This past weekend, I left a comment on someone’s Weekly Wrap-Up post and it occurred to me that my comment might be something that would be helpful to someone else. We were discussing kids dawdling over schoolwork and I mentioned something that worked for us when Brianna was younger.
When Brianna hit about 3rd or 4th grade, she would take forever to do a page of math. She could literally spend an hour or two dawdling over a page that shouldn’t have taken her more than 45 minutes, tops, to complete. It became my job to hover over her and say, “Do your math. Do your math. Do. Your. Math!”
No amount of reasoning with her that, if she’d just do it, it’d be over seemed to faze her. So, I finally resorted to a solution that worked wonders. I printed off a blank bingo card and got myself a timer. I told Brianna that, for each day that she finished her math before the timer went off, she could put a sticker on one square of the bingo card. When the entire card was full, she could trade it for a list of prizes I’d come up with (lunch out, a small toy, etc.) or she could save up the cards for a bigger prize (She was saving for “be the teacher for the day” so that I’d have to be the student!).
Then, I set the timer for a little longer than I thought it would reasonably take her to finish the sheet. We started with 45 minutes. After to many days of successfully completing her work in a timely manner, I shortened the time, working toward 30 minutes. We never quite got down to thirty minutes because, after a few weeks, she was doing so well, we’d both forget about setting the timer.
I guess it was those few weeks that showed Brianna how much easier it was just to get busy and do the work because dawdling over her work has never really become a problem for her again. There are days when she doesn’t finish all of her work or takes more time than she should over an assignment, but that’s not the norm. More often than not, she’s the first one up, getting her schoolwork out and getting started before anyone else is up, or finishing her work for the next day in the evenings.
This solution may not work for everyone, but it was a life- and sanity-saver for us. Visit Kristin at We Are THAT Family for more Works for Me Wednesday tips.
Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.