Convivial Contentment: Normal School Days

posted in: pedagogical | 8

~ Capturing the context of contentment in everyday life ~

round button chicken

We’re nearing the end of the fourth week of our Harvest Term, and I think we’ve mostly accommodated ourselves to the fact that summer is over and the long winter approaches, that these are school days, and we’re not going to make it untrue by wishing or whining.

Not that the children (and sometimes myself) are not still trying.

Complaining and bad attitudes can just suck the energy right out of the day, yet soldier on we must. And we will, God helping us.

Probably one of these weeks we’ll wake up and realize that this was a phase of growth working itself out awkwardly, and it was the stretching and soreness that was making us complain, but then we’ll be over the hump.

Then it will be Christmas season and our routines will get all out of whack again.

Such is life. We’ll pull on through again.

homeschooling and complaining kids

Pretty, Happy, Funny, but Mostly Real

Well, we’re definitely back into the swing of it now. And that means people are trying to make grumbling a habitual part of the routine, trying to sneak off to Legos during school hours, and distracting themselves by distracting others. Normal life.

homeschooling and complaining kids

Big, deep breath. It’s normal. It’s ok. We aren’t failing, even though someone ends up in tears every day. If it was only one person in tears each day, then at our house that still averages out to only once a week per person, and that’s not so bad. Right? Except, of course, Matt never comes up crying from his office. I wish I could say I have been tearless, but even I am not immune.

homeschooling and complaining kids

Let’s stick out the rough patches, shall we? Press on, remembering that the complaining is only a whinier, noisier version of the way we often feel about our responsibilities, too. Maybe as we work with our children, they will learn not only how to make their complaining more socially acceptable, but maybe even how to get rid of that grumbling spirit. Maybe, just maybe, as we go about this work, we’ll learn that lesson ourselves.

homeschooling and complaining kids

Real Good

Have you seen the Amazon Smile program? If you buy through the Amazon Smile link, Amazon donates .5% to a charity of your choice. It’s difficult to remember to always click through a link to make sure your amount counts toward your cause, but now there’s a Chrome plugin to make sure you always visit Amazon via their Smile program: Smile Always

And, of course, I double-checked and clicking through an Amazon Smile link does not erase any affiliate click you might also make, so you can support both your favorite charity and your favorite blogger whenever you buy from Amazon. My dad adds a bookmark icon in his browser bar with his favorite bloggers’ affiliate links to make it easier to click through to Amazon from them.

If you are looking for a charity to support with your Amazon Smile purchases, consider The Rafiki Foundation, an organization that provides homes, families, work, and a classical Christian education for African orphans and widows. We have friends who are missionaries with Rafiki, and it is an amazing work that they do in Africa.

http://vimeo.com/101951995

8 Responses

  1. Sally S.
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    Just wanted to say thank you, Mystie, for speaking truth in a way that is very encouraging and insightful. I found your blog last year through the recommendation of an Oregon friend, and I find myself coming back to it on a more and more regular basis!

  2. Geoff Paulson
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    I didn’t realize Rafiki was an option for Amazon smile! Definitely adding that plugin right now.

  3. Leslie
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    Mystie,
    I am trying hard to live out this new-to-me school as schole philosophy. Can I ask you a detail question? Do you have your children all remain doing school work during school hours? I so empathize with the ‘sneaking off to play Legos’! With 9 homeschoolers and a little one, I am pulling my hair out just trying to corral them all all day! Forget even trying to get done with even half of the things on my list. :( I admit, when I’m trying to focus with one child who is having some difficulty with the academics, I’m guilty of saying to some of them… oh, just go find something to play or read while I finish up here.

    Any advice?

    • Mystie Winckler
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      So, you have twice the children I do! I have that same feeling with my brood, and I’m only really working mostly with 2 students and do often try to send the 6-and-under crowd out to play. The only two would gladly go and the younger three prefer to hover and interrupt. :) My 9 & 11 yo have a checklist and they are supposed to do everything they can on their own (which is most of it) and then have 30-45 minutes one-on-one with me at some point before lunch where we do some work together and I go over what they’ve done. That works really well when the baby isn’t fussy and no one is resisting their fate (including me) – so, that isn’t too often, turns out.

      I think looking at it on a weekly scale rather than a daily one is a good one – so if one child got more attention today, then the next day determine who needs it the most and make that that day’s priority. And reading is school and definitely counts as productive time. :)

      So, to answer the question more directly, the 6-and-under are in and out and school + recess are interspersed for them. The 9 and 11 yo are not supposed to play or do unassigned reading before their checklist is complete (and they are able to finish it by lunch or soon thereafter if they don’t dawdle (which is rarely, but it’s possible – so they’re just eating their own play time, as I like to point out). I do, however, send them out to run around the yard or take their baby sister on a walk if it seems like some fresh air and a fresh start might help them get their brains in gear. And reading (anything) or playing outside is ok if they’ve done all they can on their own and they’re waiting for me to finish with someone else.

      • Leslie
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        Thanks, Mystie. That sounds more like what I do… or try to do. I didn’t mention that I have a 19 year old daughter also, who is taking this year to live and home and help Mom out. She takes the 3 year old for most of the morning and does some pre-K stuff with her. What a blessing for me right now! Still those middle kids (10, 10, 9, 7, and 5) run circles around me!!! LOL

  4. Grace
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    Good for you Mystie! Children are children and your perspective is SO right on and can really change a mama’s attitude. As in, mama is less likely to get extra frustrated when she realizes (1) this is normal, (2) it is another form of complaining (guilty as well), and (3) there is hope. Awesome job and great example. Real life can be challenging and I appreciate your example godly thinking. Patience with children will reap huge rewards! Wish you were blogging when my oldest were little. :)

  5. Jen
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    Yes, we are working ourselves into another school term too. Mostly the kids are excited but there have definitely been grumbly days!

  6. Lindsey
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    I had to remind myself of the very same thing today! My shower pep-talk (to myself, of course) went like this: “Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish…” :)