Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Place of Peace with Peace

I've mentioned my homeschooling struggle this year with my eigth grade son, Peace. After an entire month of desperation on both our parts, we've finally come to some workable solutions. I realized I'd been hanging so tightly onto my mother hat that my teacher hat got misplaced. The bottom line is that I was in survival mode with him, grasping at straws to keep him from failing. After seeking counsel from an amazing group of friends, I came to the conclusion that failing might be the only real option for my son. Once I let the idea of making him pass the eighth grade go and clearly outlined the requirements for him to pass, Peace and I stopped having any reasons to lock horns.

Why did it take so long for me to catch on to such a simple solution? Who wants to stand by and watch their child to fail a grade? I became like a nutball track coach pushing my slumbering athlete around the track, instead of allowing my athlete to run for himself. I held all the anxiety and worry for him, so Peace didn't want or need to pass. He saw me carrying his load, so he simply let go of any responsibility.

In the end, we wrote a contract in which I don't nag, and he is responsible for passing his school work by a certain time in the day. If he requires grace to meet his time deadline, he repays me for my extra teaching time with equal minutes of work around the house I couldn't manage while teaching.

The first day of our contract, Peace lost an essential assignment for the science course he takes at a private school. Normally, I would have given him the huffy "Why can't you keep your assignments in your notebook?" and "Where exactly is your brain?" lecture, and then I'd have steamed again when he missed his time deadline by carelessness of misplacing work. Instead, I required grace time of him when I joined his search. No lecture. No nagging. After school, Peace helped me with chores.

Though Peace still balks at anything resembling study, I ask simple questions such as, "Are you satisfied with D for a grade?" So far, he has not answered, "Yes." If he does, I'll record it and move on. Another eighth grade year before high school won't do anything but give him additional time to mature.


amanda said...

Me thinks we have much in common. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Kate said...

Wow, just the dose of encouragement I needed. Wonderful advice that I plan to use now. Oh do I need this!

Kat said...

Unbelievable...I have been living this EXACT same battle with my high school junior. Granted, she is highly motivated, but has a very heavy academic load this year. Her issue is more of a time management problem. But, I was sick of nagging, reminding, and stressing to the extent that she didn't have to keep track of anything on her own. As a wise friend counseled, "You have to stop getting between her and her consequences." So, I've also turned over a new leaf...pray for me and I'll do the same for you!

truevyne said...

Amanda, Kate, and Kat, you mean this whole time I've been fretting I haven't been the only mother on earth to experience this? Thanks for your affirmations.