It has been crazy around here lately. My toddler is into everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) and is apparently about to drop his morning nap. I seem to live every day in damage control mode. Amid all of this I’m trying to provide my four year old with learning opportunities. I read wonderful articles about how self-motivated homeschool children can be, but I harbor a secret fear–what if my daughter doesn’t want to learn?
We don’t employ a lot of TV in our house, mostly because I don’t think it’s healthy and also because the more TV my daughter watches the worse her behavior gets. Sometimes it’s just easier to say no. And I do. Pretty much every day. Each morning begins with two questions: What’s for dinner? and Can I watch something on TV? (The answer usually being, I don’t know and no, we don’t watch TV in the morning.) I read a great article about the homeschooling the other day that made me feel so inspired. But the problem is, that isn’t my daughter. She used to be like that. After her brother was born I let her watch too much TV in an effort to maintain my sanity during the exhaustion and feeding issues that went on for months after his birth. But now she seems to have forgotten how to be creative and entertain herself and spends most the day nagging me about what should she do next.
She makes crafts, though we don’t have the most exciting supplies in the world. Occasionally she uses her duplo to build creative towers or buildings. But it’s hard to do complicated crafts and make creative structures with a toddler barreling around. Maybe it’s just an age thing and she will become more self-directed as she gets older, but for now I’m exhausted most days. If I leave the room to use the bathroom I get interrupted by screaming. I worry that somehow by letting her watch TV so much during the first year of her brother’s life, I’ve somehow ruined her.
I watched two little girls for a friend the other day. In the afternoon when my daughter would normally have her quiet time while my son was napping I suggested they watch a Veggie Tales DVD. These little girls had almost no interest. Let’s just say it wasn’t a quiet time. My daughter spent most of the time asking them to be a little quieter so she could hear the show. I kept asking myself, what was wrong with my kid that she would rather watch TV than play with friends? (Though they had been playing all day.)
You see, my daughter and I argue about almost everything. She is a classic strong willed child. Nothing is done without debate and negotiation. I try not to give in to her demands, but sometimes I just don’t have the strength to keep up. I am strongly committed to homeschooling for many reasons, including her strong willed personality. I worry that if we only have a few hours a day together that all we will do is argue. At least now we have the time for the sweet moments as well as the difficult. But I also see the potential for school to become a battle ground.
I don’t have any answers in this post. This is just me being real and sharing my fears. I think we all parent with just a little bit of trepidation and a lot of self-doubt. Anyone with experience in homeschooling strong willed children, I’ll happily take your advice.