Musings of a crisis-homeschooler
By Mandy Gray Rineer
Thursday, March 19
Keelin has started a “Captain America vs. Corona” comic (Art). Brodie informs us that he wants to be president (Government/Civics). We do some calculations (Math) and decide that he can run in 2052. We talk about getting a running mate. He “eeny meenies” between Sissy and Mommy and decides on Mommy as his “rubbing mate” (Spelling/Phonics).
Friday, March 20: Morning
Brodie asks what a “wecount” is (Phonics, again). So, we discuss the process of a recount (Government/Civics), and further our discussion on running a campaign and on which platform(s) he is going to run. So far, we have come up with “being nice.” We are also struggling to come up with a politically correct slogan. So far, none of the rhyming words are very positive: dick, kick, lick. “Brodie Mick, sophisticated hick!” or “Brodie Mick, not a dick!” Catchy, but not very PC. This might have to be our phonics lesson on Monday. (Note: He cannot use Mommy’s slogan, which is, “The choice is clear. Vote Gray Rineer.”)
Friday, March 20: Late Morning
“Brodie Mick, he’s our pick!” Duh. (So glad that we workshopped this on Mommy’s Facebook. Thanks for the help from afar, virtual friends!)
Friday, March 20: Afternoon
I have dubbed our at-home learning “Half-Assed Homeschool,” because I have no idea what I am doing. But the kids know it as “HA Homeschool.” (I think they are onto me though, because they are not DAs.) Today, we failed a marvelous History lesson that I was excited about, based on researching the lines to Billy Joel’s iconic “We Didn’t Start the Fire.” Half the students were staring blankly at me, and one other retreated to the Xbox. We decided that it was time for Recess and spent over an hour in the woods. We had a great Math lesson, when we agreed to 3 more times sliding down the snowy gravel pit on butts. After 2 more times, the Kindergartener tried coaxing 3 more times out of the teacher. Teacher replied that 3-2=1, not 3. Then we passed Home Economics with flying colors when we came home, ordered a propane fill, and stain-treated and washed all of the winter gear. (Turns out that skiff of snow we got last night did not cover the dirt too well.) More updates after a well-deserved weekend off. (Note to self: Maybe I can recruit Grandpa Rich to be the new history teacher via Zoom: when the kids ask questions, he cannot hear them. He will only give the history of Lake Ann, John Deere, Ford trucks, Louis L’Amour, and Hank Williams, Sr. All I know is, after the Great History Lesson Rebellion of 2020, I do not think I will go back to teaching.)
Monday, March 30 (Make that two weekends off)
During Lunch Hour, we almost burned down the school by heating up our brownies (Home Economics) in the microwave—six seconds is all it took! (Chemistry, maybe? Or Physics?) I think we will go back to all-day Physical Education and Recess, like last week. Better dig out the winter gear… Also, do not tell the kids that it is technically supposed to be Spring Break right now; we have to make up for a shoddy performance last week!
Tuesday, April 21
National Kindergarten Day, or whatever. You can see that we are not too concerned about labels much anymore. We are just learning words with chalk on the driveway, riding bikes, chopping wood, and blowing bubbles. Last night, after getting spooked by an Agatha Christie novel, Keelin was found sleeping with a “switchcomb.” Just now, Brodie was playing with his Leapfrog laptop. He yelled across the house, “Mama? I just spelled the A-word wiff my yittoh doggy computah. I’m sowwy!” He would not have known it, but Big Sister was right there to tell him that it was a naughty word. Switchcombs and accidental swear words: eventually, this lawless wasteland at the Rineer Homestead will have to get back to some semblance of civility.
Thursday, May 7
Well, we got notified by Keelin’s teacher that she had some missing assignments. I had been under the assumption that the assignments were being emailed to all parents on Mondays only. Turns out that she had been getting additional assignments sent to her school email. Didn’t have a clue! Time for some make-up work…
Mandy Gray Rineer serves as Almira Township Treasurer for her “day job.” She is mother—and now teacher, principal, superintendent, custodian, food-service worker, and head of the bus garage—to Brodie and Keelin, kindergarten and fifth grade, respectively. A great-aunt of Rineer’s taught in a one-room schoolhouse 75 years ago. “Not only did she look just like me, she reportedly lost her mind, because of the stress of teaching,” Rineer says.
Featured Photo: Re-enacting Mulan in the drive-way (Drama). Photo by Mandy Gray Rineer.