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Help with my time-waster

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Help with my time-waster
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Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 38

Post Help with my time-waster Reply with quote
My 11 year old is in her 4th week of the 7th grade curriculum. She is handling most of it fairly well and I'm only having to hold her hand for some writing projects. The problem is that she has a lot of work to do, which is totally doable since I've converted some assignments to oral quizzes rather than writing out the answers (such as Catechism) but she has a tendency to totally waste time if I'm not standing over her. I have 2 other children and one on the way and absolutely cannot have her at my side all day long. She needs to self-motivate, but ends up perusing her text books for half an hour! I'm at my wit's end. We don't watch a lot of tv, she doesn't spend hardly any time on the phone or computer, she does have dance class but I don't consider that to be something I can take away. I'm stuck on how to motivate her. This was a problem last year, too, and I have not found a solution. Tonight she worked (with about 1/2 hr of wasting time) right up until bedtime, wasting any opportunity for a snack or for fun reading time with me, which she relishes, but clearly not enough. Any suggestions at all??
Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:29 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 15 Aug 2006
Posts: 384
Location: Indiana

Post Reply with quote
My first thought after reading your post is whether or not you have a daily schedule made out. Some children do much better knowing which subjects you want them to do in which order and a designated amount of time. We always start out the school year with such a plan, and once the children get the hang of it, I am flexible if they need a little more time or less time on one subject, etc. I spend a great deal of time coordinating who is doing which subjects when, as I have five children from high school down to kindergarten (and one on the way) and I want to make sure I am available to a particular student during certain subjects (i.e., I make sure the other children are doing "easy" work while one who struggles in Math/Latin/History needs my attention). If you want to really stick to the schedule, you can show her how she will have extra time to look through books, etc. IF the assigned work is done first.

I would suggest making out such a schedule for your daughter if you have not done so, making sure she has adequate time for each subject, but not too much. If it is a real problem even with such a schedule, I might even have her hand in her work when the designated time is up (making sure you have really allowed enough time) and tell you you are going to grade what is completed. That is what they would do at a traditional school. I wouldn't normally recommend such an action, but it might motivate her if you do it for a number of days and show her this is what the world will expect when she goes to high school or college or gets a job. Deadlines must be met.

Just my suggestions. Others may think of a "kinder" way.

Thu Sep 13, 2007 1:08 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 19 Aug 2006
Posts: 101
Location: Corrales, NM

Post Reply with quote
I've found with my "time waster" a timer is very helpful along with a schedule. If he doesn't finish his work within the time limit he must finish it on his own time, which to him is very valuable. SG
Thu Sep 13, 2007 11:24 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 19

Post I could also use help in this area Reply with quote
My 12yr old 7th grader is also wasting time and we have revised the schedule, tried to make better transitions, but the solutions only help for a week or so. Our greatest difficulty is also writing. She outright will not write for essays, questions etc. She is more than capable of the curriculum, but will dig her heels in no matter what. We too did the option of if the work is not done, you have to do it in your own time and that does not seem to help. We are in testing this week and many tests have written question/answers and she is just refusing to do them. I do not know what to do. We have already battled our school district, trying to get her an IEP under the ED diagnosis and have exhausted our funds, but on the same note, I do not know if she is learning with me when she is refusing to write. She isn't concerned about the grades or her time. I would prefer to not have her in the public school because they have a lot of problems there, but I'm not sure what is the better of the options. If anyone has a suggestion, I would greatly appreciate it.
Mon Oct 22, 2007 10:14 am View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Catherine M.

Joined: 28 Jul 2007
Posts: 10
Location: Leesburg, VA

Post time waster Reply with quote
My 10 year old and I have been battling similar situations the past two years. I feel that until she mentally matures we will continue this battle. I, too, have used the scheduling methods. It worked for a few weeks, then back to wasting time.

She is 3rd of 6 children, the thrid girl in a row. Her two older sisters work hard and are self motivated. When they were in this 4th - 6th grade level they both would tell me how they do not want to grow up. I feel this is a tender age that needs attention. I see that my older two, in a way, intimidate my 10yo. I know this may not be everyone's case but I do think it is worth mentioning.

Also, I learned this year that when my 10yo understands the material she is happy and happy to work. Just a little, but enough to build on. This requires me to adjust my schedule to give her more time during each week. I now give her the most of each Wednesday. It's a good mid-week bonding.

I hope this is of some help![/i]
Mon Nov 19, 2007 1:36 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 05 Oct 2006
Posts: 114
Location: Alabama

Post time waster Reply with quote
I don't know if this will help but we have struggled with work not getting done for various reasons. A lot depends on the reasons.

We had one very, very bright child who seemed to take forever to get the simplest thing done. It took us a while to figure it out, but it turns out that this child was getting sick to her stomach after 20 minutes of close work. Well, in that case, no amount of timer, trying to make the place quiter, etc. did any good. Once we knew the real issue, her eyes, we were able to address that and be realistic with how much close work we could do until the vision issue was resolved. We tried to get larger print with good contrast wherever possible and combined that with some vision therapy that resolved the problem. She is extremely efficient now.

