Wednesday, September 13, 2006

He Ain't Trouble, He's My Brother

We have just completed the third day of school here at Temple Academy. The boys are very motivated and they are doing beautiful work.

I can see already that the light summer program that I did with Simeon is really going to pay off. He's forgotten plenty of things from last year, but not everything and that will really ease his transition into third grade.

Alex is doing a Kindergarten curriculum, and if anything he isn't challenged enough by it. I may need to supplement and find more fruitful work for him. He is so proud of all he does and so am I. I love the way his ears go up when he smiles and the little pleased-with-himself sound he makes when he learns something new.

Jacob is eager to keep up with Alex and he very nearly can. (At least he puts on a good show.) He isn't interested in the colorful everything-you-need-to-know-for-preschool books I bought him and he doesn't want to color anything. He wants to work with a #2 pencil and write letters and numbers. I let him do what he can.

So, you'd think we're off to a pretty good start and I suppose we are....but (and this is a pretty big BUT so I had better capitalize it) there is just one little problem. His name is Nichloas. Oh, I suppose there are two problems, Zachary and Nicholas, but one is soooo much more trouble than the other that he eclipses him almost entirely.

DAY ONE: Nicholas dumps a potted plant, empties the contents of the electric pencil sharpener three times, pushes a stool up to the kitchen sink, turns on the water and soaks himself all in the first hour. It didn't get any better after that. It may have gotten worse, if you can believe it.

DAY TWO: On the advice of a very wise older sister, I try television. Thomas the Tank Engine buys me one half hour of good work time. Thank you, Thomas! Thank you wise older sister! Zachary watched the whole thing and I think Nicholas wandered the playroom quietly, but when the first show ended they both came screaming up the stairs.

DAY THREE: On the advice of a very gifted younger sister, I try inviting Nicholas to join us at the work table. Ok, she told me I should restrain him in a high chair and I didn't because he screams whenever he is restrained, for as long as he is restrained. Anyway, he crawled all over our work, threw pencils, and adjusted the chandelier. (Hmm...I hope that can be fixed.) At this point I sent him off to play...see DAY ONE.

I am open to suggestions if anyone out there can help, but short of hiring a babysitter I don't believe there is a solution to our handsome little problem, unless bearing with him, juggling time-buying techniques, and accepting a less than ideal work environment can be considered a solution.

At the close of our day today, Simeon was reviewing his addition flash cards. Nicholas climbed up on his lap and was slapping the table and shouting garbley-gook that sounded like the numbers Simeon was saying.

"Eighteen," Simeon would say in that urgent I'm-doing-flashcards sort of way. "AAaahteen," Nichloas would repeat in the same urgent tone. It really was adorable and I had to laugh.

"YOU ARE SO MUCH TROUBLE," I said affectionately.

"He's no trouble to me." Simeon said ingenuously and kissed Nicholas's soft baby head. Posted by Picasa


Crafty Mom said...

My Nicholas is just like yours. I think it is in the name. While I attempt to homeschool my young daughter, I have found he highly prefers sitting in my lap and getting as much attention as he possibly can. My newest invention is bringing out toys I have carefully stockpiled away, puzzles that he hasn't seen yet, peg boards, and other small manipulative type toys. While it buys us a small amount of time, we are always prepared for when boredom hits and the toys start flying, literally. But a little time is better than nothing!

Anonymous said...

My 6 yr old son is home for 1st grade; our 1st yr of homeschooling. My 2 yr old son isn't interested in what his brother doing. I tried at the table using things just like his brother's but 2 yr old only wants to take whatever older brother has... even if items are identical. The 6 yr is home to help focus -- too much auditory noise and he is off track so the toddler tv isn't a good solution for us. Going outside (we are in MN) to start some play for 15-20 minutes and then pull the older child off to the deck or steps to cover something like reading, flashcards, or a math worksheet on a clipboard has worked. I changed my white eraser board to go the long way so toddler can write while I am helping expound on some not easily learned concept or do drill. The refrig magnets can be used then too. Rotation, rotation, rotation and routine between play together, play independent by us or nearby room, read together with snack, go outside, bit of work with toddler independent time, clean up, tv break with brother while I make lunch, then nap and squeeze in some more. That said, 2 yr old put a peanut up his nose last week and that took a good chunk time out of our schedule. Certainly, he will wear off my rough edges and make me a saint...while he keeps his older brother laughing.

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