Thursday, October 11, 2012

On this struggling day....

Now, I know that you've never had a tough day schooling right? 


Me neither.

I plan my heart out, carefully coordinating which reader goes nicely with our history. 

Then my sweet, literature-hating Thoughtful decides that this book is just too hard!  Forgetting the fact that his last three readers were leveled higher, he gave up. 

tears included, free of charge.

Now, I know that this little story is pulling on your heart strings, and obviously, the Momma should compassionately and patiently help him work through the stumbling block.

I didn't want to.

We were barely into our schooling for the day, which began late by the way.  As I looked at the clock, yet again, and my schedule, again, Thoughtful caught my eye.  He was giving up on himself.

Fine. <deep sigh>

Let's go for a walk.  We have beautiful weather this week, so we might as well soak it up.

In the first few steps of that walk, I realized that my boy was sinking in his frustration.  If I don't tread carefully, he's going to hate reading forever.  Worse than that, I see him disappointed in himself, over reading.  How dumb is that?  Isn't this one of the main reasons that we wanted to home school?  So that we could lovingly encourage our children in their studies, those desired and undesired equally?  yes! 

OK so, walk finished.  All smiles re-entering the house!  Yes, we can get back to it.

Roughly one assignment later, Perfectionist-Spunk's day falls to pieces because he can't draw the perfect grasshopper.

Oh my word!!  Why are my children so dramatic?  Everyone went to bed early last night.  Nobody has had a behavior-triggering food this morning.  What's the deal?  Inside, I'm screaming that I just want to throw in the towel for the day!!!  My fake smile is plastered on my face, while I explain to Spunk, that we can take a picture of his grasshopper, and he can paste it into his notebook.  That is, of course, not the right answer, and tears spring up in his little eyes.

Lunch time.  There are exactly four slices of bread left to fix two sandwiches.  One such piece is the end of the loaf.  Nobody wants it.  In fact, we call it "the butt."  Please don't judge, its a twisted family tradition.  You know you have them too.  Anyway, I make them flip a coin.  Spunk wins, Thoughtful's day is ruined all over again.

After lunch, (we are normally done with assignments before lunch, but on this day, there's plenty left to do), we return to hopefully finish the planned work.

In this moment, I realize there is no saving the day.  I look around, and decide there are still too many books to get to today.

 This stinks!!

I quit.  Not entirely, but no more books.  What can we do to save the day?  Just read-a-louds may, we're past that point.  A HA!  A hands-on activity to the rescue!

So I dug out this 3-D puzzle that I wasn't ever sure we'd really get to, but it fits in with our current dinosaur study.

I buried some of the pieces in a bucket of dirt.

Then the kids had to dig them out with pain brushes and play dough forks.  No hands aloud.  No pulling out the bones until they were completely uncovered. 

They had to work together so they didn't bury each other's found pieces, causing them to start again.

Then they read the instructions to put the whole thing together.

VOILA!  FUN IN A BOX!  And an hour and half killed, smiles return.  School is done.

It almost looks like we had a good day, right?
What did Momma learn today?  Well, I know what I was supposed to learn, but I'm sure to forget tomorrow.  The Type-A thing stinks.  If another Momma was telling me about this day, I'd tell her to CHILL OUT.  Have some peace about your day, and don't sweat the small stuff.  Enjoy your time together. 
But me?  Not so much.  I thoroughly enjoyed our walk and watching my boys work through this activity.  But I certainly didn't rejoice in watching my children struggle today.
What can I do?  I will plan, its in my genes.  I can't help it.  BUT, I can set aside the plans when needed.  It'll be okay.  I know.  I hope that next time, I remember this sooner.
But oh, how far I've come.  I can rejoice in the fact that I showed patience today (even if I didn't feel it).  I did not raise my voice.  I know you're completely shocked that a mother might have yelled at her children out of frustration before, but I'm guilty.  Not this year!
So, thank you, Lord, for holding me together today.  For reminding me of your mercy and patience, that I might reflect your light, and be a better Momma for it!

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