Recently, I read a quote - which, of course, I cannot find now - about how the people we surround ourselves with impact who we become. One of the direct results of homeschooling is that my children spend a lot of time with me. This means - to state the obvious - that my attitude will shape my children to a very large extent. This is not new. And my efforts to have a good attitude are not new. But this is definitely a difficulty for me with homeschooling. I am naturally a solitary type. I like quiet and alone time. I also prefer beginning the day with ordering and smoothing my home and my thoughts. When the children are in school, and I'm having a rough start to the day, I can usually get myself settled by the time they come home. With homeschool everyone is right there erupting in my kitchen. There is no centering moment for me to prepare to deal with them. This means that - toddler-like - I can get started on a roll of grumpiness and then never manage to pull myself out. And this also means that my children are left to deal with it. They are left with it playing as their background music.
As I've considered how to deal with this, I realized that nothing is ever as it seems, and that things you take for granted can actually just be habits. For instance, I always assumed I would prefer getting school done right away in the morning, but we actually do better if the children play a while and I get my own world put together. This means that often we are still studying in the witching hours of late afternoon. That seems horrible, but it isn't. Because then there is something to do in the witching hours instead of eat each other. And yet, it feels so wrong to put off schoolwork. It doesn't "make sense." Overcoming this mental block of what "should" work to embrace what "does" work is surprisingly difficult for me.
I've also thought a lot about some words of wisdom from my sister-in-law Bekah. She told me once how she really wants her children to know that she enjoyed them. I think this is a definite deficiency for me because I don't naturally enjoy children. I love my children and I do enjoy them, but I can't automatically display this. I have to concentrate and emphasize my efforts to be happy. The joy in their eyes when I dance in the kitchen, or wrestle on the floor, or join in their jokes is much more important than checklists or goals for the day. My attitude and treatment of them affects how they learn. They are more open and capable when there is joy in our home. Their minds grow in ability when they are confident they are loved, and when they are in positive moods themselves.
All of this is to say, that I believe attitude is very important in homeschooling. And that it is one of my weakness at this time.