Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Ready. Set. Freeze.

I find this a little fascinating and want to know if I am alone here. Terrific T HATES to be timed on anything for school. He completely freezes up and takes a million times longer if you tell him he is being timed. I talked to a friend of mine who is having the same problem with her daughter. Timed tests freak her out too. What is the deal? Ironically, he likes being timed in how fast he can run around the house or something silly like that. But that is HIS idea too, so that might have something to do with it.

Off and on during the year, I would be trying to get him to work quicker on his math so told him I was going to set the timer. He instantly starts tearing up and saying he can't do it. He has always been this way. When he was little, I could tell him he had 3 hours to clean up 3 toys, and he would cry that entire three hours, saying he couldn't do it that fast. When really, it would take him less than 3 minutes if he would just do it.

I have tried occasionally to get him to do things being timed, because at some point in his life it is going to matter. Thankfully, it doesn't right now. I'm trying to prepare him for the future. Someday, he will have 30 minutes to get to his job, flight, wedding, etc, etc....and I can't have him in a puddle on the floor because he is afraid to fail.

Today, it was his math facts sheet. He will piddle all day to do one sheet of math. So I told him I would time him to make it "fun." I didn't tell him he had a certain amount of time or anything, just a lighthearted, "Let's see how fast you can do this." And he instantly started in on the "I can't do it that fast!" How fast? I never said a time to beat or anything at all. I told him fine, no timing, and he completed the page in 5 minutes (I was timing...shhh....). He CAN do the work, just the thought of being times makes him lose it.

I'm thankful we homeschool so we can be flexible, but I still want him able to survive the real world - lol.

Have you ever had a kiddo like this? What did you do? I'm open to suggestions, please!

1 comment:

  1. My son used to be this way. Eventually I learned he had no concept of time, that it simply made his anxiety shoot through the roof, and things that normally he might not be confident in, such as math which is very common for most kids, made it more difficult. So I sat him down to work on a "timed" worksheet and told him we were going to work through it. Without announcing what I was up to, I set the timer which was hidden in my pocket. I proceeded to talk him "quickly" through the worksheet, ie, I would say "3 times 3 equals" and he would write the answer. We finished, and after telling him some encouraging words such as "We worked through that pretty fast!" or "I like the way you're writing down your answers so quickly!" I would take the paper and write the finished time down on it -- UNGRADED! -- without telling him that I'd been timing him the whole time. We did this for a few days. Then, I had him do the worksheet all by himself, telling him I needed to do a few chores while he worked on the paper. Again, I was timing him, writing the time at the top however long it took him, but I started grading them, also. Those worksheets he did alone became my baseline for starting timed tests. At the beginning of the new week, I gathered all the secretly timed papers and explained to him what I'd been doing and building his confidence up from there (LOTS of encouraging words!). It was a process with him. He used to have a really horrible time doing timed flashcards. As soon as I said Go, his shoulders would go up, he'd gasp in a breath and he'd hold it, and he'd just stutter. (I'm also an ELL aide in a school and have seen other children do this, anxiety seeping from every limb of their body as they tap their desk with their hands, subtly tap feet or not-so-subtly wriggle their bottoms and kick their legs. And I would explain all that energy they were putting into their body was being "sucked" from their thinking power and we would work on relaxation techniques. Anyway, back to my son, so after doing the timed worksheets and him gaining confidence by seeing what he could do, we brought back in the flashcards and his attitude was all, "Hey, I got this!" and it was all good! :-)


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