Monday, July 9, 2012

The First Day Back, and Self-Esteem

Oh, my.  It's our first day back and we've already had our first big meltdown.  In a way, I think I knew it was coming.  Every time M2 even looks at a math page (we're using Math Mammoth with her), she flips out.  Today she lost it about art.  Both of these are subjects that she loves, but because she loves them, she has very - extremely - high expectations for herself, and she won't cut herself any slack at all.

It makes it difficult to teach her these subjects.

I have absolutely no art background, so usually my idea of art is to hand over the supplies and say, "Go to it!"  For this reason, I use Artistic Pursuits, and today's art project was simply to do a watercolor painting.  Often M1 needs direction for his art, so I suggested that the kids paint a scene from around the house to remember it by.  M1 sat on the front porch and painted the tree in the front yard.  He painted the grass and the birdbath and a sunset.  His colors are vibrant, and his brush strokes show familiarity with the medium, but not everything is recognizable if you don't know what things are.  Art is not his thing, but over the past few years we've done enough watercolor paintings for him to be comfortable with them.  M2 painted the house, the tree in the front yard, and a big, beautiful bird bath.  She did a great job!  Her colors were slightly paler, but I thought they complemented each other wonderfully, and everything is definitely well-defined.  However, when she looked up and saw that her painting was different than M1's, she lost it.  She started crying that hers wasn't as good.  Why?  Because it was different.  No amount of encouragement will convince her otherwise.  When asked if she did her best, the answer was, "No," because it wasn't as "good" as M1's, because it was different, because she didn't use the same colors, because his sky is better and his grass is greener.

Oh, my.

I hadn't thought that leaving her in school was doing so much for her self-esteem... and maybe it hasn't had much of an impact, because in all likelihood this is just a manifestation of where she is in her mood cycle right now. I've already noticed, though, that I have to do a lot more hand-holding than I did with M1, even when he first came home.  She is so, so fragile, and her self-esteem seems to lie in how well she compares to others, not in how well she does on her own.  If she doesn't come up with the same answers or same sentences or apparently the same painting as her brother, then she doesn't feel like she measures up.

So we've had lots of tears today.  She's told me that she isn't sure about homeschooling now, because it is definitely different than she's used to - I think that even though we've had some 'practice' days in the past when she's been home, she didn't quite understand how it would be - and she doesn't know all the answers and she doesn't like that.  I'm going to have to make sure to take it easy for quite a while to de-school her.  My poor girl... she needs a boost.  She needs to love her own way of thinking.  She needs to love her own output.

She needs to love herself.

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