Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Lows and Highs

Low: When Alex sat down for school this morning, she had an ATTITUDE!! Last night after checking over some of her work from the day, I talked to her a bit about the sloppiness and carelessness I was seeing. I'm guessing her processing that little talk came out in her attitude. So we had another talk, this time going into one of the big lessons she learned at VBS this summer: putting her best into everything. I asked her, "Are you willing to put your best into everything?" You know what my sweet, precious, COMPLIANT little girl did? She commenced a stare down with me and refused to answer! She didn't even offer an "I don't know" which was her favorite answer for the other questions I asked regarding her being upset. So I left her in her room and told her she was more than welcome to come find me when she had decided one way or the other about putting her best foot forward.

High: It wasn't long before the Alex I know came to find me and give me a big, giant hug. And her decision? To try to put her best into everything. I've been trying harder to look at every situation to determine what God's trying to teach me and what negative role I'm playing in each event since as the old saying goes: It takes two to tango, or in this instance, Two to cultivate a negative attitude. So I'm realizing that I set out this year with so many lofty ambitions that really I probably have set the bar a little too high for my little girl whom I often forget is only in second grade. For now, I want to focus on spending time with her learning rather than teaching AT her. She's so smart it really is fun to learn with her.

Low: These two boys could spend the whole day wrestling, building tents, constructing huge cities out of Legos...I realize those boyish things are the most important things they need to learn at this tender age; however, the one thing I really want them to learn and learn well is reading. It's difficult to motivate them, though...especially my wild man! They both have acquired a good foundation for reading; it's the building on that foundation that becomes difficult. Maybe it's my curriculum, I don't know. I use the A Beka readers, which aren't the most exciting things, but my other options in-house are A Parents' Guide to Teaching Reading (boring!) or Teach Your Child...100 Easy Lessons (even more boring!). So we plod on through A Beka and try to improve fluency while also attempting to make the stories exciting and meaningful.

High: Jacob's story today highlighted the wonderfully adventurous life of Ann Ant (yes, there was a hint of sarcasm in my voice) who crashes a picnic and struggles to steal a bun from the picnickers. Turns out Ann needs 10 of her ant friends to help her (this may be leading to a new line of jokes...How many ants does it take to get a bun up a hill?). In order to make this exciting, I promised Jacob a surprise at the end of the story: a picnic. At first I planned to "picnic" in the backyard, but while he was reading a little voice inside asked me, "Why don't you just do something a little more fun...even if it means a bit more effort?" So at lunchtime, we headed out, grabbed some food, and went to a park on the lake for a picnic. Afterwards, the kids enjoyed the lake. Audrey kept herself occupied throwing rocks in the water while the others went on a "treasure hunt" for rocks and clam shells. Audrey eventually wandered into the water after the others...and with her shoes and socks on. They had a great time and were even more thrilled to see a few boats pass by.

While they were playing, I began a little brainstorm for this reading motivation thing. I think I may tell the boys that occasionally after one of their stories there will be a surprise outing or something of that nature. But they won't know which story it is, so hopefully they'll want to read the story and read it without an attitude in order to earn that potential surprise. We'll see how that goes. And in between, I'll just keep reading to them and piling on the good literature, although there does have to be a bit of an exception for Michael: at the library the other day he was totally disinterested in picking out any books until we happened upon some comic books. Those were his choice. Now I'm the one with the attitude because I have to read those things to him! Guess a little Spider-Man never hurt anyone; in fact, I have a little Spider-Man running around the house as I write this (the boys decided to be Super Heroes when we got back from the lake, so they're dressed up thusly).

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