Life has its share of frustrations big and small – some of mine this week have included catching the dreaded “spring head cold” (just when you thought you escaped cold season without getting sick, you find out you aren’t out of the woods yet!), the return of snow and cold yet again after a beautiful weekend that tricked us into thinking that spring was really here to stay, and two months of spotty internet service (we’re finally getting a new ISP at the end of the week!). I’m trying to stay thankful in all those circumstances, but it’s definitely been a bit harder than usual to keep the frustrations at bay this week!
How about when our students get frustrated doing schoolwork? My oldest child really likes her schoolwork to fall in that “sweet spot” of not-to-hard, not-to-easy. Too easy, and it might be boring. Too hard and…well, the results aren’t always pretty. Sometimes, the assignment is not too hard, but we have a hard time being on the same wavelength communication-wise. Sometimes a frustration is really not about the assignment at hand, but about something else (that was the case with the crumpled spelling worksheet in the picture). Some days any schoolwork might end in frustration if the student would rather being doing something else (or anything else!).
I know all students have their moments of frustration, but M maybe has a bit harder time than some kids properly channeling her frustration — Or maybe a lower tolerance for puzzling through a difficult problem (especially in math!). I definitely see frustration-related behaviors that I’m trying to help her avoid.
I’m trying to find ways to avoid the frustrations in the first place, of course. A little bit can go a long way. We may play soothing music in the background during a difficult subject. I make sure M is getting plenty of snacks and breaks.
Even with those preventative measures, frustrations do still occur. And sometimes in the hurry of the day we forget a preventative measure! On those frustrating days I’m trying out a variety of means to help M regain her composure. I often suggest taking a break, praying, reading scripture, or approaching the problem a new way. Often times my suggestions are not met very favorably. Sometimes I just wait it out. Sometimes a consequence of some sort is needed if frustrations are expressed inappropriately.
I don’t know that I’ve found all the answers. Sometimes it feels like things can spiral out of control with one frustration leading to another. But I trust that God is working in my character and Miss M’s character to make us both more like Christ.
How do you handle situations where your student gets frustrated? Do you have any suggestions for us?
I’m a week behind (this week’s letter will be posted tomorrow, I hope!), but I will still be linking up with…
For us things seem to go in cycles. For a while all the schooling will go well, then something often undetectable changes. It steadily gets worse until it’s obvious change is necessary. When change is in the air I’m at my wits end. I start writing about our issues and asking other homeschoolers for help, then I change something and we get back into a better place. Maybe it’s time for a week off from school, or maybe it’s time for a new curriculum? Sometimes a day of freedom can do the trick. I recently told my daughter she could spend the last two weeks of school learning to play our Roland Fantom S keyboard. It’s for composing music. We’ve had it for two years and since it’s quite complicated it hasn’t seen much use. She still has to do science and history, but the rest of the time she can focus on the keyboard. She’s thrilled and so am I. She’s learning tons. She’s researching, experimenting and reading the manual. Maybe a temporary change could help everyone breath?
I can so relate, but unfortunately, you’re ahead of me in figuring out what to do in the face of frustration. I could learn a thing or two from you!