How To Save Your School Day

Last school year, Josie and I went round for round over reading.

It was like it just was not clicking.  She understood all the letter sounds, she knew how to blend and knew her sight words.  She had all the tools in her arsenal, so why was she fighting me so hard?

Wanna know the best way to ruin your homeschool day, it's with a good ole battle of the wills over reading Amelia Bedelia.

By the time she struggled through the allotted amount of pages, complete with angry voice and scrunched eyebrows, we were both in no mood to tackle the rest of the subjects.  I cried a lot of tears last year wondering what I was doing wrong.  How could she not like to read?  Most of my homeschooling dreams involved us sitting on the couch for hours on end reading to each other.  Now that situation sounded very nightmareish.

We ended the year with her able to read the very basic easy reader chapter books like Mr. Putter and Annie and Snowball.  Not too shabby in my opinion.  Sure, I cringed a little when my friends told me how their 7 year olds were breezing through Magic Treehouse books, but I was at peace with it.  We worked hard to get her where she was and I was going to enjoy it.

guy was an expert at glow in the dark golf, not photography.  
sorry gabe, i promise you were there!

Over the Summer, I knew she needed to keep practicing, but since we weren't doing actual school, I was flexible with when we did it.

Most days were full, so reading fell at bedtime.

And what do you know.  All of the sudden, the girl can read.  Like, really read.  I don't know if she thought she was avoiding bedtime or if it was knowing she didn't have a list of tasks ahead of her, but she would read the assigned pages and beg to read just a few more. 

Ah, yea you can.

After mulling over this freak change of events, I realized that Josie is becoming more and more like me, task oriented and not a morning person.  Oh man, can I relate to having a hard time relaxing enough to enjoy a book when I know that I have a good couple of hours of work ahead of me.  She needed a clear schedule.

And there is nothing wrong with that.

monsoon season in the desert

I reevaluated our schedule for this year.  Asking myself what did it really matter if school didn't start until 10 and if some subjects, like reading and math, happen later in the day? 

My answer: it doesn't.

Part of the awesomeness of homeschooling is that we get to do things the way we want to, when we want to.  I get to customize the entire day around each of my kid's needs.  And Josie needs reading to happen snuggled up on the couch at the end of the day when there are no other tasks ahead of her.

And I get to give her that.

I can't take back the tears I caused her last year.

The stress and the disdain in her heart for reading will take time to weed out.  But I'm confident that it isn't too late to turn this ship around.  And if the schedule needs to adjust again, I'll do it. 

Again and again and again. 

I will save our days from falling apart by remembering that nothing is set in stone.  That we are allowed to toss things up, and should do so, as often as needed.

And maybe those days of reading on the couch all day aren't as far off as they seemed.


Phyllis said...

Don't feel bad for not realizing it so soon...I just figured it out with my 17 year old. He does his school work any time he wants, which is usually after dinner and later. He wants all day to do whatever and relax and then he gets down to business after dinner and sometimes as late at 2am.

Michele said...

Learn from past mistakes and move forward. Sounds like you are doing a great job!!! Love seeing the pictures!

Danielle Huddleston said...

We had the boys read their bedtime story as well to help encourage them. It really seemed to help. Kids are so different. My boys have weakness where other kids have strengths and visa versa. I have no clue how this works in a school room setting. It seems like it would be really hard for the teacher. Right now our struggle is writing, they both dislike it! We use Handwriting without Tears and let me tell you there have been tears :)