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Like all of you, I'm a number of things to a number of people...Navy wife, homeschooling mama, educated woman and aspiring writer. Read my thoughts on all of it here. Please feel free to leave your thoughts on all of it too!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sunshine and Rain

You might think that this post is going to be about life in the Pacific Northwest, where it can be a clear and sunshiny day and suddenly, from the blue sky, big, fat rain drops will fall! But it's not. That does happen, but it's not the focus of my musings this afternoon.

Today, I'm all about taking the bad with the good. You see, I'm trying to grow some flowers. (Not really...I'm actually trying to grow my children, but let's just keep with the analogy...) In order for them to grow strong and vibrant, they need sunshine and rain.

We've had a little rain lately, in our homeschool garden. Nothing torrential, just some unexpected summer showers. I know things could be much worse. I know the day will come when I'll feel like a tsunami flooded our classroom. So, I am not complaining. I'm just saying that the first three weeks went exceptionally smoothly. This week we've had a few rough spots. That's OK. Sunshine and rain.

So, what's been going on? Each of my three little lovelies has tried to shade homeschooling this week...with a big gray cloud. What I've found, though, is that I'm at peace with our decision to homeschool and, therefore, their clouds aren't a sign of impending doom. Instead, I see them as healthy, nourishing rain that's necessary for our growth. (Maybe you've felt a similar peace at some point...when you know you're doing the right thing and obstacles don't get you down, but become stepping stones.)

Jace is really struggling with math. If he knows how to do it, he's great! He'll zip through that part of the assignment happily and correctly. If he doesn't know it, he'll cry. He'll pout. He'll whine. He'll be completely miserable! And I'm talking complete melt down. I don't want to yell at him because, no matter what, he has to do math. He needs to learn these skills. And I'm his teacher. So, if I can't bully him into learning math, what can I do? Get physical!

His assignment yesterday included writing the number that came before the number given, counting by two's. For example, ____ 44. The answer would be...42. Well done! Jace knows how to count by two's going forward, but was completely stumped going back. Yesterday I worked with him to think about the fact that the tens doesn't change, and the ones digit is either 0, 2, 4, 6, or 8. He trudged through it. But I didn't want to trudge.

So, today we got out of our seats. We took steps forward counting by two's. All over the basement chanting, "2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12..." You get the idea. Once he was really into it and laughing with me, I had him direct me in moving forward or backward. When he said to go backward I counted backwards by two's as well. He loved it! And pretty soon..."Can I try?"

After that he did fine with his math today. I know it won't be the last obstacle we have with him, but I think he enjoyed a new way of learning. He even wanted to walk backward on the street when we took a little stroll before lunch, and counted backwards by two's and five's!

Gracie, has started getting easily worn out and needing frequent breaks. I have yet to figure out if she's trying to get out of things or if she's really tiring quickly. Either way, when her attention span is at it's limit, I give her the break she needs. I get enough tears from Jace, I don't need any from her! However, when she gets a break it's not to go play, it's to do another school thing. She and I work together on most of her actual school work, so when she complains of her arms hurting or whatever...I have her work on a Lego monument, read word flash cards, color by number, something different and that she can do on her own. I take those five or ten minutes to check in with Tyler and Jace and then Gracie and I get back to it!

These little breaks have helped with Tyler too. His rain cloud this week has been needing mommy time. Until now he's been playing well and quietly checking in every now and then. Yesterday he was, as Scott said, "a detriment to learning." He cried and fussed and climbed all over me, "Mama!!!!" But, as I said, I didn't get frustrated with him, just cuddled him more during breaks, played with him more at night, and clearly told him he could not behave like that. I don't know if clearly telling him anything really helped, but today he did better.

Sunshine and rain...and hopefully some beautiful blossoms.

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