COVID-19 · post-op life · slice of life · writing

Separating My Role as Mommy and Teacher #SOL20

One of the reasons I’ve never homeschooled Isabelle is that I have a hard time separating my roles of mother and teacher. Throughout the first few yeas of her life, I engaged in “Mommy Speech Therapy.” As her former doctor once told me, I shouldn’t be doing both roles. So, while I read with Isabelle daily, there is someone else who’s worked with her since Kindergarten as a reading tutor. Doing this allows me to preserve our mother-daughter relationship.

Now that we’re quarantine-schooling, I find myself doing the mother-teacher thing again. And while I am mostly enjoying the chance to work with Isabelle for hours at a time, I find myself slipping into the role of mom more often than I should. I try to catch myself when I do this. Thankfully, my teacher-side came in and gave the mom-side of me a slap on the wrist yesterday morning.

You know how those of us who teach writing workshop passionately tell parents not to obsess over grammatical and spelling errors? Well, yesterday, I forgot this and harped on Isabelle for misspelling high-frequency words she should know, for forgetting to end sentences with punctuation, etc. It wasn’t my finest hour.

After serious reflection, I decided to work with Isabelle to create a personal editing checklist that she could use to fix up her writing at the end of each of each day’s notebooking session. We talked about the things she could work on after she writes to make her writing easier to read. I limited her to four things. (She kind of knew what she needed to work on given my step into the parent role yesterday.)

After I printed the personal editing checklist, Isabelle retrieved it from my printer. I taught Isabelle how to go through each checklist step to examine her writing through that lens. Once she finished each item, she moved on. It took her less than two minutes to make all of the corrections to her writing.

“How did that go for you? Did that take as long as you expected or less time?” I asked.

“It took me less time than I thought it would,” Isabelle stated.

“Was it easy or hard?” I asked.

“It was easy. I was able to make all of the changes fast,” she replied.

“I want you to understand that this is your personal editing checklist for today. It might be something we change up as soon as next week. The idea is for you to get in the habit of making these changes on your own. Let’s say you start capitalizing all of the Is in your writing by the middle of next week. We’ll remove that item off of the checklist and we’ll add something else. How does that sound to you?”

“Good,” she replied.

Thank goodness, I thought. That means I can focus more on teaching her to write rather than hounding her about all of the things I know I shouldn’t be bothering her for when she’s working in a writer’s notebook.

23 thoughts on “Separating My Role as Mommy and Teacher #SOL20

  1. I loved seeing her writing! She is such a great writer…wonder where she gets it from? 😉 I’m glad she has her own checklist now. It’ll help her take more ownership for sure.

    1. Yes, it should help.
      Generating entries has been a struggle for her. Amy’s first three lessons have yielded some lovely notebook writing. It’s my hope that she’ll develop more confidence as a writer now that we’re home together.

  2. Ooh – I like this checklist move. I am a terrible teacher for my own children, especially my youngest. In fact, I was a swim coach for several years and I did NOT teach either of my children to swim. It’s a complicated job, mom & teacher. Here’s hoping that you have many more checklist epiphanies and many fewer mom interruptions. 🙂

    1. I feel like I need to write about the tension since there’s too much out there making out that this is easy on parents and kids. It’s really hard to be home all day teaching one’s own children. That said, I am secretly enjoying it. 🙂

  3. I really liked Isabelle’s piece. It was authentic – had voice and great revision – taking out the part that is not needed and wanders from the real focus of this piece. I really liked the editing checklist and glad Isabelle was pleased with the short time it took to make the necessary changes. The title is perfect for this piece as well – it says everything! Did you talk with her about putting her “name” in quotes since it is not her name?

  4. So fun to see the workings of family as you find your way through the homeschool think. When my kids were little I always had trouble keeping these roles apart. Fun to see how you are doing it.

  5. This reminds me of the book, “My Name is Elizabeth,” by Annika Dunklee. I hope they get your name right soon, Isabelle! It was fun to read this journal prompt. Will need to check out Amy’s notebooking ideas!

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