Monday, August 16, 2010

Destruction, frustration

I. Am. Going. Crazy.

And I'll tell you why.

I'm raising a boy. A boy who despises math with every fiber of his being, who wants to test every limit set upon him no matter how small, and who claims he wants to go back to "real school" next year.

I know a lot of people feel that homeschooling is their calling, something that they will do through thick and thin, no matter what, come hell or high water, etc. I am not one of those people. I would love to say I am, would love to be able to embrace this as a permanent lifestyle, but I am just not built that way. I love my alone time. I would love for the kids to be in someone else's classroom all day so I could go back to college and further my own education. I would love to be able to help with homework, give guidance where needed, and think that supplementing with the odd experiment is doing great. Mediocrity? I doubt it. I went to public school all the way through and I came out all right, top of my class, so given a decent chance (and my kids are smart and I would transfer them to a good school), they should be all right, too.

Right?

Ugh. Me and my stupid conscience.

I brought M1 home because he neeeeeds to be here. It's a choice made in his best interest, and 95% of the time he loves it. And I do thoroughly enjoy it when he's making headway and we're having fun and doing experiments and reading cool books and I can watch him learn and grow and laugh.

But math. Math, math, math. I'd rather eat live cockroaches for a week than pull the teeth required to get him to do math.

I really do try to make it fun. When he was learning his addition and subtraction facts last year, we played games. When learning to tell time, we broke out manipulatives and had fun with it. Same with money. But he's gotten all that down and is learning the "boring stuff," i.e. adding multiple numbers with lots of carrying (321+468+296+741=?), and for the most part, math IS dry. It just is, at least until you get into algebra or geometry or something where you can play with the numbers and move them around. OK, so even then, it can still be fairly boring. But he makes it worse on himself by refusing to do the work, refusing to focus on anything that takes him more than about 30 seconds. I'm using graph paper to help him get everything lined up right, and that helps him keep things straight, but it doesn't help him focus. Every 30 seconds, I catch him eyeballing a cat or fiddling with the eraser on his pencil or trying to pick things up with his toes or wanting to do his work on the floor or another table or whatever. I'd happily ignore it all if he then got the answers right, but his lack of focus is sooooo strong that he repeatedly fails each and every worksheet.

Being a good homeschool teacher, I can't really let him move on until he gets the stuff right, can I? So we cover it again, and I hand him the sheet to correct. I'd love to just hand him a calculator instead and say, "Here! Use this!" and make it easier on everyone, but I can't. Because if he wants to go back to "real school" at any point in time, then he has to know how to do this stuff. I've chosen a curriculum that works with the way he thinks, and he likes it, and he understands HOW to do everything - that's not the issue - but he WILL. NOT. FOCUS. It drives me batty. He'll hand me a worksheet that's half-done. Or I'll ask him to correct the problems he missed, and he'll bring it back to me five minutes later with nothing changed... and repeat that ad nauseum. This morning we're correcting a sheet from Friday. He's on his fifth correction because he hasn't changed a darn thing from the first time I handed it to him today, and from his attitude, it seems he has no intentions of doing anything about it. He's currently opening and closing his pencil box with his toes and looking intently at nothing somewhere in the middle of the room.

I'd love to give up. Can I do that? Please? Maybe I will. It's very, very tempting.

Oh, and did I mention he's in massive trouble, anyway? Ohhhh yeah. He took an arrowhead and sliced giant gashes into his nightstand after his father had caught him trying to carve his bedroom door with it and specifically told him, "You will not use this to cut things unless you have permission first." He said he understood, but clearly impulse took over (again). Oz and I had been planning to get him a desk for his birthday, but now I'm starting to rethink that scheme because of this little incident. I get so angry every time I see the destruction of property that he has caused. I'll get over it, but now I question the wisdom of letting him have his "rock collection" in his room. I'm still trying to work out an appropriate punishment for this one other than confiscating the arrowhead, which has already been done and which didn't faze him in the least.

Aren't things supposed to be a little easier than this? Just a tad?

Mostly I just needed to vent this morning. We're supposed to be going to a meeting with our homeschool group in less than an hour. I was hoping we'd get everything done for the day and he'd be able to play, but it looks like I'll be bringing books along. Most of our groupmates are more of the permanent homeschooling/unschooling variety, which works for them, and I'm sure they'll be aghast at me dragging along all this stuff for him to do, but that's just how it works for us. It's the price we pay for having homeschooling be a potential temporary choice. I have to toe the line a bit more.

Again, most of this is just venting, and I know he'll get it sooner or later. I do. Though quitting really does sound nice right about now. I just wish he'd understand how frustrating it is to me to have to make him do this.

I just wish it was easier!!!!!

1 comment:

Habebi said...

(((HUGS!!)) Breathe, and balance the cheeto girl. Remember no matter what you are a great mom who does the best for her kiddo no question. Remember to take care of yourself too of course!