6 Ways to Get your Kids to Do Their Work


It is literally the hardest part of homeschooling.  Sometimes you have a child who just loves schoolwork like it’s chocolate.  They are delighted to sit at a desk, sharpen those pencils, and neatly write out their assignments.  They are eager and say, “Yes, Mommy.” or “Yes, Ma’am.”  They like things to look as school-ish as possible.

Then there’s the kids who look up at you, after you give them a fun and enthusiastic introduction to their assignment and they say: “No.  I don’t want to do that.”  They stare up at you with daring eyes that say: “Make me.”

Ever been there?  Ever have that child?

I have been there more times than I can count.  I have blamed it on curriculum and changed a billion times.  I’ve tried every method in the book.  Here’s what works.

1) Pray.

Pray for wisdom for both yourself and your child.  Remember, the Holy Spirit has access to your child’s heart that far exceeds your reach.  Pray for the right words, the right attitude, and a prepared heart.  Pray for eyes to see every situation as an opportunity to teach what needs to be learned that day, (whether or not it’s on the lesson plan).

2) Rule out learning problems.

I have learned that 90% of the time, when one of my kids says something is dumb, or I’m being mean, there’s a problem they are facing that I can’t see.  “The issue is not the issue” is a phrase I learned at a camp where I used to work.  It’s usually dyslexia is rearing it’s head, or they can’t see the page and need glasses, or they just plain forgot how to do it and don’t want to get into trouble and will misdirect.  Learning disabilities often look like laziness, because the kids don’t always know that the problem they are facing has solutions if you just knew about it.  But they get ashamed and will hide it.  Give them the benefit of the doubt and rule this out.  Doing this also helps you grow as a teacher, as you research left-brained vs. right-brained learning techniques, or exercises you can do together to get over humps in learning.

Edited to add:

Also take into account the maturity of your child.  I think among my circles, the most frustrated moms in this area are attempting to get 4 year olds to spend 5 hours in school to “get them ready.”  School is something fun and optional in our house until about age 7.  That’s the way Finland does it, it’s the way that some of the best minds in education recommend.  So in the early years we focus on quality play and character building.  With this system, some of my kids were reading chapter books before age 7, and some started reading just then, but built some pretty stellar Lego creations in the meantime, and started math 3 years ahead of their peers.  Please, please, please don’t force a little 5 year old to sit at a desk all day long, and when it falls apart say that homeschooling isn’t for you.  Let the kids play, and take into account the amount of work the maturity of your child can handle.  Maturity is one of those things that cannot be forced.

3) Think outside the box.

Do math in the treehouse, and jumping jacks during spelling.  Hold contests, set timers, be silly.  Sitting and writing all day is about the most boring way to learn, and unless your child is that unique one that is wired that way, don’t do it.  There are a million games out there, a million ways to learn and do things, don’t restrict yourself to the most boring, and consider that good teaching.  It’s not doing anyone any favors.

4) Let consequences fall.

This is my personal least favorite, and yet, I find myself back here over and over again.  Let’s say that you started your day with prayer and you’ve worked through the learning issues.  You bought the kid glasses.  You have a fun lesson planned, and the child looks up and you and says, “No.”

It’s times like this that I want to send my child to public school, just to show them that they MUST do school, and all the other kids HAVE TO do school, and while they can do it in a box or with a fox, or in the house with a mouse, they will do school one way or the other.  I have not yet done that, but I’m not ruling it out.

However, this isn’t something you are doing wrong.  This is your child’s choice.  He or she is making a bad choice.  Choices have consequences.  One of the common things our kids miss is the morning snack time.  If their morning work isn’t done by 10am, then they don’t get their snack.  Turning in your work is your meal ticket.  The same goes for lunch.  Sounds mean, but if you don’t work, you don’t eat.  If your afternoon work isn’t done, you have to stay in your room until it’s done while the rest of the family gets to go outside and play.  Family movie night?  That stinks.  Your work isn’t done, so you’ll have to be in your room while the rest of us who did our work enjoy the movie and eat popcorn downstairs.

Nothing gets me worked up as a mother, and flares my temper more than my child feeling entitled to all that is around him/her.  

I plan lots of fun things.  I want us as a family to work hard and play hard.  But when you don’t work, you don’t get the reward.  Plain and simple.  School is their job, just like teaching is mine.

