Monday, August 10, 2009

1st Day Back to School - take two

Technically we started school back in June; we just didn't continue it throughout the summer like I had planned. I had great intentions of schooling my kids year-round so that their brains wouldn't get all mushy and emptied of math concepts, etc. However, I just did not have the motivation to pursue that lofty goal, so here we are facing our first full-fledged day of education for the '09-'10 school year - AGAIN. I got off to a rocky start (no surprise there). There was this thing I kept doing with the alarm clock - you know, engaging the snooze button multiple times. After finally getting out of the bed, I started the coffee and while that was brewing I prayed. I told God that I just wasn't ready for this school thing. But He reassured me that He has prepared me to do what He has called me to do, so I prayed a few verses of Scripture and then I went to wake up the kids. I cooked them breakfast hoping that would get them off to a good start. They were very appreciative since breakfast around here usually consists of cereal. After breakfast, chores, getting dressed and brushing teeth, we began our lessons. First off - Bible. The lesson, which is the continuation of Revelation, went well. Then we tackled math. That's where it always falls apart. Math is the dreaded subject for my son (Haley's not crazy about it, but she deals with it). It would be amusing if it wasn't so frustrating. You see, as soon as Dawson cracks open the math book, his mind seems to go into a hibernating mode. He gets this glazed look in his eyes and his head starts to bobble back and forth, side to side. All of a sudden he reverts back to his pre-kindergarten days because he no longer remembers how to add or subtract, much less multiply, divide and convert measurements. My daughter experiences the typical after summer amnesia concerning fractions, so while my son is yelling, "MOM! I need your help!", she is also patiently waiting after yelling, "Um, Mom?! Can you help me, please?!" So I've got two different students in two different rooms yelling simultaneously for me to come wave my magic pencil over their heads in hopes that the numbers will start to once again move in choreographed precision. Thankfully I didn't lose my cool today. I just went to Dawson, reminded him that "Yes, you do know what 6x9 is, if you'll just try a little harder to remember. Oh, and keep your numbers IN LINE so that you'll know where everything goes". Then I went to Haley and remembered how much I hated working with fractions, but managed to help her with a few problems; I took a deep breath, and then silently said a prayer of self-motivation, "I can do this". One hour passes. Dawson is on problem, oh I don't know, TWO, and Haley is struggling as well, but has mercifully gotten farther along than her younger brother. However, Haley is doing two lessons a day compared to Dawson's one, so she will have more time to commit. Dawson still isn't near being done after an hour, so I tell him to stop for now, and finish it later, we have several other subjects to do. Reading, spelling, grammar, writing, history, P.E. *sigh* Day one - near completion, and it's only 3:20 p.m. But, that's what happens when you don't get started until nine o'clock in the morning.

I hope I don't sound as if I'm disappointed in my kids, because that's not it at all. I'm very proud of them and thankful for them. It's just that being the sole responsible person for their education is daunting at times and I wonder why God has entrusted such a task to me. This homeschooling thing is indeed a calling. It can't possibly be done without the direction of God Almighty, at least not in my case, and when I have days like today (which is typical) it's all I can do to hold it together. Not because my kids are bad, or at fault, or anything on their part, but because of me and my insecurities and well, my selfish desires, if I'm to be perfectly honest. On the other hand, when I see their faces light up with understanding, I realize what an honor being their teacher is.


Southerner said...

I hope tomorrow goes better. Darryl will play with the snooze button for an hour. I always wake up 1 minute before and turn it off so I don't have to hear it, then get right up. I have never let it go off the whole time in school or working. People say I am a weirdo for waking up happy and ready to talk, too. I got the items I ordered from ABeka today. Instead of ordering 3 test books I ordered 3 test keys. Now I have to pay to send it back and a 10% restocking fee. I have never done an incorrect order before (well, we used to live an hour away so I always drove and bought it off the shelf) This is my 16th year and that is just blowing my mind! I wish I had some advice, but each child is so special and unique. If you haven't tried he may do better with a game format or as much as you can do orally. Some kids have difficulty getting over the hump of coming up with an answer and writing it down. My boys love for me to take addition or multiplication flashcards and I hold them up and they try to beat each other to answer it. The one with the most cards wins. You can take a deck of cards and draw two and you either add, multiply, subtract the two cards. I know that doesn't help with a lot they have to do, but if you can find something to get out of a rut.

Pam said...

I feel the same way about math with my son. It doesn't help that it is my least favorite subject also!
Praying for a good day for you tomorrow.

Brenda said...

I agree that homeschooling has to be a calling. It would not have worked for my son and I. Helping with homework was difficult enough. Math has always been Jeff's weakest subject also. I can relate to your description of Dawson struggling. Every summer I always bought math workbooks for my son to work on to keep it fresh in his mind. Also I'd make sure he read a few books. It had to have helped a little. Hope your year goes well. Keep up the good work, WonderTeacher! :)