Things here are kind of boring. It’s so strange to be homeschooling (mostly) just one kid. It feels too easy and lazy, even when things are hard. After years of struggling with the older three boys, it’s weird to have just Andy. You cannot even imagine how much time has been freed up in my life. I guess I knew this day was coming, but I really did not think it would ever change. Now that things have changed, I’m confused!!!!! It’s not a bad thing, but it’s a little confusing. I’m really having to rethink how I spend my time and re-prioritize what is and is not important. Weird.
Ian and a bunch of scouts and friends spent tonight working on Ian’s Eagle Scout project. Nothing like cutting it close (you have to complete an Eagle Scout project before you turn 18 – Ian turns 18 on New Year’s Eve.) WHEW! It went well, ran about one hour over the projected time and it’s DONE!!!! Being an Eagle Scout can be a huge advantage in “grown up” life – colleges, military academies and many employers value that special distinction. Dan and Ian both earned their Eagles on their own merits – they did ALL the work. Mike and I offered food and transportation. Mike has been part of our troop’s leadership for years and years and years. Me? Cub Scouts did me in. I have had very little to do with Boy Scouts beyond driving and providing food when needed. I have enough boys in my life, I don’t need a troop. Still, some of our best friends are scouting friends.
IT IS NOT ABOUT YOU!!!!!! I am disturbed by a trend I see where parents are rushing their kids through the scouting program in an effort to have them “get the Eagle done” by the time the boy is finishing eighth grade. If you are one of those parents, I urge you to rethink your stance? Who wants the Eagle, you or your son? At 13-14, I have to think it’s you that really wants the award. How much are you doing FOR your son? Is he growing and learning to fend for himself or just following your plan for him? If you are pushing and pushing for your son to earn his Eagle by the end of middle school, have you thought how this denigrates the older boys who truly earn the honor? The boys who are truly doing all of the work on their own, because they want to do it?
And, yes, perhaps your son is advanced, gifted even. That’s great, but there’s nothing you can do to rush maturity. And, so much of this award is about maturity. Another big part of this award is about respect. If your 13 or newly turned 14 year old is awarded an Eagle merit, do not fool yourself for one second into thinking that the other boys in the troop, (unless you have an assembly-line troop and then shame on you), or the other parents believe for a second that your son earned that award on his own. They know you were in there – helping/doing/prodding. It’s not the same.
And, for the Eagle Scout to count, the people that look to it as an indicator of a kid’s personality/potential can spot in just a few minutes which boys earned the Eagle and which ones have ambitious parents.
Have I mentioned how glad we are that we let Tim quit scouts when he was about 13???? We could have pushed him through, but it would not have been right. He was there tonight helping on Ian’s project (and he worked on Dan’s Eagle project as well) – he appreciates that his brothers like camping and they are okay with Tim’s hatred of camping. Tim is as proud as me and Mike at Ian’s triumph tonight. Sorry for the rant, but sometimes, I just have to get it out of my system.
My homeschool mantra is “It’s not a race.” The farther I go with homeschooling, scouting, parenting, the more true I find this to be. Give your kids the freedom to figure out who they are and what THEY like to do. Don’t schedule their lives so tightly with things that you think they should do that they do not even have time to breathe. I expect a lot from my kids re schoolwork. And, though their days are far shorter than their peers, their work load is stringent. If they commit to something like Scouts, they are committed for the year. It’s not a race, but we have been striving to get the boys to understand , as they get older, their part of the deal. Most of their school work is non-negotiable. Free time? It’s one thing for Mike or me to think one of the boys would be great at something – If the kid has no interest or commitment, why bother?
OK, off my soap box. Big step down.
(While we pressure our kids, we unschool the dogs. Cally opted to spend the day shredding the BIG Orlando phone book. Look how happy she is? I let her shred the phone book because without my glasses it kind of looked like snow in the front yard and also, because our mean neighbor has to pass our house every day on her way home. I’m hoping to add to her enjoyment of the holidays. 😉