Sunday, January 01, 2006

New Year, New Discipline

New Year's Eve is not usually a time that I feel like celebrating. Having been in the past a "half empty" rather than a "half full" kinda person, I've found looking back at the departing year somewhat of a depressing activity.

I never seemed to be able to see what I'd achieved - all the fun stuff - but instead focused on what I had failed (again) to do.

Last night was different.

My dh and I decided to see the New Year in for once, having come home at 10.30 from a party with 3 very tired boys. I realised looking back on 2005 and it had been an outstanding success for one very important reason - we made the decision to take our boys out of school and educate them at home. This had always been our preferred option but had not realised that it was legal/possible in the UK until desperate times forced us to look into it seriously.

We looked back on how our boys have "come back" to us; how their personalities are emerging again instead of being (bad) clones of what they thought they should be (according to peer pressure); how they have become so demonstrative with us and each other now they don't have to pretend to hate each other in the playground (ds1 and ds2 went to the same school)... and many more affirming changes that we have seen.

I feel more positive and determined today than I can ever remember feeling on 1st January (certainly ever since the year I watched my best friend try to commit suicide on New Year's Eve, as a depressed and drunk teen some 18 years ago).

Our new chores list went up this morning, and the boys are doing well. The boys have certain morning chores to do before being allowed and TV, and they have a target amount of time to spend during the day on identifiable learning before being allowed to "feed" their Neopets. Don't laugh - it's what works for us!

Ds2 in particular, who was very badly bullied, has taken a long time to deschool and he does need the (firm) encouragement to consider anything that could be considered learning. Whilst they are autonomous in what and how they learn, we've decided that to provide a target of time is best for them at this stage.

As for me, I've got off to a good start too - by writing this blog! It is part of my new discipline to keep it up to date - you'll be able to easily see if I make it (unless I fake the entry times ;-)

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