The secret to education

It feels like no progress ever happens without at least one terribly difficult moment each day. I've homeschooled for a decade now and I don't think there has been a single day that hasn't featured one kid balking or crying or suddenly remembering nothing at all about math.

It's always a struggle for me not to lose patience when these moments happen. Because dagnabbit, they do remember their math. And most everything else we've covered, for that matter. It's obvious why they balk. It's because they don't feel like working. Very few people innately enjoy the feeling of working on anything (rather a big problem, that), and children usually aren't into effort. Unless it's about a subject they picked themselves (I have one kid who knows so much about dinosaurs she's scary). What helps me not lose my temper is trying to remember that - as my friend Véronique put it - character comes before curriculum. I have to see beyond the balking and remember that making them work on their character - by controlling their emotions and forcing themselves to just push through the unpleasant stuff (ideally without tears), then they'll not only be allowed to play or do something fun, but they'll feel good about themselves. And next time it will be a teeny wee bit less hard to work on their character.

The progress is very slow, and it's very infuriating. But after the storm has passed I tell myself the only way I'll be able to teach them how best to approach a difficult and unpleasant task is to model it myself.

That means no temper tantrums for mom either. Darn it.

Orange skies

Public park truck