Last week I blithely went about doing school as if it was the normal and right thing to do when on day two Matt found me wandering around in a glassy eyed stupor trying to coordinate between my right and left hand not to drop a massive vat of coffee on the kitchen floor believing, wrongly, that if a little bit of caffeine is helpful, a great deal more must be of The Lord.
"What are you doing?" He asked me, since I guess an ordinary person couldn't immediately divine what I was attempting to achieve.
"I'm doing school," I slurred.
"Well, the main reason is that the children seem exceptionally stupid. But also, it says I should on the calendar. If you look at the calendar, it says it's January, and we're supposed to do school in January."
"Why don't you start next week and just go out for the afternoon?" He said. Like it was an obvious choice that I had considered but decided against when actually it was something that had never occurred to me in the whole course of my existence.
So I did. And it was marvelous.
So we started in earnest this week. And would you believe, a few days down made such a difference. Feel stupid for having to say it out loud. But there you are. You go along thinking that you're all that, that you can do whatever you want, and do all the work in the world, and then one tiny little holiday brings you to your knees in realization that you're a weak pathetic person who also must sleep and eat food.
Also, miraculously, I carefully examined my plan and we should be able to finish just on time, if we really work hard. So you can see the fatal flaw almost immediately because who in their right mind wants to work hard. No one that I have given birth to. I feel like St. Paul, threatening, admonishing, berating even with tears to snatch them out of the jaws of judgement.
The only people who want to work hard are those who need constant help to do anything. Gladys and Marigold just want to Learn Something! Anything! Whereas those that can do quite a lot on their own just want to lie on the floor and whine and play with Legos. That was the first day. The second day was slightly better and then yesterday was almost sane. Someone even asked a question to obtain knowledge about something they didn't already know.
Foolishly, I decided that Elphine and Alouicious are old enough to make lunch. Elphine for a week and the Alouicious. I don't know what I was thinking. Alouicious made soup from a packet yesterday (we'll start small, I thought) and besides coming in to ask me every tiny question because even though he was able to read the instructions he couldn't believe that they were true, he strewed soup all up and down the kitchen as if he was some sort of barbarian Hun cook coming to destroy civilization with noodles and synthetic seasoning. And then he was exhausted from the effort and couldn't cope with the idea of cleaning up so he just didn't and Matt walked in at the end of his long day and had to crunch his way across the floor seeking out a broom.
I make it sound like it's all a chore. There are myriad irritations as with everything in life. But they are basically small. I nurtured a glimmer of hope as I sat curled up next to heater toiling with each child through the most basic elements of language and numbers. It may be that they will learn and grow into reasonable people. I fail so much but I may not completely fail. It's the tiny seed of hope and the thin rays of sunshine into the school room that kept me sitting there until my voice was gone each day.
Nevertheless, when I woke this morning to the sound of Alouicious fussing and fussing and fussing and fussing about not being able to find his iPod even though he had carefully plugged it in last night as part of his preparation for Men's Bible Study and so someone must have come during the night and stollen it and how could he possibly be expected to read the bible from something like a book!..I prayed earnestly that he would get himself out the door and leave me with two hours of peace. Well, one hour because the little girls wake up at seven now (not 6:30 anymore!) and they always come in shouting.
But it's Friday, and so we only have to finish a little list of things we didn't get to and then go play at church for the afternoon. This is our ordinary and life giving rhythm. May it carry me all the way through February and March, those two worst months of the homeschool year. May we emerge on the other side smarter and holier than we are today.