Homeschooling the Hyperactive

Hi, my name is Nan and I have a hyperactive child.

Here he is.

15 seconds old!

Oh wait a minute… that’s a kind of dated picture.

Here he is…

tbath Soft and Faded minus special tweak

I love this child dearly.  But this child is not fond of sitting at a desk.   He’s not fond of having to look at books because it requires that he sit down to do so.  He’s not a big fan of anything that doesn’t come easily.  Having said all of that, I can tell you this;  he is not lacking in intelligence.  Whenever I do manage to eek out 7 minutes in a row of work from him, I’m amazed at how well he does in almost all of his subjects.   He is one smart kid.

He just doesn’t quite like sitting down.  Unless it’s for a movie, of course.  Then he seems to have quite a long attention span, strangely enough.

He does rather like repetative noises and large boisterous movements, such as leaping from furniture and onto innocent victims below.  He’s been known to be… um… experimental with electricity.  We are doomed blessed to have a future drum player on our hands.  And if his current knack for keeping a steady beat is worth anything, I think he might be right up there with Larry Mullen Jr.

As you might imagine, school can be a challenge for someone who despises having his bum glued to a chair.  And some days teaching someone who thinks you are Atilla the Hun for wanting them to sit down for 10 minutes at a time to do lessons can be quite… (searching for a word that is easy on the ears…) Oh forget it.  It can be downright infuriating.  The way I usually refer to how I feel after a particularly harrowing day of lessons is, “I want to plunge my head into a vat of hot lard… pity we had none on hand.”

So you see, one must begin to become comfortable with doing things a little differently than, “Here kid.  Sit in a desk and do these papers.  And while you’re at it read this totally boring book of disconnected words that have no plot whatsoever.  School sucks for everyone.  Why should it be any pleasanter for you?”  Some days that is how I feel like dealing with my boy.  But that isn’t exactly going to make him excited about school now is it?  In fact it is sure to do the exact opposite and make him feel that all of his feelings about doing school work are completely justified because it really is as torturous as he thinks it will be.

In an effort to bring his lessons up to speed with his energy level I have instituted a new methodology.  We don’t do this every day.  Some days we really do just do the whole glue-the-bum-to-the-chair-and-push-through-the-hard-lessons-whether-we-like-them-or-not-thing.  My new methodology is called Jumping SchoolJumping MathJumping Phonics.  Jumping fill in the blank.

Here is how Jumping Phonics works.

First you get a pad of sticky notes and on them you write all of the letters of the alphabet as well as any phonetic digraphs (like Ch/sh/th/ou, etc.) that you are currently working on with your child.  Then you hand the stack of stickies to your child and ask them to take them to the kitchen and stick them all over the floor.

ph8

We have tile style linoleum so I asked the boys to please put one sticky note per square.  We made a big long path through the kitchen.

ph9

It looked like the dotted line on a treasure map when we were done laying them all out.  Just think of this as a modified form of hopscotch or something.

Then we played games.  My younger one joined in too but I made my bigger boy work a little harder.  Whenever we do this I come up with different rules that he has to follow.  Initially I made him hop on each square that had a note in it and when he hopped on it he had to say the sound that the letters made (note: not the name of the letter.)

ph3

phonics hop1

After we did that, I then changed the rules.  I told him to run through the room trying not to step on any sticky notes.

ph2

If he stepped on one I would yell FREEZE and he would have to go back to it and say the sound.  We did this with hopping on one foot too.  He had to try to dodge the stickies and if he landed on them, he had to say their sounds.  Just to drag it out as long as possible, we did another full run through but this time he just had to walk slowly instead of hopping or dodging.

ph4

This is just one of the ways that I have learned to step out of the ordinary and really get creative for my boy who so dislikes his desk and the concept of silent contemplation.  (Though let’s be real… he doesn’t merely dislike it, he has jumping beans filling his entire body cavity and is really almost physically unable to sit still or keep his eyes from being anywhere that they need to be.  I say “almost” because he can… it’s just extremely difficult.)

Other things I have come up with are The Gross Sentence Game and The Run and Get It Game.

The Gross Sentence Game is played by first making up a whole bunch of 3 x 5 cards with various words on them.  You need nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc… They all must be present.  Now this game can be tweaked for your own child. Perhaps you have a girl who is obsessed with princesses… make it all about fairyland and Disneyland and Lala Land and any other land of make believe that you can conjure up.   For my boys, they really get going with this game when we use words that normally would cause me to cringe.  Scabs and toe nails and pustules and the like.  Like it or not, these nasty words combined with words like Rhinoceros, ate and the make for some pretty interesting sentences.  Basically the children go through your big pile of random words and have to construct, hopefully hilarious, sentences.  Sentences like, “I ate rhinoceros toe nails and scabs.  Yum!”  This of course can get very  gross but if your children are like mine they will end up crying in laughter on the floor and begging to build more sentences.

