After writing yesterday about how nothing seemed to be working in our homeschooling and writing out everything that was not working, I did manage to make one small step forward.
Something I remembered doing during the late great homeschool phase that kept the kids moving along at their work and ease them past the resistance of whatever scary story they had about the task before them, something really simple. So I put it into action with Theo, moments after pushing the "publish" button on my post. I sat next to him and his 50 words of copy work, put my arm around his shoulder and said, "I know this seems hard. I know you don't want to do it. And I know you can do it, I trust in you." 10 minutes later it was done.
Not 10 minutes of me nagging and bitching and lecturing, but 10 minutes of sitting with my arm around his shoulder, drinking my tea and breathing deeply. At least the first 7 minutes were me faking that I was full of loving, supportive thoughts and was just so glad to be there with and for him. Honestly, it would have been much easier for me, in the grumpy, piss-y, victim-y place where I was living in my mind, to piss and moan and blame him for everything. Amazingly I remembered to put on my big girl panties and be the Big Mama. The last 3 minutes were pretty nice for me.
A few repeats of the warm, supportive connection and lo and behold, he had all his work done by noon. I celebrated by logging him onto his favorite computer game and going to take a nap.
Note to self (for the millionth time in the past 10 years of parenting): when things aren't working with my children we don't have a behavior problem, we have a relationship problem (thanks to Neufeld for the summarization of the situation). The more I lean into the connection and get closer to my kids, the better any situation will go.