So Tremendo and I were finishing up school when I took out our alphabet flash cards and proceeded hold them up, name each letter and wait for him to repeat after me. He looked past and around them and reached toward the food flash cards that I use with Sweet Coco. I keep insisting with the alphabet cards and he keeps trying to reach for the food cards. After seeing that he wasn’t going to follow along, I told Tremendo that school was finished because he wouldn’t say the flash cards with me. I say this with the expectation that Tremendo will comply with what I want since we haven’t gotten to the part of our school routine where he exchanges his reward tokens for candy. At that point he’d only gotten 2 tokens out of 20. Didn’t happen. Tremendo got up from his seat and retrieves his copy of the food flash cards and puts them right up to my face. (Tremendo has his own set since he really likes food. This is also why I didn’t want to use the food flash cards with him. I know he can label food. My goal was to get him to label the alphabet.) I tell him that because he’s finished, it’s Sweet Coco’s turn to “do school”.
As I started working with Sweet Coco, a little voice said to me, “Why didn’t you just do the food flash cards first, without giving out tokens AND THEN do the alphabet cards?” When I was done with Sweet Coco I invited Tremendo to do the flash cards again. When we finsished with the food cards he happily repeated all of the alphabet cards and got the rest of the tokens.
I had to laugh at myself. When Tremendo first refused to do the alphabet cards I was really annoyed at him for being rigid. In my mind I had asked a series of questions, the gist of which basically amounted to “Why does he have to be so rigid? Why does it have to be the way HE says?” If anyone ever tells you that your children are your mirrors, believe them because 10 times out of 10 they are totally right. I was the one who was being rigid. I’m usually fine with changing the order of stuff when Kamikazee asks so why was I being so rigid now? Well, it’s fear with a touch of misunderstanding. I was afraid that if I did what Tremendo wanted, that I would lose leverage when it came to using tokens for challenging work. The misunderstanding is par for the course when you’re communicating with someone who doesn’t always verbalize what he wants and your default form of communcation is verbal. I would’ve instantly “gotten it” if Tremendo had said, “Food first, then the alphabet.” Looking back, he tried to let me know but I was too stuck to get it then. I realize that I had forgotten that one of the benefits of homeschooling for the child is the opportunity to have input in how things are taught and how much review gets done. He could have wanted to “warm up” with the food cards to get used to talking. Further, homeschooling lends itself to flexibilty.
So yes, I can stop. Please bear with me while I figure this all out.