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11yo, time, and diligence

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    11yo, time, and diligence

    After two years, we’re still having trouble with our 11yo refusing to work. We have tried the following during this time:

    — required to sit and wait in the school room while I move on to work with others; no toys or books allowed

    — going to sit in dad’s office; no toys or books allowed

    — no toys/books until school is started and finished

    — working with dad for school (to make sure that it was an effort issue rather than a challenge issue); he finished his work (and did it well) in 1-1/2 to 2-1/4 hours everyday for two weeks

    He transitioned back to working with me this week and instantly fell back into complaining. I held the line and required everything his dad required of him (he required doing ALL THREE pages in his R&S lessons!) but his complaining (the first two days) and then having a hard time focusing on math (yesterday) led to 3-hour school days. He now refuses to work because he’s convinced it will take three hours. He does NOT grasp the concept that his sitting here for the past hour has ensured it will be another long day. We have discussed and implelmented consequences for this for two years with little/no change.

    I’m wondering if he needs to sit in a “regular” school for a day...but I have a feeling that would backfire on me because it would be a novelty.

    Is there anything else we can do or is this just how it will be?
    Jennifer
    Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

    DS16
    MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
    MPOA: High School Comp. II
    HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

    DS15
    MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
    MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
    HSC: Modern European History

    DS12
    7M with:
    Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

    DS11
    SC Level 4

    DD9
    3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

    DD7/8
    Still in SC Level 2

    DD 4/5
    SC Level C

    #2
    My first thought is this: Rule out anything that might be helped by treatment such as supplements/medication. With our son even super-parenting is to no avail if underlying brain function is not adequately supported. Our doctor tests therapeutic levels of meds whenever we see symptoms that defy correction.

    Next, consider whether any other variables contributed to your son's success over those two weeks working with your husband. For example, did your husband work with your son in a different or less distracting setting? A different time of day? In a different manner? If yes, try to replicate the differences.

    To obtain more suggestions, I asked my in-house expert, my son. Without using any names, I described the problem to him. He smiled knowingly and said, "Ha! That sounds just like me when I was eleven."

    He sat down and thought for a minute. Then he said thoughtfully, "His motivation needs to increase."

    He described how recently he became much more self-sufficient after we consistently followed a very simple 10-point system for several months every day. My husband is more consistent and less forgetful than I am, so my husband checked off the items all day. We linked the 10-point minimum (of 13) to a motivating reward. I printed the weekly sheets of six days per week (Sundays off) four at a time each month.

    We gave encouraging but not nagging reminders. Each day he *practiced* success. That was enormously helpful. Rarely did he miss earning the 10 points.

    This proved to be one of the most successful things we ever did. After a few months of ultra-consistent implementation we were able to fade the chart. Habits had been formed.

    I do not know if it would have helped when he was eleven. At that time he was not adequately treated for adhd, burgeoning mood disorder, or other internal changes. This is why the first step might be ruling out anything for which he needs greater support.

    My son suggests making sure the motivator is truly motivating. He recalls mentally shrugging if I dangled something about which he did not care.

    The recent 10-point daily system was linked to his calling a friend with whom he no longer worked and, thus, really missed.


    If none of the above is helpful, it just might take 3 hours daily. I would not lower the academic expectations, as I believe you have placed him squarely in SC 4 which seems suitable. Or it may be this: Sometimes at eleven (and beyond), a boy may simply respond better to Dad, so your dear husband may need to help determine what needs to happen next.

    Maybe someone else will have some words of wisdom for you!

    Comment


      #3
      In our house, if you complain about school you don't GET to do school. You lose that opportunity for the day. However, you also don't GET to lay around idly. Instead, you start doing chores. And I usually choose chores which are much harder than the school work. I start with cleaning the bathrooms (they always need to be done in my house!), toilets, shower, etc. And move on from there. Typically, they are usually begging me to PLEASE let them go back and do school. And I will give them second chances because we all deserve some grace to go back and try again. However, I do not give third or fourth chances.

      The same thing happens when they complain about helping around the house. I give them one warning: If you complain, you are going to get a worse job. And there are *always* worse jobs. A common phrase I utter is: "Complaining will never get you out of work; it will only be rewarded with more work."

      I explain the rule ahead of time. And if the complaining starts, I just calmly look at them and say, "OK, it looks like you are done with school for the day. We are going to start cleaning instead." I do this for all types of bad attitude.... Even non-verbal complaining like rolling eyes at me, grabbing books grumpily, or slamming doors....they all rewarded with not "getting" to do school.

      I've had this rule since my children were 5. And complaining about school RARELY happens in our house.* (Maybe one time in the last three years?) And you know what? They have SO much more peace and happiness. And I have so much more peace and happiness. It is Hebrews 12:11 in action!

