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Child refuses to do work!
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mom3x
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:50 pm    Post subject: Child refuses to do work! Reply with quote

I have a 13 yr old that is currently being home schooled. We tried home schooling him during his 5th grade year due to a teacher and the pricipal being verbally abusive to him. That year was the most difficult I thought in my life. He refused to do his work becuase he was at home and didn't feel like he needed to. I sent him back to public school for 6th grade and things became worse. He encountered another verbally abusive teacher not just with him but with me also. We pulled him from the public school and started home schooling him again this past fall for his 7th grade year. I am still haveing dificulty getting him to do his work. I am very lucky if he does one page with out it turinging into an argument. I am at my wits end on what to do with him. He always gets angry if you even mention school work and it is a long drawn out fight between us everyday. If anyone has any suggestions on how to get him motivated again it would be greatly appreciated.
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Lily
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 9:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

How long did you deschool for? He may need longer to adapt to a home learning environment, and a different style from you. I tend to get the best work from my 8yo when he feels involved in everything from the choosing of curriculum to what order he's going to work in that day. I take him with me to the teacher's supply store and he sits right next to me as we make our list for the upcoming year of everything we'll need. He gets more excited about the work than I do some days. Laughing
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Ramona
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 25, 2008 10:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Child refuses to do work! Reply with quote

How about other methods of learning that don't involve writing answers?

He could do "real" things and go to science centers and history sites and things like that and then tell you his oral reports afterward, for example.

Ramona
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Decrease
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Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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Location: Verona VA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 2:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am known for some of my radical ideas and some actually work. To me, I think upon the Scripture where it says that if he does not work he will go hungry. We have done some things like this to include:

1. The child does not get dinner or supper until they are done with the assigned work and no other food until it is done. This could end in a stalemate so be careful but it could also work.

2. The child is actually assigned more work when the complain. You complain in my house you will not get your wish but you get the opposite of your wish. You complain about all the work, you will get more work.

3. Nothing fun or even remotely fun until all work is done and done in the right heart attitude. Yes, we focus on the heart attitude as well as doing the work. You do work but in a grumpy manner... you get more work or other disciplinary measures. What is fun, when the child does something right with the right heart attitude, great praise is heaped on the child. Example, one of my children woke up this morning and read a book that she was not told to read but read it because she wanted to please us. She was not only applauded but praised for her diligence.

4. You don't do your work... then your most precious possessions are no longer yours. We took away possessions when they did not complete the work or caused problems in completing the work. After a while, those possessions will end up at Goodwill (sometimes we took them away for a month or two... sometimes they were taken for good). If you begin taking their precious items away from them, you will see them react. We did this with one of our children (can't remember which). Worked like a charm. Remember, attitude is everything... our motto "Obedience is doing what your told to do, when your told to do it, with the right heart attitude." So the idea of obeying but doing so with a bad attitude still could cause the possessions to be taken away. BTW, do not do this unless you are willing to take away the most precious possessions. If you are afraid to take away something big then it may not work.

5. My favorite that my dad did to my niece (his grandaughter). She got into a phase of slamming doors. Well, my dad decided to help my sister with this and so he took my niece's door off the hinges and laid the door in the living room. Whenever anyone asked "Why is your door laying in the living room", my niece had to tell them about her slamming the door (and a lot of people asked). She also hated the idea that she no longer had privacy. Something like that for the child is very helpful... and my niece has never again slammed a door. In this situation, displaying his laziness for all to see and forcing him to explain it would be great.

These are some ideas we have done and one I just made up here.
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Lily
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 6:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Decrease, how is humiliation and bullying supposed to foster a good learning environment?

This is part of the reason why I took my son out of school. No one should be treated like that.

I find your post to be a disgusting writ of ideas, and not respectful of life at all. Not what I would have expected from someone so pro-life.
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Decrease
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lily,

First, except for the door incident, I am not embarrassing my child. Simply speaking, I am showing my child there are consequences to her actions. In fact, I never raise my voice (even if my child thinks I raise my voice or come across in a harsh tone, they always have permission to correct me in a respectful manner).

Yet, I am teaching them that every action has consequences. If your child does not work in real life... they will starve. My child will not starve. Yet, they may get a little hungry until they get their work done.

The door incident. Let me say that sin and rebellion should be embarrassing. I am not embarrassing the child, the child is. There is a natural consequence for their actions.

