Encouragement - 6-8th graders & distraction

Issues specific to teaching 6th to 8th graders, including the transition to Saxon math, Apologia science, Progeny Press guides, and grammar lessons
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TriciaMR
Posts: 986
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Encouragement - 6-8th graders & distraction

Unread post by TriciaMR »

ilovemy4kids wrote:My 7th grader used to be my stellar student.... Eager, always quick to get her work done..etc.... the past 6 months she has been totally different.

She is ALWAYS talking! She can't stay on a single task to save her life.... she distracts her brother... just ARGHH!!!! She turned 13 on Sunday. Anyone else been through this? My older grown girls didn't go through it like this..... I don't know what to do....I am at wits end......

Tonight she needed help with a math problem, it's a box and whisker plot.... I asked if she had re-read the lesson where it was learned... she said yes (with attitude), I told her we would go over the lesson together and figure it out, so I turn back to the right instruction area, and she states she already read it, and would I just help her.... it went on and on.... she ended up in tears, I ended up yelling. Bad mom points.
My guess would be hormones... they affect everyone differently. But she still needs to have self-control...

You might try something like, "Okay, honey. I'd be glad to help you, but you're showing me by your attitude (the way you answered my question and rolled your eyes) that you really don't want my help right now. Come find me when you're ready to speak respectfully to me and ready to accept my help."

Or, "Sweetheart, you are really demonstrating that you don't have self-control right now by just chattering on and distracting your brother. I'm going to ask you to go up to your room (or the office, or ...). When you're ready to work diligently, you may come back."

Maybe tell her she needs to pray and ask God to help her. I can remember having a bad attitude and talking a lot around 11-12-13 years old. But our hormones shouldn't control us. (And I REALLY wish my parents had tried to help me respond in a better way when I was that age, than me struggling with it now when it's harder to break old habits. PMS is real, but we need to still be controlled by the Spirit.)

Have her memorize Gal. 5:23 if she hasn't.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
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ilovemy4kids
Posts: 60
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 8:08 pm

Re: child getting totally distracted?

Unread post by ilovemy4kids »

TriciaMR wrote:You might try something like, "Okay, honey. I'd be glad to help you, but you're showing me by your attitude (the way you answered my question and rolled your eyes) that you really don't want my help right now. Come find me when you're ready to speak respectfully to me and ready to accept my help."
Wow, that's good, why didn't I think of that....so calm, to the point, and well it makes sense....
TriciaMR wrote:Or, "Sweetheart, you are really demonstrating that you don't have self-control right now by just chattering on and distracting your brother. I'm going to ask you to go up to your room (or the office, or ...). When you're ready to work diligently, you may come back."
Another good idea, and it would really help to ease things with big brother....
TriciaMR wrote:Maybe tell her she needs to pray and ask God to help her. I can remember having a bad attitude and talking a lot around 11-12-13 years old. But our hormones shouldn't control us. (And I REALLY wish my parents had tried to help me respond in a better way when I was that age, than me struggling with it now when it's harder to break old habits. PMS is real, but we need to still be controlled by the Spirit.)
Hearing from an adult who had the same issue as a child that they wish their parent had responded in a better way really makes me think. Why is it that as a parent, I am so trying to instill in my children to seek the Lord and seek His counsel, yet I tend to do just the opposite. Wasn't Christian till about 9 years ago and it's been a rocky road so I'm still learning....
TriciaMR wrote:Have her memorize Gal. 5:23 if she hasn't.
Hmm.... I just memorized this one for a beth moore bible study..... once again, the light goes on!

Think I have pinpointed a small part of the problem..... Well she asked to "manage her own time and schedule" and I agreed to try it. I didn't follow through and say, "this isn't working". Things just went downhill with work not being done, not getting done because of "mom couldn't teach me when I needed her too", goofing off, working on outside projects instead of school etc... We resumed my scheduling this morning..... Much better day so far. Work is getting done, no yelling, only a little attitude.... crossing my fingers and praying it continues.

Also had a talk about attitudes and began with Galations 5: 22-23

Better day so far.
TriciaMR
Posts: 986
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:43 am

Re: child getting totally distracted?

Unread post by TriciaMR »

ilovemy4kids wrote:Wow, that's good, why didn't I think of that....so calm, to the point, and well it makes sense....
Because you're there in the moment. Lainie (Mish Mash Maggie blog) had a couple of posts on her blog of her helping her dd when the hormones kicked in. Made me think of how I should be helping my kids and myself.

And, we're all still learning and still growing and changing and learning to "walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh." It takes time. I became a Christian when I was pretty young, and am still working on it.

-Trish
Trish - Wife to Phil, Mom to Toni(18), Charlie(14), and Trent(14)
2014-2015 - AHL, CTG
2015-2016 - WHL, RTR
2016-2017 - EXP1850, US1877
2017-2018 - DE, 1850MOD
2018-2019 - College, AHL
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RachelT
Posts: 350
Joined: Thu Aug 03, 2006 2:45 pm

Re: child getting totally distracted?

