Some days, we make a list, get everything done before lunch, the boys are agreeable and pleasant enough, then the baby goes for a nap, older kids assemble themselves to chill, and I get a break. On those days, I feel like we are dancing.
Other days, it is an uphill battle. Nobody listens, everyone sulks, I feel snappy and stretched too thin, nothing gets done, and we are all grumpy and exhausted by each other's presence. I am groping in the fog, trying to find my way back to the dance floor.
I give more structure, and my kids push back against it. Hard.
I look at 9 yo, as his desire for a perpetual shortcut, the "easy way out" and keep thinking: this kid will do really well later on in life. He'll invent things because he's lazy to do something the proper way. But now we have to survive till that point. Today, instead of writing "he sanctified" he wrote "he holidized". When I asked him, why, he said that it was easier. It is easier to invent a new word than tediously copy one.
I look at 7 yo, how he's struggling with reading Hebrew. He gets the whole prefix/shoresh/suffix deal, but he wants to be able to see a word and know what it is and what it sounds like right away. He's a sight reader, whole word reader. This is bizarre, since I am a believer in phonics and we did Bob books for English reading. Hebrew is a whole new beast, with changing nekudot and the related words sounding so different. Besides, his frustration level rises so suddenly, that one minute he's sitting next to me, working hard and at peace, and the next, the book is flying across the room and he's arching his back, screaming. Today I asked him what he would like to do for modern Hebrew practice. We hit a roadblock in Rosetta Stone, which he is not ready to overcome, and he did not want to go back and finish Llama. I said that I have S'fateinu, and he seemed interested in taking a look. He did the first 6 pages of first grade book, remarking that he likes it. He read all the words, underlined and circled, but he drew the line at coloring in the pictures. Then he told me exactly where he wants to stop ( on page 7) and that he wants to do 6 pages every day. I was thinking of my homeschooling friend and her three year rule: it is possible to learn all the material very quickly and pleasantly when the student is mature enough instead of butting heads with a younger child over concepts and skills. Why not wait and make it easy?
I thought that by now I would have more of a rhythm, of a groove. I thought that I would be wiser, know what I am doing. Instead, a lot of it feels like making the same mistakes again and again.
If all is well, tomorrow will be another day and we will all get another chance to start anew.