Today was first back-to-school day after a long Pesach hiatus. But is was definitely not first day of learning, in fact, it might have hindered it some.
I got to the gym, which always seems to help start the day right. The boys ate breakfast and davened without too many complications. 8 yo decided to add Aleinu today, the whole thing. 6 yo added another bracha from Birchot haShachar. Then the oldest went to do Rosetta Stone and I did spelling with the younger one. He got discouraged to get some words wrong, but he also got some right. He traced them on the table and assembled them out of Bananagrams. Then we did handwriting, letter h lowercase. Then he chose writing. I asked him to write something about Pesach. First he dictated a sentence to me, I wrote it down and he wanted to copy it. Then he got stuck on my lowercase g, HWT just does a small curve on the bottom and I brought my loop up to the line. This involved kicking and screaming. I asked whether I should rewrite it with a curvy g, he said yes, then tantrumed some more. Finally he said that he will write, Thank G-d Hashem took us out of Egypt. He spelled it "thac g-d Hashem took us out ov" and then went to pull out a book about Egypt to see how to spell it. He also chose to end his sentence with an exclamation point.
Meanwhile, 8 yo did some math, it was calendar reading and then review of time/money. He was not putting in, as any answer that required more than filling in a bubble was not complete. I had to send him back to redo his work. Then he proceeded to Lashon Hatorah on his own and got it all right.
I was planning on doing more place value math with 6 yo, but his brother suggested building a train track and the train could advance one track for each math problem he solved correctly. 6 yo was thrilled, and I got him to review addition/subtraction till 20.
Then I did spelling with 8 yo and sent him to write his own Pesach story. He titled it Out of Egypt ( hm, plagiarism anyone?) He also just did token writing, very obviously not into it. What he was into today was making his Zen garden. We got this book out of the library called Living History and it takes a civilization and gives lots of projects on what life was like. For whichever reason he decided that he wants to make Zen garden. I told him to make a list of supplies. He wrote it up and checked off the ones we had. I had very little desire to shlep to another store, so I kept thinking that we will go in the afternoon, maybe later, maybe tomorrow... then I asked him whether he can find those supplies in our backyard. So he and 2 yo went out looking for moss and rocks. I gave him a bowl and soon enough, he came back with it full. Then he gathered everything else and spent some time building his Zen garden. After he made one, he made another one for 2 yo. Once 6 yo finished tantruming, they went to make another one, this one in a plate. Over the course of the day, I accumulated 4 Zen garden. I should be totally at peace now.
The final schoolwork for 8 yo toady was Chmuash. He was nervous, as we have not done Vayeira in months. However, he recalled exactly where we were in the story. I decided to finish the perek quickly, same way we did megillah, with him reading and then translating parts that he knew and me supplying unknown words. we did four pesukim and he asked classical Rashi on why Lot did was afraid to live in Tzoar, didn't he ask to go there?
6 yo discovered that we're almost done with Hebrew handwriting book, only one more letter ( ayin). However, there was one more hurdle: Yesh Lanu Lama. He had to match numbers and write their names in Hebrew. He knows all of them in Hebrew. But instead of writing, there was another tantrum. I felt like an overinflated balloon by this point. After 40 minutes of drama, he finally wrote them.
I was told that he would not tantrum like that for others. Well, he tantrums in gymnastics. I was told that he has to learn to suck it up and just do it. I was told that he would not tantrum like this in school. I think I would just be getting a whole lotta phone calls about his behavior. Or he would behave well in school and save up all anger and frustration for home.
Before gymnastics the boys watched a Nova documentary about elements, it was recommended by 8 yo's co-op teacher. Afterwards, 2 yo was walking around suggesting we make dynamite.
Why do I homeschool? Because, at the end of the day, I have a feeling that my kids will turn out all right. I did not have this feeling when 8 yo was in school. I think seeing the whole kid instead of a sliver helps in gaining perspective. Nobody marries a person saying: "I love you, but only if you stay away for 8 hours every day, otherwise, you are too much." That would be ridiculous! So I am discovering that it is easier to love the whole kid and not just the achieving/well-behaving part.