Life lessons

What the Heck is Momschooling, Anyway?

It’s officially summer here at The Burin Academy and every single one of us is thrilled! Wait, let me clarify. Every single one of us is BEYOND thrilled. As in, the most appreciative of school being finished than any of us has ever been before. 2ED36819-6969-44AD-9636-04A288CB31C2Why is this year’s introduction to summer celebrated above all others, you ask? I’ll answer with one word…Momschool.

Due to the pandemic raging through our state, schools here were closed back in March. Most of them were sent scrambling, trying to figure out how to finish out the year. Our boys were in two different schools-Jack, an 8th grader, and Elijah, a senior. Jack’s school began online schooling with multiple Zoom calls and schoolwork assigned each day. 10311638-0A40-4766-89BB-41CDFBD4FB74Elijah’s school went to work being optional and you know what that means. There was no way he was going to do anything that he didn’t have to. But despite the fact that Elijah was a senior, and his school deemed additional work optional, I felt it was important to keep both boys actively learning, instead of just torturing one of them. How fair would that be, anyway? So, we spent the next 45 days (not that I was counting, or anything) Momschooling. Both boys had a daily schedule that started at 9 and ended at 7. They had academic responsibilities. If there were no school assignments, they watched documentaries or researched topics. They read. They had chores. They helped make shopping lists and prepare dinner. They had a list of projects to do. For example, make a movie together, or write someone a real letter and mail it. Their days were full, that’s for sure, and they quickly found out there is no teacher that expects more from them than me.

As I’m sure you can guess, Momschooling wasn’t easy. It was quite a rollercoaster, to say the least. Some days went smoothly, while others were a battle from the time we woke up to the time we went to bed. Boundaries were tested, new standards were set, and I learned to dig deep down in order to find the patience needed to keep going. But it was incredibly satisfying to watch as the boys became more independent in the kitchen, or as they began to master real-life skills, and bond over shared projects. Although I had to keep a constant watchful eye on them, they learned important skills like: how to properly make a bed, or clean a bathroom, whereas before I would most likely let their halfhearted attempts at such tasks go, since we were too busy to stop and make sure all the little things were done right.

We all learned to work together and I know (although they won’t admit it), they developed a new appreciation for what it takes to run a household. In many ways, I am thankful for the experience and I hope, perhaps someday, they will be too.39A9F3D2-0267-4D80-8BFC-77DDDFF5E4CA

But perhaps the greatest thing I learned through all of this is that, although it was hard, it was nothing compared to true homeschooling. I take my hat off to all the parents out there who have made the commitment year after year to homeschool. I chose to call what I did Momschool because it was different than true homeschooling. I jumped in 3/4 of the way through the school year. For the most part, I had a curriculum already in place to follow. I had teachers who oversaw the work done and with whom I could come alongside and gain support. At no time was I on my own in this endeavor. True homeschooling would have required me to do all of this on my own. In addition, the boy’s academic comprehension and success would have fallen solely upon my shoulders. Creating a schedule and creating a curriculum are two vastly different tasks. Not to mention, there is no possible way I could help the boys with their math. I think I lost that ability at about the 5th grade level. I mean honestly, what the heck is a polynomial, anyway?

45 days as a “teacher” sure taught me a lot. I’m in awe of people who do it day after day, whether in a physical school, or at home. My hat goes off to those of you who choose this path in life. You give so much to others. Your patience is something to be admired. And your willingness to guide children into becoming the future of the world is something truly commendable. This pandemic has opened my eyes to see how much you selflessly give, and I will never again take that lightly. You all have become my heroes and although it may not be much, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do.

So although I didn’t truly homeschool, I did Momschool the heck out of my boys as best I could. 

We got through it. 

We survived. 

I learned that patience and perseverance pay off in the long run.

The boys learned there is no tougher teacher than their mom.

And I’m sure we will all agree, we can’t wait for “real” school to start again in the fall.

Life lessons

Why ‘This is Us’ is Bad For Your Health

I swore up and down I wouldn’t start watching the show, ‘This is Us’. After all, I felt as if our own lives had enough drama without watching someone else’s family go through their own difficult life situations. And really, did I want to watch a show that was just going to make me cry? Nope, not me. No matter how many people loved it, I was stubbornly against the idea of opening the door to that show. 

But, winters in Michigan are long and workouts can feel even longer if you don’t have something good to watch while you pound out miles on a treadmill. So, by about February I had already managed to rewatch all my favorite old movies for what felt like the hundredth time. I know many of us can really never get enough of ‘The Wedding Planner’ though, am I right? But, I still had a lot of cold weather to get through and I’ll admit, I must have been feeling a bit weak. So, one day I quietly gave in and started ‘This is Us’, all the while telling myself that the first time I cried through an episode, I would stop watching immediately. Ha! As any of you who have watched the show know, that goal was never going to happen. 

The Pearson family is a hot mess, it’s true. But they are also so real. It’s as if I’m watching the family down the street (or many times, watching my own family). How could anyone not become completely invested in them? They love fiercely and mess up constantly, but all the while manage to grow on you until you feel as if you know each of them personally. In one episode, Kate tells her mom, Rebecca, “you aren’t in my way mom, you ARE my way”. This was perhaps the moment that sealed the love of this show for me. I mean really, how could a line like that not just seep into your soul and rip out your heart?! And the creativity of the writers is phenomenal. I have no idea how they manage to keep all the complex back and forth timelines of the show straight. 

So, after all my unwillingness to watch the show, I’ve managed to continue watching all the way to the 4th season (yes, it is still too cold to exercise outside, and yes, it is almost the end of April..ugh.). Wait, I should clarify. I’ve managed to bawl my way through the first three seasons. Now, this wouldn’t be much of as problem except for the issue of watching it while I’m working out. Have you ever become a bit emotional while running, riding a bike, or doing any cardio whatsoever? If not, let me tell you this…it doesn’t end well. There have been numerous times I’ve had to completely stop the treadmill or bike while watching ‘This is Us’, not because I’m just to distraught to continue (yeah, we’ll go with that). But for the mere fact that I simply couldn’t even breathe! It’s impossible to do cardio when bawling your eyes out because your throat closes up and you just can’t catch your breath. See what I mean about this show being bad for your health? I could quite literally pass out while watching it.

So, now I’ve learned to have tissues strategically placed near both the treadmill and bike.

I also make sure if the episode coming up looks like it may be pretty emotional, that I’m prepared to stop and just cry it out instead of trying to continue my workout, blurry-eyed and gasping for breath.  I’ve also implemented a, “mom needs to workout without any interruptions rule” so no one will happen upon me as I’m an emotional wreck blubbering my way through a particularly touching scene. Thinking about it now, perhaps I should have opted for something a bit easier to watch, like, ‘The Tiger King’ or ‘Superstore’. Nah, I guess I’m just a glutton for punishment. 

Consider this your PSA for the day. I feel it’s my civic duty to warn you about the potential risks you may be facing if you choose to watch this show. You are now in the know that ‘This is Us’, is a fantastic show but could also be potentially bad for your health if, like me you choose to foolishly watch it in order to entertain you during your workouts.

Since I’m almost caught up with the show, I might need to start considering a new one to watch. I’m thinking maybe, ‘Call the Midwife’ since I now consider myself fully prepared for whatever that show might throw at me thanks to the training I’ve been getting with ‘This is Us’. 😉