Character - Adapting for wiggly kids?

Art, Foreign Language, Music, Nature Walks, as well as general ideas and encouragement
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Unread post by Toni@homezcool4us »

Jenn in NC wrote:Anything else you guys could suggest for helping with concentration? I am thinking mainly of my ds with auditory processing issues who cannot seem to stay on task, though he tries very hard. Not a discipline issue.
Some of these would need adjusted for age appropriateness, as I'm not sure how old your son is.

Some things you might try:
-allowing him to squeeze a textured ball (those balls with gel in them work well for this)
-sitting on a pad that gives sensory input (rubber excersize ball, rubber office pad like the Sissel Sit Fit Plus, small pillow filled with styrofoam beads, etc.)
-colored plastic overlays for reading (you might need to try several colors to find the one that best keeps his focus)
-a "cubicle" partition constructed from tri-fold cardboard (especially good for independent work at the table)
-be sure outside stimuli are eliminated or reduced (tv off, dryer and/or dishwasher not running, not facing a window, etc.)
-try white noise with a headset or earplugs while doing independent work. Just plug into a radio, find an area out of tune and turn the volume up just loud enough to hear the "fuzzy" sound)

Also, incorporating movement into his learning can be helpful. For example, when you're reciting math facts, memory work, singing songs, etc., let him hop or do jumping jacks as he answers. You can let him make up hand motions for learning new bible verses, which he can then do every time he recites the verse.

Very small children can walk the outline of a giant letter taped to floor with low adhesive painter's tape (this worked very well on Berber for us, not too sticky and didn't leave any noticeable residue on the carpet).
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Unread post by cbollin »

One of my favorite resources out there for helps for the distractible learner is a small homeschool company (run by Melinda Boring and her family) called
headsupnow dot com

Melinda sells lots of gadgets and things that Toni mentioned. Melinda also has a book or two (and convention workshops) that she has written and given about lots of tips for helping distractible learners. And she sells other book that others have written to help with ideas. She has a 2 part workshop for teaching distractible kids at various stages of learning. you can order those from her directly. I know she has also been recorded by Rhino Technologies. You can look up their site and do a search on her name. I know she gave several of those sessions at the 2008 Cincinnati convention. (it would be listed as MHC08 on rhino's list for that convention.) The room was packed, by the way.

Postby cbollin » Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:56 pm
We use an exercise ball with the holder that came with it. (clearance at Target, just like Julie) Make sure you get a size that fits your kid's height for the desk/table that you have.

I'd suggest that if you get a ball or any kind, then you consider reading a book called
Kids on the Ball, by Spalding et al
for extra ideas to use it.
I know HeadsUpNow sells it. check library, local stores, etc.

If you don't go with the large sitting ball, you could think about some of the textured sitting disks. Those fit in the chairs to be at a table. on HeadsUpNow they are called cushion disks. Look in her sensory/fidgeting side of the site. Depending on the child size/age/etc. one of them might be more helpful.

My super fidgety oldest child crochets during sermons and read alouds. My middle child has something like modeling beeswax and/or clay to hold in her hand. My youngest has done things like lots of physical and large motor stuff before having to sit down for 30 minutes of desk work at therapy sessions.

Postby cbollin » Mon Nov 24, 2008 3:08 pm
How about a protein snack before math?
Or something to crunch on? Some kids (my oldest) will crunch something in her mouth before math.
thought I'd suggest it.
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Unread post by Julie in MN »

We have a regular giant ball, that ds sometimes rolls on his stomach on. Yes, he's 12...

We got ours I think on clearance at Target. They have a big "new year's resolution weight loss season" in January, and sometime after that, that sort of thing goes on clearance (when everyone's resolutions end LOL). I just picked out the biggest one they had. Takes up a lot of space, but has been used for a long time.
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Unread post by RachelT »

cbollin wrote:My youngest has done things like lots of physical and large motor stuff before having to sit down for 30 minutes of desk work at therapy sessions.
My ds is also in Occupational Therapy this year and his OT has given us some things to do before having to sit for awhile. A simple thing to do is to do some jumping on a mini-trampoline or push-ups against a wall or door, jumping jacks, etc. It does seem to help him to have a short "exercise" time before doing seat work! I will have to check into some of the other ideas you are getting from people because they sound great! We tried a ball, but don't have a stabilizer for it - so I'm going to go look for one!

