Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Help With Focus

Catherine and I read the Primary Mathematics text. We do sample problems on the whiteboard (whiteboard? It's that ridiculously schooly?). We talk about the concept and arithmatic involved. Then Catherine opens her workbook to begin the exercise and her pencil gets put down and I know by the look on her face that she gone.

I know this because it's exactly what I used to do in school.

So I leave her thinking she just needs time. I come back in 30 minutes and she's halfway through the first question.

So I set a time limit and she panics and not only works slowly but badly.

So I sit beside her a point our when her attention is fading. And we get on each other's nerves.

Every other subject she's fine with but as soon as she sits down with Primary Math she starts yawning and I can see her mind packing up and leaving.

My only solution right now is to simply not have her do the work on her own. I stand at the whiteboard and write the questions out and have her feed me the solutions step-by-step. As I write, she does too and we seem to get through it fairly quickly and enjoy our time. But I don't know if this will help her focus when she needs to do independent work.

Any suggestions?


Luke said...

I'm no expert, but I'll share my opinion anyway [smile].

If you are both enjoying having her dictate her math and it's helping her work through it, keep it up! There is plenty of time for her to grow into working by herself in math.


gary said...

I agree with Luke, no rush here. But the issue is learning focus not math.

But here's a thought, suggest an activity that she likes to do that will commence as soon as she finishes her math, as a reward. The sooner she's done, the more time she has for fun. For my boys this sometimes works with video game time or when they are to be going to a friend's house for the remainder of the afternoon. It's an external motivation.

You cant do this everyday but a few successes will show her she can do it.

Frankie said...

Catherine is 9?

Well, let me just say I have nothing to offer.

You have just described math at my house perfectly.

Thomas will be 13 next week. Time has not helped with focus.

I don't know what to do. So I sit. And I drive him crazy by saying focus, or honey, or are you done yet, or how is it going when he is staring off into space.


Dawn said...

Gary - It seems to just pop up in math though, that's the trouble. This is a girl who practices violin with a critical eye towards her posture and notes, who can spend an hour on a writing assignment but when we sit down for math - bang. She's gone. :)

Luke - I think that will have to be the route. Maybe if we do it together it will spark her interest...It's just that there's always that voice that says, "Isn't she supposed to be able to work independently at math now?" I swear, that doubtful little voice is a homeschooler's worst enemy!

Frankie - You can be quiet now. That was not helpful AT ALL. :D Seriously, maybe you and I should work on some magic focus potion for our kids.

Lynn said...

What I'm doing.

molytail said...

ha, if a whiteboard is too "schooly", then we're in trouble. The whiteboard takes up most of one kitchen wall LOL (Cindy loves it though) ....

Silly question maybe, but...she's just working with a basic pencil & paper, right? (or workbook) ...I wonder if she'd enjoy it more with some unusual stuff - see, for some reason Cindy will perk up in her work when I hand over the sparkly gel pens and smelly markers and all that stuff...yes, this sometimes means that she turns her page into a work of art LOL ..but it's a work of art with math completed on it. ;-)

But there's not a darn thing wrong with doing it together on the board or verbally or whatever - after all, where is it written that it HAS to be done on the page alone? :-)

Anonymous said...

"But I don't know if this will help her focus when she needs to do independent work."

Like at university? By then, she'll probably be able to test out of having to take any more math than she wants to, and for the classes she does have to take (or for the tests), she'll also probably be able to visualize you standing in front of her at that whiteboard, helping her along (if only in her head this time). Later on, she'll remember that this is a good method for helping her own child focus on something that's otherwise hazy.

Good solution! Keep it up as long as you need to.

(A similar sort of buddy system works well, I've found, for such tasks as digging out the basement or re-organizing the church nursery. Or even washing dishes. One person *should* be able to do it just fine, but somehow it just goes so much better, seem so much more effortless, with two.)