Unless we teach our kids a natural consequence for actions that are severe, I would contend they are learning irresponsibility. Look, I am not abusing my kids. I am not bullying my kids. In fact, the opposite is true if they are rebelling and not doing their work. They are the one being the bully. I am the parent. It is no different than a police officer revoking your license or the like.

Bullying... and I went to public schools so I should know... is all about destroying the character and dignity of the person in a manner that degrades the person. Discipline is all about building character in the person. I think these do build character without destroying the dignity of the person.

Lily, I know you probably do not seem to like me. Yet, let me rest you assure, my kids love living in my home. They know there is a consequence for their actions and they are obedient but loving. We do not destroy their character but we build it up.
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Pam
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Decrease, I loved your answers......... I've heard of taking the door off the hinges before and for a teenager who craves their privacy, this is an excellent tool. Thanks for reminding me of it.

I found nothing wrong with Decrease's methods of punishment........ if, as an adult, you refused to get your work done then there would be consequences.... why shouldn't a child learn that there are consequences for not doing their schoolwork. I tell my children, when they start acting out, "If Daddy or I acted like that at work or in public such and such would happen."

Lay out the rules and follow them.......
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Decrease
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Location: Verona VA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lilly,

A couple more things. My niece tells people today what her grandad did to her and she laughs about it (and it occurred less than a year ago). She sounds humiliated to me

Secondly, I would invite how you would discipline in a situation like this. All of my actions have never left to a child rebelling against me. In fact, oftentimes it has resulted in children cuddling up next to me and telling me how rebellious they were.

Without discipline education is impossible. I find it hard to believe that delaying (not even skipping, just delaying... the only meal my children sometimes miss is a bedtime snack) a meal is as evil as you say or taking away toys is that evil (having worked with tribal people, my wife and I have a real hard time seeing how denying our American materialism is as evil as you believe).

Denying fun is "evil" and probably social services should be called in to correct our actions.

Giving a child more work will probably scar my child forever.

Wow... and you advocate murder of babies and call what I support terrible. What an upside down philosophy.


Last edited by Decrease on Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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mommyto2girls
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Joined: 29 Oct 2007
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The first few ideas were good...natural consequences

BUT - that door thing struck it big with me. Public humiliation brings no respect to a parent. Believe me. When I was in middle school, I overslept, so my grandfather told me I would have to go to bed an hour earlier that night. Fine. Natural consequence. Then while eating dinner at a relative's house, he made me tell them what time I was going to bed and why - there was no reason for that. I had learned my lesson and I was going to serve my time so to speak, but it was only humiliating and degrading to have to announce it to everyone. I would NEVER have my children in such a position. It is no one's business the disciplinary issues in your home. Why on earth would anyone want to put their kids through that?

While I agree with taking things away, making them do work before they eat (very real world), I think it is way over the line to announce it to everyone who comes through the door.

I could go on and on about this one...
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Decrease
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 8:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mommy,

I am not saying that this works for every child or should be done with every child. Yet, in my nieces situation, she laughs about it today and tells her friends. Trust me, with my niece (who is just like me when I grew up... so the family says) this was ideal. She is not easily embarrassed (unlike my second child). The proof that she still talks about it shows that to be true.
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momo3boys
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Decrease wrote:
She is not easily embarrassed (unlike my second child). The proof that she still talks about it shows that to be true.


I think that this is th key. What works for one child doesn't work for all. That is the blessing of hsing, we know our children well enough to know what will work or not. For one child it may be hard labor. I get a lot of house cleaning done by one child because of bad attitude. For the other it may be isolation. I also add work for bad attitude. when my 8yo decided he didn't want to do his work he scribbled all over the paper, I copied a new one ad he ad to do it three times. He only did that once more, and never again.

I also let them chose how to do their work. They may do it where they want, and sometimes when they want as long as it is done by Saturday. Because Monday is another week. If they haven't done it by Saturday, they can't do anything until it is done. This only happened one week. They have fiends in public school and they couldn't play because they still had work to do. They also had to explain why they had work still. I wasn't going to lie to these children as to why they couldn't play, and it wasn't my job to explain it either. WE are hsers and we can be flexible as long as we don't let things get out of hand.
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Ramona
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"If you don't work, you don't eat" is an oft-repeated maxim around our house. When my kids complain, I do assign them more work. Complaining is not allowed. Attitude matters.

