Last year (grades 9 and 6) my kids did more independent homeschooling lessons than ever before but we were in a small rental house with an open floor plan. The only space in the house to work online was in the former dining room which I converted to an office. During the day the three of us were elbow to elbow doing work on screens when screen time was necessary.
This fall in the new bigger house we are spread out. We do not have a big office space, I have a small office space for me which is too small for the three of us. My husband has a lovely wood paneled office/library which he never uses. So as I shared in a recent post I was letting my 15 year old (grade 10) son have his laptop at a permanent location in his bedroom. I blogged last week that experiment was coming to an end. Well now we're taking a step further and getting even more radical.
My homeschool friend suggested that in order to keep my sons on task I needed to be right in the same room as them with their screens within easy view (just like schooled kids). My kids had hacked the ISP's parental control software so software was of no help in trying to keep them off certain entertainment sites during school hours and their work was simply not getting done. I resisted the idea of being trapped in my kitchen/family room all day but after thinking it over and having others suggest it to me we are giving it a try.
I had a small area up against the low window in the kitchen, and took a spare desk we own and shoved it there. This is now space for one laptop station. We can use the kitchen table and the breakfast bar as well. My older son prefers to do his work at the family room loveseat using an ottoman as a laptop desk. The arrangement is terrible ergonomics, in my opinion, but he says it's the best spot in the two rooms. Whatever.
I am writing this on day two. I really resent the fact that I must be trapped in this spot in the house so that my kids can get their work done. I do not have access to my PC here so not everything I would like to do is possible. I am already cooking and baking more. To keep myself occupied while I am not doing direct teaching I have to bring projects from other places into the room. I probably will get more book reading done now also.
We are back to the old problem though of the noise that is created when one kid talks to me and when I'm teaching them, the other kid gets angry and says the noise disturbs them. I thought we had noise cancelling headphones for the computer but they actually are not, something I discovered today. They sometimes use earbuds when doing listening work at their laptops but they still complain there is too much noise. It is a shame that we live in a big house now with three comfortable rooms like a living room (Texas is big on second floor game rooms) and each kid has a private bedroom but we have to be trapped into just one space, apparently. My kids are so inflexible that they are not open to me saying, "Let's move all our stuff to the game room for a change of atmosphere today."
I am disappointed that the trust I put into my kids to stay on task with their assignments is not enough to keep them on track. This strict supervision is so authortarian and not in line with my former attachment parenting style but everything "they" said would not happen if you raise you kids that way is happening so something has to change. I am letting go of my ideal philosophy in order to do a thing that will result in the desired result so my children can meet their goals for their future. They want to go to college so they must get a certain type and amount of college prep work done. Period.