Quarantine Homeschooling

I kinda feel like that old lady from Titanic right now.

“It has been 84 years…”

We are in our third year of quarantine homeschooling. And by “year,” I mean “week,” because time passes differently now. You know how they say dogs age seven years for every human year? Well, the same is true for quarantine homeschooling parents.

(I suppose now is a good time to say I’m grateful for a home, my husband’s job, health, etc. before anyone says, “Hey, count your blessings.” I’m grateful, I promise!)

Before the boy started kindergarten many years ago, I considered homeschooling him. We did a lot of work at home, so building on that with the flexibility homeschooling offered seemed like a good idea. After much discussion, we went with public school, as LM was super excited about going and making friends. (He is now a total homebody and hasn’t complained the first time about not getting to go out and see people. Go figure.)

And along came Baby Girl. Homeschooling wasn’t on the table with her as much.

For the record, I’ve taught the child plenty (she started kindergarten reading), but it’s like pulling teeth at times. She often doesn’t like to cooperate and acts clueless about things I know she knows.

So, blonde Baby Girl is back. I couldn’t part with the old doodle for her.

Sigh.

It has been like this ever since I tried to teach her the ABCs and how to count to 10 as a toddler. As far as I can tell, she has done much better for her preschool and kindergarten teachers than she does for me, at least, which is true for a lot of kids.

And now we’re quarantine homeschooling. I have to admit — the reason for the homeschooling aside — I was rather excited at first. The adjustment to full-day kindergarten has been tough at times, so getting so much extra time together and getting to test the homeschool waters was exciting. (And now I know that it doesn’t really replicate the actual homeschool experience since we can’t go anywhere or be around anyone!) Same with LM, who started middle school this year.

The excitement turned to feeling drained pretty darn fast, but it has been…interesting. For example, I’m not always homeschooling a little girl and tween. Sometimes I’m homeschooling a lion and a tween. When the girl isn’t pretending to have forgotten everything she knows, she likes to get in touch with her inner animal. She is obsessed with animals, especially African savanna animals, and lions and other big cats are a favorite. BG loves pretending to be a lion, which sent her to the ER in January because she fell off the bed and busted her head open while pouncing. This is how our homeschool work goes sometimes:

It’s like Max from “Where the Wild Things Are” in real life. And sometimes I get to homeschool a hyena, an animal Baby Girl thinks is the cutest ever. (This child had me make her a hyena mask for their Father-Daughter Masquerade dance!)

Little Man doesn’t get in touch with his inner animal, but he is rather like a little zombie. Just replace “eating brains” with “eating everything in our pantry,” because the child does not get full. He has been in growth-spurt stage for a long time!

Another interesting aspect of quarantine homeschooling has been Zoom. I had never heard of this app before two weeks ago, but a lot of teachers are using it to do virtual lessons. It’s kind of like FaceTime, but with a bunch of people.

That hasn’t actually happened with Zoom, but it has happened with FaceTime plenty of times. With FaceTime, the kids do not sit still and talk to their grandparents or whoever else calls, but instead run all over the house, giving everyone a peak at our messes and bralessness. Well, my bralessness. For Zoom, I’ve avoided that so far by plugging in my laptop at the end of the kitchen table in front of a shelf, which I dusted part of. (Not the whole shelf, just the part in view of the camera.) I love that the kids have the opportunity to connect with their classmates, and some of the kids’ comments are hilarious. Hopefully we can avoid the TMZ type exposé.

Touching on LM a little more, no surprise here, but he hasn’t really been into the homeschool aspect of quarantine homeschooling. (He loves the isolation, though.)

It’s hard to say “no” to that.

Our schools are shut down through the end of April (and we’ll see from there), so we’ll have plenty of time to get the hang of this thing, and maybe I’ll even tame my little lion cub.

What’s going on in your world?


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School Days, School Days

And just like that, I’m down to one kid for the bulk of my mornings and afternoons. Little Man went back to school today — he’s now a fourth grader.

I could talk about how I can’t believe that my baby boy is close to being in middle school, but then I’d get all teary-eyed. Not that you could see me, but just know that I would. Any milestone or event that thrills my husband manages to leave me feeling bittersweet, with a strong lean towards bitter.

Before I have to wipe something out of my eye, let’s talk about what Little Man going back to school really means for us.

Tardies

We are late people. Doesn’t matter where we’re going, you can guarantee that we’re going to be the last ones rolling up. It kills me not being wherever I’m going five minutes early, but no matter how much we plan to leave on time, things happen and we’re late. This drives me nuts, but this is how it’s been since we added on a second kid.

I don’t know if there are records for tardies at school, but if there are, we’re definitely contenders for the trophy. (Or maybe it’d be a stern look and a lecture about how we’re being detrimental to his education.) We rarely manage to get out the door on time, and it’s not for lack of trying. Little Man is one of the slowest kids on earth. I’m pretty sure that Slowly, Slowly, Slowly Said the Sloth was written about him. He gets out of bed slowly. He uses the bathroom slowly. He gets distracted by a dozen things on the way to the table, and when he does manage to make it to the table, he chews very slowly. Even when we get him out of bed 20 minutes earlier, he still thwarts that.

On top of the slowness, there’s always something — the lunch box, the belt, glasses, etc. that gets left behind. Or maybe Baby Girl has to poop the second she gets strapped in her car seat. Despite our best efforts, we’re still often the ones driving like maniacs to shove him out of the car before the tardy sign is put out.

