Thursday, March 02, 2006

Our Next Amazon Order, Attention and Homeschooling

My hubby just bought a new band saw and cordless drill. So I think that entitles me to a small spree at Amazon.

On order:
The Number Devil
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Geography
Usborne's World Geography Encyclopedia (I haven't placed the order yet, please tell me this is good.)
Sudoku Puzzles for Kids (DS doesn't have patience for the big puzzles)
Nonfiction Reading Practice 4th Grade
Spectrum Spelling 4th Grade.

So far. I'm sure I'll add to the list.

Why am I ordering workbooks for my son? Busy work? Why a spelling book when we love Sequential Spelling?

Here's why. My son has "attentional" issues. No he has not been diagnosed with ADD. He does have problems staying on task. He cannot seem to work when I'm in not in the room. Some days he's on and can, other days (most) he can't.

We homeschool to suit his learning style. He learns well with what we do. I think he needs some practice at focusing himself a bit, though. He needs something he can do without me in the room. That's why I chose a simple spelling book and nonfiction reading. (He's a nonfiction reader just like his mom, he'll actually love that.) I hope that this will build up his confidence because I think he'll be able to stay on task with both items.

Today I left the room when he had a lot of math to do. I heard, "Mom, this is too hard! I can't do it. I don't understand it. Mom, help." I went back into the room and he hadn't even attempted to start. And we're talking *subtraction.* I was a mean mom. I told him to do his best, that's all I expected, and that I was going to go outside for a minute. I didn't help him with a single problem because he knew how to do it. I gave him the pep talk, "You can do it" and scurried out the door.

Well, I came back ten minutes later and he had done 40 problems. He was pleased, I was pleased. He informed me he'd do more work, so I left and went to the kitchen. He did 20 more problems.

It is a real struggle teaching a child to focus. It takes baby steps and lots of confidence building. He has come so far, though, and I am so proud of him. I'm hoping my busywork workbooks will further him on his way.

At this point I teach him to clear his mind and focus on one problem at a time. When that problem is done, don't think of Runescape or Sims or Jamaica or Rome or palmettos or palm trees, immediately move your eyes and brain to the next problem. Develop a rhythm and keep going.

I always think of his second grade year in public school. He had a wonderful teacher that actually *let* me volunteer. It was because of her that I was able to see him in action, how he performed in school. It was scary. He couldn't focus AT ALL. I came home from my first-time volunteering experience and bawled. What happened to my bright, smart, son? Where had he gone and who was this boy that couldn't focus and lost his love of learning!

After that we consulted an educational psychologist and had him tested. Yes, he's gifted. Yes, he has attentional issues. Yes, public school is not the place for him. And finally, my husband relented and agreed to homeschooling.

The rest is history. We won't be going back any time soon. When he's older he can have the choice, but he has no desire to go back. This is working for him.

Baby steps. Confidence building. Lots of love, support and hugs. It's working.


BridgetJ said...

Your son seems a lot like mine. If I am sitting at the table with him when he does his work, he works quickly and get 99% of it right. If I get up to fix a meal or do a load of laundry, he twidles his thumbs and stares into space. IT DRIVES ME INSANE!

Almost Lazarus said...

Yes, the geography book is a good one.

Before I go frantically looking, is Spectrum the McGraw Hill workbooks?

Frankie said...

Butch, yes, Spectrum is from McGraw Hill. I meant to let you know for your list. Some of the Spectrum books are very good. My son did the 3rd grade reading book last year and loved it. Standard read a paragraph, fill in the bubbles regarding comprehension, vocab, etc. He really enjoyed it.

We have used Spectrum Vocab, Spectrum Math, Spectrum Reading and will try the spelling. I liked all listed that we've tried. The math was a good supplement.

We did Spectrum Language Arts last year and we didn't like that. In fact, I think that's why DS was behind. It just wasn't a good fit for us.

contemplator said...

I love Sudoku puzzles. But do they make you more logical...or do they just make you better at solving Sudoku puzzles??

Your technique for teaching a child to focus is fantastic. Mine loses focus when he doesn't want to do something. If he wants to do it, he'll burn right through it. Self discipline, I guess.

Audrey said...

We have that geography book here at the library. It is really good. We use it quite a bit when my son is here at work with me.

Your son sounds a bit like mine, too. He's 6 and definitely a wiggler. He can't get through a single thing if I'm not sitting with him. He also does this thing that drives me absolutely bonkers. He will actually stop writing a word right in the middle of the word! I just can't understand how someone can just stop writing in the MIDDLE of a word! Ahhh!

I know, I know... that's my own pet peeve and it isn't important. But, I do understand from whence you are coming. My son will read aloud for me, but he prefers to take the book, stand up and read. Sometimes he will walk around in a circle while reading. It works for him, though. His focus is better and he doesn't stumble on the words as much, doesn't lose his place on the page as much.

I'm going with his flow on most of these things. I don't think he is ADD. I just think he's an active little boy who learns differently.

Jo said...

I say make it a nice BIG Amazon order girl! My hubby just spent $700 on a stupid desk so you can bet your ass I'M going shopping!

I'm going to look into some of the books you listed too so thanks.

M__ said...

Sudoku puzzles? Please let me know more about these? I have a 6 year old and a 9 year old. Would both of them enjoy these?