Twelve years of teaching experience in a classroom of at least 24 students doesn’t come close to twelve days of teaching my own child. It’s been a roller coaster ride the past two weeks. From anticipation, to doubt, to bliss, to what was I thinking, to sorrow, to hope, to joy, to tears, to laughter, to revelations unending. I’ve learned something new everyday about myself or about my daughter. I’ve also had a few reminders as to why we are taking this route.
These are the recurring thoughts that I have at least ten times a day:
1. The 5:00am alarm is my favorite sound of the day. That once upon a disgusting sound of a fog horn blaring way too early has now become my cue to rise and have two hours of peace. Peace! It’s all a mother wants! The hours from 5:00am -7:00am have become my one and only time to sit with a cup of coffee, read my book, basque in the deliciousness of silent solitude. Because I am fully aware now that from 7:00am to at least 8:00pm will be hours jam packed with all things domestic and/or educational, I eagerly await this time of day. Stay at home moms across the globe, I am here to tell you all that I am nowhere near what most of you are. I know this because I see you at pick up every afternoon. Moms from all over seem to trickle out of their spaces donned with perfectly styled hair, make up, outfits that don’t include yoga pants and their husband’s over sized sweatshirts. I see you and I wonder in amazement. I say to myself every single day around the 3:30 mark, “Tomorrow I am going to start getting up and making myself look like that.” If I manage to get myself showered and dressed before 5:00pm, it’s only because there was an appointment that day or an “out of the car” errand needing to be taken care of. Oh how I love the “in the car” errands. You know… drive through pharmacy, drive through bank, drive through dinner. Dinner? Oh have mercy. Don’t even get me started on that one. I’ve failed miserably as a mother. Each and every single blessed night I cook a meal for my family, I get at least a few “What’s that?” or “I liked it last week but not this week.” or “I’ll just make a sandwich for myself.” I even have a daughter (who shall remain nameless) who has taken to quite audibly and visibly gagging while she “tries” whatever it is I’ve placed so delicately on her plate as to not touch one single other item even a smidgen. The thought ran across my mind today that there are actual women who home school multiple children at different grade levels at the same time. I bet their children eat what they’re told. And I bet they even manage to get dressed during the day. I’ll never understand how that is even remotely possible. I’m home schooling one child. One grade level. One on one. Overwhelming is an understatement. Is it 5:00am yet?
2. Multitasking has become a fine art. I am a baby feeding, laundry folding, multi-step word problem teaching machine. No lie.
3. It is no myth. Schools really are opting to omit foundational skills. I do not buy that my child is the only child who is falling between those cracks. I don’t buy that my child is the only one who hasn’t mastered their basic multiplication facts before moving on to word problems that involve three steps AND double digit multiplication. I don’t buy that my child is the only child who hasn’t been taught cursive or parts of speech or borrowing or all the things that aren’t TESTED any longer!
4. Parenting is hard stuff. Enough said.
5. It only takes one moment/one person/one reaction/one experience to turn hope into despair. I won’t elaborate much on this one… for many reasons. But I can say with every ounce of certainty in my body, that a teacher can make or break it for a child. I long for a day when children become more important than proving a point via test scores. I realize that’s a bold statement that might even be read by someone who fully disagrees. That’s fine. We are all entitled. But it is our truth. Emerson wrote a brief paragraph for me this week to show that she understood topics we had been discussing (topic sentences, conclusions, transitions, supporting details, etc.) As I read it, I was hit in the gut with a sense of relief. Relief that I can begin to repair some things that are in definite need of repair. She picked the topic and wrote it independently. I’ll leave you with it.
I really enjoy home school. One great reason it is so enjoyable is because my mom is my teacher. Sometimes math is harder in a classroom full of people who love math. They might find out that I’m not as good, but my mom is easier to talk to about what I don’t understand. Another good reason that home school is the best is because I don’t get nervous. I get to ask questions without feeling embarrassed. I also don’t worry that I’ll be in trouble for not understanding. The best reason of all for home school is that the projects are super fun. I loved my first social studies project. I was learning how to be a historian. I got to interview my family about their past. Math is more fun now too. The work is the same as my old school but I get to talk about the problems and that makes it more fun. I think learning will be easier and more fun now that I am in home school. I bet I’ll be the smartest kid around!