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December 8, 2005

Experiment in Self-Direction

Reading about what others do is sometimes dangerous.

I usually give my kids assignments every day. This week I got the idea that as Connor is nearly 10, perhaps he should have more control over his schedule. You see, I had just read a description of someone else's homeschooling day, a day in which the child finished his assignments early in the week so that he could have a couple of days free.

So on Monday I presented my eldest son with a list of his assignments for the week. He was thrilled with the idea.

It's Thursday night. Would you like to make any guesses? Place any bets?

Yet to be done: 33 math problems (75 to be checked and corrected), two day's worth of Latin work (which is unfortunate, as his chapter quiz is scheduled for tomorrow and he will not know the material), and an entire week's worth of grammar (four worksheets and a test).

PE is tomorrow; that's three hours of our afternoon.

It's going to be interesting, eh? I think I've done a good job or reminding him of his work, while not nagging. I've sat on my hands and bit my tongue. Our deal was that he finish the work by Friday afternoon, or he loses all privileges (computer time, time with friends, etc.) until it's all done.

I've learned that he's not quite ready for this much freedom - my error by making that call too early. I'm darned if I'm going to step in before the week ends, however. We're going to follow this one out to the end.

Posted by lynx at December 8, 2005 11:04 PM

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This sounds like it has been a good exercise, or at least enlightening. It is a good meter for responsibility, and readiness. I know that sometimes we have to let them fail in order to grow. I do this occasionally with my son, and he has stepped up this last time. Now, he is also "getting" the picture of how things will work in college, etc. and has asked to have a syllabus for work from, first weekly, then monthly, then sememster (by senior year).

Posted by: Angela,Mother Crone at December 9, 2005 1:53 AM

No Lynx, it's not an error on your part. It's entirely normal. The first time any child is given that much freedom they're going to blow it, just like the first time they get an allowance they're going to blow it. It takes a few tries before they realize that control over their schedule includes responsibility to get the work done in a timely fashion -- and sometimes "a few" means a thousand.

Don't give up heart. You're on the right track.

Posted by: Lioness at December 9, 2005 8:44 AM

Considering Michelle totally forgot to tell us about her orchestra concert this week and therefore missed it, I share your frustration.

Posted by: Mark L [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2005 10:53 AM

It's 4:30, and he's still far from finished. He did get up this morning and get right to it, without complaint. He still hasn't complained.

We'll see.

I said 33 math problems in the post. I was wrong, it was 62 problems left undone by this morning.

Mark, what will happen to her grade for missing the concert? In high school, missing a choir performance meant death.

Posted by: Stephanie at December 9, 2005 4:27 PM

She has to write a paper on Mozart for a makeup grade. It's due Monday, so she's been grounded until the paper is done. No TV, no friends, and just the computer for research.

Last night, we also got a good opportunity to discuss how cut-and-paste, and a changing a couple of words is NOT an acceptable way to present information. This has been a good "teachable moment" as Pam would say :)

So, not quite death, but I think the next day at school with all the kids asking where she was the night before almost killed her.

Posted by: Mark L [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 9, 2005 4:41 PM

Yes, Steph, but they would have prayed at your funeral. ;-)

Actually, I think Lioness nailed it. This is a great idea in the long run. It will teach Connor that even though he can slough of his responsibilities for a while, in the end, a price will have to be paid. It's exactly like life works. I haven't felt like cleaning my apartment much recently, but now the parents are coming into town, so instead of the little bit of cleaning at a time I could have been doing to keep the place nice, I'll have to do a bunch at once. Of course, I plan on sloughing it off tonight as I'm typing this, because I want to go catch The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, so tomorrow night I'll be busy cleaning for a few hours. The bill eventually does come due...

Posted by: Brian at December 9, 2005 10:25 PM

hmm, i always thought the last minute was the best time to get everything done? no?? sorry stephanie, but this is still me...I don't envy you the task of teaching Connor how to schedule things, but it will be worth if for him if it sticks....

Posted by: e at December 13, 2005 12:36 AM

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