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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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Additional Answers (4)

annie59
annie59 writes:
You might want to consider trying a couple of different approaches. One would be to use an old fashion kitchen timer - set it for 8 minutes and have him begin working; when the timer goes off reset it for 3 minutes and have him get up and physically move around; reset the timer for 8 minutes and repeat the process. It is important to only have the work that his is focusing on in front of him - so he is not focused on "all the work" that he has to do. Another approach is to have him chart his accuracy. For some kids the goal is completion and not accuracy - you are changing the goal to accuracy.
> 60 days ago

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SMPTUE
SMPTUE writes:
This is why I have to homeschool.  We're coming up on 3rd grade and I was hoping she'd be ready to go back to school by now. I'm quite capable of teaching her, but I'd prefer she get the experience of a structured learning environment while she is still young.  However, she isn't as bad as she used to be.  

I enrolled her in a karate school almost two years ago.  When she first started, she couldn't hold still at times they are supposed to stand at attention.  She had to constantly sway back and forth just to have some movement, and she would rush into the katas because she was eager to do something physical.  Now, she can be almost perfectly still, is calm most times in her presentations, makes more deliberate, controlled executions of her katas, and has even started liking school work because the kids are allowed to bring it to the dojo to show the instructors.  I've seen karate benefit unruly kids in her class, too.

I've been told she has ADD, though she has never been officially tested for it. I don't want her to be on drugs that will change her personality, but according to one dad at the dojo, there is a newer medicine that doesn't change their personality but helps them achieve their goals and concentrate more.  His son went from Ds and Fs to being on the honor roll and taking advanced classes for grades 2 years higher than him.  He's a very sweet and outgoing, energetic boy, too, so no negative changes to his personality or spirit.  I'm considering doing that for my daughter, but for now karate has helped a lot.  Maybe you could try that.
> 60 days ago

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LDSolutions
LDSolutions , Child Professional writes:
Multisensory teaching keeps children engaged!  Having your child use different color markers to highlight and underline directions is important.    After 20 minutes of sitting, get up and move.  Yoga stretches, shooting 10 minutes of basketballs into a hoop, etc. Children that have been diagnosed with ADHD have this problem quite frequently.  They are intelligent children, and bored with tedious, banal work.  They often need more stimulation.  Sometimes the children also rush through the work because they would rather go play.  Keep the focus on the task at hand.  Use a colored paper and tape it  at the end of the first exercise on the page.  That way your child is focused on one thing.  After completing that part of the page move the colored paper to the bottom of the next activity and so on (like a bookmarker).  This way your child isn't overwhelmed by an abundance of work in front of him but only a few problems.  And remember if he is tired, unfocused and NOT in the mood, he isn't going to learn anything and therefore those worksheets are just unproductive busy work.
> 60 days ago

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MsEmpathy
MsEmpathy writes:
Tell him he can get (whatever it is that he cant live without) unless he focus and does his work I do this all the time to my children and it works everytime.Good Luck
> 60 days ago

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