It seems like Tobin always decides he wants to “do schoolwork” when I am right in the middle of doing something reasonably important and/or time-consuming: cleaning poop out of the hedgehog’s litterbox, cooking something more complicated than a box of macaroni and cheese, going over a new math concept with Steve, showering. He never wants to work on workbooks, or read a book, or get out the art supplies the other 500 times a day that I ask if he wants to. Instead, he waits until I least expect it and then springs it on me. I swear it is on purpose; it has to be. He’s either trying to make me insane just for the fun of it or making me crazy is the starting point of his intricate plot to take over the world. It could go either way.
Last night Tobin decided he absolutely “needed” to work on one of his workbooks while I was trying to sort through Steve’s Spanish lesson. Steve’s Spanish curriculum comes with all of these ancillary DVDs, CDs, and books, and I really just needed a quiet moment to sort through it all and find the right disc for Steve to use to complete his lessons. It would be great if I could just give Tobin the workbook and tell him to have at it while I waded through the Spanish stuff, but he doesn’t like to work on it unless I’m sitting right there with him going over the worksheet with him. He could do much of it on his own, but he chooses not to.
I knew from past experience that if I told him to wait until I was free to sit down with him that the moment would be gone, and he wouldn’t want to do his schoolwork anymore. That’s just the way Tobin works. Most likely, he’d just wander off and find something else he wanted to do instead.
He gets so much more work done if he’s “in the mood” than otherwise. I can’t really begrudge him for feeling that way. I know I operate the same way to some degree, and I don’t have the excuse of being five years old. I often have to be in the mood to get anything truly productive done: cleaning the house, writing, crocheting, baking, etc. Actually, come to think of it, I work that way for just about everything but sleeping. I am always in the right mood for sleep.
I also didn’t want to make Steve wait any longer. I knew he was already tired, and I had already promised him that we would sit down and watch a few episodes of Soap after Tobin went to bed, so we really needed to get things done so we could have our time to relax. So, I tried my best to juggle both things at the same time, knowing in the back of my mind that I still needed to fold laundry, do the dishes, pack snacks for their zoo trip the next day, post to my blog, and a zillion other little things, and I really didn’t have time to waste if I wanted to get to bed at a decent hour. I’d like to say that everything worked out beautifully, alas, no. Everyone just ended up cranky, especially me.
I honestly don’t know how people who have 4 or 5 or 6 (or more) children manage to homeschool them all. Perhaps it is easier if you have kids much closer in age than mine are. Because they are 7 years apart, it is difficult to find “school stuff” that they can truly do together and both get something out of. Perhaps the other parents slowly learn to better multitask as they add on to their brood one at a time. Maybe other parents were equipped with some coping gene that I am sorely lacking? Maybe their kids aren’t crazy?
I just know that I have trouble enough with just two, one of whom is incredibly low-maintenance. I’ll leave you to figure out which one that is…