11-year-old Reality

Yesterday was our first day of summer break. At 7:30 my bleary-eyed children stumbled down the steps and mumbled, “What’s for breakfast?” We celebrated “No School” with a surprise trip to Krispy Kreme! It was great fun hanging out, watching the donuts go through the baking process through the windowed wall.

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The kids all decided that they needed to bake. When we got home they poured over recipe books, searched through the ingredients in our cupboards, and put their new understanding of fractions to use. It was a proud homeschool mom moment.

Then came lunch. Proud homeschool moment gone.

Everyone was gathered around the table eating when I decided to pull out our morning time books. It took me a while this year before I discovered a science curriculum that jived for us. We still have a few more chapters in the unit.  Our morning time covers more than just academics. We spend time singing and in prayer.  It is seriously my favorite time of the day. I figured “What could it hurt to keep morning time going at least until we finish our science unit?”

I pulled out my memory binder and my oldest son groaned, “No, we’re not going to do memory work during summer break. Are we?”

The look I gave him look that was less than gracious as my jaw hit the floor. “Are you serious? I just finished an e-book on the wonders of memorization, and you are going to tell me you hate it?”

In typical clueless 11-year-old boy fashion he said, “Really? That’s what you wrote a book about?” 🙂 Apparently he finds the subject matter less than impressive.

The irony of the moment was not lost on me and I smiled at him. “I get it. You think that memorization is work, and it is. You’re on summer break and would like to avoid all work, but I don’t think you hate memorization. I think you actually enjoy knowing. I think memorization helps deepens your understanding. BUT since you claim to hate it so much, for today please do not participate in our memory work.  We will do memory work, but you are just to sit there silently.”

We proceeded to do “morning time” at lunch, but every time we were supposed to work on any recitation I did not let him answer. It became a huge joke. If he opened his mouth to reply I would put up my hand for him to stop, and everyone would snicker (my son included.) Anytime I held up a visual aid I would wink at him first and then maneuver my notebook into a position that he would not be able to see it. He fell off his seat laughing, trying to twist and see. Thank goodness for a son with a sense of humor.

We finished morning time, and the kids scattered. I pulled my son aside. “I don’t think memory work is as bad as you made it out to be.”

“No.” He confessed. He explained that he doesn’t hate memory work, but he was looking forward to having a sense of freedom with his time this summer. He wanted to wake up with no agenda. He did not want to stop from reading a book or playing a game with his sister or shooting hoops to do morning time.

I shared with him my plan to keep morning time relaxed this summer. I want to simply fit it in when we have time-like today when we did “morning time” during lunch 🙂 I agreed to respect his summer free time.  All is well at the Vos house again. Sigh.

So many times when a mom shares that she found the “perfect” math curriculum I assume the kids love it so much they beg to do math on Saturday.  If I see the perfect shoe storage system on Pinterest I imagine that if I implement the same system there will never again be a pile of shoes by the front door. This is not reality.

When I was looking for a book to help me add recitation to morning time I couldn’t find what we needed, and I made one to share with others. Clearly I didn’t create a magic potion to turn an 11-year-old into an eager scholar.  I sing the praises or morning time and recitation, but that doesn’t mean our days are always full of wonder and excitement.

My son’s attitude today will not change the plans I have for recitation in our homeschool, but it’s a great illustration that there is no magic system.  Good things are sometimes difficult and take effort.  We are on a journey and found a good path, but that in no way means there won’t be bumps in the road.


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