Our school year began a mere 25 school days ago & boy is it off to a rocky start.
We have really had a hard time getting into the swing of things. I thought that I had it all planned out to start off slow and give us time to figure it all out.
We began with two of the basics, reading and math.
Reading was simple – so I thought- just read 20 minutes minimum daily in a book of your choice.
Math – Do 1 math lesson each day.
Simple right. We went on like that for 1 week.
Katey was getting her work done – most of it requires me for at least a part of it.
But for the older kids there were struggles every day as far as me asking and checking if each child was doing their work before free time activities. Everyday I would find that wasn’t happening until I really lay in on the supervision. I had to make them do their work at the table or on the couch. Basically, they had to stay in the room I was in until their work was done.
My thoughts were that they would realize how much better it would be once I could trust them again and they could work where they wanted and when they wanted.
The next week we added in science - This was continued on from our last years book (since we didn’t finish before our summer break), so this was nothing new.
This was met again with much resistance. They were simple not doing their work.
I would talk to them about the importance of them doing their work and trust. I would make them work around me. It was still not completely getting done.
Some examples of what I would find happening:
- Tommy was supposed to be doing math on the computer. I would catch him on Mountain Biking websites.
- Emily was supposed to be reading a book. She would be texting.
- Tommy was supposed to be doing science. He would have to go to the bathroom and just wouldn’t come back. This happens with all of them.
Still by Week 3 we added in History – This year we are doing it much different then I have in years past for the older kids. Katey has been doing history/ geography all summer. The older kids are just supposed to read out of Joy Hakim’s The Story of US series. I assign them daily reading. Then we do discussions and activities around what they are learning. At first in the discussions they were fooling me. I then found out I had every kind of trickery going on, from skimming the chapter to not reading it at all. I will give them some credit. They did each read a small amount some days.
By Week 4 – Emily had to work on her 4H portfolio which was due the following week. This required a lot of help from me, and I required a lot of help from the 4H office as none of my kids have ever done a 4H Portfolio.
Week 5 begins. I have to work about 10 hours this week. I work Monday morning, we have art class in the afternoon. Tuesday I have off – we get some schoolwork done in between me bitching at the kids to get it done. Wednesdays are co-op days. We have various classes all throughout the day and not all at the same place. Our co-op doesn’t have a building, we use the library, the 4H classroom, the rec center and peoples homes. Thursday we finish up Emily’s 4H portfolio and application for Teen Council – which she has been talking about doing since Tommy joined it last year. (You have to be 7th grade). For her portfolio she has to write her “4H Story”. I read her story and she has written about how I missed the deadline for camp signups this summer and how she didn’t get to go. Nice! Mom of the year, here. The kids only get done whatever schoolwork I hound them to do. Also during this week, I went to the grocery store twice with kids and both times I was overcharged, I always try to watch prices at the register, and I was distracted then by children so I didn’t notice. My grocery budget was tight this week and I was maxing it out.
Friday- We head over to 4H to turn in all of Emily’s stuff. We are told we missed the deadline to apply for teen council. Oh nice! She turned in her portfolio and we left. I went out to the car and just cried. I mean bawled vey eyes out. Right there in front of my children. I couldn’t take it anymore. I officially sucked as a mom and I had no control over my kids.
A few weeks later:
I am able to write about this. - I still don’t have complete control over the kids and they are still fighting me on schoolwork. I am pretty lax with them and I do not have them over booked as far as doing things. I did implement some new rules that have been helping, such as I change the internet password at night and they can only earn the password when schoolwork is done. I made a no eating between 10 and noon rule. Also no eating after 5 until dinner is ready and no eating after 8pm. I know that sounds like a weird rule, but they were using always being hungry as an excuse. They were not eating full meals and just snacking a lot throughout the day.
I am still having a hard time and I am bordering on whether I can really do this or not. I have cut back even more on my work hours.
Today I checked out a book from the library on Love and Logic for Teens. I have taken a Love and Logic course before and it was life changing for us. So here is hoping for the book to give me ideas.
I also had a good long talk with my mom about how I am not cut out to raise teenagers. She made me feel better about it all. She shared with me how hard it was for her. She helped me to see the good and bad in it all.
I am still working on it.