Thursday, March 31, 2016

Rolling with the changes

In parenting, I've found that I'll occasionally hit on a solution to a problem, or think of a new way of doing things that really works great.  The first time I made a great parenting discovery, I thought, "Awesome! I have figured out parenting! Now I'll just sit back and enjoy the ride."  But then the children entered a new stage, things changed, and what used to work great no longer worked at all, and things were falling apart again.  I quickly realized that I will never "figure it out"; it's always in flux.  There are always new challenges.

Not surprisingly, the same is true with school.  I will find a new way of teaching, or a new curriculum, or some other idea that solves a problem or makes things run smoother.  But alas, it doesn't last!  I'm constantly having to adjust in that area too.  

For several weeks (maybe months), things haven't been going well in our little school.  We've been stressed, grouchy, tired of the same old routine, people, and attitudes.  After all, we are a peri-menopausal woman and two adolescents who spend all our time together; the hormones are raging around here!  Finally, I had a total breakdown in front of the principal, and he said something has to change.  We talked about putting them in public school; he also suggested that he could teach them after he gets home from work (but what would we do all day?); finally after much discussion and many tears (all mine), I thought of a compromise that might work.  Since math is our main area of tension, he could teach math at night and I'll teach all the other subjects during the day.  

We implemented the new schedule this week.  It's only the fourth day, but it has been a great week!  The students don't give the principal the attitude they give me, and everything is more pleasant without math looming over our days.  We are free to spend more time leisurely discussing ideas and going through the other subjects in a much more relaxed, happy, and productive atmosphere.  When Mike gets home, we eat dinner and then he takes them for math while I'm cleaning up the kitchen or exercising or doing whatever I want...all by myself!  

Tonight I was cleaning up after dinner and listening to the class in the next room.  It was very strange to be on the other side and not involved at all.  I was reminded of a scene from my one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets' Society.  After Robin Williams got fired, he came back to his classroom to clean out his stuff, and he got to listen in while someone else was teaching his class.  

Even the kids admit that this new schedule is working much better.  I wish it would last, but I know changes are coming and we'll have to reevaluate again.  But I am enjoying the calm while it lasts!

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