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Mar 16 2015

Homeschooling in the House of Chaos

homeschooling in the house of chaosWhat does homeschooling look like in the House of Chaos? Oh honey, pull up a chair, pour some wine, and prepare to feel better about yourself. I shall pick a random weekday, let’s say…Tuesday (or rather, a general compilation of a whole bunch of Tuesdays).

6:00 My alarm goes off. Fumble with the iPhone to make the soothing yet bloody annoying musical tinkles stop. Turn on the light, take the first of many thyroid meds. Do not, DO NOT, let my head touch the pillow again. Don’t even let my hair whisper at the pillowcase, because that pillowcase is magically enchanted to devour a solid half hour if any further contact is made. Haul ass out of bed. Pee. Turn on the shower so hot water is possible in a reasonable amount of time. Gather clothes and try to stretch 41 years of inactivity into another day of function. Shower, dress, makeup, dry hair.

6:30 Go poke Bear #2. J has 55 minutes to get up, shower, dress, eat, brush, and get out the door. J has not yet learned that pillowcases are enchanted little demons and has let his head hit the pillow. There is much whimpering and gnashing of teeth and generalized angst…and eventually I shut up and he crawls out of bed and begins, no joke, the longest shower a 10 year old could possibly take. I head to the kitchen to let out the dog, feed and medicate her, get breakfast going, and begin the six hour ritual of pouring Earl Grey tea down my throat until my brain comes online or I float away.

6:55 Knock on the bathroom door. Make hurry up noises.

6:57 Bang on the bathroom door. Make idle threats.

6:59 Throw self repeatedly on bathroom door in attempt to wake the now sodden ten year old who apparently fell asleep in the shower and make heartfelt threats of making him walk to school if he misses the damn bus.

6:59:30 Start pouring cup of tea #2 down throat.

7:05 School-bound child finally arrives in the kitchen, dressed but hair soaking wet. Send him back up to dry his hair so it doesn’t freeze solid and snap off, taking his skull with it.

7:07 School-bound child again arrives in the kitchen and proceeds with Meal Whining, Advanced Level. He is informed that he needs to shut it except to shovel it. Slowest eating on planet commences. I sigh and yet again pack his freaking school bag with lunch, water, snack, and sneakers.

7:13 Suddenly alert and functional school-bound child starts talking and forgets to eat.

7:19 School-bound child sees the clock, panics, has two more bites of breakfast, and begins the last minute dash of brushing his teeth, grabbing his coat, annoying the dog, talking at me. Cup #3 is brewing. Why does it not brew faster, for the love of Earl Grey?

7:26 Out the door for the bus, which picks up in front of the house. Cup #3 is happily making its way into my system.

7:30 My breakfast, clean the kitchen, plan my day.

8:00-12:00 Start beating the to-do list into submission. Write, emails, household minutiae. Lately a whole lotta unpacking and running flights of stairs. My legs hate me, my FitBit thinks it’s been kidnapped. Cup #4.

9:00 Start poking Bear #1. He is not a morning person. At.All. Cup #5 brews while I suck on the tea bag from cup #4.

9:08 Poke.

9:15 Poke.

9:30 Poke.

9:42 POKE.

9:51 POKE POKE POKE! Cup #5 can’t keep up.

10:00 JESUSROLLERBLADINGCHRIST, CHILD, GET UP.

10:06 Poke.

10:15 No, seriously. I’m getting ice water next. Or an airhorn. Kid, I know marching bands. I know a lot of marching bands. Don’t make me hire one. I will, dude. GET UP.

10:22 Soft sounds and general rousing from Bear #1’s room. There is a small sense of hope around my shoulders like an airy scarf.

10:23 Silence. Crap.

10:24 POKEPOKEPOKE.

10:30 Bear #1 stumbles out of his cave bedroom. He is directed to the shower, with stern reminders to remember soap and deodorant this time. Please. Cup #6 brews.

