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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

I don’t remember if I have told you lately about my frustration levels. They’ve been rather high.

We started school almost 4 weeks ago, and it took me all of 2 days to announce that this is the last year I’m planning to keep the older boys at home. On top of that, I gave them two more days to prove to me that I shouldn’t just enroll them in public school the next week.

Obviously, they convinced me to keep them at home for now. They’re still on probation with me though.

The basic problem is this: the older boys are not convinced (at the ripe old age of 11) that they MUST do schoolwork. That is their job.

Getting them to do work in general is usually a result of sheer force of will. Mine.

I’m just done. Done being the one who pushes and pulls to get them to work, only to have them do the bare minimum.

Other homeschooling parents often blog about how wonderful it is and how excited their children are to learn this or that. This is not how I would describe the older boys at all. Their response to anything we ask of them can be boiled down to five little words: “We just want to play.” I’ve tried to make things fun, but the failure? It is spectacular.

So. We’re working on solving the problem. I’ve been trying to give them more leeway with their responsibilities as they age…trying to give them room to determine for themselves when and how to get their assignments finished. It would seem that they’re in need of more structure rather than less. So far, I’ve had moderate success at getting them to clean up the table after themselves. Woohoo for tiny victories.

Another victory happened the other day. I finished teaching their lessons at 10:30 in the morning. By 3:30 in the afternoon it was time to take the younger boys to Tae Kwon Do. Certain individuals didn’t have their schoolwork done so they were required to come along and finish at the gym. Ooooooh they were mad!

You would think that boys could finish an hour’s worth of work between ten thirty in the morning and three thirty in the afternoon. They could, if they actually wanted to. Interestingly, they finished everything on the list in approximately 30 minutes while we were at Tae Kwon Do.

I have to admit, I truly enjoyed the experience of them being frustrated and scrambling to find a solution instead of me. The Mercenary kept saying, “I just don’t understand” over and over when I explained that staying home without adult supervision is a privilege, not a right. Privileges are earned.

Have they learned a lesson here? Probably only that they should finish their work by 3:30 on Wednesdays. The rest? I’m not so sure. We’re working on it.

Image courtesy of Lisa Brewster via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their children to be a little angry.