To tell you the truth, I don't really know if I'm confessing here, or offering sensible advice on something to try when your home educated child is "tired" of listening to you.
I just don't know. Either way, I'm practicing transparency here. ;)
"Sometimes I wish you were Mrs. Potato Head," said he.
He didn't need to explain. He was wishing he could remove my mouth without hurting me. Actually, sometimes I wish that myself, but that's another post.
In this particular case, I wasn't in the wrong. I was simply and calmly holding him accountable. He didn't want to face it. I wasn't raising my voice in the slightest or speaking rashly or stupidly. I have done both more times than I can count, but this was not one of those times.
I gave him his wish, since we were getting nowhere anyway. I handed him his flash cards and said, in a very matter-of-fact (friendly, even!) tone, "If I'm so annoying to listen to, you can have a break. You're on your own for the rest of the school day."
I calmly walked out of the room into the kitchen and started on the lunch dishes I had yet to clean up (I can keep my eye on him in the kitchen, which is also where the computer is), wondering if what I was doing would be effective in any way. I have one assurance: I didn't do it out of anger. My most stupid homeschooling moments happen when I'm angry!
Barely a minute passed before I heard, "Mom, will you please come back and be my teacher?"
I thought about it. It was tempting. I love teaching my Little Mister. But, nope, I feel the need to stick to my guns here. It's possible that you would need to have witnessed the whole scene that preceded the strike to understand any of this. Or maybe you would never understand. That's okay. My son is tough. If I'm doing the wrong thing today, he's not going to be scarred for life because of it. I'm right here in the next room. I won't let anything happen to him. And I don't sense it's the wrong thing. It's just such a weird idea that I'm second guessing myself.
After a few minutes, I talked to him about what he is expected to accomplish and the reasons I'm on strike (though I didn't use those words) for the rest of the school day.
When he gets to history here in a little while, the impact of having a Mrs. Potato Head teacher with no mouth is likely to be at its fullest. I'm not sure how he's going to make it, but he's creative. He'll figure it out. And if he doesn't, then he'll have the corrections to do, which will further the impact. That can only be good.
The reasons I don't feel guilty as I sit here and sip a cup of tea and work out my thoughts on my blog, while he sits in the next room struggling a bit with his school work, are the following:
1. I didn't make this decision out of anger or revenge
2. My beloved son is learning a lesson about respecting authority and appreciating the help he normally receives.
3. This same child who wanted me to be Mrs Potato Head said to me earlier today, "I'm so glad you're my teacher and that you keep helping me until I get something right." There are more than just academics that we all need to "get right." I pray he is learning something in his heart right now, with the security that I'm here to take care of him in an emergency or whatever and that I love him more than ever (in fact, he just came in and gave me a big hug and we talked some more about heart issues), but also learning to understand that his parents, teachers and other authority figures are necessary and his life would be lacking without their/our influence.
So, what do you think? Am I nuts, or would you have tried it if it occurred to you? I would love to have your input!
PS Of course, I'm not suggesting that I or anyone else should *look* for a reason to go on a short strike, just to have a day off! Please hear me on that! :)
For a follow-up post, click here.