Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Bookworm's First Law of Homeschooling

The Bookworm's First Law of Homeschooling: all things tend towards disorder and chaos.

Lest you labour under a misapprehension that I have model children who sit at my feet eager for the pearls of knowledge that drop from my lips (or from the pages of the books I read), who have perfected the habit of attention and who apply themselves enthusiastically to their studies, while I flow effortlessly through the day, calmly and softly directing their education while maintainly an orderly household (I wish!) ...

This morning started badly. Little Cherub woke just after 6am, early enough for her to go back to sleep, but too late for me to do the same. It was also one of those days when I would have been tired if I had woken at 8, yet alone at 6. By 9am we had all eaten breakfast (sugary cereal because I didn't have the energy to cook eggs), and were all dressed except Angel. Somehow morning prayers got forgotten. Bad start. I decided to begin by reading to Star while she did her hair, giving Angel time to dress. Good plan, except Star insisted she had to do her hair in the bathroom as she needed water to get it tied back tidily. Could I please read in the bathroom? Not such a good plan, especially as Little Cherub was getting hungry. I decided to leave Star for the time being and read to Angel despite her being still in her pyjamas. We sat on my bed so I could nurse the Cherub and she could use the mirror to do her hair. We read for some time, so after finishing her hair she decided to paint my toenails. (Tevye, for some reason I can't understand, thinks painting toenails while reading schoolbooks is bizarre. I don't get this. It leaves less mess than painting anything else.) Star finished her hair and I asked her to go and read to herself for twenty minutes. She pleaded to be allowed to draw for a while - I agreed on condition she promise to read straight afterwards. She did. In the bathroom. When I had finished reading to Angel and sent her off to get dressed it was Star's turn. Could she please get something to do while I read? Yes, if she could get it by the time I counted to twenty (Star is the most distractible child imaginable). By the time I got to fifteen she was dragging a large box of soft toys into my bedroom. I just managed to pre-empt her emptying the entire box over the floor.

When we finished reading I put the now-sleeping Cherub in her bed. She immediately woke up. I gave her to Star to look after while I went downstairs to load the crockpot. A few minutes later Star appeared downstairs, dragging the box of soft toys. Where was Cherub? With Angel, who was teaching her to play the keyboard. With her feet. I finished making dinner. By this time I was beginning to feel pressed for time as I had arranged to go to my mother's for another bout of decluttering. Being short of time makes me stressed. I asked Angel to do a notebook page on the Christmas Truce in World War I. Angel groaned. Could she please do a page on St.Francis instead? I weighed up the likelihood of World War I turning into a battleground (ouch!) and decided St.Francis sounded a reasonable option. I reviewed addition with carrying with Star and gave her a few sums to do. I then gave Angel brief instructions for a very simple French exercise. Angel decided it was much too hard (!) and looked mutinous. Uncooperative children make me stressed. I turned round just in time to see Star tip the entire box of soft toys over the floor. Large, unnecessary messes make me stressed. I yelled at Star. I snapped at Angel. Star returned the toys to the box at record speed. Angel slunk off to the computer to work on St.Francis, still clutching Little Cherub. I retired upstairs to get ready to leave. Little Cherub suddenly decided she was being starved and complained loudly. I fed Cherub and shot out of the door clutching baby in one hand, bag in the other, leaving Tevye in charge for the afternoon. This meant he got the very dubious pleasure of ensuring that the French got done.

Not one of our better mornings!


Cheryl said...

This sounds very much like my house, only I imagine mine is noisier.

Faith said...

Hey, Kathryn! Sorry about your day. All those things stress me as well.

I just wanted you to know that I made angel food cake for the Feast of the Guardians Angels inspired by you. I also made a wonderful Blackberry Balsamic Chicken dish, kind of combining your idea about blackberries and Michaelmas. I am going to put the recipe up on my blog, if you are interested.

Thanks for the inspiration! Hope tomorrow is a better day! How I miss having a little baby though. I am so envious you have Little Cherub!

Anonymous said...

What color are your toenails? I think a husband stuck with the French lesson and a fresh pedicure make this a banner morning!