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    #133716 - 07/10/12 12:21 PM DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc...
    vwmommy Offline

    Registered: 12/06/11
    Posts: 85
    Loc: Minnesota
    Any thoughts on how to get a 6 year old boy back to the point where he again ENJOYS the things that he used to? This summer started out with DS6 telling me that he was "kind of sad" to not be in school and now he tells us that he "doesn't like" math or reading, or pretty much anything else remotely academic. I'm not quite sure what to do about this. He has made friends with the little boy across the corner from us and has been spending most of his time playing with him (he's a year younger and is the total opposite of DS6- very loud, outgoing, physical, etc...). I'm all for spending as much time playing outside, developing friendships, and having fun as possible in the summer but I hate to see him turning his back on who he has always been too.

    He spent part of last year going from K to the 2nd grade classroom for math and reading and finished the year doing 2nd grade work in the K classsroom. He will be starting 1st grade in the fall but the school wants to meet with us ahead of time to decide what sort of accomodations that we may need to make. They have finally agreed to let him do MAP testing in the fall so we can kind of try to get an idea of what he knows already and what we can still teach him but I'm a little worried that with his current attitude he might not show us his true ability when it comes down to it.

    Right now my thoughts are the following- 1.setting aside time every day that is technology free 2. We went through his bookshelf yesterday and decided which books he no longer wanted and would donate and which ones he wanted to keep (I'm hoping that seeing all of the cool books that he has either read and enjoyed before or that he had looked forward to reading will remind him that he DOES enjoy reading) 3. Starting a "reading chart" where he can earn a sticker for every 10 pages read and a small prize for every 10 stickers. 4. Insisting on him wearing his glasses consistently (I think they "get in his way" when playing but I know that reading and 'book work' is much more difficult when he's not wearing them.

    If anybody has any other thoughts, I would love to hear them.

    #133717 - 07/10/12 12:32 PM Re: DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc... [Re: vwmommy]
    ultramarina Offline

    Registered: 08/24/10
    Posts: 3428
    I wouldn't reward for reading--it's been shown to backfire.

    Not sure about the glasses, not having a child who wears them. I don't know what the current thinking is on this.

    What I WOULD do is institute daily reading time. We have always had this before bed for DD, such that even on days when she's very busy with other things, there's always at least half an hour or so with books. If he's resistant, sit down with him, read aloud, whatever it takes.

    #133718 - 07/10/12 12:49 PM Re: DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc... [Re: vwmommy]
    AlexsMom Offline

    Registered: 06/01/10
    Posts: 741
    I'd guess the sudden "I don't like" is trying out his new friend's perspective. I'd model enjoyment of academic things (read within his sight, talk through mental math aloud), but otherwise let it be.

    #133720 - 07/10/12 01:07 PM Re: DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc... [Re: vwmommy]
    st pauli girl Offline

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    I don't have much advice, though DS8 just told me today that he hates math (his best subject). This was in response to my comment that I heard his teacher next year likes math and science. I asked him why, since he does so well in math, and he said because it's hard, and he doesn't like hard things. I am choosing to ignore it, since his school seems appropriately challenging to me (he has been able to do whatever they throw at him).

    It's easier to say you don't like all that school stuff when you get a taste of the freedom of summer. You know your own kid, but my kid does tend to blow a lot of smoke. wink

    I like the suggestion to set aside some reading time every day. At my son's school, they recommended 20 minutes each day for 2nd graders, 30 minutes for 3rd graders. We enforced this more last summer, and it was easier when we said "your teacher said you should do this over the summer". (He is more compliant with teachers than parents.) smile This year we've laid off a bit because DS does read on his own more.

    #133721 - 07/10/12 01:09 PM Re: DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc... [Re: vwmommy]
    amylou Offline

    Registered: 01/01/10
    Posts: 263
    I was going to say exactly what ultramarine said about reading - share your own joy of reading, rather than bribing him.

    My dd was in a math pullout in 1st grade and suddenly started saying she didn't like math. It was such an abrupt change for her I feel like *something* must have happened at school, but we'll never know. She says it in a matter of fact way, and we acknowledge (humor her?) in a matter of fact way.

    Now 12 yo, she has repeated this mantra from time to time over the years, even though it is at odds with her math performance in school, her elegant explanations of math concepts to her peers (as reported by teachers) her reading (big fan of Murderous Maths books) and her spontaneously bringing up math topics for family discussion.

    After breezing easily through honors algebra this year, she finally backed off slightly by saying, "well, its not so much that I don't like math, but I don't like math homework."

    Finally, I am beginning to understand.... she has generally mastered the art of maximizing her grades with minimal effort on her part. But math is the one subject where she has been assigned *daily* homework, and has been for several years. It is sometimes long and tedious, and there is no getting around it. Sometimes it is even challenging!! Being challenged is not terribly familiar to her, and annoying, and math is the place she is most likely to encounter it.

    My advice would be to support his academic pursuits in the most fun, upbeat ways possible. Read to him, make math games out of every day activities, etc., but don't let on that it is something you care about. Help him rediscover the joys of learning. (My dd's twin brother had, from a very early age, a very sensitive detector for parental desires, and his instincts told him to resist at all costs. Potty training was brutal with ds (and a breeze with dd)! He'd be totally on to any efforts to coerce him with bribes, etc., and not keen on rational arguments to boot. But fun almost always worked. )

    #133730 - 07/10/12 02:45 PM Re: DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc... [Re: vwmommy]
    vwmommy Offline

    Registered: 12/06/11
    Posts: 85
    Loc: Minnesota
    We do work hard to maintain a very reading- friendly home. DS has access to MANY books that he has accumulated over time, I myself love to read and model reading behavior regularly, and DH has re-entered college to finish his degree and shares his excitement about learning as well. We had also always read stories together for bedtime and he has been resisting that like crazy recently too. The only reason that I thought of doing the 'reward' system is that similar short term motivators have worked for encouraging specific behaviors in the past. DS looks at it as more of a 'contest' with himself than a bribe, I think. At this point I'm willing to try anything just to get him into doing it again without making it a 'rule' that he can dig in his heels and fight about. If he has a "contest" to work toward then he's making the decision to do it, even if it is for less-than-perfect motivations. I figure if he starts reading again, for whatever reason, that he'll eventually find his own self motivation again too.

    Edited by vwmommy (07/10/12 02:47 PM)

    #133733 - 07/10/12 02:57 PM Re: DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc... [Re: vwmommy]
    st pauli girl Offline

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    I see you're in Minnesota. I believe a lot of the Twin Cities area libraries have summer reading programs, where you can win passes to pools/museums/etc. Just an idea...

    #133736 - 07/10/12 08:21 PM Re: DS "doesn't like" math, reading, learning, etc... [Re: vwmommy]
    KatieMama Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 07/07/12
    Posts: 41
    I was going to say the same thing that st pauli girl mentioned...public libraries usually have summer reading programs for kids. They can keep track of how much they read and earn prizes at the library, such as passes for fun places in the area. My son's been doing it since he was 3-years-old and he loves it. Personally, I don't have a problem with inspiring a child to attain a certain goal by rewarding them for their efforts. It's never been a long term necessity in my house. It's used long enough to instill a certain behavior, and then we phase it out.


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