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Unread post by Julie in MN »

Jenn in NC wrote:To answer your question Crystal, ds is mesmerized and still (usually) during read-alouds, and does pretty well in church. I do let him color during ACW per Marie's suggestion and he likes that, and listens and retains well.

But math time is so hard for him! He just can't seem to stay focused and finish, even knowing that break is waiting for him when he is done. A couple of days last week he had hit the 30 min point and still had only done 3 or so problems. I am actually considering breaking his math time up into several small sessions.
Ugh, I couldn't watch that. I like all seat time to be busy time, and none staring into space.

Could he do a problem and then go do something physical? I don't know what he likes, but we have a chin-up bar & I can have ds go back & forth from writing to that.

Or can he do his work on a marker board? Is it the pencil at all?

Well, I'm glad you have some things to try this week. Sometimes the bouncing ball or even just standing at a table & doing his math might help. I just can't bear seeing a little boy staring at the page for so long!
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Unread post by Jenn in NC »

Julie in MN wrote:Could he do a problem and then go do something physical? I don't know what he likes, but we have a chin-up bar & I can have ds go back & forth from writing to that.

Or can he do his work on a marker board?
Tried the marker board right after you posted this morning Julie. Way too fun. More like art class than math. Oh well, he has some very creatively drawn multiplication problems.

The exercise ball was a little too much fun too, apparently. He still only finished a few problems, but he did beat his personal best -- 35 bounces in a row. He was very proud of himself. :) Sigh.

The chin up bar is a good idea! Think I will try that next. Along with just plain old standing.

I seem to remember a post sometime about putting together a bin or basket full of little toys like that to be used during school time (Crystal was that you?)... I do think I remember the headupnow website. I will go check that out again.

We do use the partition idea and it helps so much! Gotta pull that back out, thanks for the reminder Toni.

And I love that idea about short little exercise sessions between subjects. Honestly I remember doing that in elementary and I wasn't ADD! DH has been wanting the boys to do some push-ups and the like anyway (yes he is former military :)).

We'll see how tomorrow goes!
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Unread post by Julie - Staff »

tiffany wrote:As you can tell by my signature I am the mom of 5 boys, ages 1-11. Their activity level and general craziness seems to be increasing. Sometimes I feel I have a gang of marauding pirates, and I might get thrown overboard! Anybody out there with a bunch of boys? I'd love to hear your survival techniques.
Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:45 pm by hsmomof5
I have four sons but they are older than yours. I know that my sons love hands on things. If I could get them blocks, shape sorters, puzzles, trucks, paint, coloring, play do or something of the like, they were content. I also loved checking out educational videos from the library for them to watch. My toddler (dd) loves her dry erase board desk. I've seen smaller hand held ones at WalMart that come with the dry erase markers and I think it might be helpful.

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:10 pm by MJ in IL
5 boys! I didn't think I was prepared for the 2 I have.

We have animals so the boys have feeding chores first thing. It makes for a bit later start, but the physical activity helps for a longer focused time period once we do get going.

One son loves Legos and toys, the other is more of a real-life kind-of-guy. I find that playing with the toys earlier in the day doesn't work here. We do much better saving that for a "I'm done with everything " reward.

When my children were younger I rotated toys. They enjoyed having "new" toys every month.

Rotating mom-time with and indep time and play with the toddler time helped me get school done when I had youngers.

This year I made charts for the kids to mark how many baskets they made, how many miles they walked and how many books they read. There was a "prize" at the goal amount. They found it quite motivating.

We walk in the afternoons. I rotate through the kids going to the end of the road (1/4 mile and back) with each one before and after my jog. This has been fun for me and them.

Posted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 7:24 pm by mamaofredheads
I have 3 boys but one is grown & thankfully they've outgrown most of that now.

The thing that helped most, which Molly mentioned, was frequent change of activities. I had to do a bit of "seat work" and then they had trampoline time. Then I would read to them and let them play with something quietly while I was reading, and then do a bit more seat work, etc.

