The day starts out easily enough: I come downstairs to find the two older children reading library books and eating pancakes. I think to myself, “This is a nice, scholarly scene.”
My illusion is shattered as the two begin bickering over who can burp the loudest.
School officially starts after breakfast and despite my encouragement for them to clean off the table before beginning their work, I find grammar worksheets sticky with jam. Oh well. Prepositional phrases might actually go down easier with a little sweetness.
As the morning progresses I find myself preparing a lesson on third person point of view, reviewing the Salem witch trials, teaching about the four components to plot structure, and reminding a certain offspring about subject/verb agreement. When I announce to my older children that they would need to write a three page short story set during the Salem witch trials, I am greeted with loud groans. When I inform them it needs to be written in cursive, the clamoring increases to such a high, intense pitch that all the dogs in the neighborhood protest in sympathy with my progeny.
Later, I introduce the six year old to the concept of suffixes and go over her spelling words for the week. I then begin the painful task of teaching her what an adjective is.
“I already know about nouns and those action word thingys,” she complains. “Why do we even need descriptive words?”
“So that someone can accurately describe the incredible magnitude of your whining right now, ” I tell her.
Through out the course of the morning I say “Get focused, people!” fourteen times, but that pales in comparison to the number of times I yell “Stop teasing your sister!”
Whenever I feel like I’m going to say something I regret I walk over to the window and watch my chickens chase each other until my breathing evens out and I am no longer clenching my fists.
I spend the next half hour snuggling on the couch with various kids as I read Witch of Blackbird Pond to my older two and then Charlotte’s Web to my youngest. I mentally congratulate myself on only having three children. Despite my intense love of books, if I had to read one more thing to another child I would probably go insane.
After taking a small break to read a few homeschooling blogs, I begin to question whether I am teaching my children enough. I start listing in my head all the things I should add to our homeschool schedule: keyboarding lessons and computer skills, foreign language, science labs. The list grows and grows along with my heart palpitations.
Quickly I turn off the computer and walk over to the window, repeating the wise words of Mary Poppins in my head as I watch my chickens. “Enough is as good as a feast, enough is as good as a feast, enough is as good as a feast.”
After lunch all three children have piano lessons. My youngest, Eden, is working on Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. She is so pleased with herself for learning, in her words, “An actual Christmas time song!” and I am also proud of her. I’m grateful she loves music and is willing to put in the time and practice to accomplish something. However, in my heart of hearts, I’m coming to hate this genetically mutated arctic mammal and his vermilion nose.
In the afternoon, we visit the library and all three of my children shout out dozens of requests for me as I head off to the computers to reserve our next batch of books. While I am trying to remember everything they have told me, they scatter to the four winds to find reading material for the next week. After picking up this week’s holds I try to shepherd everyone to the check out, but herding children is like herding cats. The whole process takes much longer than it should.
After the library and a few other errands, we head home. This is when I realize that I haven’t even thought about dinner, which we need to eat in the next hour, so as not to be late for swim practice. I take comfort in the fact that there are fish sticks in the freezer and salad in the fridge. Oh the glories of frozen convenience food, saving over-burdened women since 1961.
While dinner is cooking, it becomes apparent that my middle child hasn’t finished her math for the day. As she trudges off to struggle with long division, I block out her complaints of an unfair, cruel world by watching the chickens through the window, once more.
Seriously, what do homeschooling moms without entertaining poultry do? Yoga? Drink? Futilely count to ten?
After swim practice, the day winds down and everyone gets their pajamas on. One of my daughters sits by me and puts her chlorine scented head on my shoulder. “Today was a pretty great day,” she shares. “I’m so glad we homeschool.”
I put my arms around her and whisper in her ear, “I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”
The crazy thing is that I truly mean it with my whole heart.