The best way I have found to help Ian get everything done is to make him do his least favorite subject first, and early in the morning at that. It used to be reading, and then math for a while, but I have no idea yet what this year will bring. It will probably be writing. Doing his least favorite subject first helped both him and me. Until we started getting up earlier I found that I would procrastinate beginning the school day at all when I knew we had to look forward to the dreaded subject, and all of the whining that accompanied it. So I just got Ian up early, and started the day with it. Sometimes we would even do it before breakfast. That leaves the rest of the day to look forward to.
I also have trouble getting Ian motivated to complete his work in a timely fashion. So I’ll tell him he has 2 hours to get done with math and play his video game. His next subject starts promptly when those 2 hours are up. If he spends 1 hour and 45 minutes on his math, he’ll only have 15 minutes to play. I think this is helping motivate him, but it’s a slow process. (If he could stay focused, his math would probably only take him about 20 minutes, but he gets distracted so easily. I keep thinking that he would probably be diagnosed with ADHD if I sent him to a public school.)
One of the ways I have failed Ian is by procrastinating in teaching him his math facts. I think he could finish his math in about 10 minutes (distractions aside) if he didn’t have to figure every single problem out from scratch. So we’re taking the month of September to work on flashcards. I’m going to let him answer as many addition facts as possible in 60 seconds. Then we’re going to see if we can add a couple of cards to the pile while completing them in the same amount of time. We gave it a try the other day, and it was definitely more fun than reciting facts. We’re also going to do subtraction and beginning multiplication and division, but separately for a while.
I don’t have any idea if you all are struggling with reading, but here is what I have done: I have prioritized reading way over science, history, etc. I figured the faster he could learn to read well, the better. I merely read Ian’s science and history out loud to him last year; we spent most of his study time learning to read better. I don’t know if this has anything to do with it, but Ian’s reading skills just took off when we bought him the Kid’s Day by Day Bible and had him read to himself from it every night. Until your child is really excelling in the basic areas: reading, writing, arithmetic – I wouldn’t worry too much about the other subjects, except Bible, of course, which you can count for history. You could also get some nature readers and knock out science while working on reading skills.