The Meet the Teacher Fallacy 2
Jami For the Record, Snarky Mischief

The Meet the Teacher Fallacy

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It is that time of year, time to meet the teacher.

I am not pro-homeschool, public, private, co-op, military (best money we ever spent), charter, un or free range.

Two boys with diplomas, graduation

The way I see it, you do what ya gotta do. And I have tried them all. This year our daughter will graduate from college. She was Classically homeschooled from the 2nd grade through high school. Her junior year in high school, on a field trip in Oxford England, she was walking with a professor and she casually mentioned how the scenery reminded her of Dante’s Inferno. Later she brought up a parallel between a current event and a principle from Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Further into the day she mentioned “Bede: The Evangelical History of the English people.” The professor stopped and said, “Who are you? And why have you read these things??? Have you been locked in a basement?”

Impressive right?  Yeah well, she can recite the Nicaean Creed in Latin but can’t file her taxes or find the post office.  When she read this blog she yelped, “This entire blog post is Ad Hominem AND Ad Populeum with a touch of Chronological Snobbery!”

I waited until she left to wait tables at a pizza place before I looked up what she was talking about.

She was infacto righto.

graduation cap
You see, we do what we must to get from point A to point B.  The goal?  Raise em up best we can so they will please get out and function in society.

Last week we dropped John and Luke off at college. As a homeschool mom, the weight of their success feels heavy on my shoulders. I imagine the Dean calling me, “Uh, you said you home educated?  Cause these two are dumber than a bag of hammers? What exactly did you teach them? How to make toast???”

And I know they’re ok, I did my best… Most days. And by most days I mean the first days.

The first days of a new homeschool year are like a Disney movie.


One year, when all four kids were home, I left a window open and while I was teaching Logic & Rhetoric a bird flew in our house and landed on my shoulder.

I was like freaking Snow White. The children sat at my feet and I read The Aeneid to them, then I chimed their Latin vocabulary whilst this bird sang along.

Two days later I beat that bird to death with a tennis racket.

In my defense, it wouldn’t get out and it pooped on the couch. And, later we dissected it for biology.  Then one of the boys stuffed it for his Taxidermy credit.

I am not one of those moms that attaches my identity to my kids. I am my own kind of hot mess. But the first time that everyone went to school I sat on the floor and cried. An hour later I drank champagne and sold everything in the home classroom on Ebay – for a dollar.

guitar

Alas, we are back in business.  Three in college, and now we are living on the ranch again, Sophie is a freshman and someone needs to teach the vandals, our toddler sons, to read.  That someone… is me.  First on the list, replace everything I sold on Ebay for a dollar with $2000 worth of books, manipulatives, posters, crayons, and Xanax.

Next, HAVE THE BEST YEAR EVER!!!!!

Right.

The homeschool mom/teacher is no different than every other parent or teacher on the first day of school.  It is all new! It’s a fresh start! We iron their little shirts and we put on mascara. We smell the crayons and put little names tags on their desks.  The hills are alive with the freaking sound of music. The grand design is to teach Chemistry to the high-schooler and allow the three-year-old to participate; then in the event I am killed in a fiery crash and he is forced into the public school system in the 5th grade, he will already know the Periodic table.

Please, put this on my tombstone.

The larger difference is that right before the first lesson on the blessed first day of school, one of my students walked in on me in the shower.

You can’t un-see your third-grade teacher naked.

It takes away something from the rest of the year. She’s reviewing times tables with you and you picture her naked butt bent over shaving her legs.  There’s a level of integrity that cannot  be regained.  And maybe this is where homeschooling derails. The fresh start is a lie.  Yesterday afternoon you were screaming “I swear by all that is good and holy if you don’t get out of the pool right now I will kick your lung out!!!!”  And the next morning that same raging lunatic is at the dining room table chirping “Good morning class! Let’s begin this beautiful day off with a Word of Prayer before we recite poetry from the 18th century Masters!”

Meet the Teacher (8)

Ok, so the fresh start is just a fallacy. There are new crayons and a warm homemade blackberry muffin at each work-station, but the same toilet just overflowed for the 100th time. Now instead of creative writing we are distracting the 6-year-old from yelping, “EWWWW!  That plumber’s whole butt is hanging out of his pants.”

One room classrooms often model a three ring circus.

