“I’ve been homeschooling my kids,” my former roommate (now Bay Street lawyer friend) says to me. “I didn’t miss my calling.”
Teaching is not for everyone. There’s a reason why many of us never considered education as an option despite the favourable hours and time off. Yet, here we are, thrust into the position of “teacher” for an indeterminate amount of time. God help us all.
As far as I can tell, I’m in a good position to be home schooling. For one, I’m not currently employed full-time so I’m not splitting my time between my kids and an employer. Second, I only have one school-aged child and she’s nine. I’m not sure at what point the curriculum would be over my head. I definitely couldn’t teach anything at a high school level, and I skipped grade nine so I can’t do that, either. But Grade 3? I’ve got this. Just one question: What’s up with math? Since when is “regrouping” a math term? Regrouping is something I do after losing my cool with my kids.
I’ve never been able to wrap my head around home schooling. Why on earth would anyone choose to be home all day with their children when our tax dollars have provided a place they can go to learn (with limited effort on the part of the parents)? The idea bordered on insane to me – yet here I am, three days into “teaching” and I can already see that there are many upsides to homeschooling. Here’s what I’ve observed:
- Relaxed schedules. I am the parent that drops her kid off at 8:39 when the second bell rings at 8:40. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. Now that I’m the entire teaching staff, school starts when I’m ready so l’ll never be late.
- No more school lunches. Hallelujah! If you don’t have an allergy kid, you can now feed your child peanut butter sandwiches as often as you like. In my case, Amelia has a peanut allergy but we take advantage of other nut products. And let’s face it: there are just so many more options at home – pasta, pirogies, and charcuterie, to name a few.
- Longer lunch breaks. “I didn’t have time to eat” used to be Amelia’s number one excuse for her half-eaten lunch. Not anymore! There’s no excuse for not eating, and when she’s done, I’ve taken the old-school parenting approach and lock the kids in the backyard for a suitable amount of “lunch hour” play time.
- Shorter school days. Alright, let’s be real: I’m definitely not covering all of the curriculum that Amelia gets at school. My main goals are to keep her from falling behind in reading, writing and arithmetic. I figure I need about 1-2 hours of “class time” for this. After all, I can tailor the class time to Amelia’s needs, and I don’t have to manage 24 other kids at the same time.
- Better behaviour. Unlike me, Amelia is an introvert and the school days really wear her out. By the time she gets home, she is over-stimulated and tired out. This generally leads to me fighting with her about her poor behaviour. Now, with all of the noise of the day gone, she is home, happy, healthy and so much better behaved. I might never send her back to school.
Just kidding about that last part. I will most certainly send her back to school when the time comes, but in the meantime, I’m surprisingly happy to take on this role. And with that, I’ll wish you luck on this home schooling gig. I need to get back to my students…meaning I need to unlock my back door and make a “Rrrrrrrring!” sound as if the bell is ringing. This is my life now.