      Sometimes we (all humans, not just kids) can get so caught up focusing on the negative. And whining does nothing to make our situation better, and actually just makes us more unhappy thereby making our situation worse. Plus complaining doesn't just affect the complainer....it brings down the morale of everyone around them. Washing dishes might not be "fun"---but washing dishes while you stand next to someone complaining the entire times REALLY makes the job downright awful. Instead I try to encourage my kids to find ways to make the work more pleasant. Listen to an audiobook while you wash dishes, play some nice music while doing their math lesson, pour a nice cup of tea while doing Literature, etc., etc.


      *NOTE: Please don't think I am some heartless mom who won't let her children voice their opinions. I am not. I only have this rule when I know that I have given them something perfectly reasonable to do. (Reasonable for both their age and skill level.) Like picking up their rooms, or doing their very reasonable spelling lesson, etc. I allow them to tell me how they are feeling. (Example: This math lessons feels so frustrating! Or I am so confused."). My point is that there is an appropriate way to tell people how you are feeling. Complaining or being rude is not the appropriate way.
      Cathy aka The Attached Mama
      2019-2020
      DS 12, 7th Grade
      DD 11, 6th Grade
      DS 5, K

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
        He described how recently he became much more self-sufficient after we consistently followed a very simple 10-point system for several months every day. My husband is more consistent and less forgetful than I am, so my husband checked off the items all day. We linked the 10-point minimum (of 13) to a motivating reward. I printed the weekly sheets of six days per week (Sundays off) four at a time each month.

        We gave encouraging but not nagging reminders. Each day he *practiced* success. That was enormously helpful. Rarely did he miss earning the 10 points.

        This proved to be one of the most successful things we ever did. After a few months of ultra-consistent implementation we were able to fade the chart. Habits had been formed.

        I do not know if it would have helped when he was eleven. At that time he was not adequately treated for adhd, burgeoning mood disorder, or other internal changes. This is why the first step might be ruling out anything for which he needs greater support.

        My son suggests making sure the motivator is truly motivating. He recalls mentally shrugging if I dangled something about which he did not care.

        The recent 10-point daily system was linked to his calling a friend with whom he no longer worked and, thus, really missed.


        If none of the above is helpful, it just might take 3 hours daily. I would not lower the academic expectations, as I believe you have placed him squarely in SC 4 which seems suitable. Or it may be this: Sometimes at eleven (and beyond), a boy may simply respond better to Dad, so your dear husband may need to help determine what needs to happen next.

        Maybe someone else will have some words of wisdom for you!

        Jen, you and I have similar issues. You are already a much stronger parent than I am and I wish I had more help
        for you! I once saw this system called The Workbox System. I have been considering this for my son as well. You have these boxes and in each one is a “task/subject”. Any boxes that have to be done with you would have a “work with mom” sign. You could add fun puzzles or smaller things he might enjoy mixed in, but he would clearly “see” what work he ask for the day. The gal who came up with the system said kids would have a shelf to their LEFT and then as they completed the boxes in order (they are numbered) they would see their work disappearing and could easily see how much is left. Key point: everything in each box MUST be a task with a start and a finish point. Maybe you could hide simple little things inside random boxes? Like a surprise snack or a surprise “something he likes” or a “ticket to redeem” for
        something he likes after his work is done. This is all easier said than done as I have not done any of this yet myself. I tend to have lots of ideas and such in my head but struggle to implement them. I have no idea if any of that would help but wanted to throw it out there as an idea.

        My question is: What if the only thing your child seems to be truly motivated about is playing video games? I started allowing them again a bit during the week and my eldest (Autism/ADHD/Cognitive delay) will literally bend over BACKWARDS to have a 20-min turn. I told him yesterday we are moving the video games back to Fri/Sat only. He was mad at me but maybe I need to
        implement a system of “Here is what you HAVE for the weekend. However, you only get it by earning points during the week. Maybe each day there is a point for:
        Attitude
        Completion of work
        Kindness toward others
        I don’t know...


        Maybe I should sit down and see if he can think of things he’d like to “work for”? I see some growth with a couple of my kiddos and I am noticing that I am going to have to make certain kiddos “HOLD THE LINE”. I see some good things too though; like my son who had a terrible time resisting writing last year is actually enjoying the grammar class and he has sat down multiple times now to write a five-Sentence rough draft without me. I’m trying to encourage this as he typically wants to do it with me. I would rather he do the first draft and we work together on the second draft to be handed in. I do not expect him to focus on spelling as that is still a big challenge for him. So, we are working through that. My autistic son is the biggest challenge because he has a hard time with self entertaining...and he tells me all the time “I’m just a video game kid mom...that’s what I like to do”. Yikes...makes me frustrated!

        DS (14) SC3
        DS (11) Barton/SC4/Co-Op for writing/grammar
        DD(9) MP1/2 (trying to make sure she has all the Phonics down pat.)
        DS(6) MPK

        Comment


          #5
          Hi Jen,

          My first thought was more sleep and more exercise, since my boys get so irritable when those are lacking.

          It seems your son needs an external motivator, and if the sips of coffee work that could be great since it’s immediate. I just wonder if that might lose its charm after awhile.

