Friday, October 17, 2014

Day 14: Consistent Feedback

Homeschooling has been hard lately.  Not the academic part (that is really only a small part of it) but the living-together-24-7-part.  There has been a lot of quarreling between the kids, and that leads to quarreling with me as I intercede.  It hasn't been pretty.

I have 6 kids with 6 big personalities.  There are always a lot of differences of opinions and it gets heated.  I don't like heated.  I like calm and peaceful.  And unicorns and rainbows.

I tend to tense up when the kids fight.  And then I react out of this nervous, negative energy. 

"Stop it!" and  "You need to be NICE to each other!!!"  
That type of thing.
And - surprise, surprise - it doesn't work.  All it does is raise my blood pressure.

From everything I have read, and from every seminar I have taken (and I have read and attended A LOT), I need to be the regulating force in the family (as does John when he is here in the evenings and on weekends).  I need to be the calm with which the kids calibrate themselves.

This is so hard for me.  

How does one stay cool and calm when people around are screaming and crying?
I just don't know.

But, I have figured out that what I am doing is not working, so I have got to give calm a shot.  

Because when I get upset I am giving the kids very negative feedback.  I am focusing on what is going wrong and on what they are doing wrong.  And some (all?) of my kids are very sensitive to negative feedback.  And it exacerbates the situation.  

I am trying to give much more positive feedback, both in the midst of trouble and otherwise.  I am trying to be encouraging rather than just disciplinary.  

And I am trying to see every fight between the kids as not quite a "crisis" but as an opportunity for my own growth, as well as that of the kids'.  

Getting along is part of our curriculum, 
perhaps the most challenging and the most important. 

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