Monday, January 16, 2017

What Homeschooling Is Really Like {Keeping the Airplanes Moving}

At this phase of my life, homeschooling my six children feels a lot less like what a "regular" school teacher does and a lot more like the work of an air traffic controller.

On an ideal day, in an ideal world, we all sit down together to participate in an exciting lesson of some sort, then branch off from there to each work at grade level on some kind of fun but challenging assignment that's related to the lesson.  And I float around like some sort of joyful and compassionate fairy, waving my wand if any of my young scholars look confused and otherwise nodding encouragement to all of them.

On the other hand, here's how today really went...

Josiah: "Mom, my math CD isn't working again."  Me:  "OK, remind me to ask Dad if he can fix it."

Me: "Tobin and Shav, you need to empty your laundry bins."

David, after taking an online personality test:  "I'm an 84% extrovert!"  (Or maybe 91%.  Or some number that was extremely high.  I don't remember what it was exactly, but I do know that yes, David is definitely an extrovert.)

David:  "Wow, Mom, your introvert score is really high!"  (Hahahahahahahahaha.  Why, yes.  Yes, it is.)

Moriah: wailing.  Me:  "I'm sorry you bumped your elbow on the rocking chair.  Do you need the ice pack?"

Tobin:  "Mom, Moriah's on the computer without time!!"  (Each of the kids has a certain amount of time they can play on the computer, and Moriah wasn't using a timer, prompting Tobin to worry that she would get too much computer time.)

Me: "David, please go and read your science now."

Me:  "Tobin, it's time to do your listening for choir."

Josiah and David:  "Can Tobin turn down his music?"

Moriah:  "Can I have some hot tea?"

Me:  "Here, Shav, come do your choir homework.  If sol is in a space, what's the name of a note in the space below it?"  Shav:  "Do?"  Me:  "No, mi."  Shav:  "Oh, yeah!"

Me:  "David, could you please play with Benjamin so I can send a couple of messages?"

Me:  "Shav, time for a bath."  

Moriah:  "Don't look at me, Mom!!"  (as she was "secretly" coloring a picture)

Me:  "Here, Benjamin, do you want to play with these clothes pins?"  (He did, and was happily entertained by putting them in and out of an old basin--a hand-me-down from my mom--I have in my laundry room.)

Me:  "Josiah, I think you need to do some biology today."  Josiah:  "Could I do it tomorrow?  I really don't have time today."  (He had a good point.)

Shav:  "Mom, come look at my LEGO guys!  They're watching a movie!"

Me:  "David, could you do your math now please?"

David, a little later:  "Quiz 9, 100%!"

Moriah:  "I can't wait until I'm in choir!"

Me:  "Josiah, are you doing debate in Black Mountain?"

Phone ringing, a lady from church on the other line:  "Are you coming today to pick up these tables?"

Me:  "Shav, could you please put away this clean silverware?"

Moriah:  "Mom, what should I do?"

Me: "Tobin, you need to take a shower today; but don't take it yet because I don't want you to get dressed in your choir uniform yet because we still need to eat lunch and I don't want you to spill on it."  Tobin:  "I'd rather take my shower now anyway, and wear something else."  Me:  "Fine, go for it."

Me:  "Josiah, did you tell Mrs. Hostetter that you can beatbox?"

Me:  "I haven't had enough Shav hugs today."  (a surefire way to get a big one)  :)

David:  "Mom, are we going swimming tomorrow with VHE?"

Me:  "Moriah, could you please put your scissors away?"

Me:  "Hey, look!  The Piano Guys are performing at the inauguration because they want to bring joy and good will and unity to their audience."  Kids:  "That's great!!"

Tobin:  "Mom, could you give me a piano lesson?"  (I literally told him, "Yes. IN THE SUMMER!")  :)

Everybody:  "Mom, what's for lunch?"

Shav:  "Chicken nuggets?  YES!  Give me as many as I can have!"

Josiah:  "Mom, we have to register right now for the Black Mountain tournament!"  (as he frantically hits the "refresh" button on the computer every half-second as he waits for the link to go live)

Me:  "Tobin, it's your turn for math."

Tobin, a little later:  "Does 73 + 71 = 144?"

Tobin, even later:  "Lesson 47, 109%!"  (Gotta love bonus rounds.)  :)

Josiah:  "Mom, listen to this new beatbox sound I'm learning."

Phone ringing, our neighbor on the other line:  "Do you want me to come and clean today?"  Me:  "YES!!  If it suits you, of course."  ;-)  (One of our neighbor girls comes once a week or every two weeks to clean the bathrooms and mop the kitchen floor.  It's a HUGE help.)