The Run and Get It Game is extremely easy to play.  I simply tell my little ones to run and find something in the house that begins with a certain sound.  I try not to tell them what letter it starts with but rather what sound it begins with.  If you have your letter stickies or phonics flash cards you can do this as a silent game (Oh if such a thing exists!!!)  Whoever brings the item back first wins that round.  You can keep score or not.  If you have a single player you can time them or you can just gather everything in a pile and when the game is over stick the correct item with the correct sticky note or phonics flash card.

I figure I can either routinely want to throttle my boy each day and want to throw myself out the nearest second story window or I can do my utmost to come up with different ways, to educate this child of mine, that work with his personality.  Frankly, I prefer the latter.  These are just some of my thoughts and ideas on how to keep any other mothers of chair-hating children from leaping off of the nearest suspension bridge.

****

On another completely unrelated note, is anyone else familiar with this scenario?

tr5

Dad sits down to listen to child read.

tr4

Dad begins looking very sleepy.

tr3

Dad starts nodding off. Child looks up to check on Dad. (Child looks pretty wasted too as a matter of fact.)

tr2

Dad rouses himself and tries to push through.

tired reading1

He is rather unsuccessful.

wake up dad

Child wakes Daddy up and Daddys says, “I’m awake!  I’m awake!  See, I’m smiling.  You can’t smile when you’re sleeping!”

Advertisements

14 Comments

Add yours →

  1. You mske home schooling look more appealing to me every day! You are very creative! I love the games. very good way to get it to stick in their noggins. I just got my packet in the mail from Kamon- you talked about it in a previous post, so i ordered a free info packet from them. Have to read it later. Thanks!
    You are a totally awesome mom!
    Danielle

    Danielle & Jeff’s last blog post..Back To School!

  2. You are so creative!

    Jacqueline’s last blog post..The Complexity of Teens

  3. hi,he sounds just like my stepdaugther.she doesnt focus to much on some things but when it comes to the television she is glued to the screen and if you would call her name she would turn her head but her eyes is glued to the screen.i love you post.thanks

    melody’s last blog post..DOWN THE DRAIN

  4. This is fantastic! Definitely an improvement over day after day of expecting him to sit still. He needs both and it’s great that you have the imagination to come up with such great ways to let him use that energy while learning.

    Laura’s last blog post..My sci-fi crew

  5. Nan, you are the kind of teacher we need in schools! I’m so thankful your boys have you.

  6. A+ on the post 🙂 This is awesome advice!

  7. Man Nan you got it goin’ on over there and I think you are such a wonderful mom.

    P.S. – I’m so happy to hear you received the drawing and so happy you like it.

    Debbie’s last blog post..Road Trip Part 5 – The End

  8. I’m totally stealing this idea! 🙂 I LOVE IT.
    Here’s one for ya.
    –> Sit at the end of a hall (or across a room).
    –> Get remote to start/stop radio or anything that makes sound you can start and stop instantly (this could be your voice too)
    –> Turn it on, let him walk or run or hop or skip or hop backwards or ROLL toward you until the music stops (oh, cartwheels too).
    –> They must read a flash card word, answer a math fact, etc…when the music stops.
    –> If they get it wrong they go back to the beginning.
    –> If they get it right – they keep moving forward.
    –> When they get to you they get a treat (ours was Peanut M&Ms).
    –> It took about 3 answers for mine to get to me.
    –> We’d play until the single serving bag was empty. 🙂

    We did these even when ours were in public school and just needed a little extra help with memorization or math facts here and there. 😉

    omsh’s last blog post..We’re gonna blame this one on the meds.

  9. Another great idea!! And I’m so not above a little bit of caloric bribery! LOL :^D

  10. I’m learning and striving to be like my little sister!!! I created a game today called “Seek and Say.” The girls had to “hide” in the bathroom while I hid the alphabet flash cards all over the house (like an easter egg hunt!). When they found one they had to bring it to me and tell me the letter and the sound. Both girls enjoyed it.
    I’ll be stealing your ideas too!
    Love you,
    Sandy

  11. Hi Nan
    I have just found your bog. Wonderful post. I love the creativity you show. Have you thought of autonomous education? That way you won’t have the battles and as you say he is so bright he will pick up loads without sitting at a desk.
    Also, excuse me if you have posted about this before, but do you sons eat sugar or other refined carbohydrates? My experience with my daughter is that she climbs the walls when she ingests sugar but concentrates better without it. Now, don’t get me wrong, she is not somber now, she still has some ADHD symptoms, but she is much happier without the sugar in her diet.
    blessings
    Patricia

    Patricia’s last blog post..It’s not just me that my actions affect

  12. How fun! I remember doing something similar when my oldest was working on sounds! Good job Mom!

    Gina’s last blog post..Oh So Pretty!

  13. Yup, I’m keepin’ this post handy! Thanks for the inspiration and keeping it fun!

  14. Great ideas! Good for you for working WITH his gifts and not against them. Two of my boys have ADHD, so I understand the difficulties! One idea that works for homework is to do it outside, laying on the grass. Or practice spelling words while swinging.

    momto3cubs’s last blog post..Junior High…

What are your thoughts?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: