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

Who Are You Callin’ Old?

I stood in the self-checkout line of our local grocery store scanning my items. Beep, beep, beep, and into a bag they went. All went smoothly until I scanned my alcohol. “An attendant has been called to help you”, chirped through the speaker at my checkout stand. In no hurry, the attendant on duty sauntered over and looked at the screen, then at me, then back to the screen which read, “is purchaser over the age of forty?”. She punched in some numbers while saying over her shoulder, “I guess you can pass for forty.”. With a smile she turned and walked away, just like that, as if what she said was no big deal. I on the other hand, stood there like a deer in the headlights. I can (perhaps) pass for forty? As if that’s a complement? How old do I look today anyway?!? 

This seems to be the theme of the last two weeks for me. I’ve had my annual physical and a dentist appointment. At some point during the course of these two appointments each respective doctor told me not to worry about this or that since it’s just what “comes with getting older”. 

Jack, my 13-year-old was saying something to me when I was getting in the car the other morning. I asked him to repeat it and he said, “mom, I seriously think you need hearing aids. You are constantly asking me to repeat myself” Ouch. “I don’t need hearing aids, you need hearing aids”, my immature self mumbled under my breath.

Ok, so I may be getting slightly, I guess. 

Sure, I am going to be a grandma in July (SO excited), and I have a few aches in my joints. I also manage to injure myself quite often by doing absolutely nothing. But I’m only 46 for Pete’s sake! Shouldn’t you start to hear the “you’re just getting older” comments when you’re sneaking up on 60 or so? I guess these comments hit me hard because a mere ten years ago I was still getting carded every single time I tried to buy alcohol. Can’t someone just card me today for old time’s sake? Humor me please!

How can I be getting old when I still feel like I’m..hmm..maybe 30? I was going to say 25 but even I know that’s ridiculous. 

Although I feel like I should be younger than I am, I certainly wouldn’t want to be 25 again. I appreciate the level of maturity I’ve achieved (most of the time anyway), but love that I haven’t lost my sense of how it felt to be young. I’ve become comfortable with the fact that I want to be in my pajamas as soon as the sun goes down, and that I think concerts are too loud. I mean really, why do artists feel as if they have to blow your eardrums out when they’re performing live? I have to admit though, was surprised the other night when we watched a bit of the Grammys and I didn’t know even one of the performers. Perhaps this is because I spend my time listening to Bing Crosby Radio and classical music. 

ohmygoodness, I AM old!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Ha! Well, I guess it had to happen sometime. Now I just need to figure out how to age with grace (although grace has never been one of the words used to describe me). 

Here’s to getting older and celebrating where we’re at. Whether we are young or perhaps just young at heart. You’re only as old as you feel and I choose to go with 25…ok, ok 30. 😉