Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

How you actually get your kids to do their work

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • KF2000
    replied
    Originally posted by Emilylovesbooks View Post
    I am very aware that we should just persevere and stay the course. I try to read the forum often. However, to those who love MP and feel like they’ve figured out a routine they are happy with, what did you do to help your kids hop on board and get into the routine of just doing the work without battles? Did they reach a point where they realized they wanted to learn the material (for themselves, not for you)? How do you justify to them memorizing the content in areas that are not obviously cumulative, as Latin and math are? I feel like I must make them do their work because it’s my duty, but I dislike seeing them resent such beautiful study opportunities I think I’m offering them.
    Hi Emily,
    Great, great question. I think what I sense from your question is that struggle between:
    A) I know in my head that what we are doing is right and good for them
    but
    B) I still feel drawn to the folks who talk about/promote/promise that children should love what they are doing for school. (or not even call it school...just "learning")

    This is why I highlighted the phrase you included at the end. It reminds me a lot of the suggestions that boil down to "just provide rich, beautiful things and watch your children thrive." I spent quite a lot of research time in my early years of homeschooling reading such arguments, only to find them to be completely contradicted by my daily experience of raising a houseful of (naturally self-centered) little ones. Bear with me for a minute while I weave around to my real answer to your question.

    What is attractive from tailoring an education to the happiness, enjoyment, and interests of a child is the respect that is given to our children as people. We each cherish our precious children so much, that it is only natural to want to focus on and develop them to be the best they can be. But what I have concluded is that while these philosophies esteem children for their personhood (which is indeed good), there are two things wrong with trying to romanticize childhood:

    1. Children are not mini-adults. They do not have the ability to acknowledge the value of anything they do not like. Their interests, tastes, and choices are inherently immature and driven by disordered passions.
    2. It is not desirable for them to stay in this state.

    This is why we face the daily struggle of loving our children as they are and then trying our darnedest to change them! It makes it that much harder to know that what we are doing to them is for their own good even though they push back on us at nearly every turn. Think about any aspect of adult life - eating right, getting exercise, being faithful in all the small ways we know we should...how easy is self-discipline for any of us? How many of us truly do all the good things we know we should? The fact is, it is tough for all of us, right? To know the good, and to choose it. A hard enough expectation for adults, let alone our children.

    So, this is what I personally communicate to my children as we go through our days. It is the life of faithfulness in small things, the life of virtue in choosing the good things over the easy things. It is what we remind ourselves of in prayer, we convict ourselves of as we prepare for Confession, and what we encourage each other in as we read our stories and study our lessons. This is why classical education seeks wisdom and cultivates virtue. It's like a garden that is constantly tended in order to produce fruit. These are active, active, active pursuits - NOT a passive reception of good things.

    In my experience, what you are seeking does develop, praise be to God. It was not a magic formula other than what you already know to do - to just persevere and stay the course. There will be favorite things, and hated things, and a lot of in-between things. But where you are right now, with children all in grammar school or below - no, you're not feeling it yet. Don't expect it. Your work right now is to set work habits, to set obedience habits, to set standards, to build a culture. And to not see any result of your efforts. Think of it like the foundation walls of a house. They are buried in the dirt and you never see them, yet they are critical to the stability of the entire house. Cut corners, rush things, give up before it's finished and you will get a bit of relief, but you will not see the effect of your shortcut until later - when the house is rocky and cracks begin to show. You are in the thankless zone where it's all work and not a lot of reward. But have faith. Take it to prayer every day. Be reminded that all that time these children were being prepared before their birth, you had nothing much to do with them other than to feed your body well and give it rest. Invisible growth was taking place that was out of your control. Continue that. Feed yourselves and them on the richness of your educational path, rest well when needed, and trust that the invisible growth is taking place.

    This was in my morning reflection today. I hope it helps, too:
    "In the Gospels Our Lord often speaks about fidelity. He gives us the example of the faithful and prudent servant, of the valet who is good and loyal even in the smallest things, of the faithful steward, etc. So deeply has the notion of fidelity permeated the Christian that the title "faithful" is sufficient of itself to identify the disciples of Christ.

    The opposite of perseverance is inconstancy, which inclines a person to break off easily from doing good or from the practice of virtue as soon as difficulties or temptations arise. Among the most frequent obstacles to faithful perseverance, the first one of all is pride, which attacks the very foundations of fidelity and weakens the will to fight difficulties and temptations...On other occasions, obstacles can have their origin in carelessness concerning little things. Our Lord himself said: He who is faithful in very little is faithful also in much. The Christian who takes care of even the smallest duties of his or her work, who struggles to keep presence of God throughout the day, who guards his senses with naturalness...these are the ones who are on the right road to being faithful when the time comes for their commitment to the call for genuine heroism." - Francis Fernandez


    AMDG,
    Sarah

    Leave a comment:


  • MBentley
    replied
    Hugs.

    No battle plan survives contact with the enemy.

    Your kids are almost the exact ages as mine. I feel you-really I do. At this level, I don't think battles are avoidable. It probably feels unending. You no more get one situated than the next 3 or 4 need something. By the end of the day, you just want to send everyone away and have a little brain space of your own.

    I think some kids thrive on their own checklist. I've gotten to where I print a week-view for each kid and they can mark it up however they want but at the end of the day, the stuff they can do independently should be done...or else...right? They get either a talk with Daddy (Seriously...just a talk! Whatever magic voodoo his voice is - I don't have it) at the end of the day, or they lose out on privileges that the others get...

    One BIG thing for us is limiting the distractions. I had to confiscate a bedroom to use it as a school room because it separates this room as a work room. The door can be shut. There's nothing to do in there but either 1) do the work, or 2) daydream out the windows until you want out of the room badly enough that you do the work.

    Finally, the earlier we start, the better. I don't do breakfast out the gate. We start school FIRST. We do breakfast around 9:45/10ish. Also, first thing out of bed, they grab a quick shower. I know they are young to start this, but I promise it's making a huge difference. Wet-headed and still sometimes dripping, they show up in the school room (after I've been yelling to get out of the shower for a solid 30 minutes to one kid or other), around 8:15ish. Whichever kid shows up first, they get started. I'm sitting in my own desk facing them. At this age....nearly all work stops if I'm not sitting there with them. I don't have to be "doing" anything with them but the minute I leave to go to the bathroom/get coffee/answer the phone/switch clothes from the washer the dryer - it's a free for all. I'll come back and youngest kid (5) is on TOP of a desk, one is telling loud jokes and still another is playing with the dog. My presence is almost always REQUIRED to get work done.

    Over the year though, we've made progress in that sometimes when I send them to the school room by themselves with a very specific subject to finish, they will often enough do it - the older 2 at least. The youngest being 5...nope.

    Take care of you and it's okay to do breaks in the day...even long breaks...for your sake!

    Melissa
    Last edited by MBentley; 04-24-2019, 01:40 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • How you actually get your kids to do their work

    I am very aware that we should just persevere and stay the course. I try to read the forum often. However, to those who love MP and feel like they’ve figured out a routine they are happy with, what did you do to help your kids hop on board and get into the routine of just doing the work without battles? Did they reach a point where they realized they wanted to learn the material (for themselves, not for you)? How do you justify to them memorizing the content in areas that are not obviously cumulative, as Latin and math are? I feel like I must make them do their work because it’s my duty, but I dislike seeing them resent such beautiful study opportunities I think I’m offering them.
Working...
X