Keeping Lessons Short and Sweet

The boys started their day by watching, yet another, episode of Wild Kratts.  This one was all about zebras and we learned that zebras have black skin and the white fur that grows in to make the stripe pattern.  I love when they are engrossed in something that they see as purely fun and yet I KNOW they are learning.

I wish they could learn every single in life this way but realize that it's not always possible.  There are some skills my boys are going to need that they don't always enjoy learning about and yet I find some of these skills (like quick re-call of math facts and writing) to be waay to important to just ignore.

To help my boys hone those skills they don't necessarily enjoy learning about or practicing I make sure to keep our lessons short and sweet!

I keep thinking baby steps; just a bit here and there will add up over time.  It's the approach I take to any subject the boys really object to. 

I try not to force them to do work because I don't want them to hate school and hate learning.  

I'm trying to show them learning can be fun.  

I want them to love to learn and be excited about what we're learning.  

But, that said, pretty much everything we did today was not fun.  Some days that's just how it goes so I made sure the math, writing and reading only lasted for a few minutes each.  Then they don't mind so much and will agree to do the work knowing it's short lived and that was all we were going to be doing for today.  

For math today we focused on drills: I don't often do this with the boys as I know they think it's kind of boring. But I want to help them focus on speed and accuracy with simple addition and subtraction facts.  It literally only takes one minute.

I find the sheets at  I used this site when I was teaching, it's quick and easy to find what drills you're looking for.   We also made up some flash cards to study with and I hope to move them through each fact within a week or two.

While the older boys did this Evan asked to work on a maze and dot- to- dot sheet of numbers 1- 25 to which I readily agreed.

Math was over with quite quickly and no one grumbled or complained at all! 
Another activity my boys all hate is writing.  But at least once a week it is a skill I like to work on with them.  Today I pulled out their cursive books and had the two older boys each work for a bit on them.

I even coaxed Evan into doing some practice writing.  He now recognizes most of his letters but, like his brothers, hates to write.

They all surprised me though, Evan completed a whole sheet of the entire alphabet in both upper and lower case!

He was beaming when he handed it to me with a "ta- da!"

Alec and Ian each did an entire page in their books too without complaint!

Knowing we tackled a couple of subjects that my boys do not like and that we competed them quickly, without tears, grumbling or complaining feels wonderful! The boys were filled with pride over what they had accomplished and I just know that these mini lessons are going to accumulate to great strides in their skills.

How do you tackle those subjects your kids are reluctant to learn?


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