Category Archives: tantrums

Having a crisis!!

We’ve had a busy few weeks, with lots of social stuff, groups going on etc.  I decided we needed a project for the week.  I needed to see that we had achieved something…yes this was all me, no child-directed learning at all.  Bad idea!

I decided we could all learn to tell the time.  Something H had been doing from a digital clock, but we had never looked at analogue clocks before.  We had some friends coming over and I thought it would be ‘fun’ to cut out some cardboard circles to make into clocks, write the numbers on, attach hands etc.  H and her friend took one look at this and decided it did not look fun at all, and scarpered! E was interested, so our other friend sat down with her mum and we made the clocks and started to use them to look at some o’clock times.  It was about this time that E had enough and was about to launch the whole lot at me, so I asked her if she had a better idea for doing this.  She of course did!

E came back with a handful of marshmallows and some spaghetti.  She connected them together so there was a bit of marshmallow over every number on her clock, and hands made from spaghetti with marshmallows on the ends.  We had a go at making different o’clock and half-past times, using some Usbourne flashcards to give us some examples. That was as far as we got that day.

I kept some of the flashcards in my bag, and brought them out a couple of times during the week when we had a bored moment, and E got them with a bit of prompting.

Today, a week later, I thought we could all have a go with our clocks, and used E’s idea of marshmallows.  E couldn’t even do any o’clock times. I thought it would be good to bring H up to speed, and explained o’clock times, no problem, then half-pasts, again no problem, then went on to quarter-past’s and quarter-to’s, again no problem.  H could then do a mix of times from each of these 4.

E is now beside herself as H, who is 4, can read a clock, and she, who is 7, can’t.  I don’t know why this is.  It’s just the way they are.  H just absorbs everything like a sponge, she already knew all the terms, but she just hadn’t seen them on a clock.  E can’t absorb anything she hasn’t decided she’s ready to learn. It is very frustrating.  All her learning is self-directed.  This is great in some respects, we’ve learned some amazing things just by following the path of her interests.  Unfortunately she has never shown any interest in reading or doing much maths at all.  If I ever mention anything about reading, E just picks up her Peter and Jane book 1a, and reads it beautifully, then with a satisfied nod feels that the reading box is ticked!

The problem is getting worse, now H is getting older, and their differences in learning strategies are becoming more obvious.  Reading is not going to be a problem for H, she is already doing amazing things all by herself. She is always either looking at books, or asking me to read books for her.

I need a new strategy.

I also need a stiff drink and a cake or three.

All ideas welcomed!

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Posted by on November 13, 2011 in Home Education, Literacy, Maths, tantrums


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We are now the proud parents of a beautiful, new and shiny 6 year old.  She bears an uncanny resemblance to the 5 year old we had until last weekend.  Beautiful, pink and sparkly, yet volatile, argumentative and prone to temper tantrums.

Over the years I had hoped she’d grow out of having tantrums.  She rarely has them in public now, mainly at home.  They can start for any reason, most of the time I can’t understand why she’s bothering to make such a fuss.  Prime example today, she was standing outside our house with her friend who had come to play.  They noticed there was a couple of cherries left on our tree, so her friend picked one, then E picked one.  I saw E inspecting it, then she threw it on the ground saying it had something on it. I then picked her one which was fine, but she still found fault with it and threw it on the ground, shouting and stomping that it wasn’t fair her friend had one and she didn’t.  By that point I had lost any patience I may have had, we were running late as it was, and I said we had to go with or without a cherry!  It was such a stupid thing to get so upset about it, if it was an isolated incident I would have more patience, but it happens regularly, sometimes several times a day.

I’ve been trying the ‘say yes more often’ way of thinking recently, but it hasn’t really helped.  If I say ‘yes’ once, E then expects it everytime, and sometimes its just not possible to say yes, even if it would be fantastic if I could!

Its been so bad recently that I’ve lost track of her good points.  She’s a beautiful, sociable girl, who loves making and drawing things.  She has an amazing determination when she decides she wants to do something, so she has taught herself to whistle, skateboard, ride a bike, click her fingers, and the current one is cart-wheels!  She desperately wants her hair to be straight, even though the poor girl has inherited my random curly hair.  She loves her grotty soft toy, Crabbie, to bits and won’t be without him.

However, she hates physical contact, so spontaneous hugs and kisses are not her thing.  Sometimes she will come and hug me, but usually manages to elbow me in the mouth or something so I end up pushing her away when I should be squeezing her tight.  She is six going on sixteen, and can’t understand why I’m here in charge of her life.  Life is just a series of frustrations for her.  I have no idea where or if we have gone wrong somewhere.

I was listening to Rob Parsons, author of the Sixty-Minute Family, speak at a conference recently, and something he said struck a bell.  He was talking about a parent who came to speak to him about her 2 wonderful children who do everything she says, love life to the full, are easy going etc etc, then their 3rd seems to push the boundaries to the limits, talk back every chance they get etc etc.  Sounded awfully familiar!  He said to her that he was sure people had told her she would grow out of it?  Yes she said!  Wrong, he said!  Some children fight the boundaries every step of the way, its the way they are, and the way they will always be.  Oh happy day 🙂

She wants to be with other kids her age all the time.  We go to our weekly home ed social group, and meet up with friends during the week, we have something on every day, but we are not out every second of the day.  I like it like that.  She spends the day pining for 3.30pm when her friends get back from school 😦

A friend told me a while ago that one day I would find out why she was so ‘spirited’, there would be a reason for it, and it would all make sense.

How do home ed families who are in areas where there is little home ed community contact cope?  What am I missing, that is probably staring me in the face?  Anyone got any suggestions on coping strategies – tell me its not just me?!!!


Posted by on July 14, 2010 in tantrums