It began innocently enough, with a rolled pair of eyes here and a scoff there. But then it escalated into one child vehemently complaining about having to write in both capital and lower-case letters (the horror!) on the sheet I created just for her that utilized her favorite subject in the whole wide world and another moaning vociferously about needing to read the instructions before embarking upon a research project on that one’s favorite topic as well.
It was a scene so oft repeated that I could almost predict each and every move.
I’m not sure exactly when I cracked. There was such a long pause after the youngest scolded me for wanting her to learn how to write properly. Was it then?
I walked to the coat rack, got my sweater, and motioned for them to do the same. “Let’s go,” I shouted, “I’m taking you to school.”
Then came the weeping and the gnashing of teeth. We got in the car and were on our way, three suddenly appreciative voices in the back enthusiastically listing off all the reasons they love homeschooling and why they absolutely do not want to go to school.
Getting to learn to read and write by studying their favorite topics was mentioned. Spending limitless hours researching the subjects they loved the most also made the list.
We reached the parking lot of the local school. It wasn’t even the school the eldest would attend, but she didn’t consider that in her hysteria. I gave them five minutes to convince me that continuing to homeschool was a good idea.
They talked about the freedom they have to learn on their own terms and how refreshing it was to get to be themselves, knowing they would not be judged by how they dressed or who they knew. They ticked off nearly every complaint their schooled friends have shared about school and promised that homeschooling, for them, has been just the opposite.
I started the car up again and drove home.
I can’t exactly say I am not proud of the moment, though I know it would sound better if I did. I mean, it wasn’t one of my finest parenting moments, but, aside from the unexpected tears, it wasn’t altogether damaging. Manipulative, yes. I’ll give it that. It might someday require a little reparative therapy when they can’t figure out why they break into a cold sweat every time they go to the local elementary school to vote.
But sometimes, darn it, a parent’s got to do what a parent’s got to do. This parent was on the brink, so tired of hearing complaints from children who spend most of their time learning exactly how they want to be learning and playing exactly how they want to be playing. It was either going to be a drive to and from the local school, a total of 10 minutes in the car, or full-blown mom tantrum.
I chose the drive. Say what you will, it got the point across.