet room? Should I not allow her to go to swim team unless she's done her work? (hesitant about that one since she desperately needs the activity and the social outlet).

        It's hard, though, when it's not like there are any real consequences if we start school thirty minutes "late"...sometimes I think I should send them to school just so that they actually DO school! But I am such a pushover on beautiful days and when they play well together I am hesitant to interrupt them...
        We've definitely been here and you hit the nail on the head. It comes down to accountability. Our issues stemmed from ADHD, but honestly the remedy was the same. Since her distractions are mostly internal (school is boring, doodling) rather than external (other than kittens...but I would have a hard time ignoring kittens, too ), putting her in a separate place will probably make things worse.

        I totally get your concerns about swimming. Is there down time at swimming where she's waiting on other people? Homework can be done then instead of chatting with her friends. Any other privileges can also be on hold for the day until school is done.

        Don't worry about whether this is too harsh or something: there's a difference between accountability and being a drill sergeant. Accountability is part of nurturing our children in character/virtue. A drill sergeant just wants to get the checklist done.

        I don't know if you saw this post on the blog, but here's what we discovered when dealing with this with our son: https://seekingdelectare.com/an-unex...er-schoolwork/

        Feel free to PM or FB if you want to chat more about this!
        Jennifer
        Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

        DS16: MP, MPOA, HSC, Breaking the Barrier French
        DS15: MP, MPOA, HSC
        DS12: Mash-up of 6/7M
        DS11: SC 4
        DD9: 3A with First Form Latin (long story!)
        DD8: Mash-up of SC 1/2
        DD5: January birthday, using SC B and C as a two-year JrK

        Comment


          #5
          I did 4th grade R&S math with my daughter every day last year. It did take us almost an hour. I feel like it was very worth the time. This year, she can do it more independently. R&S 4 was such a change from R&S 1-3 and I felt like a pivotal year for mathematics. She was a little slower, so I think the average might be 35-45 min? In the school they definitely take the full hour.
          Christine

          2020/2021)
          DD1 8/23/09 - MP4 (Math 5)
          DS2 9/1/11 - SC 5/6 2 year pace
          DD3 2/9/13 -SC2/Storytime Treasures/AAR

          Previous Years
          DD 1 (MPK, SC2 (with AAR), SC3, SC4, SC 5/6
          DS2 (SCB, SCC, MPK, SC2/AAR/Storytime Treasures), Traditional Spelling 1
          DD3 (SCA, SCB, Jr. K workbooks, soaking up from the others, MPK, AAR)

          Comment


            #6
            Yeah, you have to start school even when they're playing well together. That's a lesson I had to learn. Also, you might need to sit with her to redirect her attention, at least for a little while. I know that's hard with the younger ones. Are you expecting her to get those subjects done when you're working with the others?

            Something else I've heard is, instead of sending her to another room, to get noise canceling headphones or let her listen to classical music with headphones so she can work at the table with you and the littles where you can redirect when needed.
            ~ Carrie
            Catholic mom to four - ages 11, 9, 7, and 5
            8th year homeschooling, 3rd year MP!
            2020-2021: 6M with FFL, 4M with FFL, and some of 1st grade

            Comment


              #7
              Hi Emily!

              I can so relate to this particular angst - both for myself, and for several of my kids. A couple are more like my husband: regular as a clock and not a lot of drama about it. But then there are the ones who are more like me - who get engrossed in thought about what they WANT, and only drag themselves away to do the necessary things when it becomes painfully apparent that is what they need to do. I have learned how to manage this tendency as an adult; it’s amazing what happens when your whole day is not up to your own preferences anymore! 😉. But for them, it is really, really tough to instill because there are so fee consequences I can impose on them right now. Your question about swimming is so appropriate...that’s not really a privilege; it’s something else that she also needs pretty much as much as she needs school, just in a different way. And to take it away would mean she would be even less pressured to finish anything because there is even less to get to. These kids of mine always work faster when they legitimately have less time on their hands. Filling up our schedule actually makes us more productive; but leave us daydreaming in our rooms and we have very little impetus to get to anything!

              Therefore, the only piece of advice that I can offer is to try to add more to your daily routine so that the available time for school is less and see what happens. Definitely have her move unfinished work to a time that is inconvenient to her, and then see if that helps her use her time more wisely.

              Things I do to help with this are to “assign” a person who is dragging his or her feet a lot to have other work to do, such as making muffins for our lunch, playing with the baby, doing the laundry, or some other random cleaning project. Or I set us all up for something lime going to daily Mass, which definitely tightens up the remainder of the daytime hours! Or you could try developing some service projects that require some significant time each week. I know it’s hard right now with a lot of places closed, but hopefully that will help spark something. My explanation is always, “if you are going to waste time on your work, I will give you more (read: other) work to do.”