          We have a marble jar. Each of my kids has some thing that they’re working on that they get marbles for. For one, it’s sticking to our agreed schedule and stopping/starting subjects on time. For another it’s standing up for recitation and not trying to lean on something or whining about standing. For another it’s capitalizing correctly. Whatever their different problems are, when the jar is full we will go get donuts or do something special. I’m not very consistent about it and forget more than half the time, but it’s always there for when someone really starts sliding and then I remember!! I think you said you’d had a hard time with keeping up with a reward system. It might be worth another try even if you’re super busy and can’t implement it perfectly. :-)
          Catherine

          2019-20
          DS16, 10th
          DS13, 7th
          DS11, 6th
          DD11, 6th
          DS7, 1st
          DD4, JrK
          DS 17 mos

          Homeschooling 4 with MP
          2 in classical school

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by cherylswope View Post
            My first thought is this: Rule out anything that might be helped by treatment such as supplements/medication. With our son even super-parenting is to no avail if underlying brain function is not adequately supported. Our doctor tests therapeutic levels of meds whenever we see symptoms that defy correction.
            Agreed. I've been thinking about getting some bloodwork done to check his zinc, iron, and D levels since those tend to be low in ADHD. That way we'll know if/what needs to be supplemented. When talking about your advice last night, J and I also decided to give fish oil another try. We didn't notice an improvement the last time we tried it, but that was before he was dairy-free (which helped tremendously). I'd like to see if it works now that the dairy isn't interfering. If these don't help after a few months, we'll have to start thinking about the medication route.


            Next, consider whether any other variables contributed to your son's success over those two weeks working with your husband. For example, did your husband work with your son in a different or less distracting setting? A different time of day? In a different manner? If yes, try to replicate the differences.
            It was definitely less visually distracting and they started at 7am. I can't pull off the start time so we've been trying 8am. I'll buy a science fair board today to make him an "office".


            To obtain more suggestions, I asked my in-house expert, my son. Without using any names, I described the problem to him. He smiled knowingly and said, "Ha! That sounds just like me when I was eleven."

            He sat down and thought for a minute. Then he said thoughtfully, "His motivation needs to increase."

            He described how recently he became much more self-sufficient after we consistently followed a very simple 10-point system for several months every day. My husband is more consistent and less forgetful than I am, so my husband checked off the items all day. We linked the 10-point minimum (of 13) to a motivating reward. I printed the weekly sheets of six days per week (Sundays off) four at a time each month.

            We gave encouraging but not nagging reminders. Each day he *practiced* success. That was enormously helpful. Rarely did he miss earning the 10 points.

            This proved to be one of the most successful things we ever did. After a few months of ultra-consistent implementation we were able to fade the chart. Habits had been formed.

            I do not know if it would have helped when he was eleven. At that time he was not adequately treated for adhd, burgeoning mood disorder, or other internal changes. This is why the first step might be ruling out anything for which he needs greater support.

            My son suggests making sure the motivator is truly motivating. He recalls mentally shrugging if I dangled something about which he did not care.

            The recent 10-point daily system was linked to his calling a friend with whom he no longer worked and, thus, really missed.
            I love how our children help each other! I'm going to focus more on the motivation side of things...as CatherineS said, coffee will lose its charm (sooner than expected, I'm sure!)


            If none of the above is helpful, it just might take 3 hours daily. I would not lower the academic expectations, as I believe you have placed him squarely in SC 4 which seems suitable. Or it may be this: Sometimes at eleven (and beyond), a boy may simply respond better to Dad, so your dear husband may need to help determine what needs to happen next.
            He did well today, despite the distractions and the time; the coffee-after-each subject helped greatly. We're going to brainstorm other possibilities for motivation. TheAttachedMama, I completely agree with your reasoning; unfortunately, we fight this battle with chores as well. So I would be trading one fight for another. I have other children this would work for, but I think we have to get at the motivation root a different way with this child.

            CatherineS thank you for the marble idea! I had tried quarters but I didn't always have them on hand and it fell apart from there. cherylswope you have no idea how comforting it was to hear that, sometimes, even you struggle with keeping up on these things. It gives me hope that I'm not ruining people for life, LOL!
            Jennifer
            Blog: [url]www.seekingdelectare.com[/url]

            DS16
            MP: Lit 10, VideoText Algebra
            MPOA: High School Comp. II
            HSC: Spanish I, Conceptual Physics, Modern European History, and electives

            DS15
            MP: Biology, Lit 10, VideoText Algebra, Greek Tragedies
            MPOA: High School Comp. II, Fourth Form Latin
            HSC: Modern European History

            DS12
            7M with:
            Second Form Latin, EGR III, and HSC for US History

            DS11
            SC Level 4

            DD9
            3A, with First Form Latin (long story!)

            DD7/8
            Still in SC Level 2

            DD 4/5
            SC Level C

            Comment

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