Parent Perspectives will show up on the blog from time to time. They are written by parents for parents to offer encouragement, tips and perspective on various aspects of home schooling. If you'd like to participate, please email email@example.com
Cozy and Jeff Faber have been involved with SLO Classical Academy for 4 years. They have two daughters, Ava and Sia who are both in the intermediate level on track B. Cozy is also the Development Director of SLO Classical Academy.
What Gives? Nobody Does it All...
I put a lot of thought into how I wanted to structure this post—about how I schedule my home school time, about how while the days don’t go as I had planned, they usually end up having accomplished most everything I set out to do. I took the time on Sunday night to write up an ideal “vision” of what my best case home school Monday would look like. I took it hour-by-hour imagining what a gas it would be to compare my “best case scenario” to “WHAT REALLY HAPPENED!” You know, like one of those hilarious urban legends where the wife works her tail off all day long, the husband comes home and the house is a mess and as he cascades through the entrance he spies that lovely wife of his laying on the couch with a towel over her head, the kids in the yard mucking about and he disdainfully wonders what she did all day! Of course, we have seen how she lured the cat off the roof, how the cable line fell from the sky out of nowhere and almost electrocuted all of the kids in the play group, how little Sally experienced her first bout of anaphylactic shock after peanut butter cookies and who knows what else. His perception is simply that his children are unattended in the yard while their mother is lounging about. The reality is so very different from the perception. This is the type of entry I forecasted for this past Monday morning direct from our humble abode. I did think I could come up with a funny anecdotal story to share -- ah, the joke was on me.
Monday morning as 7:00 turned into 8:00 and then 8:00 rolled right into 9:00, I noted how already things had strayed so very far from my musings of a healthy breakfast and math completed by 9:00. What folly! My two girls tumbled downstairs starving and specific about what they wanted: popovers for one and baked donuts for the other. Knowing I was going to be writing my comparison of the day I thought “Ha ha, Cozy, this is a scheduling challenge for you…embrace it! Have another cup of coffee; let the girls make their own breakfasts! You are a homeschooler, that’s what THIS is all about!” So that’s what we did. One hour and two breakfast messes later; we were seated at the dining room table reading about Arduino and his plight as an apprentice. Good times…
I think that perhaps we should have ended our homeschool day right there. Maybe that would have been the best idea given the day that unfolded before me. I did take notes at first, about how one was mad that the other had my focus and she therefore could do NOTHING more until my attention was back where she felt it belonged. I wrote about how healthy it was that to relieve her anger, my fourth grader turned to a ½ hour on her flute in an attempt to blow the roof off of the house. Just in case I wasn’t sure about the intensity of her dissatisfaction.
I ceased recording the hilarity in the deviation from my best laid plan compared to the reality of my life when I felt the exterior tips of my eyebrows lift involuntarily when all of a sudden – after years of place value practice—neither girl remembered how to write the number 220. “MOM, I just don’t know, don’t get MAD at me, it’s not MY fault!” Seriously—what have I been doing for the past four years? I had another cup of coffee.
Unlike the way the morning rolled and lolly gagged from 8 until 9, the afternoon careened from noon into 1:00. The kids were starving but I was motivated. Motivated to complete every subject—motivated to report that I can have a perfect home school day, the same way that the moms on the You-tube videos have their 2 year olds complete ten frames in 20 seconds flat. I AM as good as all that and my kids are better! Right?
I did push it, I know it’s only the second real week of school and I know that these two little lovebugs are not leaving for college next week, and maybe the pressure of doing everything right isn’t the best mode for our household. I am generally an individual of moderation and imposing a day of spectacular upon everyone around me isn’t really fair. Looking back at the tones I took, at the vocabulary I chose to express my dissatisfaction, how spectacular was I? Perhaps a flute and a little roof blowing in my case would have been a more appropriate choice.
Anyhow, we did get everything done. (Well, there was this little write up in history about the weather in Florence that I felt was better left for the Florentines…sorry Mrs. Milligan). But when I discussed what had happened with my husband that night and flogged him with every detail and regaled him with the description of every eye roll and every frustration I felt during the day I ended up where I do every time. I made a difference today. I did not give up on my girls. They were not suppressed to the lower half of a 4th
I vow to go lightly on Wednesday when again we are together at home. My expectations are high and ever will they remain, but slowly….slowly. Oh, and for sure: MATH IS GOING FIRST every morning from now on!