Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Homeschooling the Strong Willed Child: School Time Tips

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that I hope will be helpful to you!

I'm convinced that every family has one!  This is the child who is determined, strong-willed, confident, and independent!  We may look at these traits as negatives BUT steered in the right direction can become wonderful qualities.  Welcome back to my series, "Homeschooling the Strong-Willed Child."  In this series I will share with you tips that I have used both in my classroom and home.

Today's tips are some I've used or seen used while I was a classroom teacher!  These tips are designed for children who have difficulty sitting, staying on task, listening, or completing activities.  Maybe one or two items below will help your child focus on school day tasks!
  1. Plan SHORT activities.  I was always frustrated in school when the teacher assigned 100 math problems from the book.  I was more overwhelmed at completing all of the problems then actually taking the time to learn and put the procedure to mastery.  Choosing quality problems or questions can be more effective then busy work.  Also try having the student give a written or oral explanation of how they arrived at the solution.
  2. Change up the pace!  Plan a sitting activity, then do a moving activity, go outside or in another area of the house, or break up school time for some work in the AM then finish in the PM!
  3. Play calming music during your learning time.
  4. Allow the student to study or learn about something of interest to them!
  5. Invite a guest (grandparent, aunt, uncle, or neighbor) to teach a lesson!
  6. Incorporate SOME choices during the school day.
  7. Try using a squishy ball, play dough, or putty to help calm your child while completing a sitting or listening activity (see these fidget toys).
  8. Try using a sensory cushion on your child's chair to minimize the wiggles!
  9. Your child may benefit from a weighted compression vest.
  10. Try a visual timer to show your child how long you would like them to do a certain activity.
  11.  Make a visual schedule of your day!
  12. Research and incorporate Brain Gym exercises.
  13. Distinguish between activities the student doesn't WANT to do verses activities that are TOO DIFFICULT to complete.  Keep the student accountable to completing a reasonable undesired activity OR provide support to the student that needs additional help because of the activity's difficulty.
  14. Use rewards!  Although some may disagree with a reward system such as earning candy, points, recess, etc.  I have always had great success with rewards in the early years.  As children grow we desire that they become intrinsically motivated but to head in that direction a reward system may be beneficial.  A simple reward system I used in my own classroom was earning tickets.  Students earned tickets for positive behavior, work completion, being helpful, etc.  then every Friday they were able to turn in their tickets for a candy (5 tickets=1 small candy).
  15. Always demand and encourage personal best work!  Everyone is capable of personal best.  Encourage and praise this level of work!
I hope that you find these tips useful during your school time!  I would love to hear if you have had success with any of the tips mentioned above OR I would love to read your own successful tips in the comments below!  Thanks for reading!!
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1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! We've had some success with a 'fidget' and I wonder if Trevor would benefit from a sensory cushion. I'm going to look into that! I'm not sure that he is "strong willed" (maybe he is though) but he is definitely "highly distracted" lol

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