Welcome Home: The Year America Spoke the Same Scholastic Language
Welcome home… homeschooled that is.
Yes, I have braced myself for the onslaught of folks reminding me of the terror of COVID-19. I am not here to negate the losses. We have lost too. Family members lost jobs, friends were very sick, acquaintances passed. I know, none of us can champion that. And I am an Oil Industry brat, so while many have rejoiced at the pump, I stood in terror when the pump shut off at $17.62.
I tried to get the number to hit $20, out of respect for my brother and father’s stock options. But then I just ended up with gas all over my flip flops. Every time the smell of petrol assaulted me that day I felt like I had my family’s blood on my hands.
Still, it was just gasoline on my feet. You have to have lived that to understand.
America is divided on many aspects of the virus, from conspiracy theories to the rebellious licking grocery baskets. Not because any of us want to lick a Walmart cart. But this is America, and if nothing else, these colors don’t run… and we don’t take well to being told what to do.
However, I realized yesterday when the schools closed for the year and every parent was forced to welcome the children home, we would finally be united on one major issue, homeschool.
And not because we all want to homeschool, but now, we all have to homeschool.
COVID is now the tie that binds parents. As someone who writes snark for a living and is a champion of all parents, this will be the first post I have ever written that is for all the parents. One of my more popular homeschool posts, The Meet the Teacher Fallacy, only confused and mystified traditional schooling parents. Meanwhile, the homeschool moms read it at conventions and when they are crying in their 12 passenger vans on the way to the Latin tutor.
At least now we know you know why we had a Latin tutor. We weren’t trying to be pompous, of course, we know that it is a dead language. We just needed to fill a few more hours in the day with something that looked like progress. See, you get us.
Welcome to our world.
Yes, many of us have goats and chickens, but now you see, we were just trying to appeal to the social aspects of homeschooling. The children tire of playing with their siblings. We know it isn’t normal for our 15-year-old daughters to sit in the yard reading Pride and Prejudice to a pregnant goat. But we couldn’t listen to the drama 24/7. And if that teenage girl can visit with someone other than us, at least that goat isn’t going to betray her or steal her prom date.
We understand if during the COVID pandemic you invested in farm animals. We know what desperate times call for, livestock.
Furthermore, you might say you got chickens for eggs and so you could barter for toilet paper. But we know you know we know, it gives the children something to do.
Welcome, we can be friends now.
And yes, we know, chickens are mean. We also know local farmers that will let you drop the chickens off when you come to your senses. Also, that bit about, “the chicken needed to be in the country with other chickens,” works just like it does for that dog you should have never brought home.
Look at us, all getting along, understanding each other.
You traditional schoolers have learned that we homeschoolers are just like you. We don’t understand the math either. That is why there is the teacher’s edition, and those answer keys are the bible of teaching at home. We welcome you home, and we say to you, hide the teacher’s edition.
There is this space in homeschooling, the time span when you realize your darling will cheat. It might take you a hot minute since you don’t know how to do math. But as a parent, there is a tiny gauge deep within us all that can sense when it has happened. For me, it was when my second grader turned in a perfect chemistry paper. I told him how proud I was of him. But later I started thinking, “I didn’t know he knew so much about buffer solutions? I thought that quiz was going to be about the 5 senses… Dang! He swiped the wrong teacher’s edition!”
Then there is the inner turmoil. “Do I take away the Nintendo? Or do I just play dumb so that I don’t have to come up with more school work for him?”
There is no judgment here, we just welcome you home.
You get us now. We aren’t messy. None of us want our dining room table to look like a murder scene from a teacher’s lounge. And sure, some of us thought it would be cute to have the children sit in desks and fane an organized school setting. But now all of us know, if they all sit in a common area, we don’t have to negate the dishes in the sink while we run back and forth like crazy people trying to cook, clean, and teach.
Welcome to the common ground of organized chaos.
At the same time, we forgive the judgments you had for us, for not starting our sons in “school” until they were eight. All of us should pay homage to every public school teacher for third grade and under. Take a knee parents. These champions of education are somehow capable of getting the 8 and under male species to sit and stay instead of romp and play.
These professional educators aren’t going to tell us their secret, although I suspect that they are using straight jackets without our knowledge. Since you have now been welcomed home, I will divulge, we have been clinging to a Dobson quote about educating boys since publication. It told us that the boys under 8-years-old were not capable of sitting and staying. And while we tried to ignore Dr. Dobson and raise up a better brand of boy, we succumbed. We made Dobson our savant and then we flung wide the back door and set the boys free to play with the chickens and called it 4H. (Dobson, Bringing up Boys 2001)
We see you, public educated parents of the children who are now at home.
We spied you on the game aisle, hiding behind a handmade medical mask. The one your daughter made, that time you needed her to do a project for “home ec.” And we know, none of us really want to play Monopoly. It is an awful way to spend our time in this day and age. But we play it because they are home and we must do something with the children. And Monopoly involves counting and fake money.
Welcome home, you have the Universe’s permission to count that round of board gameplay as math.
If you have Scrabble, we encourage and support you. Yes, that was language arts.
Hungry Hippo? Zoology.
Chutes and Ladders? Government.
Jenga? Life Science.
Pictionary? Fine arts and debate.
Don’t play Trivial Pursuit. Not even the kids’ edition. It will just make you stressed out and question how any of us function in society. Throw it away.
Look at us! We are a united society practicing safe social distancing whilst educating the children!
You are doing a great job of home educating! Well, you are surviving. But you aren’t being graded until you start making bread and wearing long denim skirts, white socks, and tennis shoes. That is different. Those homeschoolers don’t count. I think once you join those ranks only those members can adequately help you. Also, I think they are into canning vegetables and making their clothes.
We encourage you to keep your head about you and wear regular people’s clothes, ones you buy at a store.
Welcome home, friends. Know this, you don’t have to stay. I myself have jumped ship on numerous occasions. Also, summer will look just like the rest of your life, I don’t recommend getting chickens to fill the void. That is why God made wine.
Go forth and pretend you understand that math worksheet. And Jesus be all over you. Love, J