Thursday, October 06, 2005

Adventures in School-at-Home

What is it about having children that turns a rational adult (me) into a raving lunatic who acts like a child? Or at least wants to act like a child?

My Reluctant Student, the one the public school assessment team declared was "just a normal sixth grade boy" continues to push me right to the edge. Sunday night, I literally forgot all about watching "Grey's Anatomy" because I was busy organizing the school work for the week. I printed out a list, I ripped the necessary pages for each subject out of the book, highlighted the parts I required done, stapled them together, put everything in labeled folders for each day of the week which fit neatly into a binder. I put Post-it notes on pages to explain when further explanation was needed. (To this point, they'd been referring to the online schedule each day and working directly out of their individual student guides.)

All this to avoid the problem I was having with the boys not completing each day's assignments on each day. When they don't, the assignment is automatically rescheduled for the next day by the computer and pretty soon, the work that should have been done this week has been pushed to next week. I figured if the day's work was waiting in a folder, they would work through it, one subject at a time and I'd easily be able to tell what was left undone. That's what I would do, after all, if I were the student.

The Reluctant Student spent the first hour this morning working (and I use that word loosely) on an art assignment. Then he spent forty-five minutes holding his literature book while demanding to be allowed to do his literature in another room with his brother. I refused, so he yelled and shuffled his papers and tossed them across the table and then declared that this system doesn't work and how can he possibly do his work when it's so confusing? All this in an effort to avoid doing the writing portion of his literature assignment, which lies abandoned on the table.

The Reluctant (non-sequential) Student decided to do math instead, so off he went to the computer to do his "Study Skills Update." I sneaked into the doorway to watch and the first problem popped up. He clicked on his keyboard to enable the calculator feature. I startled him when I said, "What are you doing?" He was annoyed that I wouldn't let him use the calculator to work on the math skills exercise.

When he flopped back to the table, he began to fret and whine and carry on. He criticized the system of folders and blabbed on and on and on. Inside my head, I'm thinking, I am not speaking to him anymore today. But the provocation finally led me to scoot my daughter off my lap and stride into the kitchen. When he said, "I just want to work out of the books!" I made his dreams come true. I taped the math pages right back into his book and I did so with fuming righteous indignation. Then came the last straw.

He asked if I had activated charcoal, a required element for our science experiment. I don't. I haven't been able to get to the store to buy that ingredient, so the science lesson has been postponed more than once. When I said, "No," he began to whine, so I saved him from the next step, which was the fit. Sacrificing myself, I threw myself (gently, I am forty) to the floor, where I kicked and flailed my arms and did a fake cry. I thought a little exaggeration would be funny. He did not laugh because he has no sense of humor.

I picked myself up, dusted myself off and told him in no uncertain terms that I reached my limit, that he pushed me to the edge and that I would no longer be dealing with him today. "So, get to work!" Then he cried, as he usually does when he's made me furious.

I was panting when I reached my bedroom. I took out my frustration on my sheets and made the bed. Then I sprawled out, face-down and explained to God that I can't possibly meet the needs of this child. I stayed there until I could breath normally and the urge to rip up papers and snap pencils in two passed.

When I returned downstairs, he was quick to apologize. I directed him back to his math and sat with him to verbally correct each one he did wrong (the majority). He was told to do his assessment, but he's disappeared into the living room again.

Because I am mean, I said to his brother, who was on his stomach playing with the cat (ostensibly, he was practicing his speech), "Hey, when your brother goes back to public school, do you want to still do school-at-home?" He looked at me, wide-eyed, aghast. I winked. Then, without skipping another beat, he said, "Yes."

A few minutes later, a pitiful voice floated out from the living room. "But I don't want to go to public school!"

And I said firmly, "Then get to work."

11 Comments:

Blogger Mrs. Darling said...

Oh my! I feel your pain. I know just exactly what thats like. You poor woman! Lets just go have a cup fo tea. Hey one good thing came of it. You got your bed made!

4:31 PM  
Blogger Krystal A. Kelly said...

I have a reluctant student at home as well. I've threatened him with public school as well. Actually sent him for a while.

He hated it!

Yesterday when he refused to work I said fine. I told him he didn't have to do anymore work. I made him stand in the corner until his father got home instead.

FOUR HOURS LATER...

My husband came home and made him do his work. ***I am evil*** Today, he did all his work in record time. ***evil laugh ensues***

5:35 PM  
Blogger Judy said...

I will say this quickly, and then run and hide...

I MISS HAVING A KID TO HOMESCHOOL!

6:10 PM  
Blogger Christi said...

Why did you choose to school them at home again?

6:15 PM  
Blogger Mel said...

Christi, They are schooling at home because my Reluctant Student was falling behind academically. He has a lot of trouble staying focused and following along. My other son was being bullied. They went to public school through the 5th grade.

10:40 PM  
Blogger Bonnie, Clyde, Bubba Jr. & Charleigh-Jo said...

Reluctant Student may not have thought it was funny, but I certainly did!

Thanks for the laugh!

B

6:24 AM  
Blogger tlawwife said...

Now I want you to imagine being the public school teacher who has 25 such children and wonder why they think they are underpaid.

7:57 AM  
Blogger sallyrogers said...

I thought about homeschooling as an option for our son... reading your posts I waffle between regret and confidence that our decision was right for us. Reading THIS post... besides making me laugh out loud (Then do your work!) made me grateful that our son seems to be doing well in public school... at least for now.

8:20 AM  
Anonymous kim nearby said...

LOL, must've been that rain yesterday. My dh came home from running errands to discover me standing immobile and barefoot on the front porch. "What on earth are you doing?" Wild-eyed and voice on the edge, I admitted "it's quiet out heeeerrreeeee . . .". Inside: The Abyss.

9:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do realize when you sprawl out face down on the bed in exasperation and tell God that something just isn't working out that's when he does this:

Mwwwaaaahahahahahahaaaaaa.

~Elizabeth

1:09 PM  
Blogger Paul said...

Yikes... wait until full blown adolescence kicks in... then he'll be the Moody Reluctant Student!

:-S

9:13 AM  

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