I have found that the child will quickly shift blame to me when this happens, as though I’m just being mean.  The more in control I am with my emotions, the more I can get the message through that they have bad consequences from their bad choices.  The more you remove bad consequences, the more entitled they will feel.  Let the punishment fit the crime as often as possible.

This is hard because it will effect the whole family.  Sometimes the family has to stay home from a field trip because one child is making a bad choice.  Sometimes you miss out on date night because one child is acting up.  Sometimes you miss out on your down time because they finally come to their senses when you finally sit down with a cup of tea.

The fact is, it’s not just a bad choice, it’s sin.  Sin hurts other people.  Their sin is hurting you, and others, and as a family, we have to pray for a forgiving spirit.  You can try to contain that hurt as much as possible, but the fact remains: sin hurts others and yourself.  It never just hurts yourself.  When your child sees that, it will make a lasting impact as well.

5) Grab a leadership partner, outside the home.

Our kids’ Tae Kwon Do instructor is amazing.  I have sent her desperate texts more than once, and she has spoken with my kids more than once.  Other parents have a Sunday School teacher, or baseball coach or piano tutor that their child really respects.  When you and your spouse are pulling out your hair, wondering if you are actually crazy, and why can’t you get through to this kid, grab another adult that your child respects to chime in.  Whether it’s a psychologist or pastor, let them know that work is not optional is a universal concept, not just one in your home.  Concepts like respect should be consistent in all of your child’s activities.  When your child sees that work is not only necessary to get the perks in your home, but it will start effecting their baseball, their dance, or their gymnastics, they often snap out of it.

6) Weep with those who weep.

While movie nights and participation in sports is conditional in our home, love is not.  It’s so important that my kids know that my love for them is unconditional.  However, they will try to convince me that love means that I will do whatever they want and make their life easy and perfect.  That’s not love.  We must teach them the definition of love from a Biblical perspective, not a feel-good (feelings) perspective.  When my child is crying because he/she doesn’t want to do something, I will come beside them and hug them, saying I know it’s hard.  When they have to stay home from something because they couldn’t get their work done on time because they refused to do it for 3 hours, I will cry with them.

I remember what it felt like to realize that I failed a test, or I didn’t get my homework done in time.  It’s this pit in your stomach, and you feel awful.  When what you did sinks in and the shame is overwhelming, it’s amazing to have someone next to you, with their arms around you saying “This stinks.  But I will walk it with you.”

This is will make blaming you for their choices nearly impossible.  It solidifies in their mind the fact that their choices produce good or bad consequences.  It also solidifies that you will love them and be there for them through thick and thin.  You will be there with them in the movie nights, and you will be there with them when they are grounded in their room.

Once, a child of mine was sent to their room after mouthing off to us after they realized that their misuse of time would prevent them from going to a birthday party.  There were many tears.  I brought them up their supper on a tray, with a little flower on it.  I brought them their food, and said at the door, “I thought you might be hungry.  I know this is a huge disappointment.    I’ll be available downstairs to help you finish so that tomorrow can be a fresh day without you being behind.  I hate it when I realize that my laziness has cost me something too.  I know what you’re going through.”

Weep with them.  Comfort them.  That’s completely different than removing all consequences.  It’s walking through consequences with them, and takes them completely off guard.

Walking through it with them will cost you something.  It will hurt sometimes.  Let’s not forget that love = sacrifice, and laying your life down for another takes many forms.  However, this love and compassion is one of the most powerful forces on earth.

No education would be complete without it.

Family Day

There are somethings that are important, and yet they never make it to the calendar.  I want my kids to know where they come from, know why certain traditions are important, and understand that their lives are part of a bigger picture than just them as an individual.

Enter: Family Day.

It’s an idea I grabbed from The Life-Giving Home book.  The idea is to take one day a year as a family and reflect on your family history, share stories, pour over photo albums and scrapbooks, and end the day with taking your own family pictures.



Ours didn’t go quite according to plan, but it was worthwhile nonetheless.

I scheduled our family pictures, but due to the fact that my kids are covered in mosquito bites at the moment, I decided to delay.  Our photographer was dealing with some sick kids too, so it all worked out.

But I decided to press forward anyway.

Then Knut said that he couldn’t get out of farm work that day, but I decided to press on anyway.  In hindsight, I should have delayed for the weekend, since the photographer was the main appointment on why I had picked that day.  But at that point, I had already arranged to meet with various grandparents, and I didn’t want to rearrange all of that.

