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Topic: unmotivated kids

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Subject: unmotivated kids
Date Posted: 2/15/2008 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2007
Posts: 98
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Would anyone mind sharing how they motivate their kids to do their school work? I have a 9th grader, but she is very ADHD and this is our first year homeschooling. We did the deschooling thing and she started out somewhat motivated. But, now I can't seem to get her motivate with any subject matter.

We have even gone to working on only one subject at a time so she doesn't have to mentally switch gears. Nothing seems to work.

Maybe part of it is winter. This is the 5th weekend in a row that we've got a BIG snowstorm predicted. We've gotten more than 50 inches of snow this winter already and they're talking about another 8 inches Sunday. That's on top of freezing rain. Then winds to follow causing white out conditions. We've had this with each storm. Then the temperatures hover in the single digits so it is too cold to even go out and work some of the energy off!


Date Posted: 2/15/2008 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 422
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I have found my ADD son does better when he gets plenty of exercise. He is not hyper, needing to burn off energy. He just needs the activity  to be able to focus and I think your daughter may be the same.  We have a mini trampoline. Maybe some of the others can suggest things you can try. An exercise tape, maybe.

Date Posted: 2/15/2008 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 438
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Last Edited on: 12/10/08 1:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/15/2008 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2007
Posts: 98
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Unfortunately, that doesn't work with kids with ADHD. It just creates frustration for everyone.

We have set up a cubicle for her....bought one from a company going out of business....and have absolutely nothing in there that could be considered a distraction. Everything in there is educational. So, if she wants to wander off and look at what's on the walls then she can study the spanish terms. LOL


Date Posted: 2/16/2008 12:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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Have you tried changing the time that you do school? Would 3 pm work better?

I ditto the extra exercise time. Would she be interested in a gym membership, or swimming team / classes? Maybe running is her thing. Get her a good workout in the morning, cut down sugary and overly processed foods (tough to do at that age, if I recall correctly!).

Do you medicate or not? If so, does her medication need to be looked at? If not, do you supplement? We supplement.

What about trying focused meditation or yoga?

Is she mentally stimulated enough? <I started skipping school because it was boring in tenth grade.>


Date Posted: 2/16/2008 12:53 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2007
Posts: 98
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She doesn't want to exercise, yet she is always squirming and often off task. I have been getting her out this winter and having her shovel snow...we've had more than 50 inches already so that has been good!

She is on medication. We have tried quite a few and haven't been able to find a good mix for her. Her preference would be to sit in front of the computer all day...to play games.

I have tried meditation and guided imagery....I love it and have found it to be quite helpful personally! She can't get her mind to slow down enough to concentrate on it.

I believe she is mentally stimulated. It is really strange. She literally can't sit still through dinner, yet she can sit for hours on end and do a craft or puzzle that she is interested in. It amazes me.

I got her a mini trampoline for Christmas. She has used it once. She doesn't seem very interested, yet when her older sister asked to borrow it she got bent out of shape.

She loves going on field trips. We do those several times a month with our homeschool group. And she is enjoying Spanish. In fact, she enjoys many subject or topics once we get her going. But, we usually have to argue first to get her started.

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 1:22 AM ET
Member Since: 6/10/2007
Posts: 10,401
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Rhonda, my daughter is only 9, but sounds just like your daughter.

They're wonderful kids, full of energy, but MAN! they can be downright maddening when it comes to cooperation sometimes!


Date Posted: 2/16/2008 1:31 AM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2007
Posts: 98
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Yes, they can. We've tried incentive charts, rewards, etc. Things last for about two weeks until the newness wears off.

We have someone coming into our home once a week to work with her on skill building because she is lacking in social and emotional skills. What's got her going this week it going to Olive Garden with her skills worker to try gelatto. We did a short study on gelatto and now she is determined to try some. I hate to reward any good behaviors with food, especially with a girl at this age. But we both just need to feel a little success I think.

We also use a kitchen timer for everything....school work, chores, getting dressed, showering...you name it, we time it. Otherwise she'd be so off task it isn't funny.

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 8:39 AM ET
Member Since: 8/28/2006
Posts: 70
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Have a Son & Daughter ADHD and lots of other labels.  Both do better in afternoons and not mornings.  Try an exercise ball to sit on instead of a chair while do computer or school work.  My two love to be outside and when the weather doesn't permit try sitting in the sun coming in from a window, I think it atleast makes them feel better.  Also, the pod cast lessons on the internet that are free might be worth a try?  That way they listen, and then you can discuss afterwards.  We use lots of dry erase markers and write on the storm door, windows and fish aquarium, my son hates to write so, this has helped in that area.  Check out some of the stuff she is doing on computers, like my daughter has learned lots of stuff that once I looked at it could be used in her homeschooling.  (Doing web pages, e-mailing/story telling). 

