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A Tough LessonPosted Wednesday, November 9, 2011, at 5:02 PM
Sunday night I woke up at 2 a.m. to use the restroom. Upon discovering there was no toilet paper in the upstairs bathroom, I went downstairs. While headed towards the bathroom to retrieve a pack of toilet paper, I ran into a tall, shadowy form--that of my 14-year old son, Jay. He was just coming out the bathroom. At first I assumed he was there for the same reason I was, until I switched on the light and saw his schoolwork spread out over the bathroom floor. Then I understood.
See, Jay is a freshman in high school this year, and I'm doing things differently with him than I have in past years. Before, I printed out a school schedule for him like I do with my younger children, detailing what subjects he was to do each day. Way before school ever starts I look through the curriculum and figure out how many times a week each child needs to do each subject to get through their books by the end of the year.
But I didn't do that with Jay this year. I want him to learn how to be responsible and set his own schedule. I want him to be able to set his own goals, plan out what he needs to do to accomplish those goals, and follow through with those plans. And I want him to learn to do that while he's still living at home, instead of when he's away at college without the benefit of me there to breathe down his neck all day.So this semester I gave him weekly work instead of daily. His schedule is more like a course calendar, detailing what work is due to be turned in each Monday (so that he is allowed to do work on the weekends if he so chooses). For example, he has four Algebra lessons and a test to complete each week, but it's up to him when to do those. If he wants to do a lesson every day for the first four days and then the test on Friday, I would definitely call that a wise idea. However, if he wants to do them all at the last minute, that's up to him, too--although his grades will most certainly reflect it.
I want to clarify that I do make him do school every day. After all, homeschooling law in Indiana is 180 days. If he did all of his schoolwork on Saturdays that would only be, oh, about 36 days. That's not practical nor is it legal, so we spread it out to 180. So he's not allowed to do things like get on Facebook until he's done with the school that he's planned out to do that day.
Anyway, Sunday night he was behind, and he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing up his schoolwork. When he apologized for getting behind, I told him that he's the one that pays the consequences for that, not me, so he didn't need to apologize to me. When he explained that we had a busy week with our church's fall festival, I reminded him that I'm also a student and that I had all of my schoolwork turned in by Friday. I also reminded him that he spent quite a bit of time on Facebook last week.
I left him doing his school in the bathroom and went back to bed, but I was so proud of him. He could have just left his school undone and tried to bargain for extra time (not that it would have worked). He could have just not cared about his grades. But he did care--he sacrificed sleep in order to get his schoolwork done in time. A difficult lesson, to be sure, but a good one. He made a childish decision to wait until the last minute, but a very grown-up one to stay up and get it done. To me, that's what homeschooling is about--raising my children to be responsible adults who will be successful in a tough world. I love my kids so much, and I know they will do well in life.
Homeschooling -- The Next Generation
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