The day started out with a big showdown between Knut and one of the kids.  This kid was having a meltdown, and Knut was desperately trying to hold him/her together so I could have this big day I had planned.  I finally told him to just go to work, and let this child figure out that they were missing out.  We just started without.  About an hour later, the child joined us as was fine the rest of the day.


So while that was going down in the kitchen, the other kids and I were up in my bedroom, where I have a little cabinet filled with all the family trinkets, awards, albums, etc.  I just brought out all the scrapbooks and photo albums and the kids spread them out all over the bedroom, and were asking questions.  I was answering the questions with stories, and the kids were getting more and more delighted.  The giggles and laughter are what brought the cranky child back to us (after their morning chore was finally completed).


We did face-time with my mom down in Arizona, and she shared stories of when she was growing up in Japan as a missionary kid.  She talked about the 12 hour train rides alone to her boarding school in Tokyo, and how lonely she got.  She told some funny stories too.  When they were recently up here, she was nearly non-stop storytelling.  My kids love a good family story.

After that we drove over to Knut’s parents house, where my mother-in-law had surprised us with a gorgeous tea-party laid, and told the kids about the time she broke her wrists as a preschooler, and how they would dress up their kitties.  After our snack we went to another table, where there were photo albums and she told us story after story about the people that she remembered in them.

We went home after that, had some lunch, and had our quiet time.


After quiet time, we headed out to Knut’s paternal grandfather who is now 100 years old.  His mind is still as sharp as a whip, though he can’t see much anymore.  The kids gathered around him, and he shook all of their hands with a big smile on his face.  The kids asked him questions.  We learned one of his chores growing up was helping his dad milk their 12 cows.

Silje has been learning to play the violin.  This last year she grew into a full sized violin, and as Knut and I have been debating whether or not we should rent one, or if it would be smarter to buy her one, a cousin of Knut’s offer to let Silje use the old family violin (that officially belongs to him) until we decide.  He was excited to have the instrument be used again instead of in storage, as instruments are made to be played.  This family violin is a bit beat up, but still gorgeous.  It belonged to the father of this 100 year old grandpa that we were visiting.

So we asked him where his dad bought the violin.  Did he bring it over from Norway?  He said that his dad purchased the violin in Minneapolis…for $15.  When we got home and told Knut that, he wondered out loud how big of a splurge that must have been.  He wondered what that would be compared to the price of a plow back then.  Next time we go into visit Bestefar, we’ll have to ask him how much a plow would have cost back around the time the violin was bought to get a better idea of the extravagance of such a purchase.

Bestefar, (that’s what Knut calls him.  The kids call him “Oldefar” which he prefers they do.  It’s Norwegian for “oldest grandfather” or “great-grandfather”) well he got to hold Bjorn for a few minutes, and spoke to him in Norwegian for a bit.  Since family members who speak Norwegian better than me weren’t there, I had to ask him for a translation.  Basically he was telling little Bjorn that he had gotten so big since last time, and he thought that he was going to grow into a big, strong man like his father.

After that we went to visit Knut’s grandmother on his mom’s side this time.  She lives in a different nursing home.  We were so blessed that she was very alert and able to talk that day.  Many times when we visit her, she’s so confused that she can’t speak, or she will start the first few words of a sentence, and then get lost, and when she realizes she’s lost, she gets frustrated or sad.  Sometimes she doesn’t talk back at all.

When we showed up, she was alert, and greeted the kids.  She was able to answer so many questions that they had.  I haven’t seen her this good in months, so I felt like that afternoon was just a special blessing from God for our special day.

I was able to draw some family trees for the kids, so they could learn who their cousins were and who their second-cousins were, and how to tell the difference on the family tree.  I was going to do more with them, but I was getting tired near the end of the day.

It wasn’t a physical tired, though I know I have reason for that.  I wasn’t expecting family day to be so emotionally exhausting.  


It didn’t occur to me that looking at pictures of people I have loved who have died, and holding tender gifts from family members I haven’t seen in many years, though they are still alive, thinking about my nieces and nephews who I haven’t seen in over a year, living so far from my family who were just here visiting me.


It was all emotionally exhausting.  I cried more than once.  Once in front of the kids because it just spilled out.  2 all out cry-fests when they were resting.  When you grow up in a broken home, or when people you love have passed away, even recalling the good stories can bring tears.

And yet, I don’t regret it.  

