I love my daughter. Unfortunately, she hates anything that might challenge her in any way. Reading was a nightmare. Writing her paper was almost an exercise in madness. Today it was math.
Now, Corde is not dumb by any means. She memorized her poem and the character trait both in one day, and on the same day too! She understands concepts about literature and environmental issues better than most adults I know. She can accomplish just about anything she sets her mind to. The problem is getting her to set her mind to it.
For Corde, anything that isn’t what she wants to do is something she’ll be stubborn about. I can take a simple thing to give her confidence in her skills and it turns into a battle of wills. She will sulk, mope, cop attitude, and in general be a nightmare to be around when she doesn’t want to do something I merely suggest she might like, if only she’ll give it a chance.
Today that something was math. We were adding two digit numbers so she can learn to carry the ten on paper. She does it fine if she can count it out, but I really think it’s important that she understands how to budget, and being able to add up sums without a calculator handy can be useful. Keeping all the numbers straight in her head is a challenge for her, so I wanted to teach her how to do it on paper. She thought that was a great idea. Well, she did until she started getting problems wrong.
Corde has been my biggest challenge. Unless she gets everything right all the time she gets frustrated and quits. If I were to give her a hundred problems, instead of seeing how many she got right, she’d focus on the fact that she didn’t get them all right. Just one problem wrong is enough to have her hating math and swearing she does everything wrong. If she gets one word wrong while reading out loud it’s the end of the world. Suddenly she can’t read because she must be stupid, she’ll never get to spend time with her friends, and other drama.
All of this wasn’t helped by her dad. He had her convinced she couldn’t even read at a first grade level and that she couldn’t do math. Rather than letting her figure it out her own way, he insisted she rattle off answers like she was being quizzed. Talk about being put on the spot! He had her convinced she would never learn how to spell. It was horrible. We spent a lot of the day bashing heads because I was trying to get her to stop copping an attitude over everything and she was convinced she’d never do anything in her life because she’s too dumb. It was frustrating. By the time she finally decided she lover math I was ready to pull out my hair! Now it’s being with two overly tired kids that want to talk all night and not sleep. I’m exhausted. I’m tired of fighting with Corde. When the two of us aren’t bashing heads she’s picking on her brother’s and causing fights with them. I know this is the direct result of their dad dropping them like a bad habit as soon as it became clear he wasn’t getting custody. Every time he pops in and out of her life we go through this. Surprisingly, this time it’s not so bad.
I just wish Corde would open up and start challenging herself like most of her friends do. I would be happy to go back to radical schooling instead of including this more formal stuff if she’d actually do more than pick on her brother’s and boss them around. If she would pick up a book and read, ask to go places, anything. Unfortunately, that’s not happening. She isn’t choosing to learn anything if she can avoid it. Instead she talks about all these lies her non-homeschooling friends tell her and doesn’t seem the least bit interested in anything else. Most of her time is spent in the unproductive habit of picking on and harassing her brothers, which disrupts the whole family. It’s one of the very few things she’s self-directed about doing. It’s exhausting for me to spend all day butting heads with her or breaking up fights!
Thankfully we don’t seem to be having these problems with the boys. Beekee is learning how to read in a slow and painful way by learning how to write. By painful I mean painful for me to watch. It seems so backwards. He’s already asking about math. Sander wants me to teach him to read, write, and do math too. Hopefully that means they’ll at least stay with it long enough to learn the basics.
So I leave you with this, can a kid learn how to read by learning to write? How would you handle the constant struggle with Corde? Let’s get the discussion going! I have a lot of readers, but everyone is so silent these days!