Working and Homeschooling – Self Discipline

Working and homeschooling is a tricky balance. A child intensive curriculum, one in which the child is responsible for his work and corrections is wonderful in theory, but doesn’t always work the way it is supposed to in practice. Some children just want to be doing something else. Anything else. So they need a certain amount of supervision and motivation to get their assigned work done.

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My son is this way. Even though on a good day he can get all his work done in a couple of hours, except for his reading, many days he will daydream, get distracted, hug the cat, get up to get a snack (5 minutes after breakfast), try to sneak and check his email, his blog or his skype messages, etc. It is hard to get anything done in this chaos. I know his frustration. As a work at home writer, I tend to do the same thing most days, allowing anything to prevent me from tackling my job.

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Enter self-discipline. As a child, I took piano lessons. My teachers recommended I practice at least an hour every day. I was no child prodigy (although I knew several) but I did fairly well with practice. Mrs. Allen always knew when I didn’t practice and she did not hesitate to point it out to me with irritation. I took up the flute and that was a bit more natural for me. I began reaping the benefits of practice in chair assignments. By high school, the only time I was less than first chair was for 2 weeks when I changed schools. In college I commandeered practice rooms for several hours a day, at one point even practicing for 8 hours a day. I was determined to be a pro. That fizzled, but the improvement in my playing and the advancement of my musical skill was without question.

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I think of those times whenever I find myself lagging. I want my son to experience that confidence and satisfaction that comes with knowing your self discipline and hard work has paid off. I guess he gets some of that with video games, but I want for him to experience it in other aspects of life. He has also experienced some of that in playing hockey. A few years ago, he spent about 10 months straight playing hockey. He kind of burned out. Now he thinks he is ready to play again, so I think that maybe a short season would be good for him. We also have bikes to ride, now and are going on weekly hikes. Discipline in one area tends to help breed discipline in other areas.

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