Thursday, November 20, 2008
When Different Personalities Collide
I promised you I would post about the trying times we have had these past few months with homeschooling. I probably should have skipped that promise as today was one of the most challenging days yet. Maybe I jinxed myself?

When I decided to home school I read this book. I found out that Samantha was a Perfect Paula type of learner. Very organized, likes a lot of structure, and could work independently for hours on end. He brother Garrett, however, is a Wiggly Willy. He is just about as opposite of a Perfect Paula as you can get. He has a short attention span, does not like book work, and prefers to be outside looking for bugs instead of looking up research information in an encyclopedia.

I knew if I wanted to do most of their subjects together this would be a challenge, and let me tell you, at times this has been an understatement.

Here is a recap of today:

1. Breakfast

2. Garrett practiced piano while Samantha did her math online.

3. Garrett is suppose to now be doing his math online as Samantha works in her math book doing problems. Garrett instead decides he needs a break and starts bouncing his basketball on the wood floors to annoy his "Perfect Paula" sister who is trying to finish her work.

4. Samantha starts screaming that Garrett isn't letting her do her work. I am upstairs putting laundry in as I feel I shouldn't have to remind Garrett 100 times a day what it is he is suppose to be doing.

5. I come downstairs, restore order, and watch him start his math. Which he does for three minutes before bouncing the ball again.

6. After about 40 minutes of this I send Garrett upstairs with a bucket of cleaning supplies and tell him to clean the boys bathroom to help get all his excess energy out of his system. He starts crying and yelling that I am so unfair and if I really loved him I would let him go outside and play basketball instead of doing school.

7. During this time Samantha starts to cry because she REALLY wants to do her math and can't concentrate with all the yelling and hollering going on.

This all took place in the first hour of our school day today. Yep, good times, good times.

When I get up early and get all my chores done before the kids get up our school day goes so much better. Although I can give Samantha something to do and she is happy to work alone, Garrett is not. If I stay in the room with him for the first 90 minutes and encourage him along we get a lot done. When I try and go off and do some of "my work" while he is suppose to be doing school I run into problems.

Today I thought I might have to call social services to protect my child from his own mother. I was almost at the end of my rope with him not listening. However, I find that I am not the one listening. I know what he needs and I need to provide it. When I don't all heck breaks lose.

The day before yesterday was a good day. This was our schedule that day;

1. Bible reading and prayer (about 10 minutes)

2. One child practices piano while the other is on computer listening to math lessons. Then they switch. I am also downstairs grading papers while this is going on. (45 minutes total)

3. We have a snack and we read a chapter together in our Zoology book and made a field guide to record all of our finding when we go to the park on Friday. I let them listen to an Adventure in Odyssey radio broadcast while they are working on their field guide. (60 minutes)

4. They go off and do their silent reading (Garrett loves this and can read for hours just like his sister) while I make lunch and check emails (OK, read a few blogs, you caught me)

5. Lunch ( I give them an hour break, they ate and then went out and played basketball together, very sweet)

6. What we do after lunch changes depending on what day it is. We either do History/Geography, or a new lesson I just started on writing and spelling. We also go to the library one day a week and they spend an hour with the piano teacher one day each week also. Our school day ends about 2:15 when I have to go and pick up Paige,

Now, obviously this is just a guide. What I love about homeschooling is you can mix things up a little. Sometimes we are crazy and do math in the afternoon. lol.

So, I guess what I am trying to say is that when I try and deviate from what I know works we have problems. That is when we have the meltdowns and the days when mom feels like she has to go in the bathroom, close the door, and scream at the top of her lungs for a few minutes.

When I sit down with them, we work together, get it done, give encouragement, we have a good day. When mom isn't really present in the moment, not so good. I am learning.

I would be interested to hear from any of you who have kids with completely different learning styles. Have you found ways to blend them together some how? How do you make it work?

p.s. Our wonderful moments by far out weigh these bad moments. However, I didn't want you to think it has been all peaches and roses. It's hard....but oh so worth it. I wouldn't change the fact they are home with me for anything! I really am loving it (and Garrett is getting really good at cleaning the bathroom).


  posted at 9:39 PM  

At 6:39 AM, Blogger jolincountry said...

Oh, your house definitely sounds like mine. Some days things go smooth, we get alot accomplished and no one has a meltdown. Other days, I literally have to give up on school for the day. Some days its just too hard to continue. So, we take a break and start again the next day.
I have 2 older girls. They are 12 and 14. They tend to argue just like you described (the ball and the noise). Then I have the younger two who are 6 and 4 and they do the same thing. Someone is constantly complaining that someone else is "bugging" them.
I used to allow one of them to go into their bedroom to do their schoolwork, but too many times that's ended up in a child asleep on top of their book.. lol
I definitely find that if my house (i.e. my chores) is clean, then things go much smoother as well.
It's good to know we are all going through the same things.

At 7:30 AM, Blogger Daisy said...

I've been homeschooling for 12 years, and I would definitely have to agree that when I get up earlier than the kids, and get "my stuff" done first, it goes so much smoother. We are a family of night owls, so that doesn't mean I'm up at the crack of dawn, just up earlier than they are. I walk/jog, check e-mail, do laundy, have quiet time. :-)
I have also found that when I am too busy and stressed, I start yelling. I've used that as a clue to myself that something needs to go. Either the kitchen can't be straightened up before we leave the house, or I can't do absolutely all their school work for that day, on the days that major issues come up.
I don't mean I don't get frustrated and yell and work on their behavior on regular days. I mean the times where I'm impatient and so stressed, so I start yelling before they even have done anything "wrong". I'm so glad God is not finished with me yet, and I'm trying to model His patience with me, with my children.
I'm also praying for grace to see our homeschooling journey as the unique one for our family. We don't have to be up at dawn like the Jonses, or do Latin like the Jonses. But we do speech, piano, flute, math, science, etc. like the W's (our family).
I am grateful for my mom's words years ago: No matter where you chose to educate you children, public, private, or home, there will be problems. It is just a matter of what set of problems you chose to work with.

At 7:35 AM, Blogger Daisy said...

I also wanted to agree with you and jolincountry that some days are so smooth and I love homeschooling and some days I question my sanity (or my children's). :-) I was encouraged by your post, about how normal we are. :-)

At 2:21 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Crying and math must go hand in hand. I don't know how many times someone comes to me in tears complaining about all the noise and that it's impossible to concentrate on math!

Sometimes I think I have multiple personality disorder. One minute I am loving homeschooling and the next I am contemplating looking for the phone number for our school district! But you are right, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

At 3:59 AM, Blogger Heidi @ GGIP said...

Great post. I love that you are keeping it real.


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I am a spontaneous, out going, daughter of the King, who is married to a wonderful guy who is a quiet, shy, non-spontaneous, scientist who also loves the Lord. Truly a match made in heaven! We fight and argue, love and laugh, every single day. I am passionate about orphan care and love to tell our story to anyone who will listen. This blog is dedicated to that journey.

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