This morning, I was happily browsing FB and came across pics from a Montessori school on the math their kids are doing. Looking at the kids working on their addition to the millions reminded me that this was something we’re supposed to be covering already. Plus all those lovely work cards. I felt behind.
For the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve already been quite anxious because I’m playing catch up with making materials. Every day it seems like I find a new work that Thumper and Astroboy might need to work on, and the mad dash to making those materials for them. I usually only have time to kind of think about what I need to make, then another material pops up and I start researching those. Gradually a long list of materials to make/buy accumulates and it’s growing faster than the rate I can deal with them.
On top of that, the kids have been dragging their feet in school, especially Thumper, due to the sheer amount of work you “NEED” to cover in Elementary. I’ve been trying to adjust but nothing is quite working. I also don’t like having school more than 3 hours a day. It feels like then we might as well just go to school. Because the one thing I do complain about school is the children not getting enough free play time. But at the direction we’re going, we’re slowly doing the same thing.
I kind of know my vision of how the children ought to be learning, what our days should look like, I’m just having a hard time trying to figure out how to get there. The problem with having a vision is that I get quite discouraged, mad, annoyed, when the children don’t want to follow my plan. I know, I know, you’re supposed to follow the child. Yet another conflict.
I’m freaking out. Feeling inadequate. It’s only a small freak out because my logical brain is saying, don’t be so hard on yourself, you’re doing fine.
This got me to thinking about the recent post from Mandarin Mama about coveting what you don’t have. Namely, thinking that if you ONLY could have this, this, and that, then your vision of how great your life could be, can be, will be, will magically appear.
It’s a problem I’ve always had. When Thumper was smaller, I think part of the reason I kept buying ever more expensive “educational” toys was because I somehow thought that it would magically make her want to play with them, or shape her into the self-motivated, independent person I want her to be. She refused to play with all the toys I got, but just wanted to play with us. I learned from that and did not ask so much of Astroboy. And yet the desire of thinking “if only I have this, then life with the kids will go much more smoothly” continues.
This need to make materials is for the same reason. Subconsciously, I probably feel that if I just have the classroom set up, all the materials made, environment/routines perfectly set up, then the kids will magically want to learn and want to do their work, all by themselves without so much prompting and tempting and work from me. Every day they will wake up, put on their clothes immediately, make their bed, eat breakfast without whining or complaining about the offerings, do some chores without prompting, and cheerfully say, “I want to go to school! I can’t wait!” They will put their dishes away right after eating and brush their teeth and thump thump thump down the stairs to knock on the door of their school room happily. They will be eager and willing to learn rather than dragging their feet for whatever reason.
Okay, I feel much better now. Writing down the things that make me anxious somehow make it not so bad. I will continue to march forward. Once in awhile, my Type-A, competitive side comes out. But honestly there is no perfection. There is only the need to recognize, to understand, as Mandarin Mama said, of what it is that’s triggering the reaction in you, in order to do something about it, or to make peace with it.