There’s lots of talk all around me about the horrors of public schools. I also have many friends who home-school, and as I doctor my Diet Coke while my kids are blissfully away from me I think of what a tool I am.
This morning Scott worked all night, so getting the kids ready for school was all on me. Here’s what I sounded like:
“Lucy. Put your shoes on. Lucy. comb your hair. Lucy. What? Did you just wipe your nose and put it in your bangs? You are 10 years old; why am I putting your shoes on? Asher, eat your toast. No, you cannot have three oranges for snack today. Why? Because you didn’t eat the one orange I packed yesterday and you’ll have the runs for three weeks. Asher, go get your library books. Where are they? They’re exactly where I had you put them last night, by the side of your bed stand, next to the rotting fish tank. They’re not there now? Where did they go? How is your fish still alive?”
Then a cursory look at the clock, and a cursory mutter under the breath, and the yelling about being late ensues. I transform from frumpy minivan mom to that crazy guy from Full Metal Jacket.
I pull out of the driveway with a large McDonald’s cup full of water still on the roof of the car. My neighbor sees it fall and gestures kindly to me, indicating that something just fell off of my car and maybe I should be, you know, normal, and pick it up.
I PRETEND THAT I DON’T SEE HIM AND GUN MY CAR DOWN THE STREET.
We get into the carpool line and are stuck in the back, so I get my angry drill instructor voice on again and yell, “KIDS! GET OUT OF THE CAR! YOU’RE GOING TO BE LATE!” Asher attempts to get out of the car, but the door is too heavy and falls back on him. The rule is that you get yelled at if you get out of your car when you are in the carpool line even if your kids are dying, so I beg Lucy to help him. (I do realize I may have just made a case for home schooling here.)
By this time Asher is starting to cry, and Lucy opens the door for him.
“MOMMY! I HAAAAAAATE YOUR VAN DOOR!”
I gun the car down the carpool lane, annoyed with everything.
It’s then that I spot one of my favorite teachers whom I am always (not effectively) trying to impress and she gives me a wave. She is 20 something and adorable and I can see her swearing in her head she will never be me, smiling all the while. I can’t tell if the smile is sympathetic or condescending.
I decide on both, and then I come home and fish Phoebe out of her dirty diaper. She’s three and a half.
My sister-in-law (who is adorable and perfect and organized) home-schools her kids and it works for her. Their house looks like the set of Mad Men and they throw parties all the time and nothing ever looks out of place. She looks like this, which is an added blow to my self-esteem.
For so long, I beat myself up over not home-schooling my own children until I realized this: right now, it is not for us. Also, I just learned from a friend that “alot” is actually two words. Would you trust me with your kids?
I have a four-year teaching degree from a small school in Iowa and I promise you it included each of the following:
- Painting pictures
- Patting my fellow teaching undergrads on the back with chiffon-colored cotton balls, scheming ways to indoctrinate children into the New World Order way of thinking
- Reading Judy Blume books and psychoanalyzing the characters
I went into teaching because I, you know, cared about kids and wanted to be around them.
I teach my own kids lots of things. I teach them how to empty the dishwasher and that conditioner is not an effective shampoo. I teach them that smelling like trash isn’t a good way to make friends and gossiping isn’t a good way to keep them. I teach them every moment I am with them, only it’s not “2+5 = 8” and how to spell “refrigerator.” It’s just life stuff that I teach them. Life stuff is good.
Life stuff is important.
I’m going to stop guilting myself over not doing something that clearly, at this point in time, isn’t for me.
For now I am leaving the teaching to the teachers, because apparently I’m still perfecting this little thing I like to call “Getting My Kids to School.”
Related post: What No One Tells You About Home Schooling