So normally we homeschool our kids. Last year, they started fighting a lot more often and I was tired of it.
Normally HSed kids are known for their ability to get along with various ages groups. Mine still do, to a certain degree. I love to see them with other HSed kids. You can have a 15 year old explaining something or just playing with, an 8 year old. I have always just loved to see on field trips how the kids will mix with all the kids, not just stay in one group. You can have a group of 7 kids walking through a museum ranging in age from 3 years, to 11 years old. And then another with a 13 year old carrying a baby that is not even a sibling to them, talking with a 6 year old, also not related. Boys and girls. Not just boys hanging with boys and girls with girls. Although there IS some of that. Just natural.
Brain (13) will sit and play "Pretty Pretty Princess" or "Polly Pockets" with Princess (5) sometimes. He will roll his eyes at me and not be too thrilled if I suggest it. I know she will be tickled and I want them both occupied for a while.
Lots of times, I hear him laughing and her just giggling and think how sweet that is. He will come out of her room and whisper to me some cute thing she said and admit to me how much he loves her and how it wasn't as bad as he thought.
So there are certainly lovely moments. The four of them will sometimes spend days at a time engrossed in some imaginary game they make up, or making tents and reading to each other under the table/blanket tent. They build with Lego and plan all kinds of things. Write comics or story books and illustrate them together. Get out craft materials and make all kinds of fun stuff.
However, last year, more conflict started. I am assuming it is partly an age thing. Now having Brain and Jock being pre- teens and Clown and Princess so much younger has finally made a noticeable difference. So I think they need more time apart here and there. We make sure they all get time with friends their own ages and they have their own classes at church and their dance/hockey/and other activities. Yet I figured they needed a break from each other and asked around amoung my friends who homeschool. What do they do in these instances??
Someone suggested an AEP. That is Alternative Education Program. I have always avoided those, but was getting desperate for a solution. I won't get into how I feel about this in this post. I will just say that when I speak of the boys going to "Class", "School" "The program" or "Classes" or something along those lines, that is what I mean.
Clown is in a Grade 1-2 Split class. He has been really fighting it lately. Begged me a few weeks ago to let him stay home in his room so he could spend the day cleaning it. WOW! LOL You know he doesn't want to go if he says that!
The teacher is having a Pioneer theme this year. Last year, I have heard, was Medieval Times. She is incorporating all the subjects into learning about Pioneers. It is really cute and fun! I am in there once a month and the kids have a good time. Clown always did too, until about November sometime, I guess it was. She gave them a list of what to take in their wagons and told them they can only have 2,000 lbs. Each item has a weight, and they need to calculate what they really need and what they will take. They are learning about geography, obviously history and math, amoung other things.
They have made covered wagons out of Milk Cartons. They made "people" out of clothes pins, yarn and fabric. They were given "roles" and Clown wanted to be the Blacksmith. He was given the role of one of the Hunters instead and we told him how important that is. He is pleased enough with this, but is concerned about "acting out my person". I kept hearing him say this and was meaning to ask the teacher about it. It is so chaotic when I drop him off and even the days that I stay. He was getting an upset tummy and crying about going, just not his usual smiling self anymore. He would be ok most of the week and then Monday would come and suddenly he would look panicked and say "OH MAN! Tomorrow is Tuesday!" and then sometimes even cry at the thought.
Finally this past Tuesday when I dropped him off, I asked his teacher. She said she had told them that at the end of the year there is a night called "Spotlight Night" where the parents come and see what they have worked on all year. They will all get up and do a square dance and tell who they played all year in the classroom. He has misunderstood and thought she meant he would have to act out being a hunter. He also did not catch that this is in June, not any time soon.
While I was talking to her about this, he was sitting on the floor waiting his turn to play marbles with some other kids. He was all stiff and serious. I was watching him out of the corner of my eye and when he overheard her say this, a smile slowly started working it's way around his mouth and he visibly relaxed his body. I pointed this out to her and she made a comment about how lately, he has been very stiff and not as relaxed as he was at the start of the year. He won't smile or laugh as much and just sits and looks sad most of the time. He won't raise his hand anymore or contribute to discussions.
We were annoyed at ourselves when we realised we had not clued in to precisely WHAT the issue was. The poor guy was SO stressed about the possibility of what he had misunderstood, that he was just miserable. I am so glad that I got that resolved. I remember misunderstanding things my teachers said also. I feel so bad for not putting more time into this. Part of me knew it was something specific bothering him. Part of me also considered the possibility that he just did not want to get out bed in the mornings and was finding an excuse.
There you have it. My little "hunter" feels better and had a GREAT day this past Tuesday. He was so drained, though. It seemed like he had kept it all in and was a bundle of nerves and once he let go of it, it knocked him out! The past 2 or 3 Monday nights, he was not sleeping:( He would come to Stud and I at 10:30 some nights and just be crying:( He was so sure that the next day would be the day that whatever he feared was going to happen really would. So this past Tuesday night he was out like a light and slept so long and well, I was thrilled for him.
Sometimes I really despise this parenting stuff.