And there was a part of me that couldn’t really fathom starting all over with the vandals. Teaching them to read, wrestling with math facts. Bouncing back and forth from Saxon Math to anything more fun and always settling back on Saxon for the effectiveness.

Darn you Saxon math, you infallible powerhouse of numerical wonder.

But here I am, trying to decide what to wear to my “first day” in my own dining room.  I can only conclude that fresh starts are just human nature. A start and finish line brings comfort and hope and seems to be written on my soul.  I need to know that new crayons will come and old crayons will be melted into candles for the Candle making credit.  Furthermore, no matter where my kids go to school, there will be good days, bad days, inclement weather days, sick days, and days my students see me naked. Just like every mom, I just want good things for them.

So, here we go. Back to school, blessings on each and every one of your school year.  See you at the finish line loves, I’ll bring the champagne!

May your floors be sticky and your children educated!  Love, Jami

Check out this FABULOUS BLOG by my friend Katie M. Reid: No matter how you school this is for you:Dear Mom: Some Thoughts on Expectations and Victories

Meet the Teacher (7) Meet the Teacher (5) Meet the Teacher (4) Meet the Teacher (3) jerk jerk (1) jerk (4) jerk (2) jerk (3)   1779350_10205027808515211_7897413455238817650_n

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78 Comments

  1. Joelle says:

    Yes darn you saxon math. And all the other fun maths that made us dumber instead of being just what we needed

  2. Yes! I homeschool my daughter (not my two sons). “You gotta do what you gotta do.” I never would have seen this scenario 15 years ago. I didn’t see ourselves in the visual I had of momeschooling families. I love your picture of the realities. In fact, one day, we did have a puddle of overflowing yucky toilet water in the bathroom which required a trip to the store to get a new plunger and then cleaning up. Ah….and then back to English. And I echo the comment about Saxon Math (which is why I had to buy “Geometry for Dummies” last year as my own supplement.)

    1. jami_amerine says:

      #solidarity

  3. Terry K. says:

    Oh Jami! I really laughed out loud at this one. I gave serious thought to trying home-schooling with my now-3rd and 4th graders this year, but that would have meant they were home all day, and I decided my “old-mommy” sanity probably would have snapped, so that didn’t happen. I so admire moms who can take on this task, along with all of the zillion others that make up a typical day. Your children are truly blessed.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Thanks Terry. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  4. Julie says:

    Jami- I loved this! I tried the homeschooling thing and lasted 5 years. I watched my health decline because it was just too stressful for me. I love how authentic and honest you are. My time in the trenches definitely felt like a 3-ring circus every day.
    Keep writing! I enjoy it so much!
    Julie

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Thanks friend!

  5. Janet says:

    Ah, I’m just about to start the school year with no students at home for the first time in 13 years. I miss that feeling of new curriculum, new notebooks, new plans. But at the same time, WHOO-HOO!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Oh wow! Congratulations!

  6. Renee Reilly says:

    Any chance the Target scenario happened in Nashville? My friend posted a very similar story about this happening with her son.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Texas… ❤️

  7. Candy says:

    Hysterical! Good luck!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

      1. Candy says:

        ❤️ You too

  8. Mary says:

    Try Life of Fred for Math…many say you must add supplementation to it. After years of Saxon, though, and my oldest not getting Algebra, we tried Life of Fred and it was just what we needed. No supplementation required. If the facts are taught, doing it over and over again is not going to make you learn it better.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      My sister just bought the whole set for my niece.

      1. Donna says:

        I use math u see plus life of Fred for fun breaks from the math u see. Prob need to switch to Saxon because I think that is what they use in CC in challenge. LOL. The struggle is real.

        1. Anna says:

          We are going into Challenge A and I just wanted to let you know, if you didn’t, that moving into Saxon is not required. We plan on continuing with CLE. Anyways, just an FYI 🙂

    2. Erin Carlson says:

      Thank you for THAT! I am switching one of mine this year from Saxon to Life of Fred and am nervous about the change. Good to hear a positive report!

    3. Tamra Parask says:

      We liked Life of Fred, but Teaching Textbooks has saved my life……whew.

