Dana’s terible, horrible, no good, very bad day

So, yeah. Today was not such a good day. But to understand, perhaps we need to go back a few days. To the end of last week. When I joyfully announced we were ahead of my plans for history. And I asked mouse what she would like to learn between now and the 20th century, which I haven’t had time to plan.

Her answer? Why, 19th century whaling, of course!

“19th century whaling?” I thought? “What do I know about 19th century whaling? Come to think of it, what on earth would I want to know about 19th century whaling? Stalling, I suggested a week on whales. Because I was confident my internet connection and I could pull together a pretty good unit on whaling over the course of a weekend. As opposed to 19th century whaling. So I have another week to work on that…

I spent all weekend assessing websites, finding information, slide shows, videos and even a website in Hawaii transmitting the song of the humpback whale…live. I created a template for two mini-books to staple in our first lapbook and made modifications so that both the five year old and the two year old could participate.

It was a good unit.

I didn’t plan for it to fall apart 15 minutes after breakfast. I still don’t know quite what happened. I told her I’d finish dishes so she could start on her AWANAs verses. And this is what I heard:

  • Husband’s voice, indistinct.
  • Daughter, very distinct: “I can’t find my book!”
  • Husband’s voice, indistinct.
  • Daughter, shouting: “But mommy told me to start with my verses!”
  • Husband’s voice, indistinct.
  • A scream.
  • A crash.
  • The sound of someone flinging herself on the bed.

My husband came in to inform me she wasn’t to use her colored pencils for the day. Incredulous, I just stared at him.

She threw them across the room.

But I had planned for her to sketch a sperm whale for her book. I had planned for enthusiastic children seated about me as we went on this multimedia journey of the deep. I had planned.

Whew–even writing about it is causing my blood pressure to rise. Yours probably is, too. This will make you feel better:

Homeschool encouragement

Cute babies often do.

Now, obviously, my husband did not understand the emotional investment I had in those colored pencils. So I snapped. Then I sulked. And I sat down to sketch out my article for Heart of the Matter as I listened to the mournful wails eminating from my daughter’s room. That wail…ooh, did it get to me. Fifteen minutes of sobbing because her father told her not to worry about AWANAs and get started with spelling. Didn’t she realize the senselessness? Didn’t she…see, digging this up is not healthy for me. Deep breath. And the thought of a better day:

homeschooling through hard days

That is her at a pull off on the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina. Just enjoying the mountain air and freedom of exploration.

So she settles herself. Accepts her consequence. Does a nice job with the copy work. She brings me her spelling and…what’s this? A smile? Maybe the day can be salvaged, after all. As she hands me her book, I ask if she has looked over the words.

Don’t need to. They’re easy.

We’ve been through this before, but I generally get no more than this:

terrible horrible no good very bad day

after she fails a pre-test. No such luck. When handed her book to go do a word sort, she retreated to her room to wrap herself in a curtain and stare out the window.

I commenced self-soothing exercises.

One.

homeschooling frustration 1 1

Two.

homeschool frustration 2

Three.

homeschool frustration 3

This really is my issue. After all, watching the birds to calm yourself is wholly acceptable and something we have worked on for awhile. I watch the minutes tick by, see the time slipping away like water and my lesson plans being cast away for the day. My lesson plans I had planned

Have I shared any pictures of my son recently?

running free

He tells me every night he loves me and that I’m the bestest mom ever. I know he just lacks a proper sample to measure against, but no one better tell him that.

Suddenly, my daughter reappears, eyes swollen and spelling done. I’m inclined to let the day be over, but I’m always worried that might reward her for the tantrum. So I press on.

Sweetheart, I want you to take ten minutes to read or sketch or do something to refocus, ok?

Can I make a wand with a straw and my heart Grandma gave me?

Sure.

All smiles, she bounds off.

Lunch.

Dishes.

And…dare I even try it? Throw my whale lesson at the mercy of this tempest? Was I seeing the sun break through dissipating clouds or just the tenuous calm in the eye of the storm? Would the high interest subject matter break through to her normally sunshiny disposition, or would the frustration of the day soil the best laid plans? My plans

I sallied forth.

And then came the glorious rainbow.

Mom, did you know that the sperm whale has the biggest brain of any animal to have ever lived?

She was absorbed in her project and my heart sang. Who cares that school didn’t end until 7Pm?

Seven? (Grumble.) I guess I do. Maybe this will help.

learning to sew

Because that really is more representative of our homeschooling days.

Activity: This is something we normally do when the children are arguing, but didn’t today. Have everyone sit in a circle and say something they like about each of their siblings and mom and dad. My children really seem to like to hear this little bit of praise from their siblings and it helps them stop the fighting.

And this reminds me of an interesting song (not for all audiences, but it is all in German, so you likely won’t notice).  The translation of the chorus, however, goes thus:

Good morning my dear troubles,
Are you all back so soon?
Have you also slept so well?
Well, then every thing’s all right.