10:50 Bear #1 Mopes into the kitchen with his laptop. While he eats breakfast I go over his lessons for the day with him. He starts watching his history videos (Crash Course videos are the best overview of subjects I’ve found, and Andy – being the visual-spatial learner he is – loves them and is getting the big picture he needs before getting into the detailed nitty-gritty later) and I leave to go do homemaker stuff. Yes, homemaker, because that’s what the IRS thinks of me, and because I don’t really have a career. I am displeased with the homemaker designation, but that’s another rant for another day.

11:00 Andy does some work for his Online G3 literature class. I alternate homemaker stuff (grrrr…) with prepping for flute lessons, writing, answering emails, and general planning for the future. Andy alternates his literature work with chatting with friends, looking up interesting stuff online, math homework, reading, and programming.

12:00 Lunch for me. Andy joins me to talk my ear off about programming or history or why something in the world is the way it is or Minecraft or hey squirrel. I just want to eat in peace and beat my husband at Words With Friends. But that’s the way of homeschooling, and so we sit and discuss whatever comes up.

1:00 I make lunch for Andy. When he eats it is up to him, I’m just not coming back to make it when he’s hungry. Then he continues with his list of lessons and I’m back to makin’ up a home.

2:00 Remind dear son that his online math class starts in a half hour and maybe eating would be a good idea.

2:15 Repeat reminder. I hear vague munching sounds and hope it’s not the dog eating the lunch.

2:17 MOM! I NEED YOUR COMPUTER GET OFF YOUR COMPUTER MY CLASS IS STARTING SOON AND I PROMISED MR. GELSTON I’D <mumbo jumbo I don’t understand> BEFORE WE STARTED! (Someday my beloved MacDreamy2 will be replaced and I’ll be able to keep working while he’s doing his math larnin’.)

2:30 More…stuff…while Andy is online taking his math class. I really need to do another time log for a week; I couldn’t begin to tell you what I’ve been doing. I just know I haven’t been farting around (pinky promise cross my heart I am not kidding) and yet I fall into bed every night wiped out with still 3/4 of my to-do list yet to be done. I’m starting to think my adult-onset, child-induced ADD might actually be real ADD, but that, too, is a post for another day. Squirrel.

2:45 School-bound child returns home. The day is basically over at this point. Time to oversee snack, snack whining, homework, homework whining, sibling whining, whining whining.

3:30 FREEDOM! I’m out the door to teach flute lessons for the afternoon. The boys remain at home to do homework, finish school lessons, and program/tinker/hack.

7:30 Wind band rehearsal. Me time.

10:30 Crash hard. Plan for the next day with a glass of something, anything, as long as it requires an ID to purchase.

 

While this is a “typical” Tuesday, nothing we do is typical. Notice the lack of me actually teaching my own child. Notice the two online classes. Notice the late sleeping, me dashing from the house for my own sanity, the so-relaxed-it’s-wearing-stained-yoga-pants schedule. Some things I like about it, some things I don’t; still figuring out which is which. Things will change up this summer, because summer, and again next fall, because Andy will be a high schooler (OH MY GOD MAH BAYBEEE WILL BE A HIGH SCHOOLER…makes my brain ouchie). So the “schedule” says unschooler, I say more structure than that is needed, and while it’s working, no it isn’t really. We have time to evaluate and fix and change as necessary.

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10518300_10153922939383475_401981961085257622_oToday’s “feel better about yourself now?” post is part of the March Gifted Homeschoolers Forum blog hop, on “A Day in the Life of the Gifted Homeschooler.” Join me in reading about other homeschooler’s ability to keep it together on a daily basis.

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  1. Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies

    I wonder if my adult-onset ADD is legit or child-induced, too 🙂
    Cait Fitz @ My Little Poppies recently posted…Day In the Life, My Little Poppies StyleMy Profile

    1. Jen

      I’m not kidding, I’m really starting to wonder if I have the real deal. And it’s getting worse. It’s as though my ability to focus is eroding.