The other thing that helped a lot was having a schedule (we use Managers of Their Homes) - we don't stick to the times so much as the order they do things. It really helps wiggly little boys to know that after math comes read alouds and after read alouds comes snack, etc. We still try to do that & it makes a huge difference for them & for me.


Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:13 am by six meadows
We also have 5 boys (and 2 girls)... So anyway you can guess what is can be like here. They do a whole lot of situps, pushups, and running throughout day.

yippeee for boys!!

Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 7:08 am by mrs_mike98
I have 4 boys, ages 7.5 (almost) 6, 3.5 and 18 months.

They spend ALOT of time outside. In the spring and fall (when its not oppressively hot!) I send them outside to "run laps" before school starts. We also take a walk in the neighborhood a few mornings a week, and a walk for them usually consists of lots of running. Also, lots of constructive chores. When little hands are bored, trouble ensues ;-) They like to feel like they're doing something productive.

Just keeping them active and busy really helps maintain concentration and reduce noise levels.

Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 9:32 am by scmlg
I have 3 boys, and thought that was chaotic!! LOL

The lifesaver for us this past year was bringing in chore cards. We got the idea and so forth from Worth every penny for us! Don't get me wrong, they had chores before this, but what a difference the cards made in our family. Now they have morning, after lunch, 5:00, 7:30 chore times, and then we all have Saturday morning chores (which we are doing now) It's structured time throughout the day doing what needs to be done.

Besides that, I just gear our learning to what they are into along with MFW, keeping it hands on when possible.

Hang in there. I sure do feel like I'm going to be thrown overboard as well some days. It gets overwhelming, but hang in there.


Posted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 10:37 pm by baileymom
We have 6 dc, the oldest 2 are girls (which is such a blessing, yay for girls first!!!), and then we have 4 boys, 6, 3, 17 mos, and 2 1/2 mos.

My 17 mo old LOVES the Laurie Berkner band DVD and that usually gets everyone active for 30 mins.

I also have to use a playpen and highchair a lot. I learned this with our 1st boy 6 yrs ago...I don't think we owned a playpen until he came along. It gives me time to do some things and not have to worry about safety.

I wear my ds 2 1/2 mos a lot. I have a moby wrap, and he'll sleep in it sometimes for 3 hrs.

As for my 6 and almost 4 yr olds... one mom mentioned outside time. That's important.Running and screaming out the extra energy help.

Another life saver for me is Quiet Time. Every day from 12:45 - 2:45 is quiet time. My girls read, play on the computer, or write notes to friends. Sometimes ds 6 falls asleep other times he looks through books or plays with hot wheels. The littler ones all sleep. This helps my brain to regain control, and I can make it through the rest of the day.

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 2:52 pm by MJP
We bought a trampoline. That wouldn't help for the whole winter, but it sure took out some energy. My four are older, so the oldest two can go to the gym now, and all four can ride bikes. Their energy is amazing compared to my girls. I love the pirate comparison!

Posted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 9:31 pm by Winkie
I have 4 boys, ages 1-8yo. When they're getting really rowdy, I will "order" them to go outside and run 5 laps around the house. They usually have so much fun that they do more than 5! We also recently got a rebounder (mini trampoline). It's ugly but I think it's worth it. When energy is high, I will tell them to get on it and count to 50. When we start school, I'm planning to have them recite math facts while bouncing. :-)
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focus issues with 6 yr old

Unread post by kellybell »

melodylw wrote:Hey everyone:-) I have a 6yr boy who is doing well with MFW 1st grade. We love , love, love this curriculum.

We are having focus issues in all subjects. From what I've read on the boards it seems like this is a common thing with his age. Does anyone have any ideas or games you use to gently help the focusing? My friend had used a game called Traffic Jam Jr and she thought it worked well with her son. Part of the issue I know is me needing to be more patient....Hmmm so maybe I should ask for prayer to have patience (yikes:-) Any suggestions would be appreciated.
It DOES get better with age but my 10 yo ds still can't focus easily. If it is something that he is interested in, he might play with it or read about it for hours. However, if it is something I am teaching, he doesn't always "tune in" so I have to remind him to tune in, to make an effort. He wants to be a good boy (you know what I mean...) so he tries.

