It Must be Monday

Here we are, once again, making no progress on Ella’s schoolwork.

It must be Monday.

I’m trying IXL today, and after a strong start, it has fizzled out and it’s taking half an hour just to solve one equation.

I’d like to contribute it to my dad yelling at her (granted, she did yell at him, but he has a habit of overreacting and I absolutely hate being stuck here, but that’s another story.)

Regardless, after he yelled at her, everything went to hell.

She started crying, she wouldn’t even attempt to do her schoolwork. She won’t count on her fingers, she won’t draw pictures, her immediate response to everything is “I don’t know.” (She’s not even trying, her go to is to give up.)

This of course, results in me getting very upset and on the verge of losing my temper (my patience is already bagged up.

I made her get a pencil and some paper to work out the math problems (it’s input/output charts with adding three-digit numbers). She did the first one, successfully after some coaxing, and then decided she didn’t want to use paper, only to fail due to her inability to retain the parts of the sum she’d already figured out. Then angrily said, “Fine!” and picked up her pencil once again.

She’s now sitting a few feet away from me, angrily attempting to solve 179 + 189.

She frequently skips over numbers when she’s counting, and I don’t expect that to be any better since she’s in such a bad mood now.

She’d rather give up than try, and seems to think if she cries enough or says, “I don’t know,” enough that I’ll do it for her, and won’t make her do it.

I know she’s smart enough and capable of figuring it out. I’ve seen her do it before. Somewhere during the day she decides she doesn’t want to do it though, and hell is unleashed.

I’m screaming, she’s crying, and I’m threatening to put her right back in Ms. Hauser’s class (which truthfully, neither of us want.)

She says she likes being homeschooled, so why does she push me to the edge of not wanting to continue this adventure? Why does she push me to wanting to give up?

I can’t even wash the dishes or take the rent check to the office, because in the time that I’m not sitting beside her, ensuring that she gets her stuff done, it won’t be done. What should only take half an hour, turns into two hours. And the moment we have even the slightest bit of progress, she’s asking for a break.

Is it motivation? I know she doesn’t care whether or not it gets done, because I know for a fact she’d be perfectly happy not doing it and constantly begs to be done or to not have to do anymore. No matter what subject, no matter what method or curriculum we’re using. No matter if it’s in books like she requested, or online. She doesn’t want to do it, and even the threat of no video games, no ice cream, no going places or doing things has no effect on her.

She doesn’t care that I’m going to take away her tablet or not let her watch youtube, or if I cancel trips to the zoo or the pirate museum. She gets it in her head that she doesn’t want to do it, so she fights me.

I tell her I’ll take her to her favorite restaurant afterwards, and she still won’t do it.

Neither positive nor negative reinforcement work.

She sits here just staring at the paper/computer, not doing anything. She won’t even ask for help. She waits until I notice she isn’t doing anything and I ask if she needs help. I don’t always notice in a timely manner because I have my own schoolwork and chores that I have to do. Yet it’s apparent she needs to have her hand held and be coddled or else she can’t do it.

Am I being too harsh? She is seven, after all (her birthday is in just a couple of weeks though and she’ll be eight.) I try to reign in my temper and not yell at her, even when she’s pushing all of my buttons and making me want to scream, but I can’t help but wonder.

It was brought up before that perhaps there’s a learning disability there? And maybe that’s the case. Yet when she takes placement tests, she always scores high and usually well above grade level, so I know she’s capable of doing the work if she just wanted to.

Before pulling her out of school to homeschool her, her teacher said during a conference that she just sits there, not doing anything, she won’t ask for help, and I’ve been seeing that for myself the past three months. And the in the ten minutes or so that it’s taken me to compose this blog post, she’s asked, “What were the numbers again?” five times. The numbers being the two numbers that she’s been trying to add together for the last ten minutes.


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