Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Wordy Wednesday: Starting Over

Homeschooling continually teaches me things.  One of the recurring lessons is that it is TRULY acceptable to scrap this plan and start over.  After reviewing all the girls grades yesterday, I realized that we needed to hatch a new plan.  They were both currently failing.  Yes, you read that right.  Homeschoolers.  Failing.  My kids-under my own roof, being guided by a computer....are doing a half-assed job of school and subsequently have very sub-par grades.

For Two this isn't THAT big of a deal.  She's working the same grade (with the exception of math) as her sister, when she shouldn't actually be in that grade.  I've asked her many times before now if the work is too hard.  She is a smart, hard working kid and it seemed so odd to me that she would be having such a hard time if the work wasn't just over her head and overwhelming her.  She insisted that it's not that.  I've explained that it is is a grade ahead, and she shouldn't feel BAD if it were too hard, but she still says that's not it.

For One, it IS a big deal as this is the grade she SHOULD be in, and she is failing it.  Six weeks from the end of the "school" year, and she A) is 2 months behind because she just doesn't finish her assignments when they are assigned, and B) failing.  Unacceptable.

This, of course, isn't the first time we've had discussions about it.  And, for awhile, it did get better.  Grades were brought up to B's and C's.  I was pleased, but they have slipped back down.  This is MY fault.  I have scheduled in time to check their work EVERY day, and nearly every day I am in the middle of something else at that time and I allow myself to think "I'm sure they did their work, and did fine."  Lying to yourself is never beneficial to anyone.  Proof is in the pudding.

After checking in on the status of school work yesterday, I was sad and frustrated.  I let it ramble around in my brain for a bit.  Then I talked it over with The Punk and we arrived at a decision.  I sat with the girls and explained that:  with 6 weeks left in the curriculum, it seemed POINTLESS to me to have them complete it, only to have to START OVER, so we were just going to declare a mulligan and wipe the slate clean.

Then, we had to discuss the rules for starting over:

1.  *I* have to be on top of this.  I will be checking EVERY SINGLE DAY to make sure that they have done all the assigned work, but ALSO that they have PASSED every thing.
2.  They are expected to pass every single subject.  Failing grades are unacceptable here just like they would be if they were in public school.
3.  They are expected to complete ALL work ON TIME.  Just like if they were in public school!
4.  Failing grades will result in needing to complete an assignment again.
5.  Failing grades/late assignments will result in GROUNDING.  No phones, no tv, no outside.
6.  Because we are starting over in late April there will be NO SUMMER BREAK.  Yes, they will still get to go to the pool (unless they get grounded) but there will be no official break, except the one week they will be spending on vacation with their bio-dad.
7.  The school term changed for them both.  One has until December 19th (Xmas break) to FINISH this year's work, and will start the next grade up on Jan 4 and be expected to finish it before August of 2014 (effectively finishing 2 grade levels before 2014-2015 school year, keeping her on track with her friends.)  Two, however, has until May of 2014 to finish THIS year's work.  This spaces the work out more for her, but still keeps her right on track with her friends.  Then in August of 2014 she will either enter public high school, OR start the next grade level at home.

They were both excited about the prospect of getting to start over.  For One, it was about the new feeling of not being "behind," at the start of every day.  I understand that!!  I HATE that feeling as well.  For Two, failing is HARD for her, so getting to start over was blissful.  They understood and agreed to the new set of rules.  We talked about the importance of looking AHEAD, because far too often they would wake up on Thursday and realize they were assigned a quiz!  This meant they had not studied at all for the quiz, and would fail miserably.  I showed them (again) how to pull up the weekly calendar so they can SEE when a quiz is coming so they can study.  This will also be helpful in seeing when projects/papers are due.  We talked about not waiting until 2 days before a paper is due to BEGIN it!  I explained that even if they only spend 15-30 minutes a day working on it, it can be easily managed in the time they are given (usually 2 weeks for papers.)  We talked about taking notes on the lessons (since they cannot access them on the computer once they are of my few complaints about the program,) and rereading ALL the notes from the section EVERY SINGLE DAY.  If they would just spend a few minutes going over the notes from the previous days, and then a concentrated hour or so the night before the quiz, they will be passing with flying colors!

I'm excited by the chance to just begin again!  It's one of the best things about homeschooling, IMO.  When something doesn't work, I can just throw my hands up and scratch that plan and start again.  I'm appalled at myself for letting it get to this point, yes, but I will not let it slip again.  As I've said many, many times here on this blog in the last year, I've been having a rough time personally for the last 2 years.  I'm getting things back on track, and this was something that slipped through my cracks.  I was putting too much energy into other areas, areas that I'm able to give less of my time and energy now.

*Cheers to starting over and seeing greater benefit*

Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed on an equal or greater benefit.
Napoleon Hill 

parents as teachers

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