Saturday, February 13, 2016

Personal Responsibility and Accountability

Some days I get too caught up inside my own head, dealing with my own what ifs?  What if we don’t finish history?  What if the new math program we bought for geometry stinks?  What if we don’t find time this week to work on our stories?  I then realize that Grace is half way through 10th grade and I have another mini-panic attack.  What if this was a mistake? What if she changes her mind and wants to go to a 4 year university away from home?  What will we do to assign grades and create a GPA?  And ugh, I can’t stand grades and GPAs, but colleges love them.  I may not be a “working”mom, but the homeschool mom has a full time job, and often another full time or part time paying job on top of that.  

My days are spent shuttling the girls to the hill for snowboarding, to the barn for riding, to New York City for sign language, to Westchester county for the wolf class, to Darien for piano, to church for youth group, to photography class, and this is all before we add in the “life” issues like dentist, naturopath appointments, eye exams, hanging out with friends and the home responsibilities like food shopping, picking up dry cleaning, cleaning the house and trying desperately to keep up with laundry.  Not to mention taking care of two dogs, one who is elderly and senile who has taken to peeing and pooping all over the house.  Add in a rabbit and two frogs and its a full life.  

It occurred to me that I am not teaching time management skills.  We are half way through the year (we tend to do some schooling year round) and while we are doing well, we have fallen a bit off course in history (due to our civil rights detour) and in science.  I want to rectify this now, rather than face a huge panic attack in April after our next trip.  I spoke with the girls, explained how I was feeling and explained that kids in school are better with time management because they have to be.  Our friends are in the middle of mid-terms right now, balancing studies with their sports and other responsibilities.  They know what is due each day, how much it counts for their grade and where to go to find their grades, their GPA and how to go about seeking extra credit to pull up a grade if necessary.  If I don’t address some of these topics, my girls will have a large learning curve once they hit college age and no matter how smart you are, if you cannot manage time and keep current with workloads, you will fail college level classes.  

Enter the planner.  We have been down this road before.  We plan, we detour, we stray off course and eventually everything gets done but up until now it has always been on a relaxed schedule.  If we plan to finish in May but actually finish in July, it has always been okay.  I have often said “it always gets done.” and it does but a college class will finish in May and students do not have the option to continue on past the end date and work until they are done.  With Grace planning to duel-enroll this summer, it is now time to develop some new habits.  

We sat down one on one with a planner and listed out all the subjects and the time it takes to complete them each week.  Then we filled in the calendar with the lessons that are away from home, youth group, babysitting commitments, and time with friends.  In the time that is left, we put together a schedule of when work can be done.  This will be done on a weekly basis as our weeks can change with babysitting, riding, and friends.  Most of our core lessons stay the same.  

This means getting up earlier, doing math daily before our out of the home routine starts, and making a commitment to excellence rather than mediocrity.  It will be interesting to see how Grace does with this new system.  My hope is that by May it will be second hand so she can head into her first summer class at community college understanding how to account for time and manage workloads.


Theresa B said...

Once again, it is so funny to me how our paths are similar. I bought myself an Erin Condren planner for 2016. I have always used notebooks and that has always worked for me, but I love all the stickers and embellishments and decided to indulge myself. Within a couple of weeks, I decided to get the girls planners, too. We have been doing a lot of projects and work that is due several days out and they are responsible for organizing their time and getting it done and remembering when things are due. Also, between their skiing, babysitting, volunteering, a teen depression prevention study they are doing at Rutgers, e3 and groups they lead there (Piper does the yearbook and has to keep up with that) I can't possibly be responsible for keeping track of it all...I just can't and there is no reason for me to and I felt the same as you, they need to learn to do this! I had not given much thought to how kids in school access grades and know to ask for extra credit, etc. We don't do grades or really even tests for that matter...but I have to give that all some thought.

LJS said...

We just started doing tests, in math and science for "fun". I want them to understand what it means to study, to have to put things into short term memory only to regurgitate them on paper. I want them to understand the difference between testing well and truly knowing a topic. I think it will help them (Grace especially) when they take CC classes. Lilah is a few years away from that.

The planners are going well. We have kept them up for a month and they are starting to feel like a habit.

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