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Trouble with 3rd Grade boy
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Trouble with 3rd Grade boy
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slhallford



Joined: 05 Nov 2008
Posts: 68

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It definitely gets better but it can be a LONG process. After K, 1st and 2nd in parochial school, my son was in 3rd grade when we started with Kolbe. He is in sixth now. Third grade was horrible. Fourth grade was slightly less horrible, some days. Some days it was WORSE. It could be so much worse that my husband actually wanted to give up and send the kids to public school. But in 5th grade a transformation came over him and his reticence and resistance seemed to ebb away as the year went by and he began to truly engage and enjoy his work. This year has been an absolute adventure so far. I am SO glad that I stuck with him even through the difficult years we had. The only thing that helped throughout the transition for him was empathizing with his feelings/emotions and at the same time holding him accountable (in a reasonable way) for his actions and choices especially regarding his school work.

S
Tue Sep 27, 2011 8:48 pm View user's profile Send private message
LakesideMom



Joined: 21 Oct 2010
Posts: 7

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Now we are at the point where he simply does not want to do school, period. (He's our only child.) We have had a great deal of upheaval...a move to a house that needed work and lots of disruptions throughout the nearly eight weeks we have been doing school. We have to do school because he is a smart boy and if his brain is not engaged his behavior goes downhill. I am on bare essentials--math, spelling, grammar...that's about it. He is a strong reader...to the point where I cannot peel him away from a book (so that is not so bad!) to do school work. He is a normal boy, very boy...but especially avoidant when it is something he does not want to do--which is now everything. I am not the most organized person, and I find complicated reward systems, while effective, to be totally exhausting; but I know that I need to get up earlier and have a concrete schedule with times for everything. Our problem earlier was when he did not want to do something, he took forever...slow as molasses in January...which did not bother him, and wrought havoc on a schedule.

A big part is that his personality is totally and completely different from mine. I was compliant, he is non-compliant. Very difficult to stick through this!
Thu Oct 13, 2011 11:44 am View user's profile Send private message
slhallford



Joined: 05 Nov 2008
Posts: 68

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I went through similar behaviors when Ian was that age. And I found that I was more of a problem than he was. I had a very hard time letting him fail. I tried so hard to cajole him and encourage him that I made myself crazy. It came to the point that I checked out a huge pile of books to learn about classroom management to try and figure out where I was going wrong. Lots of the material wasn't really applicable but some of it was very helpful. Teaching with Love and Logic helped me tremendously because it taught me to let him own his choices and help him to live with the consequences without getting my own emotions caught up in the moment.

My son needed very clear expectations and time limits or else he would drag his spelling definitions out the entire day all while complaining vociferously at his imagined overload of work. Looking back, it's easier to see it clearly. I literally created a spreadsheet with his assignments and the estimated time needed for completion for him to keep on his desk. I had a timer in the classroom that we used to keep track of the elapsed time. There was a fair bit of drama when we began it but overall it has really helped him to focus, be organized and efficient with his daily work. Anything that wasn't completed by the end of time (within reason) simply became homework and Dad stepped in after dinner as available teaching parent and I went off duty.

Obviously this approach won't necessarily work for everyone but it's how I survived those years. He really is a joy to teach now and I look forward to each day I have with him and his sister.

S
Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:24 pm View user's profile Send private message
LakesideMom



Joined: 21 Oct 2010
Posts: 7

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When he first started taking forever to accomplish something, I noted the amount of time that it took on a timer on my phone...the longest was 2 1/2 hours to do two pages of math...very simple review with not many problems on each page (we use Math Mammoth). He whittled that down, but only if he is doing something that interests him. I have graded some things, not consistently, and I know I need to do that. However, I don't know that that would get him going consistently either. I won't use a token or "pay" for work system because we live in an area where kids have way too much, and I cannot play that game. ("Gee honey, we're going to the circus and if you don't see a toy there that you would like, I'll give you $20"...verbatim from a neighbor) We've been through charts, rewards, punishments, incentives, token economies, you name it. He simply needs to mature, but the slow process is really wearing me out. We believe that it is very important for him to learn, and I can't stand it when he doesn't go along with the program!

