January 7, 2010

Homeschool Days 1/7/10

"There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm."
~Willa Cather

I hope I keep a pretty positive tone on this blog. I want to try to remember all of the good parts of our days when I look back, but we have our fair share of difficulties too. I thought I'd shake things up a bit and write about the frustrating transition back to our routine. But first, it's important to note that during our time off in December, Robotson had no school and no chores. I learned some things about my own happiness during those weeks: I enjoy cleaning the house, it was pleasanter not having to nag anyone to help me, and house cleaning burns a ton of calories. I began to wonder why I would want to start up with our previous routine.

But I did...sort of. When Robotson and I returned to schoolwork on the Monday after Christmas, it was a fairly productive day. Tuesday we went to the playdate, and Wednesday it all anarchy. The girls were needy, Robotson couldn't concentrate, and I was frustrated. This went on into Thursday. I gave up trying to get back on track until the weekend.

The first thing I did Saturday was sit Robotson down to talk about the chores. I told him that I'd felt happier just doing them myself, and explained what I wanted him to learn by doing chores: how to do them properly and to be helpful around the house. Together we agreed (using Method III) to try something different. He is going to take full responsibility for cleaning up after himself, with gentle reminders from me as needed. That includes cleaning up after meals, putting things away when he is done with them, doing his own laundry, and cleaning his room. In addition, he picks one chore each week to help me out. Hopefully this will help me accomplish my goals, while reducing the push back from having daily chores.

With that conversation done, we tried to move on to reading, but it was constant interruptions. Sunday bombed as well. By Monday, I was getting uptight because it felt like we'd wasted a week. I put my foot down and managed to squeeze in three good hours of school and chores (it was Robotson's choice to do his weekly chore on Monday). On Tuesday I woke up sick and grumpy. Wednesday I felt worse but we had book club, and then we went out to eat. When we finally got home I wanted to talk about the Foundation Beyond Belief, but the kids wanted to watch t.v. or play on the computer. I lost my temper and spent the rest of the night feeling terrible.

Here it is Thursday. I wish I could say I was all better and we had a productive day. I wish I could say that Robotson actually cleaned his room and did his laundry like he said he would. I wish I could say were were back on track, but it's snowing (why on earth is it snowing in Georgia?) further messing up my plans for the week. So that's where we are, but I want to end on a more positive note.

At dinner yesterday we were discussing Spirit, the rover that is currently stuck in a sand trap on Mars. Robotson has come up with several rescue plans including sending a person to Mars to free Spirit, and then bring it home. He can't stand the idea that the rovers may be stuck there forever.

I have to remind myself that learning doesn't just happen when Robotson and I are sitting down, free from distractions, reading and looking things up. Learning happens all the time, and that's a really good thing.


  1. Tough week. I hope things will go better from now on.

  2. :) I'm about to write about this same feeling on my kids' blog. How funny. I'm trying so hard to reshape the picture of what learning means. I am by no means an unschooler but I am trying to find some kind of balance so that we're not just doing school at home. That's not my goal.

    Hugs to you and hope you have a better week. Wish we lived closer so we could do some playdates!

  3. I've had weeks like this too! I like what you said at the end though, your upbeat thought. Learning happens all the time. And lucky for us, and for our kids, we are around to answer the questions when they have them, to break free of the day's plan when something that sparks an interest leads them (or us) astray or when a new opportunity arises. Not sure how you are planning your talk about FBB, but my kids really enjoyed watching the videos from each of the charities that we chose to support this quarter. I even got fancy and hooked the laptop to the tv so we could watch it on the widescreen. This is something I recently learned how to do and I feel so proud that I have a new computer skill LOL. It was one of those sparked interest moments that turned into a daylong discussion with a 9 year old that I did not expect, but I loved that I was here so it could happen. I think these are the moments where they are really learning something so much more than I could even plan for with my lesson book anyhow. You are doing a great job :)

  4. Thank you all. Our pretend snow really did mess up the day, but at least I got all of our bills paid and the grocery list is ready. The kids were upset that there wasn't very much snow, which led to a lot of bickering so I just turned on the tv and said forget it. I feel guilty, but it's better than trying to work everyone through a dozen petty arguments.

    Ginger-I wished we lived closer too. Hope we both have better weeks ahead.

    Christin-Congrats on figuring out how to connect your computer to the tv. I still let B handle all of that. :) My plan was to show the videos too, but no one cared since they weren't in cartoon format. *sigh* The thing is that I know they really do care, but I didn't set expectations properly and they all came home thinking it was time to play. I haven't tried again since I've been feeling out of sorts. We'll get there.