I’d love to say that homeschooling was this paradise of cooperation between parent and children, where we do amazing fascinating projects and have plenty of fun. The fact is, most days are a strange tug-of-war between watching the children pursue their own projects and trying to get them to do just a little bit of schoolwork while also carving out a bit of time for my own projects.
Every day is filled with little interruptions and distractions. Some are mild and simple. Some drag me down a rabbit-hole of questions about how I should be responding. Here are just a few:
- kids inventing their own games and wanting to tell me about them. I want to encourage the telling me about things because I want to value their projects and show them that their important but sometimes how do I help them see when it is an appropriate time to talk and when isn’t? Am I enforcing arbitrary unnecessary rules? Am I letting them talk too much?
- kids wondering why their math textbooks include unnecessary details in the word problems. (“Why does it say “toy transformer” instead of just toy? What relevance does that have? Are the books based on sexist notions of what kids play with?”)
- kid freaking out that the ketchup might have gone bad only to realize that it was just a different brand of ketchup.
- kids arguing about who gets to use the green-cord first. (Green cord is the plugin to the speakers for the computers. It gets passed between the three different computers. Yes, we could buy headsets for all the computers but we’ve had lots of those break on us so we just pass the green cord back and forth between the computers.)
- trying to find food for everyone. How much should I accommodate food preferences and when should I just say “this is what we’re eating today”? How much should I get the kids to cook their own foods? Should I try to get everyone to eat meals at the same time when one person got up two hours later than the others and is thus off schedule?
- it is never just one child needing help on math. At least two will have a question they need help on at exactly the same time.
- kids deciding they have to tell me when they’re going to use the washroom and when they eat a piece of Halloween candy, despite my saying repeatedly that I don’t need to know those details of their lives. I don’t want to know about their Halloween candy consumption because if they ask permission I’ll get lost in a train of thoughts about whether it is too close to meals, whether they are eating too much too quickly, etc, etc. I’m trying to just let this be theirs.
- kids turning away from their schoolwork and getting distracted by something else, which I then have to evaluate. Do I want to leave them working on whatever they’re doing because it is good too or should I get them back to what I had assigned?
I’m getting more work on learning Sumerian and Akkadian than I am on my writing projects or even reading, because the language learning fits in better with all the interruptions. But I want to get back at reading more and writing.