Family day was one of the best things I think I have done as a mother, and I hope to make this a yearly tradition.  There were so many stories we didn’t get to.  I feel like we just scratched the surface of all I wanted to do.  Talking about loved ones who are gone, sharing both the good stories and the bad, so there’s a balance to their perception, was so rewarding.  So deeply hard, but so rewarding.

I can’t wait to do this again next year.  Hopefully with time, I will be able to pull off a Family Day without crying.  It was probably a good thing I rescheduled the family pictures that night!

Maternity Leave

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I think my family is finished with me recuperating.  Knut put so much on hold the weeks before Bjorn’s birth, to make sure I was okay.  I had trouble walking after his birth, until I finally got in with my chiropractor, and moving my left leg (something was pinched those last few weeks!) is now easy.  Our church generously sent out meals all of last week.  Tomorrow Bjorn will be 2 weeks old, and I think my so-called maternity leave is over.  Well, I still have some help.  Knut’s mom has still been helping when she can with getting the kids to their activities.  I’ve been so grateful for all the chauffeuring duties she has taken over for me lately.  I don’t feel ready to take care of 6 kids and their varying needs quite yet, but like all things motherhood related: ready or not, here it comes.

I spent a lot of last weekend organizing all of the school things.  I picked which books we would use earlier this summer, and they have just been scattered about the dining room table.  Books the kids picked off the shelf and read for fun were just stacked haphazardly in the general school shelf area.  The school supply cabinets were one of those stuff-really-carefully-and shut-and-lock-the-door-really-fast-so-stuff-doesn’t-fall-out areas.  As messy as it gets, organizing it all gives me a special thrill at the end of every summer.

It gives me this big rush that fuels my heart and reminds me: I can do this!

We will be starting school August 1st this year.  Last year we didn’t start until October, (after canning/gardening season ended) and that didn’t work as well as I had hoped.  I’m playing around with start dates each year, to figure out what I like best.  Since we didn’t do much for a garden this year because of Bjorn’s birth, I’m starting in August because I don’t have a massive amount of canning to do right now as I typically do.  Understanding that having a newborn in the house will make our days somewhat unpredictable, I’m wanting a good cushy buffer to our school days.  I figure if we start a month earlier than usual, I will have more days available during the school year that I can declare a “free day” so I can just rest.  I see many “free days” in our future.

I’ve also jumped on the “bullet journal” train, and have organized all the kids’ school things in a bullet journal for the year, and plan on tracking all of their things that way.  I’m having way too much fun with rainbow colored pens and Washi tape.  Tread Pinterest on this idea at your own risk.

My parents will be here for a week in August too, to meet our new baby.  I’m hoping that we can do some school when they are here, just so my they can see what we do for school.  However, I don’t plan of full days, and actually have it planned as vacation days on my school calendar that I made up.  So if we get things done, great.  If we don’t, oh well.  At least my kids will be in a sane, routines-in-their-days state once my parents get here.  At least, that’s my theory.

Bjorn is proving to be my most laid back baby ever, which as made this recovery pretty easy overall.  He loves sleeping, doesn’t care about the noise, is a great eater.  I’m usually the one waking him up at night to eat after 4 or 5 hours because I’m overflowing with milk, and he’s just sleeping soundly.  I’m turning into one of those pushy mothers who tells her kids, “Eat!  You must eat!”  He’s snuggly, adorable, and easy going.  I see his face getting rounder by the day now.  He’s exactly what you would hope a 6th child would be.  I’m feeling utterly spoiled by him.  I can’t take my eyes off of him, and neither can the kids.  He has many adoring fans.


Since Bjorn was born, Ingrid has felt that now is the time she wants to be potty trained.  Of course, since that’s exactly (not) what I want to be doing as I’m recovering from birth.  We’ve been trying to get her with the program for over a year now.  She’s been digging in her heals about the whole idea, and I haven’t had the energy to fight her on it.  Now that she’s officially a big sister, she told us she shouldn’t wear diapers anymore, and potty training has been getting some real traction.  She’s not totally there yet, but having her on board with the idea has made it so much easier.

I wish I could take more of a leave.  I wish I didn’t have to remind people in my house that I’m still actually recovering even though I’m up and walking around now.  I wish my children would just play nicely and not destroy things or fight, and not need to be potty trained, and fed multiple times a day.  I wish I had more energy, and that I had better control over my moods and hormones right now.  I wish Knut had unlimited time off, and wouldn’t get antsy or fidgety and have all these ideas for projects, building, and socializing out in the world as much as possible before harvest descends upon him, and he’s locked into work non-stop for months.

