Wednesday, January 14, 2009

School Room

I love homeschooling, and I feel like I get better at it each year. (Let’s not think about those first couple of years. Just know that all the older children read and add well, and that is what matters.) We have never had a separate school room, so the children usually work in the living and dining rooms. As Hope and Elizabeth are getting older and more mobile and vociferous, though, managing all five children during the day is becoming more difficult. The little ones are becoming a distraction for the school children. Can you imagine being 11 years old and trying to find prepositional phrases while your 4 year old sister is begging you to play silly putty with her? (Can you imagine being 39 and trying to type a blog entry while your 2 year old is squirming in your lap, trying to push the keys and taste your coffee???)

I digress.

As last semester progressed, I realized something needed to be done. We either had to find another place for school work or lock Hope and Elizabeth in the bedroom and let them watch Nick, Jr. from 8:00 to 3:00 every day. Mark wasn’t so keen on the eight hours of television thing, even though I explained that all the Nick Jr. shows during that time are educational and the girls would be learning a lot about counting, reading, and speaking Spanish. He still wouldn’t go for it, though, so we had to have a plan B.

I couldn’t let the older children do school work in their bedrooms because there are too many distractions. I am certain that most other twelve year old boys would ignore the Lego containers and the Nerf guns and give their full attention to grammar rules and the Battle of Waterloo, but not my guys. They are weak. There would be no work completed. The little ones would not give Hannah any peace, either. They seem to think since all the Barbie dolls and puzzles are in the girls' bedroom, they should have access when they wish. Go figure.

Plan C. I have a tiny bedroom in the basement that I use to, uhm, store things. (Translation: All things I do not have time or space or energy to deal with go there.) We decided to turn at least part of that room into a school room. I worked during Christmas break to clear out enough room for a table and a desk. There is also a daybed in there so they can curl up and read when they wish. The room is not finished yet. I still have some cleaning/organizing to do, and I promised I would hang things on the wall and make it inviting, but I am pleased with how nicely it is turning out.

Being the brilliant mom I am, and knowing how my children behave when I am not looking, I took our baby monitor to the school room so I could hear what is going on when I am not there. I wanted to make sure they were not telling knock-knock jokes or arguing over who gets computer time first instead of doing school work. The funny thing is that the children seem to think the baby monitor is their personal intercom/CB radio system.

When Robert goes downstairs, he leans over and speaks into the monitor. “Breaker, breaker. This is Ramblin’ Robert. I have arrived safely at my destination, Mom. I’ll be starting my math right away.”

I hear all sorts of interesting reports.

“ Breaker 1-9. This is Bruiser and Cruiser. We’re coming up the steps, fully loaded. Clear the lanes, please.”

“I need a spelling test in aisle seven. Cancel that. Hannah is going to administer the test. I’ll bring it to the service desk for grading when I’m finished... Yes, I will check over it first.”

“We need a manager in the math department right away, please. Abel is having trouble with his algebra. We’ve got scraps of paper and eraser bits…and a few tufts of his hair all over the floor. You’ll want to bring a broom…and, uhm, three of those candy canes left over from Christmas.”

I try to fuss at them, but it really makes me laugh. Hey, it could be much worse. At least they aren’t trying to cover the monitor with a sweatshirt so I can’t hear when they are playing the gameboy or listening to the Taylor Swift cd which they snuck downstairs under the aforementioned sweatshirt. At least I know they are working when I’m not looking. Well, okay, they probably aren’t working the whole time, but assignments are being completed, and so far, the room has not been destroyed.

Oh, I must go. I’m being paged. I think someone is trying to buy a ticket for recess.

I’ll catch you on the flip side, good buddies. Over and out.


Tiffany said...

That's a funny use of the baby monitor - I love it! When Isaac was about 2, he and I both got so addicted to his watching tv while the older kids did school. Finally, we had to put the tv in a closet for several months to break our habit.

I like the school room idea. We still don't have one.

Stacy said...

Hey, the little one is mine from a previous marriage and the teens are his from his previous one. Its hard sometimes, especially with my DH having the bipolar and my youngest stepson having O.D.D. Shoot me an email if you wanna chat sometime.

momtofivekids said...

I know what you mean about having the younger ones disturbing the older kids. We've had to do things differently, too. My 8 yo likes to do his math facts over the intercom from his bedroom.