Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Why Do I Have So Much Schoolwork???

If only every day could be a day of skipping rocks at the beach

I had to laugh today when David complained that he has too much school work.  I was picking him up from a friend's house where he is taking a co-op astronomy and history class.  He complained that he now has even more work to do (mainly a little reading each week).

There he was, laying on the floor next to my friend's dog, whining that he has sooooooo much work to do.  I told him to go ask my friend how much school work her high school aged boys have to do each day.  He got up and asked her.  She reinforced what I'd already told David--they have to do a lot of work.  Lots of reading, so much reading.

I offered to let David go back to public school where he could spend seven hours doing school every day instead of just four.  He turned me down.

This sparked a discussion on why he has more work than last year thanks to my friend's awesome answer to David.  She said that school is a lot like exercise.  You have to build up a little bit more each year so that by the time you hit high school, you are up to the challenge instead of being overwhelmed.  If you were to go through the early years being lazy, you would hit high school and have a really hard time.  Kind of like the first day of sports practice when you're out of shape and you work out really hard and end up feeling like you're going to puke.

Yes, David has more work to do this year than last.  In addition to our regular work load, he is also taking Latin, writing, astronomy and U.S. history in co-op settings which all require homework.  He is taking piano lessons which requires daily practice.  I am expecting more of him than in the past.  But he is ready for it because I've been increasing his work load a little bit each year.

It would be easy to tell him, You know, David, you're right.  You do have a lot of work to do.  Maybe we'll cut back on this or that.  But that would not be serving him well for his future.  He needs to be stretched a little more each year not only in the content of his school work but also in the amount.

Letting David coast through grammar school would be like my waking up one morning and deciding to go run a marathon without any prior training.  While I might be able to run that far (ha!), I would be gasping for breath by the end of the run.  I would be beyond sore the next day.  It wouldn't be fun at all.  I would just feel like I was going to die if I hadn't already keeled over from a heart attack.

So I ignore the whining.  Usually that just means that they would rather watch TV or play on the computer instead of doing work.  On a few rare occasions its meant that they've hit a challenging concept and just need more time to sort it out so we've coasted for a while until the concept clicked.  I'm okay with slowing the pace down when necessary.

The next time one of my children complains about their workload, I am ready for them.  I'll tell them to go run a marathon.  They'll get the picture.

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