So, we’re wrapping up school sooner than I thought we would. I almost cried tears of utter joy when I realized this. Both Reagan and I are so burned out (burnt out? Who’s the teacher here?) that I cannot motivate her and she cannot even pretend to care. That doesn’t seem to speak well of my teaching methods. Or patience level. Or energy level. Or level of enthusiasm. But at this point I’m ready to call it a year, regroup and plan for next year.
I ordered her testing today. I’ve decided that I’m just going to give her a standardized test instead of asking a certified teacher to evaluate her and write a letter to the school board testifying that she has learned enough for her grade level. This will be the first time she’s taken a test like this. I don’t even know if it’s timed. If it is then she may be in for some problems. That girl can daydream and get distracted like nothing I’ve ever seen. And to me that’s weird to see in a first born. Hmm, that may also be speaking volumes about the way that I’m teaching her.
I always go through the periods of self doubt at pivotal times in the school year. At the beginning of the year I promise myself that this year will be different and I’m going to teach to the way Reagan learns and we’ll have such a good time and she’ll love doing school everyday and she’ll produce phenomenal work and I’ll just be amazed at what she can accomplish and we’ll be wearing big cheesy grins on our faces every single day and it’ll be like a commercial for Disney World.
Then around Christmas break I realize that I’ve been slacking off about teaching to the way Reagan learns and I vow to do better after the break. And then Spring Break rolls around and I say the same thing. And then it’s the end of the year and I’m telling myself, “next year will be the year!” Well, what am I freaking waiting for?
The issue is that Reagan isn’t really a workbook learner. She likes to read and do hands-on things. Me, I am a workbook teacher. I like to read something and explain it to her. If it’s math or language maybe show her an example on the board. And then I want her to sit down and do some worksheets. That’s the way I did it growing up. That’s not the best way to learn though. I need to make time for experiments and lap books and art projects and creative stuff. That takes so much time to prepare though (said in a whining voice).
She also does not like to tax her brain too hard when something happens to be difficult for her (she gets that from me, I will admit it). She’s already used to things coming easily to her and it’s a pain to her when she has to work hard to remember something or grasp a concept. I’m trying to get her used to the fact that school is only going to become more challenging as she learns about things that aren’t common sense or are outside of her daily life in that she will not have naturally experienced them (say…chemistry or higher math concepts…or even diagramming sentences).
I’m afraid I’m reaching past that point of being able to instill a love of learning in her. So, this year, my vow is going to mean something. I’m going to take the summer to not only prepare for the next year like I always do. And write out lesson plans like I always do. But I’m also going to teach myself how to build in this creative process into our school day. To learn how to incorporate several different subjects into one project. To pray to God that I will gain a love for the creative as well so that it will be just as fun for me to lead as it will be for Reagan to participate.