But this is life, and while it’s imperfect, I love it.

Teaching Time Management

I should say upfront, that I have no idea what I’m doing.

That goes for a lot of what I do in parenting/homeschooling.  But I know what I’m trying to do, and I think that counts for something.

I’ve been working for months on trying to teach my kids time management.  It’s practically become a school subject.  I think the hardest part is getting myself better at time management, so that I can be a good example.  The trouble with that is I have 5 kids who are constantly interrupting what I feel I “should” be doing.  My kids do get disrupted by their younger siblings, but for the most part, I act as the gatekeeper, and keep them away while they are working on their schoolwork.

This also has been connected with our New Rules that I wrote about awhile back.  My kids waste time and then somehow it becomes my fault.  It annoys me.

Part of the difficulty with this, is I hold to 2 strong beliefs about parenting: 1)Parents should set them up with healthy habits from the beginning, 2)Natural consequences work better than all other kinds most of the time.

Because we have so many diverse personalities, challenges, and goals with our kids, I have found that routines work better than schedules.  Some of my kids need lots of breaks in school.  Some don’t.  They are all different ages and abilities.  To make some kind of defining-across-the-board-rule is tough.  I want them each to excel where they are at.

So the goal: make them want it.

Make them want to manage their time well.  Help them to see the value of managing their time well.

Because if I know anything about my kids, it’s that they are passionate, stubborn, ornery people, and if they want something, they won’t quit.  So get them to want it.

Enter: natural consequences.

Oh, this is the painful part.  I’ve been working overtime, trying to get through to my kids about this.  The hardest part is doubting whether or not my kids are mature enough for this lesson.  Am I trying to teach it too soon?  This is what Knut and I debate about.  Should I still be ultra-controlling of their schedule, so that they don’t miss out on anything fun, or should I hand some of the responsibility over to them, risking that they may misjudge and miss something fun.  I don’t know.  But I know I feel compelled to try.

Here are some things I have found to be helpful in teaching time management:

  • Have a printed routine on display for all to see.  Let them know the plan for the day.  Some of my kids have a daily assignment book.  My job is to make sure that everything on this list is done.  Allow them the freedom within this routine.  Our routine is loose with lots of white space so that I don’t let them fall behind, but they have the freedom to move ahead faster if they’d like.  Do they want to take 10 hours to finish their list with lots of breaks?  OK.  Do they want to get up early, take no breaks and push to have all their playtime at once?  OK.  Did they finish their math early, and do a good job?  Well, then I tell them, “You can have free time until the next item on the list.  You can choose to use this free time to work ahead in other subjects, or you can just go play if you like.  I’ll call you when we’re starting up the next thing.”
  • When they get distracted because of daydreaming, or whatnot, because I was working with a different child in another room, I don’t shame them for that.  Just say that they’ll have to work it into their schedule later in the day.  Point to that part of the routine where they can work on their reading, or writing, or whatever it is.  Just say, “You chose not to work during this work time.  So you’ll just have to work during your play time later.  The only time I see is right here.  Do you see a different time on the schedule today you’d like to do it in?”  This is where it gets hard.  Sometimes they have to give up something they really wanted to do in order to finish what they should have done.  Teach them that the more white space in their day, the more wiggle room they have for goofing off.
  • Start a list of “fun things I want to do” when they mention it.  “Hey Mom, can I work on a sewing project right now?”  “That sounds fun!  But you have science on your routine right now.  Can you find a good spot on your schedule to put in sewing?  Put it on your list.  That way, when you are trying to figure out what you want to do someday, you can have a list waiting for you.”  If your kids are like mine, their list will get insanely long.  They want to build a treehouse, train the dog to do something, explore the woods, ride their bike.  Put it on the list.
  • When the kids want to do a new, regularly scheduled activity, like instrument lessons or sports, we look at the schedule, and look at the list.  I find myself asking them a lot, “What on your list are you willing to give up in order to fit in this activity?  Remember you don’t have to give it up forever, just as long as you are in this other thing.”  This is painful for them.  They don’t want to give up anything.  Ever.  Do they want another animal?  Great!  Let’s talk how it will be paid for, and where in the schedule they plan to care for it daily.  What are they giving up to do that?  Free time?  Play time? Instrument time?
  • Teach them to schedule in white space.  I remember my mom had a rule when we were growing up that we needed at least one night a week at home.  I remember being so mad about that as a teen, because there would be something I’d want to go to, but it was the last white space on the calendar that week, so I knew it would be a “no.”  As a mom, I’m stricter than my mom.  I require 2 white spaces a week on the calendar, at least in the afternoon/evenings.  That’s partially because we have so many littles still in the house who just need to be home and taking naps, and not constrained in carseats constantly.  2 white spaces a week for my older kids teaches them to respect the needs of others, as annoying as that lesson is for them.

