Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rollercoaster




I knew that I would have to allow time to adjust.  I did not think the emotions that we are feeling would swing so suddenly, completely without warning, from pleasure and peacefullness to anger and hostility.  
Lilah is dealing with the adjustment from a one child schoolhouse to a two child one.  Lilah asked to come home and her adjustment to homeschooling was smooth.  We had some bad days for sure.  She complained about math every single day for three months.  Dispite her aversion to math, she loved being home.  She loved the freedom it gave her, the ability to spend time on things she loves and the quality time we were able to share.  When we spoke of the possibility of Grace coming home she was excited.  Having only one child at home can be lonely at times.  Despite the fact that my girls very rarely play together, she wanted her sister to share her days with.
I think she may have learned early to be careful what you wish for!  Now I have my wish, both girls are home learning together.  But Lilah’s wish is not working out the way I think she had planned.  Lilah cried out today that she wished she never came home so that Grace would never have been curious about the opportunity to come home and maybe it would be better in school. Mind you, Lilah will be someone you see someday accepting a Tony or an Oscar (most likely a daytime emmy) for best female performance in a drama.  Nevertheless, it broke my heart.  
Grace is struggling a bit with adjusting to lessons at home.  This summer we spent most of our learning centered around projects. She loved it.  Now we are back to the basics with spelling, writing, math and history.  She is not so sure about my style.  She feels math is too easy.    I struggled deeply over placing her in a math curriculum.  She did very well in school and scored very high on her Mastery Tests.  What she is doing now is easy for her - it is a review of addition and subtraction.  But the terms they use are new (subtrahand, difference, addend, zero property, etc).  She is not familiar with them.  Today I learned that she excels in computation, but give her a problem like a 3x3 grid with the rows and columns having the same sum and numbers are missing and she drew a complete blank.  She said she does not like “thinking” problems!  What??!!  So I am glad she is having this review, with many quick “thinking problems” thrown in.  What Lilah objects to is the rolling of the eyes, the comments that “this is so easy” or “we don’t do this in school” and “I used to love math, now I think I hate it”.  These are some of the same things Lilah used to say about math but now she has no patience for her sister’s journey of discovery.  Ironically, Lilah now loves math, does not complain and is grasping the concepts she struggled with in the spring.  I do not want Grace to lose her love for math so I have purchased a Singapore Daily Math Problem book to challenge her, even though these are some pretty tough “thinking problems”. 
We lost an hour today to the argument that insued after math.  Lilah stomped off to her cool down place in the attic and stayed there for all of writing.  Grace clung close to me while I tried to explain Lilah’s frustrations.  I told both girls that we need to allow time to adjust and if we want this to work out, it will.  I asked for Grace to trust me with math and enjoy the review.  I promised her it gets hard quick.  I reminded her that when we tried Life of Fred earlier this summer it was a disaster because she did not have a firm understanding of the key concepts.  She will get these soon, units of measurement including metric, which she has never had (or claims to never have had) is the next chapter.  
Once Lilah calmed down she said she did not want to return to school but she does want things to go back the way they were when it was just the two of us.  I explained that this is not possible right now.  We  will figure this out.  We will come up with a way to learn together and try to celebrate each other’s strengths, not point out our weaknesses.  We will treat each other with kindness and respect.  We will help each other when asked and not intrude on each other when not asked.  We will understand we learn differently and figure out how to accomplish our lessons honoring our differences.  We will realize that there are some things we just have to do because the teacher says so but the teacher will always help her students learn what they want to.  We will figure this out because we each want it in our own way, for our own reasons.  
This will be a journey.  Not always an easy one but certainly an unforgettable one.


began a collage for our biography unit: Zlata's Diary





played Harry Potter Wii with a friend

making bath bombs
worked on collage for biography of Jeff Corwin




6 comments:

Karen said...

I have no experience with these problems. It is only Kei. I do know that all my friends HS more than one child successfully and you will too. I totally understand where Lilah is coming from. She was used to being the only one home. We have days that I want to beat Kei. Days when she hates everything! The difference is in PS, they would never say these things to their teacher, but they have no problem saying that to us.

This is your second week! It will work out. It will all fall into place. I have so much faith in you just from reading your blog. Your girls will work things out. Do you have times alone with each every day? Maybe that would help. We have tried so many different things and still are. Schools have had hundreds of years to perfect things and look at how they are doing. You have tried this way for 1 1/2 weeks. You will have to tweak it. Hang in there girlfriend!!!

Theresa said...

Ah, now I know what is ahead for me...my girls are sure to react eventually.

We are all still feeling our way. There is an adjustment period. Enjoy a glass of wine tonight!

Jessica said...

I am working on tweaking it Karen. I know that both of my girls love project based learning, like we did this summer. I have to find a way to get through the stuff I want them to do, so they have time for the stuff they want to do. Now that lessons are starting, I will have more time with each girl. Grace has two hours of flute lessons every week which gives me and Lilah a nice block of time alone, then Lilah has baking class every week and I have just Grace alone. Her first baking class is tomorrow and Grace and I have plans to park ourselves in the cafe at Barnes & Noble and work on her next blog entry!

I know this is normal. I was expecting it in some way. I want to be honest when blogging about our first year. Most days are awesome, but some are not. Today was not. But tomorrow is a new day, new opportunities and new adventures waiting to happen. It is our first Audubon class and first baking class. Busy day but it should be fun.

Thank you for your words of support. I have come to rely on you and Theresa more than you know!

~Jess

Tiffany said...

Thank you for sharing this. As hard as it is for you right now, we all face these things at times. I know I do, and am dragging my feet a little. Thanks for teh encouragement!

Oh, and I love your red entertainment cabinet:)

Stacey said...

Jumping in with my two cents...take it or leave it...

What if this is a bigger journey? What if it is as much about being "sisters" and being "family" as it is about school lessons. What if the reason our nation's families are such a mess (high divorce rates, etc) is that we don't really know how to "get along" as families because we always go our separate ways in 20 different directions?

I'm thinking your daughters will be the best of friends in about 10 years and quite possibly relationally intelligent because they will be forced to figure out intimacy as siblings rather than superficial friendships in public school.

Saying a prayer for you and your daughters today.

Jessica said...

Thanks Tiffany!

Stacey, I just forwarded your comment to my husband. We are having another tough day in our house and there were tears all around. Your insight is appreciated! I think that has been the case in my house for a long time. We are a busy family, both girls are involved in different activities and they have never had many things in common. This experience is forcing them to spend more time together than they have in a long time. It is also forcing them to work on conflict resolution, expressing their feelings and sharing space peacefully. I know that we will come through this stronger as a family. Today I just needed that reminder.

Thank you,
Jess

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