Monday, February 14, 2011

How to motivate a second grader Part 2

 Warning this is a long post-but kinda funny, if I do say so myself.
As mentioned in  How to motivate a second grader part 1.  Ryan has ha a little trouble at school this year. Homework around here  is probably the way it is in most homes with an ADHD kid-it usually consists of me and Ryan in the kitchen, me saying "What is the answer to this question(problem)?" while Ryan is fidgeting and changing the subject as much as  possible, with me trying to steer the attention back to the homework and asking for the answer again and so on and so forth, over and over again...
In January they (the whole second grade) had to do a biography project.  They worked on it at school a little, but it was mostly an at home project.  At the beginning of the month he brought home a sheet asking for his top 3 choices of people to do the project on.  They had to be  Americans and people who had "Made America Better". They couldn't belong to the list of people they had already studied about in school. This was the beginning of an epic and the end of my Love and Logic skills for that day.   Rebecca Lynn was over (For more info on her click here) and apparently her skills weren't quite up to par that day either because is how it went:

"Do you have any idea who you want to do Ryan?"
"Uh-uh" (AKA "No and I don't care")
"Would you like us to help you look some people up on the internet?"
"Guess so"
"Do you have any names at all in your head?"
"George Washington Carver"
"What do you know about him?"
"Nothin' "
"Who Else?"
(shoulder shrug)
"What about an inventor?"
"Inventor's are boring"
"An Explorer?"
"A Scientist?"

You get the idea-this went on for about 2 hours, with us looking up people's names on the internet like the inventor of T.V and Video games, scientists who study about Snakes and/or Bugs (Ryan's favorite things) etc...everyone and every idea was "Boring". Eventually we had 3 names on the paper: Benjamin Franklin, Jesus and George Washington Carver.  I tried telling him that Jesus was not an American and therefore was, unfortunately, not eligible.  They had been studying about George Washington Carver in school already, and  thus also, not eligible. But he insisted and so those names remained.  Later that evening Rebecca Lynn called me and said "We sure let our Love and Logic skills fly out the window tonight!"  And she was right.  We allowed his homework to become our problem instead of his, and it was really HIS problem.  So we all wound up frustrated and upset by the end of the evening.
The next day I was determined to remember my Skills!  So I allowed him to forget his paper with the 3 names on it, as well as his planner.  I did not remind him or make it my problem.  That afternoon I got the email.  And a week or so later he brought home the sheet with his choice of -you guessed it-Benjamin Franklin. Now don't get me wrong, he was a very interesting person.  He lived an incredible life in an amazing time in history.  He was an inventor/scientist, a writer, a businessman, and a diplomat. But every kid does Ben Franklin! (In fact 3 other kids in his class of 21 did who else-Ben Franklin) Couldn't we do someone else?  Anyone else? (Making it my problem again,  next time remind myself- use Love and Logic-Who's project is it?) But to my surprise he actually worked on the project.  Sometimes it was as above-
"Ryan...Ryan...Ryan! When was he born?" "January 17, 1706, but Mom I got to tell you this really interesting thing that happened on the bus today..." "When was he born? Write it down Ryan" Over and over again and again...But one night I was at my "Becoming a Love and Logic Parent" class and left it up to the Babysitter to argue do homework with him.  (Genius! I just need a sitter every night!) And he actually wrote some good sentences...with details. Here they are:

Ben Franklin was an inventor, he invented the Franklin stove. he was a hero of a calany amerika. Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706 in boston, masachewsits.  he went to School for only two years.  his parents, Josiah and Abiah Franklin had 17 kids.  
 he taught himself four languages. He knew about science and math.  he proved lightning was electricity.
 he made good inventions. he helped stop slavery. he invented the lightning rod.

Another day I sat with him and we looked up some info together...And found some pictures to use. (Love and Logic was sort of there- kinda?) He wrote more sentences-eventually 3 paragraphs-I typed them (as written) and we together fixed what spellcheck found. Another night we put the poster board together. I did some printing and a little cutting (I couldn't let him use the guillotine trimmer could I?)- the rest was Ryan...(although we did raid my scrapbooking stash for letters and paper, the mats were my idea, but he liked the idea)

So the Benjamin Franklin project is finished- and I am so happy and proud I could just bust.  Here is the (da da da dah)...Final Product: 

Here are his 3 Paragraphs:
Ben Franklin was an inventor, he invented the Franklin stove. He was a hero of a colony America too. Benjamin Franklin was born January 17, 1706 in Boston, Massachusetts.  He went to School about a mile away from his house but for only two years.  When he was 10 he had to work in his dad’s candle and soap making shop. His parents, Josiah andAbiah Franklin had 17 kids.  
When Benjamin Franklin was 12 he became his brother’s apprentice. He worked very, very hard for 12 hours a day in a print shop every day except Sunday.  He studied whenever he could and taught himself four languages. He was a good writer. He was so good that his brother James printed some letters Ben wrote, using a fake name, in his newspaper. When his brother found out who really wrote the letters he was mad.  Ben learned about science and math too. So he did some experiments. After he grew up he proved lightning was electricity.
Ben Franklin is famous for a lot of stuff.  He made good inventions, like bifocals, and all his inventions were very impressive. He helped stop slavery. He invented the lightning rod. He signed the Declaration of Independence and he even helped to write it. 

Last week he brought home his grade- P+ (which is the highest grade possible) And his teacher wrote a note on the bottom that says "Nice Work! I like how you added some interesting facts-some I never knew! :) 
I immediately put it on the refridge, where it will probably stay until he is 22. He is somewhat proud himself-But me- I was just bursting with pride-almost like it was my project and not his! (See I totally owned it, {Sorry Jim & Foster, I'm still learning} but he did do the work).

Saturday ( the 5th) he started taking medicine for his ADHD.  I didn't think it was helping until Thursday afternoon-He did 3 whole sheets of homework- (Are you ready for this) 

Without Supervision!!!! 

I know, I didn't believe it either, but he really did.  I sat in the other room having a conversation with some friends and he did his homework.  Only 2 or 3 times did he say "Mom I need help."  And I said "Do the best you can, I'll look at it when I'm finished" and he did every single question. and of course I am not a teacher, but I think he got all the answers right too! So we shall see but I think we may have hit on the answer. 
I am hoping, with the help of Love and Logic, his teacher and the school psychologist, that he may actually begin to Enjoy School, or at least not dread it (as in try everything he can to stay home-every morning). I'll give it a couple weeks and let you know.

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