              Hths!
              AMDG,
              Sarah
              2020-2021
              16th Year HSing; 10th Year with MP
              DD, 19, Homeschool grad; college sophomore
              DS, 17
              DD, 15
              DD, 13
              DD, 11
              DD, 9
              DD, 7
              +DS+
              DS, 2

              Comment


                #8
                Here's a new idea: an accountability partner. She now has to present her work to dad after swim team practice. Now it's two against one, you have a partner to keep her on track and also increased accountability for yourself.

                And there's nothing wrong with having her do schoolwork on weekends. She should lose all weekend privileges (screens, friends, outings) until it's ALL done. Set a goal for yourself to be mean for two weeks. Stick to your accountability plan.

                Also, reassess what's not getting done. If it's not done and you're really not bothered by it enough to do a boots and saddles revamp of your school routine, why are you still trying to do it? She's getting old enough to make that connection herself. She knows it's not really that important, so why expend the effort? It's like a public school teacher that assigns homework, but doesn't grade it. If it's not that important, why is it assigned at all?

                Refer to the suggested schedule in front of your teacher guide. Give her that same allotted time. If she goes over that, it goes in her homework bin to do on her time. My saying is, if you waste my time, I will waste yours too. After the one hour math period, move forcefully on to the next subject. Cause and effect.
                DS12- Simply Classical mash-up of SC Spelling 1, intensive reading remediation, and MPOA 4th grade math.
                DD10- Classic Core 4th Grade w/ 5th grade literature
                DD8- Classic Core 2nd Grade

                We've completed:
                Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade
                Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5/6

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by Colomama View Post
                  Refer to the suggested schedule in front of your teacher guide. Give her that same allotted time. If she goes over that, it goes in her homework bin to do on her time. My saying is, if you waste my time, I will waste yours too. After the one hour math period, move forcefully on to the next subject. Cause and effect.
                  We had to do this. I also gave her 10 dimes a day for a while, and would take one every time she wasted my time. Since I've always worked an outside job in some capacity, I explained that there were only so many "Mom dimes" in a day. If you spend them all, Mom runs out time and energy for fun stuff later. Eventually, I could just reminder that she was "spending dimes", and it was enough. This was my little lawyer who also had a yearly contract outlining rights and responsibilities from about 3rd-6th grade. ETA we also had some REALLY long weekends before it sank in completely.
                  Bean. Long time MP user. I usually post before my coffee is finished. I apologize in advance for my typos and grammatical mishaps.

                  DD 10th: Aerospace enthusiast. All AP & dual enrollment courses for 20-21.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    bean love this. And yes, the early litigation. Oy!
                    DS12- Simply Classical mash-up of SC Spelling 1, intensive reading remediation, and MPOA 4th grade math.
                    DD10- Classic Core 4th Grade w/ 5th grade literature
                    DD8- Classic Core 2nd Grade

                    We've completed:
                    Classic Core Jr. kindergarten, kindergarten, first grade, second grade, third grade
                    Simply Classical levels B, C, 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5/6

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Originally posted by howiecram View Post
                      I did 4th grade R&S math with my daughter every day last year. It did take us almost an hour. I feel like it was very worth the time. This year, she can do it more independently. R&S 4 was such a change from R&S 1-3 and I felt like a pivotal year for mathematics. She was a little slower, so I think the average might be 35-45 min? In the school they definitely take the full hour.

                      I correct the previous days work while she does a drill sheet, teach the lesson, and then have her do the lesson plus a fact form. So my part in all that varies from 15-30 minutes I would say. She did a little better today when I timed her drill sheet. It’s like she didn’t know she could do it fast.
                      Ora et Labora!
                      Emily

                      Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
                      DD (age 9): 4NU
                      DD (age 7): MP 1
                      DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
                      "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by jen1134 View Post

                        We've definitely been here and you hit the nail on the head. It comes down to accountability. Our issues stemmed from ADHD, but honestly the remedy was the same. Since her distractions are mostly internal (school is boring, doodling) rather than external (other than kittens...but I would have a hard time ignoring kittens, too ), putting her in a separate place will probably make things worse.

                        I totally get your concerns about swimming. Is there down time at swimming where she's waiting on other people? Homework can be done then instead of chatting with her friends. Any other privileges can also be on hold for the day until school is done.

                        Don't worry about whether this is too harsh or something: there's a difference between accountability and being a drill sergeant. Accountability is part of nurturing our children in character/virtue. A drill sergeant just wants to get the checklist done.

