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Thread: How to help your child become more independent when s/he struggles with focusing?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    South of Houston
    My oldest is very bright and very capable of all the reading in the UG assignments...if I am right there to read with him and keep him focused. We are in our fourth week of school and I am finding that he is racing through his reading assignments but cannot narrate back to me what he read or answer simple comprehension questions.

    How do I help him transition to being an independent learner? Should I make him come to me after each few pages of reading? Create worksheets for him to answer as he goes through each page? My schedule currently has me reading his brothers' TOG books orally to them while he is reading independently. It would be hard to be interrupted every few minutes to keep big brother on track. Can anyone share ideas or strategies with me on what they have done or think they might do? Am I expecting too much too soon to expect him to be able to do his readings alone in 5th grade at the start of the year?

    Thank you!

  2. #2
    Vice President
    Lampstand Press

    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Kingsport, TN
    At this age, you certainly want to continue to make sure that he is comprehending well, as you've stated. So many people feel their children are quite advanced and then miss the fact that comprehension skills aren't up to par. So, kudos to you for staying on top of this!

    A few ideas for you:
    *With him, take turns reading chapters. He reads one; you read one. Stop every now and then whenever either one of you is reading and ask questions.
    *Use the free notebooking pages that are on the Loom ("Generic Response Pages" under the Grammar level helps). These are a way to regurgitate the material without you staying right with him each moment.
    *Have him make audio recordings of the books he reads. Most kids love to do this and will play them back over and over again, thus reinforcing the material in their minds.
    *Make sure his hands-on project for the week is one that reinforces, through the focus on detail, the material read about.

    Hope this gives you a few ideas!

    Dana C. in TN
    Vice President
    Lampstand Press

    "Let my teaching fall like rain and my words descend like dew,
    like showers on new grass, like abundant rain on tender plants.
    I will proclaim the name of the Lord. Oh, praise the greatness of our God!"
    Deut. 32:2-4

  3. #3
    Have you observed what is distracting him? Last year when my son was in 5th, we started training him for completely independent study, but it was SLOW going. He was highly distracted by the little kids' class time... wanted to do their work, etc. Since he had had my attentions and constraints without any other kids in school for all of his previous years, looking back, it makes sense that he was so highly distracted. We had to use discipline to get him to focus, but even by the end of the year he was still easily distracted, and not an independent learner. That said, this year, I added two new subjects Latin I, and Intro to Logic, and I accelerated his science program. Then I gave him daily schedules with assigned periods, and a planner, and showed him how to write out his subjects, and how to break them up. Sometimes I help him break them up by adding notes like "day 1, day 2" etc. for the more complicated subjects. But somehow he just totally stepped it up this year. I have very little issues with him focusing.

    I'm telling you all that to encourage you, that perhaps he just needs the whole year of being redirected, as my son needed... and then perhaps you will find that suddenly, he can do it all on his own.

    I agree with Dana, about keeping the focus on the comprehension, if you can't do oral narrations due to time constraints, then worksheets is the next best thing! (IMO)

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