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0 Responses

  1. Tomorrow will probably be one of your best days. That is so great that you found out all that information about whales. When I have days like this I usually just end the lessons early. It doesn’t usually get any better for us, until the next day.

  2. Oh Dana,
    You will laugh at this one day…..I laughed a little; only because I can easily see this day happening at my house.

    Your daughter sounds a lot like mine 🙂

    Hope tomorrow is a GREAT day.

    Stacy

  3. My husband laughed when I told him what today’s writing prompt was. Then I laughed. Thankfully, she was in her room with her pillow over her head at the time.

    She was all smiles all afternoon and evening. Fortunately, this is a rare event. The only thing I could think to write about before today happened was something that happened 6 months ago, but it involved all the children and no fits. Just little ones trying to be helpful. And boy can helpful little ones make messes!

  4. Oh, my child was in tears yesterday too. I told her to clean her room and then finish a book report. After 90 minutes she had done one load of laundry. She read a library book while the laundry was being done. I set a timer. She cried. She couldn’t remember how to clean her room. She wanted a control journal with steps and photos that we made almost 3 years ago but she hasn’t used in over 2 years. I had no idea where it was… she wanted to take back the expensive camera she just bought because it is too hard but lost the lens cover and I told her she couldn’t take it back unless she could take everything back… she wanted me to sit down with her, the camera and the instruction manual and I told her I would as soon as her room was clean and she had the outline of her book report and the introductory paragraph written. Oh, and did I mention that she is 16 and doesn’t have a boyfriend yet?

  5. Hi! I didn’t blog so much about the problems because they would be WORSE by 1,000 times in public school. Unfortunately I know this from experience LOL!

  6. This is a tough writing prompt for me, because I tend to be vague about our family and I don’t get deeply personal about the things we have been through. And that’s not just on the internet, but IRL too. My worst, no good, horrible, very bad days are so bad that I just can’t bring myself to talk about them. They are far enough in the past, however, to be a distant memory.

  7. At least you can be thankful that day is over now. I think is good that you shared it though. Sometimes people, esp.non-hsing people, think every day is a great day. They don’t stop and think that life still happens all around us as we are trying to school. Sometimes it’s our kids who have the bad day and sometimes it’s us. We have to take the good days and the bad days. They all count on my attendance sheet!

  8. I’m sorry….I smiled when I read through your day. Perhaps because it held that vague familiarness, you know? That BTDT feeling. But fortunately we know that it’s only a moment which will pass, right?

    And I have to say that when I read the prompting for today, I was thinking that Australia would be fun to go to on a GOOD day, too!

    Blessings,
    Tammy ~@~

  9. Great post. I know for us, fortunately the “bad days” do not come in multiples. Usually the next days are great. I guess that is why we keep going, isnt it? We too have had the same experiences where we will be reading something, and suddenly I have the thought, “Why do we need to know this and why would anyone want to know this?”
    Anyway, thanks for hosting this week. I like having the prompts, it makes by brain not have to work as hard to come up with an idea to blog about. 😉

  10. Thanks for sharing your day with us. My older son’s been sick and grumpy the past few days, but thankfully has been getting better and more agreeable. I like your idea of the activity to say something we like about each family member. I’ll have to remember to try that one.

  11. (Well, did you think of moving to Australia? 🙂 )Thanks for sharing and for all those pictures. Your children are beautiful! Sure to bring a smile to any face in the midst of anything. Oh, and what an interesting study!!

  12. I learned a long time ago from Christian author, Dr. Larry Crab that there is a difference between desires and goals. But do I ever remember that when my lesson plans are not accomplished? Of course not! I loved your comic relief!
    Blessings,
    Laurie

  13. I had a rough day too, but without benefit of the great photos… Your kids are beautiful even when they’re pulling faces, Dana!

    Let’s hope today goes better for us all.

    Cheers,
    Ruby

  14. I just came back from a trip to the big island of Hawaii and actually went out on a whale-watching trip…we got to see several humpback whales and one mama and her calf jump completely out of the water, side by side! It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever experienced!
    Your baby’s pictures are priceless, very calming, for sure!

  15. Thanks for sharing your day. I already knew that I was not alone in these struggles, but it helps to be reminded. Your efforts are covered with grace.

  16. I hate to say it – – but, it is sometimes nice to hear that temper tantrums happen at other people’s houses, too. When I have one of those days, I will come and look at your calming pictures! 😉

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  17. Whaling in ANY century!? But we passed up Moby Dick, so it won’t likely come up here. I really thought dd was going to pick it, but she ended up going with Count of Monte Cristo. Our 19th Century studies WON’T be finished early, so all I have to be concerned about is getting the 20th cent. ones planned.

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