Are you familiar with the sound of a butt sliding into home base, as in "oh crud, Mom's home and I'd better look like I was doing what I was supposed to be doing?" I heard it distinctly this week as I pulled my stealth Prius into the garage. There he was, poised with pencil in hand, looking like the model student. Only problem was, he was still working on the same math lesson I had left him with two hours prior. And they think we are stupid.
Because we jumped into homeschooling in midstream 7th grade just a month ago, I've had to do a quick readjustment of my schedule. I don't have a ton of commitments but a few that do require my full attention for a few hours. Let's face it, life goes on and I'm sure that even veteran homeschool moms have to grocery shop, support their husbands, and do things other than teach their children. My struggle is in finding independent work for SJ that is doable and will be done.
One well meaning friend suggested leaving a bunch of worksheets for him. While I appreciate the suggestion, I have to note the fact of why I am homeschooling in the first place. Worksheets are worthless. For one, they are busy work. And second, they are a complete waste of time for my son who can't make sense of them anyway. At this point in our journey, he still requires my one-on-one attention to decipher most text, which is a bit of a problem for a mom who needs a little down time. I feel like I can barely leave to do the work I must do, let alone build in an occasional girlfriend lunch (which I desperately need).
The list I left this week included simple tasks such as: finish the math lesson (that we carefully reviewed), make a pie, read for 30 minutes, complete the grammar lesson (that we carefully reviewed), and watch a DVD documentary on Samurai warriors. He made the pie.
I would love to hear from some of you veterans with young teens and struggling learners. It's a unique combination and begs for altered expectations. Have you dealt with this? How? What kind of motivation or logical consequences have been particularly effective? How do you structure your week so that you get a balance of mom-teacher/mom-person?