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To Homeschool or Not to Homeschool? That is the Question.

Who here is struggling with whether or not to homeschool in the fall? I am raising my hand virtually, because I can’t decide! I mean, on the one hand, I am totally in fear of the fact that I will have to be their teacher again, and I’m gonna be honest…I wasn’t that great at it! Not only did I lack some real patience, but I also let them have recess too long, and I skimmed over some stuff, and I totally let them take advantage of me, like we used to do when we told the substitute we were never given homework on Tuesdays.

On the other hand, I don’t want to send them to school and worry each day that they’re carrier monkeys who didn’t wear their masks, or didn’t wash their hands, and did not keep their distance at recess. I can say now from my observations this summer, that when kids get together, the distance seems to go out the window. So then, I think, “Okay, let’s just bite the bullet, and I will step up and be a good teacher. I will have a curriculum, and I will stick to a schedule and I will forgo my life for the school year, even more so.”

Then…I sit on the couch and stare out the window, frozen, and think about making a run to the liquor store.

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Fact: I didn’t look like this. I was not smiling, and my hair isn’t that short.

So maybe I won’t make a decision. Isn’t that a decision? I just want people to decide for me. I remember going to therapy, and I’d ask the therapist, “Can’t you just tell me what to do?” And she’d be all, “No, that’s not my job! You have to figure that out for yourself. I can lead you in that direction, but I can’t make a decision for you.” Well that made my decision: not to go to therapy anymore…

Also, don’t our decisions constantly change? Or is that just me? For example, today, I implored my children to go to the beach with me. See how messed up that sounds? Like, I have to beg someone to go to the BEACH? How ’bout y’all get a job, and then we can talk about how painful the beach is… Anyway, so my daughter says to me, “No! I’m not going so you can sit on your can in the sun and not swim!”

SIT ON MY CAN!

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What I sit on

Can you believe she said that to me? First off, where’d she get that expression (#guilty?). Second, I had to not laugh (even though it was kinda hysterical) and tell her that she better shape up and stop disrespecting me.

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So we decided not to go to the beach and instead to go to the Vineyard on the ferry boat. Good plan? Okay, maybe. So I go get dressed, walk the dogs, get ready to roll, and the kids are not moving. They’re now settled in with their devices, playing Adopt Me and Shark Hunt, and now I’m pacing back and forth like a rabid hyena telling them we “NEED TO GO!” so we can find parking and get on the hot, COVID ferry only to ride over and be hot in a mask. They didn’t respond.

So I decided not to go to the Vineyard.

Now I am doing this.

See? I can’t make a decision. Can you? Homeschool or no? 

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As the School Admins Consider Next Year…

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My day unofficially starts at 5:30 when, half-asleep, I hobble down the stairs carrying one dog in one hand, while the other is nipping at my bare feet to take them outside. I then go upstairs and try to get some sleep for another hour or so until my youngest child rises at 7.

“Do we have school today?” she asks, leaping to get dressed.
“Yep,” I say. “But let me get some coffee first.”
I make the coffee, log into my work email, log into my personal email to see if the kids have mandatory Zoom meetings, and then…BEGIN.

Over the course of the next five hours, I have an anxious stomach, combined with a feeling of harried frenzy and drowning.

“How do you spell Memorial Day?” my daughter inquires. I’m in the middle of typing out a case statement for my job.
“Huh?” I say, still focused and typing on my laptop.
“How do you spell–”
“I don’t know, honey,” I snap. “Ask Siri.”

Then the guilt seeps in.

“I’m sorry,” I say. “Can you just hold on for a few minutes while I finish this?”
She agrees and stares at me while I finish typing. But I’m nowhere near done with work. I have to pause to help her with her assignments, as she can’t do them herself at age 7, but I’m half-present. One half of my brain is concerned that I have to finish work for my job, and the other half is trying to be a good mother and teacher with patience

This conversation repeats itself about five more times until 1:00 p.m.

In the interim, my son is on my other laptop (since I was never given that promised Chromebook we were supposed to get) wailing about how “stupid” this all is and yelling, “It’s too much! I need help.” I go to him to help him understand a passage, which, truthfully, I have to reread about two times myself, because I don’t even understand it.

My body is now a raw nerve, an axon without myelin sheath. I am the definition of stress.