While he needs to do his part to concentrate the best he can, I must do my part too and make sure that I am not overwhelming him, that I am allowing him to doodle or fidget (ie. do Geomags or legos quietly) while I read or we listen to a tape or CD. If he keeps his hands busy, he listens better.

I make sure that if we are reading (or listening to) a long passage, to take frequent breaks and talk about it. Sometimes we play games (charade, two facts and a lie, draw pictures) to make sure it's getting to all the kiddos.

It sounds weird, but a little caffeine helps him considerably.
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Re: focus issues with 6 yr old

Unread post by SandKsmama »

Well, when my "wild man" son was 6 and we were doing MFW 1st - I literally would send him outside to run around the house a few times:-). Anything to use up that extra energy!! LOL But seriously, at that age, we needed to take school work in small bites, and make sure that I was alternating "sit down" work, with the more active stuff. It IS hard to be patient - I am so not!!!

But hopefully it will encourage you that this same child (still a wild man LOL), is now at 8 doing SO well with his schoolwork and joins his 12 year old sister in MFW Exploration to 1850 with no problems whatsoever! (well, most days anyway!)
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Re: focus issues with 6 yr old

Unread post by cbollin »


My 13 y.o has always had ability to listen for a long time as long as she is active and/or actively listening. She crochets (i.e. productively fidgets with her hands) during long teaching times. We don't required her to sit perfectly still while reading or listening to read alouds. And she crochets all the time during sermon at church, but never misses a beat or a word. Even in our Wed. night class she is one of the people calling out answers and talking on topic. So, from my rambling, try to take away that some children need to be in motion in controlled ways while listening.

My 10 y.o has issues with focus because of problems understanding too much language at once. I slow down, say less and she learns more. Read alouds -- I have to go slow, check to make sure she is understanding words and what's going on. Keep lessons short.

My 6 year old has autism. In order to get some concentrated focus time with her for lessons, here are some things that the speech therapist, occupational therapist and I do:
for 2-5 minutes before teaching time, we have some active play with her. At the clinic, they can let her swing. At home, she can tumble on the floor, or bounce. We all try to play with her for those few minutes. Then off to session time. Due to her language problems, I have to keep it quick and short. You can imagine how hard that it for me given how much I like to type and talk over here. Short lessons. Breaks. Interaction with adult. Again, she has to sit while writing, so that takes some snuggle at the table time to get that done. Most teaching has to be active. She zones out due to language problems. I hope you have no idea about that.

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Waiting till 3rd grade to start LA????

Unread post by Ariasarias »

*leah wrote: I feel like my buttons are bursting with excitement over next year and adventures. :) I am still in conflict over LA. Jake is such a hater of actual writing.....i don't know if it will push him over the edge. I am pondering waiting till 3rd grade to start LA????? hmmmmmm ;) Thank you again ladies for your input, you made my decisions more clear. :)
just a note on the LA
If you go with MFW's recommendation of PLL, your ds would not have to write.
We have done so much of it out loud.
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Re: thank you. :)

Unread post by Julie in MN »

*leah wrote:I feel like my buttons are bursting with excitement over next year and adventures.
I love this quote!

Agreeing with Ariasarias that you can do PLL orally. Boys often like it better that way :-) There have been a lot of conversations about how to teach with as little use of the pencil as possible. ... 851#p46848

I think of it this way: Students received an education before the invention of paper and before paper became affordable to the masses -- and so education is possible without it! Of course, we all want our kids to be able to use pencil & paper, but I will say that my son has <finally> made great strides this year in 7th grade.

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Skill Building game ideas

Unread post by Smoakhouse »

I love this blog. This is a mom of an autisic boy who has found a way to help her son learn through game type activities to work on skills he need to improve. This keeps things fun and interesting for him. We all could borrow her ideas to make school activities more fun.

