Keeping it Real

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After my feel good post about what a “normal” day looks like I’m here to give you the “real” view of homeschooling a RAD child.

S has really been struggling lately. She’s my attached kid, newly turned 13, pushing the boundaries. She and M have been doing the seesaw lately: one kid does well, the other doesn’t. Blessed to have had her pretty stable for a while. But since M is working somewhat they’re on the seesaw again. I don’t know if it’s just having more than one RAD kid but the seesaw puts me over the edge and has many times over the last 11 years. You can never have everybody doing well at once. So as soon as you relax the other one is in your face. It’s a real killjoy.

We’ve had a few instances of S not being able to listen to her sister or the instructions or whatever and stomping off like a 2-year-old. That doesn’t fly at our house. I want to respond in anger but instead I send her to bed for the night instead. (No, we haven’t spanked them in years. Didn’t work. Took us a while to figure out why.) A lot of these tantrums center around her sister who is getting married. Rachel isn’t here very often and when she is she tries to step back into the role of older sister/mama figure and it doesn’t work because we have all changed. This has taken lots of discussion over the last few years to help both of them understand their changing roles. So I’ve spent a lot of time lately with S processing Rachel getting married, Joshua graduating. Big stuff.

When S is dealing with an emotional issue her brain shuts down completely. She can’t think, can’t express herself well in words, argues constantly, makes poor decisions. She cannot seem to get herself back on track. This has been one of the biggest frustrations in homeschooling her. She is basically incapable of doing school in this state but I believe she has to learn how to live life anyway so we work on it. And struggle through. Today she is out putting leaves in a trashcan because of the way she handled today’s battle.

I am in a power struggle with both of mine over math. I want them to do it my way: writing out the problem, doing all the steps, following directions. They want to leave out stuff, do it the fastest way possible. I’m willing to die on this hill. There are few things that I won’t budge on but this is one of them. If they are going to do higher math they have to know why they are taking the steps they are taking on each problem. I am perfectly willing to let them practice it my way ad nauseum.

So these kinds of struggle are woven into our homeschool day. Some days “feel” good like yesterday. Some days honestly feel like just one more battle. I’ve learned to let many, many things go but there are some things that are worth the fight. You just have to decide what it is for each child and for yourself.

I keep threatening promising to write more about the practical journey of homeschooling. Let me know what questions you want answered and I’ll try to be more faithful.

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