Monday, March 09, 2009

Homeschool Frustrations

I am very close to at my wit's end. My youngest son just turned 15 a couple weeks ago. Things have been snowballing over a long period of time. I have tried everything that I know to help him transition through this tough spot. Nothing is working.

The thing that has gotten me to such a level of frustration that I just feel like crying is that he absolutely refuses to talk to me about anything no matter how much I might try, or how I might try. The situation isn't as such that I have been nagging, hollering, and pushing. I have been treating him as an essential cog in the machine. I have shared my concerns, my needs, and my desires. I have asked in several different ways for him to do the same. Everything falls on deaf ears. It's to the point of disrespect.

I feel so helpless. While hubby and I were gone for the weekend I left a completely doable list of academic type things for him. I went over everything to make sure he didn't have any questions, so he knew exactly what I was asking for. He blatantly did nothing; not one single thing. When I asked about it last night he told me he forgot. Bull dookey! We talked on the phone at least three times while we were gone. I know he didn't forget. He didn't even take proper care of the animals. There was one thing that I asked him that was most important to me, so I asked again for him to do it last night. He didn't. So, again this afternoon (it took me two hours to get him out of bed even though I didn't start until 11AM) I asked him again to do it. He did, but only halfheartedly.

Soooooo.....I tried sharing my concerns with him again. I let him know that it was my desire to treat him like a young adult, not a five-year-old. Unfortunately, I feel like he is giving me no choice. Maybe that is what he wants. Maybe he wants me to just tell him what to do and play the role of the enforcer. That is so frustrating to me! I just want to help lead the way, not play babysitter all day long.

From talking to several fellow homeschooling moms I know that this is not uncommon. I know that it is indicitive of the age. However, it does not change our reality and my need to find some kind of happy medium here. I so DO NOT want to be the "commie mom". I hate that role with a passion.

Has anyone else out there been through this? What have you done? Bear in mind that I am not a rigid, schedule laden, kind of homeschool mom. We have been relaxed and child-led for many years. What we were doing this year was per his request. However, he seems to be chucking everything out the window and closing himself off. I know timelines are artificial and all that jazz. I just cannot allow things to continue in this fashion any longer. We are talking months people. It is past painful.


Idzie said...

Hmm, I'm not a parent, but I am an 18 year old lifelong unschooling, and it seems to me that you're still trying to control him. No one likes that. As soon as someone attempts to force, push, or even cajole me into doing something, I instantly no longer want to do it. The more I'm pushed, the less I want to do the task, and the more likely I am to simply not do it. My best advice, simply as a teen who has been that age, is that the teen years are tough. There are times when things feel overwhelming, and when the need to simply hibernate is very strong. Let go, let him do what he wants. Support him, let him know that you're there for him, but stop pushing, because that most likely is not helping. It'll pass. He's probably simply doing exactly what he needs to be at the moment!

I hope my opinions aren't taken in a bad way. That's simply how I see things!


Mom said...

This is completely normal behavior for a kid his age. They really do "forget" to do things.

Perhaps you should break his tasks into smaller pieces - sort of micromanage him a bit - and give him a time frame for completing each piece.

Add appropriate consequences to the discussion so he knows exactly what will happen if he fails to comply.

As far as talking though, they stop talking at about 13 and nothing you say for the next few years has any affect.

Good luck and keep on keeping on.

cybercelt said...

I am not a homeschooling mom, but I know what you are experiencing. You have to let him make his own choices in life, now and in the future. It is the hardest job for a mom.

God bless you and guide your actions.

Tina said...

Idzie - You're comments certainly are not taken in a wrong way. I totally get what you are saying and respect what you are sharing. Unfortunately, I am not in a position to give him complete freedom to do what he wants. It isn't just up to me, and some lines have been crossed that cannot be ignored. Consideration has to be given to all family members, so I am doing my best to honor him and teach respect for others at the same time. I am happiest in a complete unschooling state, and it is both of our desire to work back to that point.

Cybercelt - I agree with you 100%. However, I also have to make sure that there is respect for everyone in our home, and that does require some guidelines. We all have needs and wants, but we also have to be considerate of the needs and wants of the others around us.
MOM - You are so not the first person I have heard that from, and I do remember Andrew going through the same thing. It is just SO tough! We came to a new compromise today. We'll see how it works out.


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