We gave it our best shot this week – our first real week of home school. We strove to get work done, prove we could work on our own and I looked for signs of autonomy in Katie. Alas, I am WAY too optimistic.
Our consultant, Joy, we great about telling me public school kids need to deprogram. She gave me permission to lighten up and kind of follow Katie’s lead. Our contract meeting went really well and I finally felt like I had the structure I needed to shepherd her through the process. Boy am I insane.
Um, kids are kids. DOH!
What the hell was I thinking? Katie was the same kid this week as she has been every other week I have known her. Absolutely distracted by life, into anything that didn’t require focus or concentration (unless it was Littlest Pet Shops all over the dining room table) and every time I said, “I want you to sit down and get to work,” she had a quick, “just a sec, I just need to…[fill in the blank with anything except school work here].”
By Friday, we were also getting ready to host a big family get together. The first one in probably two years because I am so incredibly bad at hosting parties. So the stress level was high. Everything had to be cleaned – yard, house – food had to be bought and prepared. I was just a little on edge (please read that with intense sarcasm…family members have threatened to leave me by the side of the road because of my intensity around these kinds of events).
And that’s when I lost it.
I flipped out and yelled at Katie to get to work. “I mean it this time,” I screamed. And then I dropped a whole stack of books on the floor to make my point. Things got very quiet. Katie picked up her work and went into the closet. (No, I am not horrible, she had made a little study nook in there and had yet to use it. Suddenly it became a haven.) And out poured the work. Writing, reading, thinking. Holy cow.
I was tempted to howl with relief. The work had been done. But I checked myself. Completing the work was fine but actually, it really wasn’t the point. Neither was my losing it. The point was, she had found a process that worked for her.
In fact, when I asked her why she was able to get it done this time and not before, she pointed out the workspace (yep, the closet) helped her focus. I bet it did. So I congratulated her on discovering a process that helped her be successful (Uncle Gary had sent me this article on praise earlier in the week – while I was already on board with the “don’t over praise” it was helpful to refresh my memory on what to do). Then I asked her to consider using that space in the future to help her hunker down and get the work done. She agreed it might make sense.
So, my reflections on the first week? It’s not going to be easy. There are a bunch of reasons I am loving home school. The stress relief for me is off the charts – no lunches, no homework battles, no morning fights to hurry up and get moving. And we can do fun stuff any day of the week – letting me work on the weekend of that makes sense and play on a Thursday!
But yep, it’s also going to be hard.
Home School POV:
At the family party – which was also a bit of a late bday celebration for Katie – I asked folks to bring something home schoolish. I wanted them to share something they love with her so we could extend our home school reach and involve the whole family. The results were delightful.
One aunt and uncle bought two books – one for them and one for us – and have proposed a family book club. We will go hang with them in October to share our impressions. Another aunt and uncle got her a gift certificate to Michaels so Katie can get some crafts for upcoming projects. Another relative is sending us links to cool content and has offered up some language lessons. Those are just a few examples of the creative ways family and friends reached out. I am glad they are so willing to participate and share!