Unread post by RachelT »

Hi! It sounds like you had a better day. I have been a Christian for a long time and I still messed up and yelled at my son today - and it wasn't because he was hormonal - that was ME! It's just hard some days when you are in the middle of it all! I am thankful for Ash Wednesday today to remind me that I will always mess up, but I have a Savior! :)
Rachel, wife to Doug ~ 1995, mom to J (17) and B (15)
MFW K (twice), 1st (twice), Adv., ECC, & CtG 2006-2010,
Classical Conversations 2010-2016,
ECC/AHL 2016-17, eclectic 2017-18, WHL & US1 2018-19

http://rachelsreflections-rachelt.blogspot.com/
atdawn
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Joined: Wed Jun 15, 2011 10:47 pm

Concentration skills

Unread post by atdawn »

I am looking for specific ideas to encourage concentration skills for my 11 year old daughter. This seems to be a new problem as she gets older. She is very bright and part of me wonders if she has discovered she's smart enough to pay partial attention and "get by". I'm sad to say this is basically how I got through my public high school education, graduated with honors, and can't say I really learned that much.

Her Suzuki violin instructor and I were just having this conversation about her knowing a song "pretty good" so going ahead and playing it while making up any notes she's not sure of and being ok with it. However, if you ask her if the notes were right,she knows exactly what she missed. You can watch her mind kinda drift to other things as she plays as well. I bring up the music because it also illustrates so clearly what I see happening in school work as well. I teach her a concept (math for example), set her to work while I move on to one of her sisters and about halfway through she is missing EVERY answer because her mind has moved on!!

Have you experienced this with this age? Are there certain games or activities that can train concentration? I really believe this can cause her problems later in life if I can't help her overcome it.

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas!
Rachel
Julie in MN
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Location: Minnesota

Concentration skills

Unread post by Julie in MN »

atdawn wrote:I am looking for specific ideas to encourage concentration skills for my 11 year old daughter. This seems to be a new problem as she gets older. She is very bright and part of me wonders if she has discovered she's smart enough to pay partial attention and "get by". I'm sad to say this is basically how I got through my public high school education, graduated with honors, and can't say I really learned that much.

Her Suzuki violin instructor and I were just having this conversation about her knowing a song "pretty good" so going ahead and playing it while making up any notes she's not sure of and being ok with it. However, if you ask her if the notes were right, she knows exactly what she missed. You can watch her mind kinda drift to other things as she plays as well. I bring up the music because it illustrates so clearly what I see happening in school work as well. I teach her a concept (math for example), set her to work while I move on to one of her sisters, and about halfway through she is missing EVERY answer because her mind has moved on!!

Have you experienced this with this age? Are there certain games or activities that can train concentration? I really believe this can cause her problems later in life if I can't help her overcome it.

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas!
Rachel
Hi Rachel,
Each of our kids has different challenges, eh?! Perfectionists who want to do everything exactly correct can be difficult, but so can kids who wing it. I have had one of each. I looked at my job as helping them see their own needs and explore ways to meet those needs -- I'm not sure that anyone can tell another person how to best learn, but we can help them understand themselves and their learning needs. Homeschooling gives us a wonderful opportunity in that regard. Not that you'll solve everything, but hopefully you'll equip them with some strategies.

Age can also be the culprit, as you mentioned -- there can be a middle school brain fog that seems to take over our kids and can last until like age 16 sorry to say. So, some of what you're seeing could be temporary and may go away naturally, especially if we don't make too huge a deal out of it.

As far as specific ideas, I was thinking there might be something that sounds do-able on one of these threads:
Unmotivated http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=871
Wiggly kids http://board.mfwbooks.com/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=1196

My other thought would be whether you've noticed this develop over the long term. If so, then I would wonder whether she would benefit from different learning techniques such as gadgets for fidgeting while she learns, or tuning things out with a visual barrier or noise-canceling headphones?

Just some random thoughts to start with,
Julie
Julie, married 29 yrs, finding our way without Shane
(http://www.CaringBridge.org/visit/ShaneHansell)
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MelissaB
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: Concentration skills

Unread post by MelissaB »

Hi, Rachel. There is a game called A Fist Full of Coins that increases focus and sequencing (which will also help math skills), in a fun way. It's expensive. :) But it's a lot of fun.
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
gratitude
Posts: 675
Joined: Mon May 10, 2010 11:50 am

Re: Concentration skills

Unread post by gratitude »

I am only here to give a little moment of sympathy. My ds11 is doing something different, but similar. He is very bright, and has up to this year been a very quick worker in school work. This year is different. He is still very bright, and he does still take the time to put the right answers. However, he has become slow and I have been wondering what to do. He isn't finishing his work in a day, when normally it used to take 1/4 - 1/2 a day. The work isn't too hard. He just does some and then wonders off to read until I pull him back. His siblings, that have typically been slower than he is, finish 3 hours before him most days this fall, and this is a definite change. Sometimes though he has hours that seem normal.

So Julie mentioned a fog until 16. Oh dear. LOL.

I have wondered if it is the age. I have been also praying for ways to help him keep focused.

Just some sympathy with age 11. :)
MelissaB
Posts: 364
Joined: Sun May 09, 2010 10:01 pm

Re: Concentration skills

Unread post by MelissaB »

Just one quick idea to help with "dawdlers" :). My friend sets a timer. Any unfinished work is completed the next day; she doesn't nag. Whatever work isn't completed by the end of the week is finished on Saturdays. If that means the ds/dd misses a game or church event or just time to play, the parents are faithful to follow through. It's been very effective. In about 3 weeks her "dawdler" was much faster. ;)
Melissa B. (Arkansas)
Girls ages 16 & 13
Completed K, 1st, and Investigate {ECC; CTG; RTR; Expl.-1850; and 1850-Mod. Times}
"That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children,.." Titus 2:4
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