I have written basic intructions on index cards to hang inside my supply cabinet to help me remember to use the ideas. I thought I would put them in our workboxes to spice up our activities. Like simple card matching, say capital letter to lowercase letter. Put all the lowercase letters on one side of the room and the captials on the other side. Have your child pick one letter from the lower case pile and CRAWL to the other pile and find it's match. Contiune to they have matched them all. (obviously not all 26 in one sitting. :) )

Here is a picture of my index cards.
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How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Leah OH wrote:My kids, DD9 and DS8, like to lay on the floor and do their work. I struggle with letting them do this for some reason. Should they be sitting at a desk/table or am I trying to be too "formal"? Also, my DS likes to be holding or touching something when I am reading. He says his hands "hurt" if he's not touching something. What could he mean by this? I'm just wondering if I need to let them be comfortable more and maybe our days would go a little smoother. Does any of this make sense??? :~
For formal handwriting I insist they sit at a table or desk or use a lap desk. When I am teaching them their math, I make them sit at their desks. But, doing the work themselves, they can be anywhere.

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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by DS4home »

I have many fun school pictures of the kids all sprawled out on the floor either reading a book or doing their math. On nice days they sometimes like to sit out on the porch step to read and get some sun. My ds's current favorite is to lay on the couch with the book on the floor and hang over the edge of the couch to read! I figure if they are learning the material and it's sticking, then the rest doesn't matter so much. I do know that they have the skill to be able to sit and pay attention properly when they have random group things (ie: church, etc.) so I don't fret too much at home.

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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by Cyndi (AZ) »

DS4home wrote:I do know that they have the skill to be able to sit and pay attention properly when they have random group things (ie: church, etc.) so I don't fret too much at home.
That's exactly how I feel. Besides, my dd is very kinesthetic and can retain a ton of info while she's lolling all over (as I regularly put it) or bouncing around. When I pull out a textbook to read, she automatically asks, "What am I going to color today?"

eta: The hand "hurting" issue is probably more of a brain thing. He needs something to do with his hands to keep his brain engaged on the info - otherwise he's focussing so hard on keeping his hands out of trouble that it truly does "hurt."
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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by jasntas »

My dd just told me today that she does not like to listen to books when she has nothing to do. i.e. color, draw, etc. Recently both mine have played with Roman Soldiers during the history reading when they aren't coloring their Augustus Caeser pages. As long as they are listening, retaining at least the main points and not being annoying to anyone then it's ok with me. During long readings they are also allowed to lay on the couch or on the floor, again as long as they are paying attention.

Also, when they are doing their independent work they can sit, stand, whatever. But when we are working together they must sit at the table with me. Although during their independent typing lesson I require them to sit up at a table (or our kitchen island).
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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by blessedmomof3 »

We have a school room and my kids always color something while I'm reading. When they tire of that they will sometimes lay on the window seat cushions and just lounge while listening to me. I agree that as long as they're listening and retaining then I don't really care.

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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by dschurma »

I taught second grade in a Christian school for 9 years. Although we did traditional seatwork for worksheets and some other lessons, the students and I very often worked in a circle on the floor, had lots of throw pillows and even a small play tent for silent reading time, had clipboards to use while we sit on the floor in small groups, etc. I also had small playdough containers available for kids who liked to fidget while listening to read alouds. Even in a "real" classroom, not everything happens in seats :) Do what works best for you and your kiddos...that is how the best learning will happen!
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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

Dawn, what a wonderful classroom teacher you were! My dh used to say that if only he'd been allowed to stand up or something, he could have learned more instead of daydreaming.

My youngest is 16 and bigger than me and has to do plenty of seat work now, but still loves if I can find something to read aloud while he lounges or eats or whatever. I'm so glad he had many years learning in whatever way he was comfy (draped over an exercise ball, out on a hammock, wrapped like a mummy in front of a heating vent with his cat). No worries, it didn't ruin him :)

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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by Ohmomjacquie »

I have tried to let my oldest do something while I read but she retains nothing. I agree though, if they are learning they can sir whereveror do something.
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Re: How do your kids "do" school?

Unread post by Mommy22alyns »

Rebecca often does gymnastics stretches while we're doing oral review for her grammar. Lately, the girls have been playing with LPS or knotting their fleece blankets while I read Cameron Townsend. I look at it as a benefit of homeschooling. :-)
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