Moriah:  "Can we go shopping today so we can get some bandaids for me?"  Me:  "Yes, we're going shopping anyway, so we can get the bandaids, if you pay for them with your own money."  Moriah:  "Yay!"

Josiah: "Mom, can you listen to my interp for the speech & debate tournament?"  Me:  "I'm sorry, Josiah; I can't do that right now.  Maybe David can do it."

Moriah:  "Mom, come look at this puzzle I did."

Josiah:  "Where's my choir vest?"

Tobin:  "Where's my belt?"

David:  "Where's my belt?"

Me:  "Tobin, if you don't have black socks, see if there are some in David's drawer you can borrow."

Tobin:  "What should I do about my hair?"  (Josiah fixed it for him.  Hooray for big brothers.)

Me:  "Does everybody have their choir bag?"  

Me:  "Josiah, I put the check in your bag.  Make sure you give it to Mrs. Hicks."

Me:  "We're doing Plan A tonight.  Shav, I'll drop you off at the barber shop, then Dad will take you to choir..."

And so it went...

Besides all of that, in my head, these thoughts were flying around...
~ "I need to fill out the order forms for the choir pictures and write the check for that.  I need to contact my niece to see if I can bring dinner to her tomorrow and get the breast pump back from her.  I need to contact Elizabeth and see if someone has set up a meal schedule for her.  We need to do our group school stuff.  I need to make sure Benjamin doesn't get into the LEGO drawers and eat the little pieces.  I really should change the sheets on Benjamin's bed.  Josiah would love it if I tucked in the blankets and quilt on his bed (he must be a restless sleeper because he manages to pull out his sheets, blanket, quilt, etc. ALL THE TIME).  When am I ever going to have time to help Tobin, Shav, and Moriah organize and clean up their room?  I need to check the boys' closets and make sure Josiah, David, and Tobin have their choir pants, shirts, vests, and ties all ready for tonight.  How many tables was I supposed to provide for the NCFCA tournament anyway?  Where is Benjamin? Could Josiah get a ride with someone to Black Mountain?   Who could be a chaperone for him?  We still need to do our group school stuff.  What do I need to add to the grocery list for later today?  I wonder where that package is that I was expecting.  It's still in Washington state?!  I need to call Cook Out about iced tea.  I wish I had time to do a blog post about Tobin's birthday.  Oh, look, here's the cookbook we used for his birthday cake; I need to write a note in it, documenting which cake he chose.  We still need to do our group school stuff.  I need to send some emails about judges for the tournament.  Thank goodness for leftovers we can have for supper tonight, but what should we have tomorrow?  Do we have enough tortillas?  I think in all the areas of my life, I'm the worst at being a friend.  There are so many people that I should write/call/get with.  I feel bad about that and hope I haven't hurt their feelings, although I'm pretty sure I have in some cases.  How long ago did I wash the clothes that are sitting in the washing machine right now?  Maybe we'll just wait and do group school stuff tomorrow..."

And on it goes, with my six beloved children flying about, like airplanes zooming across the sky and occasionally needing input and direction from the air traffic controller.  So much for the idea of sitting in nice, neat rows and calmly learning a well-balanced blend of knowledge!!  ;-)

Disclaimer:  Things aren't always this way.  But Mondays, with the hours spent away from home because of choir, tend to be more this way than, say, Tuesdays; and this week, with its thrilling but demanding (read: EXHAUSTING) speech and debate tournament, tends to be more this way than, say, next week, which doesn't have a tournament in it.  This too shall pass.  Meanwhile, I try to laugh often.  :)

P.S.  I really, really, really, really, really, really, really love my life.  Craziness and all.  :)


Homeschool on the Croft said...

You said: " I think in all the areas of my life, I'm the worst at being a friend." .... Davene, me too :( . I feel so bad about it. I *think* about so many people all the time; I speak to them *in my head*; and pray for them often... But I fail to miserably to keep in touch, and feel so bad about it :(
As for the rest of your it!
Anne x

Ruth said...

Oh Davene, I haven't commented on here in ages, but I just couldn't help it today! I loved reading this, and can identify so well... I only have four though, not six :-)

Sally said...

I think you handle a crazy day way more sweetly than I do. When time pressure builds up, my voice volume increases. I hope things are getting evened out for you!

Bekahcubed said...

I'm catching up on your blog since I somehow managed to unsubscribe from it when you switched to blogspot. I have to say that I laughed out loud when I read that David is an extrovert. We had such fun when we stayed with you just before Tirzah Mae was born - and if I'd have been asked, I'd have pegged David as an extrovert without a second thought.