Monday, December 20, 2010

still struggling

I took a day or two to reflect after reading the responses and now I am back. There was day or two in there that I had quit. I had given up. This is too hard. I can not do this. Then there was day of "failure is not an option", and then there was yesterday and today. I am willing to consider myself boarderline bipolar, I can not make up my mind. That must be sending a signal to the kids that I am not committed, but should be committed, to a mental hospital, until I get my act together.

Monday we started a new project, one that is not exactly in the books. A freewrite essay. I do not understand why writing for me is so easy and so difficult for them, but it is, and that has to change. They can not/ do not want to 'write' with paper and pencil. FINE, they both now have laptops to work on and the one assignment (with deadlines) is just to write to the topic that I assigned. NOTHING ELSE. Just write. I am not a happy muse. I feel like a slave driver, and this is exactly what I feared would be the situation if I were not in k12. We would struggle and cry and whine, and be in December and still no composition done.

I have applied to the husband to restrict all internet access until they have earned back my trust. he finally complied and we are finding that will less distraction and freedom, there is more likleyhood that we are getting our work done, that is helpful for me. But his nagging that I am not supervising them enough is starting to grate on what is left of my nerves. Yes they are 9 and 11 years old, yes, they need hand holding, but they also need to be able to take a task, spend 30 minutes and work on it INDEPENDENTLY. SERIOUSLY, if I say free write for 30 minutes, that means FREE WRITE not stare off into space for 29 minutes. I give them assignments, deadlines, they have to do it without me standing over them with a whip nudging them on like a stubborn donkey.

So I am still not achieving my goals. I am still not fostering the love of learning. I am still no closer to achieving what I set out to do, TO EDUCATE. They are still dragging and dwaddling. This week's experiment. Write an essay about the first christmas. simple enough. they have a word goal that they have to meet. They have a time line that they have to meet, a big reward for finishing early, and reward for finishing on time, and a consequence for being late. They have enlisted me for help, they have enlisted the big sister in california for help, and they are doing work with the speed of a snail on drugs. Now I am pleased with any form of work. I am not going to kill that by trying to point out to them that the prompt was one thing and they have gone off on a different tangent. I am going to celebrate that they even DID work.

It gives me a baseline for figuring out that they need to understand scope and outlines more clearly than they have from the k12 work book. So that is our next assignment. How to make that a teachable unit, because the workbook did not make it that hands on. I am thinking of cutting out some papers and stapling them together and demonstrate how an outline opens and expands to allow for detail to aid in hands on learners. sadly though...

We are not completing any other OLS assignments while focusing so intensely on this critical learning step. which means come January during end of semester we will be 'behind' and scrambling to 'catch up' or we will be marking off lessons that we never really got too and sacrificing THOSE goals in lieu of THESE. I hate that. there is just not enough... not enough hours in the day, not enough of me to go around, not enough time to cover even the fundamental basics to the level that they are needed to be able to integrate them effectively.

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