  2. The Cardinal House

    This: “He is directed to the shower, with stern reminders to remember soap and deodorant this time. Please.”
    And this: “Some things I like about it, some things I don’t; still figuring out which is which.”

    I’m laughing with you!
    The Cardinal House recently posted…A Day in the Life of an 8 Year Old Asynchronous HomeschoolerMy Profile

    1. Jen

      I swear I’m going to put up little pictures of chores and routines like I did when he was a preschooler, except now they’ll be of personal hygiene products. 😉

  3. Julie (Being Home)

    Okay, I am tired form reading your post.

    First, I have been stalking your blog the past few days and am loving your post. Thank you for being honest and forthright. I am new to this homeschooling thing and in the process of having my son tested (he is 5). Your blog and other have helped tremendously! Thank you!

    Second, I truly have thought that I might have something wrong with my attention span lately. This might be my new normal?! Argh! I can’t even. lol No wonder I sometimes have trouble getting something done. Why? Because I can’t remember what I am suppose to remember. Or, I walk into a room and forgot why I went there in the first place. Sigh.

    So, wanting to crawl back in bed, curl up in a ball, (under the covers) and pretend no one notices, is normal – right? 😉
    Julie (Being Home) recently posted…Homeschooling This WeekMy Profile

  4. Celi Trepanier

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

    I thought I was the only one who had boys who had trouble waking up! The bathroom/shower scene is so familiar. I could even feel your stress at the thought of having a child late for the school bus.

    So glad I am not the only one who knows how to have conversations with closed bathroom doors!
    Celi Trepanier recently posted…A Day in the Life of a Gifted Child in the Regular ClassroomMy Profile

  5. Lourdes

    I’ve been reading your blogs for a short while and this one had me in a hysterical fit of laughter. Eveything minus the likes to sleep child could be a scene from my home! It’s nice to be able to laugh about it and see others are living my crazy life!

  6. Chris

    “I alternate homemaker stuff (grrrr…)” – this is very familiar. It made me laugh out loud! But seriously, homeschooling my son with ADHD as an adult with ADHD makes for a chaotic environment sometimes. The best is when we both have a day of flow and each do our thing with total focus. Yesterday at the park, with two other homeschooling families, there was some talk about the way that kids just don’t get it when we ask them to wait a few minutes so we can finish work, etc. It seems like having an only child makes life a tiny bit easier. We share an office (which is insane), and I’ve tried to get my son to pay attention to my screen and wait to tell me about his video game, etc. if Word is up – and I’m obviously writing – but that doesn’t work. 🙂

    “He is directed to the shower, with stern reminders to remember soap and deodorant this time.” <— this will be my life way too soon. My big sensory issue is smell, and I can't say enough about how much I'm dreading this….

    Thanks – I love that I always leave this blog with a smile!
    Chris recently posted…The importance of mentors and trusted adultsMy Profile

  7. Bob Yamtich

    “Kid, I know marching bands” is the best poke I’ve heard.
    Bob Yamtich recently posted…Five Modifications to General Admission Programming to Support Neurodiverse FamiliesMy Profile

  8. Jo Freitag

    I always love your posts, Jen!
    Jo Freitag recently posted…One NEST Ed DayMy Profile

    1. Jen

      Thank you, Jo! 😀

  9. Katie

    in the college library, literally snorted out loud around the marching band threat. you funny, lady!

  10. Diane

    Just read your blog. Haha. Boy can I relate – just multiple times 3! 13 yo PG homeschooled kids. It’s sure been a wild ride and so hard for anyone not living it to understand. THANK YOU for writing about your experiences

  1. Viewing the Days | Sprite's Site

    […] in the House of Chaos ~ Laughing at Chaos (Jen Merrill) http://www.laughingatchaos.com/homeschooling-in-the-house-of-chaos/ What does homeschooling look like in the House of Chaos? Oh honey, pull up a chair, pour some wine, […]

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