We homeschool. There, I said it. Unlike what my spell check seems to think, I’m pretty confident that it is one word.
I’ve always had a difficult time admitting I was homeschooling. No offense to people who homeschool, but I’ve always thought you were a little weird. It’s OK; I’m not the only one. Really , stop looking at me like that!
Last week I was feeling pretty guilty and decided my kid should be able have the public school experience; after all there’s that socialization and normal stuff I’m not letting her experience. I was pretty sure I was a terrible mom. Delete the “pretty”, actually, and it’s a much more accurate sentence.
So, I decided we would do school as close to possible as a regular school. My gut told me this was the right thing to do. I think it’s important to go with your gut. My gut said, “Public school rocks-you completely stink”. My gut is not very nice to me sometimes.
Monday morning I shook my kid awake at 6:30 am. “Wake up!! You’ll be late for the bus!!”
Then I put her in the car, first double-checking to be sure she wasn’t carrying any illegal paraphernalia, such as a gun, a knife, or a Bible. I was ready with a lawyer on speed dial just in case, but she was clean.
So, we rode around for about an hour, making sure to stop every 3 minutes or so to let imaginary people on our “bus”. The full public school experience cannot possibly be gotten if your mommy drives you to school.
Near the end of the ride, I had her cousin get in the car. She first made my kid get in the back seat. Then, at the next stop she got in the back seat and made her scoot waaaaayyyy over, and called her a dirt bag. A little socialization and dealing with the real world. Awesome.
It was Labor Day, so I dropped my niece off at her house. Apparently Labor Day is the celebration of no t having to work for a full 24 hours, or go to school. Shout out to my niece---Excellent Labor Day Skills!
When we got home I made sure to give my daughter the required breakfast of donuts, an orange, pizza and a carton of milk- chocolate is as healthy as white, so there was, of course, a choice.
Next we started class. I gave her a detention for being in the hall, and another one for talking to herself under her breath about the hall detention. No Talking. Ever. It would be disruptive to the class. I had to maintain order. I wish she could understand that. Maybe another detention would help. Done . I felt pretty powerful.
We made it through Homeroom and Math without incident. We had a little problem in literature. She wanted to read, of all things, Tom Sawyer. OMG. Very slowly, so she could understand (I hadn’t realized until now just how slow my kid was-thank God we were switching to regular-school style) I explained the word “banned”. When she finally got it through her thick skull, she said, “Ok, then I’ll just read “The Color Purple.” (also banned) Arrrgghh! We finally settled on Captain Underpants, as that didn’t seem like it would be offensive to anyone.
Then we began science. I had a frog ready. He was covered in formaldehyde and waiting for us to rip off his skin and label all of his exposed internal organs. My daughter thought this was insane. I explained to her how this was a very important part of science; she would use this information the rest of her life . She could never hope to get a good job if she wasn’t able label the internal organs of a frog. Of course, a pig might work too. She said “no way” to the pig. Odd that. I also explained that the frog wanted his inside body parts identified. He’d been hopping around his whole life, going from lily pad to lily pad asking the age-old question, “What are the parts under my skin called?” Here, she had an opportunity to help all of frog-manity, and didn’t want to. Selfish little thing. Again, I was so thankful we’d decided to change our schooling habits!
I was feeling pretty sure of myself after science class. (I dissected the frog myself-it was pretty cool. I learned that the area below his head was called a “neck”. I felt so smart!) After science class was History. I started reading about our founding fathers, and she started falling asleep. I tried to wake her up. Nothing. So, seeing as how the government has done hundreds of studies to find the best way to improve education, I figured I should take their advice on how to fix this problem. I immediately grabbed my purse, got out my wallet, and threw some money at the book to make it more interesting. Strangely enough, that didn’t work. So I hired my neighbor to oversee my history department, but still, my kid slept on. Finally, I changed books. THERE. She put her name in the new book, began to read…. and fell right back to sleep. I woke her up long enough to make sure she knew that our founding fathers were perfect, that there was no slaying of Native Americans (except, of course the really bad ones-and everybody knows you have to slay really, really bad Indians-ahem, I mean Native Americans. Really bad Indians, apparently, you can let live), Christopher Columbus discovered America, and Lee Harvey Oswald was the lone assassin.
Wow, we had worked ahead.
Next, I realized she hadn’t yet had much of the socialization aspect-the most important aspect-of regular school yet. My daughter walks with a limp. I could work with this. I threw a spit wad at her and called her “gimpy limpy”. Then I laughed at her for having a spit-wad in her hair. She stuck her tongue out at me. At which point I made sure to tell myself that she started it, and gave her detention. Not before, of course, berating her in front of the class (of none) for defending herself. She really needed to learn that in the outside world, we defend ourselves, and that’s legal; but in school, just like in jail , you are to never, ever, ever to lift a hand to another person. That will not be tolerated. I’m pretty sure the rules are like that to teach the bullies not to bully. It’s working really well.
Of course, no school day would be complete without Gym Class. So I made her run around the neighborhood to warm up, threw some dodge balls at her until her arms were pink, and then rounded up some neighborhood girls so they could all take a shower together. It’s important for socialization purposes that young girls (and boys, in a separate locker-room, of course) see each other naked. Research has shown that this, too, cuts down on bullying and low self-esteem.
I thought the day was probably finished, when BAM! It hit me. I realized that I hadn’t done any testing. OMG. How would I know if everything I’d worked so hard to teach my kid had sunk in, if not for testing????
So, I spent the next few hours going over everything I was going to test her on. By the time she took the test I could tell that she was going to make our school look good.
She knew how to add and subtract (a must for the 7th grade), she could tell the difference between a sentence and a fragment, and she wrote a 40-page essay on the relationship between bullying and global warming. Sweet.
I really can’t figure out why we didn’t do this sooner. Homeschoolers Rock.