Monday, January 30, 2006

Reality check, sonny boy!

Dave and I have really been struggling with the boys of late. I mean in so many ways, as they get older a lot of things get a hell of a lot easier. Some things, just get harder. This summer, we've heard a lot of, "I don't want to" and just plain old, "No, I just want to do what I want to do" from Erik... It's great that Erik knows his own mind, but he is really into arguing the point with us these days.

Along with that, a lot of his behaviours seem to match Luey's, and while Luey is four and behaving pretty much like a four year old, Erik is six, nearly seven and our expectations (which I have reflected on and don't think are too high) are that he will have a little more self-control or impulse control. In fact, it is often the case that Luey has more impulse control than Erik.

As well as these things, both boys seem to be exhibiting the attitude that everything is to be taken for granted. Great they feel safe, I don't begrudge them that, but we would like to see a little more appreciation from time to time and little less "attitude" with expecting us to just do everything for them and give them whatever they want (something we haven't been in the practice of doing). We like to do nice and fun things for and with our boys, but we have found that they seem to move straight from one "want" to another in lightning fast time, and often they don't even seem to enjoy the things they so badly "wanted" before. This is especially true of Luey.

Anyway, after a trying couple of days, and with the boys fidgeting around the house a lot yesterday, I decided to try something different. I sat them both down, and on a piece of paper for each of them I wrote word/s for them to copy. For Erik I wrote "My name is Erik" and for Luey I simply wrote "Luey". Luey attempted to write his name for about two minutes, then suddenly realised how much fun it would be to play with his trains - fine by me, at least he was doing SOMETHING, not just fidgeting and getting into stuff...

Erik sat and attempted to copy his sentence for a solid 10-12 minutes, then starts telling me it's too hard. He wants to do something else. At this point we launched into a conversation about how if he went to school, he wouldn't just be able to say it was too hard and then go off and doing something else.

I explained to him that being homeschooled didn't mean he could just run amok all the time. That I was only prepared to stick with the homeschooling thing while there was some give and take, and while we were mostly getting along together at home, but if it was always going to be me telling him off and him arguing the point with me, and him never developing any self-restraint and always just expecting to do what he wanted to do (which is our style of education, but not our style of LIFE) then I would probably just end up sending him to school because I didn't want to spend all my time arguing with him and seeing my house pulled apart and being unhappy, someone else could do that, and I could spend my days knitting and working at the computer and playing with Bryn...

I explained to him that many other children would like to be in his position of being able to be at home and learn through play and have a lot of autonomy, but they had to go to school and do what they were told. So, he is quite lucky in that way and he has the power to make being homeschool a marvellous experience, BUT for all that to happen he has to show some consideration for mum and dad and some appreciation, too...

To his credit, I think Erik did understand what I was saying to some extent. Certainly he has been a bit more considerate and appreciative since...

4 comments:

katef said...

Oh it's so hard finding that balance isn't it. Being true to yourself and your kids and your ideals... I really admire the way you 'homeschooling' (in inverted commas because I know it's more unschooling than schooling!) your boys, so make sure you take a few moments to be proud!

Anonymous said...

I really like what you explained to Erik. And I love his writing!

HipbubbyMama said...

I also think you explained that really well :)What a clever boy, his writing is great! And Luey's too. Liam writes his letters all over a page LOL

Sif said...

Oh, Luey didn't write that Luey, that was Erik showing Luey how to do it. Luey wrote an "L", tried to write a "U" and then decided it was all too hard and drew a smiley face instead, LOLOL!!!

Teenagers and the failing parent...