A report from the living room classroom
Excerpted from Eve Crawford Peyton’s blog, Joie d’Eve, which appears each Friday on MyNewOrleans.com
The experiment didn’t go so well.
Every so often, I get frustrated with some aspect of my life and make stupid, unrealistic pronouncements.
“We’re all becoming nudists!” I’ll declare after spending an entire Sunday afternoon washing, drying, folding, and putting away laundry.
Or: “We’re just going to eat sandwiches for dinner twice a week!” or “Let’s just use paper plates and plastic cutlery from now on!” I’ll say when I’m fed up with all the dishes that accumulate in my sink.
Every so often, annoyed at a school project that seems to take up too many resources and too much time, I’ll announce with a flourish, “That’s it! We’re just going to home-school!”
I’m here to say now that I meant none of it – but especially the home-schooling part. I’d sooner become a nudist who destroys the environment with plastic forks than I would spend a minute longer than I have to trying to home-school my kids right now.
Ruby is actually doing fine. She’s a planner who thrives on routine, and at age 13, she’s both adept at using technology and able to be responsible for her own work. Last Tuesday, she holed up in her room with poster board and markers and didn’t emerge until she’d FaceTimed all of her friends to come up with a color-coded school schedule that worked for all of them.
Georgia though? She’s 7 and a huge extrovert whose favorite part of school is seeing her friends, and although she has many strengths, being a self-starter isn’t really one of them. She also lacks her own phone and computer, deficits she laments on an almost-hourly basis these days.
My husband and I have to work during work hours – yes, working from home is a luxury, and I am not complaining! – which means that Georgia’s schoolwork usually doesn’t even start until 5:30 p.m., and we’re all tired and stressed and cranky by that point (more so even than usual).
I see my friends online who are teaching their kids to bake bread. Teaching them to shoot videos. Teaching them to garden or paint or sew. Really embracing the home-schooling thing.
I … am not doing any of that. I’m keeping them alive. I’m feeding them and making sure they bathe and brush their teeth. I’m hugging them (thank God I don’t have to socially distance from them) and letting them talk about their feelings. I’m reading to them and with them. We’re taking walks. We’re playing with the dog. And yeah, they’re watching a ton of YouTube and playing Roblox and Minecraft much more than they’re doing online lessons.
I’m a good mom, I think, but I’m busy and stressed and trying to take care of my 82-year-old father without having a complete panic attack every hour. Home-schooling on top of this just isn’t really happening for me.
But this will end one day, and they’ll catch back up, I’m sure, in no time.
And when they go back, if they haven’t already by the time you read this, I promise I will never joke about home-schooling ever again.