Man, do I hate the first couple of days back at school after a long break.
Yesterday we had our "reading day" to wean them off the steady diet of video games and TV they enjoyed during our extended stay at the g-parents'. No screen time except for the hour after lunch (the usual amount), but they could play or read or go outside -- whatever -- while I got my schoolroom back together and figured out what I needed to do next. That went fine.
Today I sat across the table from my 6- and 9-year-olds and watched -- exhorted -- declaimed -- pulled my hair out as each of them took TWO HOURS to do a math lesson that should have been about half an houris (20 minutes, tops, for the 6-yo). My 9-yo has just started a new 4th-grade book that eases into things, and the first section of his lesson was simply to write out eleven different numbers, some given in digits to be spelled out in words, some spelled out to be written in digits. He was given a chart with all the necessary words spelled out, and a list of the hyphenation rules to refer to.
Readers, this is not a child with a learning disability. Readers, it took me more than an hour to exhort him to finish this lesson-part, occasionally having to run after him and bring him back to his desk ("Oh, yeah! I have to do my math!"), and he STILL miscopied "ninty" for "ninety" AND left out all the hyphens.
And let's not talk about the 6-yo. Things weren't so different for her.
You know, I am never tempted to send the children to school. Really, I am not. For one thing, I have never done it, so I have no memories of a golden age when I got several hours of quiet time every day, or a chance to work for wages at a job among grownups. For another thing, I am perfectly aware that problems I can see happening before my own eyes might well slip under the radar of an instructor, however gifted, in a classroom of twenty-five children. For a third thing, I am quite intellectually convinced of the adequacy of homeschooling and of the reasons it is the best choice for our family.
But I am tempted to raid the pile of Christmas chocolates at tea-snack time and then hide upstairs under the guise of taking a loooooooong shower. Also to spend the day shrieking things like, "Do you KNOW how RIDICULOUS this is? Do you know you could have been done with this NINETY MINUTES AGO? What is going on? No, it isn't because you are bad at math, it is because you are CHOOSING not to SIT in your chair and DO it!"
Something about there being two children instead of one who are both pulling the same thing, right in front of me, is crazy-making. I can only "make" one of them work at a time. When I turn to one, the other twirls her chair, sneaks jawbreakers out of her desk and wanders off to look for scissors to open them with; when I notice she is gone and go after her, the first one starts drawing ninjas in the corner of his paper.
I hope this is a passing phase related to the "first week back" phenomenon. Because while I am not exactly tempted to quit, I am sorely tempted to cast about wildly for something, anything, that will "work," whether that is concomitant with my long-term goals and values or not.
Or just to give up and start drawing ninjas myself. Pass the chocolate.