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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

In typical September tradition, I’m here to tell you how we’re doing with homeschooling so far. The older boys are now in 7th grade, while the younger ones are in 3rd. We got delayed by my knee injury last winter so they didn’t finish 2nd and 6th grade work until well into August. We took a few weeks off, then started anew 2 weeks ago.

As usual, we’re doing better this year than last. That still includes a good deal of stress for everyone. Being able to get up and do what you want daily is a lot more fun than waking up to the knowledge that school is in session. For the older boys in particular, the demands are higher this year; every year closer to high school means more independence for them. They’re still figuring out what each subject requires and this has caused some heartache for TechnoBoy. He’s had a few moments of total frustration over the work load. There’s only one additional subject this year, and that’s Bible study. 15 minutes per day is enough to get that done. The big thing that’s tripping him up is the work completion. I didn’t do a good job of tracking them daily last year so when they got behind I would find out days or weeks later and make adjustments accordingly. This year I’m checking more frequently. He got behind last week and was pretty frustrated to find that the work had to be done.

He tried to just take a failing grade, but failed. Poor guy. What it really comes down to for him is that final ‘click’. He just needs to shift into gear and relax into the idea that schoolwork is going to be there and he’s going to do it. You’d think after being on this planet 12 years he’d have that one down, but he doesn’t. I feel like he’s close though. More than once we enjoyed our way through a lesson together. He just needs to get the assignment parts figured out. I have one or two more tricks up my sleeve.

The first week of history found them writing several half-page summaries of historical figures from the English Civil War. Since we haven’t done a lot of formal writing up until now (long story), this was a lot. At one point The Mercenary looked at me and said quietly, “You have no idea how difficult this is.”

I offered as much sympathy as I could. The truth is I know exactly how difficult it is. I used to hate writing as well, and remember my mother having to help me get motivated to force words on to the page. That doesn’t make him feel any better though, so I left it at “Yea buddy, I really do know.” The fantastic news is they both finished the work, and when a new summary was assigned the next week, life didn’t seem so hard. This week we’re going to implement a daily deadline to help people stay on track and not wander aimlessly about.

The younger boys are adjusting along as well as they can. They didn’t like changing from the summer schedule to the school one; if they’d just notice how much free time they really have been enjoying anyway that would be great. They believe that they’re fantastically overworked, which isn’t exactly what’s happening. They just need to settle into a regular routine and I think they’ll be comfortable.

I’ve been feeling like I was drowning these past few weeks. Keeping boys on track is a lot like herding cats, and we’re heavy into a full soccer season with 3 of them, Tae Kwon Do with the other, Scouts and church and oh my. It’s crazy. That’s why the daily deadline is getting so important. We’ve got to have a cutoff time for school so that I can get the house cleaned and food cooked, not to mention do some writing. I haven’t been able to focus enough energy on the blog here the past few weeks. Hopefully that will change.

So that’s it. Drowning in work but plugging along. Hopefully by this time next week there will be more breathing and less drowning around here.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who struggle with homeschooling