Thursday, September 17, 2009

There's no crying in homeschool!

I just started teaching a friend's daughter to play piano. She's highly motivated and eager to please, so she's progressing quickly and our lessons are pleasant. One of the biggest reasons is because there is no crying. When I teach my own children, inevitably there is crying because they are frustrated that they cannot immediately play a new song well. It is, in fact, one of the most difficult parts of homeschool and the one I am most likely to farm out to someone else.

The other time we're likely to see tears is the spelling test. Our kids both have perfectionistic streaks (hmm, I don't have to think long to figure out where that came from) and are competitive with each other. Add to that the fact that they are in the same level for spelling, and it means that if one of them gets one wrong (and the other doesn't), there are tears. Like right now. Ethan is in his room crying because he got 4 wrong out of 40 today - all careless mistakes he would not have made if he weren't trying to best his sister. He started the test before her, so I was giving them different words, and of course Megan was trying to catch up and Ethan was trying to finish first. Ok, so my bad and we won't ever do that again, but the crying is a little much.

Whenever there are tears, I think of that line from League of Their Own, "There's no crying in baseball. There's no crying in baseball!!" And I think the same of homeschool.

But the reality is, there is crying, and I think it's probably good. It reminds me that what I get from having my kids at home with me is them being real. If they were in school, I doubt they'd cry. But they'd probably want to, and instead take that hurt and not be able to express it. It might come out later (probably in some other way that would make me think, "What on earth happened at school today?") or it might not. Whether it's tears, rudeness, anger, frustration - I'm glad it comes out at home, because I can actually address it (though the fact that I'm typing this instead of talking to Ethan shows I don't always want to address it right now). Yet another benefit of homeschool.