By 1:30,  I realize no one has really eaten much, including myself. Well, there was the Oreo ice cream she fed herself, and some cereal, but he denied any food until now. So now I have to make meals. Sh*t, I haven’t gone to the grocery store other than to get a few items here and there, and I think we have, like, nothing.

It’s now 2 p.m., and I continue to do work for my job, all the while wondering how I can entertain the children. They can’t be on their devices all afternoon, because that would be bad parenting. And, they can’t really play with any friends in the neighborhood, because of the pandemic.

So, I am stuck.

I let them play on their ipads for a bit and then tell them they have to play outside in the back, or that I will pay my son to entertain my daughter until I finish work.

This is how every day goes until 5. I just try to get through it, and then it happens again the next day.

I write this today, because conversations are swirling back and forth on text between me and some mothers as to the plans for school next year. There are ideas of: (1) going back half the week, an “A” group and a “B” group, and, (2) continuing to homeschool.

How about (3)–something else, because neither one of those works for me, or for any full-time, single parent.

I realize this is unprecedented, and no one knows what to do at this point in time, and the school administration is trying to factor in everyone’s needs and wants. I just hope mothers and fathers in my situation are considered. It is not possible to continue in this way. Something has to give, and right now, it’s just me. 

 

 

 

 

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We’re Almost Free: And What Have I Accomplished??

It’s only 8:30 a.m., and I’m exhausted. I’ve already taught first grade, cleaned up the 50 dishes and glasses in the sink, walked the dogs, and started to work at my full-time job remotely. My son is not yet awake, and I have third grade teaching to anticipate.

I am wearing an office shirt, i.e. a pressed, buttoned-down oxford. Do people even actually know what that is anymore? I stood in front of my closet wondering what to put on: should I go with the old Martha’s Vineyard sweatshirt I’ve been donning about thrice weekly, or should I make an effort today? I decided to make an effort. I even put on makeup and pearl earrings.

Oh, here is something I am excited about: I am spending less than I am earning, according to my “budgeting tool” on my Bank of America app that congratulated me! HOORAY! I couldn’t even believe it! (Well, maybe ’cause I have not gone food shopping in like three weeks and we are existing on pasta and soda water?). So, I paid off my credit card debt. I was pumped! However, a mere 12 hours later, this elation turned to consternation when my card was declined by 1-800 JUNK, who came to pick up the three rugs that the puppy destroyed with pee. I was confused. “Hm, how could that be?” I wondered.

And then I found out.

My newly-paid credit card was declined because of suspicious charges, which were not all that suspicious after all. My daughter decided it was time to go on a Robucks shopping spree in the game “Adopt Me!” She bought $300 worth of animated pets. Yes! I now am in debt for buying cartoon pets that don’t exist. As if the two LIVE pets I have are not enough. I am so glad I bought a baby dragon for $39.99, and I have a newborn griffon that I can feed and fly on virtually. So awesome. Who doesn’t want a griffon??

Speaking of 1-800-JUNK, I have thrown away most of my house. I am now a minimalist and living like Christopher McCandles in Into the Wild: super-austere. I think this might be like a manifestation of a control issue. I probs could pack up and move in one day and fill a small budget rental truck. And I’m not done yet!

Now that the quarantine is sort of lifting, I realize I didn’t get done what I planned to do:

  1. Read more books: I think I read about two.
  2. Catch up on my DVR’ed shows: Okay, so I finished the latest Bachelor Listen to My Heart, but I have about 20 Dateline’s to watch and 15 Dr. Phil’s.
  3. Lose 10 pounds: Yeah…not so much. But my sweats fit nicely. They’re loose!
  4. Learn to play the piano: I downloaded the teaching app, played for like two days, and I think my fingers are not long enough. The chords were kinda tricky.
  5. Finish writing my book: Okay, I am nearing completion. But then I need to edit it. You guys, you are gonna like it!

What I have done, however, has been great:

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Me running!
  1. Reconnected with old friends on FaceTime and Zoom (I spend most nights on the FT with a glass of wine and an old pal. It’s been a lifesaver).
  2. Started jogging 7 miles three days a week.
  3. Done some YouTube video blogs and gotten subscribers! (#viral!)
  4. Spent copious amounts of time playing with my kids, which actually has been so nice!
  5. Planted a garden (actually, that’s kind of a lie–my friend brought over some Black Eyed Susans and Daisies, and she planted them while I watched. But I am watering them).

So, maybe that’s why I’m exhausted. Look how much I’ve accomplished! What have you done? Please comment!