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Put in a 22 hour day yesterday

Ah, the joys of parenting a child with sleep issues.

Without getting into too much detail without his permission, as I mentioned before the time change hit him very hard. Yesterday he couldn’t get up until noon and last night I couldn’t get him to sleep until after 3:30 am. If it were my sleep schedule that went out of control, I’d set my alarm, get up super-early, be tired all day and go to be slightly early. Fixed!

For him, we may be forced to let him stay up all night one night so he can turn himself around that way.

On top of that, we’re squabbling over his assigned reading. I’ve given him a book that’s a second-world medieval-ish fantasy and he’s treating it like a plate of bitter carrots (“It has castles. I don’t like castle books.”)

Aside from the stress of having a fantasy writer’s child refuse to read traditional fantasy [1] there’s also the idea that he doesn’t believe that I, as his homeschooling parent, have the right to assign reading to him (book-length reading, at least). This… doesn’t work for me, as you might expect. If he’s griping about books written for popular readers of the modern era (with fantasy elements, which he loves) how’s he going to respond to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?

Obediently, if I have anything to say about the matter. Of course, it’ll help if he’s well-rested and has been fed healthy food that he likes. We’ll see.

Finally, I got my royalty statement for the middle part of 2010 and… well, those numbers could be better.


Mirrored from Twenty Palaces. You can comment here or there.


( 24 comments — Leave a comment )
Mar. 15th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC)

I am having the same squabble with my 11 year old. He hates the Chronicles of Narnia at the moment but has devoured The People of Spark series.
On the other hand, I cant keep him or 16 year old in the stuff they want to read nearly fast enough.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 15th, 2011 07:48 pm (UTC)
Heh. I never noticed the Christian aspects until I was well into adulthood.
Mar. 15th, 2011 08:04 pm (UTC)
Christian what?

Kidding. I never read them as a kid because they seemed like kiddie books (with their talking animals and all). When I tried them later, I thought they were fun right up to the end of the last book.
Mar. 15th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
I have Narnia on the shelf but haven't put it in front of him. He's already seen the BBC TV show, and I just can't imagine it leading to anything but a fight.
Mar. 15th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
Whatever you do, don't let the book-assigning thing become a battleground. Then you get the equivalent of a literary anorexic, who won't read because it's a means of asserting control.

So maybe right now he doesn't like castles fantasy. It's possible he's only zeroing in on that because he feels you're pushing it (even if you're not pushing it directly, he may sense some subconscious preference vibe coming off you).

I know what I'm talking about. I think I read almost exclusively fantasy because of my parents' clear-but-never-openly-stated dislike for the genre. I think they consoled themselves with the thought that at least I was reading.

My advice is for you to show him five books from different genres and let him choose one. If he doesn't like castle books, maybe he'll like a mystery, or a vampire book, or sports book.
Mar. 15th, 2011 06:56 pm (UTC)
I did let him choose from five different books! He decided that was the best one, probably because it was thinnest.
Mar. 15th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
well at least The Adventures of Tom Sawyer doesn't have castles in it.....

Mar. 15th, 2011 07:15 pm (UTC)
Apparently, being "old time" is even worse than having castles. :)
Mar. 15th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
With Princess Sarah, we have drawn a clear distinction between her "schoolwork" and her pleasure reading. For pleasure, she can choose whatever she likes, even if she chooses something well below her reading level that's the equivalent of a literary peppermint and takes her about that long to consume (lately she's on a Choose Your Own Adventure and Phantom Stallion kick -- a child who reads at 9th grade level and devoured Suzanne Collins and the entire Maximum Ride series in what seemed like mere moments).

Her assigned reading, though, goes on her schoolwork list (if you don't have one of these, I have found it to be IMMENSELY helpful with both kids), and she has to read two chapters per day. Right now she's reading Roger Lancelyn Green's Robin Hood as assigned reading; she has also read Green's King Arthur and a book called Favorite Medieval Tales; upcoming, she has an edition of Tales from the Mabinogion. All of these are books she ought, in different circumstances, to select for herself and thoroughly enjoy -- but because they're schoolwork, there's a certain reticence. I told her she would recognize bits of the Mabinogion from having read Lloyd Alexander -- which she LOVED -- and she shrugged and said she'd rather read Robin Hood first.

If you could draw some sort of psychological distinction for him between pleasure reading and assigned reading, you might meet with more success. One way to do it is to include it with his list of assignments for the day; another is to put an assignment with it -- a written summary, a discussion of the day's reading with you, etc. Princess SArah has a notebook in which she has to write at least a two-paragraph summary of her assigned reading.

That way, when you fight about it, you're fighting not over READING, or what he CHOOSES TO READ, you're fighting over YOUR AUTHORITY TO ASSIGN HIM SCHOOL WORK, which is a wholly different animal.
Mar. 15th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC)
Another helpful distinction-maker for us is that we use a list (the one I use is from ... shoot, what is that book? hold on I have to go to the shelf and hunt it down... The Latin-Centered Curriculum: A Home Educator's Guide to A Traditional Classical Education. So if there's a dispute, we can show her how these particular selections are chosen to fit with, enrich and expand her history curriculum (this year is medieval history).

