A mere five weeks into the new school year, and it seems as though the children (and Moms) are already exhausted! What’s up with this? Is it the fast pace at which we are required to live life these days, or something else?

This week, even in my group of Cubs, children who normally have a bright and sunny disposition were uptight and full of nonsense. Unusual squabbles broke out, and children dissolved into tears over silly little things. One parent of a tearful child commented that the children are tired, and so are the parents.

At home, I have had the same struggles. I feel exhausted and Little Einstein has battled to get through his schoolwork each day. We have found ourselves spending entire days in the schoolroom, whilst around us the house and garden have disintegrated into disrepair. Everything seems a mess.

I imagined this had something to do with the recent loss of our beloved old cat – Little Einstein’s best friend – which completely devastated us.

On a daily basis though, I am hearing of more and more people who feel the same way – people who have previously “had it all together.”

What to do?

- Try to relax! I am a tick-the-boxes kind of person and those un-ticked boxes bother me. But what is more important? A schedule with all the boxes ticked, or a contented, happy child who still loves to learn? Even the most exciting, vibrant books and lessons can become a drag when they are forced into an unbending schedule. I will try to relax and enjoy our beautiful living books fully.
- Maths! The bane of our lives. Maths lessons have continued to be an uphill struggle, even though Little Einstein’s Maths has improved dramatically since he’s been home. I have realised that the root of this is that he has never learned his Times Tables properly. So it’s back to basics! All Maths lessons have stopped, and we are concentrating only on Times Tables. We are doing this the old-fashioned way – the way
*we*learnt – by repetitive recitation. 40+ years down the line, Times Tables are still a snap for my husband and I, so there must be merit to this method! We will combine this with interactive Maths Games such as Timez Attack. - Writing! Little Einstein HATES to write and will spend hours dithering over a simple writing project. Yet, he will happily write reams on subjects he enjoys, such as aeroplane and rocket design. AND illustrate it all! So I have determined to try and fit his writing assignments around those things he enjoys, and let him put what he knows on paper. Instead of daydreaming about these things when he should be working, I will let him get those ideas out of his head and onto paper. I will also invest in a journal for him, and encourage him to jot down his thoughts and ideas on a daily basis.
- Finally, we will try to get out at least once a week and experience life and nature – it may be a nature study outing, or something as simple as an economics lesson while doing the grocery shopping! But we will get OUT!

These are small starts, but I am hoping that they will make the difference and ease some of the frustration and pressure we have been experiencing.

What do you do when things just don’t seem to be working? When your kids are tired, frustrated and resistant?

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This time of year is very hard for D. He wants to play on the Xbox my friend gave them for Xmas. We have decided to take a week or two off of rigorous schooling till the “winter funk” goes away. I’m thinking it’s time to go to the recreation center for a nice swim in the indoor pool!

Hi! Thanks for the visit. I have found that “schooling” happens in the most unexpected places at the most unexpected times. And it’s the lessons learned in those unexpected “moments” that seem to have the most impact and lasting impression … I just have to learn to go with the flow!

Thanks Joy! I have shied away from the drill work up till now, but have failed to get these multiplication “tricks” to stick in my son’s head. He knows them, but when faced with a sudden multiplication problem, they fly straight out of his mind! Repetitive “brainwashing” (that’s what it feels like!) seems to be the only way.

I am huge on understanding and very unsupportive of drill work (funnily so are my young ones – lol)

To cut drill there are only a few multiplications you truly need to learn by heart, the others can be learn this way:

When multiplying the order does not matter (6×8 and 8×6 is the same, so you half the times tables right there 😉

Multiplying by 1 gives the same number.

Multiplying by two is just doubling.

Multiplying by 9 , the first digit of the answer is 1 less than the number being multiplied (i.e. 8×9 starts with 7 or 8-1) and then the two digits must add up to 9 (i.e. 8×9 =72)

Multiplying by 10 add a zero after the number

Multiplying by 5 is halving the multiplying by 10 answer

This leaves you with:

3×3, 3×6, 3×7, 3×8, 6×6, 6×7, 6×8, 7×7, 7×8 and 8×8 as the only ones you can’t quickly work out with a little mathematical understanding 😉

Hope that helps!!!!