Q8: My child won't stay in the school room during the time set aside for our work period or doesn't want to do anything when they are in there. How do you encourage continued work if they are not interested? What should I do?
A: My kids never abandon the school room during a work period and they always seem to want to keep working. So, I can't address the problem with a solution from personal experience. However, I can hypothesize about why that is. I think it is because the school room is easily the most interesting room in our house. The reason for that is a combination of no video games, very little T.V., and the toy library. You can read more about our toy library here. I think it helps a lot that there is no playroom or bedroom stocked like a toy store to wander off to. The school room on the other hand is chock full of interesting things. At my boys' ages they are also required to do a few specific things each day in addition to the work they choose. So, if they were to wander off they would find that it just interferes with something else they want to do later (see question 7). If you read the question about our daily schedule (question 13) you'll see that they have all afternoon and evening to play with toys by themselves. Having Mom 100% at their disposal with all of the school things around them is rarer.
Q9: My child won't do ANY work when in the school room, what should I do.
A: The good news is, you have a stubborn kid. My Mom always says that we have enough weak people in this world as it is. Perhaps in the future you will consider it to be an asset. Right now I'm sure it's driving you nuts. The first step is to make sure that the school room is stocked with only work that you are happy with your child doing (see question 5). The second step is to cater to your child's interests and make that work as attractive as possible (also question 5). In this instance you probably want to take step two very seriously! The third step is to make the rest of your house as unattractive as possible (see question 8). The fourth step is to be patient and try not to argue with them about it. A child in a room full of interesting things in a house with no place better to retreat to is only going to sit and do nothing for so long. Given the choice of sitting on the floor doing nothing for hours or choosing something off the shelf (especially if you have worked hard on step two), they should eventually find something to do. Once they are in a habit of actually working in the school room you can shift your emphasis gradually from step two more toward step one.
Sadly there are some kids in this world that just don't like anything and can never find anything to do. I suspect that in nearly every case they watch too much t.v. and play a lot of video games. Research shows that t.v. and video games, particularly for boys, makes it more difficult to find other activities enjoyable. My boys know this fact by heart. If our family is trying to do something fun together and they boys act "lame" (for lack of a better word) I tell them that the fact that they are failing to see the the fun in what they are doing is telling me that they have been watching too much t.v. and that we will be not watching any t.v. for a given length of time until they are back to normal.
If you would like to read all sixteen frequently asked questions and their answers right away, you can find them at the FAQ tab at the top of the blog under the header.