My background is teaching high school kids...vastly different.
Thu Oct 13, 2011 2:30 pm View user's profile Send private message
slhallford



Joined: 05 Nov 2008
Posts: 68

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I agree completely about not wanting to do a "payment". Ian was really big into computer games at that age and my husband suggested we make a "power star" chart for him. And after so many power stars, we'd do a little something fun together as a family. Ian loved it. I think he especially liked the idea that work he did ended up as a treat for everyone. Spelling work was the bane of his existence so it was only for that. And we kept it small, icees, a lunch out or stop for ice cream, or picking a meal or treat to make together.

I've really worked on emphasizing that school for us is a team effort. My job is to teach the material and support their efforts. Their job is to do the learning. Whittling assignments to the vital amount needed to learn the lesson was also successful, especially if he was able to choose say, even or odd problems. It always seemed like less work for him to do written things up on the white board. And I had to let him choose not to do assignments and receive the ugly zero or F grade. Since he loathed anything that wasn't a perfect score, he was shocked to see those grades and it generally motivated him for quite a while. It was especially helpful to make certain his work was graded within a day or two and had the percentage earned in large numbers on the top.

Hopefully, some of this might give you some kind of inspiration for your son. I had many, many days that I cried and wanted to give up but I am so glad now that I didn't.

S
Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:11 pm View user's profile Send private message
slhallford



Joined: 05 Nov 2008
Posts: 68

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I also forgot to mention that we don't do a traditional school schedule. We're a family of competitive skaters and we work around that schedule with school. So we do 3 full school days a week and stretch it out over the full calendar year.

We also do a lot of teaching outside of the books with cooking, gardening, housekeeping, etc. Everyone is responsible for part of helping the household run. We started small with things like sorting the laundry by color when they were preschool aged, and then by label as they learned to read. When he was in kindergarten aged, he did the dishwasher unloading for me so we moved all the dishes to low cupboards. His sister took it over when she reached that age and he started loading the dishwasher and helping me by drying the pans and putting them away. They are four years apart so this progression has worked very well. They divided the mopping and vacuuming of their bedrooms each week and they do their own laundry.

When I was teaching them to clean their own bathroom, we had a fantastic lesson about team work. We timed how long it took the three of us to do it together. Then, we worked that into a math lesson by figuring out how long it would have taken only one of us or two of us to finish the task. And we celebrated it by using the extra time left over to have an outing to the park.

The funniest failure I've had was my brilliant idea to do the spelling tests using Scrabble tiles. The kids loved the idea. It was horrible. It literally took about fives time longer than just writing them out and we all ended up crabby. They love to tell that story now.

You can also try doing some or parts of assignments out loud. That has been pretty successful especially with grammar and reading assignments.

S
Thu Oct 13, 2011 6:31 pm View user's profile Send private message
jazzed7



Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 12

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Wow.. I wish I could have known just how many struggled just like me. We finally put our eldest son (and subject of the original post)in a parochial school and he basically had to repeat third grade, but that was okay because he's a summer birthday and now he's an 'older' student, rather than a 'young' one. It has really worked out well for him, though it was a real struggle at first: we had done so many reading assignments orally in an attempt to just get them done, that it was really difficult for him to get classwork done within the allotted time, and for the first couple of months missed a lot of recesses. Looking back I realize I could have done many things better and with my now 2nd grade (homeschooled) son, I have been working on changing those things. For one, a different math curriculum (Singapore Math...LOVE IT!), and really emphasizing the 'why' of reading/writing skills. I do let him complete some assignments orally, but he has to give me good, complete sentences/answers, then writing down whatever was incomplete or wrong. This way I get no lazy answers, but some actual thought and consideration. Also, I finally broke down and bought the "Time Tracker" timer: great investment as it really helps my son to budget his time better. I know we will probably hit some of the same obstacles I hit with my odler son, but it is just so heartening to know I'm not alone and that there is light at the end of the tunnel. God Bless you all for what you do!
Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:35 pm View user's profile Send private message
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