Practice For The Both Of Us

For the past couple of weeks, every day, Elizabeth has asked me if we are going to begin our school that day. I have finally finished reading through all of the curriculum, and have made a 4-week plan. I even, on a whim, found a Spanish/English book that I need for the first unit and borrowed it from the library yesterday. I guess we are ready to start.

But, I think we need a little practice first.

One issue hangs over me before we begin: the tv time issue. For the past 2 years, 9am has been the earliest that Elizabeth has been allowed to watch tv, and has kind of been slotted as the ‘tv time.’ But for the toddler brother, 9am is also the time in which he is well rested and freshly breakfasted and least likely to bother us while we are doing our school work together. I am wanting to push the hour in which she watches tv back and do our school work then, but I expect resistance to the idea, or more so, to the actual application.

Opposite the fear of Elizabeth resisting me pushing the tv time back, I firmly believe in choosing life over passively watching television, and find it hard to accept working school in around tv, rather than the other way around.  But I also know that my attitude toward television is a learned behavior, and one that took years of self-discipline, one that a 4-year old would not have honed yet. I want, though, to make the transition as smooth as possible into a daily routine of working together on the school books and activities. I want to make it not seem like a punishment that her tv time is pushed back but a positive thing instead.

So this week I’ve been experimenting, we’ve been practicing.

Prior to our first day of practice, I explained to Elizabeth how I wanted to do our school in the mornings and how I felt it would be easiest in the 9am time slot for all three of us. Then, I asked her if she agreed to push tv time back for one hour for now and work on workbooks together during that time. This of course is taking a risk, because there’s always the possibility that she would say no to that idea, but with my daughter, I know that having her forewarned and agreeing works much better than just popping it on her, which usually ends with a tantrum, or a seriously long and drawn out resistance to whatever I am trying to do.

She agreed to my plan. Now, for the past few days, at about 9, or whenever we all finish our breakfasts, she and I have been working on a workbook of her choice (a vehicle sticker book, though I had envisioned a letter workbook).

And I’m glad I did! Sitting for even a half an hour is going to take some getting used to! For the both of us!

I myself am used to using that time block for a myriad of things – slowly drinking my coffee and reading WordPress updates, washing dishes, showering, etc. Now I’ve got to stop and put on the patience brake . 🙂 And turn on the concentration headlights. Oh boy! In no way do I want to discount any one who really has ADD/ADHD, but the mommy/nursing induced lapse in concentration makes making myself sit still in a usually busy hour a bit of a challenge. Not to mention the distracting toddler who insists on having his own chair, then paper and crayons, then stickers, then getting up and down and up and down (and he is very clumsy and falls down a lot). It’s at least giving the guy some experience with using those little writing muscles!

So, we’ve hit half an hour so far – only one more to go to reach what I estimate a typical school day will take… Oh my!  But Elizabeth loves books and is very interested in learning, and Moving Beyond The Page makes it seem like the kids are doing games rather than work, so I’m not too concerned that it will be too bad. As well, the flow of their program is a lot like our natural flow, except with project tools, so I think it will be really great. At this time, I am planning to start our school on either August 4, or August 11, after the ‘Bring Your Own Squirt Gun Party’ we are hosting for some of Elizabeth’s friends. I figure that there’s no reason to stress myself out with double the extra work between cleaning and prep for the party, and school. And I’m really glad I’m taking the time to establish a routine now so that the transition can be a little smoother.

Do you do any prep activities to get yourself or your kids out of the summer routine and back into school? Do you have any thoughts for me on the tv time issue?

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