January 3, 2014

New Year, New Commitment

What is the energy like in your home school day?

Do your kids wake up each morning and jump right into their routine?  Eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, then sit down with their books and assignments and get right to work without even so much as a prod from you?  Or do they need a little help waking up and a little reminder of what's expected of them, but then get right to it?  Or do you find you pull yourself away from your own morning routine to search them out every 5 minutes to get them back on task, because they have no interest in getting to work?  

Are your school days peaceful?  Stressful?  Oscillating between the two?

More often than not, since we began this school year in September, stress has ruled the roost.  It's a constant battle with my boys to get anything done.  Chores?  Not happening.  Putting on clean underwear?  Ha!  School?  Forget about it.  And I caved.  I gave up.  Oh, I stuck to my guns for a couple of months, but by November, I was exhausted from trying to keep my boys on track.  I hollered.  I threatened.  I pleaded.  I begged.  I cried.  I hovered.  I intimidated.  I bribed.  It didn't seem to matter.  They refused to cooperate.

So we took a week-long break for Thanksgiving.  But, when we returned to our schedule the next week, things were the same, and I was still exhausted.  We limped along until Christmas break, which lasted a week and a half.

During this break, I decided we cannot continue the way we've been going.  We're falling behind in most subjects.  And we don't like each other.

Home school should be enjoyable!  We shouldn't dread waking up each morning.  If that's what happens, then we may as well send the boys back to public school, because this home schooling thing isn't working for us.  So, we're going to change it.

I know that home schooling is right for us.  God put it on my heart to school my boys at home and bring them up to be good, Godly young men.  But I also want to enjoy being with them.  I want to have fun with them.  I want to laugh with them.  I want to create lasting memories with them.  And I want them to look back on their childhood years with pleasure, not with disdain.

For us, this means starting out the new year - 2014 - with a heavy hand.  I know; that doesn't sound very fun or memorable or pleasurable.  And it's not.  But, in order to get my boys to understand that I am not their doormat, and that they do not have the option of treading on me and doing as they please rather than committing to this home school thing, I have to stand firm, dig in my heels, and keep them on track.  Even if that means disciplining them for disobeying.  

We returned to our school schedule on January 2nd, 2014.  Today is January 3rd.  So far, both boys have found themselves grounded from all electronics through the weekend.  And there have been tears.  But I believe they are beginning to understand that a change is occurring.  

I am hopeful that this new year will bring wonderful new experiences to our home schooling adventure.  It can be done.  I am determined to make it happen.  I'll let you know how it works out.  Will the boys fall in line?  Will I cave again and end up hibernating to avoid the stress?  Will we have a happy ending to this new year?  

And how about you?  What have been your experiences with home schooling?  Are you struggling with defiant kids?  Or have you figured out a way to keep everyone on track and happy?  I'd love to hear what you're going through right now.  Let me know in the comments.

Here's to a happy new year for us all!  

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