Hi, my name is Nan and I have a hyperactive child.
Here he is.
Oh wait a minute… that’s a kind of dated picture.
Here he is…
I love this child dearly. But this child is not fond of sitting at a desk. He’s not fond of having to look at books because it requires that he sit down to do so. He’s not a big fan of anything that doesn’t come easily. Having said all of that, I can tell you this; he is not lacking in intelligence. Whenever I do manage to eek out 7 minutes in a row of work from him, I’m amazed at how well he does in almost all of his subjects. He is one smart kid.
He just doesn’t quite like sitting down. Unless it’s for a movie, of course. Then he seems to have quite a long attention span, strangely enough.
He does rather like repetative noises and large boisterous movements, such as leaping from furniture and onto innocent victims below. He’s been known to be… um… experimental with electricity. We are
doomed blessed to have a future drum player on our hands. And if his current knack for keeping a steady beat is worth anything, I think he might be right up there with Larry Mullen Jr.
As you might imagine, school can be a challenge for someone who despises having his bum glued to a chair. And some days teaching someone who thinks you are Atilla the Hun for wanting them to sit down for 10 minutes at a time to do lessons can be quite… (searching for a word that is easy on the ears…) Oh forget it. It can be downright infuriating. The way I usually refer to how I feel after a particularly harrowing day of lessons is, “I want to plunge my head into a vat of hot lard… pity we had none on hand.”
So you see, one must begin to become comfortable with doing things a little differently than, “Here kid. Sit in a desk and do these papers. And while you’re at it read this totally boring book of disconnected words that have no plot whatsoever. School sucks for everyone. Why should it be any pleasanter for you?” Some days that is how I feel like dealing with my boy. But that isn’t exactly going to make him excited about school now is it? In fact it is sure to do the exact opposite and make him feel that all of his feelings about doing school work are completely justified because it really is as torturous as he thinks it will be.
In an effort to bring his lessons up to speed with his energy level I have instituted a new methodology. We don’t do this every day. Some days we really do just do the whole glue-the-bum-to-the-chair-and-push-through-the-hard-lessons-whether-we-like-them-or-not-thing. My new methodology is called Jumping School. Jumping Math. Jumping Phonics. Jumping fill in the blank.
Here is how Jumping Phonics works.
First you get a pad of sticky notes and on them you write all of the letters of the alphabet as well as any phonetic digraphs (like Ch/sh/th/ou, etc.) that you are currently working on with your child. Then you hand the stack of stickies to your child and ask them to take them to the kitchen and stick them all over the floor.
We have tile style linoleum so I asked the boys to please put one sticky note per square. We made a big long path through the kitchen.
It looked like the dotted line on a treasure map when we were done laying them all out. Just think of this as a modified form of hopscotch or something.
Then we played games. My younger one joined in too but I made my bigger boy work a little harder. Whenever we do this I come up with different rules that he has to follow. Initially I made him hop on each square that had a note in it and when he hopped on it he had to say the sound that the letters made (note: not the name of the letter.)
After we did that, I then changed the rules. I told him to run through the room trying not to step on any sticky notes.
If he stepped on one I would yell FREEZE and he would have to go back to it and say the sound. We did this with hopping on one foot too. He had to try to dodge the stickies and if he landed on them, he had to say their sounds. Just to drag it out as long as possible, we did another full run through but this time he just had to walk slowly instead of hopping or dodging.
This is just one of the ways that I have learned to step out of the ordinary and really get creative for my boy who so dislikes his desk and the concept of silent contemplation. (Though let’s be real… he doesn’t merely dislike it, he has jumping beans filling his entire body cavity and is really almost physically unable to sit still or keep his eyes from being anywhere that they need to be. I say “almost” because he can… it’s just extremely difficult.)
Other things I have come up with are The Gross Sentence Game and The Run and Get It Game.
The Gross Sentence Game is played by first making up a whole bunch of 3 x 5 cards with various words on them. You need nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, etc… They all must be present. Now this game can be tweaked for your own child. Perhaps you have a girl who is obsessed with princesses… make it all about fairyland and Disneyland and Lala Land and any other land of make believe that you can conjure up. For my boys, they really get going with this game when we use words that normally would cause me to cringe. Scabs and toe nails and pustules and the like. Like it or not, these nasty words combined with words like Rhinoceros, ate and the make for some pretty interesting sentences. Basically the children go through your big pile of random words and have to construct, hopefully hilarious, sentences. Sentences like, “I ate rhinoceros toe nails and scabs. Yum!” This of course can get very gross but if your children are like mine they will end up crying in laughter on the floor and begging to build more sentences.
The Run and Get It Game is extremely easy to play. I simply tell my little ones to run and find something in the house that begins with a certain sound. I try not to tell them what letter it starts with but rather what sound it begins with. If you have your letter stickies or phonics flash cards you can do this as a silent game (Oh if such a thing exists!!!) Whoever brings the item back first wins that round. You can keep score or not. If you have a single player you can time them or you can just gather everything in a pile and when the game is over stick the correct item with the correct sticky note or phonics flash card.
I figure I can either routinely want to throttle my boy each day and want to throw myself out the nearest second story window or I can do my utmost to come up with different ways, to educate this child of mine, that work with his personality. Frankly, I prefer the latter. These are just some of my thoughts and ideas on how to keep any other mothers of chair-hating children from leaping off of the nearest suspension bridge.
On another completely unrelated note, is anyone else familiar with this scenario?
Dad sits down to listen to child read.
Dad begins looking very sleepy.
Dad starts nodding off. Child looks up to check on Dad. (Child looks pretty wasted too as a matter of fact.)
Dad rouses himself and tries to push through.
He is rather unsuccessful.
Child wakes Daddy up and Daddys says, “I’m awake! I’m awake! See, I’m smiling. You can’t smile when you’re sleeping!”