Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Why this teacher would be bad at homeschooling.

Caroyln, this blog post is for you. 

I don't know how you do it day in and day out, all day, every subject, every day. 

Because I have a confession to make:  I hate homework.

When we first started this whole process of becoming Calvin's parents, we asked him about some things he hoped would change when he moved in with us.  One of the things he said was that he wanted someone to push him in his schoolwork, because he knew he was smarter than his grades were showing, but he realized he was incredibly unmotivated.  He had never been pushed. Patrick and I, being the nerds we are, basically high-fived one another and said, "Done."  This we could do. 

We love school.  We love learning.  We love reading.  I told you we are nerds.  We make no excuses about that. 

And so we started homework time every night.  After dinner at the kitchen table or at Starbucks on occasion if Mom is needing a little motivation to get through Algebra 1 Part 2. 

I will confess to you that this is a tedious process.  Calvin had been behind on turning in work, since he wasn't really motivated to get homework done or study for tests, living where he was before, and therefore his grades were all over the place.  But as we started catching up and his grades started to rise, he became more and more motivated and confident in his ability to "do school."  Which is great!  But also incredibly time consuming!  He has had to go back and relearn things he blew through before and didn't really grasp.  Which means that Patrick and I are working through it with him and learning right along side as we call things out and supervise practice quizzes.  We've become Master Googlers at looking up what we don't know.

Right now we are studying:
-History of Rome: Think Augustus, Nero, Paul and Peter and the spread of Christianity, Pax Romana, and the fall of the empire (Ancient World History)
-Amino Acid Sequencing and DNA (Biology)
-Bass Mass Composition and healthy lifestyle choices (Health 10)
-Multiplying and Dividing Monomials (Algebra 1 Part 2)
-Research Paper Writing on Career Exploration (English 11)
-Website Building and Photograph Editing (Photography)

All good things to know!  But I will confess to you that some nights it is just too much.  Some nights it's tedious.  Some nights we prioritize and pick two.  Some nights it's like pulling teeth.  I'm trying to "practice what I preach" to all my 9th grade parents but I'm seeing it from the other side now.  This homework thing is hard.  On all of us. 

But here is the light:  Our work is paying off.  Grades are coming up!  And we are finally getting caught up so there is less and less "extra" to have to do each night.  Our boy is becoming a student.

And thank goodness. Because the OCD student in me is starting to get a little stressed out.  I have found myself biting my nails to keep from taking the pencil from his hand and doing it for him!  It was all I could do not to seize the keyboard and fix all the grammatical errors in his research paper!  He did let me color in the lines on his bar graph the other night and it was enough to get my fix.  I pulled up his grades yesterday and saw the A he made on the biology lab we redid the other night and almost cheered out loud, "We got an A!" 

I promise I'm letting him do his own work.  I promise I'm trying my very, very hardest not to be a helicopter parent when it comes to school work.  I'm trying to make myself available if he needs help and be a motivater, but not put too much pressure on him. 

This is difficult, people!  It is a hard balance to find. 


Southern Belle said...

Oh, honey. I'm right there with you. The last two years, I have made Gabby let me write her science project on the board because my handwriting is better. She has gone to bed, and I've been up until some ungodly hour trying to work on it and make it perfect. Also, Matt and I planned a weeknight date night once to go to an art film we really wanted to see, and Matt called home 5 times because Sam had a book report due the next day, and Matt wanted to ask him questions about it (it should be noted that they had finished the report the night before and Sam just had to recopy it in better handwriting). It is so hard! I have literally sat on my hands before.

Rachel said...

Way to go, Mama! Sounds like you're striking the right balance. When I got A's on papers in high school and brought them home, my mom used to yell, "Yes! I got an A! Oh, I mean, good job to you too." :)