Monday, July 28, 2014

gearing up to a change

I'm slowly going through the sunroom, planning out the next school year. I have really fallen off the planning-ahead wagon, and I am desperate to get back on. I want to have achievable goals for what I am trying to accomplish with 10 yo.

I want to work on his grammar and writing. I am not worried about spelling as I think that will catch up with writing. I want to make sure that he gets math concepts. I want to finish Rosetta Stone. I want to focus a bit more on Hebrew grammar. I want to challenge him in geography and science. I want to increase the amount of daily pesukim in Chumash to five and finish Breishit, maybe even do a chunk of Shemot and move away from using nekudot in Rashi.

What I am realizing, sadly, is that how many of these goals are achievable, but I have not been pursuing them because they required my focus. The whole past year, all my focus has been on 8 yo and the baby, probably in that order. All the projects, ideas, objectives that I set out were thoroughly diverted. Many were not undertaken because I knew that 8 yo would never go along with them. Many were not undertaken because trying to get 8 yo to do any of his work could take any length of time. I was terrorized not knowing whether I will just need to sit down with him for 5 minutes and complete something, or whether he will throw an epic tantrum, follow me around, have tearful conversations full of hugs and then, hours later, we will be done. He would be reenergized and I was completely emotionally and physically exhausted.

While I still feel not very settled and calm about sending him to school, I feel much better realizing that now I have freedom to educate my other child in the way that he deserves to be taught. We had a conversation about starting back with Chumash. He was not very happy about the idea, but I insisted. He was grouchy and dramatically threw himself on the couch. I said that we will just find the place where we left off, and we will not do any Rashis today. He found the spot (we did not do Chumash for probably close to two months) and read it like he learned it yesterday. I saw that he was starting to get into his learning, so I left him with a few points dangling. Then we discussed when we will start official school year.

After this whole exchange I thought how normal it was: he voiced his opinion and preference, I stated my preference, he went along with what I suggested, implicitly trusting my judgement and I was careful not to exploit the situation. I got so used to constant explosions from 8 yo that I stopped having normal conversations with 10 yo, shouting commands instead or just giving up.

As I am going through different supplies and teaching aids that I made over the years, I am boxing many of them up. I am saving them for the day when 4 yo gets a bit older. She is easy to reason with, and she is eager to learn and eager to try new things. Perhaps she will appreciate all the different things that I collected, printed out, laminated. I feel a huge gap between what 10 yo knows and what 8 yo knows. I feel sad that despite all my efforts and different plans, I was not able to design a method which satisfied us both. But I am also looking forward to spending enjoyable time learning with my other kids.

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