This week something happened, something that we don’t tend to hear or read too much about. It was a bad day!
All the blogs and books and reading I have done show home ed as this blissfully chilled experience where children learn at their own pace. They are interested, engaged, motivated and mum gets to smile and observe them while engaging in conversations around their questions allowing them to reach their own conclusions rather than being told the right or wrong way. Sounds wonderful!
But in reality, when you have babies, toddlers, preschoolers, pre teens, teenagers and especially siblings in the house we all know that life isn’t all peace and smooth sailing.
I have wondered on a couple of occasion why I haven’t read about the bad days, the days when you cant help but shout and feel like crying. The days you feel like a failure and cant imagine your children ever actually learning anything! Those days happen in every household right? I know from talking to friends that however lovely things may appear from the outside, they most definitely do have *those* days!
Well this week we had one, and at the same time i figured out why I may not have read much about these elusive bad days.
Firstly, you can’t talk to people about a bad day, you cant complain about how your children are driving you bonkers, to the edge of tears and you feel like physically pulling your hair out, or sticking red hot pokers in your eyes, to ease the impending “stress headache” , because as soon as you try to rant, vent and let it all out you get the all important, million dollar question; “why don’t you put them back to school?” This brings forth the defence of the choices that we have made, it causes me to highlight all the many problems that we had in school. The daily phone calls, the ill health, the stress, the meetings, the tears. You asking me that question gives me the cause to list all the reasons why I don’t “just put them back into school” and there are soooo many reasons for that. Its just that sometimes amidst the teenage hormones, the sleepless nights, the sibling bickering and the miserable weather, we lose sight of our reasons, and sometimes we need a really bad day to show us everything that is good. So a bad day stops being a bad day and becomes instead another life lesson.
Yesterday my daughter and I had an argument. It was quite a big argument with unkind and hurtful things said on both our parts. She was doing some English work and didn’t understand it, I was going through it with her and trying to explain it but she wasnt getting it. I was getting frustrated, she was getting frustrated. I got wound up, its not often we do book learning but we had all agreed that once a week we would make sure to do some and this was our only free day, so why wasnt she motivated and working on it? Why couldnt she grasp something that in my mind seemed so simple?! She got wound up that I was getting aggitated with her for not getting it because she couldnt help it, then everything exploded!
I went onto a home ed group on facebook and was able to vent in the safety zone on there, to get it out of my system and discuss it with like minded people, many of whom it turned out could completely relate having been there themselves, you see, I am not alone! Then I decided enough was enough and it was ME who needed to change things up! Clearly she wasnt getting it, so I needed to change tactics to help her to understand and to learn in another way. So we got ourselves ready, calmed ourselves down and got in the car. Despite the arguing I did something that I would never normally do following such attitude from her, I treated them to a mc donalds drive thru, and we drove to some woods. We sat in the car in the rain and ate our mc donalds and as we finished the sun came out. We went for a walk through the woods, oblivious to the mud, the toddler thoroughly enjoyed discovering muddy puddles and may have ruined his shoes and his socks will never again be white, but we had fun. While out the house we looked at different pieces of writing, information, adverts, road signs and discussed these. This helped A to understand what she had been really struggling to get from out of a book, it meant that when she got home she was refreshed and able to continue her work. She wouldn’t have had that opportunity in school!
It brings it home to me that while yes the bad days do happen, one bad home ed day is far better than constant bad days at school, and it’s only really a bad day if you don’t learn anything from it. After that, it just becomes another lesson.