After Winter Break

This year, it took me much longer to get back on track with teaching Robert. It was the first winter break in at least 10 years during which we didn’t do any desk (I mean” dining table) work.  Of course with his sister and his grandmother coming for almost two weeks and his dad having a few days off, the house was full of people who could engage Robert.  But, of course, sometimes it took a little nagging.  Anyway, Robert was busy with others and found ways to occupy himself.

His main concern, however, was to clean the dishes, decorations, napkins, and tablecloth of the table and reinstate a few piles of teaching materials on top of it.  He didn’t mind removing textbooks, workbooks, a ruler, a pencil and an eraser from the table and setting it for almost daily celebrations. As soon, however, as the chairs around the table became empty, he returned the table to its main function – place of learning.

But no, Robert really didn’t want to study.  When once I suggested that, he replied, “Later, later.” and disappeared in the den downstairs.  I did not insist.  Besides, Robert helped a lot during that time – washing and folding laundry, sometimes washing dishes, and changing beds when needed.  Reluctantly, he also helped with snow shoveling, following methodically the pattern demonstrated by his father.  He played a new board game with his sister, build gingerbread village and a gingerbread carousel with her.  He went to movies twice and twice he went skiing.  Once to Sunapee Mountain in New Hampshire and once to Killington in Vermont.  That trip included, Robert’s favorite activity, staying in a hotel with a pool.  He went to New York with us.  After he visited Rockefeller Plaza, he went to Polish restaurant in Brooklyn and drove with us to the Kennedy Airport.  Yes, he was busy.

The reason, however, why we did not jump into learning as soon as possible didn’t have anything to do with how busy HE was.  It didn’t even have anything to do with how busy I was.  It had everything to do with my sort of altered state of mind.

I felt lost.

I lost the drive to work.

I doubted if our work was  important.

I was overwhelmed by how much skills Robert still needed.

I was lost.

So although Robert dutifully, cleaned the table after every family meal and put back all educational materials, I took a break.  Maybe too long.  It was harder for me than for Robert to go back to our routines.  But we did it.

Slowly, in short intervals, we resumed our study time.

Because it is important.

Because Robert needs a lot of skills.

Because, if I didn’t do it, who would?

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