Surly Girly

I’m so sorry, but I must take 5 minutes to vent and whine.

Victoria is not adjusting to the start of school well. To be clear, Violet is starting school and I am trying valiantly to engage Victoria however she desires — want a “math workbook” (basically connect-the-dots Kumon style)? fine! play legos? great! draw? sounds good!

Mostly, however, she wants to mope. She tries to read words and she can’t. She doesn’t hold her pencil well enough to draw the way she’d like. By mid-morning everything is “too hard” or “boring” or just “I hate that.” Bascially, she is not Violet, and it depresses the hell out of her. I don’t think this is a gifted thing (i.e., that Violet may be “more gifted”) but an age thing, and I really don’t know how to deal with it beyond separate schooling for them. But surely other homeschoolers deal with this?!

Violet loves having Victoria here all day, however. I send them out for “recess” and she is thrilled to have a companion that is not an adult. I’ve been keeping Violet’s lessons fairly short (except for a disasterously long “review quiz” on Tuesday to see what she was retaining in math), so that has helped the transition back to full-on school.

Anyway, it is depressing as hell for me to have a mopey 4yo slumping around. My mind immediately goes into “prophecy mode” as I start panicking about how we’ll get through this year, whether I should send her to school (the friends who generally understood why we started homeschool with Violet are getting a little firmer with the “but Victoria would do great in school” stuff this year), whether I am competent to homeschool at all — I still maintain that homeschooling Violet pretty much consists of paying for materials and being in the same house so that the authorities don’t arrest us for neglect, since she pretty much teaches herself. I’m predicting our homeschooling future based on these last few days, and it looks grim.

The thing about sending Little V to school is that the differences are still there. Kind of like pulling Big V from school did not make her any less different from many of her peers. Homeschooling doesn’t change those realities, it just gives you a little more direct involvement in working with them.

My best solution for now is to let Victoria be bored and mopey if she chooses. (I’ve also sent her to her room to play when the mopey-ness becomes flat-out surliness.) I hope that she’ll find a way to spend her time doing something that she likes. My offer to do “math” with her is simply a response to her desire to do math when Violet does her math. Believe me, if she doesn’t want to do anything resembling school, that’s fine with me–she’s 4!

At least right now I can hear the squeals and giggles out my office window as they play in the backyard — dear God, please let them be doing something acceptable!



Filed under Home Preschool, Learning Styles, Oh Mother, Our Philosophy (such as it is), Schoolday Doings, Socialization, Why Homeschool?

7 responses to “Surly Girly

  1. Arlene

    Stumbled onto you site and it’s great. I’ve been homeschooling for 20 years(9 children), while keeping up with a busy midwifery practice for the last 15 years. There’ll be plenty of naysayers along the way, and some days you’ll feel like you’re surely doing your children an injustice, but when it’s all said and done, I think you’ll be glad you chose home school. My husband is a public school H.S. chemistry teacher and he sees first hand,every day why we have chosen the less traveled road of education.

  2. Is there any way that more of big V’s education can be less book-work-ish? Maybe then little V wouldn’t feel like that was what school was about.

    One possibility might also be to find a topic both girls are interested in and do it together, all 3 of you. You can do a read aloud with some activities that go with it. There might be stuff big-V does that is more challenging but also things that little-V can do? Does that make any sense?

    Less of a boundary between work and play might help for everyone.

  3. shaunms

    Arlene, thanks for visiting! I do appreciate the long view on days like this.

    Jove, your comment is very insightful — I will really have to give it some thought. In some ways I feel like your suggestion is that I change my personality! 🙂 I think I will need to get started on our cooking activities/chef’s alphabet, which I see as a fun family project. Victoria loves to do anything in the kitchen.

    Also, I have been planning to learn Spanish with them — I was planning on pitching it more at Victoria’s level, with songs and coloring sheets and games and such.

    Victoria was funny at dinner tonight, copying Violet in so many ways! As an only child, this dynamic is really new to me.

  4. I wish I could give you good advise, but I only have one child. I do agree with you that it sounds more like an age thing. Since Violet is so independent with her learning, could you put aside special Victoria time where you focussed on “her school”? So she didnt compare herself to Violet? Have you also thought about how Victoria learns best? Maybe she has a very different learning style from Violet and would do better learning maths by skipping chalk squares on the driveway, writing by sending letters to fairies, etc etc. Also, would Victoria like to have input into her curriculum and how it is taught? Rose appreciated being able to have a voice in her school at that age.

  5. It sounds difficult with such a big age difference between the girls.

  6. Big V and Little V! Too cute!

    Personally, I think as mom you can tell a 4yo to adjust her attitude and be pleasant instead and expect her to obey you. Easier said than done, I realize, and may require some outlasting. I have an emotional 3-going-on-4 girl. When I tell her to stop fussing and pouting and she doesn’t, I make her do nothing but sit in a chair near me (or stand in the corner) until she willingly complies. Lather, rinse, repeat as necessary.

    Also, too many choices are not good for the preschool age. Seems to create a sense of entitlement. Maybe keeping it one or two options will help?

    I would encourage you to keep her home. Character training is just as important, if not more, than academics. The tough days serve a purpose, too, in our own growth and sanctification, *and* in the training of our children’s hearts. Just my 2 cents.

    Don’t catastrophize! (Believe me, I can relate. 😉 ) Keep the end goal in sight!

    Great catching up with you!

  7. I’m am interested to read about Little V as she is close in age to my Citcat. I’m also interested to see how you manage the differences. Citcat is not gifted but very bright. Teaching her at times is very simple. I feel certain right now that my son is no way near as bright as Citcat. I already feel a certain frustration with his lack of ability and reaching milestones. I can only imagine how I will feel when he is 3 years old and still doesn’t know his colors. Citcat was such an early learner of all things preschool, colors, shapes, letters, numbers, talking. She accomplished all those by 18 months. At this point I will be happy if my little guy is talking by 18 months.

    Anyway, enough about me. I like what Susannah said about character training and the importance of keeping them home. Perhaps it is their age. Citcat is 3.5 and very emotional and at times nearly impossible. I will confess my doubt about homeschooling her lead to a round of calls to local preschools. Oh, that is back to me again. 😉

    I hope the girls were having fun in the yard and not getting into trouble.

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