Topic | reluctant students

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  • I have children (9,7,3) at home right now and my 9 and 7 year olds never want to do any book work. They will listen to me read at night if the other option is sleep. So I usually read for 2 hours or less at night. Trying to cram everything in, is difficult. My 9 year old will take 4 times longer than it should, on every page of math or grammar/writing. It has become  a total waste of time, whining, groaning, and complaining. Finally, the work is done and he is fine. Happy and playing. I have tried all kinds of curriculum and have finally come across CM and now am trying to train the minds of my boys to listen with only one reading and to narrate back. They are having some difficulty but will hopefully get better at this. My question is “Without totally unschooling my boys, how do I have my children complete math and English so that it is not the majority of our day?” I am the type that has to know they are progressing in these areas but at the same time, it makes them hate school.

    My 9 year old still doesn’t read fluently and doesn’t write well. What have I done wrong and how do I fix it? I have tried so many methods but nothing seems to matter. 



    I would start with Sonya’s Laying Down the Rails DVD where she explains habit training. That is really the foundation to a quality CM education (or any other method for that matter).

    Also consider watching Sonya’s All-Day seminar which will explain CM methods. Both of these DVDs are found in the bookstore of this site. Also check out some of the free e-books in the bookstore “Smooth and Easy Days”, “Masterly Inactivity”, and the general one on homeschooling are all great places to start.

    The good news is if you choose to follow this method your math and reading lessons will only be 15-20 min each max! And your boys will be learning so much. Take the time to browse this site and educate yourself. It may seem a bit overwhelming at first but I think you’ll love how do-able and enjoyable this style of learning is!

    PS this forum is a great place to ask questions :o)


    I agree.  Habit training is really key to a CM education.  That’s what I love about CM.  She was about training the whole child as a person.  Not just filling their minds with irrelevant facts to spit back out on a test and forget them but to truly make a relationship with the subject and own it for themselves.   

    Natural consequences, which Sonya addresses in Laying Down the Rails, works wonders in my house.  My boys know exactly what’s expected and exactly what happens if it does (or doesn’t) get done.  Tney may not “like” everything that they do, but that’s part of life and they know there are simply natural consequences that go with it.  If we don’t feed the animals, they die.  If we don’t milk the cows, they explode!  Wink  If this, that, or the other isn’t done, you don’t do …   If you lose all your socks and only have 3 left (socks, not pairs…long story) you have to use your money to buy more because momma already used her money to buy the other ones.  

    I would highly recommend reading Laying Down the Rails and start some habit training.  Listen to Sonya’s presentation of the same name.   Watch the All-Day Seminar to get a full grasp of what CM was about and then you’ll be excited to give your children a wonderful education through and through.


    I totally agree with the others.  For a bit more of an imediate answer, here is how to use natural consiquences as far as school work goes.  Shcedule a time for the math or english to take, say 20-30 min.  When the time is up, stop where you are at even if they are not done with the work.  When you are done with all your school work and it should now be free time say “I’m sorry but you didn’t finish your math because …” Whatever the reason: dawdling, not listening, etc.  Just make sure they can finish the work in the allotted time.  Make sure they understand that they could be done and do what they would like if they finish the work on time.

    Copy work is great to work on writing skills.  Start out small like five minutes every day.  If it’n not done nice, do it twice.  Again, after the rest of school is done to give their hand some time to rest and to get that they are taking their time now. 

    For reading, if you think he needs a reading program, I would check out Delightful Reading.  The approach is such that it would not be to easy since he is older.  Plus it helps with spelling.  If you don’t think he needs a program, just have him read aloud to you every day. 

    Hope That Helps


    As far as improving reading skills – I personally think having your child read more – to you, out loud, will improve his reading. I have my little guy read to me a story from his history book. At first, he grumbled about it, but as the stories have gone on and there are more battles (ha!) he enjoys reading it more.  Plus I knock two subjects out with one go!

    I also agree about the habit training. I would also recommend setting some easy to reach goals for your kids. For instance, my guy likes to play computer games. I’m not thrilled with them, but they are educational, so I told him if he completes his schoolwork for the week on Saturday he can play some games. He’s thrilled with it and his whole attitude is different towards his schoolwork. He is dilligent and attentive and less given to complaining.



    Amee McConnell

    This is what worked for my son for dawdling during math and writing. I give him an assignment that I think he can do in half an hour, and I set the timer. If he works diligently during that time, then when the timer goes off he is done, whether he finished or not. (We just pick up there the next day.) If he dawdles and plays, we still move on to the next subject, but he has to finish the assignment later during what would have been his computer time. I only had to do this a couple of times. It was horrible for both of us, but it pretty much cured the dawdling.

    Melissa Henson

    I purposely schedule our day so that there is time to play afterwards.  Like the mom suggested above, I set a timer and let them know that if they do not finish their work during the alloted time, then they will have “homework”.   :=)

    I also tend to remind them that if they were in school, they’d be there, doing work, for 7 hours or so.  Then, they’d come home and have homework to do.  So, in essence, I am trying to make sure they appreciate the fact that they only have to work for 2 to 3 hours!  The least they can do is focus for that short amount of time.

    It’s up to them.  They can choose to dawdle and have no free time later or they can choose to get what needs to be done done and then have plenty of time to play.  They always choose to get it done!

    Natural consequences work beautifully!


Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
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