It just adds another layer of teacher-authority to have that list handy. You can make your own list, or use something you find, but a list can be very useful.
Mar. 15th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
This is what I'm going to have to do, I guess. We have a long-term argument over whether learning is fun or not (it used to be, before he went to school) and I dislike trying to segregate learning and pleasure, but I guess there's no choice any more.
Mar. 15th, 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
Use different words if learning and pleasure bothers you -- "assigned reading" or "school work" vs."self-selected."

The Princess has thoroughly enjoyed this year's assigned reading. Learning is not segregated from pleasure, it's just that they don't always intersect -- and even when they don't, she has to do it.

Right now she and I are fighting over math. She understands how to multiply fractions; what she doesn't understand is the MODEL they use in her textbook to explain the concept to visual-spatial learners. But if she doesn't understand the model, she'll miss those questions on the test, so she has to master it. She hates it, she's mad about it because she understands the material just fine, but I am making her do it anyway.

Parents never go to heaven. We're too mean.
Mar. 16th, 2011 05:21 am (UTC)
I did as you suggested and told him he only had to read two chapters today, rather than finish the book before he starts another (the only proper way to read! Hmph!). He was very happy and cooperative.

Thank you.
Mar. 16th, 2011 01:32 pm (UTC)
Mar. 15th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
wait, is it a kissing book?
Mar. 16th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC)
Mar. 16th, 2011 12:18 am (UTC)
I agree with others, you should make a distinction between "assigned reading" vs "self-selected. I've had the same issues with my son. I finally had to give up the dream of "If he just reads this I know he's going to love it". I insist he do some reading every day that he picks out. At least he's reading something. If I left it up to him I'm afraid he wouldn't do any reading. The assigned reading is really not an option for him to refuse. I try to pick from high school required reading lists so I can show him what he would be doing in school, that way he can see I'm not just pulling this stuff out of the air. If he doesn't cooperate he can go back to public school. Same with all subjects. I'm not saying you should use that method with your son but it works with my kid because I know with absolute certainty he does not want to go back to public school. This really doesn't come up much. I'm lucky that he's pretty cooperative.

His current self-selected reading list: The Inferno of Dante , various Star Wars fiction and The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Mar. 16th, 2011 05:20 am (UTC)
We already have the "then you might as well go to public school" conversation whenever he doesn't want to cooperate, but I always feel bad about it. Mainly because it's a total bluff--the Seattle school district is a disaster right now, and I'd sooner send him to work camp. (At least with work camp we'd get a couple of bucks out of it!)
Mar. 17th, 2011 12:28 pm (UTC)
I understand feeling bad about bluffing since that is what it is. You'll figure out what works to motivate him. I've got to say, he sounds like a pretty smart, cool, creative kid. You're doing something right. Yeah, the Seattle school district is pretty messed up. We were in a pretty good one,Lake Washington school district, but they all try to take any fun out of learning and suck the creativity out of our kids.
Mar. 16th, 2011 11:32 am (UTC)
Kurtzhau won't touch anything with magic in it, but wants stories of adventure, so so much for the Beastquest books. Some progress with this: http://armouron.com/uk/books/

Regarding sleep and books, I try to consider the long and short term objectives. Doesn't matter what he reads as long as he reads for pleasure so that his reading speeds up. Doesn't matter whether he's awake or not, as long as he stays in bed and doesn't mess up our evening.
Mar. 16th, 2011 07:32 pm (UTC)
I'm happy that my son reads for pleasure but he's at the point where he has to be pushed out of his comfort zone, and because he doesn't get assigned reading at school.

As for his sleep, the big problem comes from him being out all day long, making it impossible for us to get anything done, like museum trips or whatever. He's also likely to stay up until 3-4am on his own, when we're sound asleep by 10 or 11. That's too much time alone.
Mar. 16th, 2011 08:19 pm (UTC)
shane [blogspot.com]
Mar. 16th, 2011 02:37 pm (UTC)
I'm curious about home schooling. It's something I frankly hadn't heard of in Australia except for, that is, distance or correspondence education for kids who live in remote areas or have difficulties getting to a school. It is legal in Australia though and as far as I can figure around half of 1% of school age kids home school. Apparently in the US it is around 3% and it seems to be more common.
Because it is so uncommon in Oz and I'd never really considered that there was an alternative to schooling (correspondence is still schooling) why do you think it is so pervasive, compared to Australia, in the US?

As an aside we have the School of the Air in Oz where kids in remote communities attend school by radio (probably internet these days). The history is quite interesting.
Mar. 16th, 2011 07:38 pm (UTC)
I'm not sure why homeschooling has taken such a hold here. It's possible it comes from a general culture of mistrust of state power and community action. My informal knowledge of the history of it suggests it started with creationists and libertarians, but has spread to lefty atheists like me who think the basic format of the institutional schooling is flawed.

When my wife and I talk about moving to another country, we often ask about their homeschooling laws.
( 24 comments — Leave a comment )

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