I’m trying to figure out how school is going to work this year. I have four kids I’m homeschooling. Two go to the homeschool program two days a week. The other two will be home full time. I have also chosen to have my older two kids do their math at home, and the science outside of the homeschool program. The only catch is this makes ME responsible for the whole kit and caboodle. I know, I know, I AM responsible for the whole kit and caboodle. The kit and caboodle are just a little intimidating right now. My brilliant 14-year-old son, who truly is not one iota less than brilliant, has a mind that works very differently from mine. Therefore, some of the questions I ask him are taken by him as evidence that I do not trust him. Questions like, can I see that website where the list is? He is able to make decisions on a dime and seems to have almost computer-like abilities to process information quickly. I, on the other hand, can make different types of decisions quickly, and I have my own computer abilities. The types of things we process quickly are pretty much opposite from each other. I am not frustrated or angry or disappointed with him — I see the process of working with him as a very good challenge, one that I enjoy because he DOES think so differently than I do. I’m still trying to figure out how best to frame my questions, encourage him, etc.
The current struggle is over the chemistry assignment he has to complete before the first day of class. I want him to do it well, to have the finished product show clearly his writing ability, his grasp of the material and evidence that he spent some good time researching, thinking and processing the info. I came upon him this afternoon, switching from window to window — first the info site, reading a few sentences, distilling the points, then back to the essay page, where he would insert his thoughts. To me, that seems like a lazy way to do the work. Lazy is a pejorative word — maybe efficient is a better word. Ultimately, though, I don’t see that method as requiring much of him. And with the capabilities he has, I want him to use his brain and heart and mind to do hard things well.
He has the ability to see the bigger picture, and the connections he makes are often pretty cool. But those connections come when he really cares about what he is talking about. I don’t think he really cares about this essay.
So, after he made his case for doing his way, I said ok. Go ahead. Do it the way you think you should. Two minutes later, he tells me he thinks the way I was suggesting is better and he’s planning to work on it as soon as he has some toast. Go figure.