A little dip in general morale around here. It’s periodic. First, we’re all enthusiastic and trying hard. Then there’s a slow but perceptible waning of enthusiasm from you know who. Which I notice, and try to fix by making things better, more exciting, more…..I don’t know. I ramp it up, and start taking the responsibility upon myself to find new projects, new ways of teaching spelling, new library books, anything to get back to the honeymoon period. This doesn’t work, whatever I suggest is poo-poohed, and the sighing, moaning, and dragging around limply become even more noticeable. Which start to make my blood boil. I know what’s coming. I try to avoid it. The confrontation. Which happens. Goes something like this:
AAArgh! You’re job is to be the learner. My job is to provide the materials, experiences etc. I can’t be expected to force it down your throat. If you won’t try, how can this work? Do you want to end up digging ditches for the rest of your life? Then the laying on of the guilt, which I try and try to avoid, because it’s stupid and useless and damaging, and only serves to make both of us feel bad. I don’t have to be doing this, you know. I could be going to work all day. You wanna go back to school? Just say the word, pal. Then the tears. The time spent apart. Him on his bed, kicking at the wall, me furiously scrubbing pots at the sink, fending off Jay’s desperate attempts to prove herself the perfect student. Luckily, this time the separation only lasted half an hour, and we got in a reconciliatory chat and a cosy 15 minutes of reading aloud before lunch.
He has real trouble understanding that not everything he does will be the height of fun. We talked about expectations. About the fact that for most people, life is hard, that work isn’t always sheer joy, that you find pleasure in working hard, and that you then get to enjoy bits of time each day after the work is done.
About how two people could have the exact same life, and one be miserable and the other be content. That it’s not so much what your life is like, but what your perception of it is. If you expect it to be a thrill every single second, you’re bound to be disappointed. If you expect it to be hard work, you’ll be happy whenever you get a chance for fun.
It seems that we need to go through this little cycle, over and over again, he and I. Until he finally gets it, and begins to take responsibility for his own choices, his own life, his own happiness. He still thinks that it’s my job to make everything perfect for him.
Now that we’ve had our inevitable little blow-up, his expectations will be adjusted temporarily, and we can have another couple of solid weeks of learning. I hope! I just wish it could be a little smoother. Still, being the optimistic homeschooling mother that I am, I got a little inspiration from today’s events. We should write a story about two people who live side-by-side in mud huts, one happy, the other miserable, ending the story with a moral. Which got me to thinking that they’ve never read Aesop’s fables. Yay! Reading Aesop’s fables will be fun!