Woohoo for the Wiggles!

27 Aug

Wiggles. No no no, I’m not talking about that seriously scary kids show. I’m talking about the wiggles that prevent my son from sitting still. Personally it drives me nuts, and maybe if I had a girl, I could expect her to sit quietly and peacefully while doing her work, but boys are a different story. At least my boy. Wiggle here, wiggle there, move for this, move for that. Stand. Sit. Stand again.

I’ve recently just found out how to use the wiggling to my advantage while making work more bearable for my son as well.


I used to have all my son’s spelling work being written work, seeing how writing and the computer are mostly how one is going to be using spelling anyway. One Thursday I accidentally dropped the ball and missed printing out his worksheet for spelling for that week and didn’t feel up to creating it that morning. I thought, Well, what else can I do?

I remembered reading somewhere how someone had had her son spell words then go down a slide, but that seemed impractical, considering we don’t have a slide, I didn’t want to go to the park first thing in the morning, and couldn’t guarantee getting there everyday. Then I thought, What if I have him spelling while doing things like jumping jacks?.

Not telling him what was up I took him into the dining room. He knew it was time for spelling so when I asked him to start doing jumping jacks he looked at me apprehensively. “Go ahead,” I encouraged him. “Start doing jumping jacks.” It was clear he was baffled but he complied. Then I asked him to spell his first spelling word. He stopped jumping and started to spell. “No no no. Don’t stop. Jump while you spell,” I instructed him. He giggled in between jumps and letters. Then I used things like hopping on one foot, running in place, jumping up and down, and hopping like a frog – all while he spelled his spelling words for the week. Spelling was over in no time, he had had fun, and I hadn’t had to hear his whining and complaining. Wow. Maybe there was something to it!

The following week we did it again and it went just as well. After that we were hooked! I completely eliminated our usual Thursday morning spelling worksheet and replaced it with our spelling-while-bouncing-around activity. It’s even something he has come to enjoy and look forward each week. A week or so ago, on Monday morning when he was copying his spelling words my son announced, “I can’t wait till Thursday.” I asked him why. “Because I get to do the jumping around while spelling.”

Latin and Greek

As mentioned in a previous blog, my third grader is learning Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes from a book called Word Roots. Today for review on what we’ve gone through so far, I thought, what if I read the flashcards and spell them out for him as well, just so he’s clear on what root, prefix, or suffix it is and have him move around, however he wants, in the space given. It worked! With a few restrictions so he didn’t get too crazy, I had him tell me the meanings of the words given while he spun, acted like a monkey, crashed down on the floor, and danced around. No whining, minimal time spent on review, and fun for him. Win-win!

I guess it’s hard for me to fully break away from the traditional “school” methods, but trying these non-traditional methods doesn’t hurt. If it ends up working and making things better for us both, then why not? I’m going to try and figure out what else I may incorporate this into for other things throughout our day. If you have problems dealing with the wiggles, and haven’t tried something like this, then maybe it’s time to give it a try!

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