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christyuhl
christyuhl asks:
Q:

how do i get my 7 yr old to slowdown while doing his schoolwork?

my son's teacher says he is very bright and quiet capable of above grade level work, yet he rushes through it so quickly that his scores are much lower than average.
How can I motivate him to do his best at school, or at least to get to the core of what the real issue may be?
In Topics: Helping my child with school work and home work, My Relationship with my child's school, Self esteem and identity
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Hand in Hand
Mar 31, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

Dear Christyuhl:

Congratulations on being the mom of a bright and capable son!

Homework is a sore spot in almost every household, with almost every child. It goes against how children are built, to have to sit down and do things on paper for so many hours every day! Kids are built to roam, built to adventure, built to move and experiment and laugh and romp. So your bright, capable son may be using his best instincts to say, effectively, "This isn't worth my time--I have much better and more interesting things to do!"

There's a good book, The Case Against Homework, by Sarah Bennett and Nancy Kalish, that I highly recommend. I won't go into more about the pros and cons of homework here, but the book makes a strong case for children having no homework, and parents advocating to cut homework out or cut it far down in amount in the elementary school years.

The strategy I would try would be to do Special Time or Vigorous Play Time, a good 10 or 20 minutes at least, every night before homework, to help him have the kind of fun he likes first! This sets a child up to feel that his day has been a good one, it helps him feel warmly connected to you, and if he has upsets about doing homework, it will let him break into a good cry when you warmly and gently stop the play and say, "It's time for homework now." That cry will offload the feelings of resentment and upset he has about homework, and will help him feel that someone has heard him, someone understands what he feels. Stay with him, put your arm around him, and tell him something like, "I know homework isn't fun. I will stay with you. There will be some time to play afterward, I promise." Then, listen until he feels all cried out.

 Here's how it can work.

Yours,

Patty Wipfler
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