No. I mean this one literally. My kids have been doing school since 9:15 this morning. It’s now almost 2:30. I look at their lists of what needs to be accomplished today, and think “I could do this in 2 1/2 hours, blindfolded, with both hands behind my back.” Yeah, yeah, I’m one of the grown-ups in the house, so of course my abilities are a bit more evolved than theirs. But…. still! They sure can take their time.
This is one of the bad things about homeschooling. First of all, my daughter’s a real talker. She wakes up rarin’ to start sharing all the thoughts that have been swirling in her head since she put her head on the pillow the night before. So that means that any thought, no matter how trivial, somehow becomes verbal.
“Do you think the price of gas will come down anytime soon?”
“Why does rust always stain your clothes?”
“No matter who wins the election, it’ll be a first because Obama is black, and Sarah Palin is a woman.”
“I think I should start a website so people can find the companion sock to the ones that always go missing when you do laundry.”
All interesting and worthy in their own way, but not necessarily relevent to school. Hmm… Her brother, on the other hand, can out-procrastinate the best of them. I give them certain reading assignments, but don’t always expect that it will get done in the course of our designated school time. If they want to read the assignment before bed, after “school” and chores are done, during weekends, fine by me. But somehow, the boy manages to not read the assigned reading, yet still manage to wake up early, stay up late, and finish a 400 page book of his choosing in the meantime!
And then of course, they find a way to utilize school time to take care of those innocuously unimportant important chores during designated school time. For instance, I always clean the sheets on Mondays. Just a habit I started long ago, but hey! it works for me. So on Mondays, sheets need to get to the laundry room, and the floors in their bedrooms need to be clean enough that I can vacuum, and walk around the bed to put sheets back on. Invariably, they wander out of the schoolroom to clean up around the bed, or help me fluff the sheets as I throw them over the bed. Anything to take time from doing actual work!
I should explain that the way we do our school is to start with a Read Aloud each morning. From there, we do the things they do together – Latin lessons, Bible, some history and language arts. When we’ve got all those taken care of, they do their individual work – math, literature, science, etc… Depending on the intensity of those things, I might still be in the schoolroom, or I might not. I am always available for questions, but I might be in a different part of the house doing something like putting sheets on the beds, or preparing dinner.
While I am in the schoolroom, it’s often like a game of tennis: Me deflecting the irrelevent non-school related questions and comments back at them with a very firm “Get your school done!” How many times do I say that a day, I wonder? When I’m not in the room, they might wander to where I am and start “helping” with my various chores. Of course, there’s something to be said for them folding laundry, peeling carrots, or helping put the sheets on beds. Still, I wonder, as it’s now about 3 p.m., and they’re still doing math and science… is this school day ever going to end????