  9. Glenna McKelvie says:

    There is a lot more to be said for learning tomake toast, fixing a toulet, or finding one 14 year old with purple hair at a concer among a sea of 14 year olds with purple hair at a concert than say, diagramming a sentence. (When in real life do we diagram a sentence?). I took a class in high school called Home Living where we learned to make a budget, balance a check book, plan a wedding, etc. Now that makes sense! Love! ❤️

  10. Peggy werner says:

    Oh my goodness! Your writing is brillant!! I love how honest you are.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Oh thank you! ❤️

  11. Manie says:

    Thank you for a good laugh. I have not laughed that hard in a long time. So encouraging.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      That’s my favorite compliment. ❤️

  12. This is greatness! We’ve been back at school about 5 weeks. I stopped having a ‘first day of school” because it’s just too much pressure. LOL. Thanks for making me laugh this morning. I can totally relate.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Happy not new school year to you!

  13. I have stubbornly refused for 18 years, and never did Saxon math.

    None of my kids can do a lick of math.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      #yougogirl I am jealous…

  14. Teresa says:

    Best blog EVER! Thank you for blessing me with a great fresh start.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

  15. This is awesome. My son is in 8th grade and we only began homeschooling him last year. I work outside the home, as does my husband, so our schooling is much different. But this gave me a laugh today, and hope. Thanks!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      #hope

  16. I am homeschooling 3rd and 2nd graders and our new kindergartner, fresh from an amazing free (but our taxes party for it) pre-k class. She has been so excited to come home and “do school” with her big brother and sister. Last year was full of arts and crafts and finger painting, and snack tune and playground time and two cheery teachers thrilled to see her every day of her three-day week. Every time i lose it and tell get to get back in her seat, I’m expecting her to tell me she wants to go back to real school where her teacher didn’t yell and she got to play with play-doh (the bane of my existence). I see it in her eyes, “this isn’t what my school was like!”

    1. jami_amerine says:

      You’re the best teacher for her I am sure!

  17. Ginger Umstattd says:

    As a home school mom of 5 (for 24 years and counting), your article made my day! I could relate to it all. Just two more years for me, trying to get my youngest through, after a few years of sickness slowed him down. I’ve already sold a bunch of younger home school stuff, and now I have a lovely library where the “school room” used to be. Not sure what I’ll do two years from now, but I’ve (mostly) enjoyed the journey. Thanks for your great writing!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Thanks for reading!

  18. M Way says:

    Thank you for putting into words what my homeschool volleyball director/plumber/cook/IT/electrician/school nurse/custodian barely functional been awake way too long -brain can not speak. Great laugh and break from the monotony of Dante clashing against times tables!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      You’re welcome love!

  19. Kimberly M says:

    Thank you for such a wonderfully revealing article that brought healing laughter with it! You made me belly laugh repeatedly! Breathe.Relax.Trust.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

  20. Natashya says:

    Fantastic!!! We are all in the trenches together!!! I’ll throw you a line when your ship starts sinking… Oh! Wait! Mine’s already sinking!! Thanks for yours …This was a great relief. Cheers!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Cheers friend!

  21. As a homeschooling magistra (and mommy) and a writer who makes a living from freelancing, I must say how much I enjoyed the fact that you write better than I. Kuddos.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Gracia magistra!

  22. Maureen Muller says:

    Love this so much!!! I am homeschooling my 15 year old daughter, and we do the same thing with Saxon 🙂 Have a great year with your vandals!!! <3

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Great year to you too!

  23. We (my mother and I) homeschool 5 in Uganda, Africa. We do 6 weeks of school followed by a 1 week break/planning year round…we get the first day of school feeling every 7 weeks and the flexibility to change things up often. Works for us.

  24. Agatha says:

    Yes. Not just homeschool, but a Classical Homeschool Education. I did it with one child 10th -12th grade. Now I teach at a Classical Home School Co-Op. I laughed reading your article because I could have written it, minus the bird. Wishing you a happy educational ending with all of your children. Ours came when our son was admitted to and graduated from an Ivy League University. He never planned on going to one, but his Classical Education prepared him for it , so he was ready when he got the letter asking him to apply.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      God bless!

  25. Socorro Luna Galusha says:

    First Mama Stayed at Home with the Children.
    Then Dad Stayed Home.

    It all began with an interview on Focus on the Family by Dr. James Dobson with Dr. Raymond and Dorothy Moore. I could do this!

    From home school to college with summers at Worldview Academy, Patrick Henry College, Teen Pact…

    Home school conventions and camps as a volunteer and vendor meeting in person the super stars I read about in Practical Homeschooling and The Old Schoolhouse Magazine.

