A.M. Total of 12. Today finally was the day when Benjamin did not have an AP test. I finally got to run with him for the first time this week. We took it easy because he felt like he was catching a cold last night. I also was aware of the stress of those tests, so we had to adjust the mileage to make sure it did not push him into the red zone from that. This made be appreciate home schooling. We do not have to worry about external academic stress except when it is time to test. This has academic benefits, but it also has general health benefits which translates into running benefits among other things. We give academic stimulus when we feel the child can take it, and in the amount that we feel is beneficial. In running the timing and the amount of stimulus is critical - if you do it wrong you either overtrain or undertrain. I believe the same is true in schooling.
So Benjamin just ran 4 with me and Jenny today, and then 5 more with William. Then I took Jacob for 1 mile, and then Joseph for 2. I learned something about Joseph today, it just came to me. Again, another benefit of home schooling and home coaching at the same time made possible by having a telecommuting job. There is no way I could do those things if I had to be at an office all day - even if the scheduling worked out, the stress would have made it difficult for me to observe those things. We started the run, and around a quarter into it I challenged Joseph to beat Jacob's time of 15:48 from the day before. Eager to prove that he is faster than his younger brother, Joseph accepted the challenge. About a mile into it he started slowing down complaining about a side-ache. But I could tell that it was more than that. Yes, the side ache was making it difficult, but he was not dealing with it right. I let him stop and do a few squats to stretch things out but also for a mental reboot. He when he started running, he was still having a bad attitude, and going a slower pace. Then something clicked, and he sped up. By that time he was a good 20 seconds behind Jacob's pace. He shaved off the difference down to 4 seconds by the end, but still ended up behind with 15:52.
Then it just dawned on me - Joseph has a hard time doing things that require effort and need to be taught how to do it in a special way. Not uncommon for an 8-year-old boy, but he struggles with it more than our other children have so far. A famous quote from him a couple of years ago. Jacob was telling him that he (Jacob) was feeling lazy. Joseph's response: "You are not feeling lazy, you are feeling tired. Lazy is when you have the energy to work, but you do not want to work". We all laughed because we knew Joseph was intimately familiar with the matter.
So I thought of a remedy. It was a non-running remedy but I felt it would benefit his running among other things. I told him to read Benjamin's physics textbook. Joseph objected saying that he had tried and it made no sense to him. Then I knew that this was exactly what he needed. I told him: "When you find something that does not make sense, do not just lay the book aside or read past it. Find me or Benjamin, and ask us to explain to you what that means. Spend more time than 5 seconds fighting with it before you declare that something does not make sense."
The next day later I found him reading that textbook on his own initiative at 9:00 pm in the van while we were coming back from Jenny's play.
Julia ran 3 miles. I added 2.05 at the end on the same Joseph-Jacob nasty course in 11:46.9.