This morning, I dismissed school after only an hour. We were nowhere near done for the day, but I was out of patience. The toddler was fussing because he is teething; the preschooler had a cold and his brain and his sinuses appeared to be equally blocked up; and the older two were alternately dawdling and declaring that they now had no idea how to do the work they had done independently on Friday!
I tried fussing. I tried calmly stating the rules–“I’m working with someone else and you must do what you can and skip the rest.”–which resulted in dawdling, accompanied by wails of “I can’t do any of this!” Finally, I yelled. Not good. Not the kind of atmosphere I want in our homeschool, nor in our house–and it’s definitely a sign that it is time to stop for a while. Everyone went off to play, and I sat down with a second cup of coffee and five minutes of quiet.
Homeschooling can be so frustrating sometimes and, at least for me, those times usually come after a week that things have gone really well! Add disappointment to frustration and the feeling that I should be able to homeschool smoothly for more than one week at a time, and something has to give–before everything does!
So what’s going on? Why does this happen and how can I change things?
For one thing, I’ve got a very full calendar right now, especially at the beginning of the week. The children have a PE class twice a week, which basically eats two afternoons and, because the class takes place during naptime, I also lose my prime working and creative time. The preschooler has speech therapy on Tuesday afternoon and although I only have to drop him off (Sam can pick him up on the way home from work) that still eats a half hour of the afternoon, which affects naptime, chore time, and supper. I feel as though I’m falling farther and farther behind on projects and routine keeping-up-with-things, and I don’t see a solution beyond the turning of the calendar page!
For another, the big children have truly got a dawdling problem right now. It shows up everywhere, and so far I haven’t found a good way to address it, nor have I been as consistent in addressing it as I need to be. Part of the problem is that I’m not quite sure what the root of the problem is: are they overtired? unwilling? not really aware of how slowly they are working? I know I’ve been slacking off in having them do their household jobs because of the dawdling problem, and that causes a bad cycle of things getting chaotic and putting everyone on edge. They are too young to know that’s the reason they are quarreling more, but I’m not.
Finally, I think I’m just kind of restless and that makes me grumpy. Understandable, given that we moved to a state that is completely new to all of us in January, just decided last week that we would stay in the house we had as a short-term rental for an additional twelve months, and we woke up to snow again this morning. Again though, I’m the grownup and the atmosphere around here mostly depends on me.
Time for some serious prayer, confession, apologizing to the children, and some changes. Time for grace received from a Heavenly Father and granted to one another. Time to pause and remember all the good days and the good things and give thanks. Time to be thankful for the freedom to stop a bad beginning and start over. Our God is about the business of redeeming and repairing the broken and He delights in His work! Let me only learn to delight also!
Kyndra Steinmann blogs at Sticks, Stones and Chicken Bones about living in a houseful of young children, special needs, discipling hearts, and abundant grace! As a homeschool graduate, she has an especial burden to encourage mothers to know and enjoy their children. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.