I’m going to let you in on a secret about homeschooling. There’s one, just one thing you need to successfully homeschool all your children. You won’t find it at any homeschool fair or convention, and it can’t be purchased used. It’s cheaper than the $150 musical phonics program you tried three years ago and does not require training, DVDs or a separate 17lb spiral bound teachers manual to understand.
It’s a sense of humor. Surprise! After that introduction, if you don’t have a sense of humor you’re feeling misled and angry, and that’s not going to help you. My kids are always long-winded and vague and if it wasn’t for my sense of humor, I’d be perpetually hoarse. The ability to laugh at your kids, yourself and your cat after it jumps on your keyboard and deletes all your grades for the last quarter is what will keep you sane and on the homeschooling bandwagon for more than a year.
After the honeymoon period of homeschooling has faded (you know, that magical month of doing pre-school with one enthusiastic 4-year-old) it quickly becomes apparent that coffee, smiles and M&M bribes aren’t going to cut it forever. You can either throw in the towel early, or learn to laugh at whatever comes your way. Admittedly, it may take time to see the humor in some situations. A broken arm sustained during math that ultimately disrupts everyone’s day may not be funny at first, but boy, won’t that help round out junior’s homeschool commencement speech? Don’t stop looking for that silver lining as you’re in the ER triage waiting for the x-ray results.
There’s always that brief period at the beginning of a school year where I feel all proud and teacher-y over my Trapper filled with neat lesson plans and goals. Then we’re midway through week one and someone gets a stomach bug, someone else insists they’ve forgotten how to tell time, and then, what do you know? grandma and grandpa decide to stop in for a surprise morning visit-with chocolate bars! I can either be a grump about it or laugh that they caught me in my robe, (again!, what are the odds?), eat some chocolate and jump into it all fresh later.
I usually find that silliness on my part helps lighten everyone’s mood too, like back when sass mouth was becoming a bit of an issue during the school day. (I think they get it from their father.) I simply took to dancing and twirling around while addressing the kids in my best sing-song fairy princess voice. Sassy equaled sappy and I’m happy to say that within two days we had much less of each. Hopefully that memory will stick with my kids longer than the morning I simply banished them all to the basement to work while I cried in my coffee.
As I flesh out this blog, I hope to make you laugh a bit more at homeschooling, because being home all day with kids is funny! (Don’t worry I’ll keep reminding you, lest you forget.) How many times have you had someone say to you, “I could never homeschool because I don’t have the patience.” Neither do I sister! Neither do I! But what I do have is the ability to see the fun and humor in most situations. If laughter is the best medicine, than I hope my observations can provide some relief from the symptoms of homeschooling. Side effects may include snorts, snickers, coffee spits and flatulence. You’ve been warned.