Memories of a Home Schooling Mother
by Barbara Barthelette
Thinking back on the years of homeschooling, I realized that the one thing that schooling the children at home that never happened was . . . boredom! Every day was an adventure . . . some more so than others. Fading back to a day long, ago . . .
I woke up one morning to a dust storm and realized it was raised by a sneeze not the weather. My house needed work. Messages would have to be written on paper from now on, the dust (among other things) would have to go. The holidays were long, long over and I couldn’t use Christmas or Easter as an excuse for any more delays. I needed to sit down today and get organized.
Immediately after breakfast (dishes would have to wait as this was important!), I began work on my list of priorities. After fifteen minutes of almost futile searching, I found a pencil stub and the back of a receipt. The first item on my list was buy pencils and writing paper and hide them from the family. Having just completed that thought in writing, the telephone rang. I returned ten minutes later to find the pencil stub gone. The doors were locked and the children said they didn’t take it.
I decided doing the dishes would enhance my organizational thoughts. I dumped the breakfast utensils in the soapy water, scraped the plates, turned on the disposal and the sink backed up. Organization went on hold as I crawled underneath the sink to dismantle the pipe and dislodged the orange peels that someone had tried to grind up earlier. My efforts were not in vain as I found a pencil behind the can of cleanser. The dishes went on hold again and I went back to my list only to find that it, too, had left the kitchen under it’s own steam. Armed with pencil, I went in search of paper, thinking that as a home schooling family, there must be at least one sheet of the stuff somewhere!
An unguarded sheet of notebook paper was discovered in the children’s bedroom. I scampered back to the kitchen table, ready to work on my list. My pencil had never been sharpened. I was in awe of actually seeing a whole pencil that hadn’t been cracked, broken or bitten through, however, it wasn’t much use without a point. The three older children have a pencil sharpener, color-matched to their notebook to avoid arguments. At this point in time, all the pencil sharpeners had left through those locked doors, unseen by anyone. It was time to fix lunch.
Lunch dishes joined the remaining breakfast clutter in the sink. I once again sat down to work on my organization list. I had kept tabs on my notebook paper and acquired a purple crayon of adequate length. I made some progress on my list as I kept track of the children’s school day, answering their questions and jotting down my own notes. List finally complete and school day done, I needed a book report from one of my offspring to bring the day to a close. The child insisted she had done the report but couldn’t produce the evidence. Realizing how lack of organization had slowed down the efforts of my own day, I got on my teacher/mom soapbox and delivered (what I thought) was an eloquent sermon of a place for everything and everything in it’s place. As I stood to make my exit, I waved my purple-crayoned list for emphasis. Said child brightened up at once and exclaimed, You have my book report! I left it in my room. How did you get it?” Suffice to say, I handed out an ‘A’ with little argument and decided that dusty tables were best for notes. Besides, the evidence can be erased easily.