Sunday, September 23, 2012

Weekly Report: Weeks 5 and 6 {Hard Lessons Learned}

The honeymoon period of 8th grade is over.

Weeks 5 and 6 were full-on 8th grade.  We finished adding in all Ben's subjects, including his new online, virtual charter school Spanish class.  Not only is he learning new language, he really learned a lot about technology and user interfaces this week.

With a full schedule of classes (Physical Science, Pre-Algebra, History/ Literature, Grammar, Writing, and alternating days of online Spelling and Vocabulary + Spanish), Ben is needing to learn time management.

 When I was in control of his schedule (up until about 6th grade), I nearly always planned a-little-bit-every-day. Last year, I gave him more freedom, and Ben appreciated more of a block schedule to his work.  He'd read his lit. book for 3 days, then do history 2 days. This year, I've really let him have nearly all the control in his schedule.   (I mapped out target dates for when blocks of his work needed to be done.  For example, he has until January 11th to finish pre-Algebra.  That should keep him on pace to finish at least half of Algebra in the second half of the year).

Now with this freedom has come consequences -- and boy, has Ben had some!  Last weekend, Ben was working on finishing his school work until Saturday at 1:30 pm.  This weekend was worse!  He worked all day Saturday on school work and all afternoon today (Sunday) until 9:30 pm!!!!!!

The last 15 minutes of his school week tonight, we talked about what he learned this week.  "Um, I shouldn't try to do an entire subject in 3 days." 

This was music to my ears.  I've been talking to him for more than the past two weeks about his schedule, but this just had to be a lesson he learned on his own. (He learned a couple other lessons this past two weeks as well, but this was the major bugaboo for him.)

Now, just for posterity's sake and complete transparency:  I have not been entirely patient and gracious during this learning experiment.  I've done well some days, but then I hear the lecture-y, Mother-knows-best tone in my voice, and {hating to admit it} the frustrated/angry tone sometimes.  Ben is gracious to forgive me, and I pray that the Lord's mercy will wash over any hurt it causes him.  

Tonight, however, we are washing the slates clean and moving forward. I have (realistic) hopes that week 7 will find my Ben more judicious in his use of time.

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