Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Shut up!

I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and was too anxious to actually publish it. But I am going to click that button and be brave in the interest of realism.

A lot of homeschool moms imagine that every other homeschooling mom has it all worked out. That their houses are clean and quiet. That their children do perfect work and never argue or pick on their siblings. That they know perfectly how to handle every situation and how to teach every child. And that she alone is the only one who faces problems.

Encouraged by a couple friends, I have decided to try "being real" about the struggles we face. I hope you can see beyond the occasional frustration and inadequacy I post. I had those when I taught school too, so teachers don't have it all down pat either.

So, without further ado or any editing, here is my original post, entitled "Shut up!" (And yes, I say it on occasion. Certainly more frequently than I ought. Just being real, now! LOL)

I am SO TIRED of constant noise as my children work (or not work, as the case may be). Yes, I have been known to shout the above words. Clearly not the best plan of action, but I'm just being real here.

One of my children seems to need to make constant noise - blowing raspberries, chanting single words or phrases over and over, humming just loud enough so everyone can hear. The others don't make noise constantly, but don't seem to heed that others around them need a quiet atmosphere to concentrate on their lessons.

I used to teach. My classroom of nineteen children could be quieter than the four children who live here.

Here is a small slice of our day. Maybe five minutes? They are supposed to all be working quietly. Suzy is silent reading, David and Emily are doing grammar worksheets, and James is waiting on me to do Spelling. I could have intervened in this scenario at any point, but I decided to let it play out and just transcribe what was said.

D: Captain American lives there.
E: Who's Captain America?
S: (not paying attention to THEM, but commenting on a picture in her book) It's a pepper!
J: What?
S takes book over to J and he begins to read aloud to her.
D repeats a phrase from the book and shakes a necklace around, making plastic beads clank.
D (in English accent): He's a spotted deceiver. He's a spotted deceiver.
J is still reading aloud with occasional loud outbursts.
D: CHEESE! (clear reaction to J's reading, which apparently mentioned the word)
D: CHEESE! Cheese is the answer to all the world's problems. I have to say that to Alex. Cheese! Cheese is the answer to all of America's problems. CHEEEEEESE!!!! (makes noises in his throat)
E laughs.
D: Cheese.
J reads on.
D: I know I said Cheese. My name is Cheese.
E: Dakota is a cat. Brody is a dog. (commenting on the read-aloud)
J reads on. D continues to mess with the plastic necklace.
J: Who could that be? (reading aloud)
D: It could be an intruder with a gun!
J slams book closed.
S: Hey, that's not all of it! There's one more page.
E: David, stop!!
D: I'm just practicing my acupuncture techniques on you.
E: Owww!!!!
Meanwhile, J resumes reading.

At this point, I have enough and call the room to order. See how inane it all is? Shouldn't a teenager know how to sit quietly so as not to bother those around him? For that matter, shouldn't a seven-year-old?

I am at a loss as to how to require silence during work time. I have heard people say (or write), "we just don't allow this kind of behavior" (whatever kind it may be), but how does that play out? How do you reinforce "not allowing it"?

What is tempting is the idea of putting them all in school and letting some anonymous teacher train them to be quiet in class. I did it for a bunch of kids. I should know how! Why is it not working? Am I just not strict? Am I stupid?

Input please!


Denise said...

For us, the breaking point in deciding to send our kids to school vs. homeschool was that I wanted our home to be their peaceful place. I think regardless of how school is done, it's going to be loud, traumatic, etc... (imagine a classroom of 2nd graders vs. a home of 4 multi-aged kids = both are chaos). What we decided is that I was not able to be both a mom & a teacher and maintain a peaceful home, KWIM? If that means that we had to send them to school, that's what we had to do. Our house is not peaceful (as in clean, quiet, with lovely music playing), but I feel we've struck the right balance for US.

That being said, about homeschooling... I remember a few times we were all together when Mom homeschooled us. Breakfast, lunch, reading stories, games, field trips, etc... Those times were definitely great, important, but WERE full of bickering, etc... That's what kids do, and we did it well. But our actual homework and our times with Mom reviewing our work/teaching us were separate (well, except for Debbie & I). In our own rooms - away from each other. If there's not enough spaces for your kids to be alone, they could rotate. I don't think ANY 14 year old wants to be with a 7 or 9 year old all day.

We ARE considering possibly homeschooling our kids once they are in high school since their charter school is K-8th. That would allow us to work with each kid one at a time to begin with and then they can get jobs, etc...

I wish I could give you better advice!

MICHELE said...

As you know, I only have one child... there is still:

and lots of nonsense

What helps me is to re-evaluate why we home-educate.

I know your kids well, Lisa. They have shown me so much respect. They DO NOT talk in my classes. They respect their peers and are a very well behaved.

They can get along with all ages...especially David.

They have all the good qualities to make it in life.

Don't throw your towel in!


Anonymous said...

If you turn up some really good music loud enough- it will drown them out! Trust me! It will work!

~Byn There said...

Just saw this post, can't believe I missed it. I feel your pain, what is it that homeschool kids feel everything is negotiable? I got worn down having to defend and explain everything. When a teacher gives an assignment there is no discussion about it! BUT trust me classrooms get rowdy too and there is still much work to be done being the parent of a public/private school student. The thing that gives me peace now is that I can handle the position of educational support knowing that someone else is steering the ship. The other factor as much as I hate to enter into the "socialization" issue is that there does come a time when they need to be with their own kind. I can not hang with teenage talk for too long, or be silly with an 8 year old all day, or keep up with the imagination of a 12 y.o.
No situation is perfect but we have to find one that is peacful, if you are in such a state of unrest then it must mean that some sort of change is imminent. You're a strong person and I know He'll give the courage and fortitude to make the right choices for the greater benefit of your family.

Jer. 29:11-13