Another extremely bright and capable child had had severe vision problems (these prevented her from reading until she was about 10 but then she caught up). However, she had some bad habits that formed before we knew what the problem was. Whenever she had close work assigned, she was our houdini. Later, when the vision was corrected, we did have to work at undoing some bad work habits. We used the timer, very specific and daily lesson plans, and very matter of fact expectations that the work and the responsibility was hers. She is highly creative so working in her room was too distracting and working at the kitchen table with the rest of us was too noisy. We found a room with nothing else in it for her to use. She had some slight auditory processing issues (working in a noisy environment and a suggestion that gradually we increase the level of noise - well that kind of happens naturally in a large family so we had to work on making sure she started out with minimal to no noise so this could happen gradually). The thing that got her attention most was that I simply kept rolling over work from one day to the next - by the end of the week, she had a weeks worth of work there. Granted, I was still toying with exactly how much work she was capable of reasonably completing, so the workload was on the light side and I knew without any doubt at all that she really was capable of finishing this in less than the hours required. At the end of the week, she decided that none of the work was going away, did the whole week in a day. After that I sat down with her and leveled that I discovered something about her ability to do much more than I had been assigning. I upped the expectations from that point on and she has later shared with me that she figured she might as well just get it done or I was just going to keep piling it on.

Another child is diligent and focused but the eye-hand skills don't connect. Visual memory, copy speed and such make almost any work involving writing take 3X what it takes most his age. I minimize what I expect him to handwrite. We use workbooks and I do not require full sentences here. I do work closely with him on writing assignments and these he is allowed to type. We are attempting to remedy or search for answers for some of the other things, but in the meantime, I cannot demand something of this child that will put his stress way over that top and just make him frustrated and angry. I know this because I watch how he works, with the minimal writing, it still takes him all day and longer than anyone else in our house to finish his work. He doesn't complain. I know he isn't dawdling as I see him intensely trying to concentrate.

The next child is bright and creative but extremely disorganized. This child can end up being side tracked with science experiments and science reading. I generally have to make him clean up his desk area periodically and I have sent things back due to disorganization. I have begun to make him write me a paper on every science thing he does. (It is scarey some of the things I've learned). The first paper on the hydroelectric dam he built, I sent back 7 + times. I wouldn't even review it. Eventually, he told me that he figured he better just start with an outline, otherwise mom was just going to keep making him rewrite it anyways. In the end, he has had to become more organized. I have had to make a point of going over all his work as close to daily as possible. Otherwise, he tends to overlook things of less interest or do things sloppily. When he knows I'm on top of it, he is better able to organize himself. We may have made less progress in terms of Kolbe assignments but we have made the progress I wanted in a way that is working and grabbing his attention. Now he has a history paper to write (prior to this, I was just asking him to read the material) and he seems to be able to stay on task in a subject that is his least favorite. I also know that he is far sighted and when he starts to get where he needs a new prescription, close work tires his eyes 'till we get the new glasses so there are a lot of judgement calls. It is an art knowing when to be just plain obstinate and when to adjust realizing the child is doing the best that they are capable of doing.

Hope this helps. A lot of what you do, depends on what is causing the struggle. Sometimes these things that seem like someone staring off into space can be some very real, physical challenges related to eye strain and a good developmental optometrist can help you determine this.

Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:52 pm View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 9
Location: Sidney, OH

Post Reply with quote
I used to have a time waster. He is now in 10th grade and doing very well. One thing I did to help him , was to make him the teacher of a class, and I became a student. This forced him to be focused. I would act like "one of the kids" and ask questions that would help him think through his answers and present them in a logical order. I did this only a few times, but I think it helped him see how to read through material and how to do "mental talking" about material he was learning (What does this word mean? What does this phrase mean etc?.) Occasionally we also had him tape himself reading material. I don't know why, but throwing in an "electronic gadget" suddenly made the reading more interesting until he got tired and decided quiet reading got the work done quicker!!
Also, be sure your child doesn't have some learning problem, visual coordination etc. A visit to a good optometrist may be very beneficial.
Mon Nov 26, 2007 10:42 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 12

Post Reply with quote
I came here to post a new topic but realize, rather disheartenly, that this seems to be a struggle I may face for years as my dear time- waster is only 8 and starting third grade. We've done schedules, timers, reward charts, jumping jacks and laps of the park on his bike, the "if it's not done, do on your own time', and all that and still we struggle. He can do the work, but is so easily distracted; even if you put him in a quiet room he still finds things to distract him: even his brain is distracting. Today so far we have worked on three subjects, 3 1/2 hours later he is still finishing up his writing. He loves doing things orally, but I refuse to let him rely on that for everything. I am going to pull my hair out! I am homeschooling his 1st grade brother (another distraction) and have a 3 yr. old at large as well (more distraction). Three year old does not want to do any "school-work" and short of plunking him in front of the tv for hours, a distraction he is going to remain (his very existence is distracting to said third-grader). So it sounds like maybe by mid-high school age he may settle down and focus... okay. I love my boys and will continue homeschooling, but sometimes it seems so futile. What can I do?
Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:26 am View user's profile Send private message

Joined: 07 Mar 2007
Posts: 101

Post Reply with quote
For mine, the quiet makes it they all wear headphones w/ some type of music playing. One sits on an exercise ball, which allows for movement (fell out of her chair a lot last year); another has a pilates band attached to the front legs of his desk to move his legs up and down against while working; and another stands/sits...whatever works at the time. Sometimes chewing gum helps them get into a working rhythm as well. If you don't like that, something crunchy (carrot sticks, etc) works well also. A schedule definitely helps, with built in (quick) water/bathroom breaks. Also varying the order of classes may help (alternate the ones that require more focus w/ those that don't)...and of course, lots of patience and prayer. I found that when we examined things real closely and varied our curriculum, it really helped - many times the lack of focus is because they aren't having some needs (sensory/stimulatory) met; if you can find a way to meet those, the focus comes much easier. Hope that helps! God bless you and your family.
Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:35 pm View user's profile Send private message
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