February 22, 2014

the Power of the Bell for the Daydreamer

Do you have a daydreamer at home?  I do.  All kids drift off into La-la Land once in a while, but some kids can't seem to stay away.  I have one of those permanent residents of the sky at home and he can be quite a challenge to keep on task.  With household chores and 2 other kids to educate, I can't always be right there standing over him to pull him out of the clouds when he drifts off.  

We've encountered the issue with my little dreamer, that he can sit at the computer or with a book for a solid 30 minutes and forget to work.  It's been really frustrating to see the hours tick by and realize that he's not really done anything with them besides watch a bird in the tree.  I love that he loves nature, but sometimes you've got to talk times tables, right?  

To solve the challenge of me not noticing that he's drifted away until too much time has passed, I pulled a little bell out of one of our board games and asked him to ding it each time he finished a math problem or completed a sentence in his book.  


While I did it so that I could hear whether or not he was making progress even if I was cleaning the toilet or helping his sister with her online courses, it's been fantastic in unexpected ways.

~Often, we'll all want to go to the park or on an errand and we get hung up and can't go because our dreamer hasn't finished his work yet.  That has resulted in every member of the family being unusually invested in his progress.  So when he dings that bell, voices ring out from all over the house with, "Way to go!" and "Keep it up!"  It's really created an encouraging atmosphere for a guy who is more accustomed to hearing, "Come on, man!  We're all waiting on you!"

~Everyone has taken to ringing the bell during math, which I thought would distract him from his work, but it has actually served to pull him back to his task.  It's like a tap on the shoulder.  It gets his attention, and hearing someone else's progress has reminded him that he should be making progress too.

~And finally, it has served its intended purpose.  If much time passes without me hearing the bell, I put down the dust rag and go check in.  Usually he's gazing out of the window and I can gently remind him that I need to see some effort going into the task at hand.

My dreamer is getting more done, I'm less irritated with him, hounding has been replaced with cheers, and school days are simply all around smoother.  At the moment, the bell is my personal homeschool hero!  If you have a daydreamer, give it a try!

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a great idea! My 6yo is a daydreamer/doodler - I'll come over to find her math page covered with flowers and squiggles, and only one problem competed. I am going to try this! (As soon as I find a bell that is!)


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