Thursday, January 8, 2009

This Stuff Really Works

We're now about four months into our homeschooling experience, and the rhythm and benefits came much sooner than I ever expected!

For instance, Sample A. Cole (above), woke up with nightmares at 4am from playing video games he got for Christmas last night that he, no doubt, should not be playing. Doug and I were, of course, aware of the fact that these mature combat games would most likely prolong Cole's need to have someone assist him in falling asleep and cause nightmares and sleepless nights for everyone. However, we had a plan.

So, the Burrito woke up at 4am and dragged me out of bed and back to his to snuggle up and fall asleep a bit more securely. Even at the early hour, as we tried to get comfortable, Cole had what I'm now calling a "stretch" moment (when Cole finds the solution to a problem he is experiencing without adult influence or suggestion). To my delight, he asked me to "take away" a couple of his new combat video games until he is older and can handle the content more appropriately. Cole heard of our friend Josh's son having similar issues from a movie scene he saw on accident just this week, but I really thought the draw of the newness and obvious leniency we were providing in allowing him to play the games would keep him into them for quite a while if not until he eventually tired of them. Instead, Cole had been examining his own behavior, feelings, and possible influences in what was going on and made a sound, mature decision in addressing the issue at hand. WoO HoO!

It was a tough situation for all of us. Doug and I knew what the initial result in playing the games would be (nightmares and little sleep for us all), but we also knew that if we tried to tell Cole he couldn't play the games, he'd simply play them at his friends' houses as he's done in the past. Who could blame the kid? We really didn't want to set him up with an unrealistic expectation that would invariably lead him to being dishonest with us. Too tangled a web. Trust the process! Cole's a smart kid, and he's been doing a lot of self-discovery lately, albeit unbeknownst to him. : ) His decision to put aside the new and borderline-taboo games he'd been allowed to play is big! This was a moment you read about in homeschooling literature that seems pure fantasy until it actually happens. I'm so tired right now; I wonder if it actually happened. LOL...kidding.

This type of thinking reflects some of the methodology we've picked up for parenting through homeschooling. The benefits for Cole seem pretty obvious to me. We all have to admit that a lesson learned through experience and through one's own choice is the most resoundingly learned sort, and as Cole finds resolutions for problems himself that are successful, the more confidence he'll have in his own decision making capabilities and in his ability to manage his way through obstacles. Of course, there are limits to what we'll allow him to experience as much as we can, but in this instance, I'm pleased we made the choice we did. I don't think there's any permanent damage done, and Cole will find something else to occupy his imagination soon enough.

Even beyond this great learning experience, due to the fact that I work from home and Cole is homeschooled, we didn't have to stress out about the fact that we were awake at 4am. Cole and I eventually got out of bed as we couldn't fall back to sleep and went out to the living and turned on Out of Africa. Cole is fascinated by the cultural and technological differences between then and now, and the story really is captivating. We fed the dogs and had breakfast and chatted until he finally passed out. Of course, I've been working since then, but I'll call it a day very early today. Maybe we'll go catch a matinee - a comedy!?

This homeschooling stuff really works for us. : )

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