Thursday, January 26, 2006

School-At-Home: Fun, Fun, Fun!

Setting: My desk
Time: 10:45 a.m.
Middle-aged mother--(cocker-spaniel hairstyle, old blue Eddie Bauer sweatshirt, well-worn Eddie Bauer jeans, Minnetonka suede slippers, no make-up)
Pre-teen son--(reluctant student, hand-me-down Army long-sleeved t-shirt, gray sweatpants, bare feet, bed-head hairstyle)

Mother: Okay, let's review. Who was the founder of Maryland?

Son: I can't do this! It's too hard! (Wail, shout, stomp.)

Mother: Cecil Calvert. Remember this: Mmmmmmm-Maryland, Cee-cee. Get it? Cee-cee, mmmmm, Cecil Calvert, Cee-cee, Mmmmm-Maryland. Okay? Now, write this down.

I hate writing! I hate this! Okay, whatever! Are we almost done?

Mother: No. Now, who was the founder of Georgia?

Son, shrieking: I don't know! Mom, I feel weird, so weird. (Begin rocking back and forth. Clutch stomach.) I can't do this. I'm sick, my head hurts!

Mother: Remember, James Oglethorpe, see the "O" and the "G"? Oh-glethorpe? Oh and Gee. Okay? Oglethorpe. James Oglethorpe. And why did he found Georgia? Do you remember? Georgia has an "o" and a "g", just like Oglethorpe. Get it?

No! No! I can't do this! It's too hard!

Mother: Okay. Write it down. He founded Georgia so debtors from England had a place to go. Remember? Debtors. Write it. James O-G-L-E-T-H-O-R-P-E. Okay.

Son: I want to hurt myself! (Slaps his own face.) I'm going to stab myself with the pencil. Arrrrrrrrrg!

Mother: What about Roger Williams? Remember him? Rhode Island? Roger Williams? Both starting with "r". Okay? Roger Williams, founded Rhode Island.

(Sways side to side.) Are we almost done? I'm hungry. Hungry! I hate writing. Okay. Rhode Island.

[Continue for forty-five minutes or until the Mother blows a vein in her head and collapses on the keyboard.]

He finished the review. I insisted he immediately take the assessment. He dictated the answers to me.

Sigh. Why was that so hard? He passed easily.


Blogger Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Oh! Mel, you make me want to stab myself with a pencil and i am on the other side of the continent. Are you actually forcing your son to learn a list of useless information? How I hated that in public school. Both of you seem to be suffering when learning should be a joy and exciting adventure!

5:28 PM  
Blogger Yvonne said...

Mel, you have the patience of a saint - I could never do what you do, and for the record, I understand that school at home is different than home schooling - you have to teach what they tell you - even if some people think it's useless. I bow to you, as I would have blown a gasket in less than a minute!

5:40 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

LOL... oh dear. what drama!!

8:09 PM  
Blogger Turtle Guy said...

Some interesting comments here... My dad was an Elementary School Principal, so you can imagine how much "school at home" was going on in our house!

I relate to your story... from your son's point of view! Reading these words on your page makes me realize how much of a trial I was! That said, I have to echo Pebble's feelings on having learned a bunch of useless stuff. I realize that public school attempts to bring you up to speed on a wide variety of subjects so the masses have the option to choose a more focused path from a wide variety of options. All in all I think when you consider how many variables the school system has to contend with - generally we make out OK. My dad's biggest beef with the system when I was going through it was the lack of what was called "streaming" - everyone was lumped into a class of 30 or so - the bright kids were bored, the high-needs kids weren't getting the attention and the average kids did "OK". My dad thought that if only we could split everyone up - so the bright would be challenged, the not-so-bright (that was me in math class!) could get the help and the average kid could have the time to be pushed a little beyond being "average". I'd better watch that my comment doesn't exceed the length of your post! Good on you for your patience!

3:40 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Mel, never, never, never could I do what you do! hats off to you, you are an incredible woman and mother!

10:35 AM  
Blogger JEB said...

I can't wait to see how you respond to some of these comments. :)

11:19 AM  
Blogger Tina said...

I'm very sorry for the loss of the vein in your head...(((Mel)))


I think you are doing a great job. I think I would be past collapsing...actual death would be involved if it was me. Whose, I just can't say....

1:56 PM  
Blogger Jack-on-the-Lake said...

Oh my. This is my son in nine years. Except for the part of me teaching him at home. Funny! Well, maybe not funny for you at the time, but funny now!

And see? I learned things I didn't know too. Thanks for the info. :)

3:28 PM  
Blogger Diddy-Win said...

Mel, Mel, Mel... this is the ONLY time I think I can concur with Mr. Pebbles... have YOU ever NEEDED the information of who founded which state? I have never, ever needed it NOR have I known it...NOR do I give a sh*t about it... Although, as an almost 50 year old woman, I find that information interesting, had I needed to learn it as a kid, I WOULD have stabbed myself in the head AFTER everyone else....
You know me, Mel - I just like to use foul language anonymously...
Your friend and fellow PWWGAS!

10:53 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Wow, I can't believe anyone has to be coerced to learn that sort of stuff! I guess your State must be really strict about testing or something...:-( I'm very thankful we never had to do 'school-at-home' as I'm quite sure my kids would have been just like your son. We didn't even do 'homeschooling' we did 'home education'. Much less hassle, their choice of what and how to learn. My commiserations.

11:08 AM  

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