Pokemon

Pokemon cards make me want to cry more than watching my babies grow up. Every kid has an obsession that their parents can just barely tolerate, and Pokemon is it for me. Little Man tends to develop tunnel vision with his hobbies or interests, and every so often his focus lands on Pokemon cards. When that happens, I listen to nonstop chatter about which Pokemon is best, which one has the least points, what each Pokemon evolves into, etc. I try my best to seem interested, but every time he starts on about Pokemon, a part of me dies a little.


PB&J

In the remaining few weeks of the past school year, most parents were complaining about all of the projects due or having to pay for lost books. Not my husband and me. Instead, we were griping about having to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Let’s put it like this — if Little Man stopped eating PB&Js, Jif and Smucker’s would feel the impact. The kid would eat PB&J for every single meal if you let him. He’s mostly a great eater and will try just about any non-spicy food, but when it’s up to him, it’s PB&J.

You wouldn’t think that making one type of sandwich for 100+ days would wear on you so much, but somehow it does. And it’s not just me — when we’d pack Little Man’s lunchbox at night, my husband and I would race to be the one to get the snacks just so we wouldn’t have to make the godforsaken PB&J. That might sound a bit dramatic, but I swear, the fart noise the squeeze jelly makes gets to you, somehow, after hundreds of times. One day we’ll see that as an enhanced interrogation technique.

(I was going to do a doodle of someone being tortured with jelly here, but then I thought it might be in poor taste.)

We could just let LM pack his own lunch, but it’s one of those parent things we mostly want to do just because. We could also insist on different sandwiches, but the boy is rail thin, and lord knows I don’t want him going on a hunger strike. So welcome back, PB&Js.

2017-2018 school year, here we come.

What’s something you don’t look forward to about school starting back?

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IRS vs. PTO

This is one of the first posts on this blog and an edited repost seemed appropriate since school starts back for kids in our area this week. 

Parents of kids who have been in school — would you rather deal with the IRS or with the PTO?

Hmm?

You probably had to take a second to think about that. Answering questions related to purchases made years ago, deductions made, and other boring nonsense sounds pretty bad. But then you realize that you’re not comparing the IRS to car shopping or signing a million pages in a house closing — you’re comparing it to the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). At best, that realization gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach. At worst, you might be having some flashbacks and screaming, “No, God, no!” in your head.

The PTO is kind of life the mafia, but without the threat of violence. They’re constantly trying to shake you down for money, do favors for their top earners, and are masters at extortion. If your family doesn’t pay the protection membership fee, then watch out.

“Get out there with 50 packs of overpriced M&Ms and don’t come back until they’re gone.”

“Little Peter can only sell 10 tins of popcorn? Get his butt back out in front of the Walmart ’til they’re gone.”

“Each child was supposed to raise $300 for this fundraiser. Your child raised $298.12. You think that’s acceptable?! Hit. The. Streets. Find that money or else!”

Or something like that.

Some people like to believe that making kids stand on the corner or go house to house peddling whatever the item of the month is teaches them how to succeed in life. They’ll be great businessmen or women, become entrepreneurs, learn something about persistence. It also prepares them for a future in drug dealing, but making such a comment is a surefire way to get a dirty look or two cast in your direction.

Here’s a little visual comparison of the two organizations. I think we can all agree that the PTO is the worst (assuming you are honest on your taxes, anyway).

(You can zoom in to read the smallish handwriting. Laziness prevented me from redoing it.)

What would you add to the list of crappy things about the PTO?

I should mention that this isn’t representative of the PTO at Little Man’s current school…I plead the fifth on other experiences.

Want to connect on social media? You can find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

IRS v. PTO

This is one of the first posts on this blog and a repost seemed appropriate since school starts back for kids in our area this week. 

Parents of kids who have been in school — would you rather deal with the IRS or with the PTO?

Hmm?

You probably had to take a second to think about that. Answering questions related to purchases made years ago, deductions made, and other boring nonsense sounds pretty bad. But then you realize that you’re not comparing the IRS to car shopping or signing a million pages in a house closing — you’re comparing it to the PTO (Parent Teacher Organization). At best, that realization gives you a sinking feeling in your stomach. At worst, you might be having some flashbacks and screaming, “No, God, no!” in your head.

The PTO is kind of life the mafia. And the PTO powers that be treat parents like we’re lower tier drug dealers. , and you might start to realize that the IRS isn’t the worst thing in the world.

“Get out there with 50 packs of overpriced M&Ms and don’t come back until they’re gone.”

“Little Peter can only sell 10 tins of popcorn? Get his butt back out in front of the Walmart ’til they’re gone.”

“Each child was supposed to raise $300 for this fundraiser. Your child raised $298.12. You think that’s acceptable?! Hit. The. Streets. Find that money or else!”

Or something like that.

Here’s a nice little comparison of the two organizations. I think we can all agree that the PTO is the worst (assuming you are honest on your taxes, anyway).

(You can zoom in to read the smallish handwriting. Laziness prevented me from redoing it.)

What would you add to the list of crappy things about the PTO?

I should mention that this isn’t representative of the PTO at Little Man’s current school, but definitely matches up with past experiences.

Want to connect on social media? You can find me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.