Thursday, September 2, 2010


1a : to deal out in portions 

Sometimes I'm unsure what I need most.  In this case, I'm not sure whether it would be best to look back on today and dispense some grace, justice or discipline to myself.  Here's a snapshot of what my day looked like:
  • Snooze the alarm at 6 AM instead of getting up to run (despite having a great run on Tuesday that left me longing to run outside again)
  • Pack two school lunches, while simultaneously
  • Making coffee
  • Overseeing breakfast preparations for three daughters
  • Drive B & K to school
  • Come home to find that A has completed one page (of four) of her morning warm-up
  • Fold clothes while A finishes her warm-up
  • Skip math after A's "warm-up" takes nearly an hour to complete
  • Discuss the Beatitudes with A
  • Start grammar
  • Stop grammar
  • Play Bananagrams with A
  • Finish grammar
  • Eat lunch
  • Play Scrambled States of America with A
  • Spray paint a bookcase (unsuccessfully)
  • Take a 20 minute nap
  • Read Canterbury Tales aloud with A
  • Pick up B & K from school
  • Wait all day (still waiting) for a refrigerator to be delivered - they weren't kidding about the 8 AM to 9 PM window

You will, perhaps, notice not a lot of school work took place today.  There are a few reasons for that:  1) I'm exhausted, 2) A was cranky - she greeted me at the door when I returned from school drop off with complaints about the content of her morning work, 3) I'm exhausted, 4) we were both a tad unmotivated.  So do I extend grace to myself? Create a plan to be better prepared for days like this?  Or berate myself that we're not even a month into home schooling and I'm an utter failure who can't make it through a Thursday?

Clearly, I've chosen the latter for the vast majority of the day.  I keep hearing the "I Told You So's" echoing through my mind:
You're not a certified teacher, are you?
Is A really self-motivated enough to home school?
Won't you miss having time to yourself?
What makes you think you're qualified to teach her anything?
Won't she learn all of your weaknesses if you're her only teacher?
Will she fall behind her peers?
Will she turn out weird? Will she lose all social skills?
Can you do this without going crazy?
I've heard all of this - and many variations on it - since we made the decision to home school.  And I feel like there's a big fat I Told You So hanging over my head right now.  If I'm this tired, this depleted, this mentally and physically exhausted a mere three weeks into home schooling, how am I going to make it through an entire year?

The worst part?  I'm really enjoying teaching A.  We're both learning a lot and this week discovered an audio book that's been fun and educational for the entire family.  When I found myself listening to the details of the signing of the Magna Carta without any children in the car with me, I knew I was hooked.  B listened to a portion and asked to bring the discs in to her room to keep listening.

A is enjoying herself, too.  She complains a bit about being pushed - I think she's coasted quite a bit in school - but she is having the opportunity to read biographies of famous dancers, famous queens, famous artists.  And she's loving that.  She's willingly helping more around the house.  She's talking to me and sharing detailsof her life far more than she has in the past.  If she remains a bit unmoved in her distaste for math, I have hope that I'll find something in even that area to spark her interest.  But only if I'm not laid out with exhaustion and/or a headache.

I've been doing what I can to combat the tiredness - trying to work out (even if it didn't happen this morning), allowing caffeine in limited amounts (two cups of half-caf coffee), going to bed early (I was asleep by 9:30 last night).  So do I dispense more self discipline?  Alter my diet, run four mornings each week, eliminate caffeine altogether.  Or do I give myself a portion of grace and hope that tomorrow morning the run rises on a rested, rejuvenated mom and a daughter ready and willing to learn?  For now, I'll aim for the latter, knowing that the former may be necessary.  But reminding myself that the cold-hearted justice I've dispensed to myself today has really done no one any good at all.


Anonymous said...

all teachers have days like this. my lesson plans did not go as i had wanted today - and i've been doing it for 30 years, you would think that i would know how to get it right! you are doing a great job, if you weren't you would not have all those wonderful comments that you made. lighten up on yourself. you are a great mom and you are growing into a great teacher. key word 'growing'. doing every lesson just as you had intended won't always happen but knowledge will increase even when the lesson wasn't as planned. chin up and keep smiling!! i love you, mama

Anonymous said...

I agree with Mama, Shannon. You need to give yourself a break. If you want, I'll send you some of my 'Ultimate Slacker Mom Fairy Dust'. Christine

rufusjt said...

Here's an interesting point I hadn't thought of...A is one-on-one with you throughout her school day. There were probably days in her K-4 school years where she faded into the background because she was grumpy or uninterested, and she's quick enough to get by if her teacher had called on her those days. Now she has nowhere to hide! And you don't have anyone else to call on, so you can't recognize the way she feels and give her a pass by calling on another student - which is what I bet a lot of good teachers do.

It's going to be OK. A will be fine even after a few of these days, and you will be too. I can't wait for you to see that at the end of the school year so I can say "I told you so!" :)


WordGirl said...

Christine - I think I already have some of that dust (it's conveniently collecting on my stairs)...

Allison in Texas said...

OF COURSE YOU ARE QUALIFIED! And I can definitively answer the question about Will she be weird? or Will she lose all of her social skills? NO. My boys, who had precious few social skills in the first place, are doing fine in school so far after a year off with just me (and each other) for company. I was more concerned about my older son- he's a little weird anyway- but he comes home every day with happy tales of playground fun with friends. I am the only one having trouble with the re-adjustment!

Kim said...

Shannon, I wanted to re-iterate the same - mothers are qualified to be teachers 'cause they are...
A lesson PLAN is just that, a plan.

I cant tell you how many times the plan fell apart and had to be reconstructed on a different day.

The classes I had in school taught me how to reach the multiple learning styles of multiple children; how to use "crowd control ;)" to maintain discipline...and so forth. The actually teaching part came from with-in. That is the part you already have.