One of the goals I had for my children this fall was to let them see what doing all the things they want to do was actually like. I figured it would not be bliss as they thought and I was right. They asked to see their friends more and their desire for time for socialization seemed insatiable. Their time together at home contained more bickering than ever before and they were turning nasty toward each other like some other kids I see (and used to feel happy that mine weren't like that).
So now we're about half way through our fall 2010 crazy schedule and the kids can't wait for the routine to change. We are so busy I can't imagine really living this way for any extended period of time.
The alarm wakes me Monday-Friday and I have to get up and wake up before we're off and running. The kids struggle to wake up so I vascillate between giving them an hour before we have to leave and a half hour. They want to sleep more but just leaving thirty minutes to get up, shower, get dressed, brush teeth, eat breakfast and get in the car is a bit stressful.
After being out all day we are home for sometimes just twenty minutes before dashing out to the evening appointment. That happens four nights a week.
One weekend a month is a Scout camping trip which means prep work packing is crammed in sometime during that week then they are rushing out the door on Friday night to meet the carpool.
On non-camping weekends, Saturday is our one day to sleep in. We have one standing appointment on Saturdays: fall ball lacrosse. Sunday it's get up again to get to church.
This week I felt like a homework nag. Despite my best efforts to get my kids organized I myself felt confused and unorganized regarding their homework. I realized it is because they each take about a dozen courses with different homework that is due on different days so I'm trying to make sure they get the stuff done when it's due. The homework is never consistent or the same, and sometimes there is none, so there is no steady routine to it to help me or them remember to do it. I am working with them to use a student planner calendar to write the assignments but so far they are not compliant.
My kids now have four bags each, either backpacks or laptop cases which line the hallway. Each has the books and papers for the one day's classes. It got too crazy to use the same bags and to unpack and repack them each week, they were losing stuff. Besides, the backpack for wilderness school seems to always have some dirt and leaf litter and wood shavings in it or something messy. I myself have a tote bag for each thing. This is poor interior decorating, believe me.
On Columbus Day our two events were cancelled so we had free time. I'd intended to do homeschool lessons unrelated to co-op's and to do homework and Boy Scout merit badges but my sons fell into creative endeavors instead. I didn't have the heart to stop them. They worked for hours and hours making walking sticks and staffs for staff fighting (something learned at homeschool wilderness school class).
My sons are fried from all these appointments. At present we are living the antithesis of what we used to live as a relaxed pace homeschooling family. Now it feels more like cram in the appointments, do some learning and check the boxes off. This has left me to ponder what they are doing and learning at the outside clasess and events and to ask myself "is this worth it". In the past I'd said no.
Before I chastize myself too much I need to remind myself of how much my younger son was asking to go to school JUST to be around kids more. (Tomorrow's blog post will be my opinions on who gets to decide if a child goes to school.) Believe me my son had plenty of social time but he was asking anyway. Now he is saying he sees enough of these kids and feels he is with some of them too much (the annoying ones) and still doesn't see enough of some others. Hey, that's what it's like in school too, there are always some kids you would like to see less (or never) and some you'd like to have more time with.
Both of my sons are asking for more free time, more unscheduled time. They have things they want to do that we have no time for. A sampling of what they want to do:
read for pleasure more in long stretches of time without being forced to stop and do something else or leave to go somewhere
sleep in later in the morning
wake up when their body has slept enough
be free to stay up later at night
have free time to learn more of the Anime Studio 7 computer program and make their own anime
learn to draw better
learn to touch type, and with faster speed
learn certain subjects in a less rushed manner, to slow down to learn
have time to dive deeper into topics and learn a bit different things than some of the co-op classes are focusing on (i.e. do more chemistry experiments not just talk about the periodic table)
more time to work on and complete Boy Scout merit badges
more time to take photos and learn to edit them in Photoshop Elements
more time to take videos with their digital cameras and edit them into short movies
more time to bake and cook from scratch
me to read aloud to them again (I haven't done that in perhaps a year, gasp!)
(older son) more time to do studies that need to be completed to seek admission to engineering school
Well the price of this crazy schedule this fall may have been worth it. If I can get through it without getting sick or gaining any weight I'll have done more than just survived it.
One benefit from being so busy is my sons are hardly bickering (about once or twice a week they bicker).
I am so happy that my kids have come to the conclusion that I wanted them to: they want to continue to homeschool, they want to do more studies at home and they are being serious about academics. They have shown they are developing more self-discipline and responsibility in completing assignments for homework. I think that will carry through with home studies so long as I don't relax back and let go of a structure that is tight enough to ensure they don't slack off and become unproductive.