Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Learning and learning

We've finished our first week of school together and only one day has ended with me crying on the bathroom floor, clinging to the side of the tub! Sounds dramatic, doesn't it? Oh, it was! See, I was trying to clean the tub, in a desperate attempt to accomplish something, anything, after the horrendous day of school we had had. And much like everything else had gone that day, my efforts were fruitless.

I hate my fiberglass tub surround. It never comes clean! And all I wanted was to be able to walk into a room and have some kind of visual, tangible evidence that I had completed something. But, no.

And it was too much for me to bear. I stopped in the middle of my scrubbing, bent over the side of the tub and burst into tears. I sat like that for who knows how long, sobbing my heart out, venting all my frustration and disappointment.

Oh, it was gloriously dramatic. I'm the type of person who needs a good dose of moderate drama every now and then. I'm not talking major stuff like death, disease, poverty or imprisonment; just temporary, rather mundane things like cakes burning, favorite soup tureens shattering, tubs not coming clean, etc. So when I get the chance to do so without damage to my dignity or sanity, I revel in a little wallowing and gnashing of teeth and then I'm good for a while.

Man-Cub was a little monster yesterday. I wanted to throttle him. I probably should have spanked him but I was way too angry to do so properly. He pulled out every trick in the book and nearly made me crazy. He whined, he cried, he stared over my head and simply shrugged when I asked him questions, he pressed his knees up against his mouth and refused to answer, he bounced all over the place, rummaged in his desk, answered me in robot and cartoon voices, it was like trying to teach Calvin! I was poor Miss Wormwood yesterday!

Fortunately, The Viking was home when we finished school and witnessed my emotional break-down. This meant I got some very excellent hugging and soothing from a man who knows how to do it like no one else and Man-Cub got the tongue-lashing of his life. There's just something about a tongue-lashing from Father. The Viking doesn't yell very often at all, and he didn't yell yesterday. But he spoke with that authority that only Father has. The Viking is a very patient, gentle dad and, in fact, he is usually good cop while I play bad cop. But when he steps in and lays down the law, his voice rings with such authority as to make you cringe in your boots at the majesty before you. And Man-Cub did indeed cringe and cower!

Today, a new day has dawned and the outlook is much brighter. To start with, I made sure to get my bottom to bed quite early last night and managed to get nine solid hours of sleep! This morning, I made myself a good, hearty breakfast (I've found that, being hypoglycemic, I need a breakfast loaded with protein to start my day). There is no game this afternoon (we had one on each of the last two days which makes things so much more rushed and complicated) and I clamped right down on Man-Cub from the beginning.

It was Redheaded Snippet who suggested the method I'm trying today. I bought a few small packs of Bubble Tape at the dollar store over the weekend. My intent was to reward Man-Cub with a pack at the end of each school day if he had behaved himself. But, apparently, this was not enough of an incentive as he managed to lose access to the reward within the first fifteen minutes of class each day.

As per my Snippet's devious suggestion, today I brought a pack down, opened it and set it on the desk in front of Man-Cub. I told him that every time he acted up, I was going to tear off a piece of the gum, however long I wanted, and I was going to keep it for myself. At the end of the day, he could have whatever was left, if there was anything left. I then picked it up, showed him the gum and let him smell it...Mmmmmm, green apple, his favorite! He looked a little unhappy at that idea, but I could see the gears turning.

We're halfway through our day at this point (taking a break for lunch and recess) and I've had to take two lengths of gum. I popped them right into my mouth and have been blowing bubbles with them all through class. Toward the end of Latin, he muttered something unseemly about the material and when I asked him to repeat what he had said he quietly replied, as I have instructed him in the past, "Never mind. It was rude." And then he added, "And I don't want to lose anymore gum." We'll see how long this lasts, but if I have to spend $5 a week on gum to keep order in my classroom, it just might be worth it!

I'm learning that my son just might be a kinesthetic learner. Or he's just a nine-year-old boy who just wants to draw comics all day long. But he does get most interested when he gets to draw, color or use manipulatives such as the paper money he won't stop hounding me about. I think I need to get him some maps and timelines to draw and color and possibly rethink my teaching methods. But isn't that one of the things homeschooling is all about, tailoring lessons to your child's learning style and particular needs?

Well, recess is almost over and I need to get some lunch to fortify myself for an afternoon of Math and Grammar, heaven help us all! Math seems to be our worst subject. Man-Cub is great at it, but quails every day at the prospect of completing 26 problems on his own. Hopefully he'll just get used to it instead of giving me grief about it each and every day for the rest of the entire year...

Here's hoping...

1 comment:

Leila said...

Have you seen my post about lap books? If he likes to draw, he might enjoy making lap books. There are now (as opposed to when I started doing them) lots of great ideas about them on various sites (try Flickr).

You did the right thing -- 9 is too old for mamma to spank -- better let Dad take care of it! ;)

It's super hard to home school one child (poor little Miss B!). Try not to think too much about how things are in school. It just makes your life miserable. He will love everything -- just relax and have fun. Get outside, do math early in the morning, sing, draw, it's all good!