Not again! When Homeschooling Lessons End In Tears

NOT how I wanted to start our day today... all 4 of us in tears!

I got up early and spent the morning sitting at my Cricut cutting out shamrock shapes for our rhyming word hunt.  I spent all afternoon yesterday preparing lessons and I was so excited about all the fun thing I had planned for this morning.

We were having a short day of lessons.... fast forward an hour or so later and all three boys were sent to their rooms amidst much yelling, screaming and crying (some theirs/ some mine).

Now let me rewind and tell you what had happened;  

It all started during breakfast

I called them into the kitchen around 8 and told them they they had to work for their breakfast this morning.

  • I pulled out a box of Lucky Charms cereal and poured three bowls.  
  • I gave them each a two-page worksheet where they had to estimate, sort, count, add, etc.  
My boys usually LOVE this type of activity!

My word, you would have thought I told them all they had run outside in the snow naked for all the whining moaning and complaining I received. They grumbled under their breath and said things like "I hate Lucky Charms" "sigh" "I like fruit loops better"  "why do we always need a pencil?"  "sigh"  "how come we have to do stupid boring school?" etc.

Well, this time I called their bluffs.

I said "Fine, you don't want to do this?  That's fine." I picked up all three bowls and dumped out the cereal (well, back into the box anyway; I didn't want to waste perfectly good cereal), threw all the worksheets away, and put the bowls in the sink.

They immediately started crying and yelling "no!"

I turned to them and asked them why they complain if they want to do the activity, that they aren't making any sense and I'm sick of spending ALL my free time trying to find "fun" hands- on learning activities that they don't seem to enjoy or appreciate.

That last part was probably screamed at them as their protest, tears, and crying got even louder.

I then sent them all to their rooms to give all of us a cooling off period.

It's times like this that I feel like quitting.  I'd rather not spend hours each day preparing lessons for the next day but I do it for them.  I try to keep things fun and incorporate special treats into our day often.  I had planned to make mint cookies with the boys and do a fun art project today too, but once my joy in our day was shot I just wanted to get through our day as quickly as possible.   
I hate days where I feel like we're just trying to make it through, but I refused to give them the day off after such atrocious behavior.

I know there are days where we just need to pack it in and take a break.  

There are days where we get burned out and it's nice to just take a break and find our fun again but I really felt like I just couldn't do that today. 

I felt like I would have been rewarding them for bad behavior (especially when they came downstairs and wanted to eat Lucky Charms for breakfast-- meanie that I am, I reminded them they didn't want Lucky Charms and refused to let them eat any today-- is that totally awful of me?!  I realize it probably is but hey, I'm being honest!).

While they ate breakfast and got ready for the day, I went onto the internet and printed off some plain 'ole regular worksheets for math today.  I went to teach-nology and printed off a divide and color page for the older boys while Evan worked on some subtraction equations.

completed math sheets
 For language arts today Evan had a sight word color by the code page and the older two boys had an activity where they had to list 10 things that were all green.  I made them focus and work on their spelling while they did this simple worksheet.

While they were hard at work on the kitchen table I went around the house and took down all the hidden shamrocks I had spent the morning hiding.  
  • The boys saw me and loudly complained and got all upset that we weren't going to be doing that fun activity either.  
  • I told them that with the way I'm feeling today they'll be doing nothing but worksheets for a few weeks and then perhaps they'll start to appreciate all the time, effort and "fun" things I plan for them to do.  
Perhaps it may seem a bit like I'm exaggerating since they are kids and all kids complain (especially about schoolwork) but they have been complaining about EVERYTHING lately and I just can't take it.

 Seriously, in talking about starting to take field trips again I was told that the places we go were either boring, too far away and they hate long car rides, or else (and I think that was my favorite) "the car gets hot while we're out having fun on field trips and then we have to get into the hot car."  


So I called their bluff on that one too and we won't be going anywhere for a while.  We have no family vacationed planned for this year either since no one can agree on a destination and are all bickering and complaining about that as well!

The complaining must end... it's just got to or I am really going to loose my mind completely.
 I don't want to make my kids miserable but they are really making me miserable lately and testing my patience on an almost hourly basis. 

Perhaps I snapped a bit today but there are worse punishments than making them do boring schoolwork.  Besides which, they got over it really quick.  By 9:30 they were all happily sitting at the table, watching the snow falling in fat flakes outside the window, laughing and doing their worksheets (heck, by 9 Alec and Ian were more than half-done their work!).

Once the older boys were done with their worksheets I handed them each a St Patrick's day book and had them go read quietly to themselves. When they were done reading they swapped books and continued reading.  I had them each report to me on both books to see what they were comprehending.  I then read both books to Evan.  We read The Luck of the Irish and The Last Snake In Ireland; a Story about St. Patrick. 

 I told them I didn't want to bake the cookies anymore and that I had cut out some coffee filter shamrocks for some painting this afternoon but really didn't feel like doing that anymore either.

I told them they could color on the coffee filters with their markers and wet them down with a spray bottle like they did at our homeschool craft day making butterflies but I wasn't dragging out the paints today.  They set to work using their markers and water bottles to make some shamrocks for our windows. 

Hopefully, they'll be a bit more grateful tomorrow and we'll just chalk this up to one bad day.

In truth it wasn't even all bad; we just got off to an awful start and I could not shake the feeling.  They were smiling and playing together.

After schoolwork was done they ate a quick lunch (they prepared themselves) and they went out to play in the snow.

We've been schooling at home long enough now that I come to expect these ups and downs and I know we'll work through them and move on.

Tomorrow is another day and there's always hope it will be a better one.


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