Thursday, June 4, 2015

Homeschool Craziness

Every time I think I've got it all figured out, something goes haywire. Just two weeks ago, things were calm during school.  I would read stories to my preschooler and work on letters, numbers and fun songs as my older son worked on handwriting, spelling and math.  We did science experiments and acted out history together. My daughter slept peacefully until around 11 and we would be able to swim, ride bikes or run errands.  Now, I'm just doing my best to stay sane.

You see, she has dropped her morning nap.  If she sleeps in the morning, she refuses to sleep in the afternoon until dinner time.  This means, of course, that she is crazy tired and does not even resemble the child I know and love by 4 PM each day.  So I keep her up until 11:30 or 12 and all of our lives are much more peaceful.  Except during school time.

I felt like my head might explode most of last week. I tried to incorporate her into story time but every few seconds she would shriek or scream or close the book or try to rip the pages out.  I would put her down then she would just scream louder.  Not cry.  Scream.  I tried to be patient.  "Honey, use your words.  What do you need?" I would ask.
"MUM MUM!  MUM MUM!  UUUUUPP!!" she would scream as she grabbed at any peice of dangling clothing she could find.  I would dutifully pick her up then try to go back to reading while feeding her a snack to keep her busy.  Just as I would find my rhythm in the story, my oldest would show up with his math book so that I could check it.  "UUUCK!" she would yell, jumping from my arms into her brothers.  "Oh, hi, Go Go (their adorable nick name for her).  You want to play with me? Sure, Go Go.  Come in here," my oldest would say lovingly.
"Wait, bud.  You still have to do the rest of your work."
"But she wants to play, mommy.  Just look at her."
I looked at their hopeful faces and gave in for a minute.  "Okay - five minutes then back to work bud."

I have lost all control.

I scoured Pinterest and the Toddler Busy Book for ideas that would help her feel included but keep her from constantly interrupting. I found some awesome ideas (fill a bottle with ribbon for her to take out and put back in!  Paint with water! Poke pipe cleaners in a colander!) and spent some time Sunday putting together all the components.  I was ready. But, as always, the kids had other plans.

"Oh can I paint?!" my three year old asked as I got out the supplies for his sister.  
"No bud, I..."
"You are painting without me?" my oldest yelled from the other side of the house. He started running in our direction.
"I'm just setting up something for Rosie to do while we do school work."
"But that's not fair at all!" my oldest said.  "She gets to play and do art while we do school??" 
"You can paint a little later but for now I need you to do your independent work guys."
The both dropped their shoulders and huffed to let me know their discontent.  I handed the paper to my daughter and she threw it on the ground.  I wasn't going to be swayed. 
"Want to paint, love?  Here, let me show you!" I picked up the paper and tried again.  She laughed as she ran the wet brush over the page.  "Good girl!  Now are you ready for story time?"
I put my three year old in my lap and picked up the book.  "There once was..." CRASH!  I jumped and looked over at my toddler who had dumped an entire bowl of water all over the floor.  

Sometimes, we are just not the ones in charge.  Sometimes our very best efforts are thwarted by the tiniest people in the house.  I realized today that there's nothing wrong with crumpling up my plans every once in awhile and letting the day unfold.  I don't have any answers as to how to make homeschooling with a spirited toddler work better, but God will show me in time.  In the meantime, I will just do my best to love and teach my kids. And give control back to God....

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