Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Making Them Do It

Yesterday I got a plea for help from a mom who's struggling with a child not doing his work. I know this mother to be a fine homeschool mom who has already been successful. Since I faced this problem at times, I suspect many more do too.

Most moms who have boys do. That's part of the key right there: boys! The way God made girls often (though not always) fits in better with school work than boys. However, God has special purposes for the men of this world so we need to work along with His plan--but believe me, I know it's not easy.

First, I'd suggest you take a look at what you think the root or main cause of the problem, then think about what underlying or secondary things may be adding to the problem.

So, what is it? 

1. A discipline problem: it it laziness, or plain old rebellion?

 2.) Is it a curriculum problem: does he hate workbooks, and that's what's he's doing most of? Or does it require lots of reading and he's more of an auditory learner? 

3.) Is it a problem of boredom? Is the work too easy and he's bored? Is it too hard,and he's discouraged?

 4.) Is it a concentration problem? Most boys are born with enough energy that it'd be easy to tag them with an ADHD problem. However, homeschoolers have much better ways of dealing with this. I know of one homeschool mom whose son has pretty severe ADHD, and she requires him to run (I think it's a couple of miles) before he even tries to sit down to do school work. She wears him out, and then he can settle down to work. (He's on the basketball team and when the whole team has to run, this kid isn't even winded when the others are dying.)

Is there another thing that you think is the root cause? Pick which one you think it is, then you and you husband (you'll need his support!) need to sit down with your son or daughter and have a good long talk. He's got to know who's boss and how things are going to be from here on out.

We will take a deeper look at each of these issues next time, but until then here's some suggestions for possible consequences if the work's not completed.

*Take away what he most loves if the work isn't finished; it must hurt
* Decide on an acceptable amount of work for the morning, and no lunch until it's finished
*No fun or social life on the weekend if all the week's work is not finished
*Sloppy work must be redone
*If the assignment is not completed in a given reasonable time, more work is required, not less
*Diligent students earn an extra field trip, park day, or movie with dad
*Assign a goal and give a reward (after so many books are read, etc.)
*Discern your child's love language and dish out liberal doses when the work's completed

I often think that we can be thankful that the Lord brings these issues to light while the kids are still young and under our roof. We can still deal with them. If it slips by (as it might in public school), the problem may get a great deal worse as he gets older.

Please share your tips with our readers. How do you make them do it?

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