People change all the time. Kids change when they become teenagers. Teens change as they become young adults. These changes occur with everyone including homeschooling families.
Some changes are external and some are internal based on development. A major change for us was in summer of 2011 when we moved long distance, for example. We had a change of living environment by renting a small house where we were all cramped together for a year. There was literally nowhere to get away to in the house, even in a closed bedroom you could hear through the door, and the malfunctioning air conditioning made it impossible to even shut any door for more than just a little while. Then we moved and had a year of adjusting to what life that year would be like. So this is year three of living and homeschooling in Texas.
It's not working to have us all under one roof to homeschool. Older son is in a community college class twice a week. That change alone is not enough. By the end of week three I realized this is not working.
When both kids are here my younger acts differently. He acts annoying to me and his brother. Then the brothers bicker or nudge each other. Then my older does things that then get on my nerves. Then the older irritates the younger. Take one kid out of the equation such as when one is in a class and the vibe is completely different. I am a different mother to each of my kids and different still when both are with me.
I don't like how my sons treat each other lately. It is far better than how my brother and I were with each other, trust me. They are better together than many other siblings and teens are so there is nothing unusual going on here. It's just that it makes learning and homeschooling difficult. This bickering goes on in the middle of the homeschool day with me right there it sucks. So I am in the middle of it all and then I'm the referee. I have to shut up the bickering then get back to explaining trinomials. Even watching a documentary winds up with bickering over who is doing what annoying thing with their body to distract the other viewers. Who wants to pause the show to go get a snack, who needs a long bathroom break in the middle of the DVD history lecture.
One gets annoyed that the other is struggling with something with learning. I think one gets irritated that the other finds learning that thing easy when he struggled himself. They seem to ecah demand my time at the same moment.
I am having a harder and harder time keeping myself happy and calm through all this nonsense. I miss the harmony of a happier household. I miss the different easiness of life with two boys before testosterone started coursing through their bodies. Little boys are so different than teens.
Perhaps the harder part of dealing with my kids is their sameness with me or my former self. I say former self because over the years of being in relationships or working at a professional career and doing volunteer work, and also raising kids, I have had to learn to change some of my natural behaviors in order to get along with people better. I have learned patience and diplomacy. I have learned that success is had with a positive outlook and trying different ways than the one way I thought was the only way. I have learned that I do not know it all and can never know it all and to open my mind to other ideas and methods.
But here I am with two sons, living and homeschooling two people that in some ways are just like I was. This is hard and I honestly think the only way my parents survived raising me was they disconnected and didn't see me much (largely due to school and then me with a busy social life).
My kids are each intense in different ways, and I am intense. We are all stubborn. We all have opinions on everything and make them known. We each want things our way. We all feel safe and free to voice our opinions and dissatisfactions. We all lean toward negative thinking and have to intentionally script in positive thoughts and conjure up an optimistic outlook. We are all quick to anger, going from calm to infuriated within seconds. Perhaps the best things we have going for us is we can forgive and we apologize. We talk about things (except the older who has been trying to keep everything private and inside as all teens do). Although both are trying to reserve their emotions I know how to knock down that wall and they do let me in sometimes, especially when it matters.
I always said this but now it seems to apply to my own life: that the most important relationship is the parent and child relationship. Second is the homeschooling. So if the homeschooling is ruining the main relationship then homeschooling is a hindrance not a help in anyone's life. I am ready to let go of homeschooling if it is what is best for my kids and me. I want to be a good mother first and foremost. I want healthy kids and if homeschooling is infecting and making them suffer then it is time to end it.
I am ready to let my younger son go to school no matter what that means for a quality of education. He refuses to go and begs to continue homeschooling. After hearing even more stories from Boy Scouts who attend that junior high school he outright refuses to attend. He asks to attend public high school next year with the main goal of finding more in real life friends. Since the school has 3500 students it will give him a larger pool to select from.
I am ready to let my older son go to public school even if it means losing a year. I would prefer he add more community college courses for dual credit as I feel the fit is better than downshifting to the more babyish coddling and overly controlling environment of high school. For a kid raised with freedom who already loves his CC class and is doing great with the few other dual credit homeschoolers in there and all the various aged adults he would not thrive going backwards to high school. Just add more classes and be in the adult world for the next three semesters then go onto college with 30 credits under your belt (at a cost of $800 total) and shave a year off of the bachelor's degree.
So the kids both want to keep homeschooling this year, more than I want to keep homeschooling them. That is the report on how this school year is going as of the end of week three.