                        I don't know if you saw this post on the blog, but here's what we discovered when dealing with this with our son: https://seekingdelectare.com/an-unex...er-schoolwork/

                        Feel free to PM or FB if you want to chat more about this!
                        Your sentence on accountability vs drill Sargent has completely shifted this for me in the best way! Today, I made her write her assignments down in her assignment book—I planned out the whole week so i had everything written down, but she had to make it her own and then she was responsible for making it all happen. It was a major step for us!
                        Ora et Labora!
                        Emily

                        Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
                        DD (age 9): 4NU
                        DD (age 7): MP 1
                        DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
                        "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Originally posted by KF2000 View Post
                          Hi Emily!

                          I can so relate to this particular angst - both for myself, and for several of my kids. A couple are more like my husband: regular as a clock and not a lot of drama about it. But then there are the ones who are more like me - who get engrossed in thought about what they WANT, and only drag themselves away to do the necessary things when it becomes painfully apparent that is what they need to do. I have learned how to manage this tendency as an adult; it’s amazing what happens when your whole day is not up to your own preferences anymore! 😉. But for them, it is really, really tough to instill because there are so fee consequences I can impose on them right now. Your question about swimming is so appropriate...that’s not really a privilege; it’s something else that she also needs pretty much as much as she needs school, just in a different way. And to take it away would mean she would be even less pressured to finish anything because there is even less to get to. These kids of mine always work faster when they legitimately have less time on their hands. Filling up our schedule actually makes us more productive; but leave us daydreaming in our rooms and we have very little impetus to get to anything!

                          Therefore, the only piece of advice that I can offer is to try to add more to your daily routine so that the available time for school is less and see what happens. Definitely have her move unfinished work to a time that is inconvenient to her, and then see if that helps her use her time more wisely.

                          Things I do to help with this are to “assign” a person who is dragging his or her feet a lot to have other work to do, such as making muffins for our lunch, playing with the baby, doing the laundry, or some other random cleaning project. Or I set us all up for something lime going to daily Mass, which definitely tightens up the remainder of the daytime hours! Or you could try developing some service projects that require some significant time each week. I know it’s hard right now with a lot of places closed, but hopefully that will help spark something. My explanation is always, “if you are going to waste time on your work, I will give you more (read: other) work to do.”

                          Hths!
                          AMDG,
                          Sarah
                          I have never thought of it that way, but I know that I am way more productive when I feel like I am busy— to crazy busy, not stressed, just a day full of good work. So today, I firmly but kindly (well I think it was kindly lol) reinstituted afternoon chores. The other two were off course done with their work, and I was done teaching. I pulled the fourth grader away from her homework and made her join us, and then she had to go finish the schoolwork. It was a good discipline for all of us, and the laundry was folded before 10 pm too! Filling but not overloading the schedule really is brilliant!
                          Ora et Labora!
                          Emily

                          Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
                          DD (age 9): 4NU
                          DD (age 7): MP 1
                          DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
                          "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by Colomama View Post
                            Here's a new idea: an accountability partner. She now has to present her work to dad after swim team practice. Now it's two against one, you have a partner to keep her on track and also increased accountability for yourself.

                            And there's nothing wrong with having her do schoolwork on weekends. She should lose all weekend privileges (screens, friends, outings) until it's ALL done. Set a goal for yourself to be mean for two weeks. Stick to your accountability plan.

                            Also, reassess what's not getting done. If it's not done and you're really not bothered by it enough to do a boots and saddles revamp of your school routine, why are you still trying to do it? She's getting old enough to make that connection herself. She knows it's not really that important, so why expend the effort? It's like a public school teacher that assigns homework, but doesn't grade it. If it's not that important, why is it assigned at all?

                            Refer to the suggested schedule in front of your teacher guide. Give her that same allotted time. If she goes over that, it goes in her homework bin to do on her time. My saying is, if you waste my time, I will waste yours too. After the one hour math period, move forcefully on to the next subject. Cause and effect.
                            Thank you! You are absolutely right—if it’s important then I need to show that it is, whether by consequences I stick to, or a revamp of the schedule. Ah homeschooling. The most intense personal fault display and personal growth you could ask for!
                            Ora et Labora!
                            Emily

                            Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
                            DD (age 9): 4NU
                            DD (age 7): MP 1
                            DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
                            "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Colomama I replied but then fixed a spelling error. Your thoughts were so good; hopefully my response shows soon.
                              Ora et Labora!
                              Emily

                              Beech Tree Boarding School, 2020-2021
                              DD (age 9): 4NU
                              DD (age 7): MP 1
                              DS (age 4): MP Jr. K
                              "I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time, I rest in the grace of the world, and am free." Wendell Berry

                              Comment

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