What is working:
We added a timer to the mix, so rather than have to ask me what time he should stop reading or trying to figure out what 30 minutes from 7:53 is, he can press a button and start/stop the timer as need. (side note, at some point he will learn to be able to figure out the time thing. It's just not a priority right now.) The timer is also useful because before, he was taking breaks and still stopping at the same time, thus not reading the full amount of time as assigned. Reading (any book of his choosing) is a set part of our school day. Sometimes he reads silently, sometimes he reads out loud. And, though not necessarily part of our school day, but just part of our day, I have been reading out loud to the boys. At the moment we are enjoying the tales of Robinson Crusoe.
The list also allows S some independence on the days he gets up early, he has his list and any worksheets and can go ahead and choose what he wants to complete. It also helps in terms of motivation because I don't let the kids work on the computer without my supervision, it seems to motivate him to get all the other stuff done and then the computer time becomes sort of a reward, something to look forward to a bit later in the school day, even though it is part of his school work. It's sort of like "double dipping" for mom. :-) Hey, if it works, it works.
That reminds me, he did earn his pizza reward for the Book It! program. We need to a make a point to go out and get that for him, soon.
Completing the items on the list is helping us to make steady progress through our school work. Although, I fear I may be doing things for the sake of doing them more than for the enjoyment of learning something new. I'm not sure yet how to handle this, but it is something I notice, in me.
The list is not making my son as happy as it once was. I think that he likes the list, and knowing what he needs to do each, however, he does not get the same feeling of accomplishment that I do by checking things off of the list. I frequently find myself saying "did you check that off the list?" And I don't like it. So, time to tweak the system a bit. I'm open to suggestions, if any of you have them.
To be honest, as of late, school has become more of a chore than the fun adventure it started out to be. I guess that means the honeymoon is over. I knew that it would happen, however, I'm wondering if there aren't things we are doing to contribute to the problem.
Suggestions? Thoughts? Ideas?