    My husband said I had to go to work. I felt as if my heart was yanked out of me like in an Aztec sacrifice. Noooooo, I’m supposed to be at home forever.

    At home with dad for the day was different and difficult. Mostly for me.

    Church musicals, piano recitals, children’s theater, library and field trips continue. Dad stays home.

    I found a job but Y2K was going to destroy computers and civilization and I might not be able to get home…

    What about a job where the children and I could work together, ride to work together–just be together like it used to be…

    I even worked at the local high school. I told our children, “I’m glad you didn’t come here. Cussing and fighting are common. Special K9 dogs came to sniff for drugs. Some hooligans do steal your lunch money.”

    Finally, they graduated with other homeschoolers from junior high and senior high and community college and university.
    
    Valedictorian speech, recognitions, and scholarship. Dad stayed home.

    More milestones. Travel to visit our grown children. See them at work and play.

    Marriage ceremonies with family and friends.
    
    Babies born.
    
    Grandmothers died.
    
    Dad stayed home.

    I had such a good time; it was as if I was having a second childhood. I grew up with a community who loved children.
    Some were in town, at the capitol, in businesses, on the farm, in the military…
    …while others stayed home.

    

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

  26. kimberlymukes says:

    Soo funny! Thanks, I needed that!

  27. Katie says:

    Spot on! Thank you for the giggle. It’s like reading a diary entry that I may have made many times over. Happy homeschooling!!

  28. Ha! I’m just at the beginning of this schooling journey with mine. Great to hear (and commiserate) about yours!

  29. I love hearing of other large, spread-out families surviving homeschooling! Our eldest is 27 and married, then 21 and in nursing school, then 14 starting HS classes, two 5 year olds that make me wish I could nap twice daily, followed by a 7 mon old wee bubby. Once they have all graduated and moved on, I truly feel I will have earned every single gray hair, wrinkle, and extra pound. 😉

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Truth

  30. Julia Hancock says:

    Noooo! I want my sunshiny first day! I like fictional idealism! Disney rules over here. I wanna be “freakin Snow White”!! Love love love your frank retelling. Reminding us to plan plan plan, and then let go let go. I especially like the comment from Africa, that they start anew every 6 weeks. Super grand idea. Totally doing that.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      You can be Snow White… You just gotta believe.

  31. Becky says:

    oh Saxon math, I hated it, but I learned. We tried other ones and always went back to Saxon because it worked.

  32. homeschool dad says:

    Haven’t laughed at a blog post so hard in a long time. Living it. Got the t-shirt with snot, pee and homemade play-dough on it.

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Love!

  33. Rebecca says:

    Oh my goodness – I laughed and cried. Read your guest post on Purposeful Faith about your man-babies going to college and I cried anticipating the same in a few years. Then followed the link here and read this “meet the teacher” post and laughed. On a morning when the fiery darts of insecurity are flying faster than I can deal with, where I’m overwhelmed with the homeschooling day ahead of me and the new teen we are guardian of and meeting the deadlines for my master’s class…it was nice to stop for a cry and a laugh. Your posts reminded me it is okay to be human. My reality is still waiting for me but my day is better having read two of your posts. Thank you!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      Oh friend! Praying now that He helps you through. You’re one busy gal! I am glad you got to have sometime to laugh and cry. God bless you. ❤️

  34. Erin says:

    This post is everything. We are starting back Monday. 4 kids and my first high school freshman. Just what I needed!

    1. jami_amerine says:

      ❤️

  35. Jhenisa says:

    I loved this post. So funny and so true. I need to know more about your military school experience being the best money you’ve ever spent. I think I know a good candidate.

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  38. Kelley says:

    Love this and your humor. I love to be around Christian people with humor.

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  43. Jessica Cooper says:

    Have you ever looked into Right Start math? I love it. My eldest hates it and her brothers are overly influenced by her example, including #3 who has the makings of a math genius. But they don’t hate it as much. And I am convinced if she hates right start she’ll hate anything. And, she can do math.

    My eldest is only 9 but this is all so true. This year we are getting 2 weeks of summer break. God help us all.

  44. I absolutely almost wet my pants laughing, I love your sense of humour and I can’t wait to read more.
    Have a wonderful day.

  45. […] to 10 years.  Depending on your preference you can either do one a week and then start over or repeat the same one for two weeks.  All that to be said, this is a year’s worth of scriptures.  […]

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