My 10 yr old son is a very independant learner. He reads well, does most of his history and science reading on his own, learns quickly and gets bored with any hint of repetition. He loves to work on his own and does well staying on task and getting things done. Because he is so self motivated and because he really likes to know what’s expected of him for the day, I set up a chart for him with his assignments for the week and he works independantly on the subjects he can do on his own and with me in math, narrations, language lessons, etc.
For all of these qualities, I am thankful. However, he is so concerned about checking things off his list so he is done with “school” that he doesn’t linger and enjoy the carefully selected books and rich ideas contained within them. I wouldn’t say he rushes – he does careful work and gives decent narrations. I can just tell he is going through the motions. I am enthusiastic about the subject matter, his sisters enjoy our learning, and I understand that he is of a different personality, but I wonder how to win his heart in this. Sometimes I wonder if he is not challenged enough? Aside from books of a higher reading level, how could I help him engage with the subject matter more? I would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions!
I am right there with you! I try to add good books, he’s just so-so about it, I try to add hands-on crafty stuff, he balks at it. He says he just doesn’t like school. It makes me sad bc I really do try to make it fun for him, but he’d rather just do his work and be done.
I have spent the last 2 weeks trying to change up things to make it more interesting, but he just isn’t biting. I will be watching this post to see what kinds of suggestions you get. Hopefully we’ll both find something that helps. :)
What does he do when he’s done with school? I notice if I keep our afternoons slow and restrict screen-time until late afternoon, my 11YO is more likely to explore things he’s found interesting during the day.
Here, the boys have 2 hours of screen time – video games, ipod, etc. Then the rest of the afternoon they play outside, legos, what ever they want so long as it isn’t involving a screen.
We have very limited screen time – usually only half hour every other day or so, and that is late afternoon or evening. He loves to draw, build legos, play games. Even if I incorperate these things into the mornings he isn’t nearly as into them (building castle out of legos, drawing for nature study, games for math, etc.) Today he was in tears because he was stressed he wasn’t going to get everything done, but every single day he is done well by noon, and usually finishes his week of school work a whole day early! He loves to manage his own time, but I don’t know if he can handle the stress of it. Help?
I have a son like this, as well. He is acheivement oriented and loves to set goals and complete them. I would say that he may need to be gradually challenged to handle more. Boys are built for responsibility. Are you giving him responsibilities around the house? Or responsibility for a skill set that he wants to accomplish? For example, my son loves camping and outdoor life, so he came up with the goal of listing everything that would be needed for emergencies and putting it together into a survival pack. He loves baseball, so he works toward skill based goals as he plays.
Something that has helped him enjoy his reading is to work on a series of books. For some reason my boys just love the idea of working through a series. So, my 10yo is working on the Redwall series and my 8yo is working through the Boxcar Children Mysteries. They have been very motivated to read when they are focused on completing the series.
On the ‘finishing early’…There are some things that really need to be done daily. My kids know that they can work ahead in some subjects, but not in others. Bible and Devotions, math, some form of composition (writing), and reading are things that have to be done every day around here. You may feel other things are important to do daily – but I would hesitate to give him a ‘pass’ on daily work. I think that would reinforce the idea that school (and learning) is something we check off of our ‘to do’ list, rather than an integral part of the atmosphere and life of our home. Remember: Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life.
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