Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Pre-school or Pre-training?

Last week I shared with you how my heart made a shift to homeschool my children.  However, I didn't share that my son wasn't as crazy about the idea.  Since my oldest was almost four, I was encouraged to just have fun with the preschool years.  So I began to make plans.  I gathered art supplies, crafts, and activities, all with an educational focus.  The thought of providing activities with an educational bent, seemed thrilling to me.  But wouldn't you know it; he hated it and told me he wanted to go play.

What?  This is playing!  What are you talking about?  Maybe he doesn't like the activity. 

So the next day I chose a different activity...but got the same response.  The moment I said, "Time to do our activity" he started whining, crying, and banging the table.  Even though this continued, I still required him to at least participate in the activity for 10-15 minutes.  I figured he has all day to play!  He can make his own play time choices the rest of the day; and he can handle 10-15 minutes of mom guiding his activities! 

As the weeks moved on, I realized this was more about training him than just preschool activities.

But I thought we were supposed to be having fun, yet he doesn't want to have fun!  How am I going to educated this child who doesn't like school when it's fun?  How will he respond when school requires work and is boring?

I had to make a decision to stand firm and consistently train him to come to activity time with a happy, obedient heart.  Things got better as time rolled by, and I even snagged a picture of him during activity time!  I will say, however; five years later I still struggle with this sweet boy when it comes to doing something he doesn't want to do.  He's my in-charge, take over the world child; and he wants to make all the decisions.  Therefore, we clash when I make a decision that he doesn't like.  Especially if that decision means it's time for school. 

I've tried all types of reward systems and different methods to motivate him.  But it really boils down to him just needing to practice and learn the skill of disciplining himself to work; even when he doesn't like it.  This means I have a job on my hands.  I need to be diligent in teaching and training him in self-discipline; yet need to keep a watchful eye on burdening him with too much work.

My friends I share this to encourage you not to make your homeschooling decisions based on what your child thinks about it.  I also want to encourage you to keep training, instructing, and guiding those little characters.  I know it's wearing.  Long days of tears, children who won't do their work, children who claim to be tired, distracted, bored.  It can be so tough to hold your ground, but sometimes there's more at stake than academics.  Your child can learn to submit to your authority, without making it a big deal.  Don't give up the good work just because you have a stubborn child!  You will face many challenges, but the work you invest will bear more fruit than you can imagine.  You, your child, and many others will benefit from the time you've chosen to pour into your child.

Last year my third child (who happened to be four at the time), announced that he loved school.  My oldest chimed in with, "of course he does, all his school is just fun stuff"  Ha!  What a silly kid!

Look closely!  You might spot the beginnings of a smile!
Please note that Anchored In His Grace has moved to a new web address. 

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