Tuesday, December 6, 2005

School programs, and un-motivated kids

At our local school, only the third and fourth grades participate in the singing part of the holiday program.  Monica is a fourth-grader, so I went with the family to watch the performance.  It's always funny to watch kid programs.  The biggest hoot of the evening were the fifth-and-sixth-grade bands.  Keep in mind this is a small school, so there isn't a vast ocean of talent; more like a puddle-full.  And I know the kids were doing the best they could.    Everybody has to start someplace; let's just say there was lots of room for improvement.  It didn't help that the fifth-grade band consisted of about six drums and four horns, which made it rather unbalanced.

Now, on another subject:

Both my daughter's girls are very intelligent, and learn easily.  Monica usually knows her spelling words the first time we go over them, and Natalie always knows hers.

Monica is a voracious reader.  But she hates doing book reports, so she just doesn't do them.

Natalie's biggest problem is that at least twice a week, she'll either leave her schoolwork at home in the morning, or leave her homework at school in the afternoon.  And she really doesn't care. 

It's hard for me to watch kids who are capable of straight A's behaving in such mediocre ways, and I'm trying to help, since I see them more during the week than their parents do (not counting the time they're sleeping, of course).

I searched on line and came up with some printable charts, and bought stickers.  To start with, Natalie's job is to remember her stuff, and Monica's is to help her remember.  If Natalie does well, they both get a sticker.  On days they've done a book report, they get an extra sticker.  Ten days of stickers gets them a trip to McDonald's.

Yesterday, the first day, all was well.  Natalie was beaming with pride.  I figured I was onto a good thing here.  But this morning, Natalie forgot her whole backpack!

I guess we'll keep the chart system, but we've added something:  on days Natalie forgets stuff, no television.  I'veordered some appropriate books for their ages at half.com, so they'll have something to read on those days.

Any moms out there with ideas?  Will this work?

Gee, when my two kids were eight and ten years old they were getting themselves off to school, locking the house up, and the whole nine yards, because Cliff and I were both at work.  Or maybe they were forgetting their homework and I didn't know it.


robinngabster said...

p.s.   I LOVE those school programs. I am always the silly Mom who is crying at her beautiful kid singing off key!! Gotta love em!

robinngabster said...

I think this is a great idea. Gabby gets straight A's and is driven like nothing I have ever seen...so unlike me when I was her age.  She forgot a book at home once and called me from school in tears...she was so worried about getting in trouble.   Every once in a blue moon she will forget something but not often.

I think your chart will work well.  Kids like to be rewarded and who doesn't like McDonald's!!!!   I bet once they get used to it things will work superbly!!!  What a great wonderful grandma you are!!

tendernoggle said...

Just don't back down off it and make it a routine and they will do fine.
love ya,

monponsett said...

I used to work at an alternative high school that would award/take away "points" for certain acts. These points could be cashed in once a month for a mall trip. Guess who got to take them?

lv2trnscrb said...

I bet next year the fifth grade band will improve :)

Love these programs; what memories they instill.

Wish I could help you with motivation. I have a 16 y/o son who does the minimum even though he is capable of more. Getting him to work and finding what will make him work is an ongoing struggle here.


msecz said...

I hope it works. I had a son that never brought any books or homework home. He always said it was finished. He got through school with C's. He could have done much better. I wish he had a Grandmother like you. You are really doing something nice for your girls. Sandra

siennastarr said...

I think your plan sounds like a good one, Mosie.  Sometimes kids just need more motivation, for some reason.  It's hard to understand, when we know they are smart and completely capable of doing what they are supposed to, but for some reason they just don't have enough motivation to care.

I definitely think you are on the right track!


vortexgirl said...

I have tried several different chart ideas with Samantha and it only worked for a day or so and then we both would forget.  Good luck with that.

marainey1 said...

I miss those Christmas programs so much.  I know that soon my grandchildren will start having them, maybe they already have - with 3 in kindergarten this year, but they are all so far away, going isn't an option for me.  You are such a good grandma!  Hopefully the girls will remember that and be good grandmas to their children's children  some day.  I think you must have had good grandmas too!

'On Ya' - ma

zosche973 said...

This is one of the things I miss terriably :( ~Diane~

fowfies said...

Children are forever forgetful.  I was as a child, and Shelby is notorious for it.  As a parent it can be very frustrating and for a child with a conscience it can be disheartening.  When Shelby was in public school if she forgot her homework or a book she was supposed to have she would burst out in tears and be really upset and worried.  This didn't happen very often, and I told her it was okay, everybody makes mistakes, we would just try to work together to make sure she didnt forget anything before we left the parking lot in the afternoon.

Now, here is my take on the kids being unmotivated.  If they are as smart as you say they are, they are bored, plain and simple.  The curriculum is geared down for the slower kids I guess.  I discovered this almost immediately and as the school year goes on its evident.  

I keep up with the daily curriculum in the Georgia public schools, its on the states website.  She started three weeks after they did, and is and has been ahead of the public criteria for most of out school year.  She is ahead because she learns at a faster pace than some, maybe even many.  I think given the opportunity a lot of kids would be further along in school.  Shelby will be done with a school years worth of curriculum in February in March, and we will still have about 40 days to fill to meet the states requirements of 180 days present. So, we will be going to Barnes and Noble to branch out of the norm and learn some mind blowing and interesting things she will love for those 40 days.  We could go ahead and start on 6th grade curriculum, and before you know it she would end up a full grade or more ahead of her peers!  A lot of folks worry about interaction with other kids.  She never made any fast friends in the 5 years she was in the same elementary school.  Now we have joined 4-H and I my hope is for her to meet some good kids with good values and make great

csandhollow said...

The charts work if you keep on it.
I need to do that too!
Kind of a flylady for kids.