Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Reluctant Home-School Momma: Part 2

Why am I doing this? I could be writing the novel that is outlined in a blue spiral in my back pack or finishing that screenplay I've been carrying around in my purse. I could be acting or rehearsing or counseling. I could be having lunch with other women like other women do and I've never done. I could be taking a nap or exercising or reading the eighty million books on my list of yet to reads or visiting or ministering or bringing plants back to life. . . .

     Yet, I am staring at a chore list trying to remember who did what last and dreading the fact that I need to show Chaz how to do this week's particular chore, AGAIN.
     Having a child with a disabilty has had it's challenges, but now I have an adult by year's standards and the last thing an 18-year-old wants to hear all the time is their monther's voice. 
     Especially when it's to the nth degree because he has to be reminded how to do everything so often. I take deep breaths and look out the window as he grows angrier and angrier because he has to change the settings on the washing machine or take the soaking white hoody out so it doesn't turn red or has to stop the dishwasher because he only filled the bottom half, became distracted, and left a sink full of dishes and an empty top rack.
     My daughter, Chloe (aka grade-grubber), the self-appointed fac totem, would like to make sure that everyone in class is on the same page, meaning HER page. When she is corrected, this veil of I don't know what--it's as if she has been color washed in photo shop from sunny skies to a dreary doomsday-- comes over her and she is blegh for at least an hour. My sweetest pea turns on me. 
     And while the landscape of the home school community is becoming more diverse in culture and faith, the co-ops my children attend remain strongly conservative. My son, Caleb,  takes an American History and a speech class from an organization that meets at our church. He has made it his mission to create shock value as often as possible.  
     Oh, not with his appearance or behavior, but by the topics he chooses for assignments. For his editorial piece he took a scathingly sardonic "Ask a Mexican" column from the Dallas Observer. 
     As he walked out the door, I channeled Edward Scissorhands, cut the article out and slipped it into a nice plastic cover,so no children would be harmed by the "want ads" in the back of that particular periodical. He is reading a highly edited Saul Williams poem for his dramatic reading and this is his Halloween pumpkin:

    Getting the picture?

    So when I think about all the ways I could be spending my time, I remember that the reason story structure and character development are inherent to Steven King is because when he was a child he missed a year of school due to illness and stayed home in bed reading everything his mom brought home from the library and that Andy Warhol spent much of a year of school coloring and coloring while home with chorea.   
     Granted those guys were ill at the time and are/were both weird as adults, but they honed in on their passions at home first. 
     Let's face it. There is no way that my children are getting out of adolescence without being a little nicked, but given time and materials and some divine discernment about when to stop "teaching" and start teaching, I am spending my time as an investment into my children's lives. 
     For the first time in their lives they are not totally consumed with results, output, product. The process, the journey counts. Also, their knowledge of the Bible has far surpassed mine at their age. (In tenth grade, Cecily Knobler had to convince me Jesus was Jewish.) 
     Chloe is tied to her sewing machine most of the time and is writing new songs for the piano. Chaz is constantly reading and watching videos to learn new songs for the guitar and harmonica, as well as  writing his life story in a composition book. Caleb created a reading list to rival most college-level humanity classes and is steadily checking them off, as well as deciding he's a minarchist and planning on making a documentary on chastity.
    (Apparently libertarian isn't minimalist enough and God help us all when filming begins.)
    Mostly what they are doing is finding their way and my job is mostly to let them. 
     But, still, if I have to explain adding/subtracting and
multiplying/dividing negative numbers to my brilliant, G/T daughter one more time, I will be outsourcing math next semester and making me a nice, little Saxon bonfire.
(Just kidding Shigeko. I'll give you your books back:) 
    By the way, beginning this Friday the Curiel kids will take turns blogging every week, so you too will get to experience the splendor and wrath that pour forth from their pens. 
     I mean, why should I have all the fun, right?

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