3 July 2020
In a season that has extended into forever, I have graduated second grade. I’ve done all the assignments, attended every the Zoom session, and my report card says I improved in reading, math, and paying attention.
My kid was supposed to do the assignments? He told me I had to do everything. I was getting so good at multiplication.
For parents who like control, homeschooling is wonderful. You get to manage your schedule and your kid’s. You get to do your work and all of his, too. But seriously, with homeschooling, our child follows his interests. Learning goes at his pace. We spend more time together as a family. But seriously, homeschooling is horrible. I have never multi-tasked into the abyss so hard and every day. I spent so much time working on his classwork (seriously, with him, not doing it for him), that I did my work at night. Sleep became luxury. I wouldn’t recognize my pillow if it called out my name, which it actually has because of sleep-deprivation psychosis.
Our eight-year-old son is used to a classroom environment where he said, “I need help” and a teacher would materialize by his side. At home he says “I need help” and I don’t materialize. I just offer a cloud of stress droplets while waving my hands at him because I’m on a call or something. Then he has a meltdown because my materializing sucks and waving my hands around isn’t anything.
This can only improve. But it doesn’t. He’s a just-turned-eight-year-old trying to log in to a Chromebook, split the iPad screen between Google Classroom, Google Docs, or Pages and Pixelmator and Zoom. Our wifi signal is more strained than his patience. He’s always on hold with customer service and I am the only rep, unless it’s my wife’s day and she is the only rep and then he is on hold with her. Our hold music is bad. It’s me saying, “Just a minute” over and over while my Zoom conference sputters and dies because he is streaming a Peanuts episode from the 1970s. Lucy’s voice is on repeat in my mind. I think if I could only throw my head back, open my mouth into a black circle, and scream Agggh like Charlie Brown, everything would be okay. But I tried it and it just hurt my neck.
My wife and I are two working people working from home who also work on our son’s work. It works great! Everyone here has their own to-do list on their own screen. Teaching your kid about the world in a world that has gone crazy is easy because you can look up everything you need to know on Wikipedia. It’s accurate for a few minutes at a time. Every morning, I give him an assignment designed to buy me an hour of work. Fine minutes later, he walks into the living room to say the word that every parent dreads: “Done!” He sure is bright.
I will finish this post with some silent screaming into a mask. See you next week! Take care of each other.
(c) Lee Schneider 2021. Take care of each other. Subscribe.