Monday, February 6, 2017

Homeschooling. Plus how it's weird and stuff.

You know you were thinking it.
So I’m curious: what do you, dear reader, think of when you think about homeschool? Not homeschoolers, mind you. I’m not looking for the descriptions of unsocialized dorks in floor length, homespun dresses who have never seen a television set or been allowed to play an organized sport. This I already know. And just so we’re clear, my kids wear a bunch of clothes from Walmart and a second hand store I know, and they watch a LOT of television. So ha. Take that.


But no, it’s really the schooling I’m curious about.  I’d like to know what people think the actual school at home looks like. Maybe it’s impressive. Maybe it’s terrifying. Enquiring minds would really like to know.  

Personally, I always thought of a homeschooled home as a place where 1, all of the children are well behaved, 2, the house was in relatively good order, (not perfectly clean or anything, I’m not crazy, but like, ordered). 3, Plus, it has schedules. Routines. And made beds.  And 4, they’ve got like, this whole room that is dedicated to education. And it’s covered with charts and inspirational posters.

Which is to say, I think homeschoolers are amazing. Like super weird, but amazing.

MEANWHILE: My house. My house is maybe not what you expect from homeschooling. It’s certainly not what I saw coming.

So today for example. The little one has been having increasingly bad tummy issues. So instead of starting school, we packed up and headed out to the Quick Care Clinic.

Note: Quick Care Clinic is the wrongest wrong name in the whole history of naming things wrongly.

Anyway, we got home with a care package (a poo collecting kit I like to call “super fun times for later”) at around noon, about 1 hour and 15 minutes before I’m supposed to bolt out the door to my first client of “paying gig”*. I set the young one up with some lunch (turns out his stomach was just perfect and ready for a sandwich), and the kids up with a checklist of independent work I wanted them to do.

My kids, I am embarrassed to say, are getting really good and used to independent work.

Now of course normally, I’d set aside a couple hours to sit with them first, at the table, on the couch, or strewn about the living room, to do some collaborative work. Which is basically me begging you to believe that I actually, really, and truly do educate my kids. Some days. Probably.

But the thing is, 3 of our 4 days at home, I’m splitting myself between Teach the Children Person and Get Your Butt Prepped and Ready To Go See Clients Person. Some days like today, my kids need to practice their writing and their math and their reading without my constant presence guiding their way.

Today, as I was madly trying shower and print out the stuff I would need for my clients, my eldest came in. She had a question about her Bell Work. So she came and stood next to the shower, while I taught her, loudly over the running water, the difference between Radius, Diameter, and Perimeter.

See? Proof.

Point here? Homeschool is weird, that’s for sure. But you already knew that. But it’s even worse than you thought. Homeschool is weird, because for some people, it means sitting around a table. It means following textbooks and curriculum. For others, it means traveling as much as humanly possible, and letting nature be your education. For others, it means moving the tiny humans into the library. Or hiring an in-home tutor. Or finding documentaries on Netflix. And for some of us, it means running around the house like crazy hoomans, finding little moments and education where we can get them. But all those moments that make it weird, well... they kinda also make it great. It says, "you do you, crazy family. Plus make sure your kids get to college." And then we go try. We go be our crazy selves and see what works.

For us? I dunno. Some days we’re seated neatly around the table, and my white board is used for drawing out different math concepts or historic stories. But some days are differenter. Some days, most of our school day is spent driving from here to kingdom come, handling a terrifying car debacle, while singing review songs about History and Latin and English and Science in the minivan. We call it… Automoschool. Vehication. Smarts in Cars. No. We don't call it a thing. Forget I said that.

But today, my daughter ran up to me with her handwriting book, full of excitement. “Mommy! We LEARNED about this!!” It was a picture of Confucius with his birth/death dates. And she remembered.

Education, folks. It’s happening.  Even if it’s happening in the bathroom.

*No one will pay me to teach my children. I KNOW! It's atrocious. Call your congressman.

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