Tuesday, November 1, 2011

So how do you like homeschooling?

It's inevitable. You mention to someone that you homeschool your kid(s) and they respond with, "Oh, really? How do you like that?" I know that most don't do it intentionally, but for some, you swear you see a gleam in their eye hoping to catch you lying when you say you love it.

Really, it's a lot like any other job, there are good days and bad days; anyone who tells you different is delusional. The key for me is starting to figure out what the bad days have in common, there are usually triggers. I'm the first to acknowledge when the triggers come from me. I'm in a bad mood, my back hurts, there are issues with parents or in-laws in the back of my mind. These days make me short with my daughter, and some of her sense of humor or, "I just want to have fun" moments are not well tolerated. I'm also adept at seeing patterns based on known issues in her life as well, how much sleep she's getting (she'll deny it's a factor), how well she ate breakfast (she'll deny it's a factor), how her mood reflects mine, and a lot of other things that while somewhat controllable, are starting to fall under her influence, not mine.

Last week, we had a run of really good days. There were still bumps, but overall the attitude was productive. She made progress, and more importantly, KNEW she was making progress, and on her own was able to identify some of the factors that helped her. We were on a roll. Then this week I threw my back out. I couldn't teach well between the actual pain and the chiropractor visit. Today instead of bouncing out of her top bunk at 8 ready to "get school over with sooner and make her free time longer," like last week, I was in her room every 20 minutes from 8:30 to 10AM. I tried to give her some slack due to last night being Halloween. But enough is enough, right? Finally at 10:30, I couldn't prod her with false cheer any longer. I had to resort to the parental "yelling and threats" ... I heard martyr mom words coming out of my mouth. I heard self-fulfilling prophecies of doom. I was frustrated with myself, because I was "failing" again. And yes, my back still hurt.

This is the biggest pattern. One bad day leads to another. One good day *usually* leads to another, but a bad day really tends to build on itself. A day where she consciously (or not) realizes we don't accomplish all we set out to do seems to make it OK in her book that we don't accomplish things. I really don't want to keep being the ogre mom, but ... I can't keep her in at recess, I can't take a school cupcake party away, I'm running out of things that can be consequences without actual punishment.

So this week.... yeah, today is a day I glimpse the yellow bus drive by and think, "there but for my stubbornness go I."

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