Monday, May 14, 2012

Homeschooling the Distractible Child

I happen to be blessed with not one, but two distractible children.  And maybe that's not really a word, but it fits.

I won't lie.....I didn't always appreciate my (ahem) "highly energetic", children.  Until I realized they weren't too unlike me.  I always had my act together.  My ducks were neatly in a row.  I wore out sharpies and labels due to my over-organized OCD.  And then I had children, which kind of destroys any form of organizational traits you may possess, and any focus I had left after my first five children was completely lost after my first set of twins.

I'm sorry, where was I going with this......?

Oh yeah, the distractible child.

Of my five older school-aged children, three work quite well on their own, no matter what is going on.  A bomb could go off in our living room and they would still be pouring over their books.  The other two are a different story.  For years, I was frustrated with many hours and days spent in school work.  Time lost over crying, fits, pouting, and pounding of fists in anger.

But enough about me.

After trying every method known to homeschooling man, and reading books, and blogs, and attending conference seminars pertaining to the easily distracted child, I finally sought the advice of my husband.  He always has the best ideas. And I was too foolish to ask him in the first place.  A mistake I have never made since.

His advice was to put the highly distracted child in a room by himself.  In earshot and easy sight, but away from everyone and everything.  No distractions.  No noise.  No frequent activity.  The best place was my bedroom.  It's small and quiet, yet I could see him easily and hear him if he needed me. He sits between my bed and the wall, in which he has created a comfortable spot for himself, and he can't see out of the windows unless he makes the effort.   When we began, I made sure he knew he wasn't being punished and wasn't in trouble for anything, but let him know it was to help him focus and not be distracted so he could get his work done faster.  You know what?  It worked.  The very first day.  Not only did he get his schoolwork finished in record time, he finished it correctly!  Rarely do I have to work with him on the same issue over and over and over again, because he is able to concentrate on my instructions and "get it" the first time.  The mellow paint color in the room and lack of twinados wreaking havoc in a calm space, works wonders...

He's still easily distracted.  I mean, the kid hears the A/C turn on and he's lost all train of thought, but thankfully the schoolwork is a lot easier.  And I'm grateful to the Lord for a bright husband.

He's been so happy.  I've been so happy.  And it's taken years off my face.  And I've not had to buy as much Kleenex.

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