12 October 2007


I was a dawdler in first grade, but only in first grade.  I remember my first grade teacher, Mrs. Williard, making me skip recess day after day so that I could finish my morning work.  I had to sit on the stage in the cafeteria along with three or four other classmates who never got their morning work done either.  It never encouraged me to get it done faster, but it did make me dislike Mrs. Williard.  The strange thing is that my second grade teacher never complained about me in any way, nor did any of my other teachers.  I generally did well in school and kept to myself most of the time.  I don't know why I had problems in first grade, but now that Lukas is in first grade, I think I am feeling a little of Mrs. Williard's frustration with my little daydreaming episodes (her words, not mine).
I am now teaching a dawdler.  Okay, so I don't really like the idea of labeling my child, but he is meticulous and perfectionistic, both tendencies I am certain he acquired from watching Mama.  It is driving me nuts.  I don't know what to do to encourage him to get things done.  It took him two and a half hours to complete a color-by-number math page.  He had to answer all of the addition equations and then color the spaces according to the answers.  Answering the equations was a breeze.  It was the meticulous coloring that took so long.  Two and a half hours.  I stretched it over two days.  I repeated over and over, "It doesn't have to be perfect."  I offered a reward for finishing by a certain time.  I considered several times having him finish it another day or not having him finish the coloring part at all.  Stretching it out another day would have carried the frustration over to a new day, so I nixed that idea.  And not finishing it, well, I suggested that idea and was greeted with eyes the size of dinner plates because, you see, this is the most fun math page he's ever done.  Sigh.
I hope that a lesson was learned about time management or whatever, but I'm not sure which one of us learned a lesson.  This dawdling thing has been happening since we started this school year.  It's okay.  He is healthy.  He is exceptionally bright.  No learning disabilities or behavior disorders.  Really, I have nothing to complain about.  I know that.  Lukas loves school.  He loves learning, and, other than the occasional complaint, has never caused any problems at all in regard to school.  He thanks me repeatedly and often for homeschooling him.  He loves it.  He truly does, so if the only thing he does is take his time, then I really don't have anything to complain about.
Tomorrow is a new day, and I'm going to enjoy the process of teaching my little angels.  Maybe I'll finally get that laundry folded or the kitchen floor mopped.  Maybe not, but we'll see.  After all, if Lukas is going to take that long to do his math assignment, then I should be able to get something done.  Right?  We'll see!  Tomorrow's no dawdling award...painting!
Oh...and if any of you fellow homeschooling families have a little dawdler of your own, I would love to hear about what has worked for you!

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