Thoughts on my kids before a new school year
After a month of being hermits, we caught up on some social time with friends, and went to the science and history museum again (where this photo was taken.) A tiring week, but it went by quickly.
I feel like I've been Nurse Mom for a long time now. No one has really felt 100% throughout most of July and August. We haven't gotten much exercise during that time because of J's injury, stomach virus and the heat. I know that it's probably weakened our immune systems.
Everyone has been in full screen-addiction mode because of it, and I am waiting for the fresh start of a new school year to reestablish rhythm and balance to our lives. I let the kids pick out some used wii games, and signed up for Blockbuster to get the 2 movies/games mailed out at a time. I wanted to show them that I can be generous and supportive of the things they like. I also wanted to get them interested in something besides the online computer games (Superhero Squad, World of Tanks, Animal Jam) because they are always battling over the two computers. It brings out the worst in them fussing over who got 83 seconds longer on their turn. And not having limits or turns is impossible when you have 1.5 (Mac needs one frequently during the day for his business) computers to share between 6 people.
I have also realized that interest-led learning doesn't work very well for one of my kids (age 11.5). I think he is paralyzed by multiple interests, choices and options, so he chooses nothing. I have tried to encourage and brainstorm with him about his goals for the next year, and he can't really pinpoint anything. He got that from me, and I understand him. I will find every possible distraction to keep me from doing what I know I need to do, or what I even love and want to do. He is always sleepy, and doesn't seem to ever feel great (also like me). I think he needs to know what is the bare minimum he can get away with work-wise, so he can get back to his comfort and daydreaming.
The other son (9.5) is hyper-focused and driven. He hates anything he thinks is "school", and still doesn't like to write. He finds it very frustrating and tedious - he wants to know the WHY behind anything I ask of him. But because of his nature, he will gladly do the narrow and limited list of things he likes to do, as long as I leave him alone about it. I don't understand this personality as well, it must come from his father. ;-) The work ethic is there, for sure. As long as it was his decision to do it.
My daughter (7.5) is much easier in this regard; she wants to please me and spend time with me. She loses interest while I'm reading sometimes, but she doesn't mind staying busy with coloring, painting, or drawing. I haven't had as long experimenting with different parenting and homeschool mom tactics. Mother/daughter dynamics can be intense at times, and I can't get into her head quite as easily as I can with the boys.
My youngest son (almost 6) just tries to talk me out of everything I ask of him. And he acts more helpless than he really is, so part of my job in the coming months is to help him be more independent again.
I don't want to typecast any of their personalities as negative or right/wrong. It's just who they are. I've spent many years viewing my introversion and phlegmatic traits as negative, but now that I observe it in one of my children, I can see how it has its positives and blessings. It's just learning how to work with each one, keeping trust, speaking their language, and finding ways to meet their educational and emotional needs.