Flipping the calendar to September, I was happy to see summer come to an end. Which is not to say I'm one of those moms who, upon the realization her kids are finally under someone else's care, does cartwheels out of the Elementary school parking lot. In fact, because our kids are home schooled, I'm with them now more than ever.
Still, our home life was lacking any kind of structure and we all needed a normal schedule again. Staying on schedule, well, that's another thing. This year, however, I'd bought a super, de-duper, ultra-efficient-organizer. Yes, for sure this year would be different....
Workbooks, textbooks and teacher's guides cluttered my kitchen table, as I sat staring at the blank planner in front of me. With a pencil I started to chart out each girl's swimming, French, and science classes. Switching to coloured markers, I wrote down weekly, monthly and semester goals for each homeschool course.
"What are you doing, Mom?" `Rain asked, leaning over my shoulder.
"Planning your school year," I replied.
"What colour am I - pink or blue?"
"Math is blue, and Language Arts is pink."
"But is my Math blue or Ash's?"
Stunned by her insightful question, I paused, marker suspended above the first week of November. Whose math was I charting? "Go clean your bathroom sink," I barked.
"What? But, what did I do?" she asked, storming up the stairs.
Darn it. I flipped back to September and stared at the scribbles and time charts. Picking up a bright neon yellow high lighter, I began to mark all of Ash's classes and goals by outlining them in yellow.
"What are you doing, Mom?" Ash asked, picking up one of her workbooks.
"Put that back down. I haven't scheduled that course yet!"
"Ooooooooo, nice colouring! Can I help?"
"No thanks, Honey. Mom's not playing right now. I'm working."
"What does the pretty yellow mean?"
"Those are your classes."
"Wow. Hey, I thought `Rain was going to take cooking lessons too. I don't want to go alone," she said, tears beginning to roll down her cheeks.
"Huh? She is taking cooking lessons. Darn. Go upstairs and help your sister."
"Oh, goody! Cleaning!" grabbing her duster she bounded up the stairs.
I sat defeated - the open schedule mocking my efforts.
"Morning, babe. Wow, look at that chart. Very impressive! Where's the family field trip to the zoo?" Sherwood asked as he sipped his coffee.
"Zoo? This stupid calendar is wild enough. There will be no field trips this year. There will be no more things added to this schedule. If it's not on the schedule, it doesn't exist."
"Whoa! Don't fall apart on me yet. School hasn't even started. Let me have a go at this. Hm, if you were to do blue for Ash and then pink for `Rain, use the marker for the group classes and the high lighter for family outings ..."
I watched as Sherwood's hands flew across the pages marking down every lesson, outing and field trip. It was amazing. A work of art. A thing of beauty. And absolutely indecipherable. It was page after page of hieroglyphics.
"How much did this planner cost?" Woody asked.
"Will it be reimbursed?"
"Only if I can justify it as a teaching aid." I explained.
"Well, I'd say we learned something, all right," he answered.
"Aint that the truth." I replied, tossing it into the pantry. "Safe to say
it was an expensive lesson."
And so, another day, another dollar. Or, in our case, sixty-five. But, sometimes you have to spend money to well, waste your time and money. Which is exactly what we did.
I guess the good news is come November when I'm running around trying to keep track of who has to be where and when, I won't be kicking myself for not having planned ahead. At least I'll know I tried.
Seems like this teacher has already learned a lesson or two. And to think, school hasn't even started yet!
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