Our lesson today started out as a normal spelling lesson--we spelled a few review words and went over some of the mastered rule cards--all was going well with my 12 yo son. Then I opened the book and picked up where we left off--the 2nd dictation sentence. Usually he enjoys the dictations. Today he started rubbing his eyes and saying that they were tired. He tried to write the first sentence and couldn't remember how to spell "while." I encouraged him to leave it and finish, then come back to it. He tried wale and ended up with whale.
"That says 'whale.' What would need to change to make it say 'while?'" I gently asked.
"My brain won't work right today!" he exclaimed, frustrated. A lot of his letters were drawn over several times (in pencil), messy, and pushed together. He changed 'whale' into 'while.'
We were only a few minutes into our 20 minute session, but I said, "let's take a break?"
That threw off my structure-loving son--what? "We can't do that! I won't finish!"
Yep, son, we're going to march now. Marching wasn't on his top ten list of things he wanted to do right then. I made sure that he was alternating arms and legs--right arm with left leg, left arm with right leg, etc... He assured me this was no break and would make his eyes more tired. I said "try it!" and continued marching. He marched up and down the hall a few times, then tried leaps with alternating legs/arms. I told him crawling was good for crossing the right/left brain barrier and he grinned and got down and crawled a bit!
A few minutes later we were back at our lesson, another dictation sentence. I had a changed son. His mood had lightened considerably. His letters were neater, bumped the lines, didn't run into each other--and everything was spelled perfectly. I gave him high praise and encouraged him to put just a little bit more space between his words for the next dictation. He ended up writing 9 sentences in the remaining time! All were much neater than the first one, and none of them had spelling errors. Way to go!
Have any of you experimented with right-left brain activity or exercise as a break when your kids are struggling?