Tuesday, August 2, 2011



I LOVE your blog!! I stumbled upon it and spent almost a whole night going through all your posts... I admire and appreciate what you do!

I'm a new homeschool mommy. I'm half way through a kindergarten curriculum with my 5 year old. She turned 5 the end of January and we have been taking it easy realizing that I will not start her in "kindergarten" until this coming school year.

My question is what do I do when she has no motivation? I've been seeing it lately where she knows how to do something but sloppily slouches over and squirms not wanting to do it. Some days shes just fine but other days it's a fight between her and I.

I've tried making her rest in her room because of her attitude but then she just gets away with it and doesn't need to do school. She is young, but what can I do so that next year when we do start officially it will go smoothly? Any help I'd appreciate!
Thank you!


Thanks so much Jenn. I love talking to moms like you!

You know, determining the cause of the symptoms you are describing can certainly be a little tricky.
From your note I get the sense that the lack of motivation/ obedience seems to be isolated to school time and not a continual testing of authority or unwillingness to obey. Your goal will be to try to determine if that is the case. : )

If you find that your daughter is diligent and obedient in other areas, in other words this is not simply a training issue, then you might want to consider looking into biological reasons for her lack of motivation. Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP has found that:
If you find that your unmotivated learner also has difficulty tying her shoes, with letter reversal (after you have spent at least six months teaching letters), riding a bike or skipping you may have a really gifted kid with a little "glitch" in crossing over her midline. This is repairable, but does need a little help.
Or if your daughter does her schoolwork perfectly one day, but then another day she can't, she may have something as simple as a dairy allergy.

In other words, while character is certainly an issue to address when that is the problem, we also don't want to ignore what could be a biological issue that could be easily repaired.

Sometimes it may not be biological at all, but simply that our expectations for seat work are a bit high. Like I said, this is a little tricky.

We do want to gently parent as we prayfully focus on the long-term goals of a love for Christ and a love of learning.


I asked my good friend Dana to allow me to interview her on this topic of motivation in kindergarten. Dana is an inspiration to me. She loves the Lord and has a real common sense way about her. I pray the Lord will give you clarity and encouragement as Dana shares her experience and advice with us.


Q. Hello Dana, would you share with us a little about yourself including how many kiddos you are currently homeschooling?A. Sure. I am currently homeschooling 4 children: Three sons ages 14, 12, 11 and our daughter age 8 and we just completed our 7th year of homeschooling.
Q. In your experience, what would you expect from a little one at kindergarten level?

A. Homeschooling a kindergartner doesn't take very much time out of the day and doesn't require much seat work. Five is young to expect too much.
We keep seat work at a minimum as I am firm believer that kindergarten is a time of continued play and exploration.
I would suggest looking at your goals and finding creative ways to meet them. Parent-directed educational play is a good thing. I will often write down goals even for my older kids and then list creative ways to learn the skills.

Q. Dana, I know that you have had some experience with a non-motivated learner. What avenues would you consider for a child who was a difficulty focusing?
A. First, I'd consider what she is eating. Do you see a pattern in her ability to concentrate depending on what she ate the past hour or so? Even a simple glass of juice can send a kid into a tail-spin. Food reaction’s can range from subtle to severe.

Next, I would recommend listening to
Dianne Craft. She has a fantastic website about biological behaviors. I had great success with my then 7 year old when he had trouble concentrating. A generally obedient kid, he just couldn't focus.

Per her suggestion, he took daily supplements (vitamins and EFAs) and within a week I saw an improvement in his ability to concentrate.

Dianne is a former homeschool mom who has 25 years' experience teaching children who struggle with learning. She has both a bachelor's and mater's degree in Special Education and is currently serving as HSLDA's special needs consultant.
Finally, I would also consider any character training you may need to tackle before the fall. Do you have a bouncy child who thinks better on the move? Decide when you need her to be still and when it’s no big deal. For example, when you are reading to her, have her sit quietly listening to you read a book or playing with a toy for a time at the table or on the rug. Try puzzles, tangrams or simple board games.

Work on activities that require concentration but don't require sitting still. I often remind my young ones they can stand at the table to do their work, even kneel on a chair as long as they can show me they are listening..

Q. What would you consider your primary goals for the kindergarten year?

A. 1. To investigate God’s creation and develop a sense of wonder of God’s world

2. Follow through on simple chores.

3. Wash and dress themselves (if they don’t already.)

4. Be ‘can do’ kids. Not be afraid to try new things or learn new skills.

5. Self-control, both verbal and physical

6. To play hard. Run, jump, swim, bike ride …

7. Memory work built around play: poetry, scripture, facts.

Q. What do you wish you would have known when you were just beginning the homeschool journey?
A. Everything must begin with seeking God first. Even what seems simple or commonsense, should first be put before the Lord to ask for His guidance, His will.

There are seasons of intense academic learning and seasons of not.

Mama must take care of herself. Eat healthy, sleep, and get regular exercise. God does not ask us to die on the homeschooling hill. I don’t want to just survive I want to thrive and that can only happen if I take time to take care of myself.

Ask your husband for his opinions and thoughts even if he isn’t involved on the day to day decision making or grind of homeschooling. I am still amazed at my husband’s wisdom when I think I see the whole picture but he has another take.

Q. What are your favorite resources for this age?

A. All About Spelling, A Reason for Writing, small dry erase white board, art supplies, puzzles, music learning cds (memory work put to music). Math-U-See, and a great booklist like Ambleside.

Thank you so much Dana. You can visit Dana at her blog: The Sunny Side of the Room

For those of you who have kindergartners this year, to follow are some additional posts we have published related to this age:

Peace and Growth in Kindergarten
Planning for Kindergarten
Starting the Homeschool Journey

May you be blessed!


  1. Great advice! I'm going to begin working with Liam in a very informal, laid back way this year(he is totally keen on learning stuff). This is very timely as I begin another blessing in this journey of learning.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts Rebecca and Dana!

  2. Hi Rebecca,

    Missed you at the conference! Dianne Craft was an answer to prayer! Hoping the protocol will work for my brain too =).

    Cathy Craig

  3. Thank you dear ladies!

    Cathy- I am so sorry we missed each other! I am really glad you were able to hear Dianne Craft. I wish I had heard about her sooner and look forward to working with some of her resources in the coming months.


  4. Dana, I keep hearing your sage advice in my head this week:

    "Everything must begin with seeking God first. Even what seems simple or commonsense, should first be put before the Lord to ask for His guidance, His will."

    Thank you!