Friday, September 12, 2014

Combating a fussy attitude with a to-do list

The other day, I attempted to have Johnny switch gears from coloring a picture to doing our math lesson for the day. Instant resistance.

My motivation to do math at that moment: the baby was happily occupied playing with toys nearby and I thought ooh, we can do math now.

Johnny's motivation: he wanted to work on another drawing. He didn't want to switch gears. Hence, protest.

At the time, I didn't quite understand the issue since he wasn't communicating what he actually wanted to do. He was making it sound as if he didn't like math, period.

So...after a time-out for an attitude adjustment, some chatting with my husband to see if he had any insight, and the sort, we were able to sort it out. My husband even did the next math lesson with Johnny so he could see what he was learning and so we could both observe him doing the work. It went well. We saw that the math program is continuing to be age-appropriate, interesting and educational.

The problem was attitude.

I've been suspecting our days would go more smoothly if Johnny knew what was expected of him in terms of our school work. I recently made a morning to-do list for him, and he so enjoyed going through each item and checking it off.

So, I asked if he would like a checklist for his school work. He loved that idea, so I made one real quick the night before.

After bible and his reading lesson, I had on his list to do 10 jumping jacks. Next was his choice, and I listed a few options. He chose to make a drawing taken from the vantage point on the moon, American flag on it, looking out and seeing the sun, the Earth and a comet going by).

While he was doing this, I gave Vivienne some one-on-one time. I selected a Lauri puzzle, the one with kid shapes doing all sorts of different poses. I asked her to put the pieces in piles based on color; do an AB pattern with them; lay out 3 green pieces and then add 2 more and tell me what she had, etc. Next was I think her favorite: I asked her to stand in the pose of each piece before putting them back on the puzzle. Some poses were extra-fun (standing on her head, doing a squat, running, etc).

Next, Johnny told me it was math time. How 'bout that? So we did lesson #23 and it went really well. No complaining. Asking to do one task again for practice (!). Win.

Next was handwriting, then I had him do some practice with scissors, and his last task on the to-do list was do a headstand. Hah!

It went swimmingly.

I think I could do a similar thing with a workbox, but I think it will take me less time to do a to-do list for him. He seems to get satisfaction out of checking items off (don't we all)? and there's the added benefit of him reading what I wrote. He sees what his school day will include and he knows when he will be done.

We finished and they had some quiet time in their rooms while I prepared lunch. The weather is gross today, so they are inside and watching a video. Amelia is sleeping now (on me, of course...whatever).

When she wakes up, we will read some library books. This week, we are reading about insects and pioneers (separately, lol!). I'll have them choose some puzzles or something else from our educational toy/game selection. I'd like to keep afternoons a little more light. If we can do our 3Rs in the morning, I think that goes more smoothly for us.

It has taken us more than a month to find our rhythm with kindergarten stuff, but I think we are getting there. Yay!

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