Monday, February 7, 2011




I have a school dreamer. This is not a boy dreaming of doing school, quite the opposite. This is a boy that spends his schooling moments dreaming of future adventures or some such thing.  Honestly, I’m not sure what is running through his mind when I find him in this stupor. All I know is that it isn’t his math work he’s dwelling on!

A lack of motivation seems to settle upon him at times. Other times it is lack of concentration.

This is not a new development in our homeschooling journey. It is one I have dealt with before in my other boys.  Ten years of homeschooling will do that for you!  It tends to give you resources for dealing with schooling/life issues.

I was talking to my sister the other day and she was having some attention/motivation issues with her son. So I decided that I would share some of the things I have done over the years to help alleviate the dreamer syndrome.

First, it is very important to know your child.  Are they staring out the window because their work is too hard or maybe because it is too easy?  Frustration and boredom can be precursors to daydreaming.  If you find this to be part of the reason for lack of motivation then either, a) go back over the work until they understand it or, b) challenge them with something more at their level.

If the school work isn’t a problem, but the attitude is, then this is what I have done…

  • When my dyslexic son was younger I would give him breaks after 30 minutes of work. If he wasn’t concentrating he didn’t receive these breaks. Therefore, it taught him to work hard and persevere because he knew if he did, he would receive a break of 10-15 minutes to spend playing.
  • These days I am teaching my 3rd grade son to use his time wisely. I tell him often he is responsible for how quickly and efficiently he gets his daily work done.  In the past I would set next to him and remind him OFTEN to keep working. Not anymore! Now I just keep my lips sealed and let him sit. It didn’t take him long to figure out he was wasting his time!  The first time he saw his brother finish his work and head off to play while he still had quite a bit left to do fixed him!
  • Now if you have a young student who requires you to help them through their lessons, but refuses to concentrate and do the work, this is my suggestion…WALK AWAY!  Walk away and leave him sit.  Tell him you will come and help him when he is ready to do the work.  Until then he can just sit.  Make sure there is nothing in front of him but his lesson and pencil. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to cajole your son/daughter to do their work.  I say, don’t!  It can only create anger.  I always made sure my sons knew it was their choice.  They could sit there as long as they wished, but they would still have to do their work before they could be dismissed from the table.
  • Another option is an incentive. For younger students this works well. Give them a certain amount of work to accomplish. If they do a good job and keep motivated reward them with a small snack.  My boys used to LOVE this!

Finally, I just want to add that you don’t want your children rushing through their work and not understanding it.  In our homeschool, they are not dismissed until I have corrected their work for the day.  I have them sit or stand right next to me while I correct their work. In this way we can work on the mistakes and make corrections where needed. Not only does this help control sloppy work, but it helps me know if they have a solid understanding of what they are learning.

What about you? Do you have any solutions for daydreaming?


  1. As a student I would be bored with my work and daydream my way into a more creative excitin' adventure. I can remember doin' that because at the rip old age of 58 I am still a 'dreamer'. You'll find that many 'creative' types are.

    Your advice is right on the money sweetie.

    God bless and have a terrific week!!! :o)

  2. I really appreciated this post, because I have one like that as well! I like your ideas though, and I'm going to try some of them this week. I'm tired of the frustration of constant reminders to get back to work.

  3. Good post, mamacita! :)

    My son is not toooo bad. He would rather get it done. However, definitely a fan of making a Star Wars ship out of Legos! :)

    When I taught school, I put my daydreamers in pretty "dull" places. ie: no windows around, not heavy traffic areas, etc. Grant it, they can get lost with something as simple as their eraser! :o}

  4. Jenn,
    I have a day dreamer for sure. And the dreaming always happens during math! Which he is not a fan of. It has helped for me to let him pick the order of our subjects and I always give him a break after math. He can color or work on a project while I read to him. If he does really well...then he gets a small treat.

    I also wanted to send you an e-mail. I sent one to you last night, off of your comment from my last post, but it failed to go through. I wondered if you have an address posted, that I missed here on your blog?
    Thanks so much for stopping by and I will talk to you soon!

  5. Great ideas Jenn! What a good idea for a post...I'm sure it will be a blessing to many! :)

    Have a wonderful, dreamy, week! LOL! ;-)


  6. very good advice. I'm starting to learn this. The photo is the funniest thing and I had to laugh. What I need now is some help with anger managment issues???

  7. I'm so glad I visited you today! Oh my gosh, this is my constant frustration with my son. He fidgets horribly, too. One thing that has helped is if he refused to focus, I tell him that I can tell he has some extra energy to get out and make him run 2 laps around our large backyard. Sometimes he'll run up to 10 laps in one day, but it really does help AND he's getting PE. However, I really like your ideas, too!

  8. Thanks for your advice! I ended up walking away twice today and it did seem to get his attention. So glad I have your brain to pick!

  9. Thanks ladies for all the comments!

    Cheesemakin' Mamma, I had forgotten about the running of laps! We've done that too! Especially when my middle son was younger!

    Amy, yep! I know my youngest can take two pencils turn them into rockets and play for 45 minutes with them without a problem!

    Lisa, I hope these strategies work for you!

  10. I have a school dreamer too..and the thought bubble would say the very same thing ;)
    I'm told with age it gets better..he's 12 3/4..we'll see :)

  11. Thank God for our little dreamers, yes? That's were the imagination lives. But steering all that creativity in the right direction can be exhausting at times, yes? Sounds like you have done well, my friend. When I set boundaries... and stick to them, our day runs a lot smoother. But I have to say... I know nothing of boys. Ha. My girls get distracted with dialogue play in their dollhouse. ;)

  12. This story made me smile. I homeschooled for 14 years and my youngest son was a daydreamer. While the other son worked hard to get studies done, the younger one was doodling, rolling his pencil up and down the table, sometimes I would find HIM under the table. BUT...I loved those years and that youngest one now is a senior, getting reading to graduate in a few months. I wouldn't trade those years for anything. Thanks for the memories :)


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