Monday, May 10, 2010

Week 29, day 1

Monday: Language Arts. The first part of the school day went quite smoothly. P and E both happily participated in reviewing our memory verse, catechism, and hymn, and in updating the calendar. However, when it was time for P to read her new reader for the week, E found a plastic grocery bag, which he wanted me to tie shut so that the air would stay inside. Plastic grocery bags are never airtight, even when thoroughly tied, and they are also noisy, so after a few iterations of the rustling grocery bag deflating and E demanding that I reinflate and retie it, I sent him downstairs. He then returned upstairs to ask me to sort out the bag again, twice. I refused, twice, on the basis that P was completely unable to concentrate on her reader, and he finally stayed downstairs long enough for her to get through the reader.

When P started her math worksheet, E returned upstairs and asked to have a story read to him. We compromised by having P do one problem on her math for each story I read to the two of them. The last two "problems" were games: a hundred chart game they both completed, and playing Uno (which P asked to play dos times, and then laughed about her Spanglish). Although E is intellectually capable of playing Uno, he is emotionally incapable, at least at times. He doesn't want to put his blue 8 on a blue 4 because he feels that he should be allowed to play his red pick-up-2 card whenever he wants, and he throws his blue 8 across the room, picks it up, and bends it by holding it too firmly. Fortunately, after that outburst he willingly played by the rules, and even won the second round.

Both kids were compliant and pleasant when we introduced a new letter and made the letter sheet. However, P was thoroughly reluctant to do her copywork, and I had to be sneaky and manipulative to get her to finish each segment. We didn't get around to the creative expression assignment (we just barely finished 1 day's worth of language arts), and I hoped to do it after lunch. At that time, however, both kids decided they wanted to hand-wash the dishes and vacuum and mop the floors. It's hard to argue with that kind of industriousness, so I decided against pushing any more school on them.

When they were done cleaning they hauled out some colouring pages, which they worked on together. I heard yelling from their room, and when I came in they were sitting with their heads about 6 inches apart, yelling at each other at the tops of their lungs. I physically separated them, and asked P (the first one to regain her capacity for human speech) what had happened. The substance of her story was that she had coloured more of the fish on her own colouring page than E had wanted her to, so he hit her in the mouth. I asked E what had happened, and he refused to talk, so I asked him if P's summary of the events was correct. He said that it was. I wanted to have him apologize to P and have them reconcile and go back to colouring, so I asked him to stand up. He refused, and I gave him a small warning spank. I asked him a second time to stand, and his refusal earned him a proper spanking. I tried a third time, and he raised himself to a kneeling position and then slumped back down. Since the spanking wasn't working, I carried him downstairs, strapped him to his chair, and let him sit facing the corner for 5 minutes. When his time-out was over, I leaned over him to unsnap his straps. He jumped up so quickly that his head knocked my lip against my teeth, drawing blood. It did hurt his head somewhat as well. He was quick to apologize to me when I told him he'd really hurt me, and by that time he was willing to apologize to P as well.

Does this portend a continuation of a difficult week? Perhaps I should just ignore school for the next few days, since we're going to a homeschool convention starting Thursday morning. If I just spend 2 days reading to the kids all day long, perhaps they'll feel happier in general.

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