Friday, August 17, 2012

Homeschooling Ah-Ha!

One of the main obstacles for us with homeschooling is that the kids don't always want to do the work. I mean, even if you are trying to make it fun, even if you are tailoring lessons to the child's interests, much of the time Joshua would just rather go play Legos.

And then of course there is the attempt to fulfill both the roles of mother and teacher. This has many advantages, but of course disadvantages too; one of which is that a child may not fear their parent the way they would a different teacher. This means that Joshua is much more likely to argue with me about the tasks given than he would be with a different teacher.

When these arguments have occurred, I try to be somewhat flexible, but in the end, I'm the boss. I definitely have been heard saying, "Because I told you to."

Joshua has acquired a list of ideas for what he wants to be when he grows up: in the Coast Guard, a part of the S.W.A.T team or a Blue Angels pilot. A couple of weeks ago, we were able to see the Blue Angels flying several times over Seattle and this sparked a lot of conversation about Joshua's interest in them. During this, I began explaining that while I think it's a great idea for Joshua to become a Blue Angels pilot and while I believe he could do it, it's not easy.

This turned into a discussion about why it's necessary for the boys to do their best with their studies and in all that they do. I'm embarrassed to admit this, but I don't think I'd ever explained this or at least it had been a really long time since I had. As I talked about this, a light bulb seemed to turn on in Joshua's eyes.

You mean, there's a better reason for me to work hard in homeschooling and do my best than just because you said so?

We have also discussed with the boys how we must do our best for God. But working towards the goal of what they are dreaming to become, which for now is a Blue Angels pilot, is much more tangible to them and more motivating.

To work this motivation to its fullest, we have looked up the names of the pilots for the Blue Angels, where they went to school and how to become one. We have checked out a book from the library about the Blue Angels and looked up the qualifications needed to be accepted into one of the academies.  

Of course, I will still expect to have conflict when I assign work that the boys don't want to do, but at least I'll have something to say besides, "Because I said so!" Now I can point to something that will maybe inspire them to WANT to do their best. What a concept!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Camping 2012 #2 - Deception Pass

Another camping success with three little darlings is under our belt. Last Saturday morning, we left for just two nights up to Deception Pass on Whidbey Island. I had not been there since I was a girl, but it was absolutely breathtaking. Seattle's summer weather was very cooperative, which made it all the more enjoyable to hike the trails each day and to see some of the shooting stars from the Perseid meteor shower on Saturday night.

We really loved camping for the first time with the Chronik family who we know from Church and who also homeschools. They also have two boys, Luke and Henry, and then a girl, Nora. Nora is exactly one year younger than Veronica and Jason became her godfather in June. I was able to hold a sleeping baby a couple of times, which I love. And she is probably the smiley-est baby I have ever seen. Our children all made you work a little for their smiles as babies. Not Nora. You just glance at her and she has a huge grin for you.

We made the hike up to the Deception Pass bridge and walked across. It was an absolutely gorgeous view and I was glad we did it. However, it was also a little nerve racking. There is a cable fence between you and the two lane road, with a constant line of cars driving by. And then the bridge is bordered with a tall stone half wall that you can see over. All of the children behaved immaculately and everyone was safe. But it was still stressing me out a bit. I think I would have been a little nervous about the height of the bridge even if there had only been adults making the trek across. But children just heightened that uneasiness because they are so unpredictable. Even though they all behaved so well, you never know when one of them is going to make an unwise choice, such as race across the bridge or push their brother. Furthermore, Noah has been especially clumsy lately (he must be growing or something), so I've grown to expect tripping from him. But we all made it across safe and sound and enjoyed the view, and despite my anxiety, I was glad that we did it.

Our next trip is with the Martin family next week and we will be going to Moran State Park on Orcas Island, one of the San Juan Islands. This is another beautiful spot that I haven't been to since I was a girl, so I am really looking forward to it.

Let's hope we can continue our good camping streak!

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