D was unwell again in the night so much to her delight, swimming lessons were cancelled and we spent the day indoors. Strangely she eats and behaves normally during the day so it’s very hard to judge how ill she really is!
The girls played together in the morning before breakfast and then D wanted to do Sudoku in her Tinkerbell activity book with me. I was surprised that she understood the idea and can now almost do it by herself. We sat and did that while M did some colouring. I asked D if she’d like to do some Reading Eggs but apparently she didn’t because it is now boring. I went off to sort out the washing from the night’s escapades. When I came back D asked to do another Sudoku so I obliged in the hope she would want to do some Reading Eggs afterwards… but no.
I thought it would be a good time to start our weather project as we were going to be in all day. Wrong again. Neither were in the mood: D wandered off after 30 seconds and M started to panic because she didn’t understand condensation and vapours…
So I scrapped that idea and M asked if I could read Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets to her as she couldn’t wait until tonight to read the final chapter. So we sat on the sofa to read and D listened in a bit too.
Then it was time for a snack and afterwards the girls drifted towards their colouring again and neither were interested in doing anything else. It was then I decided enough was enough and that we had to have some structure or I’d go crazy! So I had an idea.
When the girls were at school/nursery I read a book called Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting by Noel Janis-Norton. One scenario really resonated with me about how our morning routing consisted of me constantly nagging the girls (m in particular) to get ready for school with not a lot of progress. Janis-Norton recommends ‘preparing for success’ to remedy this situation. You do this by talking through what you want your child to do and you can write a list together of everything that needs to be done and praise them as they complete it each morning. This worked a treat in our house and the girls really liked taking control of their mornings and checking their lists for their ‘jobs’.
I thought this would be a good idea to implement with regards to home-school. M was happy to go along with it but D was immediately resistant saying she didn’t like being bossed about. She turned her head away from me when I was trying to talk to her and so I suggested that she leave the room and come back when she was ready to listen. She wandered off upstairs while M and I were putting her list together. I asked her not to disturb us but she kept shouting down irritatingly clever things like ‘Muuum! Zero times zero equals zero!’. Hmm.
Then she wandered back into the room in a very chirpy manner and tried to engage me in chit-chat. I calmly stated that when she was ready to listen to me then I would listen to her.
Then I went off for a shower (it was 2pm after all) and D came up with a picture for me (which seemed suspiciously like a peace offering) and said she was ‘sort of sorry’. But when I started to talk to her she still wasn’t up for doing what I wanted her to do. Meanwhile, M had finished her list and was merrily decorating it.
I went downstairs to sit with M and D began to wail very loudly (in the hope I’d soften, I think). When I went back up she said she wanted a hug but I just replied that if she had done what I asked then she wouldn’t be upset in the first place! Grr!
These shenanigans must have gone on for at least an hour and in the end it was M who persuaded her to come back down while explaining to her that I had to be bossy or we would never get dressed in the morning!
So D sat and wrote her list (I wrote all the words out in dots) and I explained to her what I expected her to do each day. When she’d finished she immediately said she wanted to watch Tinkerbell so I said that she could if she did her Maths first. So she sat and did her Maths!
Meanwhile, M had already finished her Maths so she then read to me for 20 minutes from her Little Princess story. M was quite annoyed that her list added up to 2 hours work but she was appeased when I said that she used to be at school for 6 hours a day.
She read wonderfully and I said that if she liked she could write her Christmas list out in beautiful handwriting and that could be her English for the day. She sat for so long doing this that I thought she might start going a bit stir crazy but she wouldn’t stop!
By this time D’s film had finished and I persuaded her to have a go on Reading Eggs which she actually seemed to enjoy! She played on Numberjacks Mission to Learn while I started on dinner. While doing this I reflected on the day’s shenanigans and remembered that the main reason for the decision to home-school was so the girls enjoyed learning. So I figured out a little game to educate and entertain.
The girls set up a little disco on our bed after dinner which gave me time to set the game up. I wrote spelling words for each sausage on cards and stuck them on the lounge patio doors. The girls had 1 minute to read 5 words each, grab the word off the window and run over and put it on a chair before running back to read the next word. Worked a treat. The prize was finding the chocolate treasure in the Christmas tree – they loved it!
What a strange day of sick, change, and moodiness. Be interesting to see how they cope with the new structure tomorrow…
At dinner, D told me she had a sad thought but had pushed it out of her brain. She said ‘I thought that if I was at nursery I would be missing you’.