Thursday, August 20, 2015

An epic day...

The view from my parents' cabin on the sound. When I was a kid, I thought that island out there was Europe. And now my kids don't realize they're ribbing me when they call it "Europe," too. :)

Today felt epic in the worst way. I haven't had a day this bad in ages. When my husband texts me that he'll take the kids out for the evening after getting my SOS texts all day, that's DEFCON 3. 

For starters, I have allergies and feel pretty rotten. This will probably last a week or so like usual but knowing that doesn't make it much better on a daily basis. I stumbled into the kitchen this morning and popped Sudafed, and then I barreled on with the plan. 

The plan was to have another school day. Things went well during social studies time. Everybody participated, even Ben. I got a great narration on Magellan from Seth and learned a few things myself. Evan was also able to give me the basics. The small whiteboard I'm starting to put terms and names on is helping me remember, even if it never does anything for them. ;) Seth illustrated his narrations and ran upstairs to have his turn keeping Ben out of trouble/aka playing with him.

I moved to the kitchen table with Evan, and we re-watched the Math U See video from last week. I had trouble getting it to work, but I learned from that that Evan likes it because he said, "This is bad. I like watching this. I want it to work." We sat down to learn place value with the blocks, and I took it slow. I waited several beats for him to answer instead of supplying the answer. I cheered when he got the concept, and I was rewarded with an awesome Evan smile. (His smiles are the best.)

As we were finishing up, I heard banshee wailing from upstairs. I got up there to discover that Ben had been firing plastic food from the food box at Seth. Seth did what I told him to do. Instead of retaliating he called for me and ran away. He ran into my room and slammed the door... right on Ben's hand.

I was so afraid something was broken. He screamed like that 2 weeks ago when he broke his leg. My heart sank. I gave him Tylenol and ice, but he didn't want it touched. I tried "Curious George" therapy. That stopped the crying, and I took deep breaths. 

I decided to dress and put on make up and consider ditching the house in favor of the thrift store. I also decided that we weren't doing any more table work until after Ben was down for nap. 

Nap time found me and Seth at the kitchen table, and I got a good look at what letting an 8-year-old boy go all summer without picking up a pencil or doing word problems will do. It ain't pretty. I can't do this again. I swear on all that is holy that I will not do this again. Someone remind me of this next June! Letter and number reversals galore! Slooooow writing! Confusion when doing math (which he is really good at!) 

This is not his fault. I should've insisted on some regular seat work. It wouldn't have killed him. And we would both feel a little less discouraged. I can tell him and myself that this is what happens when we take too long of a break, but it doesn't make either of us feel great to understand. Lesson learned, I hope.

I write this for myself so that in later years, I will look back and see how far we've come, hopefully. I want to shake my head and smile at my elementary mom self and her fears that didn't come to pass.

It's the beginning of a new year. We need much grace. All of us need much grace. The kids in the elementary school down the street do review for a month, don't they? They must, right?

Even with the epic awful, there were bright spots. Evan will get math if I'm patient with him. Seth dictated a story to me "that shows girls that boys aren't always the bad guys." (He blames you for selling that idea, American Girl book series. Shame on you.) It was awesome and funny. He wants to illustrate it and give it away for free, I'm assuming as a public service. ;) 

Well, writing it out made me feel better, as I hoped it would. I write to gain perspective, and if any of you get something out of it, then that's a nice bonus. :)

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