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January, The Winter Of Our Discontent

2011 January 11
by Pamela

I haven’t deliberately tried to paint a rosy picture about homeschooling, as if everything that happens around here is easy or perfection.

But the truth is that things have been pretty easy.

As I’ve written before, the reasons are varied:  Mary Claire is an eager learner, we have a great support system around for help, I did a lot of research on curriculum prior to starting, and I’m only teaching one child.

Having written all that, it’s January.  And as my good friend and veteran homeschool Mom Susie has pointed out, EVERYONE wants to quit come January.

It’s January, folks.

I’m going to go out on a ledge and say that Mary Claire’s strong suit is not spacial reasoning.  The other day we were working on geoboards, which are basically peg boards.  You stretch rubber bands over the pegs to create designs.  She’s enjoyed manipulating a geoboard to create her own design, but for this lesson she was required to copy eight different patterns from a worksheet onto her own geoboard.

It didn’t go well.

Try as I did, I could not figure out how to get her to see the patterns and replicate them.  To top it off, she became defeated and started in with her usual woe-is-me diatribe:  I’m never going to understand this, what’s the use in trying? kind of lamentation. 

Thankfully Bob was home and he worked with her to complete the lesson, but was not too thrilled with her attitude or the fact that even after an hour, she still didn’t get the concept.

We were both ready to quit.

So I called Susie, my friend that I can count on to talk me off the proverbial ledge.

She gave us this good advice:

1.  Whenever any of us are struggling, it’s time to re-evaluate and pray. 

2.  Ask ourselves, is this a concept that we can temporarily delay until she is more developmentally ready or does she need to understand it now?  Proceed or retreat accordingly.

3.  Bottom line is that the character issue has to be addressed.  Now. 

The fact is that if Mary Claire was learning this concept in a traditional school environment, one of two things would have happened.  She would have either gotten an F on the assignment or her teacher would have sent the assignment home with her and I would have still spent the 1.5 hours working with her on it. 

But as for her character, since her desire to quit only surfaces during school, I might not have seen this area of weakness with her until it was deeply-ingrained.  With me teaching her, I am able to pray for her specifically in this area and nip it as soon as I see it surface.

Back to the geoboards, it is something that we can delay as it isn’t a pivotal part of her curriculum.  And as for her attitude, we are talking a lot about perseverance and patience, how things in life are not always easy.  But we are here for her, ready to hold her hand and walk alongside her, provided she is willing to try her best with a good attitude.

And I am making a point of remembering that God is alongside me, holding my hand through all of this, and expects me to have a good attitude as well.

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One Response leave one →
  1. Nicole Dzikowicz permalink
    February 1, 2011

    Home Schooling seems challenging, but so rewarding!

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