Boys….how to get them to care and try!

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  • 4my4kids

    I have a db 10yo, who I know he knows his math, but is careless and does not set up his math problems correctly to take away and borrow. Therefore making math harder than it should be.  It’s not only math, but he doesn’t care about his writing, his grammar lessons. He just doesn’t try! I’m seriously to the point of giving up and putting him in public school. He likes to hunt and fish and survive (camp,etc). His father has an unusual schedule that I tell him he should be glad to be homeschooled because then he can have time with his father because otherwise (in public school) your schedules would clash he they wouldn’t get to see each other. I don’t know what to do. How do I get him to have a relationship with his studies if he could care less. Just basic studies like math, writing, reading. Honestly ladies I need your help!


    One idea for math… if you have him use ruled paper, turn it horizontally. The lines are then used to line numbers up by place value. Graph paper can be used in a similar fashion, but you’ll need to determine the best size in order for the numbers to fit in each square.

    Grammar can be done orally for the most part at this age, or during reading instruction/copywork/dication.

    See if you can get Dad to come up with a reward system for work done well. Have it be things to be done with Dad.

    Short lessons. Vary the activity from listening, reading, writing, movement. Avoid doing several subjects that require writing all in a row.




    Charlotte Mason’s perfect execution may help. (Do it right or do it twice.) Especially for any copywork, if there is any careless mistake, they have to do the whole thing all over again.

    I like to also explain to my son how it is when he is grown and working a job. Where I used to work in an office setting, mistakes were critical. They always gave us enough time to do it right and check it over. If we caught the mistake ourselves, we fix it and it wasn’t really a mistake. If the boss found a mistake, that made you look bad. If that happened enough, you lost your job and won’t have a very good reference for securing another job. I shudder to think of mistakes going out the door which the boss did not catch.


    Yup – I worked with critical computer programming jobs.  Computer bugs happen – but in some fields a bug can be fatal…..

    1 job I had was with ambulance software used by the perimedics…. imagine the problems some bugs could have here!

    Another job I had was with industrial control.  Bugs could cause a machine to suddenly turn on unexpectidley possibly killing someone working on it.  

    As you can imagine – we worked hard to not make mistakes! 

    (and boy do I have stories of bugs too – often caused by the hardware we were controlling and not the software…. but still.)  Fortunately most of them were “funny” (after the fact) – and nothing was fatal or injurous that I ever heard of…)


    Sent you a pm


    @4my4kids: are you sure you don’t live at my house?

    I’ve tried all of these things at one time or another with ds9, and none of them have worked. I just spent 20 minutes or more telling him to draw me a neat narration of the Mouse and the Motorcycle, something that looks like a mouse instead of a stick figure. I said he would rather spend 10 minutes getting one picture right than trying to fill up the notebook in those ten minutes. I even stopped what I was doing and guided him. But as soon as I stopped guiding him, he was back to the stick figures and told me flat out he didn’t care.

    I told him sloppy work wouldn’t work when he grew up. Didn’t faze him.

    I told him his drawings wouldn’t win a blue ribbon at the fair. He likes blue ribbons, but it didn’t faze him.

    I told him he would have to do his math over if it wasn’t neat. Didn’t help.

    The only thing he does carefully is Legos.


    I feel your pain.  I have been there, and we have moved through it, but not without drugery and tears and frustration. I wish I had wonderful words of Charlotte Mason wisdom for you.  ALl I can say is “There is light at the end of the tunnel!”. If your son is like mine, “Do it right or Do it Twice” doesn’t make a difference. There were days that he sat at the table ALL DAY, never getting his assignments done well, even when I sat with him all day, and finally we just went to bed and everyone in the house was miserable and I cried myself to sleep. We had many many days like that. 

    For awhile I felt like Legos  were my enemies b/c they were the only thing he did carefully, but if you can think outside the box then maybe they can be your friends. Can he build a set for the Mouse and the Motorcycle (or whatever book) out of legos and do a narration using his set – take pictures, make a stop motion type video/slide show and have him narrate that?  I realize this is not exactly Charlotte Mason but each kid is different.  And as much as I love Charlotte Mason, my daughter responds effortlessly to her methods much but not my son. It is like she (like her mama) was born to learn this way. My son, not so much. Through some careful creativity, and as he has matured (now he is 13), he has been able to be guided into a more Charlotte Mason style approach and even appreciates it but at one point I realized I trying to stuff learning into him b/c I was so stuck on a method and therefore he was learning nothing and I had to adapt or lose my mind (or never get anyhting other than his schoolwork done!). I had to use something he cared about (like Legos) and make it work for learning. Legos can also branch into other forms of contruction, as they did with my son. Legos are still a favorite but he will gather and use just about anything from outside or in the house to build and create. The hands on contruction approach heped him learn and helped him care and get excited about what he was learning. He also benefitted from the “awe that’s so cool” factor from his little sis and (Shhhh) didn’t even realize he was reinforcing what he learned by explainng/narrating/retelling what he had learned through her in his creations. 

    Hang in there.  I guarantee you public school will end up providing more frustration than you are in now and more than it is worth. I will pray for you!


    I am so where you are but it’s my 12 year old turning 13 next month who has really been my challenge.  He even has the same interests as your son, and dh also works an odd schedule.  I’ve considered putting him back in ps recently, but my wonderful ds reminded me that the influences there and his personality would not make for a good environment for him.

     He does have an LD That effects his writing and math. Nothing insurmountable, but he can’t be bothered to try. He doesn’t seem to get that he needs to learn these things to be successful in life.  He figures a calculator eliminates the need to learn basic math, and who needs to write if you can text. At this point I don’t see him going to college, I think he’s more likely bound for a trade, but I’d like to set him up so that he can choose college if he wants to.  

    It’s frustrating to see him care so little about everything.  I’ve tried to get him to have some input in his education this year, but might as well be talking to the wall. I am praying for a lot of grace and wisdom with this one.


    I was hoping bookworm would reply, but here is a similar post where she commented on this topic:


    Maybe it’s just a boy at that age. My ds is 12 and exactly the same way. I am sure he has at least one LD and considering getting him tested just so I know what I should expect from him. We are doing Dianne Craft’s program and I am seeing some improvement and hoping for more. I hope you find the peace you need!! And please don’t put him in PS because it will be even worse.

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