A Moment of Clarity

Today my six year old son decided to do my workout with me. The workout was lots of variations on a plank, with some jump rope thrown in. He was enthusiastic and could do all the exercises a lot better than me. I didn’t have a jump rope for him, but he grabbed a pair of pants from the clean laundry pile and said that was his jump rope. At one point in time, he gasped out that he was tired. He stopped while I continued. For a moment I felt some pride, Yes! I outlasted the six year old! But, then, while he was standing there “resting” he started running in place. Cause he was bored. I think he was just tired of that one exercise we were doing. When we were done, he looked at me, eyes twinkling, and confided, boy, that was hard work! And then he ran off to play…while I melted on the floor exhausted. 

This morning he was up early. He was sitting on the couch reading a book. When he finished he started chuckling to himself. The book, about a Momma pig chasing down her kids who are hiding because they don’t want to go to school (yes, a weird book we picked up somewhere) ended with Mom Plum victorious. I heard him muttering to himself. Mom Plum! She caught them all! And his earnestness pulls my heartstrings. 

He runs upstairs and comes down with a big pile of books from the bookshelf. He sets them next to me on the couch. We can read these when Noah comes downstairs! You can read all of them, or some of them. Whatever you want Mom! Then he sits next to me, leans on my arm. And today, I just have one of those, “Oh yeah!” moments, where I remember again just how amazing this particular child is. My focus is honed in and I see him in all his curiosity and sweetness and intelligence. And my heart feels full. I squeeze him closer and say I love you sweetie! He looks up at me with a grin, I love you to Mama! 

It’s so easy to get jaded to the people around us. We’re used to them. They become part of the scenery. We live in autopilot, talking without giving much thought to who we are talking to. I consider it a God moment, when I suddenly open my eyes and see this person in front of me. Appreciate how special they are. Take a moment to be thankful for their presence in my life. For a moment my vision goes from dull black and white to full on technicolor and once again, I see the treasure my son is. 

Corona-schooling

You all might be wondering how school is going in my household of 10 students in this time of pandemic and school closures. Well, it’s interesting.

 

We’ve got all kinds of personalities going on here. The highschooler symbolically slammed her books shut and declared the year over. Even though the school has made review work available for her. I can see her point of view. They aren’t offering any new material and, in typical teenager short-sightedness, she can see no reason to review for classes that she’s just going to be handed a grade for and to which she won’t be returning. 

 

The 8th grader, the one who marches to the beat of a different drum, is attacking Khan Academy, trying to teach herself the rest of her Algebra 1 class so that she’ll be prepared for the next math class she takes in High School. She’s also looking up the state standards that weren’t covered because of school closure and researching them, trying to teach them to herself. (I told my husband this, and he expressed my thoughts, “Who does that??”) 

 

The 6th, 5th, 4th, (2) 3rdgraders, 1st grader, kindergartner, and preschooler are all under my jurisdiction. I set up a chart. Every day they have to watch two of the school videos that are available on our School District’s website, read a book for 30 mins, read one chapter of the Bible (We’re all reading Mark), and practice 1 of their times tables. If they do all of that, they can play MINECRAFT for 30 mins. Since we have never had any kind of video/online/computer games available, this has been a big motivator. I’ve got kids crashing into my room at 7:30am, when I am only slightly awake and demanding that I help them get started on school. Minecraft is apparently a powerful tool. (In the afternoons, if they clean their zone, their bedrooms, and deep clean one item on my list, they get another 30 mins. My house is looking a lot cleaner!)

 

Despite how organized this all sounds, it gets pretty chaotic. 

 

So, today I was sitting on the end of my bed (my bedroom has somehow become the school room, not sure why) helping my preschooler do his reading lesson. (I’ve got the preschooler and kindergartner doing my old homeschool curriculum for kindergarten since they need one-on-one help.) He had a short little paragraph to read and I was pointing, one word a time as he made his way through the story, stopping to ask questions after each sentence. He was reading pretty slowly, so when the nine year old popped in front of me and told me she was ready to go over her times table with me, I nodded in agreement. Sure I can listen to two kids at the same time. 

 

So, here I am, pointing at the book, Here David, what’s this word…D..O…G.. Dog, that’s right, keep going..Ok, Nomi, 7×9…No, not 62, you’re really close….yes 63. So, David, what is the dog doing? Uh huh. 7×2. Yep. 14, 7×8? Here David, you’re reading right here. Not, BBB, it’s DDDD. Ok. That’s right, DOT good job! No, 7×8 is not 63, that’s what 7×9 is. No, not 49. No. Not 52. Right here David, stop getting distracted, what’s this word? No, Nomi, it’s not 54. If 7×9 is 63 what can you do to figure out 7×8!!! That’s right, start counting backwards. Yes.56. Ok David, so The Dog did not eat a fish…What do you think he’s going to eat? Let’s keep reading and find out! YES! 56!! That is correct! 7×3? Yep, you got it, 7×7? No, not 62. THINK!! 

(Just then, the other nine year old approaches and says he’s ready for me to listen to him read, a practice I’ve had to undertake to help keep him honest.) Not now sweetie, I can’t listen to you right now. You’ll have to wait. 7×7. 49 You got it. Here David, L…O…G… Log. Yes! The dog did not eat a log! Good job. No, I’ve already told you I can’t listen to you read, dear nine year old, go do something else!! 

 

ACCK!! (At this point the 3 year old did a somersault on the bed and hit me square in the back.) I turn around. Both the three and six year olds have burrowed under my covers and are proceeding to hit both me and David in the back (remember, we’re sitting on the end of the bed) and are stripping my bed of all it’s covers. STOP STOP STOP!! OFF MY BED!!! GO PLAY SOMEWHERE ELSE!!!!

 

7×4. Yes. 28, 7×6.. David, keep reading! What did the dog eat?? No, 7×6 is not 49, that’s 7×7. Will the dog eat a pot of tar? What do you think? Yeah, I think so too. Let’s keep reading and see what he eats…7×5. No. I didn’t already ask you this. And even if I did, just answer it and keep moving.  Oh look David, the sentence says, “the dog will eat his car..” huh. Well, that’s pretty silly. I uncover the picture that is supposed to stay hidden till the end of the story. Sure enough, there is a dog eating a car. Weird. David starts laughing hysterically. Apparently this reading book understood it’s target audience. 7×6..Oh, yeah, you’re right. I already did that. Ok quick, lets go over the ones you didn’t know. David, you’re done reading. Other nine year old, I’m ready to hear you read! 

 

And that is a glimpse into what corona-schooling a whole bunch of kids at the same time kind of looks like. At least over at my house.