Homeschooling 201

So we had a new student today in our homeschool chemistry class.

The chemistry class which is taught by THE BOY, while I am more of the teacher’s aide in the room, as I circulate and ask, “Are you boys being careful?” every three minutes.

(The sign of a good aide, who is about to receive a raise, is HOW MANY TIMES she asks if the kids are being careful.)

(Especially while they are lighting things on fire.)

(I am SO INCREDIBLY GOOD at asking that question, I suspect I’ll see a 600% increase in my salary right directly.)

The boy did the old FIRE IN THE BOWL trick.  Again. Apparently it never gets old.

Which is how I feel about the cartoon Despicable Me.

While my friend Mika worked today, her oldest boy, Teegan, came to hang out with us.  I did text Mika at one point and said, “How do you feel about Bunsen burners?  Small fires?  I do promise that the nerdy safety goggles are firmly in place!”

I am REALLY getting good at this homeschooling thing.  So good, in fact, maybe I’ll just continue it through the school year.

I’m rocking chemistry class.

(“Are you boys being careful?”)

And I’m rocking COOKING class, too, because look!  We had miniature marshmallows in our pantry from — oh! — Christmas, and the boys found them.  My kid cannot find his swimming goggles when they are three inches in front of him, but he can discover a bag of mostly-crusty miniature marshmallows hidden in the far back of the pantry from eight months ago, when we were in the height of Hot Cocoa Season.

No matter.

In Homeschool Cooking Class today, we cooked marshmallows.  Over the Bunsen burner.  Because THAT is how we roll.

And THEN!

We had a Field Trip, people!

The boys and I loaded up in the Suburban, we stopped at Jimmy John’s for sustenance, and we hit the open road.  We drove twenty miles down the highway to Small Mountain Town, USA, because every good teacher’s aide (“Are you boys being careful?”) earns bonus points for an educational field trip.

After the sandwiches were inhaled at a picnic table, the boys jumped into the nearby creek, where we did HOMESCHOOL BIOLOGY class, as I yelled across the picnic area, “QUIT DRINKING THE DADGUM WATER!  Were you born in a barn?  It’s full of bacteria!  Let’s sit down and have a classroom lecture on Giardia, shall we?!

Of course, both boys had bottles of FRESH AND PURE AND PROPERLY FILTRATED Dasani water sitting on the picnic table.

And I’m pretty sure that I scared everyone with my monologue, which was entitled Death By Giardia-Filled Water.

When the boys’ DRY CLOTHES were sufficiently soaked, they opted to change into their swimming trunks, because why?  Why shouldn’t we get EVERYTHING wet while we were on our field trip?

They are BOTH incredibly cute, aren’t they?!

And then we hiked up the road a ways to visit the state-operated visitor’s center where fish are raised from eggs to old age, and then eventually released into the wild, so that they can wind up on someone’s Traeger grill.

There was one pond which the boy and Teegan fell in love with.  It was stocked with ENORMOUS trout, and, for a quarter, you could buy a handful of fish food out of a gumball-like dispenser to feed to the fish.

The part of this scenario that really irritated the boys and made them want to complain to the HOMESCHOOL PRINCIPAL about the unfairness of this field trip, is that the dispenser gave you about six nuggets.

One quarter equaled six bites of fish food.

We were armed with four dollars’ worth of quarters, which evaporated as fast as fish can bite.  My recommendation is simply this:  Two boys at the big fish pond need $100 in quarters to be kept happy.  $4 will simply not cut it.

We also participated in Homeschool Petting Zoo class on our little excursion this afternoon.

And then we managed to break about nineteen different state and federal regulations, as the boys GOT INTO the fish pond and CAUGHT THEMSELVES SOME FISH.

By hand.

We decided that they’re both ready to film the next episode of Hillbilly Handfishin’ for Animal Planet.  Also, every single time that either the boy or Teegan managed to grab one and haul it out of the water, my camera was NOT ready.  So there is no documented photographic evidence of us actually CATCHING a fish by hand, but sweet mercy!

They both pulled it off.

Numerous times.

While I stood guard and hissed, “The state fish lady is coming!  Retreat!”

And also, “Are you boys being careful?”

And where is this boy’s mother?  His black swimming shirt is a size 6, and he hasn’t worn that size since second grade.  You’d think his mama would be a bit more responsible and head on over to the local Target to pick him up a new shirt for the water.

However, the ultra short swim shirt just helps him get into character for Hillbilly Handfishin’.

There does come a point where Hillbilly Handfishin’ can no longer be done from the safety of the pond’s shoreline, so you’re forced to just…you know…get yourself IN the water.

Even though the signs clearly state, “Stay Out of the Water!”

We obviously need to work on our Homeschool Reading Class.

I do hereby solemnly swear that we did not take any gigantic fish home with us.

We’ll break SOME rules, but not the MAJOR ONES.

And also?

This next snapshot reminds me of a verse in the Bible.

Judges 7:5 says, “So Gideon took the men down to the water.  There the Lord told him, ‘Separate those who lap the water with their tongues like a dog from those who kneel down to drink.'”

Rest assured, the boy IS NOT drinking the water, because we had already wrapped up Homeschool Biology with a little lesson on the dangers of Giardia.

The boy is now as afraid of Giardia as he is of spiders and the swamp monster.  I didn’t want to be outdone by Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, so I kicked things up a notch and hosted my own Giardia Day, complete with ample tales to frighten the socks off of small children.

Scary stuff, people.

For the record, the boy was actually looking at a bug in the water in that picture up there.

When the state fish lady had some chores to do that were entirely too close to the big fish pond to let us breathe easily while the boys were…you know…IN the pond and breaking nineteen state and federal regulations and CATCHING STATE-PROTECTED TROUT, we hiked back to the picnic area, where the boys got back into the creek.

The creek that they COULD get into, legally.

Teegan and the boy hiked upstream.  And then they hiked downstream.  And then they hiked upstream again.  And then downstream again.  Over and over.

And over and over.

And then twenty-six more times after THAT.

(“Are you boys being careful?”)

And if they don’t sleep well tonight, it’s not MY fault, because I gave them ample opportunity to physically exhaust themselves while I took oodles of pictures and played with the different settings on my camera.

Sadly, we’ll never be able to have Homeschool Photography, because I’m never going to be proficient in that class.

At the end of the day, when it was time to say good-bye to the creek and the big fish, we loaded up in the Suburban, and the sopping wet boys sighed as they said, “This was one of the best days of all time.”

Yes, it WAS one of the best days ever.

It’s because their homeschool teacher rocks.

And she’s getting really good at this educational thing.

Except this evening, after Teegan headed for his own home, I pulled out the math workbook for a little Homeschool Multiplication Review, and the boy asked, “Why?  Why me?  Why do I have a mother who makes me drill math facts IN THE SUMMER MONTHS, when I should be sitting on the sofa like a hunk of broccoli, rotting my brain out during Shark Week?  Why is this the lot God has assigned me?  WHY?”

I simply said, “Listen.  Without knowing how to multiply, you’ll never be able to figure out how many dollars you’ll make for nine episodes of Hillbilly Handfishin’.”

Happy Tuesday night, people.

1 thought on “Homeschooling 201

  1. Tammy, this is the best! You rock, first of all…fun mom. You would be a perfect candidate for homeschooling. 😉 What a great day…and I love your photos! Your “homeschooling!” Your humor!

    (My children have also decided that Despicable Me never gets old.)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *