Monday, February 22, 2010

testing the love

Attachment and bonding are ongoing experiences. Trials come and go, and just about the time it seems things are settling nicely, someone decides to "test the love."

Here's what that looks like:
As you know, we home school. It does not come naturally to me, but we are plugging through. I have finally mastered not just telling the kids the answer they want, but instead I ask leading questions to help them figure it out themselves. Nobody really likes that, they just want me to tell them the answer. Especially Hanna.
Lest you think I am expecting too much of her, before I begin you need to understand that she can identify and knows the functions of nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. She can identify prepositions and prepositional phrases and can tell you what the object of the preposition is. As much as she wishes I believed it, she is no shlub when it comes to school.
We were working on a sentence:

The puppy, a beagle, has been barking since she left.

"Mom, what's a beagle?"
Good question. I believe she doesn't know what a beagle is. She knows dog and puppy, but certainly not breeds.
Instead of telling her, I started asking questions.
What is happening in this sentence?
The puppy is barking since she left.
that's right, what kind of word do you think beagle is?
It is a noun?
Yes, it's a noun. So what is a noun? It's a person, place or thing.
That's right. So from this sentence, you should be able to make a guess about what a beagle is.
(At this point, she is frustrated that I am making her think, why won't I just tell her the answer.)
So, what do you think a beagle is?
The puppy is beagling?
Why would you even say that? Why would you use the word like a verb when you know it is an noun? What question are you answering?
She starts to lay on the "I don't know anything, how could I, I am new here. I don't know what a beagle is. I don't understand anything in this new country...)
When she first came home a year ago, she did the same thing, but she really didn't have much English at all, and even then, I got the feeling it was an act. I always told Scott that is seemed like she was "putting on" more often than she really didn't understand. At that time, I gave her the benefit of the doubt. Since then, we have come to the knowledge that She really does not want to learn. She doesn't see its value and doesn't understand why it is so important to us. She is angry that we don't just indulge her every whim, and let her do what ever she pleases. this reality that she is living doesn't measure up to her "dream family".
She digs in here. If I am not going to tell her the answer, she is not going to tell me the answer.
I ask her where do we find out what words mean when we don't know what they are?
You look in da book. (snarl)
What book?
A dictionary.
Ok, go get it.

I have never had her use a dictionary, didn't even know she knew what it was, much less how to use it. She proceeds to look up the word.
I found it.
Ok, read it to me.
Beagle: a small breed of hunting dog that has short legs.
So in one word, tell me what a beagle is.
it is a hunting dog.
Yes, use one word.
no. different word.
a breed?
A small?
A short?
no. (are you kidding me? she WILL NOT TELL ME IT IS A DOG!!!)

I sent her to her room. I told her to come out when she would tell me what a beagle was.
She tried to squeeze out some tears and say she really didn't know, but she is not that good of an actress and failed to produce any. Biruk was sitting next to her and he was practically climbing out of his skin he was so disgusted.
After 5 minutes, I went up and asked her if she was ready to tell me what it is. No mom, I really don't know.
Look in my eyes and tell me that because I know you are way smarter than that. She couldn't look at me and say it.
I told her I didn't understand why this is the road she was deciding to go down, but if it was really what she was going to choose, I would go all the way with her. She didn't back down, would not tell me that a beagle was a dog, and she lost the few privileges she has. She is back to only being able to do school work for entertainment. She can watch no movies, the only thing on her mp3 player is memory work, and even when we are at other people's houses, she can't join her friends if they are watching a movie.
The reason for that is because if she gets any entertainment she refuses to use her brain to learn. We had allowed her to watch some movies with the family and she went right back to refusing to learn. This is the road I'm talking about. It is the one she is choosing, and I will go all the way with her because I LOVE her.

Buckle up, it's going to be a bumpy ride!


Babs said...

Hello to all~
As frustrating as all that is- in years to come... you both will be laughing hysterically. I am constantly asking Connor "what does God want for you?"... pre-teen (1 year to go) and he pushes it all the time.
You are doing much good Mom!
Keep it up- we all need a can of Oxygen now and then-huh? (we are in CO and Connor thought it funny they sell cans of Oxygen- Hmmm....) Hugs to all! :D

Laci said...

I had to laugh at this post, we go through this kind of thing multiple times a day, of course when you're in the thick of it it is not easy to laugh at but it does help to know there are others out there that understand what you are going through. Thanks for sharing

Phil and Delisa Wegner said...

This sounds so familiar!! The major fights that I have with my Ethiopian sons (12 and 8 years old) are over school. Your story actually encourages me that we are not alone. I heard a sermon by Andy Stanley once that used the passage in Nehemiah where Nehemiah would not succumb to fear and persuasion to stop the work on the wall. He said " we are doing a good work and we can not come down." I love that picture. May we keep building the walls - even after the tears and eye rolls. :0)