How we were working, wasn't working. As Albert Einstein said, it was insanity; we were doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. So this week, I gave the kids each a piece of paper and on it said my expectations for the week; what they were allowed to watch/do for screen time and what schoolwork needed to be done. However, I was not going to tell them when to do the schoolwork, it was their responsibility to get it done within the week and there would be consequences if it didn't get done.
I thought Alison would love it, but yet again surprised me with her reaction. She didn't like it that I wouldn't tell her when to work (I would tell her what we had going on for the day and would suggest she make a plan for when she was going to work). I was also surprised by the other venues she chose to work hard at. All of the sudden, she asked if she could make a smoothie and for the first time, she got out the vitamix cookbook, followed the instructions and made the smoothie all by herself. Last summer, when Ben was deployed, we went through the whole cookbook and made every recipe and rated them. I have no idea why now, but I'm so glad we did. Clearly it gave her the confidence to use the Vitamix herself and she knew which recipes to use.
She turned into a smoothie making machine and wanted to make everyone smoothies all the time. Watching the olympics was also a great picture of what hard work looks like!
Then one day this week, she made me a menu and asked if she could make me lunch. After I put my order in, she made up a grocery list and asked if I could take her to the store.
It's not at all what I was looking for in her, but what a great surprise. Not only was she working hard, but she was serving our family while doing it. As for school, there were plenty of tears this week as she realized how hard it is to work on her own without me instructing her, BUT she did fabulous. She did better than she's done all year and I am so proud of her.
As we closed our books yesterday and celebrated the completion of this crazy year, I wished I could have gone back a few weeks ago. I wish I would have just stopped then. I confess that I pushed through because I wanted all the boxes checked for the year and I should have just left things unfinished and made smoothies with my kids. We did work really hard this year...we worked hard through a really hard year and another hard year is coming. I know there are other military homeschooling families who can relate to these years and this is one of those times I wish we could all go grab some coffee together.