Okay, but I'm not going to focus on that. Instead, I'll babble a bit about thoughts and solutions:
"Bob" has really hit the early teen "I don't want to work" mode. I'm not like Marva Collins and still haven't managed to be enthusiastic and organized and everything 24/7 (;)), but I see so badly the need to have him believe in himself, to take chances so that he can believe in himself more... He's hit a funk--twirling his hair again, just not interested in doing any type of work, quick to judge others (ESPECIALLY over stuff he does far more than the other person) and so much more. I think I need to read up on parenting/teaching techniques for male adolescents!!!! I'm not his parent, but I'm the next closest thing, which is why I brought up parenting.
I turn back to Montessori thinking at this point and know that she would have had him "out in the real world", doing almost an apprenticeship. That would be perfect. But it's not a possibility, so what's the next best thing? If we had a Montessori Erdkinder here, I'd really, really recommend to his parents that they send him. There's something about him and the influence of the group that would work so well, I know. However, the lacking skills would still have to be addressed at some point, and what stops him from doing them is "I can't do it," "This is dumb/stupid," "Why do I have to do this?" and "This is too hard." I wish Marva or Maria could come coach me! lol.
What other solutions have I come up with? A few possibilities:
- things broken down into subjects/activity-types and timed
- a set routine, with set work and he just moves onto the next thing when he's done the first thing
- a set schedule with large blocks, wherein he has some set work and then fills the rest of the time from some related activities
- daily meetings (more than once, if need be) to discuss the problems (like giving up, leaving the table, going to play/handle something when he should be working, not getting all of his work done, only working about 20-30 minutes or so a day, talking about whatever comes to his mind in the middle of me reading or to somebody else while they are trying to work, getting mad at other people for things he has done just that week). Of course, one of the first solutions that comes to my mind for his lack of work is to have a weekly report that goes home. However, that feels so babyish--he's 13, almost 14. How does that empower him? Make him feel good and want to do more good? If EVERYBODY is doing up reports, then perhaps that'd work. Strange time of year to do something like that, but maybe it's not a bad idea. I'll propose it on Monday, I think. Track each day what's getting done, add some comments, then the reports go to the non-present parents. (So my dd and ds have someone to give the reports to!) This would also help me get back into using Homeschool Tracker! I purchased the program because I love it, got going with it then it just got put by the wayside. It was helpful in doing marks for the oldest for her 1st semester courses, but it'd all be so much better if I could just return to putting things in each day.
My ds is not getting a very Montessori education. He's not getting much of an education at all. He's just so uninterested compared to how dd was, but then again, for ages 4-8, she had a companion to work with. It changes things a bit. Dd's not quite so eager now--things have never been the same since "my" now almost 12yo moved away almost 2 years ago. The two of them fed off each other. I was also different, though, far more immersed in my attempt at Montessori. How I've changed has encouraged things to not quite be up to the level they were at before. I don't have to have it be exactly the same--I know there are many ways for education to take place--but my enthusiasm or something has changed. Maybe just my clear vision. Because I was constantly reading Montessori and similar, I knew where I was going. I don't know so much where I'm going. Oh, sure, I plan things, but are they really related to any larger vision or is it just because I have a focus of having to get things done now? Hm...
The oldest is slowly getting herself "rekindled". A few comments here and there have helped her relax a little about the future (relax in terms of not be focused on what she believes to be inevitable inability to enter medicine) and talking about how she was doing so well in math her first year with me (she didn't even remember that, but now that it's been brought up, I can tell that there's a glimmer of hope in her now that wasn't there before). My task with her now is to keep fanning that spark so that it will burn brighter and brighter!
Enough of my babbling for now. I'd like to get some school work done--start working on preparing a "study binder" for the oldest and work on a country project to show Bob and dd a couple of possibilities on how to do theirs.