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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

I’ve been a bit of a bummer lately I think, complaining about stress and a new school year and so on. So today?? Good news! I’m seeing some cooperation! We’re stopping for lunch shortly with almost everyone done with half their schoolwork. Several things have contributed to this happy state.

  • I made them daily checklists. We did this last year as well. I’ve been putting a daily list of tasks on the marker board this month, but finally got the schedule typed out for each boy to have at his desk. Then when a task is done he can cross it off himself as well as have a visual of what is coming every day. I hadn’t gotten this typed out sooner because I was trying to get the new grading program to do it for me. I know it will; I just have to learn how to use it better. For now, the old standby is good.
  • I started timing myself teaching. TechnoBoy and The Mercenary are consummate experts at wasting time. It’s epic, let me tell you. I am very good at getting off-track myself and have lengthened many a lesson with an interesting conversation. I whipped out the stopwatch this morning, taught a lesson, and then said, “There, see?? 14 minutes. That’s how long I took to teach this item.” TechnoBoy in particular was impressed, and I took the opportunity to point out that focused work means faster work.
  • The boys chose to work independently today. By this I mean that when I said, “You practice the piano while you do your cursive,” they actually did it. Up until now there’s been a lot of doing work when your twin does, which makes for lots of wasted time waiting for the other guy to catch up.
  • TechnoBoy listened to me when I said that taking a break would be a bad idea because he doesn’t notice how much time he’s taking and the day slides past too quickly. Instead, he buckled right down and did his assigned work. He’s the first one done!!! I’m so proud.
  • The younger boys relaxed especially in their spelling lesson. We changed to a dramatically different program this year and it was really hard on them to make that change. But they’re doing it, their spelling is visibly improving, and they’re starting to have fun with the program.

I’m off to lunch, singing a happy song.

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