Back to School
The holidays are over and we’re all starting back to school. Although, as homeschoolers, everything is school isn’t it? Those cookies you baked? Home Ec. Wrapping presents? Geometry. Christmas caroling was obviously music class. Opening presents on Christmas morning was Etiquette 101 (now whether my kids passed or failed is a different story!).
Whether you are the type of teacher who counts a trip to the grocery story as an Economic field trip, or if you’re like me and don’t (but only have 170 days of planned lessons), the kids feel like they’ve been on a long break, and that makes the first Monday back a doozy. Mondays are typically bad enough on their own. Monday after a break? Don’t even go there.
I got up early to make sure we would at least start on time. The stress of the holidays, combined with my youngest having a breakthrough seizure the week before had given me multiple migraines and I was determined to stay calm and relaxed and pain free for the day. Relaxed, for me, means staying on schedule. And we were off to a good start.
Everything was going smoothly. Sure, my nine year old had forgotten how to convert measurements, and my eight year old had forgotten how to add 7+7 (he’d also forgotten the million times I’d told him to NOT repeatedly click open on a computer file and he crashed the laptop—again). My five year old had forgotten what sounds “Ch” makes and was inclined to throw herself dramatically out of her chair wailing, “It’s too hard!”, but all in all, we were making it.
The two year old and the four year old were happily playing for once. They weren’t even in the school room, where they like to take every available surface for their coloring books and crayons and fight with anyone who actually might need space for say—school work. (That should have been my first warning sign.) I was going to make it through a Monday, and a first Monday back, nonetheless, without raising my voice.
I was so close to achieving my goal of teaching school like Maria Von Trapp. Pretty soon we’d be skipping through the Alpine meadows, singing together in perfect harmony, as we reveled in the joy of learning.
Has anyone experienced this nirvana of homeschooling? I’m curious. It feels like it should be possible, and yet, I never seem to reach it. The closer I get the more cruelly it is snatched away. Perhaps I should set my goal a bit lower. Goal: To have my children graduate from 7th grade without being arrested as juvenile delinquents. I might be able to accomplish that.
As you can guess, the calm and peace lasted about as long as it took me to walk downstairs to heat up the baby’s mid-morning bottle. That was when I saw the Lego Mindstorms EV3 robot that we had painstakingly built the week before. It was supposed to be a Christmas present and school curriculum all in one. $400 of Lego programming and the hope that one day at least one of my children would get a degree in something STEM related.
The brain of the robot and a few scattered blocks were lying on the floor like the death of the future. Delinquency, Fine Arts degrees, and hipster clothing were looming on the horizon. (Well, maybe not hipster clothing. But the equivalent, I’m sure.) I lost it. There was screaming. There was yelling. There was demanding that a two year old who thinks a motorcycle is called a basketball explain where he had been playing earlier. There were time outs along with vague threats and angry eyebrows. Not my finest moment.
In the end, we found the pieces. Most of them. I haven’t had time to check the brain, since we were then eight minutes off schedule, but hopefully it’s not damaged. The future might yet be saved, but this Monday is lost. There will be no clothing made out of the curtains today. I probably need to go apologize for yelling.
And I think I feel my migraine coming back.
You know that family that shows up to church in the 15 passenger van? The one that homeschools? Ever wondered how they make it through the day or wished you could be a fly on the wall of their house? Well, I'm inviting you in. I'm 36 and I ride herd on 8 children (oldest is 12), 3 cats, 2 bearded dragons, and one puppy. It's loud, chaotic, and imperfect. Welcome to Life in the Big House!