Part of our difficulty in this lesson is that I require these 2 open spaces a week because I’m an introvert too.  My husband does not require these 2 spaces a week (or at least won’t admit it yet) and so he will book his schedule more full than I’d like, and take the kids out on days I have marked blank.  The thing is, that’s ok too.  It’s good to be consistent, but it’s also good to recognize the personalities of each parent.  Each one is important, and one should not trump the other.  The kids go on way more adventures because their dad takes them when I have no more energy to do so.  I will often stay home with the little girls and enjoy peace and quiet on those times.  That’s our usual compromise.  But I’ve also learned to let my husband know, “You can, but I’d advise against it.  The kids are exhausted and this is their rest day.  So take them at your own risk.  Tomorrow they have to do _______ and you’re risking a meltdown then.”  I don’t (and shouldn’t) control him as a dad, but he deserves a good “heads up.”  Communicating the kids limitations to him is part of the equation.  Letting him be a dad and make his own decisions is part of the equation.  I have to live within my limitations, but that doesn’t mean that everyone else has to live here in them too.

But this does require a lot of conversations, and negotiating back and forth in our marriage…which also makes it tricky to teach the kids.  Tricky…but realistic.  They might someday be married too, and need to know that time management does not always revolve around them, but it’s a give and take.  I think when we work to make a lesson perfect and easy for kids, we are setting them up for an unrealistic view on life.  All those complexities make the lesson so hard, but it makes the lesson that much more important.

These are all things I have learned, but it’s been a road.  It’s still a road we are traveling, not a place we’ve arrived.

I feel like I constantly frustrate people in my family by pointing out that our time is finite.  We can’t just shove it full and hope it works.  To live with integrity, and keep our word, we have to recognize our limitations.  I say often, “I am not God.  I did not invent time, nor do I control it.  I’m just asking that we live within it’s limits.”

To live with integrityand keep our wordwe have to recognize our LIMITATIONS-3

That’s not to say we will always have these limits.  I want everyone in my family to grow and mature, and get a greater capacity to do more things.  But we can’t live outside reality.  We have to work to grow it, not just wish it.

My kids will miss activities sometimes because of their poor time management.  That’s really painful for me to see, but I let it happen.  I let it happen.  Who let’s their kids miss out on fun stuff?  Me.  Who lets the kids feel the consequences of a job poorly done?  Me.

They will have to opt out of some things that are fun, but not important enough to them to give up something they already do.  I do get a lot of flack for this outside our home too, because as you know, my kids are homeschooled.  Therefore, if I keep them home to finish their schoolwork, chores, or commitments, I’m keeping them from the all-important socialization.  I think I frustrate other people that I’m prioritizing learning time management over the mysterious “socialization” that apparently doesn’t happen in my house.  We don’t speak together, play together or anything I guess.

If I had a nickel every time someone who barely knows us says to me, “but you have to let them come out and be with other kids sometime” because I said “no” because we can’t fit another activity in our schedule…

So my kids are annoyed with me, my husband is (occasionally) annoyed with me as his personality loves to be out and about more than mine does, and people outside our home get annoyed with me because of their prejudice against our schooling choice.

Sometimes I feel like training my kids is an uphill battle.

And I don’t know what I’m doing most of the time, or at least know that what I’m doing is working.

But the last few weeks?  I’m beginning to see a glimmer.  I’m beginning to see my kids anticipate the questions I will ask them, and prepare ahead of time their plans, and how the plans will work out.  I see them work ahead in their schoolwork, forfeiting their breaks so that they can do a project on their list that keeps getting pushed back.  I’ve even overheard them tell someone, “That sounds like fun, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do that right now.”  They’re starting to take ownership of their time.  They’re starting to want it.

They’re not there, but I can tell you that seeing them start to want it…

and that’s all the encouragement I need right now.