Life is Better When the RIGHT People are Angry

black and white face screaming at camera

I don’t remember if I have told you lately about my frustration levels. They’ve been rather high.

We started school almost 4 weeks ago, and it took me all of 2 days to announce that this is the last year I’m planning to keep the older boys at home. On top of that, I gave them two more days to prove to me that I shouldn’t just enroll them in public school the next week.

Obviously, they convinced me to keep them at home for now. They’re still on probation with me though.

The basic problem is this: the older boys are not convinced (at the ripe old age of 11) that they MUST do schoolwork. That is their job.

Getting them to do work in general is usually a result of sheer force of will. Mine.

I’m just done. Done being the one who pushes and pulls to get them to work, only to have them do the bare minimum.

Other homeschooling parents often blog about how wonderful it is and how excited their children are to learn this or that. This is not how I would describe the older boys at all. Their response to anything we ask of them can be boiled down to five little words: “We just want to play.” I’ve tried to make things fun, but the failure? It is spectacular.

So. We’re working on solving the problem. I’ve been trying to give them more leeway with their responsibilities as they age…trying to give them room to determine for themselves when and how to get their assignments finished. It would seem that they’re in need of more structure rather than less. So far, I’ve had moderate success at getting them to clean up the table after themselves. Woohoo for tiny victories.

Another victory happened the other day. I finished teaching their lessons at 10:30 in the morning. By 3:30 in the afternoon it was time to take the younger boys to Tae Kwon Do. Certain individuals didn’t have their schoolwork done so they were required to come along and finish at the gym. Ooooooh they were mad!

You would think that boys could finish an hour’s worth of work between ten thirty in the morning and three thirty in the afternoon. They could, if they actually wanted to. Interestingly, they finished everything on the list in approximately 30 minutes while we were at Tae Kwon Do.

I have to admit, I truly enjoyed the experience of them being frustrated and scrambling to find a solution instead of me. The Mercenary kept saying, “I just don’t understand” over and over when I explained that staying home without adult supervision is a privilege, not a right. Privileges are earned.

Have they learned a lesson here? Probably only that they should finish their work by 3:30 on Wednesdays. The rest? I’m not so sure. We’re working on it.

Image courtesy of Lisa Brewster via Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their children to be a little angry.

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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  • Elcorin September 24, 2009, 8:11 am

    Greatings, Everything dynamic and very positively! 🙂
    Elcorin

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  • Mary September 26, 2009, 9:09 am

    Amy, I’ve often wondered in what world these parents of children who do everything they ask and complete all their work live in. At first I blamed myself a lot! But I’ve realized over the years that even if you raise your kids perfectly they still will make their OWN choices…..so I do the best I can because I’m not perfect and pray! They eventually quit using their binky’s (pacifiers) and I did manage to finally potty train them. This year they’re actually finishing most of their work without me nagging so much. Hey! It’s only taken 10 years to figure out what books/computer programs work for them so I figure you’ve still got some leeway! I still ponder on those “perfect” children though…..where did they get them????? I guess God figured you and I neede to work on developing our patience? I know I entered homeschool with the unrealistic idea that my kids were going to be well behaved geniuses…..then I slowly came ot realize that they have inheirited out genes….ROFL reality shock!

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  • Amy October 3, 2009, 11:42 pm

    Elcorin, thanks for commenting!

    Mary I’m more at the “blame the children” point. I keep telling them: I’m doing my best. I cannot change what I’m doing, and I can only react to what they do. So if they want change, then they have to do the changing.

    Pretty much they look at me blankly and I give up the rant.

    Then I go back to plotting more ways to annoy them into good behavior.

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