I have brought my children up to believe that pointless, time-wasting "fun" is not good. Again, attitude matters. Doing our work is enjoyable and makes us happy, whether it be housework, schoolwork, a job outside the home, or whatever.

I have pondered a lot about taking away children's precious possessions. I would take away an MP3 player. I would not take away a teddy bear.

I have learned by experience that when we need to have more humility in our characters, we develop that by facing humiliating circumstances. It's the way life works. Perhaps if guided by inspiration, providing some humiliating experiences might occasionally be a good thing for parents of teenagers to do.

HOWEVER, all that said, I don't think parents should resort to punishments of any kind until after we've made certain that our expectations are reasonable. IME, expecting all students to do written work is what institutional schools are all about, but it isn't absolutely necessary to true education.

As home educators, we are free to facilitate our children's learning by other methods.

Ramona
FT HS'ing mom of 7 for 13+ years
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Decrease
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Location: Verona VA

PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 1:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clear expectations are a must.

I do agree peer pressure and some embarrasement is not bad. You just don't want to break their spirit.

We teach our kids that a part of our goal as Christians is enjoyment (The chief end of man). Yet, that does not mean we do only what we like, but that we enjoy what we do.
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Pam
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The withholding of a meal brings to mind the Little Red Hen....... "who will help me make the bread?" ........ in this household, if you don't work then you may not eat.

Most of the time around here the kids are begging me for work to do around the house.........and even begging me to do schooling sometimes.... I don't think they are stunted for life by my methods of parenting. My 10 year old just begged me (and I mean beg!) to mop the kitchen and bathroom.... well, how could I refuse. Laughing
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Lily
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 26, 2008 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Decrease wrote:
Lily,

First, except for the door incident, I am not embarrassing my child. Simply speaking, I am showing my child there are consequences to her actions. In fact, I never raise my voice (even if my child thinks I raise my voice or come across in a harsh tone, they always have permission to correct me in a respectful manner).


The fact that you are teaching a child that they have no voice, no respect, and no worth is extremely troubling. You talk about making them work with the right heart attitude - how can you force that on someone? The most you can do is teach them to lie successfully - to make them fool you into thinking they are doing what you ask so that they are not punished further.

Quote:
Yet, I am teaching them that every action has consequences. If your child does not work in real life... they will starve. My child will not starve. Yet, they may get a little hungry until they get their work done.


We don't starve our children here. That is an appalling idea and not only hurts the body but the spirit. A hungry child is less likely to concentrate and work, and turn in shoddy results because of that. A child who needs to eat regularly to maintain blood sugar is likely to have mood swings and be even worse because of this bullying tactic.
I cannot even fathom how you can connect starvation to working well. It's sickening.

Quote:
The door incident. Let me say that sin and rebellion should be embarrassing. I am not embarrassing the child, the child is. There is a natural consequence for their actions.

The door is not a natural consequence. Natural means it happens regardless of interference. A plate shattering because it is dropped is a natural consequence. Sweeping up the mess is a logical one.

The door incident is neither. It is humiliation, something that is not logical and most certainly not natural.

Quote:
Unless we teach our kids a natural consequence for actions that are severe, I would contend they are learning irresponsibility. Look, I am not abusing my kids. I am not bullying my kids. In fact, the opposite is true if they are rebelling and not doing their work. They are the one being the bully. I am the parent. It is no different than a police officer revoking your license or the like.


Again, don't misuse the phrase natural consequence. I dare say you don't even have a grasp of what that means. You are teaching an eye for an eye, not consequences. You ARE bullying, and the fact that you think they are bullying you is worrisome. It shows a great deal of your character, and not in a good light. Children are a gift, to be taught and loved. Not to be treated ill, misused, humiliated, starved, and bullied.

Quote:
Bullying... and I went to public schools so I should know... is all about destroying the character and dignity of the person in a manner that degrades the person. Discipline is all about building character in the person. I think these do build character without destroying the dignity of the person.


How on earth does that build character? All it does is make them not care - not something I want to teach my children. I want to teach them compassion and love and thoughtfulness, and do so by modeling it for them.

Quote:
Lily, I know you probably do not seem to like me. Yet, let me rest you assure, my kids love living in my home. They know there is a consequence for their actions and they are obedient but loving. We do not destroy their character but we build it up.


I only know of you what you have written here, and no, I do not like what I see. I do not think we even have the same goals for our children. I want mine to be thinkers, independent, but a part of their community, respected and respectful.

You want yours to be obedient.
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- M. Montessori
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