Yelling. Screaming. Nagging. Pleading. Threatening. I just naturally made my way into all of the above ever since the time I became a mom to two kids…yelling was temporarily the new normal, that is, until it became normalized into my routine. The other “qualities”, I just evolved into them during the time of schooling at home or the entire COVD-19 lockdown situation.
Stuck at home as we were, I now had to take responsibility for keeping my kindergartener academically engaged. For a while, we had a good run. I would make weekly lesson plans to which we almost always stuck. I dragged the day on until 4 or sometimes 4:30 often with additional math and grammar work that kept him mentally charged and advancing well into 1st grade and some 2nd grade curriculum.
Then, Spring Break happened. We did great. I did not tell J that he in fact, had a break and did not need to do any school work. Rather, I told him that his Spring Break had gotten cancelled because of the virus. This is because he thrives under structure and continuing with school work achieved multiple goals; I didn’t have to have them watch television or play educational video games all day, I didn’t need to think of creatively occupying activities for 5 days, I didn’t have to worry about him forgetting his core concepts or forgetting to read or deal with any other educational insecurities.
Of course, the Monday after Spring Break when the teacher asked everyone what they did during the break, he found out that, he, in fact, did actually have a Spring Break. Thankfully, he wasn’t too upset about it but it made me feel bad that I made my child work really hard during the time when he could have gotten a lot of free time so I started going real easy on the “homeschool” bit…and that did us in!
Things have never been the same. Exasperating my efforts was also the fact that Aaron got a week off of work and suddenly, there were two parents working with him on school work and he got a lot time playing and goofying off with daddy. Soon, my resolution to teach him advanced material and prep him for first grade dissolved to merely getting the assigned school work done and calling it a day.
Meanwhile, J had discovered his dislike for writing essays. Mind you, he was good at thinking them, he just did not like writing them. This got worse with every passing day…which brings me to the current topic – my yelling, screaming, nagging, pleading, and threatening – all of which I have had to do, just to get him to write THREE sentences of a given essay topic (picked by his teacher).
I yell at him to get started. I yell at him when within a second of sitting down to write the essay, he has to suddenly go watch the rain, or go see what his sister is up to, or go give his dad a hug, or go to the bathroom, or purposely break the lead on his pencil, or scrape his eraser with the point of his pencil, or stop all work to come give me a hug….the list goes on…he has the attention span of a fruit fly!
Then, there are the random moments when he just gets up and runs. Just like that. Just runs away to some other room. That’s when I have to threaten with time out countdowns to get him to return to the writing table. This usually works…for two seconds and then I am back to yelling at him to stop day dreaming or zoning out, pleading with him to please continue his work and get it done with already! Something that should not take more than 30 minutes takes us almost 2 hours! It’s a drag, it takes every ounce of my energy and patience, albeit unsuccessfully, to get him to do his essay.
All this goes to say that I do not like who I am becoming during this COVID-19 schooling-at-home phase. I can’t take this anymore. I can’t wait for the academic year to end already but then that raises new questions regarding, what in the world am I going to do without a curriculum to pursue and keep him academic engaged.
Fortunately for me (and perhaps unfortunately for my son), I am not one to give up easily. I bought My First Grade Workbook: 101 Games and Activities, Star Wars Workbook: 1st Grade Writing Skills, and The Big Book of Reading Comprehension Activities recently so I can continue teaching during the summer and have him ready for first grade. Sigh….a mother’s job is never done.