I have even read to mine while they played a video game, and believe it or not they could answer all of my questions afterwards! (They can do more than one thing at a time!)(the blessings and curses of ADD/ADHD)

I hope some of this has helped or at least sparked an idea.  With my two I have learned everything worth learning doesn't come from books, or have to be written neatly in a notebook! 

I hate the arguing and we have worked on that a lot; there have been compromises on all parts.  And sometimes we just have to back off and take a different approach.  My two need lots of breaks so we do lots of things in little burst, but have noticed over time just me being willing to break things up, I now don't have to as much. 

Do you have one place you do most of your work?  I've put several things in a basket and we move from room-to-room.  That also helps.

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 422
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Ahh, computer games seems to be her currency of choice. So I think I would be the "mean mom" and no computer games or TV watching until school work is completed to your satisfaction.   Expect whining and complaining but if you are firm and consistant, it will work. I know from experience ;-)  My ds blew off co-op literature assignments that he didn't like and so he had no electronic entertainment until he caught up ALL his work. It's  He did it in manageable bites but he did get caught up.

He does better with some music on while working. I remember stomping upstairs because I heard the music from Star Wars and thought he was watching a movie instead of doing school work. He said, " Mom, it's the soundtrack."

You could tell her to do X amount of work and then bounce X times on the trampoline. She is old enough for you to discuss things like that she needs exercise and that is helps her concentrate  like  the medication helps.

You said, "I believe she is mentally stimulated. It is really strange. She literally can't sit still through dinner, yet she can sit for hours on end and do a craft or puzzle that she is interested in." This is VERY typical of ADD/ADHD. It's why some people don't believe it is a real disorder.

I'm feeling for you. Tell her ADD/ADHD people tend to be bright, even with any learning disorders that occur along with ADD. Just know that you are giving her the best option by homeschooling her.

Date Posted: 2/16/2008 7:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2006
Posts: 2,157
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My son (13) has really improved his work attitude as we have worked through the book "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens."  I have been amazed.  We have been reading it together and disscussing as we go.  The basic message - you are responsible for the attitude you bring to things.  This is certainly true of your daughter, although she has ADD, she still can take her meds, exercise, help problem-solve solutions that will work for her, etc.

Good Luck!

Date Posted: 2/17/2008 1:59 AM ET
Member Since: 1/13/2008
Posts: 1,728
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when i was homeschooled (when i was in 5th grade) my mom bought a bunch of educational computer games for my sister and i to play. some of my moms friends who homeschooled got together and bought a set of games where each game was for a different grade. we also had reader rabbit, math blaster, and things like that. it made learning fun.

patticom - ,
Date Posted: 2/17/2008 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 11/3/2007
Posts: 416
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My son does well with SOS because the computer helps him focus, so we try to do at least one subject with them each year.  But yes, it's a struggle!!  He's 16 and I haven't killed him yet (a sign of my great love for him LOL), but these years are a struggle!!  We're trying to do more "child led" focused learning, but in high school you can only do so much of that if your student has any hopes whatsoever of getting into college... gotta work with the world we live in.  :-/  Another thing we have done is schedule a couple of classes during the summer, just to get through them all!!  That way we can focus on core subjects and classes taken at the school during the typical school year (we're dual enrolled with the local high school, mostly because he plays trombone and loves the Bands), but still keep building those credit hours!!  Every time he goes to the local school he comes home singing my praises and thanking me profusely for homeschooling, so keep at it!!  ;)


Date Posted: 2/19/2008 12:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/11/2008
Posts: 24
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Hi! I don't have ADHD children (although sometimes I wonder about my son!) so please accept my ignorant advice in the spirit it is intended. How about putting together unit studies? If she is interested in something, work all of her subjects around that topic (like the gelato.) It might be somewhat easy since she is older & computer literate so she can do a lot of the leg work herself. Best wishes on finding what works best for her! That's one of the greatest things about homeschooling; that you can continue to tweek until you find what works best for your child.

Date Posted: 2/19/2008 5:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2007
Posts: 114
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I would like to recommend the book "A MInd at a Time" by Mel Levine, MD.  His discussion is that often school behavior has to do with learning gaps.  This book is dry to read at time, but does offer information and suggestions about learning behaviors.  He addresses ADHD issues as well.  It is very interesting and has changed MY attitude, which in turn has changed my daughters!  It has been very helpful for me.

Date Posted: 2/21/2008 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 10/25/2007
Posts: 3,220
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Last Edited on: 1/21/09 3:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 1