My Child won’t do the Work.”
Suggestion and Ideas for Getting More Co-operation and Less Power
Tired of engaging in power struggles with
your children to get homework or homeschooling done? Try the following tips to turn on the fun and turn off the
- Give choices in subject matter, time,
or place of study. Eg: Would the
child like to do Math or English today?
When is their best, most alert time of day? Would they like to study in their
rooms, outside, or on the couch?
- Alternate bookwork days with outing
days. Consider helping the child
learn in a different way with an outing or field trip.
- Consider giving tests first and if
the concepts are mastered, eliminate the text material. Cuts down on boredom and busywork.
- Present the material in a fun way and
geared to child’s learning style.
Eg: Videos, cookie
fractions, games such as multiplication tag. Children in elementary love to learn through play.
- Follow interests as much as possible,
if not in format, then in content. Eg: Child has to write essay so he could write about Pokemon
- Use rewards if they work for your
child. Eg: Stickers, Passes for fun outings. Have a jar of 200 dimes (one for each
school day). Any day the child
doesn’t whine about doing school work, put in one dime. Child can keep the money at the end of
- Avoid power struggles. Put your relationship building
first. Try and approach learning
another way. Listen to why your
child doesn’t want to do the work.
- For those hesitant writers, try being
the scribe while the child dictates ideas. Or try letting them write on the computer which is easier on
little hands. Remember that in
school, children are taught to read and write early because most
curriculum is delivered that way for mass distribution. At home, you have the time and
resources to deliver the knowledge in other formats, so you can wait until
the child is developmentally ready to use their fine motor skills.
- For those hesitant readers, try
picking up an enticing children’s book and reading out loud. Your child might come join you if it’s
not forced. Model reading
yourself. Cuddle on the couch with
a child and make reading a fun, cozy, exciting time. Use vocal variety and stop when the
child is not longer interested.
- Keep a routine going when you figure
out the best time of day for bookwork.
This has to work for you and your child. Not all children are “morning people”. Be kind but firm in
sticking to a routine. Children
need some structure.
- Have a written contract each week,
month or year that is signed and agreed to by the parent and child, about
what work must be completed for that time period.
- Work with the child that is most
interested in the topic (such as History or Science). Other siblings will join willingly if
they are interested. If they are
not, wait awhile. If the topic is
forced, the retention of knowledge will be minimal. They may be more interested in a few
months or years. Children often
learn better by discover than be being told.
- Some months are better then
others. Children go through spurts
and plateaus and most do not learn in tidy sequential steps. During a plateau, trust that the desire
and motivation will come back.
- Assimilation of material takes
time. Plan for play time, down time
and many breaks (minutes, days, weeks and even months).
- Create a learning environment of fun,
curiosity and good feelings. Make
sure everyone is fed, rested, comfortable and non-stressed!
- Never punish for not doing the
work. You want to create a climate
for lifelong learning and enjoyment of the pursuit of knowledge. Remember, your job is to facilitate
learning. Nudge, but don’t force!
WE WILL TRY
AGAIN, ANOTHER DAY, ANOTHER WAY
Copyright Judy Arnall 2001 May not be reproduced