Friday, January 9, 2009

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

My home school bubble has burst! Well, that might be an overstatement of sorts. But I knew it wouldn’t last. Today, I gained some insight as to what will work for us and what won’t in the Eder Family Home School.

It all started with my hair—my gosh darned blasted hair. I just wanted to wash it and blowdry it. No, let me restate that, I wanted to style it. I’ll admit it. I wanted to take my time and actually make it look “hot”. I wanted to put on makeup as if I was actually going out to face my old life working outside the home. I didn’t’ think it was too much to ask. I only devote a total of 1-2 hours a week for my hair, much less, I think than most women. But it is an hour or two I treasure immensely. For at least 2-3 days leading up to the event, I anticipate the hot steam of the shower and the deafening roar of the blow dryer that conveniently drowns out the background noise of children, husband, phone calls and contractors at the door. (Did I mention my husband is a serial fixer-upper? That’s another blog).

What happened next is my own fault. I know that. Shame on me for selfishly desiring those 60 minutes to myself. Shame on me for scheduling it at the beginning of the day. Shame on me if I told a little white lie to make it happen. And the rest of the day was about karmic payback and I knew it.

At breakfast, I cheerfully explained to the kids “that the day was going to be structured a little differently to provide some extra excitement and a little variety”. (It doesn’t really count as a white lie if I am providing some fun, I rationalized). “We’re going to begin by watching the Mother Theresa movie up in my room as research for our leadership reports.” I explained, “And by the way, I’ll just be in my bathroom drying my hair”. Cheers and applause erupted around our breakfast table. Just when you set a plan in action, God will throw you a few curveballs. The Mother Theresa video was nowhere to be found. 15 minutes spent running around the house looking for it put us 15 minutes behind on “our schedule”.

No worries. I have very important titles on my resume from my past life like Principal, CEO, Creative Director and VP, and I am now a resourceful homeschoolin’mama. I can fix this. “Kids, go get your laptops, you can curl up in my bed and conduct internet research on Mother Theresa”, I continued. Small groans, but the plan was accepted by the troops. I smiled and disappeared to the shower.

15 incredible, hot, lathery, steamy moments later I emerged a new woman. I was quickly aroused from my zen-like trance by the piercing screams of my 9 year old son when there is a technology failure at our house. “The internet is down!” he wailed. 20 more minutes spent running around the house checking all the routers and internet connections put us another yet another 20 minutes behind. “ Did we pay the bill?” I pondered. I was cold and my hair was starting to frizz. Again, resourceful homeschoolin’ mama solved the problem. “Find the connectors and hardwire yourself into the Ethernet.” I ordered.

Peace and tranquility slowly returned and the kids resumed their positions on my unmade bed. (Note to self; still gotta get to that. I subconsciously tacked another 5 minute delay onto the schedule). I searched the house for a spray bottle to get my hair back into a “primed for styling” state. 30 minutes behind plus the 20 minutes we lost before plus another 5 for bed making. “Did I clean the kitchen yet, I wondered. “ What would that cost me?” Wow. We were really off track. Mild panic set in. I didn’t want to fail on day 4. I needed to at least get through a week to pass the unspoken, new home school family “initiation” period. You are not really part of the club unless you have made it through a full week.

I refocused on my primary task. “Just get the hair dry, Kim.” I settled. Styling was becoming less important with each minute that got added to our day, and makeup? “I look okay without make up don’t I?” I rationalized. 45 minutes later, I retired the blow dryer, put on my clothing (workout wear , of course, so I could try to sneak in some yoga). I went to check on the kids, expecting pages teeming with inspiring snippet’s on Mother Theresa. Instead, I found Frankie working on his Fibonacci spreadsheet in Excel, and Austin was creating her Fibonacci report in Power Point. Not really what I envisioned, but still part of the program, so in one, deep yoga breathe, I let it go.

You can guess how the rest of the day went. The schedule was off—way off. I lost the respect of my proteges and command of the classroom. They suddenly thought they were in charge. They had to be, right? When you can’t respect your leader, you have to take charge. That’s what my irrational brain told me was happening at least. But somehow, we made it through. And at the end of the day we checked everything off our list that we needed to complete. And I knew in my heart that they had still learned more in one day than they had learned in 2-3 days of school. And they got all that from their mama. I was pretty proud!

Going forward, we will not deviate!

We WILL follow the schedule. It WILL start with leadership (which is my chance to get in 30 -40 minutes of yoga while we all listen to someone wiser than me say something very intelligent via audiotape). There WILL be a shower, makeup, deodorant and clean underwear before I even think about coming down for the day so I can be a “home schoolin' hottie”, not just a “homeschoolin' mama. And, if my hair needs a “style”, I will do it late the night before, put on my makeup and sleep in it.

And going forward…all will be good!

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