Deep breaths

Wow. I almost forgot how to log in here! It’s been a loooong time since I’ve been around these parts. At first I felt I was done telling my story, then I got out of the groove for a while. Then I started having ideas of things to write . . . but didn’t write the ideas down so promptly forget them. Today I feel the pull of writing, the fun of it, again. So, here I am – you lucky, lucky people. 🙂

We’re 3 1/2 weeks into home schooling. Whew. Some days are ah-may-zing. Like the day Sarah spontaneously told my mom germs are in the kingdom Monera. Or when all three kids told me that horseshoe crabs are in the kingdom Anamalia. (I had to ask the biologist who was giving the presentation about that – and they were right!)

The day John, Sarah and I were learning about dialogue and how to write it. That afternoon while playing with Barbies/Pollys/Legos, John yelled, “That’s dialogue!” And the days John begs to do math, Sarah does pages of her Explode the Code reading book without prompting, Violet wants to spend more time reading articles on China and completing her notebook pages. Ahhh, incredible!

Some days . . . meh. We get through the day, our work gets done and I don’t watch the clock, wondering how long is long enough to work.

And some days . . . holy crapola. Like the day John argued with me for a full five minutes that tigers belong in the kingdom Plantae – the kingdom for plants. At the five minute mark he looked away and smirked and I realized he was messing with me the entire time.

As he stood up I heard him say, “A tiger is an animal. That’s Anamalia.” My head exploded. That was the same day Violet decided that it was time to ’test her boundaries’ by throwing her body around the school room While we were doing math she stood up – on the chair- and sat on the back of it. While I was reading out loud to them she shoved her bare foot close to my face under the guise of ‘I need to stretch.’. When reading their journals to me, she pulled up a chair and hung upside down from it.

This was also the day Sarah declared that she was, in fact, not going to work. She was going to play in her room, thank you very much. I was caught between soldiering on in order for them to learn that I am both mom and teacher – and yes there are boundaries- and wanting them to like homeschool, to understand that they have more freedom here in some respects and it’s great to be comfortable while learning.

I soldiered on.

Today was . . . a combination of all three. Violet and I battled it out a bit about her throwing her body around still and doing the absolute bare minimum required of her at all times. (This was not the kind of student she was in public school, so it’s even more frustrating.) We started a new chore system that I think is really going to work – Managers of Their Chores. It took a lot of time to set it up, but it feels good.

That being said, in order for it to be successful I have had to step back and realize that 1) I have to actually teach each step of each chore. This means that today I ‘taught’ Sarah to wipe down the downstairs bath by verbally telling her each and every step to do. “Take the soap and scrubber off the sink and put them on the toilet lid. Spray one or two times. Wipe it all down – the faucet, behind the faucet, around the outside. Put the soap and scrubber back.” and on.

I did this with each child for each chore. I’m fried. And 2) My version of ‘done’ needs to be taught to them. No, they cannot see me clean a bathroom for 10 years and just know how to do it. That being said, they are children. And while I’m teaching them to successfully complete their chores, it’s probably not going to be “Mom” clean. And that’s ok.

So, it’s going well. We have moments were I know, without a doubt, that I’m teaching them everything I need to and they are doing it well. We also have moments where I’m looking at Violet’s math and my eyes are swimming at the odd functions I’m supposed to do. But then Violet will jump in and help John with his math while I figure her’s out and the sun shines and angels sing.

Then Buck runs in and steals a magnet we need for handwriting and chews it up. But then Sarah will write 10 sentences in dialogue and descriptive sentences, and the assignment called for five sentences. So the angels sing and unicorns trot threw the room. Then Violet realizes she’s lost her chore pack – which she has had for two hours – and I put my head down and pray.

I guess that means it’s going normal. We’re trying to find balance and on a small level I think we’re getting there.

Oh. I almost forgot! We have been learning about and visiting caves. When we came home from our last trip the kids made a massive collage of all things cave. Post cards, definitions, drawings. We talked about all the features of caves. For instance, how do you know if a stalactite is ‘active’ or ‘inactive’? Active ones are still wet – water is still dripping from it, therefore the creation of it ongoing.