I apologize ahead of time because I'm not sure how much sense I'm going to make... I'll try!
My oldest in 9, 10 next week. My youngest is 3. I would say we are pretty middle-of-the-road unschoolers - RUers would think us too mainstream, mainstreamers think us too radical, heh. ;)
We are having issues with my oldest:
- more interested in playing the Wii than spending time with family
- not wanting to do basic things like have showers and brush teeth
- not wanting to do his piano homework for the class he choose to take
There's other things I could vent about, but those are the biggies right now. :)
And on my side, I am struggling with feeling like I am always running behind and never on top of things, and we are so disorganized that nothing ever gets done. Things we *want* to do we don't even get around to half the time! Let alone the boring stuff like housework! I am not a schedule person, but last week I wrote out a schedule for us for mornings when we are home. My son thought it was funny - "we've tried like 10 things to get organized before and it never works!" - and, yeah, not helping, lol. We haven't managed to follow it fully once. I think I could revise it a bit to be more forgiving of our nature to take things slowly, but I'm not sure it's really the answer.
Thing is, with piano and things like showers, I thought having a schedule or a routine would help him just get them done. I am tired of nagging him. It's not how I want to parent. This morning I asked him to have a shower - we aim for twice a week - because it was due and tomorrow we are leaving the house early so it wouldn't be a good day for it. He refused, saying he'd have one when we got home from being out this afternoon. Well, he hasn't. No big surprise.
With the piano, we aren't hardcore "you must practice your 20 minutes every day!", but I do expect him to put in a reasonable effort and do the written homework his teacher asks him to do. He is not sure he wants to continue with piano, which is fine, but while he is continuing with it, I feel like practicing and doing homework is his part of the bargain.
With the Wii, well, we've always been very relaxed about screen time, not having any particular limits - just talking about issues when they come up. Which I guess is what we need to do now, but I have to admit, I feel like just throwing the damn thing out! He spent 5 hours yesterday on the Wii and the computer (doing Wii stuff) and after I had just spent an hour trying to get his brother to sleep I came downstairs to remind him it's bedtime soon (yes, we have bedtimes) and he asked if he could stay up another hour to play more. I ranted, I admit. :(
I think I'm just tired of talking. I definitely don't want to nag about basic hygiene or piano practice or negotiate flipping screen time. I don't want my job to be the police! But that's the role I'm slipping into... Help!!
Just wanted to add, that part of the reason I wanted to try a schedule/routine, is that I find my oldest often wants to do things at times which are, well inconvenient for me! Heh. Even though every morning we have a general chat about what's going on that day and what we want to do, it still ends up that just as he wants to do x, I want to do y, where y makes doing x very difficult, or vice versa. Somehow our daily chats don't work that out - and as I said before, I'm tired of talking all the time (my dh would probably crack up laughing if he read that!), so just having it set somehow that we do x at a certain time, and y at this time, feels easier to me. Of course, it really hasn't worked out that way so far...!!
Just posting to sympathize. I need to pull my act together, but I know it's not just me. The girls, especially my now-9yo, seem to want to make a schedule: "Showers twice a week. Girl Scout badge practice. Painting on Mondays, baking on Tuesdays."
Reality: first shower, "not now". Two weeks later we really, really need to get in the shower and get hair combed and I become the mean momma because they've gone from wanting to make a routine to ignoring it for weeks.
Brownie badge: "Not now". Weeks later: "I want to earn some Brownie badges". Ack!
Monday: "Painting?" No, not now." Tuesday: "Baking?" "Tomorrow." "Tomorrow we are out all day." "Sunday." "OK, Sunday would be good." "Mm. No."
Two weeks later: "Mom, I think I want to make a schedule for myself. Monday will be showers, Tuesday will be Girl Scout badge day, Wednesday I'll work on my book, Thursday we'll play guitar..."
Anyway, I'm sure you'll get some good advice here.
"Let me see you stripped down to the bone. Let me hear you speaking just for me."
Showers/baths are a big thing around here too, we have dd9, ds7.5, dd3...they all hate to bathe. We are trying to convince them have to at least once a month...lol I honestly think showering too often is not great for your skin, but you do have to clean at some point! We use Enjo clothes and they get spot cleaned all they time, hands and face and feet. Maybe TMI but they often want help with wiping their bums still so I know that area is clean!! We try not to let us bother us too much, when they actually start to stink we may force the issue more.
I get a bit grumpy about the amount of screen time my guys have too, usually when I'm cleaning the house and think they could help out more. Our kids play minecraft hours a day, I think it really depends on the kid on how much time can be spent. My son can handle more screen time than my daughter, she will take a break on her own. Sometimes my daughter gets grumpy when she's been at it too long, my son rarely gets grumpy. They often are running around and playing at some point during the day, that makes me feel a bit better.
I think it will be different when it's not so could outside too, because we are out of the house more so screens are not available. Maybe that will improve when the weather gets warmer.
I know what you mean about a schedule, I am also not a schedule person but I see how it improves things. We have Gymnastics at 9:30am every Wed, that's early for us but they get up without complaining because I remind them the day before and it happens every week. We usually go to a open gym time on Friday mornings which is at 10am and I find if we go weekly the routine to get out the door becomes easier. My hubby was off for three weeks over Christmas and it threw us off a bit. Our schedule is pretty loose and more weekly than daily, but I do notice it affects us positively.
Last year we also got together with our homeschool group almost weekly for sessions, but have not signed up as much this year. It is sometimes a lot of planning and preping....when things are too busy for us it can get to be a bit much and start having a negative effect. This year we see them once or twice a month for more free play time instead of structured class time...like parties or board games...nothing too structured. Or just have people over for playdates. This helps me limit their screen time without actually having ot tell them to get off the computer:)