I woke up this morning determined to make this a fun day - our first "official" day of homeschooling since my daughter would now be considered a Kindergartner. I made sprinkle pancakes. I got the girls dressed and fixed their hair. And then I drew "First day of Kindergarten" on our blackboard and asked my oldest to stand beside it for a school picture. She ran away and it took a lot of coaxing to get her to come back and pose for a photo. This should have been my first indication to quit taking things so seriously....
We had our circle time, and then sat down at the kitchen table to start working. My oldest doesn't like language arts or reading, so I figured we would do it first to get it out of the way for the week. We are starting the "Explode the Code" series (her younger sister is doing "Get Ready for the Code") and while she normally likes workbooks, she was not thrilled when she saw that this one concentrated solely on phonics. She said she didn't know what sound the "h" makes. (She does.) She said she was nervous and guessed that "h" made the sound "ch." (She knew that was wrong.) Then, when practicing writing the letter "a," she got frustrated that her circle didn't touch the bottom line and she scribbled all over the page. I told her that even if she was frustrated, that type of behavior would not be acceptable. She cried. Her younger sister was loving her workbook (she likes to trace) but then she caught on to what big-sister was doing. She said she was nervous to write an "f" and said she didn't want to do anymore. When I tried to put the workbook away, she started sobbing that I was taking her workbook away from her. She said that she wanted to finish it. But when I handed it back to her, she just cried more. *sigh* Then, when both she and her sister finally calmed down and did a couple more pages, we moved on to math.
We watched a video on www.brainpopjr.com about plane shapes and solid shapes. The girls colored a worksheet about shapes. Then came the part where we tried to make a cylinder out of paper. They colored their papers and then had to cut out a rectangle and two circles. Thing 2 loved it. But Thing 1 was adamant that she couldn't cut a perfect circle. I asked her to try. She started crying. And then... well... have you ever seen one of those infomercials where they are trying to sell you fancy scissors? And they have someone demonstrate how terribly difficult it is to cut with regular scissors? I felt like I was IN one of those infomercials. Thing 1 dramatically demonstrated her inability to cut a circle and cut right through the middle of it. Then, she ran away crying about how she would never cut a perfect circle.
I'm not gonna lie. I wanted to send her to school.
Maybe they were just in some terrible moods today. Maybe we jumped too quickly into sit-down table-work after doing nothing the last few weeks. Maybe I am not cut out for this homeschooling thing....
In the middle of all my doubts, I reminded myself that the whole reason we're homeschooling is because I don't want my kids doing regular school. I also re-read this fabulous post from Simple Homeschool. Am I concerned about my children's ability to play with other kids? Am I concerned about their ability to read? To do math? To interact with other adults? To follow directions? The answer is no. I only worry when I start to panic that they aren't doing what "the system" says they should be doing.
So what if they don't want to cut a circle out of a paper?! When I relax, they relax. And they always seem to learn more than I hoped they would!
Yes, our "first official day of homeschooling" kinda sucked. But that's exactly why we're homeschooling - we can always try again tomorrow. We can take as long as we need to master something without feeling rushed to move on to whatever is "supposed" to come next. Most importantly, we parents need to remind ourselves that our job is not to force and demand, but to nurture and inspire. Afterall, that's when the best learning happens.