Gearing Up for School…Ouch Those Attitudes!

smiling boy

We’re getting ready for the new homeschooling year here at Earnest Parenting.

Okay, let’s see.  What’s our progress on the todo list?

Books ordered – check

Supplies purchased – check

Calendar ready – check

Positive attitudes in play – nope.  uncheck

This morning The Mercenary asked me if we could have a half day our first day of school, “just like all the other kids”.  Ooooooh, I didn’t like that.  The request was made in a whiny voice, which didn’t help.  TechnoBoy has been griping and displaying the angry eyebrows for a couple of days as well, especially in reference to the large pile of schoolbooks that is waiting on the counter.

Sigh.

I just don’t comprehend why they hate it so much.  We could have such a good time, we really could.  Already the younger boys have asked if they could do their school work and have been slightly apprehensive but cooperative and proud when we did a little work early.

The older boys just don’t seem to accept the notion that their purpose in life is to work.  At something.  Somewhere.  Right now, that’s school and contributing to family.  I told them that this morning, adding that it’s up to them to decide where they’ll be working when they’re adults.  But they are expected to contribute something to the betterment of the world.

I don’t mean they have to save the planet, and I’ve explained that in detail.  We expect them to do their best at whatever is before them.  They have rarely made any such effort when it comes to learning.  And trust me, I’ve tried every strategy, trick, gimmick, and approach I’ve ever learned in my years of working with children.  After 8 years of teaching the behaviorally disordered, you’d think I have some clue how to motivate children to learn.

Granted, they’ve gotten slightly better each year.  And I’m very grateful for that.  I think this year in particular I’m sensitive to the garbage attitudes because of the younger boys.  I do NOT want to repeat any of this experience.  Once is enough, thank you.  The younger ones have already learned many more skills by this age than the older ones so I’m hoping that trend will hold.

I’m also hoping that having the older ones help with the younger ones will reinforce any lessons they’ve lost or refused to learn in the first place.  Hubby and I have also pledged to have private reading time with the older ones in the evenings where the boys read to us.  I’m hoping that will help them learn to at least enjoy reading.  Right now it’s something that is avoided.  Of course, this means that the TV and computer are going to be turned off.  They won’t like that too well.  That’ll work in my favor in the long run, because they can earn screen time by completing their work.

So.  Pleasant, positive attitudes and everyone’s best effort is now the order of the day.  I’m thinking about making a huge banner to hang up to remind us all.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who struggle with homeschooling.

The editor-in-chief of Earnest Parenting, Amy is the mother of two sets of twin boys. Yes, they drive her crazy, but they also make her laugh occasionally. Amy enjoys writing, quilting, reading, and working on her burgeoning cyber empire.

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  • nan September 3, 2007, 6:54 am

    Hi! Its me. Have you considered (shudder) getting rid of the TV altogether? We did when our kids were very little, and I think it is the best thing we ever did for them. I will not carry on about the reasons, you can look them up, but we do have a computer and plenty of DVDs. DVDs for rainy days and other emergencies only! My kids all love to read, but I still read to them every night. It makes them WANT to read, and there are excellent stories out there that are difficult for them to get through on their own, but help so much with vocabulary. Keep a dictionary beside you and say “hmmm, what the heck does that mean?” And look stuff up. Thanks for all your advice and suppourt over at GNM parents, I am dreading homework less, just knowing there are people out there who can get a giggle out of a crazy boy up a tree! I love the internet!

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  • Amy September 3, 2007, 3:16 pm

    Oh, totally! I’ve considered getting rid of the thing many times. Last spring we made a rule that no screens could be on until 4:00. That was not initially well-received, especially by the younger boys. Poor things. But everyone survived. I found that they stopped watching television pretty much completely at that point. Right now we have a terrible habit of having it on at mealtimes, but that little problem will solve itself shortly. As soon as we finish the basement-which, Lord willing, will happen in the next few months-then all kid TV access moves down there.

    Do you read one story to all the kids? One obstacle for me has been the age difference and my reluctance to start bedtime earlier so as to work all that in. When the older boys were little I did try reading books but it failed b/c they didn’t listen or seem to comprehend and it was just painful. So I stopped. I have read a few books with them over the past year, and they loved it. I didn’t for the summer though. 🙁 Have been working too much I think. I got out a new story for them last week. Guess I should get started! And ditto on loving the ‘net and all the cool connections we get to make. I have so many friends that I’ve met online, and none of them have turned out to be axe murderers! I’m looking forward to some more giggles this year as we attempt to survive school and homework!

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  • PandaBean September 6, 2007, 12:30 pm

    I ought to get rid of the darn idiot box, it is on waaaaay to often.

    Congrats on at least /trying/ to teach the boys responsibility. I would think it would be hard to do, more so in a public school environment (which you obviously do not have to deal with, praise God!), because all their peers are probably allowed to slack as much as they want (not all of them, true, but more than not) and they want to be just like their friends, jumping off bridges aside of course. 😛

    God Bless!

    Reply
  • Amy September 6, 2007, 1:36 pm

    One benefit to keeping it on is the opportunity to teach them right watching habits. If I got rid of it altogether, I’m not totally sure they’d do well at discerning what to turn off when they were older. On the other hand, perhaps they’d just not watch it then either. 🙂 I think TV is one of those battleground points in the struggle to be ‘in the world, but not of it’. I’ll just keep doing my best. And read too them some more.

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