Thursday, April 1, 2010

Choices & Appreciations

I just got the smack down from Flockmother yesterday. Not me personally, but I took it to heart. She was talking about school and how her kids navigate the morning routine...or not. At the end of her post she said this:
Ok, here’s the thing about school. Stop pretending that school isn’t a choice. EVERYTHING is a choice. And your kids know it. Every morning when I wake up I choose my marriage, my family, my job, my house, and my pets. I choose my life. Every day. No one is threatening me, tying me up, or pushing me around. I choose, and so do our kids.
How many times have I told Sweetie Heart the not going to school is not a choice? I can't even tell you how many. It was at least three times last week and once this week. When things start getting tough in the morning (ie: she's going to be late, hasn't packed her lunch etc) she starts in on how she doesn't want to go to school, she doesn't like school.

Flockmother has let her kids choose to stay home from school. Yikes! She is a brave, brave woman. I honestly don't know how that would go here. I'm so afraid that Sweetie Heart would like being home all the time. She has said on numerous occasions that she wishes I would home school her. I just don't have the patience to do that. I can recognize that in me. Plus, whenever I try to teach her something she complains and refuses. What do I let her do if she is at home? Do I just let her play with her sister? Do I make her work or stay in bed? Do I call the school and tell them she's not coming? And what reason do I give?

Maybe just the suggestion that she can stay home is enough to get her to go. Maybe it's the fight and the tears and the interaction that she's wanting. I do know that when she is home she just wants me to play with her and I have so many other things that I need to get done I don't have the time or energy to do that. Plus then there is the fighting to get my attention. Hmm. I need to think a bit more about this.

This week's momTV cut out but it was about Problem Solving during Family Meeting. I'm putting up a piece of paper to write down the problems that are coming to me. Sweetie Heart expressed to me that it would be obvious that the problem was with her sister, even if she didn't use her name, because there is only two of them. So smart that girl! I told her she could have a problem with Webby or myself as well. I want her to know she can express problems about her parents as well.

As the parents, we've been using the problem solving to air our complaints. I was reminded that it isn't our time. This time is only for our kids. If we, as parents, have a problem with something our kids are doing then we just need to make it their problem. Webby and I were talking about this last night. Often the kids will come to us and say they don't feel good. They complain about every bump and bruise and minor discomfort. Sweet Girl says she's sick so she needs to eat in the living room and watch movies all day. (We have a family rule that we have pizza & movie night every Friday. We don't watch movies during the week or during the day.) We're thinking that the next time it happens we will scoop them up and take them to their room. Stating that when we are sick or hurt we need to stay in bed and rest. They have the freedom to come out if they are feeling better. This will either become a problem to be solved at family meeting or it will cause extinction of the behavior.

I am also putting up a piece of paper to write down appreciations during the week. Vicki talked about this on momTV (3/9/10). So many times we forget the things we appreciate about our kids and our kids about us when it come family meeting time. So the same things get said over and over again. So we can bring that list to family meeting. The other thing she pointed out is that if you have the list as your kids walk by they see thier name and stop to read what someone appreciates about them. And they say to themselves, "Hey, yeah, I do do that!" or "Someone finally noticed that." Everyone loves to be appreciated. Flockmother had a great experience with this. She also recommended that that we appreciate our spouse at least three times a day. I would say we need to do that for every member of the family, but that probably falls under the Crucial C's.

It should be an exciting week.


Becca said...

About the not going to school thing... Listen to how to talk so your kids will listen. Honestly it will change the dynamics of your family. Restate the issue/ give their feeling a name "you seem reluctant to go to school" or "you don't feel there is enough time to get ready" then give in fantacy what they can't have in reality "you wish it were summer vacation all the time." or " I wish I was a teacher so I could teach you at home" then go into detail about what the class room would look like. I know you're not a day dreamer but she is. Indulge her imaginative side. Try it once and see if it helps. Write down the steps write down a que card of things you might say. It really helps

Catharine said...

Hi! I feel your pain. Check out this post about when Charlotte stayed home from school.

It hasn't happened again since, but if it does, the deal is no TV, computer, or electronics and mom is not available to play during school hours. Also, Charlotte is on the verge of being able to stay home alone for a day (probably starting next year) while I go to work. So I have ways of locking her out of the TV and computer while I'm gone, and I've laid all the groundwork for it so there's no worry, anger, or disappointment needed on my part. Just a quiet, solitary experience at home while she wonders what all her friends are doing... It has worked so beautifully for us and fighting about school simply doesn't happen.

KJ Dellantonia said...

I have thought about this too! I left one for an hour last week, the five year old (dad was home) and that was the deal--no fun, no talking to mommy, no movie, no snack. I came home, sat down, went to work, wouldn't let her hang out in the office--and then, because I had to pick another kid upheld an appt, offered to take her, and she went.

Homeschooling, I think, doesn't enter into it. I am nowhere near as good at staying uninvolved at flock mother, though!